Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P444 (5-30-19)
John asked what works is, wanting clarification on James 2:14. Bob explained that you need to base your theology on the totality of the New Covenant, that salvation is not based on our works but on the finished work of Jesus Christ alone, we are not in the fruit inspection business, and our role is to simply abide on the vine. Bob also shared about the basic problem of religion. Andy called for Bob’s thinking on an evangelism technique that uses scare tactics, showing a dramatization of what hell would look like. Bob would not use such a tactic for it is a wrong motivation to come to Christ and presents salvation as a fire insurance policy where a person really does not come to Christ for life. Janice called for clarification on Hebrews 12:7-11, and particularly wanted to know what discipline means. Bob said that discipline is not punishment, but training and discipleship, where instruction in truth is received that sets you free.
John called to ask Bob about James 2:14, concerning what works is. He also called to get help clearing up doubts he has if he is saved. He essentially asked how we determine if we or someone else is a Christian based on works or lack of it. Bob explained that you need to base your theology on the totality of the New Covenant, salvation is not based on our works but on the finished work of Jesus Christ alone, and we are not in the fruit inspection business. God produces fruit and determines what fruit he produces in people who are abiding in the vine. Only believers have the choice to abide. Our role as a believer is to simply abide on the vine. So there are believers who do not grow and so not much fruit is observed from their lives. Why? They chose not to abide in the vine. Paul would describe such people as those escaping through the flames. They are saved but there is essentially no fruit that is seen. That is what James is addressing. What evidence do I have of someone’s faith? If someone claims they have faith, but I cannot see it, then what benefit is there of their faith? They may be saved alright, but I sure would not know based on the evidence I see. There are also those who are professors but not possessors of eternal life, especially in this day and age of popular Christianity without persecution. He also encouraged John, who is a believer, to camp in God’s truth and walk in faith in that truth.
Andy called to ask about an evangelism approach that uses scare tactics, as in a drama to show what hell would be like. Bob George does not agree with such an approach and shared from scriptures explaining the approach Jesus had with men. Jesus approached people in love with grace and truth. Scare tactics can lead to false conversions and motivations to come to Christ. Such evangelistic approaches are often presented as imploring people to come to Christ to get sins forgiven, which is not the gospel, so as to escape hell. Salvation is presented as a fire insurance policy and people would come to Christ out of fear rather than to receive new life. How can you see God as someone who deeply loves you with such fear tactics? Would a person really come to Christ for life or just come to avoid hell without actually receiving new life? Salvation is being saved from the consequences of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is life.
Janice called for clarification on Hebrews 12:7-11. Many people equate discipline as punishment. This erroneous thinking can come from an improper translation from Hebrew into the Septuagint and then into English. Words can change meaning over time, and so the English translation loses its meaning from the original Greek rendering. When something sounds confusing in light of other scriptures, then the logic of non-contradiction says that two contradictory statements cannot both be true. That informs you, that since God is not a liar, that you need to dig deeper to discern God’s intended meaning of the unclear passage. Bob defines the meaning of discipline as preparation for what lies ahead and punishment as retaliation for something done. He showed from an Old Testament reference in Proverbs that clearly says God disciplines those he loves as a father to his son that he delights in. Discipline is training not punishment. It may look like pain as in an athlete being trained by a coach. God’s discipline is always in a loving motivation to receive truth to change one’s thinking that will result in a change in undesirable behavior. Bob also explained how the gospel has often been watered down, as in saying the wages of sin is being out of fellowship or going to the woodshed or being disciplined. No, the wages of sin is death, which God took away at the cross, in order to offer new life to man.
John from Plymouth, MI
John asks Bob a question in regards to faith and works in James 2:14.
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
John asked, “Christians will be Christians but get in by the skin of their teeth, having not grown, not abiding on the vine. If they have no works, then are they not even a Christian?”
You cannot judge your theology on the book of James, or one verse of scripture from the book of James. You have to base theology on the totality of the New Covenant issued at the death of Jesus. This is explained in more detail by the apostle Paul. James was under more scrutiny of whether it should even be in the canon or not because of those passages. Paul comes and basically says in boldness and explains salvation by grace through faith whereas James only touched on it. Salvation has nothing to do with works. If indeed you are saved, with true faith in the true Jesus, you will bear fruit of that Jesus, as Jesus explained in John 15 in the parable of the vine and the branches. If truly in the vine and truly abiding on the vine, then the vine has no option to produce that fruit and the branch has no option than to bear that fruit. This fruit is what is listed in Galatians 5:22-23.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Your works and your abiding has nothing to do with coming to salvation. Are you going to abide who you are in? Now, we have those who are professors but not possessors. You have people who went out among us because never were a part of us.
