Should we pray for God to bring curses on our enemies? 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 at 833-THE-CORE. So feel free to call us now at 1-833-843-2673. Now, you can also post your question on one of our social media sites. In fact, we have a YouTube channel, so you can watch Adriel live in the studio right now and send him a message, your question that way through YouTube, or feel free to email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Well, first up today, let's go to a voicemail from one of our listeners named MJ.
Hi, Pastor Adriel. I just had a question about marriage. I heard you say in an earlier podcast that in the Bible, adultery can dissolve the marriage covenant. But my understanding was that till death do you part, that the only thing that really can dissolve the marriage covenant, especially if you're a Roman Catholic, is A, you get divorced, then you seek an annulment, or B, one of the spouses passes, and then the other is free to marry. I'm asking because in my case, my husband and I did get divorced. Adultery was one of the factors. And we lived apart for a year after the divorce, and but we've since reconciled, and we're back living together. But neither of us has any desire to renew the legal part. But we figure, well, you know, in the eyes of God, we're still married anyway. So do we even need to take that additional step? That's my question.
MJ, thank you for that question. Now, of course, when there's a situation of adultery within a marriage, that doesn't necessarily mean that the marriage covenant is dissolved. There can be that reconciliation, that forgiveness, and I'm grateful to hear that there has been a coming back together for you and for your husband. So you know, when a Christian spouse has been cheated on, it's not like they have to get a divorce. But it does seem to me like in the Gospels, that adultery is one of the things that can dissolve the marriage covenant on the basis of a number of places in the Gospels. In particular, Jesus's words in Matthew chapter five, the Sermon on the Mount, he says in verse 31, it was also said, whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Why? Now, why would that be the case, except on the grounds of sexual immorality? Well, the assumption there is that you're still married, unless there has been that adultery, which can, I think, dissolve a marriage.
Also, you have the words of Jesus later in Matthew, in Matthew chapter 19, where he's confronted by the Pharisees. They came to him and tested him by asking, is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause? And of course, at that time, there were various traditions among the Jews pretending to know what kinds of things opened the door for a legitimate divorce. And there were some who had really loose views, as far as that was concerned.
And there are many in our culture who have very loose views in terms of, I'm no longer interested in this person, so we should get a divorce. Well, that's not what God says at all. And Jesus answered, Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. They said this to him, Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to send her away? And he said to them, Because of your hardness of heart, Moses allowed you to divorce your wives.
But from the beginning, it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery. And so there you have the mention of adultery or sexual immorality in the marriage, again, being something that could legitimately dissolve the marriage covenant. Now, you and your husband got a divorce as a result of the adultery. Now you're back together, but not legally married, it sounds like. Well, why go through all the steps of being legally married?
I would encourage it because marriage is more than just a personal promise before God. It doesn't involve that, but it's also legally binding. You think of it as a covenant. You know, sometimes when we talk about that word covenant, we don't define it.
But in scripture, it's used over and over again. And you think of it as this sort of contractual binding relationship. God enters into covenants with his people. We're members of the new covenant in Jesus Christ, really a wonderful thing. And marriage involves more than just feelings at any given moment. It is this contractual promise, this pledge that two people enter into before God.
And before the world. And so my encouragement would be one, you know, I'm grateful to hear that there has been reconciliation, that God has done a work in your life. It sounds like that the Lord has brought healing. And that is a wonderful thing.
I would say go through with the steps to making sure that you guys, you know, before the state as well, right, are married. Because I think that's an important part of it. And so appreciate your question. I know that there are different churches that have different theologies, you know, related to marriage and divorce in the Roman Catholic Church, you know, being one of them.
But I would just on the basis of Jesus's words there in Matthew five, and then also in Matthew 19, seems to me that that while it doesn't necessitate a divorce, adultery can legitimately dissolve a marriage. Thank you for your question. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, maybe some type of doctrinal belief at your church that you're struggling with, or maybe a Bible passage that's always kind of confused you. Feel free to give us a call right now. Our phone lines are wide open. The number is 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Dave, who's calling in from Oklahoma. Dave, what's your question for Adriel? Hey, Dave, are you there? Can you hear me?
Hey, I can hear you now. How are you doing, Dave? I'm good. How are you? I'm doing well.
What's your question? I just want to get your thoughts on being rebaptized. Being rebaptized, so for an individual who's been baptized and now they feel like, you know, I didn't really mean it the first time kind of a thing, or can you be more specific?
Yeah, pretty much what you just said. Okay. It wasn't living right when they got baptized the first time. Okay.
Yeah, so a couple of things. I mean, at the heart of this question is what is baptism and what makes a baptism legitimate before God? Is baptism, first and foremost, something that is what it is because of how I feel and what I'm doing? I think in part, right, I mean, if you know that you were coming to the waters of baptism at some point and you had no real intention of being baptized and it was just all a farce, well then, yeah, I would say that wasn't a legitimate baptism. You need to actually be baptized for the first time. But at the heart of baptism is not our personal feelings first and foremost, but God's word and promise. Baptism is a picture of the gospel, the forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. And so it's something that's objective. We have to be careful that our theology of baptism doesn't make it so that baptism depends first and foremost on me, on the perfection of my faith or the amount of my faith or anything like that.
