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The Narrow Path 11/20

The Narrow Path / Steve Gregg
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November 20, 2020 7:00 am

The Narrow Path 11/20

The Narrow Path / Steve Gregg

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November 20, 2020 7:00 am

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Music Good afternoon and welcome to the Narrow Path Radio Broadcast. My name is Steve Gregg and we're live for an hour each weekday afternoon. This is the last weekday of this week and therefore your last opportunity for us to have a conversation before the weekend if you have anything you'd like to call about. Perhaps you have questions about the Bible or the Christian faith or you have a different viewpoint from the host. I want to discuss that.

You can do that here. The number is 844-484-5737. That's 844-484-5737. All right, we're going to talk first of all to Farrell from Long Beach, California. Hi Farrell, welcome to the Narrow Path.

Hi Steve, thanks for taking my call. In Job 40, I don't know where it's at, but God basically tells Job's friends to go to Job and ask him to pray for them. My question would be, what's your opinion on that and is there any place else in the Bible where someone's requested to go to someone else to pray for them? That's a good question.

I don't know if I've ever, let me think about that for a little bit because I'm not sure. It seems to me that praying for people, for other people is certainly a biblical thing because Paul talks about the prayers he prays for the people he greets and so forth in his epistles. As far as saying go and ask somebody else to pray for you, yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, when Paul, when Saul was converted, God sent Ananias to him to pray for him.

He didn't send Saul to ask Ananias to pray for him, but he sent Ananias to pray for Saul. And, you know, that's kind of the reverse of what you're asking. There probably are cases that are just slipping my mind right now. I'm just not, I mean, I could sweep through the Old Testament stories and try to remember any of them.

But, well, there is a place, yeah, in Genesis chapter, I believe it's in chapter 20 when Abimelech has taken Sarah into his harem and God tells Abimelech to go to Abraham and ask him to pray for him so that the curse that was on Abimelech's family would be removed. So that's one case I can think of right off. There might be others. I'm just, you know, working from memory here. So is it possibly that it's just rightful prayer?

I know that rightful is not really a word, but I think you understand what I mean. Making sure that the prayer was accurate and pure and acceptable to God. Well, I'm not sure what you mean by that.

Do you mean, do you mean? Well, because Job's friends had not represented God properly. Right. And with the example that you gave, Abimelech was not walking with God either. Right.

Well, you mean some, asking somebody to pray for you, what is it specifically you're thinking he's supposed to pray for his friends about, that they'd be forgiven? Is that what you're thinking? No, I'm just simply thinking that God wants to be recognized properly and purely.

And I guess Job was able to do that and Abraham was able to do that. But maybe the other two might not have, I don't know. I'm just thinking. I'm not, I'm not really sure exactly. I'm not exactly sure what you're, what you're getting at. I mean, you asked if there are other cases of people asking someone else to pray for them or of God telling them to go. I mean, what exactly is your question about that? Well, my question is, did God send Job's friends to Job because Job would accurately pray for them in a proper manner?

Well, I don't know. I mean, are you meaning why couldn't they just pray for themselves? Why would they have to go to Job and ask him to pray? Is that the question you're having? Because he'd pray?

Because you're thinking he'd pray better? Yeah, it could be. Yeah. I mean, that's not good English, I guess.

But yes, that's exactly it. Because the prayer would be a better prayer. Well, maybe. Maybe it'd be a better prayer or maybe it would simply be that Job is being acknowledged here as having a sort of a priestly function toward his friends. We know he had a priestly function toward his children when they were alive because he offered sacrifices for them in chapter one. Maybe he's just kind of serving in a priestly function toward his friends.

I'm not sure. Of course, God had not established a priesthood at that point. But the point is that he was interceding.

The Bible is certainly in favor of people interceding for others. But as far as why they wouldn't just pray for themselves, I guess that's the question you're asking. I wasn't quite sure what the question was. Yeah, I don't know. Maybe they didn't know God. Maybe they didn't know God.

So Job's prayers would count for more. Well, I also appreciate the other example, too, Steve. So thank you for your time. Okay. Thanks for your call. God bless you.

All right. Our next caller is David in Eugene, Oregon. David, welcome to The Narrow Path. Thanks for calling. Oh, thank you, Steve.

Here in Eugene, on a couple different stations, J. Vernon McGee has some old messages on the air. And I was listening to one and wanted to get your take. The question came up, you know, could a Christian, you know, walk away from his or her salvation? And he referenced Romans 8 verses 18 through 39, you know, where it says what can separate us from Christ's love. And I wanted to get your take on if somebody can use those passages where it would say that somebody couldn't walk away from their faith and get your take on it.

