Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P417 (2-22-19)
Bob answers questions on faith, salvation and baptism by several callers. What is the meaning of faith plus works? Are people saved by works or by faith? What is legalism? Are the Mennonites and Amish into legalism? Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? After the rapture, will the Holy Spirit be on the earth? These are the questions asked by several callers.
Bob explains from the scriptures that salvation is by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and we also live by that same faith. Faith expressing itself through love is what counts. If you were going to evaluate yourself on how well you do in the love department, going through the definition of love in Ephesians 13, how well would you be doing? The honest answer is, not very well. Why? We never could produce love. Bob explains that salvation is when you become born again by the Holy Spirit coming to live in you, and you walk in that salvation by that same faith. Bob explains the parable of the vine and the branches that Jesus taught.
Saved By Jesus’ Life
Now, in regards to legalism, the Mennonites and Amish, although very hard-working people with quite an exemplary work ethic, still fall short. How well do they do in producing love? Just like the rest of us, not very well. The Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit as we rest in Christ, letting the Spirit work in and through us. Jesus Christ is the vine, producing the fruit, as we are attached to the vine, letting our minds be renewed. As far as receiving the Holy Spirit, that is only received one time when you are born again, and He remains in you forever, and never leaves you based on your poor performance or disobedience, for we were never saved by our obedience or righteousness in the first place, for we had none to begin with. There is no other receiving of the Holy Spirit.
As far as those in Acts, who only knew John’s baptism, that is not unlike many today who think that salvation is coming to Christ to get your sins forgiven, stopping at the cross, not knowing that Jesus rose again to give you new life. You are not saved by the death of Christ but by the life of Christ. So all you know is the forgiveness of sins but you do not know Jesus offers eternal life then how can you be born again and ask for that life Jesus freely gives?
After the rapture, the bible records that people will believe and many will be martyred in those horrible days. By implication one could say the Holy Spirit returns to live in them by their faith. But those times are so horrible that who would say the believers would last long on the earth under such conditions. For the sake of the elect those days are cut short.
Chris from Costa Mesa, CA
Christ seemed to be bogged down in his own thinking on salvation and not referencing scriptures when he stated what he thought about salvation. He did state he believed salvation by faith alone and nothing else but then started sharing other thoughts, including speculating on throwing around works. So Bob asked, “What is the basis of your thinking, your own thoughts or the scriptures?” So Bob cut him short and just started reading a passage from scripture that clearly explains salvation by faith.
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
If discussing these things on salvation then must come with the basis for our thoughts coming from the scriptures. If anyone comes to Christ and truly understood what Jesus did for us, he must know his sinful condition. All of us are goners, not a hint of righteousness in and of ourselves. Christ did something for us we could never do for ourselves. Jesus came to take away sin by shedding his blood on a cross in order that he would be raised to new life to men by His resurrected life. One must be born again spiritually, having the life of Christ, and that is the only way you are saved from the consequences of sin, which is death.
Chris seemed to understand salvation and said he was in agreement with Bob’s explanation and the scriptures, but then struggled in grasping on how once you are saved where do the good works come from. For certainly we are supposed to do good works and love one another. He essentially asked how good works are produced. He mentioned a passage on faith, hope and love and the greatest is love. He made the statement that faith is not the greatest, but love is.
Bob first shared this scripture and then explained its meaning.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
To help Chris understand what this means, Bob asked Chris a series of questions on how well is he doing in the love department, from the definition of love from 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1. Are you always patient?
2. Are you always kind?
3. Have you ever been envious?
4. Have you ever boasted?
5. Have you ever been proud?
6. Have you ever gotten angry at someone?
7. Do you keep record of wrongs?
You are always patient, always kind, never boastful, never proud, never rude, never easily angered, never keep any record of wrongs. That is what love is! How are you doing? If I asked you that, and if you are honest, you and I would say, “not too well”. There is nothing in us that can produce this love. Only when you and I abide in the one who can produce these in and through us, then that is when we will ever see this manifested in our lives. If he says that the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love, that is putting your trust in Him alone, and this is the criteria for how you are doing.
Chris then says he believes in faith plus works? Bob answers him in the context of a born again believer who is living by faith. If you have faith in the true Jesus then Jesus will be producing Jesus works in and through you. Look at the parable of the vine and the branches.
