Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P608 (02-12-21)
As you grow in knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, things you have heard before, but have not fully understood, because you were not taught correctly, you begin to understand. You begin to understand what God wants you to understand. Take the story of the prodigal son, for example. You once thought it was about a believer getting back into fellowship with God. But that cannot be true as you have come to understand the New Covenant of grace you are under today, and that the Spirit is sealed in you and will never leave you. You are either in fellowship, saved, or out of fellowship, lost. You will never find in scripture ever that someone goes in and out of fellowship.
When you think of the parable of the prodigal son, it is really a parable of the lost son, one who was dead and is now alive. It is a picture of someone who came alive. He left because he thought it would be more fun to listen to the voice of Satan than his father’s voice. In the story, he is a son of a father. He came home because he is a son. He came home only after he came to his senses, after living wildly among prostitutes and now eating bread from a pig trough. He planned what he would say, but the heart of his father is a picture of the heart of God, who was there waiting for him. He did not even wait for him to give his 1 John 1:9 type of speech. He threw a party for him and exclaimed, he is dead and is now alive again. We must celebrate.
But there is more to the story. The just as equally important part of the story is that of the older brother, who was so angry that his father would do this for such a lousy son. He was acting self righteously, saying I have never done what your other son did, and you never threw me a party. This story reminds you of the Jews and the Gentiles. There were those Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, but came to faith in Christ and were saved. Many Jews pursued a righteousness of their own, by way of the law, and the truth was hidden from them. They did not receive the righteousness of God that can only come by faith in Christ alone.
We all have memories of our past, things we did that we are now ashamed of. Those thoughts you had pose a temptation to you, as you are in the process of having your mind renewed. What do you do with those memories? If they are evil memories, then realize that is not coming from God, and recognize who is putting that in your minds. Satan is trying to get you off base. You reject those thoughts. There is nothing sinful about those thoughts. You take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. You are a new creation in Christ now, so you have Christ in you teaching you to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions. It is important to know that you have been made complete in Christ by that one offering. You will not get any more complete. If God made you holy you cannot make yourself unholy or do anything to improve upon that. The decision is to walk in the newness of life He has given you, simply walk by faith in what God says is true. If you are looking for sinless perfection, then ask for death, for we will all have struggles, and so we rejoice in our weaknesses, for that is what keeps us dependent upon Jesus, which is how we are to live.
Another common area people stumble over, because of hearing so much false teaching on a continual basis, is this so-called need to confess your sins to God to keep your relationship with God on a daily basis in order to grow in maturity. That is simply not true. You allow the Lord to renew your mind with truth reading His word. We never had any righteousness of our own. We have imputed righteousness. So if we have no righteousness of our own, then does more righteous get imputed? And how can we get cleansed of all unrighteousness, when there is none there, having already been all cleansed out? Either it is all cleansed out or it isn’t?
It is so important to get a handle on what salvation is, what Jesus accomplished for us by his death, burial and resurrection, and then so much false teaching gets cleared up. When Jesus died on a cross, how many sins did He take away from God, to never be seen again? All of them. Will He ever shed His blood again? No. He took all our sins away from the eyes of God, and that before you and I were ever born. Because He died on the cross, does that make us saved? No. It is a necessary preparation for life to be given. Are we saved by just having our sins forgiven? No. That is why the resurrection is so important. If Jesus had not been raised, then as the apostle Paul said, we are still dead in our sins. What we need is new life, and the resurrected life in Christ Jesus is the only life available to us. In that life is redemption, the forgiveness of sins. That is where, in Christ, you become a forgiven person, a child of God, a new creation, receiving what God already did 2000 years ago for you. In that life is the imputed righteousness of Christ Jesus. In that new life is communication with the living God, where He lives in you, renewing your mind to walk in the new life He has given.
Dale from Corpus Cristi, TX
Dale: I know how you stand on the subject of in and out of fellowship with God. I believe the same way as you do. I was reading a book from a well known pastor who believed in this in and out of fellowship. He used a scripture from the parable of the prodigal son. He says this is an example of a person in and out of fellowship with God.
