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Does the Apostle Paul Contradict Himself?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2021 12:00 pm

Does the Apostle Paul Contradict Himself?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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January 27, 2021 12:00 pm

Episode 629 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

1. How do you explain the doctrine of the Trinity to young children? My kids understand that Jesus is God but have a hard time understanding the idea of other persons in the identity of God.

2. Do we have to keep forgiving someone who keeps sinning against us?

3. Jesus say He will send the Holy Spirit after He went to the Father. But in John 20 Jesus say to His disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” But in Acts it look like the day of the Pentecost was the first indwelling of the Holy Spirit into believer. How can you understand these two event without contradiction?

4. In the Apostle's Creed, it says that Jesus descended into hell. If Christ took the punishment of man on the cross, why did he have to "descend" into hell?

5. How do you understand the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

6. In Ephesians, it says that we are not judged by our works, but by the blood of Jesus. However, in 2 Corinthians, Paul says that we will be judged by our works. I know that we are ultimately saved by the grace of God but this is confusing to me.

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This edition of core Christianity is prerecorded in different sections of Paul's letters, he seems to say different things about whether were judged by our works or not. Does the apostle Paul contradict himself. That is one of the questions will be answering on today's edition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer along with Pastor Israel Sanchez and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question. At 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post a question on our Facebook, Instagram or twitter accounts and you can email us with your question at questions@corechristianity.com first step today we have a good news story to share with you. Marion Thomas is 90 years old. She's a great grandmother and she just earned her college degree that's after putting her education on hold to care for her husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Mrs. Thomas had completed 113 credits toward her degree prior to leaving Georgie in court University in New Jersey. That was seven credits short of graduating, but the school agreed to give her the remaining seven credits and award her degree for the class of 2020 not talk about being a lifelong learner bill. I let Dori so cool I think when I'm 90 years old and this can be set in front of the TV with the tab so to stop making Status.

I know you had a bottle of water, something there to do was get our first question of the day, and Paul posted this on our website. He says how do you explain the doctrine of the Trinity to young children. My kids understand that Jesus is God, but they have a hard time understanding the idea of other persons in the identity of God, yeah.

And you know what my kids struggle with the same thing effect my daughter just recently she's six years old sheet she asked me the question, how is it that we believe in one God because we talk about how we believe in one God, and obviously there's all sorts of Scripture that brings that out.

I think of Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse four hero Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one, but we talk about Jesus being God the Holy Spirit being God the father being God and so how do we explain this to our kids. I frankly I think it's helpful for us not to try to use you know the many analogies that we often times you have heard all sorts of different analogies.

The Trinity is like up at the relief Clover of the Trinity is like no ice water and vapor there all the sort of same substance. In one sense, but these the different modes if you will, and frankly, a lot of times those different illustrations.

Paul can actually confuse the doctrine of the Trinity.

And so I think what we want to do is stick as close as we can to the words of Scripture, and teach those words to our children and what does the Scripture teach the Scripture teaches that there is one God and that this one God eternally exists in three persons, you have many passages of Scripture that identify the sun as God you think of John chapter 1 verse one in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God the spirit as God you think of acts chapter 5 where Peter speaking to Ananias and Sapphire talk to them about how they've lied to the Holy Spirit. They've lied to God. The very fact that our bodies are called the temple of the Holy Spirit is indicative of the fact that the Holy Spirit is God, and of course there are numerous places in the Scriptures that identify the father as God and these three are often brought together. I mean I think of that place in that the end of the gospel of Matthew where Jesus gives the great commission in Matthew chapter 28 was equally command the apostles to do he says to them in verse 19 go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, even to the end of the age Apple. One of the things it so interesting to me about the New Testament is often when these three distinct persons, one God, but the three missing persons are brought together. It's in the context of worship of man of the community of God's people worshiping and praising God. Even there. In Matthew 28 the context of baptism baptized in the name of the father and of the signing of the Holy Spirit.

You see, you sort of trigon formula and other places of the New Testament.

Second Corinthians chapter 13 for example the very end. There's this benediction that's given with the triune formula father son and Holy Spirit.

