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Can You Be Too Depressed to Believe in God?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
January 25, 2023 4:42 pm

Can You Be Too Depressed to Believe in God?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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January 25, 2023 4:42 pm

Episode 1149 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

  Questions in this Episode

1. Is the Roman Catholic church the one true church?

2. Can someone be so depressed that they can't believe in God?

3. Should someone seek divorce if their spouse is a narcissist and emotionally abusive?

4. Where does your spirit go when you die?

5. How do I know if I am predestined to be saved?

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Can you be too depressed to believe in God? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, I'm Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. This is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us with your question at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. And of course, you can always email us your question at First up today, let's go to Kenny who's calling in from Kansas City, Missouri. Kenny, what's your question for Pastor Adriel?

We're pretty close and everything, and we tend to get in these little debates and stuff. It seems like, in his mind, I feel like that, A, he feels like God ordained the Catholic religion. And then, so then secondly, if you're not Catholic, it seems to me that, in his mind, that if you're not Catholic, then you're not really saved. So, like, how do I, not to prove him wrong, but prove him wrong, like, this is not true. God would not, God did not ordain the Catholic religion because look what he went through with the Jews.

Why would he do it again? You know what I'm saying? I just don't think that God's behind religion.

All right, Kenny, well, there's a lot there. I actually, I don't have a problem with the word religion. I mean, James talks about pure and undefiled religion before God. You know, and sometimes, you know, we'll throw around phrases like, well, it's a relationship, it's not a religion.

And I think I understand what people mean by that. You know, it's not just a bunch of empty rituals that we're doing. We've got to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but Jesus did come and give us his church, and he promised to build his church. Now, the question is, is the church that Jesus promised to build the Roman Catholic Church? And that's what the Roman Catholic Church believes. You know, when he goes to Peter and he says, on this rock, I'm going to build my church, and the gates of hell are not going to prevail against it, that Peter is the rock, the first pope, if you will, and that ever since him, you know, we've been building this thing, the Roman Catholic Church.

But I disagree with that. I think that what Christ is building on is the foundational truth of the confession of who he is, the Christ, for our salvation, so that the true church consists of all those who profess the true religion, the true gospel, together with their children who call upon the name of the Lord, and whoever calls on the name of the Lord, we're told in Romans chapter 10, quoting from Joel chapter 2, whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. So the question is not primarily, you know, is your membership in the Roman Catholic Church, it's are you united to Jesus, are you united to Jesus Christ by faith?

Now, what's interesting is, you know, you said that your uncle is very Roman Catholic. Well, even the Roman Catholic Church wouldn't say that if you're a Protestant, that just means that you're not saved. The language of the Second Vatican Council states that, you know, baptized people outside of the Roman Catholic Church or baptized in other Christian traditions, it refers to them as separated brethren. The language sort of shifted from previous councils, if you will, where they really did seem to express, I'm thinking in particular the Council of Trent, that those who embraced Reformation doctrine were not saved, that they were eternally condemned. And that's probably what they meant during the time of the Council of Trent, but they've sort of softened the language later on, and now Vatican II, they refer to Protestants and others as separated brothers. But all of that is beside the point, the main thing there is that the Roman Catholic Church doesn't even really believe what your uncle is saying if he actually believes that all non-Catholics are just not saved.

I would say in terms of talking to him, just getting straight to the heart of the matter, what is the Gospel? What makes somebody saved? Are you saved because you have your membership in the Roman Catholic Church, and it doesn't really matter what you believe or what you do? Is that what saves you?

Well, of course not. And you did bring something, you know, you think about Israel under the Old Covenant, there were so many of them who were going through the motions of religion. I mean, Isaiah chapter 1 highlights this very clearly, you know, they're lifting their hands to God, they're offering sacrifices, but the Lord said to them, your hands are stained with blood, you don't really follow me, you don't really believe in me, you're drawn near to me with your lips, Isaiah 29, but your hearts are far from me. So the question again for each of us to ask ourselves is, do I believe in Jesus? Do I trust in him for my salvation? Am I united to him by faith?

And am I united to a group of believers, a local church where the word of Christ is upheld, where Christ himself is the head of the church, and is he being honored by my life? And that's the question to ask, and so I would say having those kinds of conversations and talking maybe about some of the big differences between Roman Catholic theology and what the Protestant Church has historically held to, you know, the differences related to things like the doctrine of salvation. What does it mean that we're justified in God's sight?