1 John 2:19
They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
In those days, you did not have that problem as much as today because in those days you would be killed for saying what you believed in. There is none of that popularity Christianity as we do today. True faith in the true Jesus will produce Jesus work.
John said, “Some will not being doing that well and barely get in.” Scripture speaks of that. Some will get in by the skin of their teeth.
1 Corinthians 3:15
If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
You have the option to abide or not abide. Some people never grow but are still saved. It is not for us to judge those things. Unfortunately, many do that. We do not have what it takes to judge those things. We are to teach truth to people and “if the shoe fits, you wear it”.
John asked, “What is the definition of what works is?” He said his struggles had changed the course of his life and that things he has done could possibly be considered works.
Bob asked, “What is the work of ministry?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
To believe in Jesus is the work of ministry. The man responded, “You did not understand my question?” Jesus replies, “Yes, I did. What is the work of a branch?” Abide on the vine. The work of a branch is not to produce because it cannot do it. We sit around and become fruit inspectors towards ourselves and others. So you say to yourself, “It does not look like I am bearing much fruit as someone else”. What are we doing when we say that? We are comparing ourselves with others, which the apostle Paul says that such a person is a fool.
2 Corinthians 10:12
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
That is God’s business how much fruit he is going to produce in and through us. On this sin issue, we are too dumb to know how many times a day we are not trusting God. When we think that which is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23), then how many times a day do we not exercise faith in the living God who lives in us? We are desperate people with no hope at all of ever obtaining eternal life apart from the work of Christ. If you have trusted Jesus, that is the work that pleases him. So do not beat yourself up on such things. Thank the Lord you are in the vine and the vine is available to produce what he wants to produce in you and through you. Your role is not to tell him what to produce but to abide in him and thank him for producing the fruit, such as love, joy, peace, and so live in gratitude for that. And you know you are in Christ?
John says he has psychic problems that doubts he has salvation. Bob responds, “Let us get rid of that doubt for that is of Satan.” He said he fully trusted Jesus who he said he is and that he needed him. He said he walked forward desiring salvation. He asked for that and says he believes that he died for him personally and was raised from the dead so his sins were not charged to his account. That changed his outlook on life and behavior yet he said he always wonders if he really received him.
If you put your faith in what he said about you, which means Lord I believe that, then it is not for you and me to figure out “my problem”. The problem is that we have sin living in us. Psychologists have not figured that out. They can just say you had a mother or you were potty trained too early and such nonsense. If I have sin then that needs to be corrected. So then you understand God’s provision for that. You come to understand your condition of sin. Jesus took away sins, the cause of death. You have to understand that is your condition.
The problem with religion is this thinking that you are basically okay and that you do sin. Then when you sin you get your sins forgiven and then you are okay again. That is the furthest from the truth. But you are not okay. You are dead. So unless that condition of sin that caused death is taken care of then you are just playing games. That is no different than a Jew going back to the day of atonement to get his sins forgiven and walking away with sins forgiven but still in the same shape before he went there. What he needs is life. So if you came to Jesus not just for his forgiveness for you but his life in you, and if you know you have done that, then lets start thanking him and praising him for that. Do not doubt for that is of Satan. Put your faith in the fact he did it all, none of you and all of him. Satan will tell you its you. You say, “No it isn’t me. It has nothing to do with me. He died for me, he was raised for me.”
1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
He has done it all and I thank him. So tell Satan to tell that garbage to someone else for I am not going to listen to you. John said he believed that and accepted it all the way. Bob responded, “Then camp in that and walk by faith in that truth, for it is truth, and rejoice in who he made you”.
Andy from British, Columbia
Andy asked, “Are you familiar with the organization called ‘Hell Hell’? It is big in Texas. They do it every Halloween. Christian organization to combat Halloween, where do drama acts, as means of evangelism. When asked pastor who started movement, they say to those who believe in evangelism can only be done through love and no fear is absurd. He feels fear tactics is the most effective way because truth is if do not accept Christ going to hell. What is your take on this?”
Whoever says that has never read the scriptures for the whole scriptures is about the love of God.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
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!
2 Corinthians 5:19
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.