So I think what's helpful for us is to take a cue there from the New Testament and essay the best way to teach our children about the Trinity is to teach them the songs of the faith songs that worship the holy Trinity is not something that were ever to fully understanding the mystery of the Trinity were not called to speculate about the holy Trinity were called to a door and worship the holy Trinity and so Paul my encouragement to you is teach your children songs about the father the son and the Holy Spirit. There are all sorts of wonderful songs you can find throughout the history of the church and its there is were singing and praying to the father in the name of the sign and through the Holy Spirit that the faith the triune faith is really ingrained in the hearts of our children are listening to core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez. Our phone number if you got a question is 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 let's go to Noel who's calling in from plaster Ville California Honeywell but your question for pastor Israel keep forgetting, and time again and again the such a such an important question.

I think it was CS Lewis who said you know forgiveness is something that sounds good to everyone until we have something to forgive. Forgiveness is is really 90s and think actually there was a study that was done by the Barna group some time ago that found that he was one in four Christians has someone in their life who they simply say they cannot or will not forgive believers in Jesus to say nope. There's no way I can forgive this other person and a lot of times Noel I think it's probably because they feel like they've been sinned against.

Over and over and over again.

I can't help but think about the words of our Lord Jesus to Peter where Jesus is asking a happy time. Should my brother sin against me and I forgive him up to seven times. Remember what Jesus said to him, to serve a shocking and Peter in that context thought that he was being gracious thought that he was being really charitable, helpful, our forgive my brother up to seven times and Jesus said no. 707. Which I think is just another way of saying never stop forgiving. Now there's a really important distinction that we need to make your Noel the distention between forgiving someone and reconciling or even restoring the relationship were always called as Christians to forgive people when they sin against us, but that doesn't necessarily mean we need to reconcile effect reconciliation would require the other person who sin against you to repent to identify the fact that there setting and for there to be this genuine reconciliation and restoration would require a further step beyond that and that's not always necessary for us as believers, I think you know within the body of Christ. We were always pursuing reconciliation were always called to forgive, and we we hope to reconcile, but if someone is unwilling to repent and reconciliation because it involves two parties is just impossible, but simply put it to answer your question were were called to forgive every single time is many times is as were sinned against and ultimately we can do that because we are people who have been forgiven immensely by God and so on are struggling to forgive someone we need to remember how gracious God was with us forgiving our sins. Even though we didn't deserve it. Noel does that help out give a follow-up question. Maybe there now that so much that balance some format. Thank you. I truly appreciate thank you so much my answer my question Dale how long have a great day ;-) thanks, I appreciate so much for being one of our regular listeners your listing core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez, one of the ways to get in touch with us is by posting a question on her Facebook, Instagram or twitter accounts and we had one come in through Facebook, Israel, this person says I need some clarity on John 2022 and the day of Pentecost. Jesus says he will send the help of the Holy Spirit after he went to the father but in John 2022 Jesus says to his disciples receive the Holy Spirit. But in acts it looks like the day of Pentecost was the first indwelling of the Holy Spirit into believers, how can you understand these two events without contradiction. Yet that's a really good question.

And of course Jesus in the Gospel of John had been promising the Holy Spirit to his disciples, especially in that section of teaching, which we refer to as the upper room discourse begins in John chapter 13 and then goes all the way to Jesus's high priestly prayer in John 17. It's where Jesus was telling his disciples that he was into believing them very soon and of course they're confused. They're worried they're afraid but it's in that context of the upper room discourse. And Jesus says no I'm going, but the helper is going to come. The Holy Spirit is going to come head in one sense, you know that it makes sense that at the end of John's Gospel, you would have a statement like this verse 23. If universe 22 and when he had said this, he breathed on them. The disciples is after the resurrection of Jesus, he breathed on them and said to them, receive the Holy Spirit. Now there are differences of opinion as to know how does this relate to Pentecost, but I think the best way to understand this is to see this is sort of foreshadowing of what was going to happen on the day of Pentecost. We know that Pentecost was when the Holy Spirit fell upon the church in this unique way that never happened before in the history of redemption. It was prophesied way back in the minor prophets by the prophet Joel when Joe said in the latter days are when God said to the prophet Joel in the latter days, to pour out my Spirit on all flesh that is to say that it's not just the priest and the prophets and the kings were to be filled with God's spirit, but the entire people of God, young and old, men and women.

