Is it true that God loves us just the way we are? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, happy Monday to you. 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. We would love to hear from you. Our phone lines are open right now. We'll be taking calls for the next 25 minutes or so. At this number, 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, you can also post on one of our social media sites. In fact, you can watch us right now on YouTube. See what Adriel is up to in the studio as he flips through his Bible, looking up obscure verses. And you can send him a question through our YouTube channel as well. And you can feel free to email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. By the way, Adriel, I love those obscure verses. Yeah, me too. Somebody's got to find them.
That's right. Let's go to Ruth, who's in Pennsylvania. Ruth, what's your question for Adriel? Pastor Adriel, my question is, what is the difference between soul and spirit? That we're made up of body, soul, and spirit as human beings made in the image of God.
That's referred to as the trichotomous view. I take the dichotomous view, which is that the soul and spirit are basically interchangeable and that they're used in that way in Scripture. So that body and soul or body and spirit refer to your whole person, who you are.
The physical part, but also the immaterial part of who you are. And you see body and soul are the same. Body and soul referred to or referring to the whole person in various places in the New Testament. One place, for example, is Matthew chapter 10 in verse 28, where Jesus says, Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul. Rather, fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. That is your whole person. You see, body and spirit used to refer to the whole person in places like 1 Corinthians chapter 7 and in verse 34.
Those who are not married, he says, the one who is married, his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. And so it seems to me like in Scripture, spirit and soul are used interchangeably. And that word, soul or spirit, refers to the immaterial part of who you are, made in the image of God. When we die, our bodies go down into the ground, but our souls are perfected in holiness.
We go to be with the Lord in the spirit, if you will, to worship him and to glorify him. And so at the heart of the answer here is that there's more to you than meets the eye. That there is the soul. And that's what many people, even some atheists today, are rejecting or have rejected that idea altogether.
That there is the body and soul made in the image of God. Thank you for reaching out to us. Ruth, thanks so much for listening to CORE Christianity. We appreciate you. Let's go to Eric, who's in Iowa right now. Eric, what's your question for Adriel? Thank you.
I really appreciate your program. I get a lot out of it. I have a question about Psalms 91. And this is, it's mentioned a couple times where it says, if you make the most high your shelter, what does that mean? I know the most high must refer to God, but what does that mean to make the most high your shelter?
Yeah, thank you for that question. Here's how the ESV translates. Verse 9, because you have made the Lord your dwelling place, the most high who is my refuge, no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. Throughout the wisdom literature, and in particular throughout the book of Psalms, Eric, you have this language of God being a refuge for his people, a shelter for his people. In times of calamity, in times of difficulty, and I think that the point, you know, this is just a poetic way of talking about how God is the protector of his people. Other times, you know, the Lord is referred to as the shield of his people, their fortress, their strong tower. And so the Psalms do a beautiful job of painting a picture for us of what God intends to be for his people, namely a dwelling place. It's so interesting that in the Gospels, Jesus says things like, abide in me, make your home in me, as it were, rest in me, receive my grace, my shelter. And so that's that's what's being spoken of there, and again in this poetic language, but really beautiful, and highlights for us that the Lord intends to be the great protector of his people. Now, it's really interesting about this passage in particular, Eric, and you may know this, but it was this text that the evil one was quoting against our Lord Jesus when he sought to tempt him.
Again, I'm just going to read a little bit further. Verse 11, for he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against the stone.
How interesting there. And then the next verse says, you will tread on the lion and on the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot, which is precisely what Jesus was doing there when he resisted the temptation of Satan in the wilderness. But it was Satan twisting scripture, twisting what it means for God to be our protector, and trying to tempt our Lord Jesus that our Lord corrected there.
And so you're not the only one, you know, who's had to answer or wrestle through this question, okay, what exactly does this mean? Because the evil one will oftentimes try to twist the scripture, and he tried to twist this one. Eric, God bless you. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez.
If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, maybe something going on in your own Christian life that you're struggling with, you could use some prayer. Here's the number to call 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. We'll be taking calls for the next 15 minutes or so, so now is your time to call.