Well, sure. I mean, that's that is basically that's basically one of the proof texts that people use to make the point that he's making. The idea that once you've really been saved, nothing can really cause you to be unsaved. But I don't know that I mean, people use this verse or this passage all the time, but I don't find it to be conclusive. And the reason I don't is because he's talking about things external to yourself, your circumstances, angels, demons, persecution, said none of these can separate you from the love of Christ. So he doesn't say that you can't separate yourself from the love of Christ. In fact, it says in Jude, Jude, verse 20 says, keep yourselves in the love of Christ. I think it's verse 20. Anyway, it's near the end of the book of Jude. It might be 22, but it says keep yourselves in the love of God. So, you know, you don't have to ask someone to keep themselves in the love of God if there's no if it's inevitable that they'll always remain in the love of God, no matter what they do. Paul doesn't describe any actions or decisions on our part when he says these things cannot separate you. He's he's assuming his he's assuming his readers want to stay Christian.

You know, I mean, let's face it. Most people who are really converted really want to stay Christians. Now, some people do under out of weakness, apparently break down under under certain circumstances, but or sometimes they just get bored with God. I don't know how that can be possible, but some people apparently do and they just walk away from God or or drift away without realizing they're drifting. And then they kind of wake up one morning and they're they're far from God. They don't remember getting there, but that's what they've allowed to happen.

Now, those things do happen. And the Bible does say Paul, Paul told Timothy in the last days, many will depart from the faith. So the faith means the Christian Christianity is what the faith is. So to depart from it is something you would only do if you had once been part of it. And so there's a great number of verses that would indicate there's a danger of a believer choosing to apostatize.

And that's but that is considered to be a rare thing. It's not really something that real Christians would normally do. I mean, I think if you're real, I think most people who walk away from their profession of faith might not have ever really been converted in the first place. The Bible does talk about people like that, where John says, for example, they went out from us because they were not of us.

If they had been of us, they would not have continued with us. So in first John chapter two. So, you know, there there are people who leave the faith because they really I mean, leave the church because they were never really in the faith. They were never really converted.

But I mean, we probably all know some people like that. But that doesn't mean that everybody who leaves the faith was never really a Christian. I don't think the Bible says that. What Paul is saying in Romans eight is that assuming you want to be a Christian.

I mean, he wouldn't be writing to them if they didn't because he calls them the saints in Rome. You don't have to worry. You don't have to worry that any circumstances would arise that would force you away from God. Nothing can force you away from God. You can very foolishly leave God, but nothing nothing can force you to.

That is that's really good and helpful. And it kind of brings me back to, I think, you know, especially in the area where I kind of grew up in the 90s. It seemed like there was still that whole notion that you could be a carnal Christian. You know, a man could be saved, but he still lives like he's an unsaved man. And I think, you know, definitely teachers like yourself. And I've even heard, you know, Dr. Robert Jeffress kind of, you know, change his old stance on that, that, you know, a carnal Christian or a lazy Christian is not really a thing. Is that, I mean, do you see the church moving away from that and people knowing that we do have to pick up our cross and follow Christ? Are you seeing more of that? You mean more of the right kind of teaching?

Yes. Yeah, I've been for the past 50 years, I've been surrounded largely with people who accepted the idea that you have to be a disciple and carry your cross. I mean, I was part of the Jesus movement. I was a teacher in it.

I taught these things 50 years ago. I still teach them because they're in the Bible still, and they probably will be after I'm dead too, if they don't change the Bible. But I did grow up in a church that didn't believe you could lose your salvation. It was a Baptist church, and I was in that church until I was 16. And then I was in Calvary Chapel, and Calvary Chapel also doesn't believe you can lose your salvation. And I was in that church for a while, but it was while I was in Calvary Chapel that I really began to study the Bible a lot more than I had growing up as a Baptist. And I realized that the idea that you can't lose your salvation is not really something the Bible teaches anywhere.

So, you know, my views moved from that. And, you know, at least since, I'd say, the 80s, most of the people that I've been hanging out with mostly would be people who are not of the opinion that you cannot walk away from God. They would be of the opinion that you can, as the Bible actually warns against.

But there's still plenty of people who talk about it. Now, let me just say this about the term carnal Christian. Paul did tell the Corinthians, whom he regarded to be Christians, although they were kind of on the edge, they were pretty carnal, he said. He said in chapter 3 of 1 Corinthians, you are carnal and babes. Now, what he's saying is they haven't outgrown a certain degree of carnality that they should have. And I think that when we say carnal, I think in the way Paul uses it there, he means too much regarding fleshly things. You know, they're thinking, he says, they're thinking like mere men. They're thinking like men of the flesh, he says. And so the Christian has to be transformed by the renewal of his mind in a very dynamic conversion. A person usually renounces everything of the flesh that's sinful and gets filled with the Spirit, walks with the Spirit, hopefully.

And they don't live in carnality at all. But I think that a person who is a true child of God can be stunted in their growth. And although they have changed, they do change. You never are converted without change. But a person can be changed but not changed as much as they should.

