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Do Protestants Have the "Fullness of the Faith"?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
June 21, 2024 5:00 pm

Do Protestants Have the "Fullness of the Faith"?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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June 21, 2024 5:00 pm

Episode 1516 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

  1. Does 2 John 2:8 teach that it is possible to lose salvation? 2. Is the Rapture Biblical? 3. What is the "third year" referenced in Deuteronomy 26:12? 4. What is the "fullness of the faith"? 5. Is 1 Thessalonians 4:16 about the Rapture or the Second Coming of Jesus?     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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Do Protestants have the fullness of the faith? 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. We pray that your Friday is going well.

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question. Here's our phone number. 1-833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, we also have a YouTube channel. You can check us out right now on YouTube and send Adriel your question that way. And feel free to email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com.

First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Lala. In 2 John 2, verse 8, it says, "'Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.'" I know that this is a letter written to some disciples concerning going in the faith, but that verse makes it seem like we can lose our salvation when other words in other places in the Bible, Jesus says, what God gave to him, he shouldn't lose any one of them. So is this verse saying it's possible to lose our salvation if we're not careful enough?

Or is it meaning something else? Thank you so much for your show. It's been a blessing.

Hey, Lala, thank you so much for your question. I don't believe that 2 John 8 is teaching that we can lose our salvation. I mean, obviously there is an admonition here to be vigilant. "'Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.'" And so the question here is, well, what is the reward?

What is it also that we're working for? He goes on, "'Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.'" One way of understanding this is by thinking about this idea of rewards for good works that the Lord is going to give to us, to those who are in Christ. And I think that the Apostle Paul alludes to this idea in 1 Corinthians chapter 3.

Let's just read a passage from there beginning in verse 10. He says, "'According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder, I laid a foundation and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become manifest, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.'" So you see the distinction that the Apostle Paul is making there. He's saying, look, those works which are done, maybe not for the honor of the Lord or for the glory of God, the stuff that's built with wood, hay, and straw, that's going to burn up come Judgment Day. Now the person is still going to be saved, you'll still be saved as through fire, Paul says, but those things, those works, you're not going to receive a reward for those. And it does seem like similar ideas being discussed in 2 John 8.

Be careful so that you might not lose what we have worked for, but win a full reward. And so I think that's a helpful way, maybe, of understanding what John is getting at there. And again, don't think that he's saying that you can lose your salvation, that is, that you were once saved, belonging to the Lord through your union with Jesus Christ, and then that because of some sin that you've done, God is no longer your God, he's abandoned you. And so thank you for that question, and God bless you, Allah. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Aaron calling in from Kansas.

Aaron, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, I've been studying Revelation a lot, and I've heard some conflicting information about the rapture. Some preachers and pastors say that there is no rapture mentioned in the Bible. Several of them say that there is a rapture mentioned in the Bible.

I'm just wondering for some clarification on that. Thanks, love to hear that you're studying the book of Revelation. I had the privilege of preaching through the book of Revelation not too long ago, and I don't believe that there's any sort of rapture in the book of Revelation. The idea of the rapture, that there's going to be a coming of Christ for his elect, or for the Church, that precedes the second coming, or that is different from the second coming, so that you have different comings of the Lord Jesus. You have the rapture, sometimes people say it's a secret rapture, it's distinguished from, and this is what those who hold this view believe, it's distinguished from the second coming. And then you have the final judgment, the second coming, at some point after. I think a lot of the passages that people will point to in order to make an argument for the rapture, sometimes you get this in the Pauline epistles, like 1 Thessalonians 4, I think that those texts are better understood as referring to the second coming.

And so Jesus is going to come back once, and at that time you have the final judgment, the second coming is contemporaneous, it happens at the same time as the final judgment, the resurrection of the body. And again, I think that's the best way to understand those passages. Was there a specific passage, Aaron, in the book of Revelation that you were thinking about? Well, they were talking about that the church is not mentioned after a certain point of the tribulation beginning, and so they were saying that since the church isn't mentioned, that the church isn't there, so we're taken up with Christ.

There's a lot that's being inserted there, or being read into the text of scripture, maybe an argument from silence more than anything else. The book of Revelation is best understood, one, as a comfort to suffering believers in the first century. It gives us these snapshots of the whole history of the church from this age, the age of the New Testament we might say, to the second coming, and it's giving us that picture in these sort of cyclical ways. Sometimes this is referred to as recapitulation.

You think of a movie where you're looking at the same scene but from different camera angles. Well, oftentimes that's what you get in the book of Revelation. It's not to be understood sequentially as this timeline, but you have sometimes the same event being viewed over and over again from different perspectives. One of the things that is clear is that you read the book of Revelation and it's clear that the church does experience suffering. It was written to comfort the first century believers.

