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Why Try to Be Holy If God Alone Can Change My Heart?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
December 4, 2020 1:00 am

Why Try to Be Holy If God Alone Can Change My Heart?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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December 4, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 590 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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CoreChristianity.com

1. Is it okay for a Christian to get a plastic surgery? 

2. I’ve always been told that Jesus was God, but some Jehovah’s witnesses showed me Philippians 2 where it says that Jesus didn’t consider himself equal to God. Now I am doubting. How do I make sense of this passage?

3. If God’s love is unconditional, why does he get so angry with Israel that he judges them by sending them into exile?

4.  I keep hearing competing ideas about sanctification. One side says it is just like justification: by grace alone through faith alone. The other side says we need to pursue it, and even though it ultimately depends on the Spirit, we still contribute something to the process. But if I contribute something, isn’t this salvation by works? But if I don’t need to pursue holiness, it sounds like it is optional. Can you help me sort this out? Can we pursue sanctification in a way that isn’t trying to earn it by works?

5. In Numbers 21, God sends down the fiery serpents to bite the complaining Israelites. As I was reading, I thought to myself, does God get frustrated? Is frustration a sin? There is no sin in God and neither does He sin, I understand this, but how would one properly explain these passages in regard to His holiness? I see that Jesus uses this story in regards to looking to Him for salvation. Is this the reason this incident took place, just so Jesus would use it during His earthly ministry?

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Why should I try to be holy if God alone can change my heart, that's just one of the questions will be answering on today's addition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer along with pastor Adm. 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 and you can email us with your question at questions at core, Christianity.com first step today. It's a world record for something you may have never heard of but that sounds really yummy.

A New Zealand charity broke a Guinness world record.

When a team of chefs cooked up a giant chocolate lambing done, which is a spongy, layered dessert poplin charity cooks night off combined 13,000 eggs 1400 pounds of sugar, and 1100 pounds of flour into this giant spongy cake. It was then layered with chocolate and coconut to create the giant lambing 10 by the way the world record coincided with world lambing Sunday and another was such a thing. The desert weighed in at over 6000 pounds and a drill. I'm sure there was no shortage of volunteers to help dispose of the cake after well known for letting you share good news stories every day, but I think that might be the best one ever be a cake that big a show the stuff of my dreams. I love it as an idea for your church next Sunday.

You know you could.

After your service you could make a giant lambing time. Yeah I mean I just that I got time for that so great idea you look into our first question of the day here on core Christianity will carry hey Rose thank you for calling us. You know the Bible doesn't specifically address this. I wouldn't personally bind someone's conscience on this is a minister. I probably just if they were asking me encourage them to consider. You know why.

Why am I doing in there different kinds of obviously plastic surgery. So what what is behind this. My discontents is this vanity might consumed by my image and what other people think of me. I think that's where the conversation should go were called as followers of Jesus Christ to fix our eyes upon him, and to pursue godliness that I think we live in a culture and a society today that puts too much value on the external works. Things that I'm wearing on the way that I look and that becomes the focus in and out. Sadly, a lot of times we neglect our spiritual well-being. Paul said in first Timothy chapter 2.

Likewise, this verse nine.

Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness with good works focus there. It is not that beauty is bad.

No, not at all. But the question is what is our focus, what's consuming us and in a culture and in a world where the focus tends to be how I look now I'm presenting myself and not that modesty that self-control that respectability if you will. I think that should challenge us and so I would just say to whoever was considering this, ask yourself those kinds of questions. It's not my job as a pastor to try to speak very clearly in places where the Scriptures have not spoken very clearly in and there are some issues that are I think a matter of conscience and so you have to really determine for yourself by praying by considering some of the things that I've said whether or not this is a good idea and whether or not it would be honoring to the Lord and Rose of course there are different reasons for some people it's just wanting to look a different way and feeling like if I do this I'm going to be more beautiful for other people been there are all sorts of reasons.

It could have been an accident that someone was in and now there's some sort of reconstructive surgery or something like that and so that we we really, I think have to consider what what's happening. Why were doing it and whether or not were honoring the Lord prioritizing the things that he prioritizes as were asking these questions Rose thank you so much for your question. We pray that you will make the right decision or your friend who is whoever's considering this.