In which case there's a lot of carnality that needs to be rebuked in them and they need to subjugate their flesh more. But if they haven't changed at all, you know, if somebody is just living a sinful life just like they did before they were converted, then they probably were never converted. I would say they were never really converted.

But when a person is converted, not everyone I've seen who's actually come to Christ has come as dynamically or completely to Christ all at once like they should. And I think it has a lot to do with the bad preaching they've received. I think people receive preaching that doesn't really tell them what they're supposed to do. I mean, most people who are evangelists have never been told what Jesus said.

He said if anyone comes after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. I don't think the majority of people who've come forward at altar calls have actually heard that or understood that in our day. I think it was more understood in biblical times, but apparently even the Corinthians didn't understand it quite well.

So there's a block sometimes in people's mind that they don't quite hear it quite that well or they don't quite dive in the deep end for some reason. And that being so, they exhibit more fleshly behavior than a Christian should. But that doesn't mean they're not Christians. You know, Paul said that if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. That is, we won't live carnally if we're walking in the Spirit. But walking in the Spirit is something we have to do, you know, kind of steadily and constantly. It's not something that you just, you just don't throw a toggle switch on you and now from then on you're in the Spirit, walking in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit is something we're told to do.

And as we do, we don't live according to the flesh. So I think a person like the Corinthians, I think they had been converted. I think Paul assumes they're converted, but they're not really walking in the Spirit as much as they should.

And therefore they're not changed. Their lifestyle hasn't changed as much as it would. I think they had come out of idolatry. And that was a significant change when they became Christians and they probably had given up a great deal of their sinful lifestyle. But if they weren't walking in the Spirit continually, and who does really continually? But if they weren't walking in the Spirit enough, then they would be falling to the flesh much more than they should. And if a person is significantly bound up by fleshly behavior, one could refer to them as carnal without necessarily implying that they aren't saved.

But a person who's saved is going to be growing. And therefore, Paul was complaining that they haven't grown enough. He said that they were still babes and carnal. So he thought of them as babes in Christ. So they were in Christ, but they were babes.

They're immature. And he therefore described them as carnal. And in Paul's usage of the term there, at least, he would appear to be saying that although they are Christians, they're like newborns.

And they should have grown far more than they have. And they're still exhibiting a greater carnality. So I wouldn't rule out that a person who could be described as carnal in the sense that Paul means, I wouldn't rule out that they're a Christian.

But I do think that if a person is living without conviction, without repentance, in habits of sin, that there's no evidence that they should ever consider that they have been saved. Thank you. That's really good clarification off of what I said. And so thanks for bringing up the 1 Corinthians to that. And have a great day and God bless you, Steve. Thank you, David. God bless you. Thanks for calling.

Kathy in Stockton, California. Welcome to The Narrow Path. Thanks for calling. Oh, hi.

Good afternoon. I have a question about addictive behavior, because I've heard different things that people might have a propensity toward obsession, compulsion, or addictive behavior. But then I heard that there really is no such thing. It's really based on their environment, what goes on in their lives, and possibly abuse or some kind of hurt that's been happening. But then I also heard that once a person gives their heart to the Lord, that if there was a generational type curse, like addictive behavior, that that is taken away.

And then I'm thinking, well, is that really true? Well, first of all, I'm not real fond of or comfortable with the term generational curse. There's no such terminology in the Bible. And sometimes the things people describe as generational curses don't strike me as having a biblical basis.

Now, that'd be a separate subject. I'm more interested in talking about understanding addictions as a Christian. There's two kinds of things that can be called addictions.

One of them is physiological. You've become a meth addict or a heroin addict. Now, a person who's got that kind of addiction, of course, brought it up on themselves, because they would never have become addicts if they hadn't used the drugs.

But having used them, their bodies have developed a physiological dependency upon them, to the point where in many cases, if they would just stop cold turkey, it would possibly kill them. Same thing with alcohol. Alcohol can be that way.

A person can drink so much that their body is physically dependent on it, to the point that if they just cut it off cold turkey, they go through delirium tremens and get very ill and so forth. And you can tell that in these cases, it's not just a psychological thing. It's a physiological thing. It's chemical. And it's like they've made themselves sick.

They've made themselves sick just like you can make yourself sick by eating poorly and getting malnutrition or by taking something that compromises your health. So some addictions are physical in nature. Now, of course, unless God heals somebody of one of these supernaturally, which he sometimes does, by the way, I've known heroin addicts who were immediately delivered and healed of that addiction when they were converted.

But that doesn't happen to everybody instantly. And unless that does happen, a person with that kind of addiction is going to need some kind of therapy from a doctor or from a rehab or something where they actually help shepherd that person out of that physical dependency somehow. Now, there's other things that are called addictions that are not physical in nature.

