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Can True Christians Commit Heinous Sins?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
December 12, 2023 5:10 pm

Can True Christians Commit Heinous Sins?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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December 12, 2023 5:10 pm

Episode 1378 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

 CoreChristianity.com

Questions in this Episode

 

1. Are Apocryphal books heretical or helpful?   2. How can the Bible say that Jesus, as God, is sitting at God's right hand?   3. According to Romans 13, should Mordecai have honored Haman?   4. What does it mean to be a "carnal Christian"?   5. What Scriptures can you offer to encourage me to pray?       Today’s Offer: WE BELIEVE: THE NICENE CREED STUDY   Want to partner with us in our work here at Core Christianity? Consider becoming a member of the Inner Core.   View our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone.

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Can true Christians commit heinous sins? 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. Our phone lines are open right now, and you can call us for the next 25 minutes. Jot this number down. It's 833.

The CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, including YouTube, where you can watch Adriel live in the studio every day at 1130 a.m. Pacific time. So check out his little Christmas tree there and send him your question. You can also email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Well, first up today, let's go to a voicemail. This is from Ian. I just wanted to say I've been listening to your program almost daily, honestly. It got saved a few months ago. It's really helped me in my faith.

I really appreciate that. I guess my question is about the apocryphal books of the Bible. You know, the ones that are embraced by Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. I'm a Protestant. I guess my question is, how do we interpret those books of the Bible? Are they heretical? I know they were not, you know, introduced and accountable to my fear.

I just don't know how we should view those books. Thank you so much. I appreciate you guys.

Hey, Ian. Thank you for your encouragement. And I'm glad to hear that you discovered the broadcast and that it's been a blessing to you. Please keep us in your prayers as we seek to encourage others in their faith. And this is an excellent question. So what do we do with these apocryphal books that are in, you know, the Catholic Bible or the Eastern Orthodox Bible, Roman Catholic Bible?

How do we view them? I don't think we need to view them as heretical. In fact, in some places of the New Testament, like in Jude and in Second Peter, I believe some of them are actually quoted. Now, that doesn't mean that they are divinely inspired. And I don't think that the Jews under the Old Testament viewed them as divinely inspired. The people in Jesus's day, for example, they've always kind of had a second place to the canon of scripture, I would say.

Now, they were elevated by others, like the Roman Catholics later on. But we don't receive them as the inspired word of God. So I think what you can do is you can glean some historical background stuff, see some of what was going on in what we sometimes refer to as the intertestamental period at the time between Malachi and the Gospels.

And so you have some history there. You also have some of, you know, the beliefs of people at that time. And so I would encourage you to read them if you'd like, but just not to treat them on par with scripture. And what kind of authority does scripture have? Well, we believe that it's God-breathed, as Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3, verse 16. All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be complete equipped for every good work. And so we don't see those books as fulfilling that function, as being God-breathed.

But we can see benefit to them, and like I said, some history there as well. And so I appreciate the question, and have fun reading them, but make sure that you're sticking to the word and digging into Holy Scripture every day. And then of course we have the Gospel of Thomas, where Jesus turned the clay bird into a real bird.

I think we probably want to ignore that one too. Yeah, Bill, didn't you tell me one day that that was your favorite Gospel of the Gospels? I said, you know, Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, you said Thomas.

And I was very concerned, actually. Yeah, it's funny, some of those, yeah, like the Gospel of Thomas is just wild. I mean, if you're looking to read something that'll make you laugh, I think you can check out the Gospel of Thomas.

Because it's just sort of so out there. It's very clearly not in line with or on par with the four canonical Gospels. And this is, by the way, you know, sometimes people ask the question, well, how do we know which books were inspired and which books weren't inspired? And there's a number of things that go into that, but really the Church received these books as divinely inspired. Many of them were written by an apostle or someone associated with the apostles.

They're old, meaning, you know, this wasn't something that came up, you know, a lot later. They have Catholicity, which we sometimes refer to as, you know, the whole Church received these books. It wasn't just one group over here or a sect over there that was saying, oh, this is true.

No, the whole Church together was receiving these as inspired by the Lord. And I think as you read scripture, we believe that it has a self-authenticating ability. I mean, the Spirit testifies with our spirits and with our minds that this is indeed the Word of God. And so dig into the Bible. And if you have any questions about the Bible's power, dig into the Bible, because you'll see just by reading and studying it, it's really amazing.

Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, doctrine, theology, we'd love to hear from you.