Let's go to Jared who's calling in from Florida. Jared, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, so my question has to do with bitterness in the heart. I know, especially in Colossians 3, Ephesians 4, and even in, I believe it's Matthew 18 with the parable of the unforgiving slave, that, you know, those who have truly been forgiven by the Lord ought to manifest that forgiveness towards others. Lately there's been a situation in my life where there's been a bunch of family strife, and just, I feel like no sooner do I forgive this individual than I feel bitterness, resentment, even like seeds of hatred there. And it bothers me for a number of reasons, because I don't, number one, I know it grieves the Lord. Then there is also like this selfish fear of like, okay, what if I'm, what if I'm not truly regenerate? What if this is just a sign of me not? And just what to do in these situations where I want to forgive and praying for this person, but it just feels like a show, and sometimes it's just really hard.
Yeah. Hey Jared, well I want to just join you in praying right now and praying for you specifically, and I want to invite our listeners to pray for you. What a privilege we have, brothers and sisters, to be able to pray for one another. And so we want to pray for Jared right now, that the Lord would fill Jared with his grace and with his spirit and work in this situation, this family conflict.
And so let's go to the Lord in prayer. Our Father in heaven, we know each of us individually how hard it can be to forgive another person when they've sinned against us. Lord, we know how easy it is for our hearts to grow bitter, for there to be anger and hatred, Lord, and we are grieved by our sins.
We're reminded of the fact, oh Lord, that you are so gracious to us, that you have forgiven us so much in your son Jesus, and yet we have such a hard time forgiving others. Would you be merciful to us, and would you be merciful to our brother Jared? Would you please, oh Lord, would you please, oh Lord, fill him with your Holy Spirit? Would you give him, Lord, first, confidence in your great love and forgiveness for him, Lord, that he wouldn't feel like he doesn't have that forgiveness, that he doesn't have your love, and that his own struggle is calling your love into question, but instead, Lord, that as a broken sinner, as we all are, Lord, he would lay hold of more and more your grace and love and have eyes to see it. And so be with our brother, Lord. Would you enable him to forgive from the heart Jesus as you speak of in your word, and would you bring healing and peace, reconciliation and restoration in this situation, Lord, this family conflict?
Would you be with my brother? Would you bring your peace now, we pray, in Jesus' name. Amen. Jared, it sounds like you know all of the right passages to go to there in the Gospel of Matthew, for example. You mentioned Ephesians chapter 4. I'm assuming you were referring to verse 32, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. And you're experiencing the struggle, the battle, the fight of forgiving those who have sinned against us. But you're in the fight, and you're acknowledging your sin, confessing your sin to the Lord. And I can tell you as a minister of the Gospel, Jared, that when you confess your sins, God does indeed forgive you. And sometimes we come to the Lord and we feel like, Lord, even as I'm doing this, I'm wondering, am I being selfish?
Is it just because I'm afraid that I'm afraid that I'm not really saved? Even that, you can bring to the Lord and say, Lord, all of my desires, I find selfish motives at times in them, and it frustrates me. Have mercy upon me, and know, Jared, that when you confess your sins, that God does forgive you. And that doesn't mean, even for regenerated, Spirit-filled Christians, it doesn't mean that we're going to have an easy time forgiving others.
Sometimes you do forgive from the heart, and yet as you think about it, or you're reminded about the situation, those feelings of bitterness come up again, the anger, the frustration. Well, what do you do with that? You confess it to the Lord.
You do exactly as you're doing right now. You continue to pray for this person, and pray that the Lord brings about genuine repentance. I don't know exactly what the situation is, but that their heart would be softened, and that the Lord would continue to soften your heart, even as you know and rest in the great mercy and forgiveness that God has given to you. But when we're having a hard time apprehending the forgiveness of Jesus for ourselves, it makes it all the more difficult for us to turn and forgive others. And so, first and foremost, brother, it's resting in God's goodwill towards you, as revealed in his Son, Jesus Christ, that through the blood of Christ, by faith in his name, your sins are forgiven, Jared. And you're going to continue to struggle, but as you confess your sins, God forgives you, and you are part of the family. And may God strengthen you in his spirit and bless you in this situation, granting you that continued grace to be forgiving and to bring your sins to the Lord, and to receive his mercy continually. God bless you, and thank you for reaching out to us. Jared, thanks so much for your call, for listening to CORE Christianity.
