How can a wrathful God be loving? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. 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 also post your question on Instagram or YouTube or Facebook, or you can, of course, email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Anita, who's calling in from Phoenix, Arizona.
Anita, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, Pastor, thank you so much for what you do. So my question is from Matthew chapter 4, verse 8 and 9, when the devil takes Jesus in the temptation to the high mountain, shows him the kingdoms of the world, and says, all this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me. So my question is, does Satan believe that he owns the world? He has any authority or power? Obviously, he has influence. How can we clarify that?
Could you help me? Yeah, excellent question. You see similar passages in places like 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 4, where the apostle Paul refers to the evil one as the god of this world. In particular, one of the things that we have to recognize is that in the New Testament, you have these two ages that are put forward. This age, this present evil age, where there is still sin and death and so forth, and the age to come, the new creation. Jesus came to bring about the age to come.
He inaugurated it. Now the powers of the age to come are already breaking in on this present evil age, the author of the Hebrews says in Hebrews chapter 6. We're going to see that age to come fully and finally at what we sometimes refer to, Anita, as the consummation, the new creation being ushered in. You see it at the end of the book of Revelation, when Jesus comes back and judges sin once for all, and the enemies of God once and for all, and ushers in the new creation. In terms of this age, the evil one goes about like a roaring lion still, and has a power that's been given to him, an authority that's been delegated to him, we might say, but which we know Christ has ultimately defeated and stripped him of in a very real sense through his redemptive work on the cross. That the gates of hell and the evil one, Satan, are being plundered right now through the work of Jesus fundamentally through what Christ did. Yes, when Satan says that in Matthew chapter 4 with regard to the temptation, of course we know that Satan, everything he says, everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie, but there is a sense in which the world lies under his sway, under the sway of the power of darkness. The good news is that through the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross, that the power of the evil one has been broken. Now his kingdom is being plundered as people are brought out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light through the preaching of the gospel.
Ultimately, we have the hope, the promise that when Jesus returns, the evil one is going to be cast into the lake of fire, and the whole world is going to be glorified through the redemptive presence of Jesus Christ. Can you explain the difference when you see the word world in the Bible? We have the created world, God's created order. Then we have the worldly system, which Satan seems to be the prince of, the in charge of.
Can you kind of differentiate between those two things? It's helpful because we do see that words can have what we sometimes call semantic range, a range of meaning. You see the word world in the Bible and it doesn't always mean the same thing. Sometimes it's referring to the created world, which is good and is the object of God's love and which we should care for and protect and so forth. Sometimes it's referring to a system of belief, like when John says in 1 John, don't love the world or the things in the world. He's not saying we shouldn't love creation.
No, creation is a good gift given to us by God. He's saying that sinful influence of the evil one, the lusts of the flesh, the passions and pride that arise out of us that are so characteristic of this present evil age, don't love that. Or James, when James says anyone who's a friend of the world is an enemy of God. He's not saying don't have friends that are non-Christians. He's saying no, don't befriend non-Christian ideologies or practices. Don't cozy up to those things and embrace some of those beliefs and ways of worship. When you do that, you're putting yourself at enmity with God. You're making God your enemy. But we're in the world and we're called to pursue the world in love, even those who reject Christ. And so helpful to make those distinctions and to recognize that there is a range of meaning with that word world.
Thanks for the clarification. 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, you can email us anytime. Here's our email address. It's questions at corechristianity.com. Let's go to Carla in St. Louis, Missouri.
Carla, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, I just recently found out that the black race was in the Bible, which I was never taught that, I never knew. So now that I found out, I read that maybe my race is cursed. So can you tell me where the black race is in the Bible and if we're cursed? And that's it. Thank you.
Hey, Carla, thank you for that question. There was a theology out there that was popularized related to the curse of Ham, where people were trying to make the argument that blacks were cursed and that was what was being described there way back in the Old Testament. That's just a poor interpretation of that text.
So no, you were not cursed. And what I would say in addition to that is God calls all peoples to himself. And one of the wonderful things about the New Covenant, the promise that Jesus gave, or that was inaugurated through Jesus's work, he instituted this, is that God is bringing people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, every culture to himself through the blood of Jesus Christ. This isn't just a Jewish religion.
This isn't just something that was for the Jews. God always intended his message to spread to the nations. Israel in the Old Testament was called to be a light to the nations.
They were called to worship God distinctly so that the nations would come and receive the light of the Lord. Instead what happened, this is a tragedy of the Old Testament, is they embraced the idolatry of the nations instead of introducing the nations to the true God of heaven and earth. And so that led to death and destruction and exile and curse. God's covenant curses upon his covenant people there. And so Jesus came to earth, Carla, to reverse that curse. That curse that came about through sin really that goes all the way back to Genesis in the Garden of Eden that's on all of mankind.
So it's not just black people, white people, Mexicans, Hispanics like me. No, in one sense we're all under the curse of sin because of Adam. But Jesus, the eternal Son of God, came to reverse that curse so that we might have life and blessing. And so it's in Christ that we experience the blessing and the freedom of God outside of Christ. Regardless of what your culture is or the color of your skin, outside of Christ you are under the judgment and curse of God if you are in your sins.