Is justification a process of inward renewal, or is it God's declaration over a sinner that we are forgiven and that the righteousness of Jesus Christ is given to us solely on the basis of faith? That's what I believe, but that's not what the Catholic Church teaches, and so getting to the heart of the matter, getting to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and hopefully having some good discussions, some charitable discussions as you unpack the history and the theology there, Kenny. Thank you for reaching out to us, and I do hope that God blesses your conversations with your uncle. So I'm good to counsel for that. Thanks so much, Adriel, and thank you, Kenny, for being a regular listener to CORE Christianity.

We do appreciate you. Let's go to John calling in from St. Louis, Missouri. John, what's your question for Adriel? Hey, John, are you there? I think we may have lost John. See if we can get him back. Brother. Yeah.

Are you there? We'll try to give him a call back. Meanwhile, let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners.

This is from Alex, who called in earlier this week. My question is, what can you say to those people that are going through a really hard time, you know, people that want to believe in God but they can't, just for the simplest fact that nothing is good and good in their life? Yeah. Well, if I had you on the line, you know, I would want to ask, you know, are you talking about yourself? Is this something that you feel?

And if it is, my heart just goes out to you. And I know that there are many others who, you know, they just think, boy, I look at my life and I feel like it's really hard right now. And so God, if you're out there, if there is a God, you know, why would he allow this? It doesn't seem like if there is a God, it just doesn't seem like he loves me because everything in my life is going poorly. And I think sometimes we can sort of, I mean, as strange as it sounds, we can sort of hold these things over God's head, if you will, and say, well, God, if you really existed, I mean, I'd believe in you if you actually helped me or did these things for me.

And I think there's a real significant problem with this. It gets things backwards. God is not like a genie who is supposed to give us whatever we want, right? He's the creator of heaven and earth who calls us to worship him and doesn't just call us to worship him, but has exhibited his love for us in that while we were still sinners, even though we're selfish, even though we don't believe in him and have rejected him, he sent his son into the world to pay the penalty of our sins so that by believing in him, we could have eternal life. And his love for us was exhibited most clearly there at the cross. God demonstrates his love there. Now, if you're looking to your circumstances, if I had a lot of money, then I'd know that God loved me. If I wasn't sick, then I'd know that God loved me. Well, then your sense of God's love is always going to go up and down.

It's going to be like the daisy game. He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, because our circumstances are always changing. James says we should rejoice when we're humbled, when we lose our riches, because at the end of the day, those things are going to perish. What we have, what we long for more than anything else, is the grace that God gives to us in Jesus Christ.

And so I would say, look, God has shown you that he loves you by sending his son into the world to forgive your sins. Your greatest problem, your greatest need is to have your sins forgiven. Our greatest problem is not our health issues, it's not political issues around us, it's not the fact that our bank account is empty.

Yeah, those are significant things. Jesus came to deliver us from our sins, the most significant thing. And so I would say, look, we need to reorient this conversation, this discussion around recognizing what our greatest issue is, and then seeing how God in his kindness has dealt with that. And if we continue to turn away from him saying, well, you know, you just don't give me what I want, I mean, just think about what we're saying. We're talking to the God of heaven and earth, the creator of the universe who is holy, pure, precious, powerful.

And we're saying, I'm not going to follow you unless you bend your will to mine. No, we need to repent and realize who it is that we're addressing. He is the God of heaven and earth. We are the creature, sinful creatures, that he's been gracious to. And that he loves, and that he calls into his presence to fellowship with him. And yeah, there's suffering that we experience, there are struggles that we experience, but that doesn't mean that God doesn't love us. And so I would just say to you, I mean, see God's love for you in his son Jesus.

Cling to him. And with the suffering that we experience, with the suffering that you experience in your life, the things that don't go your way, bring those things before him. Trusting in him and saying, Lord, I don't understand what's going on here. I don't know what you're doing, but use these circumstances to help me know you and to draw me closer to you, to work in me something precious, to refine my faith, which is the most important thing, Lord. And I believe that God will answer that prayer because he says that he will, that he'll use those circumstances to draw us nearer to him. And so may God bless you, may God be with you, and may God help you to see his love for you. We know that perseverance leads to hope, and that's certainly some great counsel.

