Is it a sin to skip your morning devotions? 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. Here's our phone number, and you can call us 24 hours a day and leave us a voicemail at this number as well. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's one 833-THE-CORE.
833-843-2673. You're always welcome to post your question on one of our social media sites. And of course, you can always email us your question at questions at COREChristianity.com.
Well, first up today, let's go to Shante, who's calling in from Missouri. Shante, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Shante, are you asking what's distinct about those trees in relation to all the other trees that were in the garden? Well, they're used by God specifically. One, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is his testing tree, if you will. God is using this tree to render a judgment, if you will.
And then that sort of being able to distinguish between good and evil, this is something that you see throughout the Bible that the people of God are called to do. The tree becomes a place of testing for Adam and Eve. Now, we don't know what the tree looked like, per se. We know that there was fruit on that tree.
We don't know if it had been planted and grew up all of a sudden or if it was just placed there as it was. The Bible doesn't speak to that. What's more important, I think, is the fact that God is using this tree as a way of testing. We sometimes call it a probationary period where the man was set there in the garden, called to obey God, and given the chance to obey God, and yet he sinned. He rejected God's law, God's commandment, ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and as a result was forbidden from eating from the tree of life, which presumably would have been the tree that they ate from had they obeyed God and not eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These trees are distinct, these two different trees that are used by God in the garden for testing. Also, I think the tree of life was this promise that was set before Adam and Eve. It was the reward that was placed before them had they listened to God, and it's the reward ultimately that's placed before us.
This is what the book of Revelation says very clearly, both in Jesus' letters to the seven churches in chapters two and three, but at the end of the book, we, through the gospel, what Christ has done for us, are given access to the tree of life, to everlasting life through the grace of God and through the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ, the second Adam. So that's a real sort of big picture response to your question. Hopefully that clarifies it for you, Shante. Thank you for your question. Hey, Shante, thanks so much for calling, for listening to CORE Christianity.
We really do appreciate you. We do receive emails here at the CORE, and you can email us your question anytime. In fact, you can feel free to ask us any question about the Bible, doctrine, theology, you name it.
Our email address is questionsatcorechristianity.com. Here's an email from Chris, and she says, Is it a sin to skip my morning devotions? Chris, I know the feeling of you miss your morning devotions, and you just feel crushed with guilt. Years ago, as a newer believer, I got into the habit of reading my Bible every morning, and there came a point where I just felt like, man, if I don't do this, I feel really guilty, and almost like I'm sinning. I don't think I would have said that I was sinning by not reading, but I just felt like I have to do this, and I almost became a sort of just kind of feeling like a slavery. That sounds strange because, of course, we're talking about Scripture, and we should want to study the Word of God and read it, but I think that we can approach these things kind of legalistically so that they don't become a joy and a blessing but a burden.
At the same time, here's what I'll say. No, it's not a sin to miss your morning devotions, but I think we can get into these habits of turning away from these patterns in our lives that are really important, I think that are good, cultivating the reading of Scripture in our lives, praying daily prayer morning and evening. If we neglect those things, I think it can often and does often lead to sin, and so it's a part of the way in which we guard our hearts and our minds is by creating these disciplines. Sometimes we can have a negative view of discipline or Christian disciplines.
We shouldn't. We should be disciplined in pursuing the Lord. We're disciplined in so many other things. We're disciplined in going to the gym or with our diets or going to work Monday through Friday because we know it's important. I got to do this.
I don't want to be fired or I don't want to not make money. We have all of these disciplines that we're committed to. Let's be committed to growing in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ, not being legalistic about it, feeling like, okay, I missed my devotions. Now I've sinned. No, that's also not right, but we want to realize the importance of cultivating these spiritual disciplines just so that we don't fall into sin. Frankly, I think of what the psalmist said in Psalm 119. Your word have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against you. Paul in Ephesians and in Colossians talks about being filled with the Spirit. Well, how are we filled with the Spirit? It says the word of Christ dwells in us richly, and it's only as we're filled with the Spirit that we're unable to walk according to the Spirit as opposed to walk according to the flesh. So I would say it's not something that we want to be legalistic about, but it's something that we want to be disciplined with. There's a difference between, I think, viewing it as a sin issue and just viewing it as a matter of wisdom and prudence and guarding ourselves against sin. So we should all be encouraged to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Christ, to be committed to, first and foremost, the means of grace, that is gathering together for church on Sunday with other believers to sit under the ministry of the word. Prayer at all times, in all places, as the apostle Paul says, praying without ceasing. We want that to be a part of our lives. And what a privilege that we also have the access to the word of God, the holy scriptures that we have, that many in prior generations didn't have, either because they were illiterate or they just didn't have a copy of the Bible.
