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If I Backslide, Am I Still Saved?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
May 30, 2024 5:00 pm

If I Backslide, Am I Still Saved?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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May 30, 2024 5:00 pm

Episode 1500 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

  1. I'm feeling guilty over my sin. What should I do? 2. Is Hell just separation from God? 3. Do we go directly to Heaven when we die? 4. If I backslide, am I still saved? 5. How do we "obey the gospel" if the gospel is Christ's finished work?     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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If I backslide, am I still saved? 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. Now, you can also watch Adriel right now on YouTube and send him your question through our YouTube channel. Let him know what you're thinking, and also you can email us anytime at questions at core christianity.com. First up today, let's go to a voicemail. This is Craig in Kansas City.

Craig, thanks for giving us a call. Brother, if you know you're doing something that's displeasing to the Lord, and you can see areas of your life that are disordered, it's time for you to take that step, the step that you need to take, one, first and foremost, confessing your sins to God, whatever you mentioned, sexual sin, whatever that is, taking that to the Lord, confessing it to Him, and then doing whatever it is that you need to do to put yourself in a position where you're going to be encouraged, where you're not going to be tempted by whatever it is that's tempting you. You know, Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off. And he's being hyperbolic there, but he's highlighting the importance of taking sin in our lives seriously, not playing with sin.

Not giving it any space or quarter, not providing any opportunity for the flesh, but saying, no, this is deadly, and forgive me, Father. I've fallen, I've sinned, and God, give me accountability, give me help in order to address this issue. And ultimately, that help, Craig, comes from the Holy Spirit, and God has promised not to tempt us and not to allow us to be tempted beyond what we're able.

This is what Paul said in 2 Corinthians, God provides the way of escape, and so confessing your sin to the Lord, but with regard to something like sexual sin, I think getting accountability is really important. I also think of the encouragement that the apostle Paul gave Timothy, his son in the faith, in 2 Timothy chapter 2 verse 22. So, flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. So, when it comes to sexual temptation, we're called to run from it.

You know, you think of Joseph in Potiphar's house, right? Just flee from temptation, get out of there. Don't think you're strong enough to deal with it. Flee youthful passions, and it's not just that you're running away from something, but you're running towards something, towards someone, towards the Lord, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, and not in isolation, not by yourself, but together with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. And so, Craig, if you're not in a church where the word of God is being taught, where you can have that kind of accountability, that's one of the first steps you need to take, is you need to say, okay, I need to prioritize this in my life. I'm not supposed to do the Christian thing in isolation all by myself. I need brothers who are going to be able to encourage me and pray for me and provide that accountability for me, so get plugged into a church. And I would say get an accountability partner or talk with, you know, the elders there, the pastors there.

That's really, really important as well in terms of being open and honest. And I just pray that the Lord blesses you and is with you and is with you, and that you begin to experience joy and the strength of the Holy Spirit and even victory in this struggle that you've had. And so let's take a moment, brothers and sisters, to pray for Craig and ask for God's help. Our Father in heaven, each of us, how desperately we need your help and the help of the Holy Spirit.

We think about that battle between the flesh and the Spirit, Lord, and how prone we are to wander. We pray for our brother Craig, Lord, that you would illuminate his mind and his heart, that you would give him wisdom, that you would grant him grace, Lord, the grace of repentance, that you would give him and continue to give him a genuine conviction of his sin, that he might confess it to you honestly, but that he wouldn't just stay there, but that he would pursue faith, righteousness, hope, that he would pursue you, Lord, together with your people. And so I pray that you would help him, Lord, to get more plugged into his church or to get plugged into a solid church. And, Father, that you would protect him and deliver him from all evil, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. Some really good counsel, Adriel, and I was thinking the flip side of that.

You encouraged him to find fellowship and accountability, which is so key. And I was thinking about, you know, what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, that bad company corrupts good character. And when we're being tempted, a lot of times the people we're hanging out with are doing a lot of that tempting.