I think a lot of people have that view. And as a result, they think, oh man, I wasn't totally sincere. I thought I was sincere when I got baptized, but I don't know if I totally was. You know, I went through a season of backsliding after that and so I'm just not sure what should I do. And so then they go and get baptized and maybe they really feel like it sticks then, but then they go through another season of struggle and temptation with sin and then they wonder, was I really baptized? Was I truly saved? And so I think it can create problems when the power of baptism and the legitimacy of a baptism is rooted first and foremost on our personal piety.
It shouldn't be. It's rooted in God's word and promise. And so I would say to you, if the first time you went baptism, there was really no intention to be baptized.
I mean, it was all a show. And you know that. Well, then I would say, yeah, then you need to be baptized legitimately for the first time. If it was something where it was like, no, I really thought I believed and I trusted in Jesus, but then I've been struggling with sin.
Do I go and do this again? I would say, no, you've been baptized and that baptism was done in the name. I mean, if it was done in the name of the Father and of the Son of the Holy Spirit, the intention of being baptized, looking to Christ.
And I would say, then I would say, don't don't do that again. You've been baptized. Rest in the promise of the gospel and receive the benefits of your having been baptized that that clear exhibition of God's love and goodwill towards you. Lay hold of that by faith and may God bless you, David. I'm just grateful to hear that you that you are wanting to walk with the Lord and that you've seen areas of your life where this was not in alignment with what God calls me to. May God give you strength and wisdom and just all power to move forward as a follower of Jesus Christ. God bless. Dave, thanks so much for your call and for listening to Core Christianity. If you have a question for us about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, you name it, we would love to hear from you. Here's the number 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Kathy calling in from Missouri. Kathy, what's your question for Adriel?
Hi there. In 1 Samuel 16 verses 14 to 23, the Bible speaks about the Spirit of the Lord departing from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord tormenting him. How can an evil spirit come from God?
Yeah, heavy text. Let me just read the passage. 1 Samuel chapter 16, as you said, beginning in verse 14. Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. And Saul's servants said to him, Behold, now a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our Lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well. And so Saul said to his servants, Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.
And one of the young men answered, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him. First, why do you have this situation with Saul? Well, it's the result of Saul's sin, his repeated disobedience. This is leading to his torment, and God is allowing it. God is allowing this spirit to torment Saul. This is a judgment from God, and this isn't an isolated instance. God uses these kinds of things to call people to repentance. Let me just give you one example, Kathy, of something we see in the New Testament. This is in 1 Corinthians 5. Paul writing to the Corinthian church says, It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not even tolerated, even among the pagans.
For a man has his father's wife, and you are arrogant. Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. Then he says, For though absent in the body, I am present in spirit. And as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing, when you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus, and my spirit is present with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Okay, well, what is going on there? You have a situation where there's unrepentant sin within the church that the church has not dealt with there in Corinth. They haven't exercised church discipline, and Paul is rebuking them.
He's saying, What are you guys doing? You're letting this sin just sort of exist. Don't you know, right?
A little leaven leavens the whole lump. This is going to spread. You need to deal with this. And he says, Deliver this person over to Satan. Excommunicate him.
Why? For the destruction of the flesh. So that he might experience that torment that comes with being out of accord with God and his will. So that he might come to repentance. So that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. And so we see how God can use the evil one, this tormenting spirit, in one sense as a judgment, but in another sense also as a call to repentance in saying, You've sinned.
You need to come back. Things are not right. And in part, I mean, that's certainly what's happening there in 1 Corinthians 5, but I think you can look at that text in 1 Samuel chapter 16 as well and see that there. This judgment upon Saul because of his sin would that he repented. Thank you very much, Kathy, for that question.
Very interesting question. And of course, we read a lot about what Saul did prior to that and how, you know, why God judged him and certainly how David was a very different type of leader. And of course, he sinned in his own life. But wow, thanks so much for the clarification on that passage. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, feel free to give us a call right now.
We also have a YouTube channel that you can check out and you can send Adriel your question via YouTube. Here's a YouTube question from David. He says, Is there a difference between evangelical and fundamentalist? What does each of those mean?
Boy, I mean, this is an interesting question because I think it just depends on who you ask. And those words have been used in so many different ways, sometimes pejoratively, right? So maybe people outside of the church when they use that word evangelical has a very negative connotation maybe within the church. We tend to use it more positively, someone who, you know, maybe embraces the core tenets of the Christian faith. Fundamentalist, that often is used more pejoratively. So you think of maybe someone who's a little bit more rigid in their understanding of theology, maybe even to the extent of not grounding what they believe in and what the text actually says, but in certain traditions.
It just depends. Personally, I mean, so I will sometimes use that word evangelical to refer to Bible-believing Christians. I mean, really sort of a broad spectrum. I'm not too keen on the word fundamentalist.
I just think it has so much baggage associated with it. And, of course, there are going to be some who say, Well, so does the word evangelical. But I think especially when we're having conversations with people and they're throwing those words around, especially if we're talking to non-Christians who are using those words, it's really helpful to say, Okay, what do you mean by that?
