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What Does It Mean to "Bless the Lord"?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
May 10, 2024 5:00 pm

What Does It Mean to "Bless the Lord"?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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May 10, 2024 5:00 pm

Episode 1486 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

  1. Does Satan cause people to get sick? 2. What verses support the baptism of infants? 3. Do Roman Catholics teach that salvation is by works? 4. What does Psalm 103 mean when it says to "Bless the Lord"?     Today’s Offer: 5 Names of God You Should Know   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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What does it mean to bless the Lord? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, it's Bill Meyer along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites and of course you can always email us anytime at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today here's a voicemail from one of our younger listeners named Michael. Hi, this is Michael. I'm 10 years old and I want to ask you a question. So does Satan cause sickness for human and like disease for human or is that God for a purpose? This is Michael and I'm 10 years old. Hey Michael, thanks for giving us a call man.

Excellent, excellent question. So I mean a couple things I would want to say is one, all sickness, all disease you think of you know in the life of a believer can be used and is used by God for a purpose. The Bible makes it really clear Michael that the trials that we face in life that through them God is able to strengthen our faith, to mold us more into the image of Jesus. It's not like they're hopeless and it's not like they're worthless but God is actually really able to and does work in and through the sufferings we experience.

Paul says in Romans 8, through all of the tribulations that we experience we're more than conquerors through him who loved us and so that's a comfort that we have Michael as Christians that God works even through the difficult circumstances of our lives including sickness. Now sometimes in the Bible God does use Satan or allow Satan to afflict people with things like sickness and I think the most clear example of this in the Bible is in the book of Job. Satan went to God and got permission to afflict Job. You read in Job chapter 2 verse 7, Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head and Job took a piece of broken pottery and with it or with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.

It's just a really miserable sorry picture as Job is going through this terrible suffering. Now of course we know that even in these circumstances God was still at work. God was going to bring a resolution at the end of the book of Job in Job chapter 40 and so God is working and does work through these sicknesses. Sometimes sickness can be the result of demonic attack but we know that the Lord our God is ultimately sovereign over all of it so that even if Satan is guilty if he's the one who's bringing it bringing it about that he can't do anything outside of God's powerful oversight and that all things that happen to us as those who are called according to the purpose of God work together for our good.

Again, God is using it. It's a hard thing because when we go through any kind of suffering it doesn't feel pleasant. We grieve, we mourn, but we don't mourn as those who have no hope.

We have the hope that God is able to work even through our suffering. Michael, thank you so much for your question. Man, thanks for giving us a call and I hope that you reach out to us again if you have any more questions. Thanks, Michael.

We appreciate you. You know, just a follow-up question for you. I'm guessing you would also say we have to be careful that we don't get presumptuous about where a particular form of suffering or sickness comes from just like with Job's friends. Yeah, that's totally correct, Bill, because you know it's easy to say then well then is all sickness you know some sort of spiritual or demonic attack?

Well, no. I think of like when Paul was talking to Timothy and Timothy was having these frequent stomach problems who knows you know what the issue was but he had a constant stomach ache I guess and Paul says well you know have a little bit of wine to help settle your stomach. He doesn't say you know well Timothy you know you need to cast out the demon of you know stomach pain or something like that. It wasn't seen that way and so while sometimes it can be the result of spiritual attack that's not always the case. Sometimes it's just we live in a fallen world with sin but even when it's not demonic attack we still believe that it's you know under God's providential care and oversight and that he's still able to use it for his glory and our good. By the way, we have a great resource on the devil and how much power he might have in our lives. It's called Can the Devil Read My Mind and you can find that by going to corechristianity.com. Well, our phone lines are open if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life doctrine theology maybe something going on in your church life that you're either concerned about or confused about feel free to call us right now at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Paul calling in from Texas. Paul, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, I'm calling in response to a question that was asked yesterday by a lady whose son had been baptized when he was an infant and she was questioning whether he needed to be re-baptized. From what I understand about baptism, we're following Christ in baptism and it represents his death, burial, and resurrection. When we become a Christian and we're baptized, our old man is dying and we're raising a new man and I'm just curious of where it says in the Bible that an infant can do that without understanding what he's doing and it be a true baptism.