We really do appreciate you. We'd love to hear from you. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, here is the number, 833-THE-CORE. We often get calls from people who have a question about something going on at their church they are maybe concerned about. We're open to those questions as well.
833-843-2673. Let's go to Viola in St. Louis. Viola, what's your question for Adriel? So, my question is on the previous comment about the soul and the spirit, and I just wanted to share what I learned, and one that Pastor Sanchez would expound on that, about the soul. I've been taught that the soul is made up of the mind, our emotion, and our will, whereas our mind is the capacity to think, our emotions are our capacity to feel, and our will is our capacity to choose. So what do you think about that, Pastor?
Yeah, well thank you for following up on the previous question. I think, you know, that is one way in which it's been articulated. I don't see anything necessarily wrong with that, and really trying to boil down, you know, the understanding of the will and emotion. Oftentimes when the Bible talks about our heart, you know, the deep inner person, those are some of the things that are being referred to, the emotion, the will, and so forth, and so I think that there's a biblical case to be made for that. My point with the previous caller was just, you know, sometimes I think we can get into distinguishing a little bit too much, where between the soul and the spirit, where the Bible seems to treat those two as interchangeable. Now, of course, this isn't one of those things that... there are Christians who differ on this. This isn't one of those things where all Christians agree. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of things like that, but in any event, it does seem to me like Scripture doesn't distinguish as sharply between the soul and the spirit, and I think the main takeaway for us, especially in our world today, in a very secular world, is highlighting the fact that the image of God being made in the image of God consists of those two things, that there is more to you, as I said to the previous caller, than meets the eye, and that's a part of where we get, you know, our will, emotion, dignity, morality, all of these things come from that, and so Viola, just grateful for your question, and again, God bless.
Hmm. Thanks, Viola. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
We have a great free resource we want to tell you about, especially if you're a parent or a grandparent. These are a group of songs that really focus on God's Word that you can sing with your kids. Yeah, Bill, I know that you and I both love to sing, and we love to sing the hymns of the church. I think singing together is an important way that we as Christians get the faith into our hearts, you know.
It's one of the ways that we can grow in our understanding of God's Word, and one of the ways that our faith is shaped, and not just our faith, but the faith of our children. What a neat opportunity we have as parents and grandparents to sing with our kids, a great way to memorize the great truths of the Christian faith, and so we got this resource for you. It's free. It's called Ten Songs to Sing as a Family.
You can get it over at corechristianity.com forward slash radio, and download it for free again, Ten Songs to Sing as a Family. We have a whole bunch of free resources at our website, including our core guides and our core questions. One of the reasons we can offer those resources for free is that we have some wonderful donors who actually believe so strongly in this program that they make a monthly commitment to this ministry by joining our inner core, and you can find out about that at corechristianity.com.
Well, our phone lines are open. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, call us at 833-THE-CORE, 1-833-843-2673. We also receive emails here at The Core. You can email us anytime at questions at corechristianity.com.
Here's an email that one of our listeners sent in last week. I was wondering what is wrong with the following statement, God loves me for the way I am. What are the dangers and the roots of this statement? What's a better biblical way of saying this, and how can we gently correct our fellow Christians who say this? It's a great question, God loves me for the way that I am. Well, the issue here is exactly what do you mean by that? Are you trying to say that God accepts and celebrates your sin? And that's the issue.
That's the problem, and that's how I've heard this statement presented. God just loves me the way that I am. Now, in one sense, we want to say, well, yeah, God exhibited His love for us as sinners in sending His Son to die for our sins. It's Paul's point in Romans chapter 5 that it wasn't that God began to love you when you started trying to walk with Jesus. It was while we were the enemies of God, while we were yet sinners, that God was that God pursued us and reached down, as it were, to redeem us. And so we can say that God loves sinners, and we thank God for that. I mean, just the entire ministry of Jesus is an example of this, as He went to seek and save the lost. But He doesn't love sin, and He doesn't accept sin, and as He went to seek and save the lost, what was He also doing there?
