Did our souls exist before we were born? 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 the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 133. If you get a voicemail, make sure to leave your voicemail. We try our best to review them once each day.
You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. And of course, you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. So there's a new Christian film in theaters right now called The Jesus Revolution. Did you get a chance to see it yet, Adriel? Bill, actually, we did. We did go to see that movie.
I think at the end of last week, I mean, it just came out. We don't go to the movies very often, and not because I don't like going to the movies. It's just because with five kids, you know, other people don't like you going to the movies. So it's just usually...
But we did take the kids, and I enjoyed it. I mean, I thought it was... I'm pretty familiar with that story. Of course, if you don't know, that movie in particular focuses on the Jesus movement. Right?
Of the late 1960s, early 1970s, especially in Southern California, me being from Southern California. I mean, that was just... You can't kind of be around here in evangelical Christian circles and not feel, you know, the aftermath of that in some way. And so it was really...
I thought it was encouraging. I thought it was really interesting to get into some of the history there. And certainly, you know, I'm grateful for how the Lord worked in so many people's lives, you know, bringing people in the context of the movie. You know, it was hippies coming to faith in Jesus Christ, connecting with the word of God, and beginning to walk with Christ. And so I just... You know, that's just a really neat story.
And yeah. Have you seen it yet, Bill? I have not, but it's a true story, and I know some of the people involved in it. And of course, attended Calvary Chapel for a while when I lived in Southern California, as you did. Didn't you go to Calvary Chapel for a while? I did.
I did. The first church I started going to... Calvary Chapel's are non-denominational sort of evangelical Bible churches. And the first church I started going to when I, you know, started walking with the Lord, if you want to put it that way, was a tiny little Calvary Chapel here in Southern California.
There's a huge place in my heart for those churches, because God used that in my life personally as a young man. And so yeah, pretty awesome. Yeah, I would recommend it. Bill, do you guys go to the movies pretty often as a family? We do.
Every once in a while. My wife is not a big movie fan, to be honest with you, so I have to kind of talk her into it. But she is willing to go see this one, because she knows the history, that it's a true story, and as you said, very inspiring. And so yeah, I think we will definitely go. And by the way, one of my friends is a movie reviewer, and he said he thinks this is one of Kelsey Grammer's finest performances as a pastor Chuck Smith.
Oh, cool. Yeah, I thought he did a great job. And so we had a great time, except for the fact that I got a large popcorn, and my son Ambrose was sitting right next to me. And he accidentally spilt the entire thing on the ground. We had only had like a couple handfuls of popcorn before the rest of it was just on the floor in front of us in the movie theater. And so I didn't get to enjoy that delicious, yeah, I mean, if it's on sale. I feel like popcorn now at the movie theater is like $29.99 or something like that.
But yeah, so that was a bummer, but the movie was good. Well, let's go to the phone lines. And if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, feel free to give us a call or leave us a voicemail at 833-THE-CORE. Sam is on the line calling in from Oregon. Sam, what's your question for Pastor Adrian?
Hi, guys. Thank you for taking my question. My pastor recently preached a sermon on Ephesians 2-10, which says we were created in Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. I'm just wondering what good works are we supposed to be doing? I don't feel like I actually do that much as a Christian in my daily walk. Thank you.
Yeah. Let me just read the verse again. Ephesians 2-10, for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. So an interesting thing to distinguish here is earlier Paul had said very clearly that we're not saved by works, and so it's helpful to distinguish here. We're not saved by works, but we're saved for good works. That is, so that we might do good things, serve the Lord. Now, in terms of defining good works, I think that's a really important question.
The answer to that question quite simply is this. Good works are those works that are done through faith in Jesus Christ in obedience to God's law with the proper intentions. We're doing this for the glory of God, not for our own glory, not to bring attention to ourselves. And really the key there is these things are done in accordance with the law of God. Now, the law of God being summarized in the statement that Jesus gives in the Gospels, that we love God with all of our hearts and that we love our neighbor as ourselves, that is the fulfillment of the law.