Yeah, so Paul, thanks for that question and for following up with a previous caller's question. This is one of the big debates. Our infants, the children of believers in particular, the proper recipients of baptism, and so there are two questions here. Really, what is baptism and who should be baptized? Now with regard to what is baptism, I think in scripture what baptism is is this sign and seal of our engrafting into Jesus Christ.

It's this picture of the gospel. We sometimes refer to those ordinances that Jesus instituted as the visible words of the gospel, where the gospel is clearly exhibited in things like water or in things like bread and wine, thinking specifically of the Lord's Supper, but these are God's covenant signs, his promises to his people. So first and foremost, I think we need to view baptism and the Lord's Supper, to include that as well, as the work of God, as something that he is doing. God is the great baptizer, and when we think about baptism, it's this picture of those who have no merit in and of themselves receiving his grace.

We sometimes refer to it, I sometimes refer to it, as a means of grace because I believe it's one of the ways that the Spirit of God is powerfully at work in the Christian community. And so when we realize that baptism is first and foremost about what God does, not so much about our action, then it sort of makes more sense why we might consider infants the children of believers as the proper recipients of baptism because it's this picture of the gospel and what God is doing, not so much about me and what I'm doing. Now, of course, when people in the New Testament were converted, and again, we're thinking at the very beginning of the history of the Christian church here, right? You don't have Christian families, per se, with children. What you have in the Book of Acts is the gospel going out to people as they're hearing it, and when they get converted, they're baptized. We do see examples, actually, though, in the Book of Acts of household baptisms, and in Scripture, household was inclusive of children.

That language of household comes from places like Genesis 17, where God commanded Abraham to circumcise his household, including the infant boys. He gave them the sign of the covenant, circumcision, which Paul says in Romans chapter 4 was a seal of the righteousness that is by faith. Abraham could have objected and said, well, why would I give my infant children the seal of the righteousness that is by faith?

I don't know if they have faith. Well, no, it was a part of exhibiting this covenant sign to the people of God, giving it to the children of believers, because the promises of God belong to us and to our children, as Scripture says again and again. And so baptism is first and foremost a work of God, exhibiting his gospel grace to his people, the promises that belong to us as the covenant people of God. And throughout biblical history, the children of believers were always a part of that visible church, that visible church community.

They were always the proper recipients of these signs, these covenant signs, like baptism. And so to exclude children, the children of believers, from baptism under the new covenant seems in my mind unwarranted. And I think part of the issue is people have heard over and over again, well, baptism is just like this ritual that we go through.

It's sort of an outward sign of an inward faith. But one, that's not a Bible verse. That's sort of a mantra that we hear in a lot of Christian churches, but that's not in Scripture. That's not what the Bible says is the most important thing about baptism. Baptism, again, is something that God does. It's based on his word, it's based on his promises, and those promises are given to us and to our children.

Okay, this is a big discussion. Again, and I said this probably yesterday on the broadcast, this is also not one of the things that we need to look at each other and say, oh, well, then you must not be a Christian because you think that. I mean, the majority of the church throughout history recognized that the children of believers were the proper recipients of these covenant signs.

But I know that there's debate about that, disagreement now, especially in more recent days. I do have a short article that I want to direct you to, it's called Should Infants Be Baptized? over at corechristianity.com, and I go through a handful of verses in the New Testament that I think are evidence for the practice, the biblical practice of infant baptism.

So again, that resource is Should Infants Be Baptized? and you can get ahold of it at corechristianity.com. Thank you for reaching out to us, Paul, and like I said, appreciate the pushback or the feedback, and I think this is one of the areas where we agree that we're Christians.

You know, the salvation by grace through faith really has to do with the nature of those ordinances that Jesus gave to us and who the proper recipients are, and so appreciate the question. Thanks for that explanation, Adriel, and thank you for your call, Paul. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life.

Maybe you have some doubts about the Christian faith. Hey, if you consider yourself to be an agnostic or an atheist and you just stumbled on this program, we're open to your calls as well. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Marlene calling in from Iowa. Marlene, what's your question for Adriel?

Hi. I was listening a couple days ago when a guy called in, and he was talking about, in particular, he was referring to the fact that Catholics believe that they have to earn their faith and that we're not—by the way, I am a Catholic and have been for 75 years—and that we have to earn our faith, and we don't believe that it's just a gift from God. And that kind of refers to what you were just talking about to me as well, is we believe that when we baptize a child, they do receive the gift of being part of God's children. Now, do they have a certain commitment to live up to what he is asking us?

