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Question and Answer Program No. 89

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
December 4, 2020 12:00 am

Question and Answer Program No. 89

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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December 4, 2020 12:00 am

Stephen and Scott discuss questions phoned in by listeners. Please note that there is NO transcript available for this program. And, due to studio recording scheduling, this is a repeat of QA29 which aired in April 2017.

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Our assurance is an objective doctrinal truth, but it's also a subjective feeling.

It has to do with our emotion. How do you feel today? Do you feel like you're saved?

Well, that is going to depend on whether or not it's been a good week. So we need to understand it's both our standing and it's an emotional feeling. So, as believers, we resist the enemy who wants to discourage us into thinking, well, we're no longer Christians. Look, you didn't become a Christian by becoming good.

You don't lose your salvation by becoming bad. We're so glad you've joined us today here on Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Stephen is interrupting his current series so that he can spend some time answering questions that have come in from listeners. This has become one of our most popular broadcasts over the years as twice each month, on the first and third Friday of each month, we answer questions that have come in from listeners. We have a special Bible question line that listeners call in with any question that they have regarding the Bible or the Christian faith. Stephen Davey takes the time to answer those questions on the air. I'm Scott Wiley. Stephen's here with us in the studio and we are eager to get started. So here's the first question for today.

Call myself RB from Fredericksburg, Virginia. This is a follow up to a question a lady asked recently about, is there any unforgivable sin and what about struggling with sin? In light of that, what do you say to someone who maybe for decades has a long struggle with assurance issues after having lived in sin for at least two decades how you want to measure it and the struggling with sin this person may have? In light of that, what do you say to someone like Joseph Scriven, the author of What a Friend We Have in Jesus who may have committed suicide and even William Cooper, the author of God Moves in a Mysterious Way, who seemingly had a lifelong battle with his own struggles of sin and even became something of a recluse? I'll leave you with that. Thank you very much.

Goodbye. Well, RB, thank you so much for listening up there in Fredericksburg, Virginia and thanks for calling with this question today. You know, Stephen, there's really several parts to this, but RB brings up this idea of a believer struggling with a decade long sin and just kind of I guess wondering what would we say, what encouragement would we have for somebody who has that struggle? Well, I think we need to clarify that every believer has decades long struggles with sin. I think RB is probably referring to maybe one particular sin, but let me rephrase the question. Is it possible for a Christian to struggle with sin throughout their life?

And the answer is absolutely. Now, when Paul was delivering the gospel of justification by faith and the full sufficient atonement of Christ for sinners and the sin debt, he makes it very clear that we're sinners and we're saved by grace and those who are saved are still sinners. In fact, I'm going to sin tomorrow and the next day and up until the very end of my life, more than likely. So the question would come back, well, are you giving everybody a free pass? And the Apostle Paul anticipated that and that's why he said in Romans 6, look, am I telling you to go sin because there's grace, so sin more so that grace can abound more?

No, not at all. God forbid, Paul said. We're called to holy living. We're called to pursue the character of Christ. At the same time, we recognize that we have a body of flesh, this sin nature within us. And there's a lot of debate about whether or not the sin nature was destroyed. Frankly, a lot of that is semantics. I know I'm still living with me and something's still alive in there that certainly panders to sin.

And that is the battle. And so Paul gives his own testimony. In fact, I often tell people, well, let's listen to a very mature believer share his own personal struggle and testimony of how he struggles with the issue of sin.

What does he have to say? And I'll turn to Romans chapter 7 and I'll begin to read where Paul writes, For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. If I'm doing the very thing I do not want, I'm no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. He says in verse 24, A wretched man that I am, who will set me free from the body of this death.

Now, if we put a period there that's going to lead us all to despair. But he goes on to say, thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. In fact, I tell people, don't live in Romans 7.

That's your testimony. Just make sure you're including Romans chapter 8, verse 1, as part of your testimony. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

And I love that word now. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Not when you die, not when you get to heaven, not after you've had a great week, you never missed devotions, you went to church and you kept your nose pretty clean.

No, therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So that's the personal testimony of a mature believer who struggles with sin. Steven, I think as people do face that struggle with sin, and especially when they find themselves falling prey to the same sin over and over and over again, it's really easy, I think, to become discouraged.

And R.B. even mentioned the idea of assurance. So what would we say to a person who it seems to just be the same sin repeatedly and they just never are able to quite get victory over it? Well, I think that's what the writer of Hebrews is challenging us to do.

Lay aside the sin that so easily entangles you so that you can run the race. There's no question where our salvation and our status is complete in Christ. In fact, according to Ephesians 2, we're already seated with Christ in the heavenlies. God can see the end of our time thought process from the beginning. He already sees us right now as seated with Christ in the heavenlies.