This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez Virginia posted this on our twitter account.

She says I've always been told that Jesus was God, but some Jehovah's Witnesses showed me. Philippians 2 where it says that Jesus didn't consider himself equal to God. Now I am doubting how to why make sense of this passage I think probably what's happening. There is a sounds like whoever these Jehovah's Witnesses are actually taking Philippians 2 out of context, and in particular the verse that they're referring to. Let's start with verse five, Paul says have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but he emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of man and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father now couple of things here that are really important first in the context the it's not that Jesus doesn't consider himself to be equal with God is actually the opposite.

It's being equal with God, he humbled himself, he humbled himself and assumed humanity.

Now that doesn't mean that he stopped being equal with the father as the divine person. He's always equal in power and in glory. He sees one. In essence, with the father and yet in the incarnation, he humbled himself, he came to earth for us and for our salvation. And it's the humility that the apostle Paul is referring to here and that's what he says in verse five have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus our Savior humbled himself by assuming humanity to the point of death, even death on a cross and as a result, he was highly exalted and that the name of Jesus every tongue is going to confess that he is Lord, every knee is going to bow you know, it's so interesting about that is actually Paul there in Philippians 2 is quoting from the Old Testament he's quoting from Isaiah chapter 45 verse 23 God says by myself I have sworn from my mouth has gone out in righteousness, a word that shall not return to me, every knee shall bow every tongue shall swear allegiance to its happening here. Would you actually this passage does the exact opposite of what the Jehovah's Witnesses claim. Not only does it teach that Jesus is equal with the father but here Paul is quoting from Isaiah 45 where it says every knee is going to bow before God, the Lord Jehovah and he's attributing verse two Jesus now if Jesus was not God that would be impossible and if Paul didn't think that Jesus was God. He would never say that that's what I would point out to your friend who's a Jehovah's Witness that you continue to have these discussions. Thanks for your question, no I drill. I think a lot of evangelical Christians don't feel adequately prepared when talking to a Jehovah's Witness or a Mormon, would you recommend for all of us to be able to have those conversations them and point them to the Scriptures that truly applied to their beliefs. Yeah, I remember there was a point probably the first year I said walking with the Lord, and my faith really being challenged because Jehovah's Witnesses would come to my door and of course have a newer Christian so I'm excited to talk about the Bible and they would do just what they did to Virginia right there they would take a passage of Scripture and they would sort of twisted and misinterpreted.

And of course they have their own Bible is called the New World translation that does twist the Scriptures, and in many places where the Bible clearly shows that Jesus is God they've changed the wording here or there or they've taken away a word or added award undermine. I think the true interpretation of both the Scriptures so I was really struggling with this and in it for me at least personally bill it was continuing to dig into the word to read the Scriptures every day and to see how they testified to the divinity of Jesus Christ, and in it, it really is everywhere in the Bible he could prove the deity of Christ from the Old Testament and the New Testament from the Old Testament through these prophecies that we get you think of Isaiah chapter 9 for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders and his name will be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of peace and you have it), and John read the Gospel of John over and over again the deity of Christ is affirmed in the Gospel of John, but if you're looking for resources can help point you to specific passages. We have several over it. Core, Christianity.com.

We actually have a four week Bible study called Jesus is God and I mean that that one is really gonna take you to all the relevant Bible passages and highlight why does the church for 2000 years has embraced this doctrine. This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez that we want to help as many people as possible.

Gain a clearer understanding of the gospel. We do that through this radio show. The questions we answer the articles on our website.

The resources we produce. But you know we can't do it without your help. That's right, Bill and I were a listener supported program and if you benefited and been encouraged by the answers to the questions about the Christian faith you hear on core Christianity would like to ask you to please consider sending a gift now to help us continue as a thank you for your gift of $20 or more will send you our new resource how to read the Bible.

