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Is My Mental Illness a Work of the Devil?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
June 5, 2024 6:30 pm

Is My Mental Illness a Work of the Devil?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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June 5, 2024 6:30 pm

Episode 1504 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

  1. What is the difference between the Old and New Testament covenants? 2. Why would God let the "wheat and the tares" grow together? 3. How did Jesus avoid having a sin nature if he was fully human? 4. Is my mental illness a sign of weak faith? 5. Is it ok to talk about non-Christian things after Sunday worship?     Today’s Offer: How To Keep Your Faith After High School   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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Is my mental illness a work of the devil? 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. Here's our phone number. Our phone lines will be open for the next 25 minutes or so, so now is the time to call. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can watch us live in the studio right now on Instagram or YouTube. And of course, you can always feel free to email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. And first up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners.

This is Sheila. Hi, Pastor Adriel. Thank you for your show and your wisdom. I'm asking a question about how to decipher between the Old Testament covenant and the New Testament covenant as to following Bible rules. There's plenty of good wisdom still, obviously, in the Old Testament, but I hear people say, well, that's the old law, the New Testament is the new law. Can you explain how to decipher between following what's in the Old Testament and what's in the New Testament?

Thank you so much. Bye-bye. Hey, Sheila, thank you for that question, and I love the way that you worded it, because we don't want to set aside the Old Testament. The Old Testament is so important for us as Christians, and yet we are not under the Old Covenant as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. It's clear all over the New Testament, I think specifically of a place like Hebrews 8, where the author of the Hebrews just says, look, those ceremonies, those types and shadows under the Old Covenant, the sacrificial system, all that was pointing to something else, but now that the reality, Jesus Christ has come, we're no longer under that system. Paul makes the same point in the book of Romans, he makes the same point in the book of Galatians, and so we have to distinguish here the Old Covenant with Moses, the children of Israel under that, and the New Covenant that was promised in places like Jeremiah, Joel, I mean, really, all over the Old Testament, Deuteronomy chapter 30, that's what we're under. That's what Jesus inaugurated, instituted for us in his body and blood.

You remember him instituting the Lord's Supper, saying, this cup is the New Covenant in my blood. And so, in the Old Testament, we have rules, laws, sometimes it's helpful to distinguish between the moral laws that we find there, you think of the moral law, articulated in the Ten Commandments, which is always binding, ultimately summarized in the call to love God and to love our neighbor, but there were also civil laws that pertained to Israel as a political body, this nation under God's rule, and ceremonial laws that pertain to the worship in the temple, the priesthood, the sacrifices. That temple, that worship, that system of worship, is now obsolete.

That's the word that the author of the Hebrews uses in Hebrews chapter 8. We no longer have a temple with sacrifices because the reality Jesus has come. And so, we don't try to reinstitute those ceremonies of worship, but we can learn from them.

We can learn things about Jesus' redemptive work, about the nature of atonement, about the nature of holiness, without trying to resurrect animal sacrifices. And similarly, with the civil law, those rules that pertain to Israel as a political body, well, Israel, as a nation, as a nation state under God, that's not what we're looking at today, even with the modern history or nation of Israel. Israel in the Old Testament was a type of church, and so those civil laws in particular, they're not binding upon us today as a church.

They were abrogated, they were set aside. That's not to say, again, we can't learn some general principles from them, but we're not called to try and reinstitute them as though they were binding today for all people and all nations. And so, I think having those categories in your mind, Sheila, the moral law, which is always, by anything of the Ten Commandments, the civil law, which related to Israel as a political body, and the ceremonial law, which had to do with the temple and its sacrifices and so forth, those being set aside because the reality Christ has come, and so emphasizing the importance of the Old Testament, the fact that it does still speak to us today, without putting us back under the ceremonies and the types and shadows of the Old Testament, which would be a terrible error. And that error is described again in the book of Hebrews, in the book of Galatians, and so I would say, having done core Christianity for years now, one of the biggest problems you see in the church today, there are a lot of them, but one of them is Christians don't understand the law of God and the proper application of the law of God, what applies, what doesn't apply, the way in which we should think about God's law, the distinction between the law and the gospel.

