How does God respond to suicide? 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. And we do get some challenging questions, as you can tell.
You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Now, for our radio listeners, you can't see this, but we have a whole new color scheme in the CORE studio. If you go to our YouTube channel right now and check out Adriel on YouTube, you will see.
Can you kind of give us a little tour there, Adriel? Yeah, so we have some orange, and also, I don't even know what that color is, teal? Mauve.
Mauve, yeah. But it looks a lot nicer than it did before, because before it was just sort of gray and brown. Hopefully this, you know, livens, yeah, my producer's looking, he's saying it's making the room pop more. I always thought that just, I did that enough, but they keep telling me that we need to add some things to make it look better in there. And so, yeah, I think it looks great. These are the official CORE colors, I understand. They match the website, so if you go to CORE Christianity, I mean, it looks like we just took it straight from the website, and it does look sharp. Now, I don't have anything to do with decorating in here, just in case you guys are wondering.
I don't have any actual, I mean, if you go to my house, you know that I don't have any skills for decoration. But the team here, they know how to put books together, and plants, and just cool things. Maybe they should start dressing you, put you in like a teal shirt or something.
Yeah, well they do, Bill. I didn't want to say anything about that, but there's a whole wardrobe team, and makeup as well. No, just kidding. That's one thing I can do for myself.
Not my makeup, but dressing myself, so I don't do makeup. You are definitely a sharp-dressed man, I must say that. That's right. On to the questions, Bill. Let's give them the phone number and get the show on the road. We gave them the phone number, but I'll give it again. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.
Hey, it's a holiday weekend, so we can have a little levity today. That's right. Let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners. This is from Matthew. My question is, I have a friend who used to be in the military and lived a life of adultery and alcoholism, and he's put that life behind him after he found Christ. I guess the question would be, he wants to put that life behind him. He doesn't want to keep bringing it up, but he feels like he should tell his wife things that he did in the past. He feels like he's doomed to hell if he doesn't tell his wife.
I just wanted to hear your thoughts. Thanks. Yeah, well, I'm sorry to hear about that. First of all, obviously, it sounds like this is a real tense situation for your friend, and there's a lot of guilt and shame that he carries. It sounds like he also feels like he's betrayed his wife. You said this was in the past.
I don't know, were they married during this season? Was this something before he was a Christian, and then he came to faith, and then ended up getting married, but this is still something that haunts him? I would say, for conscience sake, if it's something that was a part of his life prior to being a Christian, and he and his wife didn't know each other, they weren't married at that time, I think just for conscience sake, being able to bring it up and say, look, this is something that's really weighed on me, and I still experience a lot of guilt and shame, and I just want to talk about it.
Obviously, not getting into the details, I think that that's not helpful, and that can create some more pain and hurt, but if he's able to have a conversation and say, this is a part of my story. This is a part of what Christ brought me out of, and that still affects me today. Of course, I would also want to add, he needs to understand that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, he is forgiven. We can still experience regret, remorse over sins that we did in the past, but we think back to those things, and we say, Lord, I'm so sorry.
I can't believe how I was living. Then ultimately, we turn that around and say, God, thank you. Thank you, Lord, for rescuing me from the pit that I was in, but again, I think just for the sake of his conscience and peace and wanting to be transparent, I think that it's okay that he could have a conversation and ought to, and see how that doesn't maybe help to lift some of the burden for him. Now, if this was something that took place while they were married, then I would say even more so. There needs to be that transparency, because if he feels like I was doing these things and I stopped, but we were married, that could be why there's some of that guilt still lingering heavily, because he hasn't been honest with his wife.
I would say, again, I've had conversations with people about this, and they just say, I don't know how I could be honest. I've done this thing, and I'm just so afraid of losing my marriage if I'm honest, if I confess to this affair that I've had. Can't I just confess to God and just sort of brush it under the rug, but it just doesn't work that way. Oftentimes, there's still that sense of dishonesty and concealing, hiding, because you are, truly, and so we ought to confess our sins to each other so that we might experience that healing and that comfort that comes from the Lord. James talks about that in James 5, but the one text I wanted to bring up, one of the great promises that God gives to us in the New Covenant, when we think about the forgiveness of sins, this is the promise of the New Covenant quoted in the book of Hebrews, Hebrews 8.
