Where is God's goodness in tragedies like mass shootings? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts, and you can email us anytime.
Here's the email address. It's questions at corechristianity.com. By the way, Adriel is a real pastor.
He doesn't just play one on TV. So I've got to ask you, what are you preaching on this weekend, brother? I am currently, I'm still preaching through the book of Revelation, which has been a beast, truly, I mean, in more ways than one.
As in the mark of the, yeah. Well, hopefully not, but it has been, I mean, it's not an easy book to preach through. It's been a challenge in some ways, but it's also, I mean, what a lot of people don't understand about the book of Revelation, it was written for an insanely practical purpose, which is to comfort suffering believers, in particular, the believers there in the first century. So a lot of people think of the book of Revelation as this sort of code that needs to be unlocked, and we don't even want to approach that book, because man, who could understand it?
But in reality, the purpose of the book of Revelation is insanely practical, and for that reason, I really wanted to go through it. So I'm currently in chapter 17, which is this crazy picture of this woman, she's described as a great prostitute riding on a beast, and so we're going to be talking about that this Sunday. I'm going to be talking about that this Sunday. And so pray for me, if you guys would, just that the Lord would bless me in my sermon prep and help me to communicate the word of God clearly. And I know, Bill, you do, Bill also does some work teaching in his local church. You teach Sunday school, don't you? I do teach third to fifth graders every other Sunday, and so we've been going through basically the gospel right now. Last week we taught the kids about the calling of the disciples, and we're going to be going through Jesus's entire earthly ministry with the kids before the end of the year, so it's been fun. My wife actually co-teaches with me, and we've got about 30, 40 third through fifth graders that we have each week, so it's really fun. Wow, that sounds like it's got to be a pretty rowdy group, I imagine, but how cool that you are doing that and serving your church in that way.
They are rowdy, but we love them. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and if you've got a question about the Bible or the Christian life, give us a call right now, 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Adrian calling in from St. Louis.
Adrian, what's your question for Adriel? Hey, how you doing, Pastor Adriel? Bill, how you guys doing today? Doing well, man. How are you?
I'm doing good. So Pastor, I have a question. Galatians 5, 19 through 21, it talks about the sins that we commit, every day sexual mentality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, different sins, and then in 21 it says, you know, practice such things while not entering into the kingdom of God. Now, I realize we fall short of sin, so I'm just kind of questioning that particular verse. I know the Bible does not contradict us, so can you kind of enlighten me on what that means? Okay, so there in Galatians 5, you have this call that Paul has given the Church in Galatia to walk in the Spirit, walk by the Spirit, verse 16, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
And he talks about this very real battle that we have in the Christian life. The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things that you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now, that's really important. Paul's going to talk about that in places like Romans chapter 7. We are dead to the law through the body of Jesus Christ, so the law can't condemn you if you're a believer because you are in Christ, no longer under the law, but under grace. Now, should we sin that grace may abound? Should we just go and live in sin? No, absolutely not, Paul says in Romans 6.
How could that even be, right? May it never be, Paul says. How could we who have died to sin live any more in it? We're supposed to walk in newness of life, and so there in Galatians chapter 6, Paul is highlighting the works of the flesh and calling the Galatian Church to avoid them, to turn away from them. And he describes in verse 19, the works of the flesh are evident, sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. This is what the world is characterized by, the lusts and passions of the flesh. You have a similar sort of statement that Paul makes to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verse 9, or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And then he says this, and such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
And so how do we make sense of this? As you said, Adrian, the Bible doesn't contradict itself, and certainly when we read books like the book of 1 Corinthians and certainly the book of Galatians, it's clear that these Christians to whom Paul is writing still wrestled with sin, still struggled with sin, but through Jesus Christ they had a new identity. They were now dead to sin and alive to Jesus Christ, no longer to be characterized by the works of the flesh, and that's why you have these warnings. Paul saying, look, the judgment of God is coming upon those who practice these things, who live in this way, therefore you as the children of God should not be characterized by these things.
If you do these things, you're going to come under the discipline of God. That doesn't mean that you lose your salvation, that doesn't mean that you're no longer a child of God all of a sudden, but it does mean that we need to be vigilant and wise and careful walking in the Spirit. And again, that's Paul's point in Galatians chapter 5, and so we just have to realize we are no longer to be characterized by the old way of living. If we are in Christ, we should walk, this is what Paul says in Romans chapter 6, in newness of life. We're going to struggle every day in thought, word, and in deed, but we are fighting against those sins by the grace of the Spirit, and it's by the Spirit that we put to death those sinful deeds of the body, the works of the flesh.
They're described in Galatians chapter 5, and that's something that the Spirit of God promises to do in all those who are justified, not to the point where we reach sinless perfection or something like that, but it's the work of God's Spirit in our lives and the promise of Jesus Christ, and so we submit to that and we pursue the Lord in holiness, submitting to his word. Adrian, thanks for giving us a call, and God bless you. Well said. Thanks, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life.