If you have any doubts about the Christian faith, hey, we're open to your questions as well. Feel free to give us a call right now. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also email us anytime at questions at corechristianity.com. Here's an interesting question from one of our listeners named Joshua. He emailed us and said, I think I understand that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and that Jesus is God in the flesh. But my wife asked me the other day, how is Jesus God if he sits at the right hand of God? I was wondering if you could better explain this for me. Thank you, and I love what you're doing.

Hey, Joshua, appreciate this question, and I hope you and your wife can sit down and talk about this. I mean, so we distinguish between the three persons of the Holy Trinity. Being seated at the right hand of the Father, I mean, what that speaks of is a place of authority and power. I mean, you think of Jesus' ascension into heaven, and what does he tell the disciples there in the Great Commission in Matthew 28?

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. You have a picture of that, actually, in the book of Revelation, Revelation chapter 5. I would encourage you to read it, thinking about the ascension of Jesus Christ, because it really is. It's that scene, Christ ascending into heaven, Revelation chapter 5, receiving all authority and power, opening up the seals of human history and all creation, worshipping him.

We're not thinking about some physical location, per se, as much as what's being communicated through this idea of Christ being seated at the right hand of glory, this position of authority and prestige. But to your question to your wife, we believe that God is one, but we believe that God is three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And so the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit.

These are distinct persons. This is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. There are three persons in the Godhead, the same in substance, equal in power and in glory.

The word sometimes that theologians have used for this is consubstantial, of the same substance. And this is what many of the early heretics missed, heretics like the Arians. They said that Jesus was of a similar substance, not the same substance, but a similar substance to the Father. He's divine, kind of like a lesser divine being or something like that, but that raises all sorts of other issues. And the Church has always said that God the Son, Jesus our Lord, is equal to the Father. And same with the Holy Spirit. And so while they are one, same in substance, equal in power and glory, they're distinct persons of the Holy Trinity.

So it's not an issue that Scripture says that the Son is seated at the right hand of the Father. Appreciate that email, Joshua. God bless you guys. You're listening to Quora Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

Let's go to Viola calling in from St. Louis. Viola, what's your question for Adriel? Yes. Hello. Thank you for what you do.

I appreciate all you're doing for us. I want to ask you about Esther chapter 3 verses 1 and 2. This is where Haman is promoted by the king. But Mordecai, Esther's uncle, would not acknowledge him as such. He wouldn't bow down to him. He would not give him any reverence. And I was just wondering about Romans 13.1, how we're supposed to be governed by the authorities placed over us, knowing that God is the ultimate authority and he puts those people in position. So I was just wondering why is it Mordecai is actually promoting him and all of that, but he would not kneel.

Yes. Well, Viola, the problem is he just didn't have Paul's letter to the Romans. It hadn't been written yet. Probably not that, but we are called. It's an excellent question because we are called in Romans 13 verse 1, it says, Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. This is a hard passage for many people because we want to say, okay, I don't have to listen to this authority in my life, whatever the authority is. Maybe it's civil government.

Maybe it's my boss in the workplace or whatever. I disagree with them on this, so I'm just not going to listen. And yet there is this call to honor authority in Scripture, and it's actually rooted in the Ten Commandments. The call to honor your father and your mother extends outwards to all of the authorities in our lives. And so there is, I mean, we can call it a loophole or an exception, and that exception would be, you see this in the Book of Acts, is when the ultimate authority is dismissed, when God is dismissed. And so if civil government is saying, well, you can't preach the gospel, or, you know, briefly authorities say that to us is what's happening in the Book of Acts, and we can respond by saying, hey, it's more important for us to obey God. We can't disobey God in obeying you. And so you see this also in the Book of Daniel, right? When Daniel was commanded to bow down and commit idolatry, he doesn't do it. And so there are instances where, you know, we're called actually to disobey, and disobeying the authority would be the right thing to do, although I think a lot of times in our lives we're looking for a reason to not have to obey, and we really don't have it. And so, you know, it's a complex question, but all in all, we are ordinarily called to obey the authorities that God has placed in our lives when they're not calling us to sin for God's glory and for God's honor.

And so in that situation in Esther chapter 3, I'd have to look a little bit more closely, but again, there are instances where when we're called to do something that's wrong or evil, we disobey. And so, Viola, always good to hear from you. Thank you for your question, and may the Lord bless you. You're listening to CORE Christianity. We would love to hear your question. If you want to ask us about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, or theology, maybe something going on at your church, something that's concerning you right now, or something going on in your personal Christian walk, and you could use some prayer for that. Give us a call at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Ramona calling in from Tennessee. Ramona, what's your question for Adriel? Oh, hello, and thank you so much for your ministry. I listen every day, and I love you guys. I just want to know, I've never heard a good explanation of what is a carnal Christian, please. Hey, Ramona.

