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How Does a Loving God Justify the Holy Wars of the Old Testament?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
February 17, 2020 1:00 am

How Does a Loving God Justify the Holy Wars of the Old Testament?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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February 17, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 381 | Dr. Michael Horton and Adriel Sanchez answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

Key questions answered in today's show:

1.  I have been reading the Old Testament and I see where the Ishmaelites have the crescent moon. What is that all about, and does this have anything to do with Muslims today?

2.  Is it wrong for a Christian to do good works to prove to themselves that they are saved and have Christ? Or should they obey because they have Christ already?

3. I know that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but I struggle with the way God is portrayed in the Old Testament. I have a hard time making sense of God using Israel judging nations through wars where women and children were killed.

4. Who are the spirits in prison in  1 Peter 3:19? Is this a kind of purgatory?

5.  How do you understand the passage in  Romans 8  where it says that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans too deep for words?

Resources

Knowing God  by J. I. Packer  

Putting Amazing Back into Grace: Embracing the Heart of the Gospel  by Michael Horton

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This is core Christianity were 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 will combat the core Christianity where we are talking about the word of God together professor Michael Horton, I'm Pastor atrial Sanchez and what a joy it is to be together again Mike, good to see you through a drill always you know, I've been thinking lately about how we need to be praying for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East media seems like there's so much conflict in coming and it's always been that way right.

But even ramping up more in recent days. I know you've spent some time traveling throughout the world, but in the Middle East a little bit and he spent some time in Israel could feel the tension while you were there, what was yeah it some you think about the fact that at one point a long time ago.

The majority of Christians were in the Middle East is wild and today it's somewhere around 1 1/2% of the Middle East.

It was well over half of the population in many places and so is just trunk you know we have a wonderful opportunity to meet Middle Eastern Christians in our neighborhoods. It's a great opportunity for us. We have to go all the way around the world to encourage our brothers and sisters. Lot of of the refugees are refugees here in our own in our own neighborhood. That's right.

What I was thinking about this also because we got a call here from Jackie. She's curious about the Old Testament and Islam with listening during WHERE a world one thing to do it today while I've never been asked that question Jackie, thanks for that. As far as I know the only place in the Old Testament where we read about a crescent moon is not really crescent moon but crescent ornaments in Judges 8 there's a reference there to the spoils of the Ishmaelites, which included golden crescent ornaments. Not quite sure exactly what that means what they look like it would be natural to imagine that the crescent moon symbol that we see on flags for Islamic nations today might have something to do without. After all, Muslims do trace their lineage to Ishmael, but there's nothing to the rumor that they were moon worshipers and this is the pagan source of Islam. You've seen that in the number of books written by Christians and it's both inaccurate and offensive to our Muslim neighbors. That's no way to gain the friendship of Muslims and share the good news of Christ with them. Muslims are absolutely opposed even more than some Christians to our shame having any kind of representations of God and what ever pagan origins were there in the history of pre-Islamic Arabia. Other societies that paganism was firmly rejected by Islam. So I want to share the gospel with our Muslim neighbors and to do that.

Let's not start with spurious rumors that they've heard from some Christians that just don't have any foundation in fact and start with what we do have foundation in fact for, namely, the resurrection of Jesus Christ and start from there to show people that he is one with the father.

He is the eternal son of the father, who became flesh for us and for our salvation. Yeah Jackie thank you for that question. Let's go to a Facebook message that we received from George. Is it wrong for a Christian to do good works to prove to themselves that they are saved and have Christ or should they obey because they have Christ already look George Christian obedience to flow from our gratitude toward God for his mercy in our lives. Paul told Timothy in first Timothy chapter 1 verse five. The aim of our charges love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith to our faith in Jesus Christ and his work on our behalf is really what should drive the love that we extend to the people around us that the good works sound doctrine the truth of the gospel is the soil in which good fruit grows and George. I think if you're focusing on your works and you taking your eyes off of Jesus and his work with and end up happening is, you'll be discouraged and and oftentimes confused. I can think back to the times in my own life where I started to focus more on myself. You would call it navelgazing measuring my works and and realizing I could. We always realizes Mike, as were as were looking within even the good works that we do fall short. The moment I look at my good works. You know I am.

I'm already pouring my selfishness and self-righteousness into it. Now George you might be thinking of because there are some passages in the Scriptures to talk about examining ourselves. For example, second Corinthians 13 verse five says examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith test yourselves.

We do not realize this about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed, you failed to meet the test more than another one that sometimes people go to second Peter chapter 1 verses 10 and 11. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election for if you practice these qualities you will never fall for in this way there will be richly provided for you and entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Here's what I think verses like that are getting toward. If you claim to be a Christian, but you're happily living in ways that on honoring to Jesus. Don't be deceived, and there are countless people today who perhaps assume they're going to heaven because they said a prayer or went up in a crusade, but actually never really understood the gospel. The answer to this isn't do good works, or do more good works to convince yourself that you're okay.