Yeah, that's true. And so there's wisdom there as well. And this is where, you know, when we're thinking about the avenues that lead us down the path of temptation, you know, that's different for each person. And this is where, you know, we require wisdom to say, okay, you know what, I probably shouldn't go to that place or hang around that person. I don't have the strength to do that.

Or, you know, be scrolling on my phone late at night, whatever it is. We need wisdom. We need the help of the Holy Spirit.

And sometimes it can be that bad company that Proverbs talks about. And so that's a good word, Bill. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, you name it, we'd love to hear from you. The number is 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Nathan calling in from South Dakota. Nathan, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, thanks for taking my call.

I definitely enjoy your show. This one, this one bothers me because it kind of seems to be a new theology that's been happening the last decade or so. Kind of ties in, it used to be you asked Jesus into your heart, now you need a personal relationship. However, there's been something else that's also come around where death or going to hell or it's separation from God. I can't find anything in my Bible that talks about that. I was just wondering, is there any truth behind this or what's the biblical foundation for this idea?

Yeah, it's a great question. You know, I think a lot of times people are talking about hell. Sometimes there can just be straight up speculation, but this idea that hell or divine judgment is separation from God, I think there is a kind of biblical understanding to where we recognize one of those curses, one of those covenant curses, is being estranged from the presence of God, the presence of God in terms of his loving kindness, his blessing, his grace, and the person in hell is estranged from that. They've rejected it, they're lost in that sense, but I've heard it put that essentially what that is is the presence of God in judgment then, in condemnation, in perdition, and so I don't know. I guess it just depends on how an individual understands that. If what they're saying is, and this is something that's been gaining more steam in recent days, is to die and to go to hell is just to not exist anymore. This is what's called annihilationism, and this has been gaining some popularity in recent days.

Well, I think that that's incorrect. If what a person means, though, when they talk about being separated from God is being separated from his presence of blessing, from that joy that comes to the godly, to those who belong to the Lord, to those who are in Christ, well then, yeah, that makes sense. Of course, you know, your question brings us to Revelation chapter 20 where John has the vision of the great white throne judgment. I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it from his presence earth and sky fled away and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged by what was written in the books according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire, and if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. That's the final judgment. That's where Satan ends up. That's where all those whose names are not in the book of life end up. It's more than just, you know, being separated from God's presence in the sense of annihilationism.

It's experiencing the judgment of a holy God. And so, Nathan, I appreciate your question. It sounds like you're wanting to be discerning as you study the scriptures.

You know, keep that up. Keep being Berean and looking to the word, and thanks for your encouragement. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you've got a question about the Bible, the Christian life, maybe something going on in your church that you're confused about or concerned about, give us a call at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Marjorie calling in from Kansas. Marjorie, what's your question for Adriel? I've been taught that you go to heaven as believers in Jesus when you die. But there's a place in Revelations 6-7 about the souls under the altar that had to wait. And in 1 Thessalonians 4-16, the dead in Christ will rise at the trumpet call of God, and it sounds like that the dead have to wait for a while to go to heaven.

Marjorie, thank you for that question. So with regard to the text you brought up in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, what that's speaking about specifically is the resurrection of the dead. And so when a believer dies, I believe that their souls are immediately perfected in holiness, and they do go to heaven. They're in the presence of the Lord. In fact, John in the book of Revelation has all sorts of visions of this, the worship that's taking place in heaven, the saints who are gathered around the throne of God. You see this vision also pictured for us in places like Hebrews chapter 12, where the author of the Hebrews talks about coming before the heavenly Jerusalem, before a myriad of saints and angels, those who have been perfected through Christ. And so the believer, when we die, our souls are perfected in holiness, we go into the presence of the Lord, but what we still, that's not our final condition, if you will, we're waiting for that last judgment and the resurrection of the body described in places like 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

And so that's what Paul is talking about in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, but I would say Paul totally believed that he was going to be in the presence of the Lord at the moment he died. He says in Philippians chapter 1 verse 21, for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me, yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.