And so that's what we're called to. We're called to love God and to love our neighbors. Here, one of the things that's so interesting is Paul is highlighting the fact that God is giving us these opportunities. It's almost as if he's paving the way for us to be able to walk in these good works, in obedience to his law, for loving each other and loving him. It's helpful also to focus on the law there because a lot of times people will sort of invent their own kinds of good works, things that have nothing to do with what God has revealed in his word.
And then we can get really self-righteous about the rules that we keep that aren't necessarily a part of God's word, what God has said in scripture. In fact, we were just talking, Bill and I, about that movie, The Jesus Revolution. And I remember one time years ago hearing an interview with Chuck Smith where he was talking about how he was a part of a church early on that basically said, if you go to the cinema, you're sinning. Going to the movie theater is a sin. And if you did that, I mean, you could maybe lose your salvation, that sort of a thing. Well, is it a good work to not go to the movies?
I mean, I guess it depends on the movie that you're going to see. But that's not something that the scripture says. The Bible doesn't forbid you from going to the theater or something like that. And so when we kind of create our own good works and then live in accordance with those and have this sort of self-righteous attitude, it's a big problem. And so looking at the law of God, it's those works that are done through faith in Jesus Christ in obedience to God's word with the desire to glorify the Lord. That's what good works are.
And let me just say one more thing, Sam. I think that this is really important because many of us, and you just sort of said it, we look at ourselves, we look at our lives and we think, I feel like I don't do a lot of good works. And I feel like even the good things that I do are not that good.
Well, here's the thing. And this is another distinction that theologians have made that I think is really helpful here. As believers in Jesus Christ, we can do, by the grace of God, we can do truly good works that are honoring to God. We can't be saved by these good works. We're not justified by these good works, but they're done in response to the grace that God has given to us. They're glorifying to the Lord. We can do truly good works, but none of us can do perfectly good works, at least not right now, while we still have indwelling sin and the struggles with the flesh that we have. And so we can, you can do truly good works through the grace of God, but none of our good works are going to be perfect.
They're still tainted by our own sin, by that selfishness that clings to us. You do something good and immediately you think, who saw that? Did anybody see that?
Did anybody notice that? And it's sort of like, man, I don't want to feel that way. I don't want to think that way. But we do as sinful human beings. And so we submit all of that to the Lord, recognizing that it's through Christ and by faith that our imperfect good works are accepted by God and are pleasing to him. God bless you and God help all of us to live lives devoted to good works.
Again, not in order to be saved, but as a result of what God has done for us in Christ to save us already. God bless. Amen.
You know, my wife and I were struggling as we were writing our family Christmas card this past year because we've been involved in a in our church to Ukrainian refugees. And we wanted to mention that. But then at the same time, we're thinking we mentioned that. Is that like mentioning one of our good works?
Yeah. Am I parading? You know, like Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, you know, when you when you do a good thing, you know, don't go around blowing the trumpet. Don't let your your left hand know what your right hand is doing. I think it would have been OK for you, Bill, to mention, you know, the ways that God is.
But you're right. You know, I think we look at our own hearts and ask ourselves, you know, OK, why do I want to share this information? I think sharing some of those things can really be honoring to the Lord. I mean, we're excited about the ways that God is moving and working in and through our families. And so that's that's a wonderful thing that we praise God for. And and so kudos to you, Bill. Well, thank you. I shouldn't have probably bragged about my son and daughter in that same letter. You just lost like you just lost like three jewels in your crown in heaven.
So better not say anything else. OK, this is core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And our mission here at the core is to answer those tough questions about the Bible and the Christian faith that our listeners have. But, you know, we can't do that without your support.
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Core Christianity dot com forward slash give again core Christianity dot com forward slash give. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core. You can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day. In fact, if you get a busy signal or your call goes right to our voicemail, free to feel free to leave your question there and tell us where you're calling from.
Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Dawn. What I want to know is if a soul enters an embryo at birth or if it enters an embryo right before birth, when it becomes a human being. In the time that it's as I go from the time that it's born until the time that it becomes a human, there's really nothing that it can do as a soul.
It just is growing. And so therefore there is no need for a soul until it's born. I know that souls skip around and they get in line and they wait for the next one to take charge. And I also wonder if it's true if the soul chooses the body in which it's going to enter. So I was wondering if you know or if there's anything in the Bible about when a soul enters the body.
Thank you. Okay, Dawn, thank you for that question. Now there are a couple of things that you said that you know that I don't think actually the Bible necessarily teaches. You mentioned one thing about sort of souls skipping around and choosing a body or jumping into them.
That's not something that the Bible teaches. I mean that may be something held by some people in some places, but I'm just saying that that's not what the Bible teaches with regard to the soul. There are some people in the history of the church, this would be a minority, but who have argued for what we might say is the pre-existence of the soul. There was an ancient church teacher named Origen, for example, he talked about this, the idea that the soul pre-exists the body.
But that was generally rejected by most of the church for a number of reasons. One, it's just there's nothing in the Bible to indicate that. And two, it also makes the human soul sort of accidental to the body. In other words, accidental to what it means to be a human person. We believe as persons created in the image of God that we're body and soul. That the body isn't just something added later that's not really who we are, but that we are bodily souls if you will.
I mean these are the constituent parts of what it means to be a human being. And so that idea of pre-existence was rejected. Now there are two views that Christians have held throughout the centuries with regard to the origin of the soul we might say. One view is known as traditionism. It's the idea that the soul was created or formed at the moment of procreation.
So this is something that's happening, sort of handed down genetically if you will through procreation through parents. And there were some Christians throughout the history of the church who held that view in particular. The other view referred to not as traditionism but creationism is the idea that the soul is created immediately by a supernatural act of God. Now those two views, the pre-existence view I think should just be rejected. Those other two views I think Christians have debated. My own personal take is a little bit closer to the creation view that God himself is the one who creates the soul through this supernatural act.
And I think the evidence for that view, I think there's evidence biblically. I think of what the psalmist said in Psalm 139. You formed my inward parts. You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works. My soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret. Intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance. In your book were written every one of them. The days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them.
Isn't that beautiful there? Psalm 139, a psalm of David, that was verses 13 through 16. But there, David being able to say, God, you knit me together. You formed me.
You created me. And I think that we could include the soul in that, that God is the one who creates the soul. And not to go on and on and on, but this is such an important thing, brothers and sisters, because today there are so many people who reject the reality of the soul. I think of, I think of, you know, secular atheists, humanists who, who basically say, look, there's nothing that distinguishes you from a chimpanzee or a piglet or a horse. I mean, we have more intelligence, maybe more power, but there's no special divine spark.
There's no soul. And when that's the case, if that's the reality, well, then there's nothing unique or special about human beings, about humanity. We don't have the dignity that God's word says that we have as image bearers of God, human beings made in God's image, body and soul. And so really, I think understanding, you know, the soul as the reality that there's more to us than meets the eye. There is also this spiritual component that's a part of who we are as persons that is who we are truly as persons. And it's one of the reasons why we believe that human beings should be given respect and dignity and care and protection and all of these things. I mean, it gets into, you know, the right to life and questions related to abortion and whatnot.
It gets into so many things. And so it really helps you to see how our theology and what we believe about God, about the creation of the soul, really has implications for everyday life and how we think about the world around us and how we treat each other. We don't just treat each other like cattle, like animals.
We treat each other as image bearers of almighty God. And I appreciate your question, Don. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to talk about this.
Great explanation. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life or maybe some doubts about the Christian faith, you can email us anytime.
Send your question to us at this email address. It's questions at core Christianity dot com. Here's an email from one of our listeners named Karen. She says, We're studying Galatians at church and we're in Chapter three. The sermon was great, but something just didn't sit right with me toward the end of the sermon because my pastor said this.