Let me tell you what I mean. If I say that I'm a Christian or an evangelical Christian, here's what I mean by that. What do you understand by that? And so I think just on a case-by-case basis, if we're using those words or if we're having conversations with people who are using those words, it's really helpful to say, How do you define them? And for me, like I said, I sometimes use the word evangelical to refer to Bible-believing Christians more broadly. And sometimes, right, fundamentalists might, again, speak of a kind of view of the Bible or approach to interpretation that's a little bit more literalistic and can be unhelpful, maybe legalistic even. But, again, everybody's going to use those terms differently.
So it's just wise to, in a case-by-case basis, to define our terms. Thanks for that YouTube question, David. Thanks, David. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We have a wonderful resource if you have a high schooler at home who's about to graduate and head off to college or into the working world or maybe the military. It will really help them to maintain their Christian faith after they graduate. Yeah, it's called How to Keep Your Faith After High School, and we're continuing to offer this over at corechristianity.com.
An excellent resource, just under 100 pages, but packed with great information about how to stay grounded for young people, right, going off to college, young men, young women who are leaving home and going off to school, how to stay grounded in your Christian faith, how to keep your faith after high school. Get a hold of the resource. Once again, you can find that at corechristianity.com forward slash offers.
Well, here's an email that came in from one of our listeners. This is from Disco, and Disco says, In my culture especially, there seems to be a lot of calling down curses on people. For example, holy ghost fire will come down and burn, destroy, or kill the enemy. The pastors, apostles, and so-called men and women of God in my church rain down curses in their prayers.
They use chapters in the Bible to justify it. Is that biblical? That's a new one, the, you know, raining down holy ghost fire to destroy the enemies. I mean, of course, the text that immediately comes to mind is that encounter that Jesus has in Luke chapter 9 verses 54 and following.
I'll just read beginning verse 51. When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he fed his face to go to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him who went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him because his face was set toward Jerusalem, and when his disciples, James and John, saw it, they said, Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them? But he turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village. What might Jesus do or say to you if you're calling down holy ghost fire on people that reject Jesus?
He might, he might rebuke you. Now, okay, how do we make sense then of the psalms of imprecation, the imprecatory psalms where oftentimes the psalmist will call down God's judgment or even the passages of scripture in the New Testament that refer to God's judgment coming down on sinners? Well, I think we have to understand all of this in its redemptive historical context. For believers today living under the new covenant, we have a clear mandate from God, from Jesus himself, that he gives to us in the Sermon on the Mount to what? To love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us and spitefully use us. And so, one, I think we just have to, whatever we think about this, you have to make sure that you're taking Jesus' words into account there. Matthew chapter 5 verse 43, you have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you, love your enemies, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven, for he makes his Son rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
You, therefore, must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. So this is what we're called to as Christians. When we're persecuted by others, we don't respond in kind. We don't respond by doing evil. We don't respond by taking matters into our own hands, fighting and calling down the judgment. I think we can pray, especially for the persecuted church. I think we can pray, Lord, have mercy. Call these people to repentance.
Bring them to you. But we also pray, come, Lord Jesus, which is a kind of imprecation, saying, God, come and bring justice and righteousness. And, of course, when God does, those who don't believe in Jesus are judged at that moment. But I just think we have to be really careful if our stance is anytime someone is anti-Jesus or anti-Christian, we just, boy, Lord, rip them to shreds, that kind of a thing. Well, there's something really wrong with that approach, isn't there? If Jesus can rebuke his disciples when they want to call down fire on the Samaritans and if Jesus can say in the Sermon on the Mount, I know how easy it is for you to hate your enemies. In fact, that's what everybody in the world does. The Gentiles do that.
There's nothing special about hating your enemies. I'm calling you to something else. I'm calling you as my follower to love even those who persecute you, which looks like not fighting with them in the way that the world does. It looks like praying for them. And, of course, this is exactly what Paul told Timothy when he told Timothy to pray for kings and all who are in authority because God desires for them to be saved. And, of course, in that day, the kings and those who were in authority were not pro-Christian.
They were persecuting the church and would continue to persecute the church for many years. And so we need to approach this with humility and when we think about applying these psalms of imprecation, I think first and foremost, so those psalms calling down judgment, I think first and foremost we call down judgment on our own sins, on our own evils, but we also long for God's justice in the world, that purity, that goodness to come. We do say, you know, together with the apostles, Maranatha, God, bring that justice, but until you do, bring people to repentance, bring your enemies to you. And we should be the first to pray that because, brothers and sisters, we were, you were, we were the enemies of God. And God sent his Son, Jesus, into the world to bear our curse so that we, enemies, might be reconciled. And when we lose sight of that reality, when we lose sight of the fact that, no, we were the enemies of God and God didn't just rain down fire on us, it's really easy to look at the world and say, God, let him have it. You know, God is long-suffering. He's patient toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
So we should, that should be our stance. That should be what we long for, brothers and sisters. And especially today, in our divided age, where everybody wants to see fire rain down on their opponents, whoever those opponents are, may God help us to call the world to repentance so that the world might know the grace of God in Jesus Christ. God bless. 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.
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