1 I am the true vine …
4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing
How much can a branch produce apart from Jesus? Nothing without the vine? Nothing. Abiding in the vine, and the life of the vine producing in the branch life, that life will be manifested. That is what James is talking about, faith that works. If you have true faith in the true Jesus, Jesus works will be produced through you. That is walking by faith, trusting Jesus, abiding by faith, standing firm in the grace of God we have been taught.
German from Los Angeles, CA
His wife left him, and he was raised a Jehovah Witness, but upon reading the scriptures on his own, he believed what the Spirit was telling him through the word and became born again. He simply started reading the bible and accepted the Lord Jesus. So German called to ask Bob, “What do I do about the situation with my wife?”
Bob answered by saying “You suddenly became unequally yoked, a saved person with a lost.
2 Corinthians 6:14
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
In his case, he was an unbeliever married to an unbeliever and became unequally yoked.
Bob shared some truth with Chris concerning this new found situation. The Jehovah Witness is a cult saying you if you don’t belong to us then you do not belong to Jesus. Those denominations were not around until hundreds of years after Jesus. If wife does not want to be with you because of your faith in Christ, then you are free to let her go because God wants you to live in peace. German asked, “Do I need to stay with her forever?” No, you are free to let her go.
Paul addressed this very subject in the scriptures.
1 Corinthians 7:13-15
13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.
14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.
Bob told him, “God wants you to live in peace and you can never never be in peace with a cult member.”
German, with the Holy Spirit living in him, has such love for his wife, and he said that he will give it a little time, as he has been leading her through the scriptures. German is an example of someone who is letting the love of Christ work in and through him. German had been sharing these scriptures with his wife.
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
He shared with his wife from Ephesians 2 that it is by grace you are saved and in Romans 4 that scriptures talked about how Abraham became righteous because of his faith in God and not because of his works.
Bob was quite moved by this fairly recent believer. He reaffirmed German that God is not the author of confusion. She is confused because she has been listening to error. You are not confusing her by telling her the truth. She is confused because of the truth that is in conflict with the error she had been hearing. Keep loving her and sharing her truth. Continue to love her with Christ’s love and you will draw her to Himself. Keep that up. There is fear. Reason you did not want to leave her is because of fear. Once you have the truth, then there is nothing to fear. Yet, you do well to want to be with her and love her, and as long as she is willing to be with you, love her as you have been doing. But you are free if she is unwilling to be with you. You are not bound in such circumstances.
Brandon from Rockville, MD
Brandon admired the work ethic of the Mennonite and Amish groups. But he asked, how are they different from other religious groups?
These people are exclusive people, isolating themselves on farms. Great work ethic, second to none, and produce quality work off the farm, but they are very legalistic. Make it look pretty good on the outside but eventually cannot pull it off. To them their life looks worthy, looking good on the outside, but will not match up what is in the inside. Like the earlier caller, how well is he doing in the love department in accordance with 1 Corinthians 13? Does he have Christ working within him or does he do everything by the energy of the flesh, having not the Spirit of Christ in him? No different than any legalist who strives to be made right by the law. Supposed to be dead to the law and alive to Jesus. You cannot be alive to Jesus when alive to the law. Walk by faith in Him to accomplish what only he could do. Paul and Jesus had strong words to say to the legalist.
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
Laurie from Weslaco, TX
Laurie asked, “After the rapture will there be the Holy Spirit on the earth?” If the Holy Spirit dwells in born again people and all of them taken to be with the Lord, then there will be some time period before the millennial reign where the Spirit will not be in men on the earth. But during somewhere within the 7 year period, there will be those who will be saved, then, by implication, the Holy Spirit will return to earth in those believers. We do not know all the answers to these hings, but we do know today we are to implore others to be reconciled to God, that Jesus is God, to turn from unbelief to belief in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Laurie really asked this question because of what her mother-n-law told her. Her mother-n-law said that after the rapture that the only way be to be saved in the 7 year period is to have your head chopped off. Is that true? Certainly not a tactful thing to say, for your mother-n-law to make such a statement, without further explanation. It will be very difficult times in that 7 year period and there will certainly be those believers who refuse to take the mark of the beast, and who will be beheaded for their faith. Those who refuse to take the mark of the beast will not be able to buy or sell. So to become a believer would be knowing full well what natural consequences of that decision will entail. Yet, by taking the mark, there are by far more serious and eternal consequences, for then you have lost the ability to accept eternal life, in accordance to what a third angel said.