That's our status, our standing. That's unchangeable. Once you've been brought to life, you can't be unborn. You can't be born again and then be unborn once again. You are born again. You're in the Father's hand.

No one or anything will ever snatch you out of his hand. But we're still challenged. Run that race, which means let's be careful, let's be on guard, let's be alert. There is a sin that so easily entangles us. And we're all different.

It's going to look a little different for all of us. But Satan has been measuring you, my friend, since the moment you trusted Christ. He knows the buttons to push, he knows your weaknesses, he knows your strengths, and part of his agenda is to deceive and to discourage, in fact to destroy, the integrity of your testimony. And whenever you give sway to that entangling sin, guess what happens to assurance? Well, it goes down.

Why? Because our assurance is both an objective truth, that is, we're in Christ. Nothing can separate us from Christ and the love of Christ, having come to him by faith. Our assurance is an objective doctrinal truth, but it's also a subjective feeling.

It has to do with our emotion. How do you feel today? Do you feel like you're saved? Well, that is going to depend on whether or not it's been a good week, whether or not you read the Word, whether or not you battled that temptation.

So we need to understand it's both our standing and it's an emotional feeling. So as believers, we resist the enemy who wants to discourage us into thinking, well, we're no longer Christians. Look, you didn't become a Christian by becoming good. You don't lose your salvation by becoming bad.

That isn't license to sin, but let's make sure we have our doctrine straight. So lay that sin aside. Battle it. If it's the computer, get rid of the computer. If it's the internet, get rid of the internet. Get an accountable relationship going with someone where you can be asked the hard questions.

If it's a relationship, you may need to end it. Take strong steps as you're called to holy living so that that sin that Satan knows can easily trip you up, can be battled more effectively. Yeah, and I appreciate your reminder that it's really something we face until the day we die.

So when R.B. brings up illustrations of some men who lived productive Christian lives but did not end their life well, it's a challenge to us that we need to be faithful right to the very end. That's right. We're talking about our Christian testimony, not our salvation. You know, there are religions that will say, well, here's how we're going to fix that.

You know, right before you die, you have a priest come in and sprinkle a little water on you, and so you're good. Oh no, that completely denies the doctrine of Christ's sufficient atonement. In fact, let me read a verse or two that John wrote to believers in his first letter, 1 John chapter 1. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he's faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us. Well, no, wait a second, who's John writing to? Unbelievers? No, he's writing to believers. He's writing to Christians. What do we do with the fact that we sin? Well, you confess those sins. And then he writes on in chapter 12, my little children, so if you have a question about whether or not he's writing to Christians, here he goes, my little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. That is, John doesn't want us to just live a life of sin. However, if anyone sins, and the if is a conditional clause in the Greek language, and since anyone will sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ. And it's as if he adds, by the way, he is righteous, and he is the satisfaction for our sin.

So let me add just a comment here. Paul will write to the believer from this little booklet called Blessed Assurance that we put together some time ago. He says, we are being put to death all day long, we're considered a sheep to be slaughtered, but we overwhelmingly conquer through him. Romans chapter 8 verse 37, and I think that's such a wonderful text, Scott, and beloved, as you're listening, because Paul calls us sheep in the previous verse, and now he calls us conquerors. When I think of a conquering animal, I don't think of a sheep.

I think of a lion or an eagle or an elephant. Not a sheep. Sheep don't stand a chance. That's Paul's point. It's not the strength of the sheep which makes us victorious, it is the strength of the shepherd. That's what makes us victorious, as we lean on him day in and day out. In this battle, by the way, and one more comment, friends, the mark of maturity in your life and mine isn't sinlessness.

Be careful there. It isn't sinlessness. I believe it's alertness to sin, and I think it's quickness to confess. How long does it take you to confess that sin when you've sinned? A day? A week? Do you justify it?

Do you rationalize it? You know, I think maturity, friends, is when you sin, you're grieved, and the amount of time between your sin and your confession, I think as you grow in Christ, grows shorter and shorter and shorter. Thank you, Stephen, and thank you so much, RB, for calling in with your question. There's a lot more that we could say on this topic, but friends, I want you to know that Stephen has written a little booklet that I think might help you if you would like to learn just a little bit more about assurance of salvation. It's a booklet called Blessed Assurance, Can a Christian Lose His Salvation?

We can give you some more information about this booklet if you call us today. Call us at 866-482-4253. Now, before we move on, I want to give you the Bible question line that RB used to call in with his question. If you ever have a question about the Christian faith or the Bible, then you'd like Stephen to answer it on a future broadcast, here's the number to call, 910-808-9384.

