Christianity is very simple, it is about having Christ and in not having Christ you have nothing, and in having Christ you have everything. Welcome to Grace To You with John MacArthur. I'm your host, Phil Johnson. Today John's going to mix things up a bit. Instead of walking you verse by verse through a passage of Scripture, he's going to field questions from his home church about the Bible and the Christian life, maybe deal with a question you have wrestled with. Questions like, when people are regenerated, do they keep any part of their old sin nature? And if you can't see God and live, how did Isaiah survive after he saw God? And more.
So let's get started. You're going to hear a member of Grace Community Church ask a question, and then John will respond. In the Bible, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, I've been reading about that, and then Hebrews 9 27, I saw that it says, and in as much as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment, how could we explain that? Because Lazarus was dead, but then had been raised from the dead, so that would mean that he'd have to die a second time. Yes, good question, Todd. And the question he's asking is, how can it be that the Hebrews 9 27 passage is all-inclusive, it is appointed unto men once to die, if Lazarus in fact died twice?
I'll ask you a question, Todd. What about Enoch? He didn't die at all. So you've got at least one person who never died at all, and you've got Lazarus who died twice, and you have not only Lazarus, but a lot of other folks who died twice. In fact, anyone who was ever raised from the dead died twice. When Jesus died on the cross, it says the graves were open and all kinds of Old Testament saints came back to life, so they had to die twice. Then you have the people that Jesus raised, the daughter of Jairus and the son of the widow of Nain. You have the ones that were raised by Elijah, the prophet from the dead.
All of those people died twice. Then you have to answer the question of what about the rapture? A whole population of Christians aren't even going to die once. They're going to be raptured to heaven.
So what we assume then from all of that biblical data is that the statement of Hebrews 9 27 is a general statement to which there are by God's design certain exceptions. And we need not fear that. It's still true that it is appointed a man who wants to die.
That is the norm. Men die. It is extremely unusual when they don't die. And we can count on death. In fact, in history, you can count the people that didn't die by just counting Enoch, and maybe Elijah was translated in a whirlwind, but they're less than a handful out of the millions and millions that have died. And of those who have died twice, that's also a very small group of people who were raised from the dead. And yet in the future, there will be a whole group of Christians who will miss death because of the rapture. We'd like to be in that group, wouldn't we? But we just know that the principle of Hebrews 9 is still true that men die, and they die once, and then they face God's judgment. So, we take it as a general principle in that regard.
Good question. In the genealogies of Matthew and Luke, on the surface there appears to be some difficulties, and I'm dealing with that right now. In Luke chapter 1, how can we be assured that Luke is tracing the genealogy of Jesus through Mary's descent? And also, can you recommend a book that deals in depth with the genealogies of Matthew and Luke and attempts to harmonize them? Matthew gives a genealogy in chapter 1, Luke gives it in chapter 3. We believe that Matthew gives the genealogy of the Lord through the line of Joseph, okay? And that the best explanation of the line of the genealogy of chapter 3 of Luke is that it is the genealogy of Mary. Now, the key thing is you have to study those in detail. There are many, many good sources. I would suggest to you that if you're looking for a good source, William Hendrickson's commentary on Luke is excellent.
He has an excellent section on that particular genealogy. The real problem with it, you go all the way...it's different than the genealogy of Matthew 1, right? It's different. There are different names. So we know that it takes a different turn.
You have to realize this. Joseph is in the line of David and so is Mary. But Joseph came down through a different family. In other words, you have David here and off of David children and off of them children. So you've got a lot of ways you could still be a son of David or a child of David or in the Davidic line. Joseph comes through one of those channels. Mary comes through another. We know that because the names in the genealogy are different.
So they're coming down through different lines. The reason we assume that the Matthew genealogy is indeed the genealogy of Joseph is because that's exactly what it says in verse 16. Jacob begot Joseph.
So it tells us it's down to Joseph. Now when you come to Luke, what is most interesting is the genealogy of Matthew starts, you know, with David and goes to Joseph. The genealogy of Luke starts with Mary and goes backwards, tracing it the other way. But what is intriguing is that it never says Mary.
