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How Do We Reconcile God's Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility in Salvation?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
March 24, 2020 1:00 am

How Do We Reconcile God's Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility in Salvation?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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March 24, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 407 | Dr. Michael Horton and Adriel Sanchez answer caller questions.

Show Notes

Key questions answered in today's show:

1. I confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and asked him to come into my heart and try to believe the gospel and tried to live out the life with his grace but then I fell away. I have been slowly and slowly hardening my heart and living in sin to the point of I would rather live in sin rather than–I guess, to make a long story short, if hell was paradise without God, I guess I would rather go there. So, how do I address my heart condition? I suppose I was never saved to begin with or maybe I was and lost my salvation or I guess I don’t know what’s going on. But I know what I’m doing is not right and I seem to be in a slimy pit.

2. I occasionally listen to your radio program and had a couple of related questions that I was hoping you could address. God explicitly and authoritatively designates the seventh day of creation as a holy day and reminds Abraham’s seed about its holiness in the heart of the Ten Commandments. A change to the Sabbath day as stated in the 4th Commandment would be monumental. Wouldn’t a change to His holy day necessitate an explicit “thus saith the LORD” to set everybody straight as to which day is holy and sanctified by God? Where in the Bible is a change of this magnitude explicitly announced?    

3. How do you reconcile God's sovereignty and man's responsibility in salvation?


Putting Amazing Back into Grace: Embracing The Heart Of The Gospel  by Michael Horton

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This is core Christianity, where answering your questions about the Christian life Monday through Friday.

Your hosts are author and seminary professor Dr. Michael Horton and Pastor atrial Sanchez call right now with your question.

At 1833. The core that's 1-833-843-2673 and now here's atrial Sanchez. Welcome back to the core where answering your questions about the faith. So good to be together again. I'm with Prof. Michael Horton, I'm Pastor atrial Sanchez Mike is good to see you, always atrial. Nearly 2 in five churchgoers report regularly attending multiple churches do you go to church every Sunday and you go to the same church every Sunday.

I'm finding this is something that's happening more and I've experienced this is a pastor yet people were going to different churches about your church sometimes and then when the preaching maybe is not as good as I'd like out visit another church and then will kinda switch around kind of an interesting thing is coming to in five churchgoers this from bonded declining church loyalty or what is sometimes referred to as church hopping is becoming a common feature of churchgoing just because somebody might attend a church doesn't mean they attend the same church every time while a majority of churchgoers tend to stick with a single congregation.

63% of church adults 72% of practicing Christians a sizable minority is at least occasionally attending other churches, including nearly 2 in five church to adults 30%, and one quarter of practicing Christians 27% so 1/4 of practicing Christians go to more than one church. Yeah, I mean you can understand when somebody is sort of checking out churches that are moved to town or what have you there looking for church. The preacher's Christ from all the Scriptures, but to be a member of a church and then kind of hop around. I think we forget that each local church that were members of is is a local expression of the body of Christ.

We made commitments we've made promises to that local body, not just to the church in general but in that particular local church. Yet you know that word commitment is not an out-of-court down like is my generation, I think, and I wonder if it isn't that believers are saying I want to get the youth ministry over here at this church.

And then I like that the music the worship that this other church are like the preaching consumer letter yet. It's consumerism we don't have a sense of how I'm joined to a local body as a member to be under the ministry of the word and to grow together with the people that are there and they may not be the people that I typically hang out with you throughout the week, but that the people that God is called me to grow together within in my faith. And so it's really important it's really important for our own growth in grace and sanctification to be committed. Members of local churches and if or not we tend to stray them in this way, the author of the Hebrew says, you know, encourage one another, day by day. Lester hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. We got a phone call here that really mean that.

That's the heart of this question here.

How do we continue to walk with the Lord and not fall away, but listening to this call Aaron Marquardt and welcome Christ as Lord and asked him, my ardent try to believe the gospel and try to live out alive. But then I fell away and nano slowly and slowly targeting my heart and let them send to the point where I'd rather Levinson I guess. So long story short of hell was a paradise without God.