He is the vine, we are the branches. We are supposed to be doing those things that he asked us to do in many places in the Bible. And you had made a comment back to him saying something to the effect of, it seems that Catholics believe that they need to earn their salvation.

And I don't think we need to earn salvation, but I think we need to live up to what God is asking us to do to get there. And in particular, there was a friend of mine who believes that if you stand up and say, I accept God as my Lord and Savior, and that now you have received the gift of heaven, you're just going to get there. So I was talking to him one day about his brother, who had been living in sin with a woman and not married, and then she had a child and then she left him, and he was living with another woman, and they were not married.

And I said, so what about your brother? Do you think that just because he, will he go to heaven, or if he died tonight, would he go to heaven or hell? And he said, he would go to heaven. And I said, why? And he said, because he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

And I said, but did he? Because if you really do, don't you have a certain commitment to going to church and doing what he's asked us to do and living up by his 10 commandments and following his ways and praying every—and it's not that we're earning salvation, it's that we're committing our life to doing the things that he asked us to do. So that was a very—I took exception to that, and I wanted you to address that. Marlene, thank you so much again for giving us a call, and Bill, I so appreciate, you know, when people have a question, when we say something and they're like, wait, I disagree with you, or I have a different view, I appreciate callers like the previous caller and now like Marlene, who are willing to say, wait a minute.

And so one, I just want to say God bless you and thank you for calling us now. I think something that I said, you know, with regard to this person who called the other day about Roman Catholics and earning your salvation, as I said, in some sense in Roman Catholic theology, we do merit our salvation. Now, I would agree with you, Marlene, that those who are justified, that is, those who truly have faith, do seek to live as becomes the followers of Christ. You know, we're filled with the Holy Spirit, we're sealed with the Holy Spirit when we believe in Jesus truly. And because we're filled with the Holy Spirit, sealed with the Holy Spirit, that Spirit is at work in our lives, sanctifying us day by day so that we grow more and more into the image of Christ.

But we are not justified on the basis of that growth in grace. And in Roman Catholic theology, when a person is justified in baptism, they then cooperate with grace so that they become further justified more and more as they seek to live in line with God's commandments so that finally they do, in fact, merit eternal life. Now, Roman Catholics would say that that merit is still a gift. It comes from God, it comes from Jesus, but nevertheless, it's truly the merit of the person, the one who's doing the works. Now, you know, for the Roman Catholic teaching on this, you'd want to look to the Council of Trent, the sixth session of the Council of Trent, which was all about the doctrine of justification, and it was responding to essentially the teaching of the Protestant Reformers. And let me share just one section from the Council of Trent, session six.

This is chapter 16. It says, And for this cause life eternal is to be proposed to those working well unto the end, and hoping in God both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Jesus Christ, and as a reward which is according to the promise of God himself to be faithfully rendered to their good works and merits. That's the language that I was referring to when I said in Catholic theology, you know, there is the belief that you do merit your reward, the reward of heaven. And for the Protestant Reformers, this is where, this is where, you know, there was a lot of debate, because there was a focus not on my merits, my inherent righteousness being the cause of my justification or my final justification or however you want to put it, but the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. In other words, it's only through Christ, through faith in him, through his perfect righteousness that I can be justified and that I can have the hope of heaven. But, and I agree with you here, Marlene, that person who is justified doesn't just disregard the grace of God and go and live like the devil. No, that person who's justified is also sanctified and being sanctified, but their sanctification is not the cause of or the basis for their salvation, their justification. That's something, we look wholly to Jesus.

He is our only hope. And we praise God that Jesus, who is our hope in justification for salvation, is also the one who's at work in us to sanctify us day by day. And so we are getting into, you know, the nitty-gritty of some of the differences between Roman Catholic theology and their understanding of justification, how Protestants view it, but this is important stuff. And one concern that I have, Marlene, is that if we believe that we're only as justified as we are sanctified, well then our justification, our right standing in God's sight is moving up and down.

Some days I might be more right than other days. It's not this definitive declaration that God has made, it's this thing that I'm hovering in and out of, and I just feel like that takes away the security and comfort of the believer. And this is why it's so important for us to root our comfort, our confidence, first and foremost, in Jesus Christ and in His righteousness. Thank you for your question, Marlene.