And that's where the confusion comes. It says in verse 23 of Luke 3, And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being as was supposed the son of Joseph, who was of Haile, who was of Methot, and then it starts going backward. Now what you have to recognize there is genealogies for the most part do not incorporate the name of the woman. And the reason that Joseph's name appears here is because it is normal to place him in the line through his father. Mary is not mentioned because it was not normal to trace that through the woman. But what is stated here is very unique because it says Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being as it was supposed the son of Joseph. So this genealogy does not trace it through Joseph. It says He was only supposedly the son of Joseph. Such a statement is a statement that is attempting to be consistent with a male genealogy and yet demonstrate that in fact it is not Joseph that is the issue here, but Mary.
And she, though unnamed, is there in the implication of the fact that He was only supposedly the son of Joseph. AUSTIN Very good, thank you. JOHN Yes.
WANE Hi John, my name's Wayne. There seems to be a big problem in the church today concerning the doctrine of eternal security. Most Christians believe you can lose your salvation. Now one of the arguments they use is Revelation 3.5 which says, He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before my father and before his angels.
Now they point out two things. Number one, that overcome is in a present tense and that means you have to work in order to keep your salvation. And they also say that God has an eraser and He will use it to remove your name from the book. Now please comment on this verse and also explain what Moses meant in Exodus 32-32 when he said, But now if thou wilt, forgive their sin, and if not, please blot me out from thy book which thou hast written. AUSTIN Good. That's very concise, Wayne.
Thank you. I love that verse in Revelation 3.5. That is the greatest verse. That's one of the best verses in all the Bible on eternal security. I don't know how those people can do that with that verse.
And people say, Well, you see right there, you're liable to get your name blotted out of the book. Now I want to explain that verse. In Revelation 3.5 it says, He that is overcoming, He that is an overcomer. Now how do you get to be an overcomer?
Who wrote Revelation? John. So we ought to ask John. John, what is an overcomer?
What are you talking about? What do you mean by this? Well John will tell us that we have overcome verse 4 of 1 John 5. John says, For whatever or whoever is born of God is overcoming the world. So the overcomers are the people born of God.
And this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our what? Faith. So saving faith makes us an overcomer. Saving faith makes you an overcomer.
You're born of God. So now in verse 5 of Revelation 3 we know what he's talking about. The one who is a Christian, who by faith in Jesus Christ has been born again, has overcome the world, the world is no longer his master, he is an overcomer.
That's the definition of a Christian. So he says, The one that is an overcomer, the same will be clothed in white raiment. Is that conditional? Is there any other condition except being an overcomer?
No. If you are an overcomer and you overcome by your faith and you are born again, then you will be clothed in white raiment. That is an absolute fact.
There are no other conditions to that. The day will come when you enter into the glory of the presence of the Lord and He will clothe you in the brilliance of pure and holy reality forever and ever. And I will not blot His name out of the book of life, but I will confess His name before my Father and before His angels. Now what the Lord says here is not that He will blot out our name, but what? That He will not. Now how you can get eternal insecurity out of that, I do not know.
He says, I will not do that. Now where did He get that? This is written to the church at Sardis. And at Sardis they had a basic principle in terms of the city and citizenry that many cities in the ancient world had. When you came into the city, you were written on the rolls of the city. And you were identified as a member of that city.
You belonged to that place. But if you committed some criminal act or if you dishonored the city in any way and brought reproach upon it, they would erase you out of that city roll and you then would be dispossessed and disenfranchised, you would be, if you will, a man without a city. And what God is saying is, they may do that to you in Sardis, but I'll never do that to you. If you have put your faith in Me and are by virtue of saving faith and overcomer, you will be clothed in white garment which was used for very honored people in the city.
I promise to do that and in no condition will I ever do to you what men do to men. I will never blot you out, but I will affirm you, I will confess you before My Father and before His angels. This is a guilt-edged guarantee that you can't lose your salvation. So when they pick on that verse, they're in real trouble. Now you're asking about Moses. And Moses is saying, Oh Lord, if you don't do something with this people, blot my name out. He is really saying essentially the same thing Paul said in spirit in Romans 9 where he says, I could almost wish myself accursed for the sake of my kinsmen, my brethren, right?