It really is this this amazing promise, and it's being foreshadowed there in John chapter 20 verse 22 and so there's no contradiction. No actually what we have instead is just the preparation if you will for Pentecost, I think, was highlighted here is that the spirit comes to us from Jesus himself, he breathed on the disciples. It's the spirit of Christ and that's exactly what we see in acts chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost as well.

He ascended to the right hand of the father and then he poured the Holy Spirit out upon the church. Thank you so much for your question. Hope that clears it up for you go to other call it real. John is listening in Kansas City hi John, what's your question for pastor. Israel will predrill thank you so much for being about radio network in Kansas City. We really love listening to your program. I have a question about the apostles Creed that Jesus descended into hell the same time Jesus turns to the thief on the cross Today I'll be with you in paradise. If Christ punishment was meted out on the cross. Why did he have to go to hell with what he do their John.

That is an excellent question, and there are so many people who is been confused about that clause in particular in the apostles Creed now.

First let me just say because I think some of some of our listeners might not be familiar with the apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed, which we sometimes referred to on this program and there are essentially just ancient statements of faith that summarize core Christianity, what were all about, you know that the core cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith and has the, the apostles Creed is talking about Christ suffering his humiliation. It have that statement, he descended into hell.

Now that statement has been understood in different ways throughout the history of the church and and if I'm not mistaken, the way in which early non-Christians understood that statement was to be a reference to the cross itself. So you're right.

The punishment that Christ experienced that he experienced on the cross. He bore the wrath of God for our sins, is why Paul can call Jesus to propitiation Jesus wrath removing sacrifice and how did you remove the wrath of God over our heads through suffering and dying on the cross and there we can say that Jesus experienced hell for us. The darkness of the cross and and so it was not that. And this is where people can be confusing to hear that statement they imagine Jesus you know in some sort of fiery pit for three days will know your you're right. Jesus made it absolutely clear when he was speaking to the thief on the cross you're going to be with me in paradise today. Jesus was victorious over sin and hell, through his crucifixion, and so we need to recognize that that that statement in particular is aware of misunderstanding and there's a way of rightly understanding it and I would say the way of rightly understanding it is to see it is as referring to the sufferings of Jesus on the cross. John is that cleared up for your can get out we have a follow-up and I don't have a reference at hand. But the reference of Jesus speaking to the souls and in Hades or something along those lines yes gather there are a few text in the New Testament or couple that seem to allude to this in an their mean that that raises all sorts of other questions, but just just it will be to be really quickly. My take on that passage of Scripture.

I think Jesus is essentially proclaiming his victory over the grave over the dead, so it's not that Jesus is going to eat out to preach to those who are dead, and in the grave to offer them another chance at salvation, or that he was down in hell is as we already made clear earlier. It's that Christ, after he died on the cross. He's victorious in paradise. And he's proclaiming his victory.

Some of the plays refi of first Peter.

That's one of the places where the references that he's proclaiming his victory over the grave over the dead, and so really after, you know Christ crucifixion his death on the cross that you begin to have his blessing his resurrection is the exaltation and glorification of Christ is resurrected after three days he ascends the right hand of the father where he seated and one day he's going to return to judge the whole world. He's exalted now, but the path to exultation for our Lord Jesus was first through his humiliation there at the cross. John, thank you so much for your question.

Thank you so much Exxon.

We appreciate you for listing their bot radio network.

Let's get to another call here on core Christianity this is Kendra from Escondido, California hi Kendra, what your question for pastor. Israel tell me how you understand the path of the Holy Spirit and Athens. Every Christian yet it's a great question. This is another one of those topics of theology of you sort of understand this phrase that you find throughout the pages of the New Testament, both in the Gospels and in the book of acts. The baptism of the Holy Spirit there some churches that teach that the baptism of the Holy Spirit refers to this kind of second blessing so you know you have faith in Jesus, your sins are forgiven, your united to Christ by faith. But if you really want to live the victorious Christian life and what you need to need the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and so I was actually a part of the church for many years that that was what what they believe. That was what they embraced. I don't hold that position anymore and I think that that there is some confusion, then about what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for. For many Christians.

