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Did God Create All Things, Even Diseases?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
April 25, 2023 1:25 pm

Did God Create All Things, Even Diseases?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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April 25, 2023 1:25 pm

Episode 1213 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

1. How can God reward our works but we can't earn salvation by works?

2. Did God create all things, even diseases?

3. How should I discuss alcohol in the Bible with my older children?

4. What does it mean to have saving faith?

5. Are there different levels of punishment in Hell for more grievous sins?

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Did God create all things, even diseases? 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 with your question at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Feel free to leave a voicemail if you get our answering service, and you can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts, and email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com.

First up, let's go to Steve who is calling in from Kansas. Steve, what's your question for Adriel? Yeah, I am curious, and I need some help in running through some of the scripture that we found in a men's group tonight, this morning, in Psalms. This is Psalm 18, and this is in verse 20, and it says that the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness.

He has repaid me. It goes on to say that I have kept all his ordinances, and I also found one in 17, in 17-3, where he has tried me and found me nothing evil. I have determined that my mouth will not sin. It seems to be kind of contrary to the knowledge that we all have in the Christian circle, that we have all sinned, and that we're not saved by our righteousness. I'm just wondering if the Psalm itself needs to be grabbed with a different type of filter. This is a great question, and of course, these are Psalm 17, a prayer of David, Psalm 18, a psalm of David, the servant of the Lord who addressed the words of this psalm to the Lord on the day when the Lord rescued him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul, he said. That's the introduction to Psalm 18.

I think that's significant with regard to your question. Of course, we know that David was not sinless, that David had his own serious issues with sin. That's why you have Psalm 51 as well. The psalmist also says in Psalm 130, if you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

God, if you were just keeping track of each and every, there's nobody. If it wasn't for your forgiveness, God, and your mercy, we would be toast. How do we make sense of this language that you see sometimes in the Psalms? You've tried my heart, and you have visited me by the night.

You have tested me, and you will find nothing. Or, verse 20 of chapter 18, what you brought up, the Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness. According to the cleanness of my hands, he rewarded me. In the context there, he's talking about being delivered from Saul.

He's on the run. Of course, what is Saul known for? Saul is known for not obeying the commandment of the Lord, disobeying the commandment of the Lord. That's one of the reasons why the Lord took the kingdom from Saul and gave it to David. The fact that this is the context here is just a little bit earlier in verse 17. David says, he rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of calamity, but the Lord was my support. David is appealing to his faithfulness, the fact that he's followed God, not just in seeking the Lord, but also in not retaliating against Saul when he had the opportunity to. Naturally, I think for us as Christians, we're not talking about works righteousness, but we do know, based on what the apostle Paul said, for example, in the book of Galatians, that whatever a person sows, that's what they're going to reap. That if we sow to our flesh corruption, that's what we're going to reap. I think that's in part one of the ways we can make sense of this, is David just saying, look, I've been faithful to you, Lord. I've followed you. I'm not retaliating against Saul, and you're protecting me.

You've delivered me as I've sought you. But it certainly doesn't mean that he's sinless or that he, by his own righteousness, merited God's salvation or something like that. No, not at all, because we know that David, like each and every one of us, was desperately in need of the mercy of God. I mean, he committed some pretty heinous sins. And so if it wasn't for the grace of God, again, Psalm 130, who, O Lord, could stand? And so that's how I believe we make sense of some of those things that we see in the Psalms there in Psalm 17 and in Psalm 18 as well.

Just a follow-up question for you, Adriel, on that same topic. We have this prevailing attitude in our culture today that, hey, I'm a good person. I'm better than the next person. Why would anybody say that I'm sinning? How do we respond to the secular view that, again, many Americans share right now, that I'm just basically good, and because I'm a pretty good person, I'm going to make it to heaven?

Yeah, I mean, typically what you have there is two things, or one of two things. One, you either have the exaltation of self, right? We view ourselves as more holy and righteous than we really are. And then we also have the minimizing of God's holy standard, his law. We don't realize exactly what the law of God calls us to. It doesn't just call us to not do bad things. Some people think, well, I've never murdered another person.