Israel. In other words, I could almost come to the point where I say, God, I'm so concerned about the salvation of Israel, that damn me and save them. What he is saying is, Oh Lord, my passion runs so deep, I have such a great concern for this people that I wish you'd do something for this people. And oh God, if you're not going to do anything for this people that I love, I can't bear the burden.
Just eliminate me. This is the outcry of an impassioned heart and you don't find the doctrine of insecurity in that outburst of passion. There's nothing Moses says there about whether or not that could happen.
He just is pouring out the emotion of his own heart. And when you want to affirm the doctrine of security, there are two passages that I would recommend to you that are unanswerable, John 10 and Romans 8. And then I think part of the reason people believe in insecurity is because they can't explain certain people's behavior. In other words, they say, well, what about my Aunt Ethel? She came to church for a long time and then totally bombed out. And they don't know what happened. So they explain it as the loss of salvation. The Bible explained it as never having had it, right? First John 2.17, they went out from us because they were not of us.
If they had been of us, they would have continued with us, but they went out from us that it might be made manifest, they never were of us. Okay? Thank you. My name is Beverly and I wanted to ask, does a Christian have an old nature? Does a Christian have an old nature?
Yes. Okay, back to Romans 6.7. All right. It's a hard thing to just explain this briefly, but I'm going to make a stab at it, Beverly, all right?
You have to start with this. The Bible never uses the term old nature, but that's not a problem. It never uses the term new nature either.
So we have to realize those are artificial terms that we've sort of conjured up. But when you say, does a person have an old nature, what you're basically saying, and most of us have come out of that background if we've been Christians for very long, that you used to be just an old nature, that's all you were, sin, sin, sin. Then you got saved, you got a new nature, now you have a new nature and an old nature and they fight each other, right? Like the black dog and the white dog, and they used to tell me the black dog is the old nature, the white dog is the new nature, and the one will win, the one you say sic em to will win.
So say sic em to the new nature, the white dog, and so forth and so on. The problem with that view is it makes salvation addition. In other words, when I get saved, nothing happens to my old nature, I just get something else. So salvation is not transformation, it's addition. So nothing changed, just something new was added.
That is very difficult to defend. It depends scripturally, that salvation is addition. Everything I read about it is that if any man be in Christ, he's what? He's a new creation. It's got to be metamorphosis.
It has to be transformation. And so what I believe then is that you, your old person, your old man, your old nature is transformed, it's eliminated in the reality of conversion and you become a new creation. You have an old creation? No. No, not in the sense that your old one is still there fully intact just like it was and now you've got a new one side by side with it.
No. But your new nature still has a problem and that is sin that is in you in your flesh, in your humanness. So let me say it this way so I'm not misunderstood. The people who have the idea that you have a new nature and an old nature postulate that idea because they want to acknowledge that sin is still in our lives. And sometimes when I talk about not having an old nature, people go, you know, into sterics and they say, oh, MacArthur doesn't believe you have sin in your life.
I didn't say that at all. Just don't call it an old nature. Just call it what the Bible calls it, sin that is in me that is in my flesh. So as long as I have humanness, I have sin. But I am one new creation in Christ. So the answer to your question is no, we do not have an old nature. Yes, sin is still there.
But let's use biblical terms and let's not say we're an old nature and a new nature and make conversion look like it was addition rather than transformation. Okay? Okay, thank you.
You're welcome. Hi, my name's Brett and I wanted to ask you, in the Bible where it says no man can see God and live, Isaiah says that he saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up. And I wanted to ask you, how can you see God? Well, what it's intending to say in the, you're talking about Exodus chapter 32 and 33 where Moses is calling for a vision of God and the Bible says no man, God says no man can see me and live.
And that is true. What Isaiah saw was in a vision. It was not in reality the full glory of God.