I guess I learned to go there so how to lie address. My heart condition. I suppose I was never saved to begin local or maybe outlaws are lost my solvation owner. I guess I don't know what's going on but I know what I'm doing is not right and I seem to be in a slimy yeah Aaron, thanks for the call. Thanks for the honesty will the apostle Paul says in Philippians 16, that he who began a good work and you will complete it to the day of Christ Jesus, so I think we can eliminate you were saving, you've lost your salvation. If you entrusted yourself to Jesus Christ you turn from your sins to Jesus Christ as your Savior, your believer, you might be a struggling believer you know you mentioned a couple of times there in your question try. I've tried a I've tried to believe. I've tried to live for the Lord by his grace, and so forth. Really it comes down to two things. Aaron, 1 W is repentance. What is it mean to repent and believe it means to change your mind about your idols. It's it it's basically saying I agree with God that the way I'm living is sin. I no longer believe I have a right to that, I turned my back on it and interning my back to it. I turn forward, looking at Christ and that's faith. So I turn from whatever isn't Christ, including my sin and including trusting in my righteousness. I turn away from it all and look to Christ in faith. That's a decisive conversion, you know, repentance and faith made happen to you sometime ago may have happened last week, but the important thing right now Aaron is can you say you repent and believe right now do you look away from all that holds you back from looking to Jesus Christ fixing your eyes on him as I wouldn't get caught up in questions like is my faith strong enough. What's the quality of my repentance. Really, the issue is root repent and turn from your sins and believe look to Jesus Christ were told, and in the in John five that if you believe in Christ you passed from death to life.

You will not come into judgment. That's what it said, you will not.

He has passed from death to life and will not come into judgment. Whoever believes do you believe in Jesus Christ, not how much do you believe not.

What's the quality of your faith. You have ups and downs you ever have doubts so forth, throw all that to the side. The question is do you believe in Jesus Christ and if you say you believe in Christ then you're putting to death the deeds of the body. You're saying no to sin in our faith and our repentance are imperfect in this life.

You can't let the weakness of your faith or the imperfection of your repentance keep you from the confidence and the assurance that you are looking to Christ and on that basis. Aaron, you put to death those deeds of the sinful nature. It's gonna be a war for the rest of your life, but you're in it because Christ is your captain and if he's not then you're not repentant and if you're not repentant. I you know I can only tell you Erin without any lack of confidence because of what the Scriptures teach even though it's hard to say as well as to hear that hell is not a paradise without God anyplace without God is not paradise so you can be confident that you are still under the condemnation of God. If you don't repent and believe in Christ but don't let the weakness of your faith and repentance keep you from looking to Christ and on that basis, struggling against your sin and you know Aaron, the very fact that your calling us asking this right shin thinking about how to work through the thing that tells me that you haven't just given up thrown in the towel cast aside your faith that you that you want to think about the want to know how ideal he said how I deal with this heart condition will we need is weed a new heart. Megan comes to us from the Lord.

It's a it's a gift that the Lord gives to us through the gospel through the gospel.

And if God is giving that by faith will then you can rest assured that the Lord is never going to leave you or forsake you.

Like the author. The Hebrew says and just some maybe some practical tips and things that you can do. I would encourage you to sit down with the book of Hebrews and read through it because the book of Hebrews is written to Christians were wrestling with this desire to turn back coursing. I don't really know if I want this. I don't really know in the other the resisting know, let us hold fast to our confession because the reality of the gospel. The anchor of our hope is so sure so real it's for you cling to it cling to Jesus's is what you hear over and over and over again in the book of yours and I think you'll find that book to be really helpful. And with that you week we talked about this at the opening of the program, which is the importance of the local church, you can't do this alone. None of us can the other the Hebrews. Again, let me just read it. Hebrews 312. Take care brothers, lest there be any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

But exhort one another every day as long as it is called today that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. It's so easy to grow hardhearted when were alone when were isolated with our sins we need the body of Christ and that's what he goes on to say, do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, which is the habit of something and so brother, I hope you take that encouragement and may the Lord bless you as you dig into his word and if you get plugged into Christian community. Can we pray pray for Aaron yeah please do carefully. Father, I just ask that you would give Aaron a new heart. If he doesn't already have one that you would soften his heart that you would impress upon his heart the greatness of his sin and misery, and the, the greatness of your grace and mercy in Jesus Christ.

I pray that he would clean to the promises that you've given that all who come to him.