I didn't ever cheat on my wife. Of course, Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount says, if you look at a woman to lust for her, you've already committed adultery. So we're talking about God's law extending to the very heart, our motives, even the secret things that we do.

And I think when you factor that in, people realize or ought to realize I'm actually not as good as I thought I was. And that's precisely, I think, one of the things that Jesus is doing in the Sermon on the Mount is highlighting that so that people flee to the grace of God. And so how do we respond? I would say that we preach the law of God in all its fullness, driving people to Christ, helping them to realize, hey, you're not as good as you thought you were, and God's holy standard is way higher than you thought it was, but here's the good news. It's not that you've kept it, and it's not that it's keepable, if you will, for sinful human beings.

It's that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, was sent into the world, and he was perfectly obedient to God's righteous standards so that by faith in his name, you can be justified, you can experience the forgiveness of all your sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that as a child of God, you're freed to follow the Lord and to obey his law, his law of love, imperfectly as we do, but by the grace of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law, not to be saved, but as those who have already been adopted into the family of God. Really well said. Thank you for that. That truly is the gospel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez, and if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can call us 24 hours a day, leave a voicemail on our voicemail system. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. I want to tell you about a great book that we've been offering. It's called The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. Yes, this is an excellent story and apologetics book.

I say story because Strobel is tracing his journey into the Christian faith. Here's a guy who didn't always believe in the Bible, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and he set out to do research to study these things and to look for the evidence and came out realizing, well, there's good reason to embrace this as the truth. And so if you've been questioning these things, if you're wrestling with this, I think that this story, The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, this case, this apologetic case, will be really helpful to you in your faith. And so get a hold of this resource by going over to corechristianity.com. We know it will help you, especially when you get those difficult questions from maybe friends or relatives or co-workers who consider themselves atheists or agnostics and really challenge your Christian views. This book will answer many of those questions. Again, it's called The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel.

You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core. And here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Vincent. My question is, did God created all things, including diseases?

Short and to the point. I like it, Vincent, but honestly a really good question and an important one. The first thing that I'll say that I think we ought to say as Christians is death and disease were not a part of God's creation. Originally, when God created the world, he looked at everything that he made and said, look, this is good.

This is very good. And so how do death and disease factor in? Well, I would say that that's the result of sin and sin's entrance into the world. Romans chapter 5 verse 12 and what follows, therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin. And so death spread to all men because all sinned for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given.

They're speaking of the law of Moses, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one Jesus who was to come. And so I think I think first we want to say, I know this is not how God created the world.

We look at the sickness around us, the poverty, the death, the pain, the war. This was not a part of the original creation, the creation that was good. This is the result of sin having entered into the world. But we need to realize that God is sovereign over disease. You think about what God said to Moses in Exodus chapter 4, where he's saying, God, you're calling me to be a spokesperson for you, but I'm not really a good speaker. And the Lord said, Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf or seeing or blind?

Is it not I, the Lord? And so while this was not a part of the death, disease, sickness, not a part of the original creation, God is still sovereign over it. Sometimes actually in the Bible, disease is a temporal judgment that God brings upon people who are rebelling against him. You think of Numbers chapter 12, where God gave Miriam leprosy because of her sin. Paul in the New Testament writing to the Corinthian church said that some people there in Corinth were sick with some illness because they were not coming to the Lord's table in faith and in repentance. But we ought to be careful there as well, because while sometimes it can be a temporal judgment, as scripture indicates, sometimes it clearly isn't.

It's just a part of the fact that we live in this fallen and broken world. And so we bring those things to the Lord, trusting in him and ultimately recognizing that through Christ and through the resurrection of Christ from the dead, this whole world, the whole physical world, is going to be restored. Paul talks about this in Romans chapter 8, the creation longing for the revealing of the sons of God. He's looking forward to a new heavens and new earth where righteousness, not sin, where righteousness dwells. And that's the hope that we have, that the disease that we see that's rampant everywhere will one day be fully eradicated through Jesus Christ. Thank you for that question, Vincent.

Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to receive your emails if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology.