If you read that text, you'll see that. And Isaiah is seeing a vision, that is a vision of God which he was able to see and still live. As I've said many times, a vision of God is somewhere between a dream and reality.
It's not just a dream and it's not the full reality, but he has this incredible and marvelous vision of God. Now, the only thing we can say in reference to the Exodus passage is that he didn't see all there was to see or he would have been consumed. Now, that's not inconsistent with Exodus either because you remember God says to Moses, no man can see me and live. So then God takes Moses and if you keep reading in that passage in Exodus 32 and 33, He tucks Moses in the cleft of a rock.
You remember that? And He says, you stay in that rock and I'll let My glory pass by. And I cannot, He says, I cannot show you My face, but I will reveal to you and He uses a Hebrew term that means back parts.
I will reveal to you My back parts. In other words, there is a part of Me which you can see and live, but the fullness of My glory you could see and it would consume you. So whatever it was that Moses saw was not fatal. It was not the fullness of his glory. Listen, when Christ came into the world, did He come in His full glory? No, He came in veiled glory, right?
Veiled in human flesh. When He comes the second time, He comes in blazing glory and people scream for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them to hide them from His consuming presence. So it's only a question of a controlled revelation of God. Listen, the Bible is a revelation of God. The Bible is God revealed, right? It is a veiled revelation.
When you came to Christ, the Holy Spirit came into your life. That is a revelation of God. And if the Holy Spirit came to you in the fullness of infinite glory, you'd be consumed too. So all the revelation of God to man in a way is veiled so that man is able to deal with that. And what God is saying, if you saw My face, that is the fullest expression of who I am, you'd be consumed.
Okay? I have a question about the abomination of desolation. When Antichrist comes into power, is it going to be something that's going to be blatant and out and open, or is it going to be subliminal and really subtle?
I mean, something that people aren't really going to notice. In Matthew 24 where it says in verse 15 that when the time of the Tribulation there will be the abomination of desolation, taken out of Daniel the prophet. Yeah, Daniel points to the period known as the Tribulation in the future and he says in the middle of the seven-year period of the Tribulation, the Antichrist is going to do that which abominates and desolates. And we went through that in Matthew 24 and we saw that basically that means that there will be worship going on in the temple and in Jerusalem. The Jews will be back in their worship, back in their religious activity. The Antichrist who makes a pact with them for a brief period of time makes peace, it says in Daniel 9.27. He gives them back their worship and in the middle of that period of time as they think it's all going well, all hell begins to break loose and it's initiated by one great event.
The Antichrist sweeps into the temple, desecrates the temple, abominates the place, pollutes it. Now I believe personally that will be an outward, overt act. I don't know exactly what kind of an act it will be. If it's anything parallel to the act of Antiochus Epiphanes during the intertestamental period, it would be slaughtering a pig on the altar and jamming pork down the throats of the priests.
That's what he did. Now I don't know all of the details of what it will be, but I do think it will be a noteworthy act. It will be a reportable act.
It might even be an act you could get a photograph of and put in a newspaper. Q. Hi, my name is Becky and I have a question concerning a verse in Hebrews that says that we have a high priest who has been tempted in all things as we are yet without sin. Well, I understand that Jesus was tempted, but what I don't understand is if He did not have a sin nature, then how could He have been tempted as strongly as we are? A.
You're looking at Hebrews 4.15, we have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin. Let me ask you this. If you had solid gold, could it be tested in fire? If it was tested, what would it prove to be?
Gold. Could it pass the test? Sure.
Does that mean it wasn't tested? Q. No. A. No.
Could you take a test, bless the Lord, and get a 100% on it? Could you? Q. No. A. There's an honest girl. No, I don't mean...I mean could you hypothetically? I mean a real easy test. Q. Oh, yeah.
A. I mean, help me with the illustration, will you? Sure you could. You're very humble. You could take a test and get a 100% on it. Does that mean it wasn't a legitimate test?
No, it just means that you passed it. The fact that Christ was tempted or tested, that's not a problem. Satan can approach Christ and give Him a test.