And so that's not particular to one group of people. That's the reality for mankind apart from Jesus. And so I'm not sure what you were alluding to, specifically, Carla, when you just heard that the black race was cursed, but that's not something that you get from the teaching of scripture. It's people twisting, I think, at times certain passages of scripture to try to make an argument, but that's not right. And so I appreciate your question and just a call for everybody, all people, to escape that curse, the curse of judgment through Jesus Christ. He bore that curse for us on the cross. And so it's in him that we have freedom in life. Well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.
Love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. You can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Debbie calling in from Texas. Debbie, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, I'm calling from Very Hot and Baking, Texas.
I hope you have air conditioning. It is going, it is going. So, you know, me and my siblings have always suffered with depression and just for decades have been doing New Age movement stuff to try and fill that hole, to try and, you know, the hole we know about. And it led me to the moment of taking my life in which in that moment, Jesus popped in my head out of the blue and I just asked him please to help me. And here I am today with a piece that I'd never felt in my life before inside of me. And my siblings are still so deep in the New Age movement trying to fill that hole and they've never given me an opportunity to witness to them.
They've never wanted to know. Jesus is just another prophet, you know, he's not the son of God. And on Sunday, my brother let me know that he was completely broken and they live very far away from where I live. And so I asked him if I could witness to him and he said yes, and I thought, oh my gosh, Lord, please guide me because I've never done this before.
I'm new. And so I witnessed to him and he was very doubtful. He said he'd been hurt by the church and he didn't believe that there was only one way to God.
And so I said, can I send you some links from some bona fide, you know, remnant pastors who teach the true word and aren't woke and aren't, you know, selling out to culture. And he let me do that. And then on Sunday night, he called me and he said he gave his life to Jesus.
Oh, wow. But by the next morning he woke up, he texted me, said, Debbie, please pray for me. He goes, I have had the nightmares and visions and I woke up with suicidal thoughts. And I said to him, Mark, it's because the devil thought he had you and you got snatched and he's angry and he wants you back.
Or at least he wants to separate you. So just turn your eyes to Jesus. And he just said, I have too much doubt. I just I don't know if I can believe any of this. And since then, you know, every morning he's he's waking up with these terrible visions, suicidal thoughts, wrecked with fear. And I keep saying to him, just pray, just, you know, you take your doubts with you and pray anyway. Consider maybe, maybe it's true that Jesus is the son of God and that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Just consider maybe and just do it anyway, you know. And I feel this great need to try and manage it so that it works for him.
And I know that's not my job. So I don't know where do I pray incessantly for him and my sister. Where do I stop and let God just do what God's going to do with him? I'm so scared he's going to become an apostate and then I'm going to, you know?
Yeah. Debbie, God bless you, sister. And we're going to we're going to take just a few moments to pray for your brother and your sister.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. And I give thanks to the Lord for the work that he's done in your life and drawing you to himself and opening your eyes even in that moment of desperation. And so obviously you recognize it's not on us. It's not on you to open the eyes of another person. That's the work of the Holy Spirit. So it's continuing to entrust your brother to the Lord. But as you said, to do everything that you can in terms of setting that godly example and pointing him to good resources and sharing scripture with him.
So I would I would pray for him. And one thing I would encourage him to do if I were you is read the Gospel of John. The power is in the word, God's word.
That's what transforms us. And so I would say, you know, in addition to, you know, the encouragements to pray, to consider these things, I would say, brother, this is God's word. I want you to I want you to read and I want you to learn about who Jesus is with an open heart. Read the Gospel of John. The reason I say the Gospel of John is because John tells us towards the end of his gospel. I'm writing these things to you so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God. And so in one sense, the book of John is, we might say, evangelistic. It's written for the individual so that you might believe so that you might know who Jesus is and receive his grace. And so that would be one recommendation is is have your brother read through the Gospel of John.
Maybe you can even offer to read through it with him and to talk about it in the evenings. But but you're totally right that this is a spiritual battle that's taking place that your brother is experiencing. And so we need to pray and we want to join you in praying for him and for your sister as well, that the Lord would deliver him from the evil one and grant him eyes to see and a heart to receive the grace of the gospel. Let's pray for for Debbie's brother. Father, we thank you for the work that you've done in Debbie's life. God, thank you for drawing people to yourself. Thank you for drawing us to yourself.
Often in that moment of desperation when we feel like we have nothing else. Jesus, you come and you call us to yourself and you lift us up and you set our feet upon the rock. Thank you that you've done that for our sister Debbie. And Lord, as she cries out to you, we join her cries, Lord, for her brother and for her sister.
Lord God, who are searching for answers in the wrong places and who are in need of you, of your grace. Would you do for them what you did for our sister as well? Would you open their hearts, Lord? I pray for the tension that her brother feels, that spiritual battle, those nightmares.
Lord Jesus, would you break into that? Would you give him a sense of your presence, a conviction of sin? Lord, to see the areas of his life that he needs to bring to you to receive your grace, your forgiveness.