He will never cast out, and you will not only save from condemnation, but you will save from the tyranny of sin, pray this in Jesus name. And for all of us payment amen is an email that we received from Hector. I occasionally listen to your radio program and had a couple of related questions that I was hoping you could address God explicitly and authoritatively designates the seventh day of creation is a holy day and reminds Abraham's seed, about its holiness in the heart of the 10 Commandments, a change to the Sabbath day.

As stated in the fourth commandment would be monumental when change to his holy day necessitate an explicit, thus saith the Lord, to set everybody straight as to which day is holy and sanctified by God where in the Bible is a change of this magnitude explicitly announced really good question Hector. I mean I'm you're on to something right because in the Old Testament. The Jews worship God on the seventh day, the Sabbath, and then all of a sudden the New Testament you have Christians gathering together on the first day of the week and for the last 2000 years that would we've done as Christians have gathered together on Sunday on the Lord's day, and so how can we justify that and I know that there are some Christian groups to say no. We need to go back to worshiping on the Sabbath for the very same reasons Hector that you mentioned.

Where is the explicit command in the Bible that God says you're supposed to worship now on said we don't see it. So how can we justify our practice will I think there's something really important here and try to break it down like this.

It's not just with this, that the Scriptures explicitly command that were supposed to embrace for us and for our lives, but also the very things which we can deduce from the Scriptures by what we sometimes call good and necessary consequence. The words, there are some monumental events in in the Bible that take place that lead to shifts like this by good and necessary consequence and Jesus even use this sort of method of teaching the limit. Let me try to explain that a little bit more. For example, when he's arguing in favor of the resurrection of the dead with the Sadducees to remember the Sadducees, they didn't believe in the resurrection they believe in the first five books of the Torah. This it will. Nowhere in the first five books of the Torah. Do we have this doctrine of the resurrection. And yet Jesus proves it to them and how does Jesus prove it to them. He says he quotes from the first five books guilty for God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He's not the God of the dead. But the God of the living that you read that text you think what is that about the resurrection.

Well, Jesus is yeah by good and necessary consequence because God is the God of the living.

There has to be a resurrection of the dead is oat them and think about it how Jesus is using the Scriptures here by good and necessary consequence.

He saying that there's a resurrection from the dead, and I would say there was this monumental event that happened in the history of redemption that causes us to as believers in Jesus worship on Sunday. Now what is that event.

It's the resurrection I mean talk about something that's earthshaking Jesus, the son of God rising again from the dead on the first day of the week Sunday and it seems like immediately what you have. After that in the New Testament is the disciples gathering together on the first of the week. Listen to what Paul says in first Corinthians chapter 16 verse one concerning the collection for the saints as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do on the first day of every week. Each of you is to put something aside and store it up as he may prosper there in the book of acts as early as the book of acts. The disciples are gathering together on the first day of the week and you see this in acts acts chapter 20 verse seven on the first day of the week when we were gathered together to break bread. Probably a reference there to the Lord's supper. This is the church gathering the holy gathering of God's people.

Paul talked with them intending to depart on the next day and he prolonged his speech until midnight. He's preaching the word of God and so you to see him it's it's as if the disciples themselves knew that something so huge something so monumental had taken place that now were gathering together on the first day of the week. On Sunday Jan and John says that he was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, we had the book of Revelation.

He received a revelation from Jesus so significant that they keep mentioning the first day of the week which is the Lord's day because of course the Sabbath was the Lord's day in the Old Testament divorces, Sabbath, Sabbath, Lord's day so really I think I totally agree with you enroll the good and necessary consequences argument. That's terrific but I actually I actually think that you have it explicitly said in the very verses that you quoted there that this is when the Church of God gathers as a call as an assembly when it synagogues together and it's called the Lord's day that Shirley means that if we are worshiping on the wrong day than the first Christians were worshiping on the wrong day as well. You're listening to core Christianity and were answering your questions about the fate if you have a question about the Bible give us a call at 1-833-843-2673. That's 1833 the core.

You can also email us at questions at core, and Mike today we have a great offer for our listeners. In fact today were offering the book that helped the launch this show think federal yeah over the years many Christians of Germany. Their struggle to see how the Bible is put together. You know how do you just open up second Samuel, for example, Anders start reading one of the doctrines, the core beliefs that we have that help us to read and understand what the Bible's teaching and how is it relevant for life in the 21st century. So I wrote core Christianity to focus on the essential Christian beliefs firm kind of introductory level with your new Christian or you're a mature Christian. But you kind of wonder refresher you just want to go back over that familiar ground in a new way. I hope you get this.