The author of the Hebrews is quoting from the prophet Jeremiah, and in verse 12, he says, God says, I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. What an amazing promise there that we have in Christ and through the gospel that God says, I'm going to forget your sins, and it's so easy for us to bring them up again and to feel that guilt and that shame, but when we confess our sins to the Lord, we have this wonderful promise. Part of the way forward, I think, fundamentally is grasping that great gospel promise that frees us, to be honest, because it isn't hopeless. There's a place where we can go as sinners to deal with our sins, and it's the cross. Other people outside of the church who don't have the gospel, oftentimes, this is such a part of the world that we live in where you have to conceal and hide and pretend that you're better than you are because there's no place to deal with our sins, and so we have to find ways to justify them or to conceal them or to minimize them.
We have all of these strategies. We have the gospel as Christians. We have the promise of the gospel that God forgives our sins through Christ and that he doesn't remember them anymore, so we can confess our sins and receive his grace and mercy and continue to live in communion with each other as sinners saved by the grace of God. So may the Lord be with you and be with your friend, and I would just encourage you to really bear that great promise of the gospel for your friend and then encourage your friend in light of that and through that great promise that he has in Christ, to be honest. Again, it doesn't mean you have to get into all the details, but just to be able to say, this is a part of what the Lord saved me out of, and it's something I wrestle with and I want you to know about it so you can pray for me and because it's something that weighs upon my conscience, but just recognizing that there's grace and forgiveness and that the Lord brings healing in circumstances like these, and so God bless and thank you for that question.
Some good counsel. Thanks for that, 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. Maybe there's something going on in your Christian walk that's a concern to you, or maybe something happening at your church you could use some clarification on.
We are open to your questions, and I want to mention, too, if you happen to stumble across this program and you consider yourself to be an agnostic or an atheist and you have real doubts about the Christian faith or believe it's completely untrue, hey, we're happy to talk to you as well. Just the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can call us right now for the next 15 minutes or so. We'd love to hear from you.
We also receive emails here at The Core, and here's one that came in from a caller, a listener named Richard. Richard says, There are several family members that I care deeply about who are Roman Catholic. I don't know whether I should be concerned about their differing views about salvation. I've attended many Roman Catholic masses, and I've never heard a representation of the biblical gospel message. When I've tried to address this with them and ask how they think we can be made right with God, I usually get an explanation about following the sacramental practices and regular church attendance. Faith in Christ and his finished work on the cross is never part of their explanation. I worry about the message they seem to be getting through their church's teachings, but I'm met with resistance when I try to discuss this matter further with them.
Am I wrong about my concerns, and do following the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church lead to salvation in Christ? Richard, thank you for that question. You know, it's interesting, Bill. We've been receiving quite a few Roman Catholic questions in the last month or so, I want to say. We actually got some interaction on YouTube with a number of those questions.
But Richard, my heart goes out to you. I love that you are desirous of having these conversations about Jesus and the gospel with your friends and with your family members in particular. And of course, the hope is that they would be totally open to that, right? That even as Roman Catholics confessing faith in the Holy Trinity, in Jesus Christ, that there would be that desire to say, okay, let's reason together. What does the Bible say about salvation, about what the gospel is, the good news that we see throughout scripture, the good news of Jesus?