He was confronting sin and drawing sinners into the fold to experience His grace. And so there are ways of twisting this idea that God loves sinners that are unhelpful, and this would be one of them. If we're saying, if you're saying, God loves me just the way that I am, and by that I'm going to continue to live in rebellion against God and just tell myself that it's fine because God accepts me, well, you're deceiving yourself.
You're lying to yourself. Confess your sins to the Lord and receive His grace. When we try to justify our sins, what we're doing really is cutting ourselves off from the grace of God because we're saying, I don't need it. He thinks I'm fine.
We're good. He loves me just the way that I am. And in that situation, you're cut off. You're cutting yourself off from God's divine goodness. Instead, we confess our sins. We confess the fact that God, you love me as a sinner, but you don't leave me in this state of just, yeah, do whatever you want, and everything is fine. No, as many as God loves, He rebukes and chastens, is what we're told in the Proverbs and in the book of Hebrews. God is a good Father who cares about us enough to discipline us when we sin and not to leave us in open rebellion to Him.
So if we belong to God, if we're the children of God, He's at work in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so when I hear those kinds of statements, and I'm assuming with this email that we received that you're hearing these things too, they concern me because it's one of the ways that many people and professing Christians have sought to justify their sin or to give themselves a free pass, and God is not going to give them that free pass there. You know, I'm reminded of the story in the Gospels where there's the woman caught in adultery, and what does Jesus say to her after forgiving her sins? Go and sin no more. That's a great example right there. Yeah, and you see that phrase actually repeatedly in the Gospels, and there are implications, right, to the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus in our lives. And so if we've been redeemed, if we've been baptized, how can we go on sinning, is the Apostle Paul's point in places like Romans chapter 6.
And so if there's a disconnect there, there's a real issue, and I think that's what's being highlighted in part with these kinds of questions. Very good. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We have time for one more call. Michael is on the line from Kansas.
Michael, we've got just about a minute. What's your question for Adriel? Yeah, so my question would be, there are two schools of thought on the Bible. You got the Eastern interpretation, the Western interpretation. Are these two perspectives in conflict, or do they both reveal God's truth? If not, what would be the perspective you hold fast to?
Okay, hey Michael, thanks for that question. I'm assuming you're talking about, you know, the Eastern Church and the Western Church, Eastern Church. You know, oftentimes you're talking to people who are Eastern Orthodox, they'll say, well, the way we think about Scripture, the way we interpret Scripture, is very different than the way those in the Western Church did.
They're so scholastic, they're so heady. In the East, we're not like that. There's oftentimes, you know, in these discussions, these sharp distinctions that are drawn, and there are definitely distinct approaches throughout the history of the Church, especially early on. You know, you think of the first several centuries in the East and in the West, there were different ways in which they were articulating doctrine, and oftentimes the language barrier made it even more difficult to sort of come to a consensus in terms of thinking about certain things.
But in a lot of instances, they were really on the same page. It was just a sort of a language barrier, and so I'm thinking in particular with regard to things like the doctrine of the Trinity, for example, even though there are some distinctions still with how they articulate things. But what I would say is, to answer for myself, because you asked where do you align more, I would align more with the Western tradition of the Church, guys like Saint Augustine and then, you know, down through the ages, which tended to have, I would say, a higher view of original sin, of human depravity, of the sovereignty of God.
I think that's in line with Scripture. I appreciate a lot of my friends and even some of the writers from the Eastern perspective, but there are some differences there. And I guess we would have to just say, Michael, you'd have to maybe point out something specifically, because we're talking about a number of different doctrines, you know, how they view salvation, how they view the work of the Holy Spirit, the work of the Church, and so forth. There are some helpful books out there. I think there was a book by Robert Letham called Through Westernized that was exploring Eastern Orthodoxy. From a Western perspective, you might consider getting a hold of that book, but I appreciate your question. I would say, read widely as a Christian and appreciate the different traditions. I think there's a lot of benefit to that as well. And so, God bless you all. Thank you for listening to another episode of CORE, and have a wonderful week.
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