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Is Empathy a Sin?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
March 15, 2021 1:00 am

Is Empathy a Sin?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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March 15, 2021 1:00 am

Episode 662 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes


1. Is there a difference between the Old Covenant law and the Law of Christ?

2. Did Jesus literally go to hell after he was crucified?

3. How do I talk to a loved one who is marrying someone who is not a Christian?

4. Can Christians experience demon possession?

5. I recently have heard a lot of Christian leaders and writers warn against empathizing with other people. They warn that empathizing, feeling another person’s pain, leaves you open to being manipulated emotionally. I don’t really understand this, is empathy really a sin and should Christians be concerned about this?

6. Why was Jacob blessed instead of Esau?

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I recently heard some Christian leaders say that empathy can be in. Do you agree that is one of the questions will be answering on today's addition 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 can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram or twitter accounts and you can always email us your question at questions at core, First up, today we have a question from Debbie in Lodi, California Debbie, welcome to core Christianity hi, thanks for taking my call. My question is is there a difference between old covenant law and the law of Christ.

Thank you for that question Debbie and thank you for forgiving us a call. There are a couple of places in the New Testament where it talks about the law of Christ. And it does seem like in those contexts often set in contrast to the old covenant law you see the love Christ spoken of in particular and in the book of Galatians. For example, in Galatians chapter 6 verse two. I was so interesting about that is in the context of the book of Galatians, you know, the apostle Paul is talking about all of these ceremonies that were related to the old covenant law being under Moses and so there's a sort of contrast there between Moses and the law of Moses, which we are no longer under as followers of Jesus and the love Christ, I think one thing that it's so important for us as Christians to understand is we have this this new relationship to the law through our union with Jesus Christ. We've been justified weeping. We been saved by grace through faith we are no longer under the law, but as the law can't condemn us anymore were dead to the law and that's actually what the apostle Paul made very clear in books like the book of Romans. In Romans chapter 7 particular verses one through six. The apostle Paul talks about that that if you go to chapter 8 he says there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus for the law of the spirit of life has set you free in Christ from the law of sin and death and soak the differences were no longer under the law is a sort of works covenant. You know, in the sense that the people were under it in the time of the Old Testament. Now we've been freed from the law because we've died to it in Jesus Christ by faith in him and and were free now. By the spirit balls and talk about this in Romans chapter 8 to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law, so as it is really this beautiful picture of how now if you're a Christian, the law can't condemn you your filled with the spirit you been adopted into the family of God, and now by the spirit we fulfill the law of Christ. The law of love. The law of liberty, it sometimes referred to in soak. I think the focus.

There is, is that you know being justified being saved doesn't mean we just go in and indulging in all sorts of sin in earlier Paul makes that very clear and in Romans chapter 6 what shall we say then are we to continue in sin that grace may abound by no means how can we who died to sin still live in it.

So were no longer under the law were not enslaved to it or to our sins were free in Christ and now what we serve.

By the spirit in the law of Christ. And so I think that's the contrast that you have there, Debbie. What a beautiful picture that the law can no longer condemn us now were free to follow Jesus by the spirit and fulfill the righteous requirements of the law through the grace of Christ. And so, thank you so much for that question really really helpful to get us started here. Thank you. That's the beauty of the gospel is literal. Just what a great picture you painted their this is core Christianity with Pastor Israel Sanchez and if you have a question for us. Call us in the next 20 minutes. Here is the phone number is 833.

The core that's 1-833-843-2673 let's go to Aaron from Boonville, Missouri Aaron, what's your question for Pastor Israel.

My question is you go to help conquer hell order to conquer hell on the cross yeah will think that question Aaron. You know there's there's a lot of confusion. Is this phrase the apostles Creed created talks about Jesus's dissent. He descended into hell and that's been interpreted a number of different ways. The church historian euros love pelican. He talked about how in the earliest days of the church seem like it was referring to primarily the sufferings of Jesus Christ on the cross as of this image that sometimes people get of Jesus going and suffering in hell for three days in between his death and resurrection, and I think that that's absolutely ruled out.