Take the time to read the full account of the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.
Bob: Again, this is an example of people using human experiences, of someone saying, “if this were true of a human experience down here, it certainly must be true of God ”. In other words, “God certainly cannot be any different than us. If that is the way I deal with people then that is the way God must deal”. It is the same argument that people give. “When someone offends me, I will forgive him but he has to come and ask me for forgiveness”. Or, “if you have a son who messed up, he needs to come and ask you to forgive him before you will forgive him”. That is nonsense. If that is the case, my son would probably never be forgiven. I do not remember him ever coming to me and saying “I messed up, Dad. Please forgive me”. No, he just said, “I messed up, Dad”, and we dealt with it. Forgiveness has never been an issue between me and my children. They are already forgiven. It is the same way with God.
Bob: When you put God at the same level as us, or out of a story from the bible, that is the wrong reason for the parable. The parable was the lost son. That is not out of fellowship. That is a lost son. He rejected his inheritance or took it early and went out to squander his life, finding out to the point that even my father’s servants are living better than I do and came to his senses, and returned home. He had a speech in mind, probably 1 John 1:9 (What About 1 John 1:9?). But before he could even give his 1 John 1:9, the Father was there with open arms and received his son before ever hearing a word out of him. He killed the calf, clothed him and threw a party. That was not the case of being out of fellowship. That was the case of a relationship with his father but his son deciding to go his own way.
Bob: In the bible, you are in fellowship or out of fellowship. There is no place in the bible of going in and out of fellowship. So again, Dale, when that is the case, then why do people keep harping on these things? It is like tithing. It is not there. In and out of fellowship. It is not there. Why do people keep harping on that? Why do people keep harping on what is not in the New Testament. What is in the New Testament, is you have been called into fellowship with his Son. If you are in the light, saved, as Christ Jesus is in the light, the two of you have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son continually cleanses you of every sin imaginable, which prohibits you from ever getting in the darkness. Which means you are in the light, and as a result of being in the light, there is fellowship between the two of you.
1 John 1:7
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Bob: You are called into fellowship. There is no place in the bible where fellowship is used in regards to bouncing in and out. Why then do people use that then? I do not know. What we do say is that a person has decided that he is a son. That is why he came home. He is a son. The pig did not come home because he is a pig. The reason the son went away is because he thought it would be more fun to listen to the voice of Satan than listen to the instruction of his father. It was not about being in and out of fellowship. He took off to do his own thing. His father waited for him patiently didn’t he. The son came back. He was already waiting for him with open arms, was he not?
Bob: I think there is a story just as powerful and that is about the jealous older brother. We seldom hear that side of the story. Here is the brother, and he is the self righteous one. He has been in church every Sunday. He is obeying all the laws. He has been subservient to the Father, and he is proud of it. Nothing wrong with being obedient to the father but do not get self righteous over it. That is something you should be doing. This brother gets mad over this thing and voices that. “What is going on, Dad? You are throwing a party to this slob son of yours, wallowing with the pigs and prostitutes and everything else and you have been this good, good son and you have not thrown a party for me”. And he went and pouted. So you got two things you are dealing with. The father chastises him for that. This son was dead and now he is alive! He was blind but now he sees!
Bob: There are two stories that are equal in value to us. You have the sinner who comes to his senses and comes home. You have got a brother already home, trying to live up to the law, trying to be good, who is getting mad at the brother who was saved. That is a picture, quite frankly, of the Jew and the Gentile.
Dale: Exactly. You took the words right out of my mouth.
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.
Bob: “I have been trying to be righteous in your sight”. Are you saying that the gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have obtained it? And are you saying that the son who did not pursue righteousness has obtained it? Are you saying the son who has been trying to be righteous has not? Yes. You got it. Why? Because the son at home was trying to gain righteousness, not by faith, but by works. The prodigal son received it by faith and faith alone. Those are two types of people we have in the world today.
Dale: That nails it. I appreciate it. Thank you. God bless you.
Bob: God bless you, my friend.