This is stuff where there's a lot of confusion out there, and so I appreciate your question, and hopefully that helps to clarify some of the confusion. Now, there are some Christians, in fact, there seems to be kind of a movement among some evangelicals to return to some of the feasts and festivals, the practices of the Old Testament, in the belief that somehow that makes their Christianity more holy or more righteous, and I'm wondering how you would respond to that. Yeah, I am concerned with any movement back to the Old Covenant, trying to put Christians under that or bind their conscience and say, we need to start observing the Passover like they did in the Old Testament, we need to start doing these feasts or whatnot. I recognize that sometimes for Christians it's like, oh man, it feels like we're connected to this history of the people of God, and the fact of the matter is we are organically by faith in Jesus Christ, but we are not supposed to bind the consciences of other believers to try to get them to follow these Old Testament rules and regulations. Again, that was one of the big problems in the book of Galatians, is that Galatians were being told by these agitators within the church that unless they observed the law of Moses, unless they did circumcision and all these other things according to the law, that they weren't truly justified, that they weren't really right in God's sight. And Paul says, that's another gospel, that's not the gospel, that's not the good news that I came preaching to you. And so some of this stuff, Bill, can borderline on another gospel that isn't the gospel at all, and that's why we need to be vigilant.

So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Here's our phone number, it's 833-THE-CORE, that's 1-833-843-2673.

Let's go to Darrell calling in from Missouri. Darrell, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, my question is this. The Bible tells us that some of us are predestined, you know, for God's kingdom, glory, heaven, you want to put it. But then also later on, the Bible says, let the wheat and the tare grow together. So my question is this, what would be a good reason to explain to somebody why God would have the wheat and the tare grow together, even though he already predestined some of us to be saved?

But then why would he have that, you know, the wheat and the tare to go together when he already knows what the outcome is going to be? Well, God certainly does know, right? He's omniscient. He knows everything. But he doesn't just know everything, he's also sovereignly involved, providentially involved in the affairs of mankind. It's only by his grace that any of us understands the gospel comes to believe it. And so part of your question, you know, we're getting into the weeds, no pun intended, think about the wheat and the tares and all this. That was pretty funny.

I'm sorry. But we're getting into the weeds about God's sovereignty and the relationship between God's sovereignty and human responsibility. And your question is, well, why would God allow the wheat and the tares to grow together? Well, the answer is given in Matthew chapter 13, verse 29.

I'll start in verse 28, where he explains, he said to them, an enemy has done this. In other words, sown tares among the wheat. So the servant said to him, then do you want us to go and gather them? But he said, no, less than gathering the weeds, you root up the wheat along with them.

Let both grow together until the harvest. And at the harvest time, I will tell the reapers, gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn. And so here, you see this in a number of places in the Gospels, you see this in the sheep-goat judgment, separating the sheep from the goat.

At the end of the age, many who are first will be last in the last first. God is going to basically separate the wheat from the chaff. And we don't always see that now, sometimes we do, through church discipline and so forth, but we don't always see that. And there is going to be this great winnowing that takes place, and that's what Jesus is talking about here. Now, why would God allow that to happen if he knows all things? It's, again, according to his sovereign purposes. And by the way, just because God predestines, and he does predestinate, that doesn't mean that he doesn't use means to accomplish his purposes. That's the salvation in the world, the preaching of the Gospel, the ordinances of God's grace, baptism in the Lord's Supper, that's how God accomplishes his sovereign purposes in the world. It's through your prayers, through sharing the Gospel, so it's not an invitation for us to be lazy or just to say, whatever's going to happen is going to happen because God is sovereign.

No, we are called, in light of the fact that God is sovereign, to pursue the lost, to pray for those who are in need, because we believe that God is able to transform their hearts. And so, appreciate that question, brother, thank you for giving us a call, and God bless you. You know, just thinking about that winnowing process, there was a day in our country where you could pretty much be a nominal Christian, an Eastern Christmas Christian, but it seems like we're now entering a time where you're going to have to either stand up for your faith, make a conscious decision that I'm going to live for Christ, or you're going to have to give in to cultural pressure and just say, no, I'm just not interested. Yeah, I'm hearing that more and more as well, Bill, and a number of people, cultural commentators are saying that, that it's getting more difficult to be a Christian in the United States because of some of those social pressures.

You think of the, I mean, just the sexual agenda that's out there, and so I think there is some truth to that, where, okay, we're going to have to really count the cost in some places, too. You know, you think of working in a secular environment, what does it look like for me to be a faithful Christian here, and what are some of the challenges that are presented to me as a believer in Jesus, and what does it look like to not compromise? Those are things we need to be thinking about, and may God grant us wisdom, and may God also grant us courage. And the good news is, you know, it might feel like, oh man, the times are changing, things are so bad, but the fact of the matter is, God has been with His church since the very beginning, and the gates of hell have not and will not prevail against the church. The church experiences prosperity sometimes, you know, throughout history, sometimes more at one point than at another point, but that doesn't mean that the church is dying or losing or, no, God is still at work, and Jesus promised to build His church. We should be confident that the work of the Lord is going to be accomplished because the one who's accomplishing it is Christ, and we're on the receiving end of that, and so there's room to be hopeful. Amen.