I think you are right to be concerned for a couple of reasons. One, we do want to make sure, it ought to be that the central thing that we're getting in our churches is the gospel of the forgiveness of sins. And if people can go to church week in and week out and not understand that, if you say, okay, how do you have a right relationship with God, or how can you know that you are in union with Christ and that your sins are forgiven and that you're going to go to heaven, they have the hope of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come, if the answer is, well, I don't know, I think I go to church a lot and I follow these rules, that's not the answer that you want to hear. And I think that's the answer that the New Testament gives to us at the center of what happens when we gather together as believers for worship ought to be the message of the cross. The apostle Paul, when he's writing to the Corinthians, says, when I was with you guys, I purposed not to know anything except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
When he writes to the Galatians, he says, I placarded Christ crucified before you for everyone to see. Central to the apostolic testimony is the message of the cross and its significance. And so if the people in our churches don't understand that, then there's something really wrong. If we've missed the apostolic message in that regard, the foolishness of the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, then we ought to ask questions, certainly. And there are some fundamental differences between the theology of the Roman Catholic Church and the theology of the Protestant Reformers. And at the heart of those differences are things related to the doctrine of justification and salvation by grace through faith alone. It's not my job, personally, to say, okay, they're in that church, so they're saved and going to heaven, or they're going to this church, so they're not saved and going to heaven. We're saved by Jesus Christ.
Even when we have a poor understanding of how salvation works, Jesus, by his grace, is still able to save people even who are confused about the doctrine of salvation. So we praise God for that, but that doesn't mean we should just be okay with that. I think we want to strive to be faithful to the scriptures in all things and to dig into them. And so, Richard, what I would say to you is continue to have these conversations and to open up the scriptures and to talk about who Christ is and what Christ has done and get to the heart of the gospel message. That's what we should be getting at every time we gather for church. That's certainly what should be central in our evangelism and in our preaching. And so oftentimes, that is what's pushed to the side, and it's what needs to be recovered. I mean, it's frankly what the Protestant Reformers were seeking to recover in the medieval church, and so we need to continue to recover that message even today, and not just in the Roman Catholic Church, but I would even say in so many Protestant churches as well. That message has been brushed under the rug for something else, for a gimmick, for moralism, for politics, for all sorts of other things. We all need to recover that gospel message.
So well said. Thanks for that, 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, doctrine, theology, maybe some differences that you have with someone that you know who has a different view of Christianity. Feel free to give us a call right now. 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Candy calling in from Tennessee. Candy, what's your question for Adriel?
Hi, thank you for taking my call. My question is this. As a Christian who truly loves to study the Word of God, and I just can't get enough of it, I do preset Bible studies, I'm really trying to learn as much as I can. I have some family members that say they're Christians, but they never study the Word. They give excuses that they can't understand it, that it doesn't make a lot of sense when they read it, and so forth and so on. And I just wonder, I've always thought that if you really love Jesus and you want to know Him, you're going to want to study His Word.
You're going to want to know what He says. And so, if someone says they're a Christian and they believe in God and they love God, but they never study the Word and they have no idea what the Bible says, I know, and I just heard you talk on the last question about that. You can't really say who is a Christian and who is not, but we know by their fruits, and if they're not bearing much fruit and just saying that they love God, but yet they don't ever open the Word or anything like that, how do we approach them? How do we know?
Can we be confident that their faith is true? Hey, Candy, excellent question. I get the frustration. You're absolutely right. It's one thing to say, I love God, but that actually looks like something. We believe that we're justified by grace through faith and that the same God who justifies us also sanctifies us, and that looks like something in our day-to-day lives.
Now, of course, none of us are perfect, and none of us desire the Word like we should, frankly. I mean, that's a sad reality, but when you come across someone, and there are so many people like that, aren't there, when we come across someone who says, yeah, I'm a Christian, and I go to church sometimes, have zero interest, though, really, in God, in His Word, in seeking to follow Jesus tangibly in my life and turning from my sins, that does raise a lot of concern, and I think that it should, because there is such a thing as sort of nominal religion, right, just religion in name only. And that nominal religion, or what we sometimes call a historical faith, right, I believe in Jesus sort of like I believed in Abraham, or I believe in Abraham Lincoln, or the fact that gravity is real, it doesn't have any personal component for me. Well, that faith doesn't save anyone. That faith that lacks a vital trust in Jesus Christ, I mean, that's of the essence of what faith is, and so I think that there are a lot of people out there who have this kind of historical faith, who profess faith in Christ. Maybe they said a prayer when they were younger, but they've really never turned to the Lord and aren't actually trusting in Him, and so how do we deal with this?