Tom from Dale City, VA
Tom: Before I became a Christian, I had girlfriends, and then after I became a Christian, I broke off with them and have not seen them in three years. I struggle with thoughts of them, and how are we to let that go. Unfortunately, there were sexual sins and I still have those memories.
28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Bob: Looking at a woman with thoughts and having sexual thoughts you act on in your mind is the same as committing adultery. It is the same as fornication. What you repented of is coming to Christ. The issue is that you can do it again. The issue is “I am now in Christ Jesus”. That does not mean the moment you came to Christ that you went blind and deaf or that your thoughts automatically left. If you are thinking of the sexual aspect of it, then that is not from God, and recognize that there is an enemy who is trying to get you off track. Satan puts those thoughts in your head. Maybe one of those girls is in Christ today, for you are. It took place in your life so it could take place in theirs too. Anything you are thinking about today is fantasy.
Tom: When I came to Christ, I had to step away from that.
Bob: Do not put yourself on guilt trips for that is Satan trying to throw you off. He is trying to trip you up on those past memories. He does it with all of us. Anyone who had a sinful past and says he does not think about it is either dead or lying.
Tom: I want to walk right and most of the time I reject such thoughts but it is difficult at times.
14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Bob: You are not going to get any more complete. He did that to all; he made us holy. You are not going to get more holy nor are you going to improve on it.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God€”this is your true and proper worship.
Romans 6:3-4 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
2 Peter 1:4
4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Bob: God set you apart for the divine purpose of walking in newness in life, alive in Christ Jesus, to allow Him to live in you and through you. That is a day to day decision. Sometimes you will fall flat on your face, and when you do, you get back up again. That is the process we will go through until the day we die. We all have struggles. Those struggles are what keep you dependent on Jesus. If you did not have such struggles or weakness in the flesh, then you would stop trusting God in a New York minute. Paul rejoiced in his weakness because his weakness kept him dependent on Jesus.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Peter 3:18
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Bob: Keep growing in grace.
Todd from Duncan, British Columbia
Todd: I go to a Baptist church, but what I heard from his church is in conflict with what I heard from your teaching. Once you confess your sins to Christ and accept Jesus in your heart, it is done. That is what he has held on as truth. Yet, there is much talk about the need to confess your sins to God to keep your relationship with God on a daily basis and grow in maturity. That does not ring true to him. The passage in 1 John 1:9 is what continually gets brought up. I called to get clarification on the truth on this topic.
1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Bob: It is the only scripture they can cling to. It is amazing how people take one verse out of the bible and form a whole theology around it. There is no scripture in the bible that speaks about positional forgiveness, forensic or judicial forgiveness. Can you imagine some theologue standing at the base of the cross, with the bible tucked under his arm, tilted a little to the right side, looking up at Jesus, who is bleeding and dying to take away the sins of the world, and say to him, “Is that positional forgiveness or forensic forgiveness?” So ludicrous when you stop to think about that truth.
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
5because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Bob: When Jesus cried out “It is finished”, he meant just what he said. It is finished. When people talk about “in and out of fellowship”, there is no scripture that gives any indication of that. You are either in the fellowship, saved, or out of fellowship, lost. That is bible teaching, not Baptist teaching or Campus Crusade teaching. If you study that scripture enough, then the truth is clear. If you are a baptist, you just go along with it. And so people just hear it often enough to repeat it to someone else.
Todd: I have no joy telling a drug addict to come to Christ to get sins forgiven and you have to keep it up. He has to know forgiveness is there and joy is complete.