Would you help him to see that? Would you use our sister Debbie in an instrumental way for the good of her brother and her sister? But Lord, we know that this is your work and so we look to you as you opened Lydia's heart to hear the preaching of the gospel. Would you open their hearts to hear the truth of your word as they open it and read it? Or as they hear the good news from their sister Debbie?
Lord, would you open their hearts and would you deliver them from Satan? I pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
Debbie, we'll continue to pray for you and your brother and that whole situation. And you know, Adriel just, at its core, the New Age movement is really saying you are God. I mean, I'm God, right? Or all is God. God is everywhere and in everything and a complete antithesis of what scripture would say.
Yeah, well, the New Age movement, right? I mean, it often parades itself as light, as truth, and yet we know what scripture says. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
I mean, that's just the reality, right? And so anything that sort of parades itself as this is good, this is light, but leads us away from Jesus or misunderstands who Christ is and what he came to do to make atonement for our sins so that we might follow him and know him. You could talk about angels all you want. You could talk about, you know, crystals and good vibrations and healings and feelings and all that stuff all you want. If you're missing the Messiah, if you're missing Jesus, then actually, you know, what's at work here is not good or light.
There's something evil here at work. And so I'm so grateful that the Lord has brought our sister out of that. And it's amazing, Bill, because I feel like more and more we're seeing God deliver people who are in the New Age movement, who are having their eyes opened to the truth of the gospel. So praise God for that.
And so may God do that also for her siblings. And maybe for those listening right now, if you're listening and you're getting caught up in that stuff, man, leave it behind and fall at the feet of Jesus and get a Bible and start reading the Gospel of John. Get to know who Christ is because he calls you to himself. And it's only in him that you can have true spiritual life.
Amen. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Just want to mention to you that our program is listener-supported. We don't play commercials on this show. We don't receive money from a church or denomination. We count on people just like you to keep this show on the air. And we have a group of people that believe in what we do, so much so that they're willing to give a monthly donation.
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Here's an email from Carlos. He says, I've been going through the book of Exodus. I know there are punishments or consequences for our actions, but I just don't understand how a loving God could bring so much destruction on Egypt. How is it that he can punish so harshly and still love us?
A couple of things there. The first thing is it's interesting that when scripture talks about the discipline of the Lord, both in the book of Proverbs, in the book of Hebrews, for example, don't despise the discipline of the Lord. It's rooted in God's love. And so we don't want to buy into the lie that when God disciplines us for our sins, it's because he doesn't love us. That's a problem. And the reality is I think this is something that all of us can understand, maybe even those who don't fully grasp the teaching of the Bible. If you have kids and you see your kids doing something that's destructive, one of the kids is pushing his sister or brother towards a cliff or something like that, you intervene and you discipline.
Why? Because you don't want somebody to get hurt. You care about your kids out of love and concern. And that's precisely how God is with us. And that's why the author of the Hebrews says what father is there who doesn't discipline his kids. If that was the case, it probably wouldn't be your kid.
Be illegitimate. And so the first thing I would want to say to your question, and again thank you for emailing us, is God's discipline is rooted in love. Now what you have in the book of Exodus are these judgments brought against a pagan king, Pharaoh.
Now you also see God's long suffering here, don't you? One of the things in the author Paul, in the book of Romans, in Romans chapter 9, one of the things he says is God raised Pharaoh up in one sense to show his long suffering. Because again and again and again, Pharaoh's given these opportunities to do what? To stop enslaving the Israelites and to let them go to worship God. And God has manifested his glory in powerful ways, and yet Pharaoh is doing what?
He's hardening his heart wickedly. And so when people do that, again and again and again and again, they are inviting the severe judgment of God, and that's what we see in the book of Exodus. So this isn't God not loving.
God has demonstrated, one, his long suffering, two, his love for Israel in redeeming them and bringing them out of slavery, and just additionally the fact that he's not going to let sin and evil go. That's also not loving. Justice, when justice is just neglected, right, that's a lack of love.
There's a problem there. And so a lot of times we pit these things against each other, but we really don't have to. And the place where you see justice and love meet perfectly, you know where I'm going to go, is the cross of Jesus Christ. There you have the full justice of God being dealt out, what we deserve for our sins. But Jesus taking that, vicariously taking my place, meeting the demands of justice, satisfying the demands of justice, why so that we who had sinned might experience grace and eternal life?
What a beautiful union. Here we see justice and mercy coming together at the cross of Jesus Christ. And so we don't want a God who isn't merciful, and we don't want a God who isn't just. A God who isn't just is cruel and tyrannical, and we don't know what's going to happen.
It's just a loose cannon. A God who isn't merciful is harsh. You think of Pharaoh in the Old Testament, right, just brick after brick after brick. The true God of heaven and earth is both just. He disciplines and judges sin, but he's also merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, kind to all those who call upon him. And if you've been turning away from him, if you've been living in darkness, in sin, if you've been rebelling against him, even as a Christian, you know you're living in a way that's not honoring to him.
He calls you back to himself to experience his mercy and his grace. Don't test God's grace. Don't think lightly of it. Don't sin in light of it. Instead, receive it, rest in it, and let it be the fuel that leads you to live for him. God bless. God bless.
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