At least there's been never any proof that they are. And that would even include, I mentioned alcohol can be physically addictive, but lots of people are not physically addicted to alcohol. But they'd say they're addicts.

They're alcoholics, they would say. In many cases, though, if it's not physical, then it must be spiritual or psychological or spiritual. And the same thing with many other things that sometimes are called addiction, like pornography addiction or gambling addiction or voyeurism, you know, that kind of stuff.

People, sex addicts, they call it. I don't know that I want to put those in the same class with addictions that are actually physiological because they're of a different nature. They are not something that the body has become chemically addicted to this. And I'm not saying there's no chemicals involved because brain chemistry can be stimulated by what you see or what you allow yourself to set your heart on. Frankly, you know, obviously adrenaline can be released in the body because of things that are part of your emotions. So there are ways in which the mind sometimes affects chemistry in the body. But at the same time, I don't think that a person has any chemical addiction to that is body chemistry addiction to gambling, for example. You know, there may be exhilaration.

There may be adrenaline. But that's not the same thing as an addiction, in my opinion. It means they're allowing themselves to get excited about something that is actually damaging them. And I think that that is a spiritual problem. I think that's a problem that, frankly, would be solved by walking in the spirit because the Bible says if you walk in the spirit, you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. And certainly it says the fruit of the spirit in Galatians chapter 5, verse 22 and 23, among other things, the fruit of the spirit is self-control. So a person who just gambles all the time and doesn't quit when he knows he should, he's not controlling himself. He's not walking in the spirit because the fruit of the spirit is self-control.

Now, some people say, well, that's not being very fair to these people because you're, you know, you're saying it's their fault. Well, you know, frankly, if I have something dominate my life, I'd rather have someone tell me the truth about it and say, you know, if you walk in the spirit, this won't happen. There is spiritual, there's a spiritual remedy for this than to have them say, you've just got some brain mess up here that's never going to change. You just need to go to, you know, 12-step programs for the rest of your life. I don't want to be in bondage to 12-step programs, I want to be set free, you know, and if the sun sets you free, you're free indeed. I believe that it's much more compassionate to tell somebody, listen, if you don't have a chemical, you know, physiological addiction to whatever it is, then it's something that can be remedied. You don't have to go through rehab necessarily, you don't have to take, you know, medicines for it, and you don't have to live with it the rest of your life.

There's freedom in Christ. So there's different things that are called addictions, and I think the word is used very loosely for almost any behavior that somebody is simply not finding it, not finding themselves capable of controlling. But that's not the same thing as physiological addiction. We all have temptations that we don't do as well as we should at controlling. And some people have temptations stronger in one area than in another, but being in bondage to sin, which is what the human condition is, until we're set free by Christ, being a slave of sin, it's not the same thing as what, you know, people call addictions in popular speech. Our problem is we're humans, we're fallen, we have sin in us, sin in our nature. So Paul said, you know, the thing I want to do, I don't do it.

And the thing I don't want to do, I do it. I mean, he was not an addict. He would never have accepted the title addiction for his problem. His problem was he has sin in his members, he said. And that was not a physiological thing, that's a spiritual condition. But he did say in the next chapter, of course, those comments were made in Romans 7, but in the next chapter, in verse 4, he said that, or in verse 2, he says, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ has made me free from the law of sin and death. And in verse 4 of chapter 8 of Romans, he says that the righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

So Paul saw this as a spiritual problem that all people have, and some people have it in some areas of life more than others. Listen, I need to take a break. I hope that may be of use to you. You're listening to The Narrow Path.

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Share and do good. Welcome back to The Narrow Path radio broadcast. My name is Steve Gregg, and we are live for another half hour taking your calls. If you have questions about the Bible or the Christian faith, I'd be glad to talk to you about them.

Also, if you have a difference of opinion from the host, I'd be glad to talk to you about that as well. Right now our lines are full, so you won't be able to get through immediately. But if you take this number down, no doubt there will be a chance before the program's over when lines open up and you can get through. The number to call is 844-484-5737. That's 844-484-5737. Our next caller is Stanley calling from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hello, Stanley. Welcome to The Narrow Path. Yes, I'd like to know the pros and cons of the Seventh-day Adventist religion. I need to hang up my phone because I hear you a lot clearer when you speak about it. Thank you.

Sure. Well, the pros and the cons of the Seventh-day Adventist religion. Well, the pros are they do believe in Jesus, and they do believe that Christ is the Lord.