Bob: Here is the problem. We stopped at the cross for salvation. The cross does not save anyone. The resurrection is what saves you.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were (past tense) still sinners (lost), Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood (accomplished fact), how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were (past tense) God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son (accomplished fact), how much more, having been reconciled (accomplished fact), shall we be saved through his life! (his life saves you)
Bob: The cross was preparatory for salvation. It was something that had to take place in order to bring salvation to us. Salvation is being saved from the consequences of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is life, and the only life available to us is the resurrected life of Christ Jesus. That is precisely why the apostle Paul said that without the resurrection, we are to be pitied of all people, and are still in our sins, knowing full well that a cross had occurred where Jesus took away our sins, but also knowing, that that forgiveness that was provided for all mankind at the cross is only received in the resurrected life of Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 1:7 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Bob: In Him, you have redemption, the forgiveness of sin! Where do you get that forgiveness? In His resurrected life. Do you walk the aisle and come forward to get sins forgiven? No. If you do come forward, you should come forward to get life. You already have forgiveness but that forgiveness is received in his resurrection. So all the emphasis is on the cross and not on the indwelling Christ Jesus, who lives in us. So people concentrate on what people think salvation is, and how I keep salvation, the cross, the cross, the cross.
Bob: Jesus had to eternally take away the sins of the entire world in order to offer us resurrected life. Sin is what caused death. If he gave me life but did not eternally take away the cause of death, which is sin, then the next time I sinned I would die. In order to get eternal life, the cross had to be eternal in nature. When you do not teach that then you take away a person’s security in eternal life. If you say, “but I do believe I have eternal life”, but then Satan comes along and says, “you are out of relationship with God”, do you believe his lie? So whether out of fellowship or out of relationship, it seems you would have a problem with God. The issue is you do not have a problem with God. God has a problem with that teaching.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Peter 1:3 (ESV)
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence
28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Bob: God has clothed you in His righteousness, given you everything you need for life and godliness, he has taken away the cause of death, which is sin, in order to give you life eternally. No, he has no problem with you at all. He has a problem with that teaching. Most baptist preachers pound that down the pulpit, with one side of the mouth saying, “Your sins are forgiven, past present and future” but then with the other side of the mouth say, “if you confess your sins, God will forgive you”. That is double talk and causes a man to be unstable in all his ways.
8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Todd: Your view is the minority view and hard to find a church that teaches that pure grace teaching.
Todd: I still stumble on stuff and constantly feel defeated. There is no place in the bible except in the gospels, such as the Lord’s prayer. How can you reconcile what sounds contradictory when you read it?
15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:19
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.
Bob: How can you pull those verses together if you do not understand the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Bob said he never heard a teaching on the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. (Hebrews is a great resource in the bible that contrasts the Old Covenant with the New Covenant while explaining the New Covenant.) So you have all those kinds of seeming contradictions.
Bob: In 1 John 1:9, John is addressing the Gnostic. The Gnostic problem is dealing with those who claim they do not have a sin nature.
1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Todd: So when someone is cleansed out of all unrighteousness, can he not sin in the next hour? If so, would he have all his sins cleansed?
Bob: We never had any righteousness of our own. We have imputed righteousness. So if we have no righteousness of our own, then does more righteous get imputed? And how can we get cleansed of all unrighteousness, when there is none there, having already been all cleansed out? Either it is all cleansed out or it isn’t?
Bob: The literal translation of that verse is dealing with a person claiming to be without sin and who is sinning against the knowledge of the truth. If we read just one verse before and one verse after, we get to understand the context of 1 John 1:9.
1 John 1:8-10
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Bob: If there is no truth in him, then he does not have Christ in him, and he is still dead in his sins, and is lost. If you also turn to 2 John, you will gain more understanding. 2 John was written to a special lady and to her children who knew the truth and the truth was in them.
2 John 1-3
1 To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth – and not I only, but also all who know the truth – 2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.
Bob: The truth lives in us and will live in us forever. So if the truth is in you and will be with you forever, how can you say you deceive yourself and the truth is not in you, unless the truth was never in you? So 1 John 1:9 is not talking to saved people but is talking to lost people.
Bob: The “if” is an “if” with a doubt. In the Greek, it is an aorist past tense. It could be expressed this way.
Bob: “If you ever come to your senses, and I doubt if you will, but if you do, he is faithful and just to have forgiven you and to have cleansed you from all unrighteousness.”
Bob: It is a past act with a continual effect. It is not a movie camera but a snapshot. It never gets translated in that tense. So problems are in translation. But if you ever go to a Greek scholar, who is honest in interpretation, and who studies it, then that is the only conclusion he can come up with.