It's flee from your sins and lay hold of Jesus. Now we know that it is something that Mike we talked about on the program for assurance of our salvation is one of the things that a lot of genuine believers really struggle with George if you're wrestling with this wondering am I really saved. Don't focus on you works and trying to do good works to really convince yourself focus on God's word and the promise he gives you in Jesus Christ, that your sins are forgiven.

When you believe in him. Yeah, I thought you think that so sound a drill you you. We often talk about the law on the gospel.

On this program and being able to distinguish the law from the gospel while upholding both sometimes you need the law.

There are people who think as you said, well, I signed a card.

I prayed a prayer and I have it raise my hand at the altar Gazetteer relative who says he doesn't go to church has no interest in the things the Lord and but he says you know I got saved when I was seven years old and it know your trusting in an experience you had way back when that doesn't seem to be authentic. It doesn't have any fruit.

There is no fruit of it in your life. But then there are many many many Christians who will hear that and say oh yeah, I put a better look at my fruit possum is the people who need the law. Don't listen to it now.

Don't let it whack him upside the head and make them flee to Christ and people who need the gospel often turn to the law in order to give them assurance yeah you know when we say you just need to believe it obviously is everywhere in Scripture. Read John's Gospel read you know that the first letter that John writes his first epistle. Salvation is by grace through faith.

Faith alone is what saves us, but we really have to be careful that we define what that faith is because I think sometimes people hear that and they say okay will of if I just accept that Jesus existed and that he was real that he rose from the dead will that I got. I guess I'm saved many levels that it out yeah you think about there was that that the Jewish man anxiously peed right who who actually claim that he believed in the resurrection of Jesus, but he just didn't accept Jesus as the Messiah's of the of the evidence points to the fact that he really rose from the dead, but I don't really receive them by faith and trust in him and it's that element of fate that is key. Are you trusting in Jesus personally for your salvation.

For the forgiveness of your sins, not just yeah I agree that he existed. And a lot of people agree with that. It's I try. I flee to him. I trust in him alone and that faith will bear fruit. But it's not the fruit that justifies us or is the ground of our assurance.

That's right, George.

I hope that that's encouraging for you.

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The court thanks Mike.

Again the number is 833-843-2673 let's get another Facebook message we received from Brian.

I know that Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever. I struggle with the way God is portrayed in the Old Testament.

I have a hard time making sense of God using Israel judging nations through wars where women and children were killed really a different yeah and a lot of people wrestle with Mike, it is it this is a big one when you go back and reread the book of Joshua the cleansing of the land of actually the Old Testament reveals the same God is the new Brian in the Old Testament God is not only righteous and just.

But he's also loving and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and of the God we behold in the face of Jesus Christ isn't only loving and merciful, but he's also righteous and just so we have a God in both testaments was the same God. God created the world in justice and righteousness he created us in his image as reflecting his holiness and his righteousness, and yet we send we have gone our own way. We have rebelled against him.

We marred his creation with committed cosmic treason and so was really remarkable when you read about the holy wars of the Old Testament is how limited they were. You know, really, it was limited to a particular generation of particular place and time and we got remember what was happening at the time you had people squatting on God's land.

It was God's will, and it was in Israel's land.

It was the Canaanites lent it was God's land, they were not just Udo wandering around loitering in his land. They were offering their children to Molex. They were offering sacrifices to bail. They were idolaters they were ruthless in their treatment of other nations living in the land. These were were not savory folks. When you look at that, you say actually that's all of us. That's why the apostle Paul says in Romans 319. Therefore, by the law no flesh will be justified. No one is righteous, no not one. That means that the whole human race stands under God's judgment and condemnation so it's it's true that you have the flood and then the bloodied conquest of the land of Canaan.

In the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, Jesus himself as well as his apostles say, in effect, that's nothing that just a sneak preview the final judgment is global and it's for eternity. Everyone is going to face the judgment seat of Christ, and you have the wrath of the Lamb. Throughout the book of Revelation on it really making all of those holy wars of the Old Testament seem small by comparison.

So if you have trouble with the quarter quote God of the Old Testament you have trouble with the quote "God of the New Testament, the same God and the only difference is, whereas it was just a sneak preview. It was limited in its scope.

In the Old Testament, it will be universal and final. In the new. That's why we're this wonderful reprieve, this time between Christ to Cummings where is time to get in the ark. It's time to flee to Christ for safety sign to be like Rahab than the pagan prostitute who said I want to be part of the people of God, and even that story of Rahab highlights how God was merciful to those who turn to him absolutely and so in one of the things I wanted to say Brian is you know that the passage you were referring to.

Initially is in Hebrews chapter 13 I think it's really important that we understand in its context.

Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever. In verse seven, the author, the Hebrew said, remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.

Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. And then he says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings are really what's being focused on their is not necessarily the detour analogy in the preexistence of Christ, although that something that the author of the Hebrews really believes it's on the unchanging nature of the message of the gospel. This is what was preached to you foot but don't be led astray by strange and diverse teachings. Jesus is the same. Therefore the gospel message is the same throughout the Scriptures, and that's wonderful news. It's something that we can cling to. And so hopefully that's encouraging for you brother.

Let's go to another phone call now know how I know. Then-President and Peter 319 purgatory yeah yeah thanks Ava why this is the one verse that Roman Catholics appeal to for the doctrine of purgatory. First Peter three beginning at verse 18 for Christ also suffered once for sins by the way, that just gets for the purgatory right out of the gate. Christ suffered once on the cross for sins. There is no suffering for sins anywhere else, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison because they formally did not obey when God's patients waited in the days of Noah while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water baptism, which corresponds to this now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God with Angels, authorities and powers having been subjected to him. First of all that that ending there the point that sort of brings the argument to its climax, who has gone into heaven and is the right hand of God with Angels, authorities and powers having been subjected to him. Welcome back to that here in a second sort our Roman Catholic friends believe that Peter is referring to Jesus entering purgatory to preach the gospel to people there couldn't give them a second chance, but their problems with this first. Nowhere in Scripture do we read about purgatory a second chance in fact, it's the opposite. Hebrews 927 is appointed for men once to die, and then comes the judgment or John three for God so loved the world. Verse 16 that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Nothing about purgatory. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Whoever believes in him present tense. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only son of God, and then you have the parable of Lazarus and the rich man were Jesus talks about a chasm separating those who are in hell from those who are in the presence of God. Second, Ava Peter doesn't say that Jesus went to purgatory in between his crucifixion and resurrection.

Rather, he says he went to the prison where the spirits of the disobedient are held until the final judgment and there he proclaimed, not salvation as if it were a second chance to accept him as Savior. Rather, he proclaimed his victory. They were disobedient that generation that said no to God's gracious invitation to enter the ark and be saved.

They were disobedient to the very and refusing his his invitation, just as many people are today, Peter says so Noah proclaimed God's coming judgment and deliverance at God's command.

He invited all and sundry to enter the ark and be saved from the dilute spiritually that his temple logically. This pointed forward to the proclamation of deliverance from the ultimate judgment coming upon the world that Jesus is the true and greater arc of salvation, we come safely through the water and baptism, Peter says in this instance, and after Jesus gave up his soul before he was raised on Easter morning Jesus announced that victory in hell itself. That's why I say so important there the end of his argument raised ascended and is at the right hand of God with Angels, authorities and powers having been subjected to him, so I interpret this as saying that in between Good Friday and Easter Jesus, while his body lay in the grave his soul went and announced, proclaimed his victory.

His triumph in hell itself is dangling the keys saying I have the power of death and hell in my hands and he announced that victory, he announced that position of angels, authorities and powers having been subjected to him in hell for all of the masses of those who had rebelled against the gospel when it was proclaimed the good news when it was when an invitation went out to people temple logically to enter the ark in the old days. Let me just conclude affirming this from the apostle Paul in Colossians 2 beginning at verse 11. He says in him you also were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God raised him from the dead, and you, who were dead in your trespasses and the circumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by the way, how to have purgatory hug in suffer for your sins.

If God made him alive to get us to live together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.

This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

He disarmed what the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in him, so I think that what Peter saying is, Jesus went in that interim period between his his death and resurrection Jesus went and proclaimed his victory is triumph to the powers and authorities in hell and I think we take a step back and look at the context of first Peter that interpretation really makes a lot of sense because Peter is writing to Christians were suffering he's painting a picture of how Jesus is has gained the victory and he's he's been vindicated.

He's proclaiming his victory over the forces of death and hell and any bad news to them.

Good news to us who believe. That's right.

So while your suffering brothers and sisters as you're experiencing these trials. This pain know that death and hell have been conquered down. Got a question here about prayer that we received on Instagram from Ashley how you understand the passage in Romans eight where it says that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans too deep for words in a beautiful versus mysterious but wonderful. Romans 826 to 28 likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness or we do not know what to pray for as we ought. Isn't it nice that God knows we don't know what to pray for us. Stupid Christian I am. I don't even know what to pray for. Here's what God says.

For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words and he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose. In a fascinating image Ashley, the Holy Spirit, groaning the Holy Spirit is God and he is the person of the Trinity who indwells us. So he knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows the mind of the father to. So the sun is our mediator in heaven, and the spirit is our translator within our hearts with spirits groaning is parallel with our and the creations groaning until Christ returns in the key point that Paul seems to make here is that God knows what we need, even when we don't know how to ask because the Holy Spirit's very much aware of the futility of this present evil age. No one knows better than the third person of the Godhead indwelling us how prone to wander, we are help loan to prayer We are how prone to weakness and temptation.

We are the Holy Spirit makes this a within as we long for that final renovation of creation. When Jesus returns. Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us@corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu for or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33, the court when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time. As we explore the truth of God's word together


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