At least they say they do. To say that Christ is the Lord means that he's the one you look to for your instructions. He's the one who gives the orders and you obey them. Now, there is a tendency with some Seventh-day Adventists, I won't pin this on all of them, but some of them actually would, in their respect for their founder, Ellen G. White, it almost seems sometimes like she's the Lord. Now, I know that Seventh-day Adventists could be offended by this, so I'm not broad brushing them all, but Ellen G. White is the founder, and they tend to look at her as sort of a prophet figure. And if she says something is true, there are some Seventh-day Adventists who'd say that it's true because she said it, so that she almost has as much power, maybe more, as the Scriptures, maybe even more than Jesus. Now, she wouldn't ever, Ellen G. White was a Christian woman, and she would never have argued that she should have more authority than Jesus. But, you know, you can sometimes give somebody more authority than Jesus in your life without consciously knowing you're doing it because your decisions and your opinions are really being formed by somebody who isn't Jesus.

And to the point where when you actually read what Jesus did say, you can only see it through the lens that this other person's teaching have fitted onto your eyes and your mind. So I think that I've met plenty of Seventh-day Adventists to whom this would apply, that they love to talk about the Bible, but only parts of the Bible, because the parts of the Bible that don't agree with them, they always revert back to Ellen G. White, okay? Or another alternative, and both may be true, is that the Seventh-day Adventists sometimes let the law of Moses be their guide rather than Jesus, because they argue that they have to keep the Ten Commandments, which includes the Saturday Sabbath.

That's why they named themselves Seventh-day Adventists, because they keep the Seventh-day, which is Saturday, as Sabbath. Now, in my understanding, the New Testament does not teach that the Christians keep the Ten Commandments. They follow Jesus.

You see, we don't have a law. We have a Lord, and we follow Him. Now, of course, we could say, well, but there is such a thing as the law of Christ, and that's true. Jesus said, a new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, as I have loved you.

He said, so that you also love one another. All men will know you're my disciples by this, if you love one another. He said that, of course, in John 13, 34, and 35. So, the real law of Christ is to love. But to the Seventh-day Adventists, the law that Christians are to obey is taken from the law of Moses. Now, they don't think we have to keep the whole law of Moses.

There are people who think that. There are some people who really are out of touch with the New Testament teaching, who actually think we should keep the whole law of Moses. But Seventh-day Adventists don't believe that, but they do believe we have to keep the Ten Commandments.

Now, you might say, well, what could be wrong with that? Well, for most of it, nothing's really wrong with the Ten Commandments. And, you know, you should not kill, you should not commit adultery, you should not steal, you should not bear false witness, you should not covet.

You know, you should honor your father and your mother. You know, have no other gods besides God. These are things that Jesus himself taught, which means that if you're following Jesus and his instructions, you'll be well within the perimeters of nine of the Ten Commandments. But Jesus never taught about keeping Sabbath as an obligation to anyone except the Jews. And that's because the Sabbath, according to the Old Testament, was a sign that God gave to the Jews, to Israel, a sign of their covenant that he had with them. Now, that covenant we don't have. That's the Old Covenant.

That's why the first part of the Bible is called the Old Testament. The word testament means covenant. The Old Testament is the Old Covenant. The New Testament is the New Covenant, and Jesus made a New Covenant with his disciples in the upper room. And the Bible says where there's a New Covenant, the Old Covenant is obsolete. Now, that's as plain as can be. I mean, you know, unless somebody has somebody else's lenses on when they're reading the Bible so they can't see what the Bible actually says, it's obvious. When the Bible says where there's a New Covenant, the Old Covenant is obsolete.

Okay? Let's not race past that without seeing what it says, because it says and means what it says. There is a New Covenant. It has rendered the Old Covenant obsolete. So the question we have to ask is, well, what is the New Covenant? Well, Jesus made it very clear. He is the mediator of the New Covenant. And the New Testament makes that clear throughout. He's the mediator of a better covenant. The same chapter that says that the Old Covenant is obsolete says that Jesus is the mediator of a new and better covenant.

So that's in Hebrews 8. So I think the Seventeenth Adventists are quite mistaken in thinking that, first of all, Ellen G. White's teachings are, you know, all authoritative, because I don't think they are. And I'm not saying she teaches any horrible heresies, but there are some doctrines she teaches that are mistaken and wrong. And some of them are just trying to cover their backside because she made predictions about Jesus coming back that didn't materialize. And so now they talk about, well, he kind of came into the investigative judgment, which is something that they made up out of whole cloth, because, frankly, they were embarrassed by the fact that the prophecy she made didn't come true.

And so they said, well, no, she wasn't wrong. It did come true. It's just that we, you know, we were thinking Jesus is going to actually come back here. But actually, he didn't come all the way back here yet.

He will later. But he came into the Holy of Holies or whatever for the investigative judgment. Well, that is, of course, not that's not the behavior of an honest movement. OK, I hate to say it, hate to say it because I don't like to call people liars, but I just have to say you can tell when people are not interested in truth as much as they're interested in covering their tails. And so that would be my criticism.