You can email us anytime at questions at corechristianity.com. Here's an email from one of our listeners named Grant, and he says, I frequently have debates with my stepchildren about alcohol in the Bible, specifically when Jesus turned water into wine. My wife and I enjoy wine or craft beer in restaurants or at home with meals. I no longer drink in excess, but my children believe that any alcohol will get you drunk. My stepdaughter believes that the wine that Jesus made at the wedding was simply grape juice. I believe this makes no sense, as it's referred to as wine, the finest wine. Any time I've seen wine discussed biblically, you're commanded not to drink in excess.

Three of my children and my son's wife are seriously offended by any alcohol in my home or when we order a glass of wine. I'm not sure how to handle this anymore. Okay.

Well, a couple of things, Grant. I think that you're right in your assessment of the Bible's teaching on this matter. I don't think that in John 2, when Jesus turned water into wine, that he turned it into grape juice or something like that. No, it was wine.

I mean, this is a wedding party. And scripture talks about wine in the context of joy, in the context of feasting, in the context of a party. Now, of course, the Bible also has some strong warnings against drunkenness, against being controlled by wine as an individual.

And so we have to heed those warnings. But on the basis of scripture, there's nothing inherently wrong or evil with alcohol. It's like so many things.

It's how it's used and abused. If it's not received as a gift, a gift of celebration, a gift, a picture, really, of the kingdom of God. You think of Isaiah chapter 25, where Isaiah pictures the kingdom of God as this great feast with well-aged wine and steak and delicious food.

You think of a wedding party. It's a picture of the kingdom, this gift. But when we take that gift and abuse it and misuse it, well, that's when we have a problem. But I don't think that the solution is just to say, well, it's just evil.

It's just bad. Now, in terms of engaging with your family on this, because I think that this is a matter of Christian liberty, the apostle Paul does speak to how we want to approach this with other believers who maybe this is more of a sensitive issue for them. And he says, look, if what I'm doing causes my brother or sister to stumble, I just won't do it. If it really is a genuine cause for offense for them because their conscience is so sensitive, they don't understand the scriptures in the same way that I do, I want to be sensitive to that. And I want to make sure that I'm not doing things just to sort of stick it in their face and offend them, causing them to stumble. Especially, I would say, when it comes to those who struggle with alcoholism. We can talk about Christian liberty and the fact that we have freedom in Christ to enjoy a glass of wine or a craft beer or something like that, as you mentioned. But when Christians sort of stick that in the face of people who really struggle with the abuse of alcohol, we're walking on dangerous ground.

We're no longer being charitable. And we're potentially putting a stumbling block before our brother and sister, and God warns us against that. And so I would say just being charitable and gracious with your kids, maybe continuing to have this conversation, to search the scriptures, to think about maybe having a more mature view about this, understanding temperance and so on and so forth and what the Bible calls us to. And in time, maybe there's more of an openness.

I've seen that. But at the end of the day, you wouldn't want this to be an issue that divides you guys at all. And so may God give you wisdom and bless you, Grant, there in your family. And I hope that you and the kids can have some good conversations about this in the days to come, centered on scripture and Christian liberty as well. Thank you and God bless.

Great balanced response to that question. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go to Jenna, who's calling in from Florida. Jenna, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, I just wanted to know what it means to have saving faith.

I've heard the phrase a lot and I just don't know what it actually means. So what would also non-saving faith look like? Yeah, that's such a good question. I think something that a lot of our listeners really wrestle with, Jenna, because people want to know, you know, how can I know for sure that I believe that I have saving faith? Well, there are three components, I would say, to faith. And there are many who have seen this faith. There's knowledge that's involved, right? You're coming to an understanding about something. In this case, the gospel, the identity of Jesus Christ.

There's a sense that's given, you know, embracing that. But most importantly, there's the element of trust, personal trust, placing our trust in Jesus, in this truth. It's not just sort of merely, you know, nodding our head to, oh yeah, I think Jesus died and rose again, but that doesn't really mean anything for me personally.

I'm not personally trusting in him. Sometimes that's referred to as a historical faith. You know, you believe in Jesus like you believe that Abraham Lincoln existed or something like that. No, we're called by faith to lay hold of Jesus, to place our trust in him. And so that component there of trusting in Christ, that's at the heart of what faith is. And it's also helpful to recognize that faith is not a work. It's not like the perfection of your faith or how strong your faith is.