Thank you for your kind encouragement. Well, this language comes from the book of 1 Corinthians. This is Paul's letter to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians chapter 3. And Paul's writing to a church. If you're familiar with the book of 1 Corinthians or with the Corinthian church, it's obvious from Paul's letter that they had a lot of problems, a lot of problems with Christian maturity. In truth, they weren't really showing forth the fruit of the Holy Spirit like they should have been.

Love in particular, and that's why you have that famous chapter in chapter 13, oftentimes we read it at weddings, all about love. Well, it really is a rebuke to the Corinthian church. A lot of people miss this, but it's sort of a subtle rebuke that Paul is providing to the Corinthians, saying, hey, this is what love is, and you guys aren't loving.

You guys are really falling short. You guys are being carnal. And again, that language comes from chapter 3. Let me just read verse 1. But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh. So it's contrasted with being spiritual. People as the flesh, as infants in Christ.

I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? And so this is where sometimes people have gotten this category of a carnal Christian.

Now, I don't know that we need to go that far. I think what he's just saying is you guys are being immature. You guys are being immature. This is spiritually immature. There's jealousy, there's strife. I couldn't even give you the meat of God's word.

I had to feed you guys with the bottle, with baby food, because you weren't ready for it. And so when people use this language of carnal Christian, they're taking that from 1 Corinthians chapter 3. And I think the simple definition, you know, you ask, what is a carnal Christian? It's an infant in Christ, someone who's immature in their faith. And that's shown forth by jealousy and some of these other things.

Now, does that make it okay? No, of course, he's calling them to grow, to mature, to be characterized by the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is what he makes very clear as the book continues. And so God help each one of us to grow in our faith in Christ and to mature more and more in faith, hope, and love, so that we might serve one another and love one another as we are called to. God bless, Ramona. I don't want to be like those Corinthians. I want to be like the Bereans.

Yes. Yeah, me too, Bill. I think you're well on your way, so keep up the good work. Thank you.

This is Core Christianity. We'd love to hear from you. If you have a question for Adriel about the Bible or the Christian life, give us a call at 833-THE-CORE. We'll be taking calls for another 10 minutes or so.

833-843-2673. By the way, we have a great resource we want to mention to you today. It's a new Bible study on the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. And we get a lot of questions about that here at Core Christianity, like, well, what are really the most important things? And, well, my church believes this.

Is that right or not? And so Adriel and the team have come up with this great resource that we'd like to get to you today. Yeah, the study is called We Believe, and it's a 10-lesson or 10-week study, however you want to break it up, on the Nicene Creed. It's a fourth-century Christian creed. We sometimes refer to it as coming out of what's known as an ecumenical council, meaning the church came together to discuss some of the theological controversies of the day, and in particular to talk about who God is and what He's done for us. And the Nicene Creed that came out of this gathering together of Christians really has been foundational in terms of articulating the core doctrines of the Christian faith for many, many years. Now, it's not about church tradition. It really is about shining a light on the clear teaching of Scripture.

And so many people don't understand those core doctrines, and that's, again, why we created this resource. I hope that you'll get a hold of it. It's a study for you for a gift of $25 or more. We have some wonderful Bible studies on our website, and this one in particular we think would be really helpful to you if you're a small group leader or you lead a Sunday school class. Check it out, our newest Bible study, We Believe. We'll send it to you for a gift of $25 or more. You can find it by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers, or you can call us for that offer or any one of our offers at 833-843-2673.

Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core, and here's one that came in from one of our listeners named June. I heard a lot of pastors are preaching about our salvation, that once you're saved, you're saved eternally. What about those people who, they're a Christian right now, and then they commit some major mistake?

I was going to say, my question is this. Do you think his salvation was affected by his actions? I appreciate your help today.

Thank you, sir. What happens to a Christian who commits a terrible sin, a heinous sin? Someone who has a relationship with God is filled with the Holy Spirit, and then they go and, I mean, we can say commit adultery or murder. Now, you have examples of this in the Bible, don't you?

You think of King David, for example, there in the Old Testament. I mean, talk about someone who knew the goodness of God, who knew the love of God, who knew the miracles of the Lord. God had delivered him time and time again. He had seen the hand of God, and the hand of God was clearly on his life, and yet he committed heinous sin.