So we would say that no, that didn't happen them you think about the conversation that Jesus had with the thief on the cross in places like Luke chapter 23 where he said today you're gonna be with me in paradise. And so the sufferings of Jesus right we think of them primarily as what not just his whole life. But the pinnacle of that suffering was what took place on the cross and in one sense we can really say Aaron that he bore hell on the cross for us. Galatians chapter 3 it talks about how he was cursed. He experienced the curse of the law, the wrath of God really on the cross for us and so that's what I would I would point to and I think if what people mean by this idea of Jesus you know going down into hell you think if they think that he was sort of further atoning for our sins by going and suffering in in Hades, or that kind of a thing, no wait I mean that.

That's us. That's is ruled out, and I think like I said that passage I I mentioned in Luke 23, where he has a conversation with the thief on the cross confirms that. And so thank you for your question rather your listing core Christianity. If you have a question for us. We would love to hear from you by the way, one of the ways you can ask a question is by recording it on our voicemail at 833 the core or by going to our website at core, is little microphone icon. There you click on that and you can leave your message. We actually hear from people all over the world through our website.

So if you're listing internationally. That's a great way to leave your message. Just go to core and click on record you? We'd love to have you do that sometime today. Let's go to a voicemail that came in from Kevin in North Carolina and remember to a nonbeliever. My meetings with the number of explaining just what the Bible says about you being married in the Lord but also as you know that we will not continue in sin. Those who are children of God cannot continue incident.

There's involved so the question is do we ever did being around them. So where were not openly supporting the relationship but you were also not being good Christians who want all of them want to embrace someone because our goal will be for this person on the Lord and sign for a member of the middle of the Lord of the wedding the next year or so ago is okay you attended, you know, we don't relationship nobody is biblical guidance here, but you do.

That's it. That's a complex question. Outsourcing outages encourage you to to pray pray for this family member and also pray for wisdom sounds like becoming just the guidance from the Holy Spirit that you need in terms of the conversations that you that you been having the unit continue to have with this family member and it sounds like you've gone to the right passages of Scripture at think I heard you alluding to verse 20 and seven were talks about being married in the Lord that's that's a focus of Paul gives there and then in a second printing chapter 6 what Paul said beginning in verse 14 do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.

For what partnership has a righteousness with lawlessness, what fellowship has light with darkness.

What a court has Christ with the Lyle or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever. What agreement has the temple of God with idols, for we are the temple of the living God. And so you know those are those the right passages to go to and of course, what, when Paul makes that statement in second Corinthians.

I think it really fits you know with with what you're talking about somebody who wants to be married to a non-Christian that would be an example of being unequally yoked. We know based upon what he said earlier that that doesn't mean we don't have friendships with that kind of relationship with non-Christians. He says you know we have to go out of the world. In order for that to be the case and he talked about that in first Corinthians chapter 5, but in terms of pursuing marriage with someone who is in a believer that is something that the Bible says Christians are not to do that one thing I would. I would say innovate in your discussion is one thing, perhaps you can focus on is the fact that God wants the best for your family member. He's not withholding good things from his children and I think a lot of times when we were thinking about relationships in a week, we can begin to to grow impatient. We feel like God hasn't brought that that special person into my life and so I just need to take things into my own hands and and we begin to settle, we begin to pursue people who are outside of God's will for us in the sense that you know God doesn't call us to be married to non-Christians, but I think focusing on the goodness of God that God is not trying to withhold something good from his people and is difficult as is. It might be that you pulling back from something like this is really for the good of your family member. If your family member truly wants to follow Jesus and have a marriage that is honoring to Christ because it's really difficult to have a Christ centered gospel centered marriage. If the person that you're married to doesn't believe in Jesus doesn't embrace Christ.

You just can't just can't do it and so I think that you you've been honest, it sounds like anything you want to continue to do that to speak the truth in love, not to to burn the bridge because there could be a time or say lately. Your failure to follow through with this with this wedding.

There could be a time where where they really need you and you want them to know that you're someone who's going to speak the truth to them, but also be loving and extend grace and mercy and so I would say continue to speak the truth to to share how you feel for sure that that you're not on board with the two of them getting married, especially if you're if your family member is professing to be a believer but you're not okay with that but that doesn't mean that you don't love her and factor being honest precisely because you love her because you want what's best for her and for her marriage and so may the Lord give you wisdom and fill you with grace as you continue to have these conversations and may he soften the heart of your family member I meant Kevin will be praying for you in that situation. We know that so that's difficult when it somebody you love in your family that you want them to be following the Lord, and the Woodrow made some great points there.