And, of course, there are many today who still don't have a copy of the Bible. So all of these things are things that we should just say, look, God has given me so many opportunities. Lord, let me take advantage of them. I realize that I'm not always going to feel like reading the scriptures or praying, and I don't want to be, you know, I don't want to be legalistic about it. That is, you know, getting my sense of righteousness and right standing with you by the fact that I read my Bible every day, that kind of a thing. But help me to cherish, Lord, the gifts that you've given to me and to make good use of them so that I might honor you and live in a way that is pleasing to you. And if I fall short of that, Lord, instead of being laden with guilt and, you know, being self-deprecating and just thinking I'm the worst Christian ever, help me to approach your throne of grace in prayer and receive the mercy and the goodness that you give to me, and to get back on the saddle reading the scriptures and praying to you and seeking you, Lord, for your glory and for my good.
And so thank you for that question. Let me just also add, I think it's easy for us to get into our own routine and then want to impose that routine upon others. You know, like if you really loved Jesus, you would do it just like me, and that looks like I read the Bible for 45 minutes every morning, you know, while I drink my coffee, and then I have this time of prayer.
Well, it doesn't have to look the same for everyone. Each person, I think, is responsible for coming before the Lord and cultivating these things, but don't impose your own sort of personal rules on others. Instead, let's encourage each other and pray for one another and grow together in the grace and knowledge of Christ. I'm glad you said that because you were certainly starting to convict me there. I'm in charge of leading our small group at church on Wednesday night, and I didn't do my devotions this morning, so I guess I better do it this afternoon.
Yeah, Bill, get on that. That question, I don't know how it's been for you, and it's different for me now, but especially as a newer believer, I really did feel like crushed with guilt if I didn't read my Bible that morning. Of course, I don't think that we need to feel that way, but we want to have a sense of the importance of coming before God every day and saying, Lord, give me this day my daily bread. I need your grace for another day today, and that's each of us.
That's so well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We do receive voicemails here at the Core, and you can call us with your question 24 hours a day. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.
Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Riley. I had a question about the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. In Deuteronomy and Moses' faith, Isaac and I are 242 in Deuteronomy 21. He's instructing the Israelites to renew their faith and obey God. And then in Matthew 531, Jesus is talking about revenge, and he instructs, You have heard that it is said, an eye for an eye, a truth for a truth, that I tell you do not resist an evil person. So my question is, which one do we follow? The Old Testament or the New Testament? What are the differences, if any, and how should you approach a situation where revenge would be something entertaining?
Thank you. It's a great question. It's actually verse 38 that you're referring to in Matthew 5. You've heard that it was said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. This is just the law of retribution, right there, especially under the Mosaic civil code given to the people of God in the Old Testament. But Jesus says, I say to you, which, by the way, this is something that's repeated throughout the Sermon on the Mount.
You have heard that it was said, but I say to you. And Jesus is appealing to God's law here. This is one of those things that we can look at and say, hey, it's very clear that Jesus is more than just a good teacher here. I mean, he's acting as the lawgiver, as the Lord himself.
And so this is, I think, a clear claim to divinity. You have heard that it was said, but I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. Now, in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, he is, in one sense, articulating the law in its fullness. He didn't come to abolish the law or to set the law aside, but to fulfill the law.
And perfectly, that's one of the things that he does in his life. And what he's communicating here is ultimately the righteous requirements of the law that we all fall short of. This is why, as Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, the people that were probably gathered there were scratching their heads, thinking, whoa, we've never heard it preached like this before. And every single person there was struck dead, if you will, with guilt, with this sense of, yeah, well, boy, I've never committed adultery, at least the way others had defined it. But the way Jesus defines it, if you look at a woman to lust for her, you've already committed adultery in your heart. I have no problem with retribution. You know, somebody hurts me, and I want to hurt them back, and sure, I can do that.