This is a resource that shows you how to answer some of the most important questions you hear us answer on the show. Most importantly, this resource will help you answer questions about the Bible and how its grand message points to Jesus how to read the Bible resource introduces you to the history of the Bible key concepts that help tie the Old Testament and the New Testament together and key ideas from the main sections of the Bible. Each weekly lesson includes selected passages from the Bible. Reflection questions and explanations of the key themes every Christian should know about the Bible as a whole. You can also call us for that resource at 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 and on behalf of everybody here core radio. We really do thank you for your support on Monday. I had a question or atrial love is unconditional. Why so angry with Israel rejected them by telling them into exile enough to me that the really seem like unconditional love a lot. Thanks for your question is very clear throughout the Scriptures that when God set his love on Israel and the old covenant, but it really had nothing to do with anything that they did or would do mean Deuteronomy chapter 7 verse seven God says to them it wasn't because you were greater than any of the other nations are more numerous, that I set my love upon you.

It wasn't that you were special. I think of Hosea. For example, when God paints this amazing picture of calling Israel to himself that he describes her as struggling in her blood. I mean just basically near death. There was nothing she had nothing she contributed to God's call on her. And yet God came and in his mercy unconditionally set his love upon Israel and so the question is why does he judge her and is that unconditional love and what I would say is maybe our definition of love here is an entirely accurate. Actually, I would say that the exile was in fact a sign of God's love. Proverbs chapter 3 verse 11, God says as many as I love I rebuke and chasten God's discipline of his people is the symbol assign the reality of his love. The author, the Hebrews talked about this in Hebrews chapter 12 listen what he says in verse three consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted in your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding the blood and you have forgotten the expectation that addresses you as sons. My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure God is treating you as sons.

For what son is there whom the father does not discipline, but if you are left without discipline in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

Why does God judge Israel. Why does he discipline her.

Well it's it's his love.

It's his goodness that it's the same for each and every one of us. You know, I think part of the problem in this is just true in our broader society. Today we have such a poor definition of love is assumed by so many, especially outside of the church in our culture that love means just affirming me in whatever I want to do and sort of thing.

Cool that's good for you. I love you and go ahead and do whatever you want that kind of the thing. Love doesn't challenge the fact of the matter is his true love does challenge I would be a horrible father. If my children were going off and doing things that I knew was harmful for them but I was unwilling to discipline them and I just at home and let you do that, because I love you and I don't want to intervene up to let you do whatever you want. That's not love that hatred, God loves his children and when God judged Israel.

It wasn't because EP didn't have unconditional love for Israel and didn't set his love on them just purely by his grace and goodness and mercy. It was because he was calling them back to himself the chastisement the discipline of the Lord is always meant to bring us to repentance, to lead us back to him and and it's a sign of his love, and so Tyler I would say God's love is totally unconditional when when he disciplines when he chastises Israel he sends them into exile. That's not contradicting his love. Actually, that's a part of how his life is established. It's because he's a good father that he disciplines his wayward children. Thanks for your question. Thanks Tyler. We appreciate so much for you getting in touch with us. By the way our number. Once again, if you've got a question is 833-843-2673.

That's 833 the core. This is core Christianity with pastor Adm. Sanchez drilled a Derek posted this on her Facebook account. He says I keep hearing competing ideas about sanctification.

One side says it's just like justification by grace alone through faith alone. The other side says we need to pursue it.

And even though it ultimately depends on the spirit, we still contribute something to the process.

But if I contribute something, isn't this salvation by works, but if I don't need to pursue holiness. It sounds like it's optional. Can you help me sort all this out and we pursue sanctification in a way that isn't trying to earn it by works yeah hey thanks for your question Derek. While there are similarities and differences between justification and sanctification. The similarity would be that they're both works of God.

Now differences are. Justification is the definitive act. It's something that happens in a moment, what we believe in Jesus Christ.

We are justified and declared righteous, our sins are forgiven, the righteousness of Jesus Christ is given to us imputed to us that the sort of technical term that we sometimes use and that's done at the done deal now. The person who is justified by the grace of God in this act if you will of of of salvation is God justifies us is also going to be sanctified and then that's a process that's not necessarily this definitive act that happens just a moment in time that something that, but as Christians throughout our entire Christian life. We are growing in grace were being inwardly renewed and transformed more and more into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ by the grace of God.