I think it's important that we clear this up. First, I would say that yes every Christian is baptized in the Holy Spirit, if you will mean the apostle Paul said to the Corinthians. No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit and again to the Corinthians. He said by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body you cannot be a Christian without being filled with the Holy Spirit baptized in the Holy Spirit, if you will, and the fulfillment of that language.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is found, we are already talking about Pentecost a little bit earlier but it's found on the day of Pentecost in acts chapters 1 and two. In fact, Jesus himself said prior to his ascension acts chapter 1 verse five for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Now I want you to notice something in acts chapter 2 where it talks about this baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Beginning in verse one. When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting and divided tongues as of fire appeared to them, and rested on each one of them and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to begin other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there's a lot going on there and I think it's really helpful when we understand some of the Old Testament background to this text of Scripture to see really what's what's taking place your first you have this breath of God that comes on the people. This wind from heaven if you will, sometimes referred to as breath is the note in Genesis chapter 2 verse seven in the Greek translation of the Old Testament. It actually that's the word it's used in Genesis 27 refer to the breath of life that feels man's is almost like we were having her on the day of Pentecost. This sort of new creation.

This is the new creation the church breaking into earth. You also have here. Think about the image of fiery tongues over each of the disciples or what, where, where would fire appear in the Old Testament. How about over the tabernacle, the fiery presence of God. It was a sign of God's presence.

One of the things been indicated to us here with the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is that the disciples are themselves the new temple of the Lord, and you see that again throughout the pages of the New Testament that we as Christians the church is the temple of God on earth. So you have this new creation. This new Temple and each of us are called to speak forth the truth of God's Word with boldness with confidence. You might even say as part of a new group of prophets and in numbers chapter 11 know Moses long that all of God's people would be prophets that they would all be anointed by the spirit of God and of course I mentioned earlier that was prophesied in Joel chapter 2 verses 28 and 29. So what you really have here. This is what the, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is all about. It's about this new creation work of God. This new temple.

These new prophets. The church of Jesus Christ, bringing the message of the Lord, to the whole world, spreading abroad and and sharing the message of salvation with others. That's really what the baptism of the Holy Spirit about is about and what a wonderful thing that each of us as Christians. Each of us as believers have been filled with the spirit. Kendra, thank you so much for your question and I trust that that was encouraging for you.

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That's core Christianity.com/Bible we have time for one more call Israel. This is a voicemail that we received at 833, the court in Hampshire and I had a question I want to leave in Ephesians 28 it says that we are not judged by our works, but the shedding of blood by Jesus.

But in two Corinthians 510 it says that for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one of us may be judge for his deeds and the body according to what he is done, whether good or bad this a little confusing. I know it's grace and mercy that saves us, but this since it will also be judged by our deeds, so if you could clarify that. Thank you so much for enhancing my Christian experience. Thank you for your encouragement and for your question. It's a really important one. First, Paul the apostle is not contradicting himself.

He makes it absolutely clear that were justified by faith alone.

That means were right before a holy God, not on the basis of our works, but on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It's important that we get that settled in our minds because so many believers are are terrified, you know they feel like I'm not sure I'm saving the reason I'm not sure I'm saved is he I believe in Jesus.

I've trusted him for my salvation. By the end of the day. I still fail every single day, or the fact of the matter is, as Christians were were going to fail. There's no one who is without sin. John makes us absolutely clear in first John, but Christ is our hope, our salvation, our righteousness, and so what we do with these passages like the one in second Corinthians 5 well, we are going to have our works examined were to be commended for the good that we've done in the Bible talks about the Lord giving rewards to his people were not exactly sure what those rewards are going to look like entirely, but we know that God is going to commend us and we know that when we have faith in Christ were not condemned.

John said very clearly in John chapter 5. These are the words of Jesus. Verse 24 truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.

He does not come into judgment, but is passed from death to life.

That's the hope that we have as followers of Jesus.

If we believe in him we have eternal life now and forever. 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 for or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33 core when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time.

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