But loving my enemies, that's a different story, and that's what we're called to here. And so it's not that there's a contradiction, I would say, between the laws that was given in the Old Testament and what Jesus says here. But here we're given the law in its fullness and in its fulfillment, ultimately, for the Church, the Kingdom of God today. And we have to distinguish between the Church today and Israel with its laws and its judicial sort of governing rules that were given to them as this political body in the Old Testament, in places like the Book of Exodus. We're talking about two different things, and so we have to understand where we are in the flow of redemptive history. We are under the New Covenant, a part of God's Kingdom through faith and holy baptism. And so we follow Jesus' words here, and ultimately, in doing so, we're following God's law, what He calls us to.
Now, you asked something on top of that. It sounded like you were saying, well, what about those instances where we can get revenge, where we want to get revenge? And I think naturally, for each of us, especially if we've been hurt by someone in some way, we want our pound of flesh, right? We want to get back at them, and Jesus is speaking to this here, the importance of forgiving within the body of Christ. Now, does that mean that we don't address the issue, the sin issue, that we just brush it under the rug? No, there are instances maybe where someone has sinned against you or done something so heinous to you that we're not just talking about a disagreement.
We're talking about something beyond that. There are instances where I think the church needs to get involved and sometimes even times where the civil government, where the state needs to get involved, the authorities, if you will. It just depends on what that situation is. But I think in our sort of day-to-day struggles where we have disagreements with a brother or sister in Christ, a challenge, maybe they've sinned against us in some way, they've gossiped about us or something like that, we're called to forgive and not to brush it under the rug, but to go to that person and to point out the sin, to address it, to long for their repentance, for their healing, not to try to get back at them, but to try to work towards reconciliation and restoration.
Definitely a complex question, Riley, but I think one that's really important for us to think through, especially as we consider life within the body of Christ and seeking to obey the commandments of the Lord. So may God give you wisdom in whatever situation you're in and the grace to forgive and to find that restoration in your relationships as well. So God bless.
Some good counsel. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you're one of our regular listeners and you believe in what we do here at the Core, we'd like to invite you to join what we call our Inner Core.
That's a very special group of people who support this broadcast on a monthly basis. Yeah, brothers and sisters, if you've been listening to Core Christianity for a while now, maybe you're a newer listener, you've just started listening to the Core, our goal is to encourage a broad audience, as broad of an audience as we can get, as the Lord will give to us, to grow in a solid understanding of what the Bible teaches of Christian theology. And not just the minutia, the things that we oftentimes disagree on, but the core tenets of the Christian faith, what we can all and should all sign off on and agree with, but so often we just don't understand those doctrines, doctrines like the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of the Incarnation, the Gospel, the difference between the law and the Gospel.
These are things that are so fundamental but which so many believers, professing believers, don't understand, and so we work hard to give you a solid understanding of those things. And if you've grown in your understanding of those things, and if you believe in what we're doing, would you consider joining the Inner Core? It's a monthly donation of $25 or more, and your gifts help us to continue to do this broadcast and also to produce other written materials that we send out to you from time to time that are encouraging and that help you, we believe, in your Christian walk. And so thank you to all of you who have joined the Inner Core. It's such an encouragement to us, and just pray that you would consider joining if you haven't, and thank you for your support. You can learn more about joining the Inner Core and getting that book from Dr. Michael Horton by going to corechristianity.com forward slash inner core, just all one word.
So corechristianity.com forward slash inner core. Would love to have you join that special group of people who support this program to help us continue doing the work we do on a daily basis. Well, we do receive emails here at the Core, and one of our listeners wrote in with this email, My niece is marrying a woman. Should I attend the wedding? Man, I just, it grieves me because I know how hard this decision must be for you because you love your niece.
I mean, this is your family member. And so how do I show that love when they're doing something that I disagree with as a Christian, something that I don't believe is right or biblical? I would say, no, you should not go in support of this marriage, this union. I mean, it's not in line with what the Bible teaches. You want to communicate to your niece that you are supporting her in this decision.