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
Larry from Santa Fe Springs, CA
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
Larry asked what is meant when Paul said, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Did they not have the full gospel? How can you believe without receiving the Holy Spirit? Larry was right on in his understanding but wanted clarification.
24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor[a] and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the scriptures, taught about Jesus accurately but only knew about the teaching of John. Apollos needed a more adequate explanation and that was explained to him by Priscilla and Aquila. Once he heard then he believed and was saved. At that time when he believed is when he received the Holy Spirit. He just did not know for all he knew prior to that was the teaching of John the Baptist.
Paul asked them what baptism did they receive? John’s baptism was there reply, the same as Apollos. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. It preceded the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. They had not heard about Jesus baptism of the Holy Spirit. These people were believers in Jesus who went to the cross but they were not born again yet. They had not heard of his resurrection and had not understood that Jesus makes you alive by putting his Holy Spirit in you at time of spiritual birth and that is what makes you a part of the body of Christ.
Larry then said the church he is attending are calling for Christians to receive the Holy Spirit by using this verse. That is a serious error. First of all, what is a Christian by their definition. If you are talking about a person who never accepted the life of Christ and only accepted Christ’s death for them, then they may believe in Christ but are not yet born again and have not been taught adequately. You cannot say to born again Christians to come forward, then that makes no sense because the Holy Spirit already in the born again. If the Spirit does not live in you then you do not belong to him. Christian has no meaning anymore yet many call themselves Christian and who are not born again just as Bob used to be 30 years a member of a Presbyterian church without a clue about the meaning of the gospel.
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
John the Baptist ministered to people a long time before Jesus birth, death and resurrection. He was there to announce the Messiah to come for the forgiveness of sin, for cleansing. A big step for the Jew to say the Messiah had come and is Jesus and has died for my sins. That is all they knew is that he died for their sins but do not know he rose and offers eternal life.
Sadly, what many churches teach today falls short of the full gospel. They say, “All you have to believe is to come to Jesus for forgiveness of sins.” That is the message you hear today. You do not come forward to get forgiven but you come to Jesus to get life. How many people sitting there thinking they are saved but never come to Jesus for life. Let’s say that all they accepted is the forgiveness of sins. If the only thing you did is accepted Jesus death for you, you only accepted John’s baptism, but have you accepted the Holy Spirit? Have you come to Jesus for life? Have you understood the gospel? Nine out of ten times many will just say “Jesus died for my sins”. Explain the full gospel of coming to Jesus for life.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
We are not saved by his death but by His life. His death took away the cause of sin, which is death, and so God in Christ provided the forgiveness of all the sins of the world, reconciling man to himself, but that forgiveness is only received in Him. Indeed, you have everything when you have the Spirit of Christ, His forgiveness, His righteousness, His holiness and every spiritual blessing that is Christ’s. The Spirit is what gives new life, to participate in the divine nature, and that resurrection life of Christ is what solved the problem of man’s spiritual death.
Larry then asked questions about the part in Acts about the laying on of hands and the speaking of tongues and then their prophesying.
Holy Spirit in the account of Acts also came on people without the laying of hands. Can you receive the Holy Spirit today by the laying of hands? Absolutely not! Peter spoke and they received Christ without the laying of hands. In the book of Acts, you will see all kinds of things. In one place, as we see in the passage in Acts 19:6, you have the laying of hands and in another place you do not have the laying on of hands. That is why you cannot form doctrine out of the book of Acts. Acts just records what happened. Paul placed hands on them and the Holy Spirit came on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Peter or Paul had to be there to verify they were saved, back then. Tongues is for the unbelieving Jew, so one of the ways to confirm if they received the Spirit, back then, but not now, was the speaking in tongues and prophesying. That is the way God chose to start the early church and bear witness of the Holy Spirit and to affirm the credibility of the message through the apostles as coming from God.