Let me remind you that we do not answer that number. That is a number that's only set up to record your question. You can record your question, we'll play it on a future broadcast for Stephen to answer, but that number is 910-808-9384, and you can call that number anytime. Stephen, here's another question we received.

This is Ed Wilkerson from Mechanicsville, Virginia, and I had a question. Adam and Eve didn't have a belly button because they were created, and I was just wondering if Jesus had a belly button, and if he did, how? If he was hooked up to Mary, he would have Mary's blood, which would be sin, and her blood mixed in his blood. I'd just like to get the answer of how Jesus was born without having Mary's blood in him. Thank you.

Thank you so much, Ed, for calling in with your question. Stephen, there's no doubt that throughout Scripture, blood is very important. There's blood sacrifices in the Old Testament, all the way to Jesus dying a bloody death on the cross for our sins.

That's right. But I guess the heart of Ed's question is, is it that blood that gives us our sin nature? Well, back to your first point, without the shedding of blood, there's no remission of sin, so we know that Christ's atoning work for us involved the shedding of his blood. He couldn't have been hung to death, couldn't have died in an accident for us, he had to literally shed his blood, and God so wonderfully arranged that through the crucifixion.

But Ed takes a leap, however, into an area that we need to make sure we correct. There isn't anything in the Bible that says that sin is resident in the blood. We're told that the life of the flesh is in the blood, that's our life source, but there isn't anything in the Bible that says blood contains sin. Our sin, friends, comes from our sinful nature, which has to be related to simply the union we have as a human being, going all the way back to the source of sin, our representative, Adam.

From Adam, we've all received, then, that sin nature. Now, the wonderful thing about the birth of Christ is that God the Father, in this wonderful, mysterious plan of redemption, avoided the sin nature of Adam by avoiding Joseph. The Holy Spirit miraculously allowed that egg within Mary to be fertilized, for Jesus to be conceived, so that Jesus, because he is an egg of Mary, though brought to life by means of the Spirit, has two natures. He has a human nature, he's fully human. He has human blood, he has a human nature, he has a human personality, he has human attributes, he's fully human. However, he does not have a fallen nature, and because of the Spirit's work, he has a divine nature. So Jesus has two natures, divine and human, without having a fallen nature. He would have gotten that from Adam. We call that original sin or inherited sin.

Think of it this way, friends. If you've ever gone camping and you're by a really beautiful stream, you know, that's flowing past your campsite and you think, I'm going to get a glass of water, you know, or fill my canteen or whatever, and you're not aware that upstream a few miles, somebody's dumped his trash or poured out his old coffee or spoiled milk into that stream. That stream's polluted, and it was polluted at its source or its fountainhead. That's what Adam did. Even though we weren't there, we were in Adam, and he, the fountainhead of the stream of the human race, he polluted it and we have that within us. Well, can you prove that?

Yeah, I sure can. I've had four children and I never had to teach any of them how to lie or cheat or steal. Now, these are pastors' kids, Scott, so you'd think they'd be especially, you know, angelic. Well, I'm raising pastors' kids too, so I know exactly what you're talking about. You don't have to teach them how to sin.

Where'd they get that from? They got that from their fallen nature inherited from Adam. So if I could just sort of summarize quickly, sin is not in the blood. Human blood is not filled with sin.

Our human fallen nature is the source of sin that we inherited from Adam. So keep this in mind, and I'm not a doctor and I don't want to go too far out on this branch, but a mother doesn't give the child his blood, or the father. They provide DNA material, certainly, but blood is produced by marrow, and that child's blood is going to be different from his mother's anyway. He's going to have a different blood type, and Jesus more than likely did from Mary. The Bible doesn't really deal with that, and I think because of that we're not going to go too far out on that, it doesn't really matter to the doctrinal content of this issue, and that is, sin is not in the blood, Jesus had real human blood, he was a real human baby, conceived by means of the Holy Spirit and an egg from Mary, so that he is both fully human and fully divine.

However, in bypassing Joseph by means of the Spirit's role and conception, Jesus Christ bypassed then that fallen human nature that would have been inherited from Adam. Well Stephen, before we leave Ed's question behind though, I just want to bring you back to this whole idea of belly buttons. So, Adam and Eve and Jesus, do they have belly buttons? Okay, I can say without any question or doubt that Jesus had a belly button.

He had an umbilical cord, Joseph had to cut it right there in that lean-to stable, fully human in his birth, so yes, he would have had a belly button. Adam and Eve, I can say without any doubt that we absolutely do not know. The Bible does not tell us.