But at the same time, you also don't want to cut off the relationship. I mean, a couple other questions that I would want to have is, one, does your niece have a background in faith? Does she profess to believe in Jesus? If she does profess to believe in Jesus, well, then the answer is very clear, I mean, specifically because Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5, you know, if you have somebody who's a professing believer, a so-called brother or sister, and they're living in ways that are contrary to the Gospel, don't even eat with such a person, right? We have to demonstrate as Christians that there's a serious issue, there's a contradiction here. Maybe your niece doesn't profess faith and never has, and it's very clear that they never have, they don't have any interest in Christ or in the Gospel, and they're inviting you because they love you and you have a good relationship.
You're trying to think through this decision. Still, I would probably say, can you communicate to them that you love them and want to be a part of their lives and want them to be a part of your life, but that this is not something that you can go to because it's something that goes against your convictions as a believer? So it's a difficult situation, admittedly, but I think that you want to make sure that you're not giving any sense of, yeah, this is just whatever, no big deal, we're fine with this as Christians because we're not, and if you can do that while simultaneously exhibiting your love for her and communicating the difficulty of this decision for you, I think that you should because you want to continue to have a relationship.
You want the doors to be open. You want them to know that you're someone that they can go to when things are difficult, that you'll be there in support of them as a person, as an individual made in the image of God and loved by God as one of his creations, but called to Christ and to honor Christ as well. And so may God give you wisdom and just much grace for this situation. I pray that as it unfolds that this would not be something that drives your niece further away from you and from Christ, but that somehow there would be understanding and also just a sense of conviction as well. And so thank you for that question, and God give his wisdom. Just to follow up for you, Adriel, would you change your advice if this was a son or daughter? Yeah.
Bill, why do you got to make it more difficult here? I'm just joking. Because I know there are those situations out there.
There are moms and dads that have kids. Absolutely. Yeah. Well, again, so is this person a professing believer, yes or no?
And I think yes, I think that makes it a little bit more clear based on what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5. If not, I think it just requires wisdom. Can you communicate, look, I'll be there for you, but I'm not in favor of this.
Is that even possible, right, to do? And so it's a complex question. I don't know that my advice would change per se. I think that this is really a, you know, at the end of the day, it's a personal decision. The individual is going to have to pray and exercise wisdom, but at least from my perspective right now, it seems to me like we have to be so careful as believers about the things that we affirm and support. And so we can support an individual and love the individual truly without affirming the decision.
And so would attending the wedding be an affirmation of the decision? And if it is, then I think that we couldn't do that. But if you can sort of unravel that and separate those things and maybe in some instances that's possible, then okay. But I just think it's really hard.
So, so hard. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question for us, we'd love to receive your email. You can shoot us one at questions at corechristianity.com.
Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Chris, and she says, I called a few days ago, but I didn't quite get to ask my question properly. I'm wondering, can someone be saved if they don't read the Bible? Hmm. Yeah, that's sort of similar to the other Chris who called with the question about is it a sin to not do my devotions?
I think this one's a little bit easier in one sense, right? Because throughout the history of the church, there have been many people, solid believers, especially early on, right? We have the Bible as we do today, but the first century church did not have the Bible like we have it. I mean, they were a part of a community where they would gather together to hear the scriptures read and to hear the scriptures sung, and that's how the word of God was being instilled into the people of God. I still think, frankly, this might be shocking to you, but I still think that's the primary way in which the scriptures are meant to be instilled into our hearts is through the worship of the church, not in isolation on our own. This is why many throughout the history of the church have said that ordinarily, outside of the church, there is no salvation, not that your church membership is what saves you, but that the church community, the body of Christ, is so integral to what it means to be a Christian that if somebody just rejects that, there's a real spiritual problem there. To say, I love Jesus, but I don't like his bride.
I don't care for the bride. I'm connected to Jesus, united to Jesus, but not united to his bride. That's a contradiction, brothers and sisters, and so we need to have a high view of the word of God, receiving the word of God into our hearts by faith and growing together with the community of faith, and we're saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and that alone, and so our confidence is in the gospel.
Thank you. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-22 12:23:27 / 2023-11-22 12:34:37 / 11