If you say, what are the cons of the movement? I'd say it isn't quite honest enough for my liking and it certainly isn't scriptural enough for my liking. I hope that's helpful. Garrett in Orange County, California. How you doing, Garrett? Hey Steve, how are you?

Good. So my question is about a situation that's going on. The church will remain nameless, but they are having issues with a lady whose husband cheated on her.

I'm sorry. And they think that she should divorce him and she doesn't want to. And they're upset with her about that. So I was just wondering if he could bring some scriptures to light about that. And I'll take my answer off the air because I'm working. OK, but don't go away quite yet.

Is the man still committing adultery? There were a lot of issues where it was continuing after they found out. I'm not sure about now.

I know it happened maybe about a year or two ago. OK, I'll be glad to address it. All right. Thank you.

Thank you. You know, I can't really understand why any church would want a woman to divorce her husband. Unless, of course, it's a very dangerous situation that she can't get out of any other way. I do agree that adultery is one of the very few things the Bible indicates would justify a divorce. And that people who get divorced for lesser reasons than that simply cannot remarry. And if they do remarry, they commit adultery by doing so. So, I mean, that's what the Bible says. That's what Jesus said.

Now, there are a few other things. Of course, if a person dies, their marriage is over. But also, if an unbeliever departs from a marriage to a believer, then the believer is free, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7. Now, she sounds like she's a believer.

I don't know if she is or not. If her husband is a serial adulterer and unrepentant, then he's not a believer. Because the Bible says no adulterer will enter the kingdom of God. So he may call himself a believer all he wants. If he's living in adultery and doesn't repent and really repent, then he's not a Christian by any biblical definition of that word. He can call himself that all he wants to. And his church could even call him that if they would.

But it sounds like they're not in this case. But we need to decide what God thinks about it. And God says that, you know, if you're an adulterer and you're unrepentant, certainly, you're not going to inherit the kingdom of God.

And that makes you not a Christian. Now, nonetheless, while adultery is grounds for divorce, it certainly is not a mandate for divorce. I myself was once married to a woman who was committing adultery repeatedly against me, and I knew it. And she didn't even hide it.

She confessed it, but she didn't repent. And I knew I had grounds for divorce, but I wouldn't do it. Because like this woman, I wanted to keep the marriage. She actually had a baby we were raising that was one year old at the time, and I was determined that my child would be raised in an intact home.

But you can't make the decision for the other person. And so in that case, my wife left and divorced me. She had no grounds, but she wanted to be with someone else, so she did.

And that means so I was free. Now, she would be free if her husband had divorced her. In fact, she is free to divorce him.

But she's not under obligation to. When my wife was committing adultery, I actually was determined that we're going to make this work out. You know, I'm going to forgive her. I'm going to wait for her to repent. I actually have a very much higher view of marriage than most Christians do, although some Christians don't allow divorce for any reason.

I think they're mistaken. But in my opinion, even if you have grounds for divorce, that's not a mandate to divorce. I think that forgiveness, reconciliation, if it can be worked out, is much higher our glory to God in the situation. Now, if the couple has children, too, I don't know about this in the case you mentioned, but divorce is very damaging on children. Often it will be the thing that causes them to leave the church if their parents in the church divorce.

So I don't really think it's a wise idea to encourage someone to divorce unless there's a very strong reason that they must. You know, Jesus, or God, I should say, in the Old Testament, was married to Israel. And Israel committed adultery a lot.

But of course, God considered that when they worshiped idols, that was committing spiritual adultery. And he had grounds for divorce. But he forgave her, and he forgave her, and he forgave her, and he forgave her. Hundreds of years long, he forgave her. Finally, he did divorce her because she would not change.

And so God did get a divorce based on this same grounds of adultery, as he called it, when Israel was worshiping idols. So certainly to be patient and to seek reconciliation is the most Christ-like, the most God-like thing a person can do if they have an unfaithful spouse. Certainly it's what I did and what I would do. I mean, I'll never have an unfaithful spouse again, thankfully.

But, you know, I would do it again. I mean, I believe in marriage. I believe in vows. I believe in being faithful.

And I believe in glorifying God by keeping your word. So I think for her to want to stay in the marriage is a good thing, unless there's something about her situation that I don't know about. I mean, if the situation is, you know, he regularly beats her and she's in danger for her life, or maybe there's children at home and he beats them and they're in danger of their life, I would say in that case, at least to get out of the home. I still don't think divorce would be necessary at that point. A person could be out of the home and still be waiting for the spouse to repent so the marriage can be restored. But there might be reasons, there might be other reasons, you know, extenuating circumstances why she having grounds for divorce, as she does, probably should go ahead and use it. But I, there are not very many situations that I would ever recommend someone to divorce, even when they can. And so I would, I don't know enough.

You're at work, you can explain the whole situation. I would have picked your brain a little more to find out why it is that the church leaders want her to divorce her husband. Of course, I would think church leaders should recognize her right to do so.