Because He passes it doesn't make it any less a test, right? So He was tempted and tested. In fact, He was tested to extents that we can't understand because usually we fall to the temptation somewhere along the line.
And the longer we resist, the harder Satan works. Well, imagine in the case of Christ, because He never gave in, He was tempted to the maximum every time, but He passed every test. So the fact that Christ was tested was not to demonstrate that He had a sin nature, but to demonstrate that He was sinless. And because a person is perfect, it doesn't mean they can't be tested.
It simply means they passed the test. So Christ in His absolute perfection passed every trial and test that Satan came. When Satan came and wanted Him to deny God's Word and to take things into His own hands and to obey Satan and disobey God and so forth and so on, those were tests that legitimately were offered to Christ and could be offered to any person, God or man, by the approach of Satan and Christ passed every test. That's John MacArthur here on Grace To You answering Bible questions from members of his congregation. I hope he answered one you had. John, today you were asked about the Christian's old sin nature, and you gave a great answer.
But you admitted that you didn't really have time to explore the issue in a spontaneous Q&A. So I want to follow up on that. We've just produced a new study tool that looks deep into the issue of sin, and we want to offer it free to anyone who has never been in touch with Grace To You. And actually, I should clarify, this is a study tool that we have redeveloped. Yes, because it was back 30, 40 years ago that we produced 150 of these study guides, and they were designed for the listener to Grace To You to have the study guide in hand while listening to the radio. And so you were not only hearing it, but you were going through the booklet, and they were immensely popular. And we brought them back, and I think this may be the fourth one now that's kind of redeveloped and tremendous response to them.
And here's the good news. We are so excited about the new redeveloped form of the study guide that we want to give a free copy of this one. And by the way, this one on the freedom from sin is 250 pages of Bible study material. We're so thrilled about these study guides and so anxious to get them into the hands of all of you folks that we want to make a free offer of the newest study guide, Freedom From Sin, to anyone who has never contacted Grace To You before and wants one. And it's 250 pages.
It's a full book. And it's based on a study of Romans 6 and 7. And I remember the days when I first went through Romans 6 and 7, how life-changing it was. I understood my own sinfulness. I understood salvation, justification, sanctification in ways that I had never understood it before. Now this booklet is a study guide.
Again, the title, Freedom From Sin. Just a little background. For many years we produced study guides, and they went along with the broadcasts. And we're back doing that again, kind of redoing, redeveloping, as Phil said, these study guides into a modern format and making them available a few weeks before we start a series so you can follow them as you listen. They're basic outlines with a lot filled in, and they're perfect complements to the study that you listen to.
But they also would stand alone in just reading. Also, I have always found them really helpful if you're a teacher, because everything is outlined for you. The publishing rights have reverted to us, so we're reintroducing these, and before we're done, we could have 150 of them back in circulation.
So it takes you verse by verse through an amazing portion of the Bible. The great news, they're free to anyone who's never contacted us before. Do it today. For others of you who are part of our ministry, you can always order them. We'd love to get them in your hands as well. Yes, and friend, Romans 6 and 7 is all about how to kill sin and live for the Lord.
It's incredibly practical stuff. To get the Freedom from Sin study guide free if you've never contacted us before, get in touch today. Call our toll-free number, 855-GRACE, or go to our website, gty.org. The Freedom from Sin study guide lays out powerful biblical truth that can energize your worship and strengthen your resolve to fight sin with everything you have. For a fresh understanding of the resources God has given you to overcome sin, pick up the Freedom from Sin study guide.
It's yours free if you've never contacted us before. Just call 800-55-GRACE or go to gty.org. That's our website, gty.org, and when you visit there, make sure to take advantage of the thousands of free resources available including Grace Stream. That's a continuous loop of John MacArthur's sermons starting at the beginning of Matthew and going through the end of Revelation.
And it takes a couple of months to get through all of them, and then the sermons repeat. You'll find Grace Stream at gty.org. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson encouraging you to watch Grace To You television this Sunday. Then join us Monday when John launches a brand new series called The World Versus the Kingdom of God. You don't want to miss it. Be here for the next half hour of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace To You.
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