Here's what you call, 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. By the way, you can also leave a voicemail at that number anytime. If you've got a question over the weekend, you want to leave us on our voicemail system, feel free to do that. Let's go to John calling in from Oklahoma. John, what's your question for Adriel?
Hi, Pastor Sanchez. My question is, when Jesus talks about we are the salt of the earth, if one loses his saltiness, it's good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled upon. Well, at one point in my life when I was going through addiction and tried to quit myself, I couldn't, and I ended up praying and throwing it all down the toilet and never went through any withdrawals. Well, I had a wonderful and intimate relationship with him for quite a while, and then I fell back into sin. So my question is, am I lost or can I get that saltiness back?
Can I have that intimate relationship again? Hey, John, absolutely you can, and the Lord Jesus calls you back to himself. Here's the thing.
Boy, so many people call into the broadcast with this concern. I had a period of backsliding where I fell away from the Lord, and now I just wonder, is there still hope for me? The evil one, Satan, wants us to be despairing. He wants to convince you that God is done with you, that you've sinned one too many times, that the fact that you went back to this just proves that you're not worth God's time. This is how the devil works. No, we say, get behind me, Satan, and we look to the cross of Jesus Christ where all of our sins were put away, and we can go to the Lord. You can go to the Lord. This is the promise that we have in God's word, that you should take hope in and rejoice in if we confess our sins.
It doesn't matter if it's been the 10th time, the 100th time, struggling with the same thing. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Brothers and sisters, the grace of God is more magnificent than we could ever imagine. It is an ocean that we cannot exhaust. Now again, I quoted earlier from Paul in Romans chapter 6, does that mean we should just keep sinning so that we can keep drinking from that ocean? No, no. Should we continue in sin that grace may abound?
May it never be. In light of God's great mercy towards you, John, in light of the fact that he forgives you, that should be the wind in your sails that drives you to obedience, to walk with the Lord, to get accountability, to be a part of a local church where you're being encouraged and built up in your faith. But with regard to your question, is there hope for me? I feel like I've lost my saltiness. Can I ever be salty again for the Lord?
Used by God, the answer is yes. You just go to Jesus and say, Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner. And he does have mercy upon you, brother. Receive that mercy with joy and with faith. God bless you.
So well said. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is CORE Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. You know, our mission here at the CORE is to answer the tough questions that people have about the Bible and the Christian life, doctrine, theology. But really, we can't do it without your support.
So you're right, Bill. And today we'd like to invite everyone to consider coming alongside of us and making a one-time donation. Your support allows us to share the gospel with people all around the world through our live radio broadcast, our web articles, free resources, and Bible studies.
And we hear from countless people about how they've benefited from this program. And so if you're among them, would you consider giving us a one-time gift, partnering with us to reach people throughout the world? You can do so right now over at corechristianity.com forward slash give. Again, it's your generous support that keeps us going. We don't get money or any funds from a church or denomination or a radio station.
We rely on people just like you. And if you'd like to make a gift today, just head over to corechristianity.com forward slash give. Again, that's corechristianity.com forward slash give. To learn more, of course, you can always give us a call as well at 833-THE-CORE. Well, we do receive voicemails here at Core Christianity, and here's one that came in from one of our listeners earlier this week. Hi, Pastor Adriel. I'm so thankful for your program.
I love listening to you guys every day. I have a question. My husband and I were watching the news the other day, and we were very saddened to see that there have been 73 mass shootings already, and we're only halfway through February. We read our scripture every day, and we see examples of God being gracious and loving towards his people. But my husband asked the question of, if we're reading that he is a gracious and kind father, how can he allow for bad things to happen to good and innocent people?
That's my question. Thanks so much, guys. Yeah, man, such a tragedy and so heartbreaking. And truly, really, at the heart of this question, sister, is how can God allow—if God is good, how can we see so much evil in the world? Look, we don't have—I mean, the reality is, in terms of, you know, the specific things that happen, horrible things, we don't have, you know, God's just, well, let me tell you exactly why this happened. No, we have what God has revealed to us in his word, which is that he is good and holy and sovereign, and his law condemns sin, the sin of murder, that there is a serious judgment there from the Lord. So God is against this, all evil, all sin, but in terms of the why question, a lot of times we don't have the answer to it.
Okay, well, why was this allowed to happen? We don't have the answer, that answer, this side of heaven. And so we look to the Lord as the one who calls us to live righteously in accordance with his law, as the one who is indeed good, who calls sinners to repentance, and we recognize, right, living in this world that's full of injustice, how desperately we need the hope that God gives. Now I do think of one text in Luke chapter 13 where Jesus describes really these tragic incidences, and not just tragic, but also horrific in some ways. He's talking about a group of people who were murdered, and listen to what he says in Luke 13 verse 1, there were some present at that very time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. In other words, you had a group of Galileans who were going to sacrifice, to worship, and Pilate murdered them, and their blood was mingled with the blood of the sacrificial offering.
And people were horrified as you can imagine. What a great injustice to murder these people in this act of worship. And some people said, well those people must have been pretty bad people for God to allow that to happen to them. They must have been especially cursed by God. And Jesus answered them, do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered in this way?