All right, very good. Well, so thank you so much Ed for calling in, thanks Stephen also for your answer. Friends, the number that you can call if you have a Bible question is 910-808-9384. Stephen, we have another question that sort of relates, it's fairly similar to Ed's in that it gets back to really the birth of Jesus.

Hi Stephen, my name is Marty and I live in Holiday, Florida. I have a question that I plundered for decades. The Bible says that Jesus and John were relatives. I heard a preacher say that Mary and Elizabeth were sisters, but I can't figure that out because in order for Zachariah to be a high priest, he and Elizabeth had to be able to trace their lineage all the way back to Levi and Mary traces her lineage back to Judah. So I can't figure out how they can be close relatives other than that Levi and Judah were brothers.

If you could help me out with this, I would really appreciate it. Thank you, bye. Well thank you so much for calling in with that question, Marty, and I do need to tell you that after hearing your question, we had to spend a little bit of time looking up some genealogies. It's not something that I guess we had memorized or had committed to heart, but Stephen, how can we help, Marty?

Yeah, thank you Marty for calling in. Genealogies are challenging issues, in fact, we sort of got buried here a little bit because there are some debates related to is Luke's genealogy truly Mary's or is it just another way of presenting Joseph's, and here's what we do know. What we do know, very clearly taught in Scripture, is that Elizabeth was a wife related to Aaron. She was, Luke chapter 1 verse 5 says she was from the daughters of Aaron so that we know Elizabeth was related to Aaron. We also know that Zachariah would have been also, because he was a priest, related to Levi as well. Now, here's what we do not know, and this is where church tradition unfortunately creates all sorts of interesting subjects but they can't necessarily be defended. There's nothing in the New Testament that tells us that Mary and Elizabeth were sisters.

We have one text, and that's Luke chapter 1 verse 36, where it says or refers to Mary's relative Elizabeth. The King James translates relative cousin, and that's their decision, all translations have to make some decisions. What we do know is that they were related, but we don't know how. What we can be fairly confident of is that they weren't necessarily sisters. They could have been cousins or second cousins. I think we have every reason to believe then that Jesus and John the Baptizer were also related in some way, distant cousins, third, fourth cousins. We're just not sure.

We're not told for sure. What we do know is that we have the genealogies of Joseph and Mary. Both of them trace back to the royal line. The genealogy of Mary deals with the official line. This is going to give Jesus the legal right as the adopted son of Joseph to be the king of Israel. This would satisfy all the Jewish tradition or legal rights. Luke gives Jesus the right to reign through Mary, and I do believe that Luke's genealogy is related to Mary as it relates to the human nature of Jesus, and we answered that a little bit earlier in the program. By the way, another interesting factor is, and I was reminded of this in our study here as we reviewed the issues, is that because of the virgin birth, Jesus is able to avoid the curse of Jehoiakim, the father of Kaniyia, and he's able to sit on the throne where the curse of Jehoiakim would have precluded any of that from taking place.

Lots of interesting things taking place. I think Marty just wants to know, Elizabeth and Mary, if they are related, how can that be if Elizabeth is tracking through the priestly line? And I think the answer is very simple. We're not told Elizabeth and Mary were sisters. We're not even told they're cousins. They're just somehow related in some distant fashion. Both Mary's genealogy and Joseph's genealogy, though, do track back to the royal line.

It is divergent if you want to study that. They're going to come from different limbs on that family tree, but they do return back to the royal line, giving Jesus both the human right and the legal right to sit on the throne of David. Yeah, thank you so much, Stephen. And Marty, I hope that brings some clarity to it. Stephen, I was thinking as you were talking, I have a lot of people in my life that I consider myself to be related to, but we don't share a bloodline.

We're related by marriage or there's just lots of ways that Mary and Elizabeth could have been related. That's right. Yeah.

Okay. Well, thank you, Marty, for calling in with that question. The number that she used to call us was 910-808-9384.

That number once again is 910-808-9384. We're just about at the end of our program, so we're not going to take the time for another question. I do want to remind you, though, of something that we said earlier in this broadcast. The first question related to sin and the assurance of salvation. And Stephen has a booklet that he's written called Blessed Assurance.

Can a Christian lose his salvation? It's a wonderful little pocket-sized book that I think would be a great encouragement to you if you ever struggle with the idea of assurance of your salvation. You can call us right now at 866-482-4253, or an easy way to remember that is 866-48-Bible. We would love to talk with you personally over the phone and take your order down. If you prefer to communicate electronically, you can send an email to info-at-wisdom-online-dot-org. That's info-at-wisdom-online-dot-org. When we come back Monday, we're going to continue through our current series. I hope that you'll make plans to join us at this same time next week, right here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-04 23:48:59 / 2023-12-04 23:59:18 / 10

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