So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open. Maybe you have a question about a Bible passage that's always kind of stumped you and you'd like some clarification on it, or maybe there's a doctrinal or theological question or something happening in your church life that you have a question about. Feel free to give us a call right now at 833-843-2673.

That's 833-THE-CORE. I mentioned we also have a YouTube channel, and Justin went on YouTube and he says this, Adriel. Given that Jesus is a true human, has a true human nature, how did He avoid having a sin nature? Excellent, excellent question, Justin, and here's the answer. Sin is not a part of what it means to be truly human. In fact, sin is something that came from the outside, right? When God created Adam and Eve truly human, they didn't have any sin. Now, we sometimes think that, well, because of the fall and because we've inherited sin, original sin, that somehow sin is of the essence of what it means to be human. It's natural to us, but it isn't, and that's not what we believe as Christians.

We believe that it's a part of the corruption in the world. And so true humanity, the fullness of humanity, actually is not something that has sin. And so when Jesus came, He didn't come as, you know, under Adam in the sense of, you know, being born in Adam. He came as the second Adam to accomplish, to fulfill the work that Adam, our first parent, didn't do. He was disobedient to God. Jesus came as the second Adam, a true human, to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law on our behalf so that trusting in Him, believing in Him, we might be forgiven and His righteousness might be credited to us. And so I think with the question, you know, part of the problem is the assumption that sin is of the essence of humanity. It isn't.

It's the corruption of humanity, and true humanity, the fullness of humanity, is to be set free from those bonds, and that can only happen through Jesus, the second Adam, the eternal Son of God, who came into the world to redeem us. Great answer. Thank you for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. It is graduation time. Maybe you have a graduate in your home, maybe someone getting ready to graduate from high school or college right now, and we actually have a wonderful resource for recent high school graduates on how to keep their faith as they move on from your home to the real world.

That's right. Yeah, get a hold of it if, one, just if you're interested in thinking about this on your own, but if you know someone especially who's just graduated and they're on their way to college, how to keep your faith after high school. It's a short booklet, just under 100 pages, and it's a great resource diving into the importance of knowing what you believe and why you believe it, the importance of a local church, the importance of rightly understanding the gospel. This is stuff that young people need, and so, again, how to keep your faith after high school. Get a hold of it. With so many young people leaving the faith, this is a critical resource, and we would encourage you to get it.

Moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas. Again, it's called How to Keep Your Faith After High School. It's a free resource. You can find that at corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Well, by the way, we do have a voicemail system here at the CORE. You can call us 24 hours a day and leave your question. Let us know your name, where you're calling from, and we'll be glad to get back to you.

We have a question here from Henry in Des Moines, Iowa. I'm 63 years old with depression and bipolar. There's times where God is so close to me, and there's other times where I just can't seem to even say a prayer. Now, is this because my faith is not big for God, or is it the enemy that keeps dragging me back? Everything could be going good in my life, and then I'll just stay in bed for days trying to figure out if God gave up on me, or is the enemy that powerful, or is it just because I don't have enough faith?

Henry, one, God has not given up on you. Two, the enemy is not that powerful, such as to be able to snatch you out of the hands of God. And three, a battle with mental health issues is not because you don't have enough faith.

I just want to say that to you very clearly. You may not always feel the presence of God as you do at other points in your life. This is why it's so important for us as Christians to have our faith anchored in something deeper than our feelings, especially when you're battling with something like mental health. It has to be anchored in what the Bible says it should be anchored in, which is God's sure word and His promises in the gospel, that God has clearly exhibited His love for us in Jesus, in the sending of His Son, and that that word, that gospel, is objective. We're called to lay hold of it, to sink our teeth into it by faith, but we're not always going to feel those feelings.

And I know that doesn't make it easy. It's nice when we really feel close to the Lord and like God is near to us, and may the Lord part the dark clouds of depression and cause His light to shine upon you, brother, and grant you a sense of His presence and a sense of His grace. I think you need to make sure that you have good community around you, the local church. And I know especially, you know, it sounds like with battling with depression there are just times where you don't or can't even get out of bed.