This is not like it's something that I'm doing by pulling myself up by by the bootstraps and I'm transforming myself know even this is a work of God in a work of the Holy Spirit, and so and so far as they're both works of God works of the Holy Spirit there similar but insofar as justification is a complete act done whereby unforgiven and receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ and sanctification is this process over time with inward renewal their distinct they're different so we don't want to confuse the two, even though they're both works of God are acts of God, now related to sanctification. You've asked will will does that mean that we have to pursue it and strive after and is there a contradiction there. You know if I'm pursuing sanctification. Is it what working for my salvation will I think the best place to go for this is in Philippians chapter 2 verses 12 and 13, Paul made it very clear there, he said. Therefore, my beloved is you always obeyed, so now not only in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling will you hear that just think okay I better get to work. Work out my salvation with fear and trembling, but then listen to what he says in the very next verse four. It is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. In other words, that pursuit of holiness that were talking about Derek in sanctification.

It's still even though it's it's something that you're the subject of your pursuing holiness and we all are called to pursue holiness, were not called to be lazy in the Christian life occult to diligently seek after the Lord and pursue holiness together with the people of God, but even that this is the. The marvelous thing even that Derek is the work of God in you that desire in you, the willing and the working for God's good pleasure God working in you for his glory and grace.

And so is this beautiful picture of yes we were pursuing these things in sanctification or totally dependent upon the Lord he's at work in us and so this is it. Salvation by works, me pulling myself up by the bootstraps.

It's salvation by the work of God still now again our justification is not dependent upon our sanctification becoming more justified because you're growing in holiness that you are justified by the righteousness of Christ is given to you.

But that day to day inward renewal that sanctification at work were growing more and more into the image of Jesus were drawing near to the Lord every day for God calls us to us as believers, as followers of Jesus as that happens, even that is a work of the Lord. So I would say you Derek pursue holiness, which is what the Scriptures say you see that innkeepers pursue holiness pursue those things that you know are right be in a good church study the Scriptures pray, seek to do good to all people, especially to those of the household of faith to be done pursue this diligently, but no thanks the Lord who is working in you giving you the desire even to will and to work for his good pleasure.

And insofar as that's the case. This is something that you're doing on your own working for your salvation percent of this is the work of God's spirit in you. Thanks for your question. Great question.

Your listing the core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and you can email us with your question at questions at core, Christianity.com that's exactly what Brad did and he has a question about a specific passage of Scripture he says in Numbers 21 God sends down fiery serpents to bite the complaining Israelites as I was reading this I thought to myself, does God get frustrated is frustration a sin. There is no sin in God and neither does the Sam I understand this, but how would one properly explain these passages in regard to his holiness. I see that Jesus uses the same story in regards to looking to him for salvation. Is this the reason the incident took place just so Jesus could use it during his earthly ministry. Okay this is such a big question, and I'm just gonna say Brad, we probably don't have the time to go into it really deep as I would like to so feel free to follow-up with this if you want, but really the answer your question is no, God does not get frustrated. This is the doctrine of what's called divine impossibility. It's a part of our classic understanding of who God is impossible doesn't mean that God is like the ultimate goal defender who cannot be scored on passable here is from the Latin word Palacio which means to suffer. God cannot suffer. He is not overwhelmed like we are bite external circumstances, is this doctrine that the qualification on on what we might call God's emotions quote "God is not like us.

He doesn't get overwhelmed.

You know what that should be a comfort to you and to me, there was a theologian who wrote a book one book in particular called rejoicing and lament.

It's his own struggle with incurable cancer, as he thinks about his diagnosis wrestling through that diagnosis and he says what he was going through his chemotherapy treatment. It was this doctrine that was so comforting we don't need a God who is like us. God was overwhelmed with problems and gets frustrated. We need a God who conquers the things that overwhelmed Jesus crucified to conquer our sin in the death that overwhelms us. Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us@corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33 core when you contact us.

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