Good response, and Marlene, thank you for your call. Just a follow-up question to what she was talking about, some evangelicals having sort of this easy believism. Well, I stood up at a Billy Graham crusade and I made a profession of faith, and then I live any way I want to.

That's a concern as well. Yeah, and I think that's what James is writing against when he talks about faith without works being dead. He says, can that faith save you? And I think he's talking there in particular about a, you know, maybe we could call it a historical faith, you know, believing in Jesus sort of like you believe in Abraham Lincoln. Yeah, I think he existed, but you're not really trusting in him.

His life is not really in you. You don't believe in him for the forgiveness of your sins. You might be able to affirm, oh yeah, I think Jesus existed as a historical person, that sort of a thing. Well, faith like that, that kind of faith without works is dead. It's not real faith. It's not a living faith. True faith in Christ lays hold of Jesus for our justification for our salvation, and as a result of that, right, we begin to grow in grace and in charity and in good works. And so I don't want to minimize that, and I think Marlene is right on when she said that, you know, like, well, what about those people who say, oh, I believe in Jesus, but then they, you know, they're living in open immorality and they just don't care about church, don't care about prayer.

Well, that's a real problem. That person should ask themselves, do I really believe in Jesus or am I just giving him lip service? And so I really appreciate her question. Again, like I said, I love when callers who disagree with us are willing to call in and ask for clarification. And I hope that even for those who disagree with maybe something we say on the broadcast, that they can still be encouraged as we're seeking to reason together with the scriptures and open up God's word and grow in the grace of the Lord Jesus. Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez.

I want to mention a brand new core guide we have available on our website. It's really cool. It's called The Five Names of God You Should Know.

That's right. And I like the way you put it there, Bill. It's really cool.

It is really cool. I mean, what a great thing to learn about the names of God as he's revealed himself in the Bible and their significance for us in our personal relationship with the Lord. And so get ahold of this resource. It's a free digital download over at corechristianity.com called Five Names of God You Should Know. By the way, while you're at our website, browse around, check out some of our other core guides and core questions.

All of those are free. And we have some great core Bible studies as well on books from both the Old and the New Testament. You can find them all at corechristianity.com. We do receive voicemails here at Core Christianity, and you can call us anytime, 24 hours a day and leave your voicemail question at 833-THE-CORE.

Here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Sam in San Jose, California. Hello Pastor Adriel and team. I have a question about Psalm 103. Specifically, what does it mean to bless the Lord? And how do we apply that in our daily lives?

Hey, thank you for that question, Sam. So Psalm 103 is a beautiful hymn of worship, hymn of praise. And the hymns in the Psalter, it's a particular genre within the Psalter that focuses on worship, on praising the Lord. And typically the way hymns begin in the Book of Psalms is with a call to worship. Sometimes that call to worship is given to the community of faith. Sometimes it's even given to the angelic host.

Sometimes it's given to creation. It's inviting creation or the angels or the church to worship God. And then usually after the call to worship, you have reasons given for why God should be worshiped. It's almost as if the Psalmist is giving ammunition. Here's the fuel for your worship. Here's why you should worship God. And it's interesting because here, the call to worship that's given in Psalm 103, the call to worship that David gives, he's not giving to the creation per se right off the bat or to the angels or even to the church community.

He's giving it to himself. He's saying, bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me. Bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all of his benefits.

In other words, here are the reasons why you should bless God. He forgives all your iniquity. He heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the pit. He crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.

He satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the Eagles. He's saying, soul, he's talking to himself. He's saying, soul, bless the Lord. And then he says, here's why.

And now there's something beautiful here. Like, we need to be reminded, brothers and sisters, to worship God. And we need to give ourselves the fuel to do that, reminding ourselves of the great things that he's done for us, the mercy that he's shown to us in Christ, the ways in which he's provided for our temporal needs throughout our lives or brought healing or safety or strength or any number of things. And so to bless the Lord means to worship God in accordance with who he is and what he's done.

It's what, again, we're seeing here. It's not that our praises add anything to God. It's that we're giving to him that which is rightfully his, the thanksgiving, the honor, the praise, the worship that's due to him as the great creator of all things and the great redeemer of his people through his son, Jesus Christ. Thanks, Sam. God bless. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, go to corechristianity.com forward slash radio, or you can call us at 1-833-843-2673.

That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, let us know how we can be praying for you and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-10 18:56:06 / 2024-05-10 19:06:09 / 10

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