This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez Easter coming up in just a couple weeks and we want to tell you about an exciting new offer that we have for you today yeah tribal you know how Easter can be just another holiday on the calendar a day when we go back to church and make sure you know we wear our best close but Easter so much more than that Easter is the story of how God made a way for sinners like us to know and love him so excited about sharing this new Easter devotional resource with you that we have your core, It's called sayings from the cross is a special devotional with seven lessons that will help you and your family.just grow more in your understanding of of what Jesus has accomplished for us, especially as we think about Easter. It helps us to reflect on everything Jesus said on the cross how he pleaded for the father to forgive those who were crucifying him what it meant when he said it is finished and how he rose on the third day get your hands on this resource. It's free for you on our website and so make sure you check that out. This truly gets at the heart of what what what we do here core Christianity and if you'd like to get this free resource. All you have to do is go to our website. Core, again. Core,

You can also call us for that resource or any one of our resources at 833-843-2673. That's 833. The core let's go to Shannon calling in from Omaha, Nebraska Shannon, what's your question for pastor. Israel helped family member monthly and are how would you know when to late hello I guess the first thing I want to know is, is this family member, a Christian because in the in the Bible and the book of first John, it talks about how the evil one does not touch those who belong to Jesus Christ. Now that doesn't mean that we can't be oppressed by spiritual warfare and demonic forces, but the fact of the matter is, is if an individual is united to Jesus Christ by faith Shannon, that is if they if they believe in Jesus the spirit of God is living in them are bodies of the temple of the Holy Spirit, while the evil one has no place there and so Christians can't be demon possessed. And one thing that that you see in the Gospels is that Jesus through his earthly ministry and in particular through his death on the cross, balancing and there is as definitive below that was dealt to the kingdom of darkness through the ministry of our Lord Jesus that that really gives us hope for the advancement of the gospel throughout the world.

Now when people are experiencing spiritual warfare.

The way in which we can help in what were called to do. Shannon is to pray is what Jesus said it to his disciples in in the gospel of Matthew. Matthew 17 list.

This kind is come out except by prayer in the context of spiritual warfare and in the book of Ephesians when when Paul talked about putting on the armor of God. One of the big focuses and that in that section of Scripture is the importance of praying of always being vigilant as I would say if you're concerned that you know someone or have a family member or friend who's who's wing oppressed or even possessed by demonic forces. You should pray, but sometimes I think this is why started the answer. The way that I did that Christians can be confused about this. You cannot be possessed by the evil one by demons.

If you are a Christian.

If you are united to Jesus by faith. And so that's a really important thing to understand and ultimately what you want to continue to do then Shannon is his point this person to Christ, his grace to his mercy to the forgiveness of sins. Jesus is the one who conquered the evil one.

We don't do that.

We know we don't stand any match against it.

We point to Jesus.

We point to the gospel and we pray for those who are in need because there oppressed by spiritual forces so that was a pray and share the love of Jesus with this person Shannon God bless you. You're listening to core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez by the way, if you want to ask a question to pastor Israel.

We should let you know that some of the radio stations that the program errors on a run the program at a later hour. So if you'd like to call and talk to pastor Israel personally live.

Here's the time to call 11:30 AM Pacific 1230 Mountain 130 Central or 230 Eastern time. That's when the phone lines connect directly to the studio and you can ask a question we receive a lot of voicemails through our website at core, here's one that came in yesterday.

I recently heard some Christian leaders and writers warning that if we empathize with other people or if we feel other people's pain that we are open to being manipulated emotionally. And I don't really understand. Is it really a sin to be empathetic and you think Christians should be concerned about this. Thank you for that question to Sina some people are concerned with a kind of empathizing that is essentially our can fall into essentially being emotionally manipulated. That is, we just we just feel with another person but we don't ever render any judgments we don't share the truth with them as I think that's one of the concerns that some people might have do have. But the problem with with statements like empathy is the sin is that in my opinion those things are were way too simplistic and can be really unhelpful actually think the problem with a lot of Christian leadership today and just leadership and in general in the world is that there isn't very much empathy is something that we lack empathy is is defined as assuming the emotions of another person. Being willing to embrace those those feelings, in particular those who are suffering the sufferings of another person that I believe actually the son of God. The word of the eternal word of the father is the ultimate empathize or in the incarnation Jesus. The word assumed everything. It is to be human except sin.

