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Core Christianity: Tough Questions Answered

Are There Different Levels of Reward in Heaven?

aired April 24, 2019

Episode 168 Show Notes 

Are There Different Levels of Reward in Heaven?

From the Show

In the Bible Jesus calls a  Canaanite woman a “Dog”. Was Jesus being racist? 

So, Jesus is now out of the confines of Judea, he's in Tyre and Sidon, he's going into Gentile country. He did not come on this first mission, he did not come himself personally, to evangelize the Gentiles; he came for the Jews. "He came to his own, and his own received Him not, but to those who did receive him he gave the power to become the children of God" (John 1). On first reading, this sounds pretty offensive. You know, imagine a preacher going to town and playing dress and somebody comes up to him and asks him to tell him the gospel and he says, “Hey, I'm off duty. You're a dog anyway, just go away.” That's not what Jesus is doing here…. Well, as I said, John tells us he came to his own and his own received Him not, but now whoever's receiving him, he's giving the power to become the children of God. In other words, to take their place at the table with those empty seats, the table of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to become part of the true Israel of God. Jesus is saying, “I am the true Israel,” everyone who's united to me is part of the true Israel of God…Actually, what’s striking in this episode in Mark 7 isn't how Jesus treats the Syrian woman and her daughter but the embarrassment that it should make a Jewish audience feel.

Jesus has come for the Jews and the one person who wrestles with him, as it were, to get the promise, to become part of the people of God, is a Syrian Gentile woman. You think of many of Jesus' parables along these lines, especially the wedding feast where the guests find excuses for not coming and messengers are sent to invite the riffraff to the party. Well, that means Gentiles, sinners, outcasts, and she's one of those. She's riffraff to the Pharisees. She's excluded to Jews, she would have been considered unclean. But Jesus, who comes first for the Jews, is, as it were, persuaded. What I love here is how he allows himself to be persuaded by her demand, really. Her insistent faith in him. “No, I want to be part of the Israel of God, I want to be joined to you.”— Michael Horton 

Questions in this Episode

1. Lots of people think that the church isn’t relevant anymore and that the gospel doesn’t make sense in our culture and that we have to make it relevant. Can you speak to this? Is there a balance between making the gospel relevant and being Bible-based?

2. Are there different levels in Heaven based on your actions and deeds? 

3. In the Bible Jesus calls a  Canaanite woman a “Dog”. Was Jesus being racist?

4. How do we reconcile the unpardonable sin and Jesus saying, "whoever comes to me I will not cast out"?


A Time When Christian Baptism Undermined Racism

What Is the Unpardonable Sin? 

4 Ways the Bible Is Already Relevant


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