For their context in particular, it was meant to be an encouragement, an encouragement to persevere, to identify with Jesus Christ, to hold fast to the faith, and certainly that's what it was. But it also seems to indicate that for the entire church age there is going to be this kind of persecution that the church is going to experience, culminating in that scene that you get in Revelation chapter 20, where the evil one is making war against the saints and ultimately is conquered by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And again, I think that's one coming, the second coming. So the idea of the rapture, one, I don't think this is—we're talking about end times. Sometimes we call that eschatology, the study of the last things. And this isn't one of those differences that Christians have that causes us to be out of fellowship or communion with each other. Obviously there are a lot of differing opinions on the end times, and we can charitably disagree, but it is important for us to search the scriptures, and at least that view, the view of the rapture, is not the one that I hold, and it's more of a novelty in the history of the Christian church. And so that in and of itself I think should cause us to be a little bit suspicious and at least say, okay, let's look into the scriptures here.

Good counsel. And let me just ask you, you mentioned, Adriel, that that's relatively a new view in church history. Is that something that has been around for a while or just in the last generation or so?

When did it originate? I mean, it was really, I think, popularized by the Left Behind series. Yeah, Left Behind, sure. It's been so long since I— There was a movie, too. There was a movie, yeah. I also did not see the movie, so I can't speak to it.

Bill, what's your rating? It was scary. It was scary. There are a lot of people, yeah, who this sort of rapture, you know, terror of—I mean, I've had that dream. I don't know if you've had that dream, Bill, where you dream that you hear a trumpet and everybody starts floating up to the sky. I mean, I remember having one where I floated up a few feet and then just fell back down to the ground.

It was terrifying. And so, yeah, the rapture was really 19th century, 20th century. That's when this idea in particular, I think, was popularized. And so, you know, again, that doesn't mean ultimately the scripture is our final authority, but if you're seeing something in the Bible that people for, you know, thousands of years before you didn't see, it should at least cause us to say, oh, okay, we should really look into this. And certainly, I think this is one of those areas. Always good for us to know church history, right?

100%, 100%. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Bob calling in from Missouri. Bob, what's your question for Adriel? Yeah.

Hi, Adriel. I have a question from the scripture in Deuteronomy chapter 26 and verse 12. And I'm wondering about the tithing or the third year tithing. It's supposed to go to the stranger and fatherless and widow, and I've never heard it mentioned at church.

I was wondering what your opinion was about that. Deuteronomy chapter 26, offerings of firstfruits and tithes, and you get to verse 12, it says, Then you shall say before the Lord your God, I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.

Isn't that beautiful? I mean, here God making provision for the most vulnerable in society, obviously the tithe was the way in which the Levitical priesthood was supported, but not just them. Here God is also supporting the sojourner, the fatherless, the one who'd been orphaned, the widow.

And he's holding his people accountable to that. Now, we don't live under the old covenant, Bob, so the rules and regulations with regard to tithing and the temple and so forth, those are all tied up together. But that doesn't mean there isn't some general implications or applications that we can't draw from this passage in particular. You think about what James says about pure and undefiled religion before God.

What is that? It's to visit widows and orphans, to take care of the fatherless. And so you see that same heart in the New Testament as well. And that is something that we, the church, Christians, are indeed called to, to do good to all people, especially those who are of the household of faith. While on the one hand it doesn't surprise me that you haven't heard that particular commandment applied in church, I can understand.

We shouldn't be trying to apply the tithe or the rules and regulations with regard to tithing now in the same way that they were applied then under the Levitical priesthood. But again, there are these general principles that we do see throughout the Scriptures, and here one of them specifically is caring for the vulnerable and providing for those, supporting those who are in need. That is something the church is called to and that we are called to in terms of charitable deeds and supporting, you know, maybe think of the parable of the Good Samaritan, the story of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told, and helping those who are in need in the name of Christ. And so God fill our hearts with that kind of love and help your church, O Lord, to exhibit that kind of faithfulness. Amen. So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez.

We pray that your Friday is going well. With graduation season upon us, we are really excited to offer a booklet that's written specifically for a teenager or young adult. It's called How to Keep Your Faith After High School. Yes, get a hold of this booklet for the young person in your life who just graduated from high school, or even, you know, if you're a parent and you're thinking about some important principles to instill in your son or daughter or your children before they are out of the house, you know, what is important for us to pass on as Christian parents?

I think this book is helpful in that regard, and so get a hold of it. It's free, How to Keep Your Faith After High School. You can find that by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers, and while you're at our website, browse around. Check out some of our other great resources, including our free core guides and core questions and our core Bible studies. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core, and here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Nick.

Hey, Bill and Adriel. I was talking to a friend the other day, and he said the reason he's Roman Catholic is because they have the fullness of the faith. I feel like I see and hear that all the time from Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics. They'll say they have the fullness of the faith or even, I've heard, the fullness of the truth. I started thinking about it and realized, I don't know what that phrase is supposed to mean exactly, so my question is, what does the fullness of the faith mean for Protestants? What is it actually referring to, and do we have it in our churches?

Thanks. Perhaps you've heard of FOMO. My wife and I, we sometimes talk about this, right? FOMO.

Bill, do you know what that is? Yes, fear of missing out. That's right, fear of missing out.