That included our our emotions pain even at this is one of the things we see in in the book of Hebrews in particular that this is highlighted in Hebrews chapter 2 verses 17 and 18. Listen what the author of the Hebrew said therefore he that is, Jesus had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people, for because he himself has suffered when tempted is able to help those who are being tempted just a couple chapters later in chapter 4 verse 15 the author to the Hebrew said this. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are yet without sin. Now can empathetic people be emotionally manipulated and just sort of sink into the pain of another person without helping or providing counsel providing truth rendering true judgments. I would say yeah.

I mean that's that's a problem but the problem there isn't empathy, it's the fear of man, maybe cowardice even being unwilling to speak the truth in love, empathy, I would say helps us better understand another so that we can render true and compassionate judgments when what we were seeking to help someone we empathize with them so that we can come alongside of them and render judgments that are compassionate and and and true that we give another concern that I have been thinking about this question of you know is is empathy wrong is empathy is sin. One of the hallmarks of narcissistic personality disorder is an inability to show empathy. I think this is something that all of us have to beware of men, especially those in leadership in positions of leadership and and especially those in in positions of Christian leadership. There's research out there that highlights how power and positions of leadership tend to make us less empathetic power actually has the ability to third change our brain chemistry affects our our ability to mirror those who we feel like we can't identify with anyone. There's been a lot of research done about this and that's what's so special so beautiful when you have leaders, people who are in positions of cortical power who were also filled with empathy.

We think that with you possible say in Romans chapter 12 verse 15.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, we with those who weep, live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty but associate with the lowly the as Christians we are called to share in the joy and the pain of each other because especially in within the body of Christ were united by Jesus. And once this reflects Jesus. His is very hard. His love for humanity in the incarnation and through the incarnation and so I think statements like, you know, empathy is a sin, I think that that's just way to blanket and and unhelpful. We need more empathy. Frankly in in leaders, not less, empathy, and we need empathy with the truth. By the way couple years back I read an article over core, emphasizing how Jesus has both of those yes yes empathy but is also all-powerful and that's one of the most beautiful things about them is called power with empathy. The beauty of Jesus. An article Check that out such great balance that our Lord represents for us and he experienced every emotion that we do as human beings, because the gospel of Mark. You can actually find many times were Jesus expresses feelings and we can learn from that.

This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez.

Let's go to Garcia from St. Louis, Missouri. What is your question for pastor. Israel also needs all unilateral like God always waiting to open it without I noticed that Jake will rely to get the blessing and you will lift eventually. So how come as it is an excellent question. I mean one thing that we get you when you're reading Genesis and the story of Jacob and any saws there both sinners there, but not mess up the back matters.

Every single person who we encounter throughout the pages of Scripture save Jesus Christ was a sinner and yet God still use them. And God still bless them in various ways and what's highlighted there in the story of Jacob and Esau is God's sovereign prerogative to extend his grace to whoever he wants. However he wants.

This is something that that the apostle Paul talked about in Romans chapter 9. They talked about the promise and how how. Essentially, it played out throughout the history of redemption and he says in verse six is not as though the word of God is failed for not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel and all the children of Abraham because there is offspring but the Isaac shall your offspring be named. This means that is not the children of the flesh were the children of promise, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring for this is what the promise said about this time next year I will return, and Sarah will have a son and not only so, but also Rebecca had conceived children by one man or forefather Isaac though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him calls she was told the older will serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated thoughts focused listening focused on. There is, is God's sovereign grace God's choice of Jacob, not on the basis of anything that he had done, and certainly not on the basis that of the fact that you know he he was.

He didn't liar was always faithfully IED was quite the deceptive individual and yet the Lord somehow still turned everything around and used him for his purposes and and brother deck that gives me comfort because the fact of the matter is we all come to the Lord with our brokenness with our sin and it is in our perfect obedience that that causes God to use us.

It's the fact that we come to him as broken sinners who receive the mercy that he extends to us through his son Jesus.

So yes, God can and did you say thanks for listening core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us at core, and click on offers and the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833 when you contact us.

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