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Thanks much for listening and I hope you will get your copy of core Christianity today. Thanks, Mike. You can also call us at 833-843-2673 for help receiving any of our offers. Okay we have a question here about one of the greatest mysteries of debated throughout the history of the church as it was God's sovereignty less listen into this call. Hello Dr. Mike best Rachel.

My question is how do you reconcile God's sovereignty and man's responsibility and salvation so much absolutely core question.

First of all I think we have to realize the condition in which we come into the world were born according to Ephesians 21 through five, born dead in trespasses and sins that were born dead spiritually and so that eliminates any activity on our part until God makes us alive and that's what Paul says in verse five of Ephesians 2 while you were dead. He made you alive by grace are you saved. It's by grace because even even when we were that what what were we doing when we were born again did we believe and then we were born again. No, we word born again so that we would believe he made us alive while we were dead by grace you are saved, it's all God's work from start to finish and then it's not like well okay then he sort of leaves you to yourself gives you faith all over Scripture. In fact there in Ephesians 2. For by grace are you saved through faith and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not of works, so that no one can boast.

And then we are created in Christ Jesus for good works.

Verse 10, which God prepared beforehand, that we would walk in them. So even the good works that are the fruit of the new birth and of justification and of faith and sanctification.

Even the fruit of the good works that are the fruit of that are already prepared before hand by God for us to walk in another words even that's grace there's no point at which God stops and says okay now you know you drive. I've driven most of the, the, the way now I want you to get the driver seat and take over. Rather, from the beginning to the end. Jesus Christ is the driver it's his grace that makes us alive.

It's his grace that causes us to grow. It's his grace that causes us to say no to sin. I think the problem in this whole debate over centuries often is. We think of it as a teeter totter yet, all the more God goes up we go down and the more we go up. God goes down. It's a kind of competitive view of who does more and salvation God or us. Instead, what we find in the Bible is, it's precisely because of God's grace that we believe in Christ that we repent that we grow in grace that we perform good works is because of his grace, son his grace versus our works.

It's his grace producing our works. God is the one at work in us both to will and to do for his own good pleasure. Philippians 212 and 13. So what does that mean what is it come down to it means this that we have responsibility to believe in Christ we have responsibility to repent of our sins of responsibility to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have a responsibility to put forth the fruit of the spirit instead of the fruit of the flesh, but we cannot fulfill any of those responsibilities apart from the sovereign grace of God in Jesus Christ. He chose us, he redeemed us. He regenerated us. He justified us.

That means declared us righteous. He is sanctifying us that is conforming us daily to the image of his son Monday. He will glorify us all the work of God, yet also we have responsibilities to respond in repentance and faith. I hope that's helpful. APA firm just to think of it, not in terms of competition between God and humans.

God's sovereignty and human responsibility, but rather to see that God we can only fulfill the responsibilities that God gives to us because he has already given us his grace. Amen Mike you not just want to speak to you listening right now this might be really new to you. If you think about some of these concepts because I know that a lot of Christian teachers say when they talk about God and our relationship with the Lord. They make it seem like we do everything and all you were the ones who are in control and you confronted with this idea of God's sovereignty.

What you see all over the pages of Scripture and you just think what I mean.

It's almost kind of scary at first, our member what when I first began to think about this. My cousin is a newer believer and really feeling like I'll blame so small, God is a lot bigger than I thought he wasn't at first, it can be a little daunting, but then you realize how comforting this truth is, you know that was my experience to Israel. I remember from my Bible across the room was a teenager and I I was taught that basically he made it possible for me to be say, but then when it comes to actually" getting saved. That was up to me thousand in my hands and I was rooting for Romans transformed by the doctrine of justification earlier in the in the letter and all man this is really greatest hits all of grace, but I was still thinking yeah, but I decide whether his grace is going to be effective, you are not then I got to chapter 9. Paul just doesn't leave any question. He says it's not of man who wills or of man who runs, but of God who shows mercy for he chose Jacob and he rejected Esau, you will say to me then, is God unfair may it never be. He said he says God has the right to make from the same lump of clay. Some vessels for mercy and some vessels for destruction. This leads us to rejoicing and confidence and assurance in God's grace when he began he will complete. Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit and click on offers in the menu for or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33 core when you contact us.

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