So a couple of things. One, I think we do want to avoid the sort of, it's easy for us as Christians to get into the habit of quote unquote fruit inspecting, you know, we're looking at everybody around us, and we're saying, oh, I don't think you're a Christian because you don't read the Bible the same way that I do, or you're not as excited about missions as I am. I mean, it may be that you just have a case of like immature believers, you know, and Paul writes to the Corinthians, for example, he says, you know, when I wrote to you guys, I wrote to you guys as babes, children in the flesh, because I look at you and you're jealous of each other, the way that you're living is clearly not in line with how Jesus is calling you to live, and so there is, I think, a real spiritual immaturity, and so there's just nominal religion, there's true faith in Christ, but spiritual immaturity, and not really grasping the riches that we have in Christ, and so not really being engaged with the church or with the Word, and I think for both of those, here's the way in which you talk about this, you address it, and sometimes it's fine to warn, certainly, right, you exhort and you say, hey, there's a discrepancy here, there's a serious discrepancy between what you say, I love God, and how you live, and I think that's, I mean, you see that in the New Testament, I think there are times where we're supposed to do that, and maybe that's what God is calling you to, there's also just, I mean, wanting to help people see, so not just the warning, but painting the positive vision, picture of the riches of God's mercy toward us in Christ, the glory that God has given to us as his children in order to call people to grow in the Word, it's like you have this great treasure before you, it's right there in front of you, but you're not willing to dig at all, and so there's a disconnect here, and I think you can, as you're having conversations with friends and family members, you can highlight that disconnect, and you ought to, I mean, we want to encourage each other, especially for those who are professing faith in Christ, if you see that they're walking totally contrary to Jesus, well, you're called to address that, we are, that's one of the ways we love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, I think this is actually what Paul is getting at in 1 Corinthians 5, when he talks about, he says there, if there's a so-called brother that's just flat out living in sin, don't eat with that person, why? Not because you hate them, but because you want them to see that there's this huge disconnect in their life that puts them in a spiritually precarious place, and so, Candi, you need wisdom here to determine, you know, is this spiritual immaturity, is this really, you know, just, they actually don't even believe in Jesus, and you don't have the ability to see that, you know, in terms of, you know, we don't have goggles that show us who's regenerated and who isn't, but you can paint a picture of the glorious mercy that God has given to us in Christ in order to draw people into the word, into that treasure that we have, and so may God help you to do that as you have these conversations. God bless.
Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you're a parent or grandparent with teenagers in the home, we want to tell you about a great resource that we're offering this week. Yeah, it's called How to Keep Your Faith After High School, and it's a short booklet written for those who are graduating to help ground them, really, in the truth and give them some wisdom, some advice for going off to college and how to maintain, I think, a healthy spiritual walk with the Lord. We see so many people sort of falling out of the church around that stage of life, and so we want to provide you with resources that are going to help you stay plugged in and help you continue to grow in your faith. Again, the resource is called How to Keep Your Faith After High School. And you can find it by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Well, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our callers.
This is Kathy. I would like to ask what God thinks about suicide and how he responds to it. I have a friend I'm ministering to that her husband took his life, and she's having a hard time dealing with it.
I just want to be equipped with God's Word to be able to really help her understand where Don is and how God feels about Don today. I appreciate your help. Appreciate you taking my call. Okay.
Kathy, I'm so sorry to hear this. Here's what I would say. Suicide, we believe, is a sin.
Now, there's the added component of mental health. And so this is a really complex thing, but nobody has the right to take their own life. I mean, this is something that we entrust to the Lord, and yet this does happen. And so the question is, well, you asked where is this individual?
Where is Don today? If this person is a believer, was a believer, I don't believe that suicide severs them from the grace of God or that it's the unpardonable sin. But it is a grievous thing. The Bible never paints a positive picture of this. I think in terms of ministering to your friend, coming alongside of her, because especially for her, there's going to be those feelings of guilt, those questions of could I have done more or should I have known more. And so it's really going to be ministering to her during this time and helping her to entrust the entire situation to the Lord. And so may God give you wisdom and be with you. Thanks. Together.
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