But that's a very different thing than requiring her to do so against her wishes. So without that extra knowledge, I couldn't say anything more insightful about that. I do appreciate your call though, Garrett. Excuse me.

Jason in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Welcome to The Narrow Path. Thanks for calling.

Hey Steve. I called earlier and we were talking about the situation in the Gospels where Jesus talks about, well the Bible is translated as hell. And I think you said it was something like the Valley of Gehenna or something like that. Sometimes that word is used for hell. There's three other words that are translated to hell also. But depending on what passage. So what I was wondering is, is there a Bible translation that actually translates what Jesus was saying, like something that uses Gehenna rather than hell so that we can properly understand what Jesus was saying?

I wish there was. All the translations I've looked at just use the word hell. And I'm not sure why they do. Because frankly, there are three different Greek words in the New Testament that are all translated as hell, but they're not all the same word and they don't all refer to the same thing. One of them is the word Hades, which speaks of the grave or the place of the dead.

One of them is Tartarus, which is mentioned only once in the Bible in 2 Peter chapter 2 where it talks about the angels who fell have been cast down to Tartarus. But it says hell in most Bibles. And then there's of course the word Gehenna. Now Gehenna is always translated as hell in all the Bibles I've seen, but it isn't the same thing as Tartarus. It's not the same thing as Hades.

So I'm not sure what argument can be made for using the same English word for all of these things that are not the same thing. And now, of course, there's some question even among Greek scholars as to how Gehenna should be translated. So that'd be another argument for a translator just leaving it as Gehenna. Most of them do now that with the word Hades. In the King James version, Hades was translated as hell a lot of the time, but now every new translation, including the New King James, just leaves it Hades. They just give the Greek word without translating it because they realize that Hades is a bit of an ambiguous word. It doesn't always refer to what we think of as hell. And the same thing with Gehenna.

It's ambiguous. And now the reason that translators have traditionally translated Gehenna as hell is because in Jesus' day, some of the rabbis had come to use the word Gehenna to speak of the afterlife place of punishment for sinners. But they didn't have any biblical warrant for speaking of Gehenna that way because the word Gehenna, every Greek translator will know, it literally means the Valley of Hinnom. Gehenna means Valley of Hinnom in Greek, and the Valley of Hinnom is a real valley outside Jerusalem. So, you know, they could translate it Valley of Hinnom, but the thing is they believe that when Jesus used this word, and only Jesus used it, James uses it once, but he's not really talking about hell at all. James uses the term about how the tongue is a flame and it's on fire from Gehenna.

You know, it's obviously that's very figurative. But Jesus actually talked about Gehenna as a place that people be thrown into when they're dead if they're evil. And so I think most translators assume that Jesus is talking about the afterlife and that so where would unbelievers be thrown after they died?

No doubt hell. So they just translate Gehenna as hell. But that obscures the fact that the word Gehenna doesn't really mean hell.

That's not the translation. And in the Old Testament, the Valley of Hinnom was a place where dead bodies were sometimes thrown, especially the war dead. In Jeremiah and in Isaiah both, it talks about the Valley of Hinnom as a place where corpses are thrown after a battle. And Jeremiah said the Valley of Hinnom is going to be called the Valley of Slaughter because of the abundance of the dead that will be in there. So and Jeremiah is not talking about hell. He's talking about the Valley of Hinnom.

Now, Jesus, I think, could well have been talking about the Valley of Hinnom also, because there was a war and a slaughter of the Jews coming up within the generation of his own time, just as there was in Jeremiah's time. And so, you know, I don't know of any translation that actually translates the word Gehenna at all. When you call it hell, you're interpreting the word, but you're not translating it because the Greek word actually has a Greek meaning and the Greek meaning is not hell.

The Greek meaning is Valley of Hinnom. So I wish, like yourself, I wish there was a Bible that just when it comes to these various words, instead of translating them as hell, because they aren't all the same thing, they should just tell us this. Jesus here used the word Sheol, over here he used the word Gehenna, and Peter used the word Tartarus here. And, you know, just because they, you know, leave it to us then to explore what those words mean as they're used in Scripture, because we would then know where they're being used.

But translators sometimes try to dumb things down for people and they make the mistake, in my opinion, of imposing their opinions in the translation where, you know, it's not always, it's not always indisputable. Now, when I read the word hell in the Bible, I have the image in my head of people burning in fire forever. Why is it that most people have that image of hell and think of that when they read that in the Bible?

For a couple of reasons. One, and especially, is the book of Revelation. In Revelation 20 and verse 15, it says, All whose names were not found written in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire. Now, the phrase lake of fire is not any of the words in Greek for hell, but we can see that it is talking about hell.