I think continuing as much as is possible to be present, but also to make sure people know what you're going through so that they can continue to walk alongside of you and encourage you. You know, with the mental health stuff, and Bill, I want to get your take because I know that you have a lot of wisdom and expertise here, but it seems like in the church sometimes, you know, there are just some groups that aren't willing to recognize that this is a part of the fall, that mental health issues, just like other kinds of health issues, are real issues. Now that doesn't mean that there aren't problems with things like overmedication or people abusing those kinds of things, but that also doesn't mean that, hey, you know, it's not like you have a low view or a bad understanding of the fall and the effects of the fall if you think that the fall touched every part except for the mind.

That's not true. I mean, we sometimes in theology talk about the noetic effects of sin and of the fall, the effects on the mind and reasoning and so forth, but even there, I think we could talk about mental health issues. And so because we have a high view of sin, we have to recognize that it also touches on this too. And that doesn't mean that you're hopeless, but it also doesn't mean that there isn't a real battle that we face, that many people face. And the hope is in Christ and in Christian community and getting the help that you need, also in the promise that we have of a new body and new minds. But Bill, I would love, what encouragement would you have for our dear brother Henry who is struggling?

Henry, first of all, we want to say how much we appreciate you and love you and we'll be praying for you in your situation. And I have to say, Adriel, I get really frustrated, even angry as a Christian psychologist, when I hear other Christians, sometimes even pastors, telling people who struggle with mental illness, well, you don't have enough faith or if you just prayed more or if you just read your Bible more, your depression would lift or you wouldn't struggle with bipolar or you wouldn't be schizophrenic. And that is a lie. We've talked about God's common grace on this program before and common grace includes what we can learn from God's created order, from general revelation, through science, through physicians, through even psychiatrists and mental health medication. Those things don't show a lack of faith or a weakness.

We would never tell a diabetic, don't take your insulin. If you just had more faith, you wouldn't struggle with your diabetes. So I just want to tell you, Henry, if you're not getting mental health help through hopefully a Christian counselor, but it doesn't necessarily happen.

As long as the therapist isn't challenging your faith, isn't trying to undermine your faith, you can go to a secular therapist. But make sure you're getting the help you need. And sometimes that includes what we call talk therapy, psychotherapy, and sometimes that includes medication. And sometimes it also means finding the right medication that helps you with your particular issue. So, Henry, again, we're going to be praying for you.

And I'm so glad, Adriel, that you laid out at the very beginning of your response those three things that this is not what this is about. What's so funny is we oftentimes, there's this idea that if you go to a therapist, everything that they tell you is going to be bad or that kind of a thing, or they're going to challenge your faith. And we do have to be, I think, vigilant as Christians, because there are, I think, some that it's like, okay, well, actually what you're telling me is totally contrary to God's word.

So we're not saying don't be vigilant, but I was just hearing the story of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She was a prominent atheist, also just has spoken a ton about women's rights and the oppression of women in Islam. In particular, she came from a Muslim background, was an atheist for many, many years, a prominent atheist, and just became a Christian, I think, last year in November, came to faith in Christ, reached rock bottom, and said that it was a therapist, a counselor, who basically said, maybe your problem is spiritual. And that got her thinking about all these things, and we'll come to find out she's professing faith in Christ.

And I just thought, well, how funny. Here it was, her counselor, her therapist, who at least opened her eyes to this idea. So it's not all bad.

It's not all bad. And certainly, as you were saying, Bill, with regard to common grace, it's important for us to recognize that and affirm that. This is about just having good theology, a good theology of creation, a good theology of the effects of the fall, and if we don't have that, then there ends up being all sorts of problems. So well said. This is Core Christianity. Here's a question that came in from Steve. I'm sorry, this is actually from Jerome on Instagram, and he says, is it okay to talk about things that are not about God after the Lord's Day service, like work or problems in life?

Hey, Jerome. Yeah, I think that's fine. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I would say bring those things to the Lord in prayer, too. I do think it's fair to say, the moment I walk out of church, I just forget everything that I had heard and prayed, and it's just back to the worries of the world, and I'm complaining about my lot in life, and it's okay. That's something we don't want to focus on or do any day of the week, frankly, but especially on the Lord's Day as we're gathered with other believers. I think devoting ourselves as much as is possible to meditating upon the Word of God and encouraging each other. But we don't have to be legalistic of like, well, it's Sunday, so all I can talk about is Bible verses. No, I would say enjoy it. It was for you. It's a day of rest given to you for worship and encouragement together with the people of God, not something to be legalistic about in terms of your conversations. God bless. God bless.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-05 21:12:41 / 2024-06-05 21:25:29 / 13

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