And boy, it's a deep fear that we can all have. Even Protestants, I think, fear of missing out, especially when your Roman Catholic friend or your Eastern Orthodox friend says, Oh, you guys got some things right, but boy, you're missing the fullness of the faith. You're really missing out on these things that our churches have, these historical churches. Apostolic succession and incense and iconography, those are pretty big things that you don't typically see in Protestant churches, and a number of other things as well. And that is, together with the doctrine and the worship, this is the fullness of the faith. This is, and Catholics will say this, Eastern Orthodox will say this, this is the church that Jesus himself instituted. And this is the teaching and the worship of the apostles, almost as if to suggest if you go to a Catholic mass or an Eastern Orthodox worship service, divine liturgy, that that's exactly what the worship services that the apostle Paul and Peter were going to, what they looked like in the early church. But historically, that's just false.

It's just not true. And I think a lot of times, when people talk like this, we can have, as Protestants, that fear of missing out. What am I missing? But we have to ask ourselves the question, what is the faith? When the New Testament uses that language, Jude 3, for example, Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

So what is that faith, that deposit of faith? It centralizes around the Holy Gospel described in places like 1 Corinthians 15, the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We sometimes refer to this as the rule of faith. It's summarized in the creeds of the church. You think of the Nicene Creed or the Apostles' Creed.

And that's what we're called to be faithful to, to uphold, to guard, to protect. I mean, my view as a Protestant minister is that some of these other traditions have added to that faith. It's not that they have the fullness of the faith, it's that they've added things that actually weren't there, that aren't apostolic to their tradition and to their practice, like the veneration of images and so forth. So those are things actually that we wouldn't want to add, because they're not apostolic practices. And so, just to answer your question, I do believe insofar as we have the Word of God and the Holy Gospel and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have that fullness of the faith that we're called to grow in, and we grow in it as we grow in a deeper understanding of the Word of God, what the Bible teaches, and a closer relationship to Jesus. Thank you for your question. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Let's go to Kenny, who's calling in from Missouri.

Kenny, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, you just responded to somebody about the rapture, and I know I've heard you mention before that you read the Latin Vulgate. I would suggest that you check out 1 Thessalonians 4, 16 in the Latin Vulgate, because the word rapture is in it, and it's explained as being caught up. In 1 Thessalonians 4, 13, we are caught up in the clouds to meet Jesus.

He's not coming back to earth in the clouds, he's just coming in the clouds. We have to be with Jesus to come back with him in Revelation 19 when he comes to the earth. And I've heard you say that Trinity is not in the Bible, but we believe in Trinity, but if you look up in 1 Thessalonians 16, 17 in that area, you will see that the word rapture is the word for caught up, and we are caught up with Jesus. It says right there that the dead in Christ shall rise first, and those of us who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet him in the clouds.

The rapture is definitely part of what's going to happen. Hey Kenny, thank you for reaching out, and again for drawing our attention to 1 Thessalonians 4. I mean, you don't need to read the Latin Vulgate to have this idea of being caught up in the air. I mean, the Greek word that's used in 1 Thessalonians 4, verse 17, caught up, is the word harpazo. It means to steal away or to take by force. The fact that that is translated in the Latin Vulgate one way or another, I think the issue is not the word.

The issue is the concept, what's being communicated here. And is 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 about the rapture of the Church, or is it about the Second Coming? And here it's very clear that what Paul is talking about is not a rapture per se, in the sense that it's understood and has been understood in recent days. It's more of a novelty in the history of the Christian Church, but this focus on the coming of the Lord. Again, verse 15, For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive and are left, until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. And here specifically, Paul is emphasizing the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. That resurrection which is coming, which is again contemporaneous with the Second Coming. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with the cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, with the sound of the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. So we're talking about the resurrection here. Then we who are alive and who are left will be caught up together with him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord, therefore encourage one another with these words.

And again, now he gets right back into it in chapter 5. Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you, for you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord... Okay, so look at these, they're all contemporaneous events. You have the coming of the Lord, you have believers being caught up, you have the resurrection, you have the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord, he says, will come like a thief in the night, while people are saying there is peace and security. Here he's alluding to Matthew chapter 24. While people are saying, you know, peace and security, and suddenly destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief, for you are all children of light and children of the day.

We are not of the night or of the darkness, so then let us not sleep as others do, and let us keep awake and be sober. So he's giving them, you know, these encouragements for how to live in light of the coming of the Lord. Again, this is very similar to what you have with Jesus in Matthew 24, when he's talking about his coming. You know, when the disciples say, you know, what are going to be the signs of your coming? They're referring again to the second coming, I believe.

And you have all of these things happening at the same time. The resurrection, the coming of the Lord, are being caught up, the day of the Lord. And these are where people who argue for a rapture that's distinct from the second coming, I think, have a real problem. Because you have then, what you're left with is, the resurrection having taken place, apart from the final judgment, and you have resurrected saints in the kingdom of God, maybe, you know, together with non-resurrected people, it's just confusing. It doesn't make sense, and it also, I think, is not the best way of understanding what Paul is getting at in 1 Thessalonians 4. But as I said, this isn't a reason for us to divide as Christians in the sense of, you know, we're out of communion with each other in one way or another, or we can't recognize each other as brothers.

We can differ on this and continue to search the scriptures. 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 / 2024-06-21 18:38:04 / 2024-06-21 18:48:04 / 10

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