That's what saves you. Faith has to be sincere, I think, true faith. But even sincere faith can struggle with doubts and be weak. And it's not the strength of your faith that saves you.

It's the one in whom you are believing, the object of your faith. Who are you trusting in? If I get in an airplane, I can have a lot of doubts about it. In fact, I do oftentimes, you know, when I fly, you know, I'm always thinking, okay, please no turbulence. You can have doubts. And yet, despite those doubts, because you're safe and in the airplane, you're going to get to the destination.

Your doubts don't bring the plane down. And it's similar, I think, with trusting in Christ, the object of our faith. Sometimes we can have doubts, we can struggle, we can feel like my faith is weak. But if we are in Christ, he's going to bring us home. He's going to take us to our destination. And even with our struggles, even with the questions that we have, trusting in him, we have great hope even when we feel very weak. And so it's having that knowledge, the assent, trust in Jesus, the object of our faith, resting in him, receiving him, and enjoying the benefits that he gives to us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks, Janet, for that question. Just to follow up for you, Adriel, how would you respond to—there are Christian leaders, there's a lot of stuff online about if you had enough faith, you wouldn't sin. If you had enough faith, you wouldn't be sick. If you had enough faith, you wouldn't have had this divorce happen, whatever it might be.

What's your response to that? I mean, that can be so devastating. And it is so devastating for so many because there's bad theology that's at the core of it. Sometimes the idea that all sickness, for example—I've heard some Christian leaders say this— well, if you're really a believer, you shouldn't be wrestling with it. There must be some hidden sin in your life, and that's why you're sick or struggling with this. And if you just had more faith, then you wouldn't have these problems with physical health, or you wouldn't have these problems with financial health. It's the lie of the prosperity gospel that so many people get caught up in, and it's just not at all what we see in the New Testament. You think about the apostles of our Lord Jesus, people who had this great love for Christ and great faith in Christ and yet who suffered immensely, immensely. And yet Paul can say, you know, I've learned to be content in all circumstances.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And so, look, if you're in a church where the pastor is telling you, you know, the reason why you have cancer, the reason why you're struggling financially is just because you're not praying hard enough or you don't have enough faith, that should raise some red flags for you. Now, sometimes, you know, we can bring in the element of wisdom and thinking through, you know, what is the root cause of some of these things.

I think that that's totally fine. But any theology that says if you're a Christian, you're going to be healthy and wealthy and all of those things, that's just not what you see in the Bible. And so we've got to be really discerning there, Bill. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Here's an email that came in from one of our listeners named Evelyn. She says, are there different levels of punishment for those who go to hell? For instance, someone who stole a pencil from work versus someone who killed a human being?

Yeah, thank you for that question and interesting examples that you brought up there. I would say, yes, there are severe judgments for some people in some groups. I mean, Jesus, when he's pronouncing woes on the unrepentant city says, woe to you, Tyron Sidon, it's going to be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than it is for you. In other words, you know, it's going to be more severe for you than it was for them.

Why? Because you had me preaching in your streets. Had they had that, Jesus says, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes. Jesus says that those who have more knowledge, who know more, are held to a higher degree of accountability. This is what James says with regard to teachers in the church.

Let not many of you become teachers, my brothers, James 3, verse 1, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment. And so we don't know exactly how that's going to look entirely, but we do know that God is perfectly just. And so it's not that, you know, you stole a pencil and, well, that's stealing, so you're going to hell, and this other person killed someone, and so it's going to be the exact same in terms of the judgment. No, God is perfectly just, and so I think there is going to be differentiation. But again, exactly what that looks like and how that is, I mean, we're trusting in God and in his faithfulness. And we recognize at the end of the day that because God is perfectly just, we all have sinned and fallen short of his glory. Each of us need his grace, whether you've stolen a pencil or done far worse, and that grace is there for you to take, to receive through Jesus Christ and his work on your behalf. And so trust in him, rest in him, and receive him. Together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-25 14:17:01 / 2023-04-25 14:26:53 / 10

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