That does not sound like hell and damnation is the approach for evangelism. To be honest with you, a lot of people do not even believe in hell. What is the problem with this approach of using a scare tactic? So this is a typical conversation. “Why are you going to hell?” “Because of your sins.” “So you need to come to Jesus to get your sins forgiven!” That is not even the gospel of salvation. For then people look at it as a fire insurance policy, as to say, “I come to Jesus to get my sins forgiven so I do not go to hell”. That is a terrible motivation to come to a loving Christ as if God says “all of you who are scared of hell I will give you peace for your soul”. No, he says whoever is heavy laden come to me and I will give you rest for your soul”. That is fantasizing. First of all no one knows what hell is like. Dramatizing all those demons out there is in fantasy land. What does a demon look like? What we need to do which is what Jesus did.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins
People are dead in sin in the uncircumcision of their sinful nature. The only solution to death is life and the only life available to us is the life of Jesus. I do not criticize this openly. Do I agree with it? No. Would I use them? No. I would not.
Janice from Redford, MI
She wondered of the meaning of Hebrews 12:7-11.
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Janice asks, “What kind of discipline is Hebrews 12:11 referring to? Is it physical, emotional or spiritual and is it painful? Why are we being disciplined painfully if all our sins are forgiven? It does not make sense does it?”
No. If it does not make sense then it is not true, for God is not the author of confusion. We have a quote from the Old Testament. Discipline is not punishment. Punishment is the retaliation for something done. Discipline is for the preparation for what lies ahead. A coach disciplines players, preparing them for the game. It may look like punishment but it is not.
Hebrews 12:5 also references a quote from the Old Testament.
And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in
So where did we come up with the punishment for those the Lord disciplines, as a father the son he delights in? In Hebrews 12:6, in the New King James, you have this translation.
For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”
In this translation, the word chastens and scourges are used instead of the word discipline. That is taken out of context from the Old Testament. Both cannot be true. If going to argue that both are true, then might as well pitch the bible. This is a direct quote out of the Old Testament misquoted or mistranslated in Hebrews.
Discipline from the context of “son delights in” came from a word in Hebrew “to deeply inquire within” as a father deeply inquiring into son’s situation.
The word by time the Septuagint got written, which is a translation of Hebrew into Greek, the word had taken on new meaning, as a whip with a bow net. To chastise has now become to mean to whip somebody. The people translating off of the Septuagint and instead of going back to the Hebrew, the word has changed in its meaning. So if there is confusion go back and look what it meant.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Do you believe that to be true? Yes, then there is no punishment. How could this be true that he punishes everyone, that he punishes those he loves, when no punishment for sin
So it is not true that God punishes. To a football player, it may seem painful but it is discipline. Discipline is discipleship.
She read it last night and was confused again. She said that so many churches are confused even on 1 John 1:9 and that could be the reason for that is because of being afraid of God’s discipline.
The basic premise of many is to think they are okay until they sin again. So these people have a formula, to quote 1 John 1:9, to get sins forgiven and then think they are okay. No, you are not okay. You are dead.
The wages of sin is not being out of fellowship.
The wages of sin is not going to the woodshed.
The wages of sin is not being disciplined.
For the wages of sin is death
The religious world looks at the Christian like an Old Testament person would do. He goes to the day of atonement, sacrifices a lamb to get sins forgiven and says he is okay. No, you are not okay. You are dead.
What religion has done is watered down the gospel and watered down what wages of sin is. Therefore people have come up with the idea that the only problem is sin and have a way of correcting that and say you are okay. No, you are not okay. You are dead.
What is the purpose of discipline? To show us where we are. If reading this as a lost person, in a clear translation, then you say, “I am lost”. What is the benefit of that? To get saved. If you are a child of God, and then disciplined from God, then you praise God for it. This bible is a book of discipline. Why study the bible if I do not want God disciplining me. What does disciplining mean? Teaching me truth to set me free with it. There is our problem, and that is to stop believing in Jesus and started believing Satan.
Endure hardship as discipline. What is that about? What son is not disciplined? When son is taught to be an adult he is being disciplined. What son is not disciplined by his father? Everyone undergoes discipline. It does not say you will have pain but it will seem like pain. When you are told that your thinking is contrary to who you are as a person of God that seems painful. It seems painful at the time. What is wrong with having pain, a pain of the heart? What did Paul say to the homosexual? They suffer in the inner parts of their own body. Why is it painful? To get them to see their need of salvation. That is nothing when God puts something on you for that leads to depend on the sufficiency in Christ Jesus. What about Paul’s thorn? Whatever it was, it was for the purpose of keeping him dependent on God. So is that discipline? Sure. God sometimes uses something like that. If he does, that is his choice, and if he does, then we have to be in the position to thank him for that. So we are to boast in our weaknesses. If do not have weakness then would we forget Jesus in a New York minute.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.