Thanks so much for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and we want to mention that we do have a special group of people who believe so much in this program that they are willing to support us on a monthly basis. And we'd like to invite you to join that group we call our Inner Core. Yeah, I just can't express to you how blessed we feel by the support that we've received, especially from our Inner Core members. The Inner Core is a group of people that's committed to praying for us, to giving a gift of $25 or more every month, which may seem like a small thing.

I mean, it's not a ton of money, but it really is a shot in the arm for us, and it helps us to continue to do what we're doing in being broadcast over the airwaves, in the podcast, in producing the articles that we release for free almost daily. I mean, there are a lot of resources that we put together, the Bible studies that we're oftentimes talking about, and your gifts help us to do that. And the goal, well, I hope we have a common goal here, is we want to see people grow in their relationship with Christ and their love for Jesus Christ. And so if you're blessed by this broadcast, if you've been encouraged, would you partner with us to make that happen, to encourage others in their faith, to build them up in a sound understanding of the Scriptures, and to grow together in Christ? Thank you again, and I hope that you'll consider joining the Inner Core. And if you do join the Inner Core, we'd love to send you a complimentary copy of Dr. Michael Horton's book, Core Christianity. It's really the book that this program was founded on, so check that out by going to forward slash inner core. Again, forward slash inner core.

We'd ask you to perfectly consider becoming one of our regular partners to keep this program going on the air. Well, you can always email us if you have a question here at Core Christianity. Our email address is questions at Adriel, here's an email from one of our listeners who says, My 26-year-old daughter is in a marriage where her husband narcissistically controls her and verbally abuses her continually. It appears to me that the only grounds laid out in the Bible for divorce is adultery. Can you please expound on the word addressing abusive marriage relationships and divorce? Gosh, I'm so sorry to hear about this situation. I'm sure that your heart breaks as a mother, and this is one of those areas where I think there definitely needs to be outside help.

I don't know if your daughter and her husband are in a church, but this is certainly an instance where the church needs to step in and enforce church discipline. If there's no repentance, oftentimes with people who are genuine narcissists, a narcissistic personality disorder, there's just an unwillingness to see any of that, to see the manipulative and destructive behavior. This is where having outsiders intervene can be helpful. Certainly therapists and counselors, I think a part of repentance for the husband, would be submitting to that kind of thing, being willing to get the professional help that he needs, to get the accountability from the church that he needs.

There's going to need to be a lot of support here. Now, where there's no repentance and the church steps in and the process of church discipline is begun, and it leads ultimately to excommunication, you treat the individualist as a non-believer. There are instances, I think, where you have individuals who will abandon their spouse. They will be abusive in their behavior, abandon their duty as a husband or as a wife.

I mean, it can go both ways. To the degree that, okay, this marriage, this has really been broken. The marriage covenant has been broken. I mean, Paul in 1 Corinthians 7, he talks about the case of abandonment, where one spouse says, yeah, the non-believing spouse says, I'm not going to do this.

I'm not interested in caring for you and supporting you. They abandon the marriage. In a situation like that, I think that divorce is legitimate. I mean, you mentioned adultery, but I do think that the case of abandonment is something also that's laid out for us in Scripture. And abuse, certainly abusive behavior, there are different ways of abandoning someone.

The person can just leave. But physical abuse, spiritual abuse, emotional abuse is also a way, I believe, of abandoning a marriage. And again, look, I can't say from my perspective, sitting where I'm sitting, here's what needs to happen. This is why, as I said, the Church needs to get involved.

People who know the situation better, who are on the ground there, need to be consulted. And ultimately, you're seeking to glorify Christ, to bring healing to a marriage, but that can only come through genuine repentance. And so, again, this is a difficult situation, but I want to just take a moment to pray for your daughter and for this couple, Lord. Our hearts break when we think about marriages, Lord, where there's significant struggle, and especially, Lord, marriages where there is abusive and manipulative behavior, where a husband, instead of loving his wife like Christ loved the Church, as we're called to, as we're commanded to in Your Word, instead abuses his bride. Lord, it's so opposite to what Your Scriptures teach. It's so against the Word and Your will.

Lord, we know it's a grievous and heinous thing. And so I pray that You would open the eyes of this man, that You would humble him and cause him to see, Lord God, his sin and the fact that he needs help, if indeed he's behaving in this narcissistic and abusive way, that he needs help, that he needs accountability. I pray for healing for the wife, for Your grace to be poured out in her and on her, Lord, and that You would give her wisdom and that You would give the people around them wisdom to know how to intervene, to care for, to support, to call to repentance, to guide and to counsel. Lord God, we look to You and we ask for Your help and we pray for Your healing. In Jesus' name, amen.

Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you want to leave us a voicemail message anytime, you can call us at this number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners in Alaska.

Hi, my name is Mirette Sherlock. I sent my daughter to a Seventh-day Advent school here. We're a Christian family and we go to a different church, but I've been having her in a Bible study. We kind of had our butting heads that, where does your spirit go when you die? Seventh-day Adventists believe that it stays in your body until Jesus comes, and I wasn't taught that. I was taught that your spirit goes to heaven. Could you clarify that? We would appreciate it.

Thank you so much. Yeah, well, I think you were taught correctly. I don't think this is something that the Seventh-day Adventists get right. So the idea of soul sleep, right, that we die and our bodies are just sort of resting until the last day or the time of the Resurrection, that doesn't fit, I think, with the teaching of the New Testament. In various places, it's clear that those who die in the Lord are immediately taken into the presence of the Lord. Paul says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. That's the verse in 2 Corinthians 5 that I think is most often quoted. In Philippians 1, as he's thinking about his death, he's writing to the Philippians saying, I don't know what's going to happen.

I don't know what to choose. I want to stay and be with you for your growth and grace to build you up in your faith, yet I know that to depart and be with Christ is far better. You see, he viewed that at his death, he believed that at his death what would happen is he was going to go and be with Jesus, depart and be with Jesus. And that's the picture that we're given in places like Hebrews chapter 12, where the author of the Hebrews paints this picture of the scene in heaven. And he says that there in heaven, you know, we're coming to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven and to God the judge of all and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.

Well, who are they? They're the departed believers, those who have died in Christ that are in heaven right now. We're around God's throne, worshipping him, praising him. And so all the evidence in the New Testament seems to suggest that when we die, it's not just that we go in this, you know, unconscious place of sleep.

No, we're conscious. We're in the spirit, in the presence of the Lord, worshipping him. And we experience his grace, his love. We're perfected in holiness. There's no more sin to weigh us down. It really is a wonderful thing. And that's why Paul could say, I want to go and be with Jesus. That's far better than anything this world has to offer me.

And that's the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Thank you for your question. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We have a YouTube channel, by the way, and you can check us out on YouTube, the live broadcast is every day at 1130 a.m. Pacific time. You can translate that into your local time zone.

You can watch Adriel in the studio, and you can also message us through our YouTube channel. Here's a YouTube listener named Kevin, and he says, I struggle with abiding in Christ, and now that I've learned about election, I wonder if I'm chosen, or if God meant for me to be saved. What do I do? You know, sometimes when people discover the doctrine of God's sovereignty, the idea of what we find in scripture, God predestining or choosing, well, they begin to struggle because they think, well, what if God didn't choose me? I mean, I struggle with sin.

I fail time and time again. Maybe I'm not really a believer. And so then they begin to try to speculate, you know, how can I figure out if God chose me or not?

And I'm almost trying to get into the mind of God, right? Like, we don't know the eternal decrees of God. What we have is what he's revealed to us in his word.

And so, Kevin, what I would say to you is don't focus on the question, am I elect, am I not elect? Focus on Jesus and on the promise of the gospel that we find in him. And what we realize is even when we're talking about the doctrine of election, the doctrine of predestination, it's tied together with Jesus Christ. Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him that is in Jesus before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love. He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. And so fix your eyes on Christ and on the promise of the gospel. If you believe in Jesus, if you've trusted in Christ, if you're clinging to him for the forgiveness of your sins, know that you belong to the Lord. Don't question that, don't doubt that, but instead sink your teeth into what God has said in his word rather than speculate about what God has decreed from all eternity. We're not privy to that information.

We're not given that. We're given what God has revealed to us, and he's revealed his love to us to you in his son Jesus. And so what you need to do, what we all need to do, brothers and sisters, is cling to Jesus. For all of us, for those of us who struggle with assurance of salvation, do I really belong to God?

We're so tempted to look at all sorts of things. Am I being really faithful? Am I doing my devotions in the morning?

How much am I obeying? That's an okay thing to look at, but the ultimate thing you need to look at is not your faithfulness. It's his faithfulness. It's his gospel.

It's what he's done for you. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at and click on offers in the menu bar, or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program, and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-25 18:53:13 / 2023-01-25 19:04:12 / 11

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