No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. In other words, these kinds of tragic things where we know that God is against murder, the sin of murder, that God judges murderers, that they will be held to account before the Lord. We know that God is good, and gives life and redemption, and calls us to support that, to support life as well, to protect the lives of our neighbors. But here he says, all of us, the injustice and the sin that we see in the world, should drive us to the Lord, recognizing how desperately we need His grace as sinners.
And so here's what I can say about these things. What we can say definitively is, according to God's word, we do know that God is sovereign, and we do know that God is good. We do not fully understand why He allows certain things to take place, but we know that He's revealed in His word that He's against the sin of man, and that He will judge it. And so these things that we see, these injustices, should drive us to Him and to His mercy, and should drive us to seek to do whatever we can to uphold the life of our neighbor, to fight for that. That's just in accordance with God's revealed will, with His law. And so we ought to pray and do everything that we can to ensure, to the best of our ability, the safety and the thriving of the people around us. Thank you for that question, indeed.
Such a tragic statistic that you bring up. May God be with us and have mercy upon us. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, or theology, you're always welcome to email us. Here's our email address.
It's questions at corechristianity.com. Let's go back to the phones. Melody's on the line from Indiana. Melody, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, thank you for taking my call.
I've had a really bad year. I've had a lot of loss, including my daughter, so I have begun re-reading the Gospels, and I am in Mark. And where it is talking about the parables of Jesus, and the disciples go back to Him and say, Lord, why are you using the parables or whatever? And Jesus said that that way, and I'm not, I'm driving, so I don't want to quote it exactly, but He said so that, you know, not everybody can hear it.
I'm a little confused on that because I was always, I'm a believer that He came for everyone's sin, so why wouldn't He want everyone to hear it? First, Melanie, let me just say that I'm so sorry to hear about this past year that you've had, and I want to take a moment to pray for you, and just ask the Lord to be with you, comforting you in light of the great loss that you've experienced, and just asking for His mercy in your life. And I want to invite our listeners to pray for you as well. Gracious Father in Heaven, even as Melanie is driving right now, I pray, Lord, that you would fill her with your grace, that you would give her the comfort, Lord Jesus, that only you can give, Lord, by your Holy Spirit, after we've experienced devastating loss and hurt. So, Lord, I pray that you would begin to bring healing in her life, that you would be with her. I thank you, Lord, that she is seeking you. She's reading the Gospels, wanting to draw near to you, Jesus, in this time of great difficulty, and I pray that as she continues to do that, that you would meet her and strengthen her faith and bless our sister. We pray in Jesus' name.
Amen. You're right, that the Gospel goes out to everyone. We sometimes refer to this as the free offer of the Gospel, the promiscuous offer of the Gospel.
It goes out to all people. God calls all people everywhere to repent, and so sometimes people read the purpose of parables described in places like Mark 4 or Matthew 13, and they say, well, what's going on there? It seems like Jesus is being cryptic, like he's trying to hide things from certain people.
Here's what you need to understand. The language of, you know, let him who has ears to hear hear, it's actually a formula that you see throughout the Bible, especially in the prophets. And typically when it was used in the prophets, it was signaling God's judgment. In other words, there were people there gathered together, who though they knew the word of God, were unwilling to listen to it, to hear it. We see this specifically in places like the book of Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 6, for example, beginning in verse 8, listen to what it says, I heard a voice, I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send and who shall go for us? And I said, Isaiah said, here I am, send me. And the Lord said, go and say to this people, keep on hearing, but do not understand.
Keep on seeing, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull, their ears heavy and blind their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and turn and be healed. And God's judgment was on these people in particular.
Why? Because they had the word of God over and over again. And instead of embracing it, they rejected it. They turned away from it, repudiating it and walking in their own ways, in their own sins. And as Jesus is giving these parables in the gospels, there were people who had done just that. You think of the religious leaders who actually, I mean, Jesus quotes this in reference to the scribes and the Pharisees, that section that I just read from Isaiah, saying essentially they're under the judgment of God because though they knew the word of God and they knew it well, they rejected it. They were full of hypocrisy. This is why Jesus gives such severe warnings against these religious leaders.
And so what's going on here? It's this formula that you see in the prophets that Jesus is using in the context of parables. We also see it in Jesus's address to the seven churches in the book of Revelation. And after each of his warnings, he says, let him who has ears to hear hear what the Spirit has to say. It's this call to repentance, this call to faith. But for those who reject the truth and harden their hearts against the truth, it's this sign, this signal of judgment. So it's been said before that the word of God is a double-edged sword.
It's sort of like the same sun that melts the wax, hardens the clay. Perhaps you've heard that saying too. As the word of God goes out, for some people, they receive it. Their hearts are softened by the truth of the gospel, and they turn to Christ in faith for others, like the religious leaders in Jesus's day who heard the parables.
They harden their hearts against it and come under the judgment of God. Each of us need to ask ourselves, how am I receiving the word of God? And may God help us to receive it with humility and with faith.
God bless you, Melanie. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com 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. Thank you.
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