Those who put their faith in Jesus, that he gives us his righteousness and his Holy Spirit to live in us. It sounded like faith comes first before the Holy Spirit. My thought was we can't have true faith unless we've received the Holy Spirit or at best it's a simultaneous event. Aren't we spiritually dead before we're born again? If we're having faith in Jesus or really believing with our minds prior to the Holy Spirit coming to us, isn't that more of a work of the flesh?
It's an excellent question. It's sort of like the, you know, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Is it that faith comes first and then the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives or is it the Spirit of God working in us to create faith? Now, of course, we know from places like Ephesians Chapter two that faith is a gift from God. That even the faith that we have to believe is, it's not something that we produce in ourselves.
It's not natural to us. It's something that God works in us by the grace of his Holy Spirit. Here in Galatians 3, I think what the Apostle Paul is emphasizing is that it's not by the works of the law that the Galatian Church experienced the many blessings that they had experienced in their time as a church, but it was by hearing the gospel through faith. Though foolish Galatians, he says in verse one, who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.
Let me ask you only this. Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish having begun by the Spirit? Are you now being perfected by the flesh?
Did you suffer so many things in vain? If indeed it was in vain, does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by the works of the law or by hearing with faith? Just as Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. I don't think that the Apostle Paul here is thinking about necessarily the same question that you have in your mind. Is it that faith precedes regeneration and the work of the Holy Spirit? Is it that the Spirit works first and then we're regenerated and have faith?
That's a little bit more technical. I think all that the Apostle Paul is getting at here is you Galatians. God's Spirit has already been at work in and among you through the preached gospel hearing Christ crucified for you and the forgiveness of sins.
You've experienced the work of the Spirit in your community there already. Did that happen by hearing the gospel or did it happen by obeying the works of the law? Those rituals that these agitators, and that's who they were described as in the book of Galatians, a group of people who were agitating the church coming and saying, hey, if you really want to follow Jesus, you need to do these works of the laws.
You need to abide by these dietary restrictions. If you're a Gentile, you need to be circumcised. If you're a man, to fulfill the law of Moses. And Paul is just saying, wait a minute, hasn't the Spirit of God already been at work in and among you even before all of that?
Are you so foolish having experienced that now? Are you trying to go and get it some other way by obeying these commandments that have been set aside by the work of Jesus Christ, the fulfilling work of Jesus Christ? And so that's the focus of Galatians 3. Theologically, if we're taking a step back and we're talking about faith and regeneration, then yes, you're totally right. We would say that faith is itself the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, a gift that God gives to us.
And what that should do for us is humble us. It should cause us to say, Lord, salvation is all of grace. Thank you, Lord, for opening my blind eyes. Thank you, Lord, for raising me from the dead, as you say, right there alluding to, again, what Paul says in Ephesians chapter 2.
You were dead in trespasses and sins, but he made you alive together with Christ. Hey, thank you so much for reaching out to us with that question. May God bless you and may God bless your pastor as he continues to preach through the book of Galatians. Thanks for that response, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
We do have a YouTube channel, and you can send us your questions through YouTube anytime and actually watch Adriel live in the studio on our YouTube channel. Here's a question from one of our YouTube viewers named Jerome. He says, This question comes from my seven-year-old daughter. Who was the first sinner, Adam or Satan? Jerome, I love that your seven-year-old daughter is thinking theologically about these questions. I think if we're talking in terms of time, we could say that Satan was the first sinner. Sin was found in him, and that had to have been prior to the sin of Adam in the garden. But typically, when we talk about the first sinner, we talk about Adam being the first sinner, if you will. Adam and Eve, they're in the garden. Why do we talk in that way? Well, it's because Adam was the representative head of mankind, and when he fell, we fell in him and with him. It's a doctrine of original sin. And so, Satan first, but Adam as well. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
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