Now, what do we make of that? Of course, we know that God forgave him, and so one thing I would want to just say, because I know that a lot of people listen, they think, oh, no, I've committed a heinous sin. Am I totally doomed? No, there's always the hope of repentance, of turning to God, and if you are a Christian and you've committed a heinous sin, then turn to the Lord. Don't let the devil tell you that it's hopeless for you now because of what you've done.

Turn to the Lord in faith and say, have mercy upon me, Lord, a sinner, and receive his grace. Now, for the one who is truly justified, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, sealed by the Holy Spirit, as the apostle Paul said in Ephesians chapter 1, does that person lose their justified status? Are they no longer a child of God the moment they commit a heinous sin?

I think that the answer is no. We do grieve the Holy Spirit, and because God loves us as his children, he disciplines us. I don't think that you can be a true follower of Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and live in sin without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and so if this is a pattern in someone's life, and they're committing these heinous sins, oh, I said a prayer when I was younger, I accepted Jesus into my heart, I'm good to go, but there really is no desire to follow the Lord or love for God.

I mean, I would have some really serious questions. I think that person should be called to repentance and maybe to faith for the first time, because it sounds to me like they've confused what it means to believe in and follow Christ, but for those who are saved, who do have a relationship with the Lord, and yes, even that person can fall, can commit heinous sin, doesn't ever make it okay, and of course we're called to fight against and put to death our sin, but even that person I don't think loses their salvation, and even that person is going to be called to repentance. God is going to keep them, cause them to persevere by his grace. Jesus says in the Gospel of John, I don't lose any of my own, so I think that while we can wander and struggle and stray, Christ is the Good Shepherd who brings us back. Luke 15, he chases us down, he throws us over his shoulders, and our hope isn't in the fact that we're perfect, it's in the fact that we have a Good Shepherd who pursues us and who causes us to persevere in grace and faith and hope and love, so that we do grow more and more, and so I appreciate you calling in and hopefully that clears things up for you. May God bless you as you continue to seek him and walk with him. What's that old hymn, Prone to Wander, Lord I Feel It?

Yikes! Happens to all of us, right? Oh boy, I love that line, come thou fount of every blessing, I think is the hymn, prone to wander, Lord I Feel It, prone to leave the God I love, here's my heart, oh take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above. Some of those songs that we sing, there are some lines where you're just like, oh yeah, I can sing that for sure, Lord, I'm being honest when I say, prone to wander, Lord I Feel It, and I need you God, I need you to take my heart and seal it, I need you to tether me to you. I remember reading in Psalm 119 where the psalmist says, don't let me wander from your commandments, Lord, and thinking, yeah, I need that, we need to pray like that, because we all have that tendency, that propensity to wander, and so may God, and he does, he promises that he will, may God keep us and strengthen us in the faith and give us peace and comfort in knowing that he will never leave us or forsake us.

Amen. You're listening to CORE Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Just a programming note, we're going to be recording a second episode of the CORE here in just a few minutes, so if you weren't able to get through during our live program, well, you can still call in with your question for Adriel for the next 35 minutes or so.

833-THE-CORE is the number, that's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Sherry calling in from Nebraska. Sherry, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, I've been a Christian and baptized and trusted the Lord for many, many years, and recently I just had a bout of anything and anything that could go wrong, mostly with my health, which I'm on the word recovery now, and since then, I mean, during that time I cried out to the Lord and I felt like I didn't get a response from him, and now I'm finding it really hard to go back to him in prayer, kind of like he's going to, he's not listening, he's going to let me down, and I just need to know if there's some scriptures or there's something that I can go back to.

Sherry, thank you. And, you know, when we struggle with prayer and to pray, there are often so many different reasons for why that might be. Sometimes it's our own shortcomings, and we feel I'm not worthy to come before the Lord.

It doesn't sound like that's what it is for you. Sometimes it's questioning whether the Lord hears us because of something we've experienced, something difficult or something traumatic. And in situations like that, I think, you know, what scriptures can you go to?

I don't know that there's one in particular. My mind immediately went to Romans chapter 8, where Paul, writing to this group of Christians, is able to identify the many things that they had suffered through, things like, you know, tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword, and he says, For your sake we are being killed all day long. We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. There's a sense of, God, where are you? Look at these things that we're going through. And he says, In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. In other words, God loves you, and that love, none of those things are going to separate you from that love. And you still have that love. You have that love, Sherry, even through your own medical difficulties that you've had. Look to the Lord. Know that he loves you, and he's shown you that in Jesus. God bless you. As we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-12 20:02:10 / 2023-12-12 20:12:43 / 11

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