I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. So Marjorie, you see what Paul says there? He says, look, when I die, he says for me to live is Christ, that in other words, like I'm living for Jesus, but when I depart, when I die, I'm going to go be with Jesus, and that's far better, far better than anything I've ever experienced. And so he didn't see death as just this sleeping or waiting, he thought as being in the presence of the Lord. That's why he says in 2 Corinthians, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. That's 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 8. And so that's the hope that we have, that's the hope that you have through Jesus, that when you die, you're going to be in the presence of the Lord, waiting for, still, worshiping God together with all the people of God, but still waiting for that final resurrection, the consummation of the new creation when all things are made new. God bless you, Marjorie.

Great explanation. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We are still taking calls. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can call us for the next 10 minutes or so at 833-THE-CORE.

That's 833-843-2673. I also want to mention an awesome free resource we have available for you. It's called The Five Names of God You Should Know.

Yeah, get a hold of this resource. As Bill said, I mean, it's free, so there's no reason not to get it, and it's edifying, it's encouraging. This resource in particular is going to talk about some of the names of God that we find in Scripture and their significance for you as a believer, and so get a hold of it. You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. And by the way, when you're at our website, browse around, check out some of the other great free resources we have, including our core guides and our core questions. And you may not know this, but we have a variety of Bible studies available from both New and Old Testament books. And if you lead a small group or a Sunday school class, these would be an awesome curriculum for your teaching. Check those out at corechristianity.com.

Well, we do receive voicemails here at the CORE, and here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Shanti. If we are once saved, are we always saved? Or if we backslide, does God have a limit on forgiveness, even if we repent, knowing the word of God already? Or how does that work?

Thank you so much. Shanti, thank you for that question. No, I don't believe that there is a limit on the forgiveness of the Lord for those who turn to Him in faith. You know, Satan would want to convince us that, you know, that last time you sinned, that was it. God is, He's totally done with you now.

I mean, why would He want to do anything with you? And, you know, I think all of us as believers have experienced that condemning voice, have felt that, where we just think, I can't believe it, you know, still struggling with this sin. I think Paul highlights that struggle in places like Romans chapter 7, for example. Before the genuine believer, someone who's truly trusted in Christ, if they're struggling with sin and they're in that battle and they're confessing their sins, no, I don't think that God is just going to leave them, and I don't think that they can exhaust the mercy, the patience, the love, the forgiveness of God.

You can't. And so, fall down at His feet, confessing your sins and receiving His grace and His mercy. It's the despair of unbelief, where we just say, okay, I just don't believe. I think that my sins are too big for God.

He can't forgive me. That's the dangerous place to be, because it doubts, it doesn't believe in the gospel. And so, you know, what we need is a big understanding, a big vision of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that recognizes that the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse us of all of our sins. And that's certainly true, I would say, for you as you go to the Lord. And so, go to Him with confidence, believing that He's gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and that all who call upon His name will be saved. And if you're listening right now and you're thinking, oh, Pastor, you don't know what I've done, the ways that I've failed, the amount of time that I've failed. Oh, I long for God's forgiveness, but I just don't, I don't know if He would forgive me. Let me say to you, if you look to Christ, if you turn to Him, away from your sin, turn to Him and say, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, be merciful to me, a sinner. He hears your voice, and He will forgive you.

He calls you to Himself. It's not an excuse to sin. No way. Paul says, you know, should we continue in sin that grace may abound? No, but we also don't minimize the ocean of God's grace that's for us when we confess our sins. And so, if you're a Christian, if you're struggling, even if you've backslid and, hey, now is the time, right now is the time, to look to the Lord to turn to Him and to receive His grace. Thanks for that question. Amen. Some great words of comfort, and so true. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Eric calling in from Texas. Eric, what's your question for Adriel?