At least that's, I mean, maybe that's up for debate, too, but I don't know many people who would debate it. I personally believe the lake of fire is fairly indisputably a reference to hell. And we're also told in that same chapter in verse 10 that the devil and the beast and the false prophet are also thrown into the lake of fire. And it says, and they're tormented day and night forever and ever there. So we read of the devil and the beast and false prophet being tormented day and night forever and ever in the lake of fire. Then we later read, everyone whose name is not found written in the book of life is thrown into the lake of fire. But we're not told that they're tormented forever and ever. And we don't know if they are or not because the Bible is silent on that question. But because the devil and the beast and the false prophet are said to be tormented forever and ever there, the assumption is that humans are going to be tormented forever and ever there, too.

And that's not necessarily a given. Jesus said in Matthew's 2541, he said in the sheep and the goats parable, Matthew 2541, he said that the goats are going to go off into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Well, that sounds like that's talking about hell also. It talks about the lake of fire since the devil and his messengers, his angels are going to go there. And so do the goats.

They go there, too. But again, they go into eternal fire. We're not told if they burn forever there themselves or if they get burned up. The devil might not get burned up, but he's not one of us. You know, we don't know from any specific passage of scripture that those who are thrown in the lake of fire, who are mere humans, necessarily are tormented forever and ever. The Bible doesn't specifically say that. But it's perhaps the simplest way of, you know, systematizing everything has led people to believe that as the devil is tormented forever and ever, so also are people that are thrown in there. Right. It seems like God hasn't done a very good job of translating his word. Isn't there a case to be made for that?

I wouldn't say so. I would say the people haven't done a very good translating it. Now, if you mean that God wasn't very good at making it clear what he was talking about, I could say, well, it is true that God didn't make some things clear.

But I wouldn't call that a defect. I think that everything he wanted to make clear and everything that needed to be made clear, he made it perfectly clear. But there's a lot of things that we're curious about that God has no interest in us having any clarity on because it's not relevant to us. I mean, I mean, think of all the things all the mysteries of the universe he could have told us and of physics and of all kinds of other astronomy and all kinds of things that we don't know or biology. But that wasn't his it wasn't his purpose to let us know those things. He's not against us finding them out. But those aren't the things that he thought we had to know in order to receive. You know, he didn't give special revelation about that stuff. He gave special revelation about things that were that we that are necessary for us to know. I don't think any of us need to know what hell is like.

Why should we need to know that? Well, because it helps us to determine whether or not God is a moral God. Well, we know that. We know he's a moral God. I mean, that's the Bible. OK, well, you don't.

You don't. But I do. I know he's a moral God. OK, so and therefore, whatever we say about hell, it has to fit in with the fact that we know. And that is that God is a moral God.

You see, we're coming at this two different ways. To me, when I look at the Bible, I find out who is God, because that's what the Bible is for. The Bible is there to acquaint me with God. And I there learn that he's a faithful, just and morally upright, righteous God. And there's no unrighteousness in him that's actually stated repeatedly. And I see story after story after story where I see this demonstrated.

And I also find it my own life. So the starting point in understanding the Bible is to understand God, because it's really a book about God. Now, when when we don't have clarity about something, let's say about predestination, which seems very immoral to some people or about hell, if it's eternal torment. Well, instead of starting with those things and trying to decide from them whether God is good, we start with the fact that God is, in fact, good.

We know he's good. Who who isn't good would come down here and die in your place for nothing when you're his enemy. No one but a good person would do that.

No bad person would do that. OK, so God is good is basically unquestionable to me. Therefore, the things that are unclear, I either have to leave them unclear and be happy with them as unclear. Or I have to say, well, however I understand these, they have to be understood in light of God's goodness, because God's goodness is the non-negotiable. Now, obviously, I don't require you to think that way, because if you don't, you're not what the Bible calls a Christian.

Maybe you don't claim to be one. But a Christian, and that's what I'd claim to be, is somebody who's already come over onto God's side. In other words, I don't see myself as God's judge. God is not tentatively waiting for my approval. God is the one who is the ultimate of righteousness and justice. And I'm the one who have to meet his approval, not the other way around.

But of course, if a person is not a Christian, they haven't made that decision yet. Maybe that's where you're at, but I appreciate your calling. I'm out of time, obviously. You've been listening to The Narrow Path Radio Broadcast. My name is Steve Gregg, and we are live Monday through Friday at this same time. And we are listener-supported. We pay for the time on radio stations. We don't have commercials, don't have products for sale anywhere on our website or on the air.

But we do, we're listener-supported. If you'd like to help us be supported and stay on the air, you can write to us at The Narrow Path, P.O. Box 1730, Temecula, California 92593. You can also go to our website to do that. That's Take all you want, it's all free. Or donate if you wish, or do both, Have a good weekend, and let's talk again soon.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-26 03:40:16 / 2024-01-26 04:01:35 / 21

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