Yes, thanks for taking my call. So, my question is about the whole law and gospel distinction, and I've often heard Dr. Wharton refer to this distinction, and how the law is imperative, do this, the gospel is indicative, this is done. But then, whenever this is brought up in some of the circles that I talk with, I get some pushback from the law, that I talk with, I get some pushback on that, where Paul talks about obeying the gospel. Well, I've heard Dr. Wharton refer to, you know, kind of say, well, how do you obey an indicative? So, how might you articulate a response or reconcile those things?

Thanks. Hey, Eric, thank you. I mean, a lot of really important theological concepts that you're bringing up here, both the distinction between law and gospel, and also this idea of imperatives and indicatives. Imperatives, you know, in the New Testament, they're those commands that we so often see, calls to do something, and often, so often, especially in the Pauline epistles, they're rooted in the indicatives. That is, do this because of what God has done.

Be imitators of God, there's the imperative, as beloved children, there's the indicative. And you do see this pattern, I think, in the Pauline epistles, where you do oftentimes, you know, at the beginning of Paul's letter, maybe have a focus on the gospel, and then a call to obey, a call to live out these implications of what God has done for you. I even think, Eric, that you see this in the Sermon on the Mount, I preached through the Sermon on the Mount not long ago, and you have those beatitudes, which are essentially gospel, you know, God's declaration of good news to the poor. In fact, Isaiah, you know, there's probably an echo from Isaiah there in the initial beatitudes, refers to them as good news, as gospel, and so you have this call for the broken, for the spiritually weary, for the poor in spirit, you know, God's pronouncement of blessing, good news to them. And then, you know, essentially, what it looks like to live as a disciple of Jesus throughout the rest of the Sermon on the Mount.

We do have that interesting language, you know, in the New Testament. You think of 2 Thessalonians 1, verse 8, where Paul talks about obeying the gospel. Oftentimes, in John's writing as well, you have this contrast between obeying and believing, and there, in that context, I think you see this in John 3, for example, obeying really is believing.

That is trusting. Trusting the gospel, the good news about the Lord Jesus Christ. You actually see this, I think, specifically in places like John chapter 6. In John chapter 6, this is an interesting passage. It's that bread of life passage where a bunch of people turn away from Jesus, you know, the crowd. They go up to him and they say to him, this is verse 28, what must we be doing, what must we do to be doing the works of God? And Jesus answered them, this is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.

You see that right there? So you do see this, you know, so I guess what I'm saying is to obey the gospel is to do what Jesus says there in John chapter 6, to believe in him, to trust in him. Now, that's not to minimize or to set aside the fact that there are implications as well to the gospel. This gospel that we've believed, we're called now to live a certain way, but we don't want to confuse the law and the gospel or turn the gospel into some kind of a new law, as though the gospel, the good news is, well, the gospel, the good news is, well, you do all of these things and that's what saves you. And I think you see that contrast specifically, again, in Paul. You see this in the book of Galatians, you see this in the book of Romans where he's talking about justification by works versus justification by faith. And so, yeah, so I don't think there's a problem here. There's only a problem if we're defining obeying the gospel as essentially obeying the 10 commandments or something like that, or a set of rules, when I think it's actually a lot more biblical and clear to say, no, it's what Jesus is talking about there in places like John chapter 6.

So appreciate the question. And then just because this is such an important topic, you know, not confusing these two things, you know, I think it's helpful for us to have some of these category distinctions like law and gospel. And of course, you know, we don't want to twist the scripture to fit our system of theology, but it's certainly something that we see, I think, in the Bible. The word gospel itself means good news. It's an announcement.

It focuses on, you think of Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It's something that has happened, and God has accomplished it. And we are the recipients of that good news. And now, in light of that gospel, in light of that great news that God has given to us, we are called to follow the Lord and to serve Him and to love Him, because He's first loved us, loved us, as John says. And so again, Eric, thank you for calling with that question. And God bless you, and thank you all once again for listening to The Core. God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-30 21:57:26 / 2024-05-30 22:08:03 / 11

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