Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P605 (02-04-21)
All of us struggle with all kinds of things in this fallen flesh of ours. It is good to know the mercy and grace of God. No matter what you are going through, there is hope in God. What a blessing it is when you have someone to talk to, who has been through what you are going through, and has learned to overcome the flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit, having had his mind renewed with truth.
Whether you are struggling with depression or in the process of going through a divorce, there is practical wisdom in Christ to deal with these struggles. The apostle Paul addressed some issues in regard to divorce in terms of the grace of God, under the New Covenant that we live under now. Yes, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. So often believers have not come to understand that they do not live under the law any more. That changes the whole dynamic of how you live and understand those scriptures like the sermon on the mount, and those passages in the epistles of the apostle Paul. The sermon on the mount passages, the beatitudes, were not written for you, but for those still under an Old Covenant, letting them know that no one can ever be made righteous by observing the law, but that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.
By understanding the grace we now live under, it has practical implications in how you interact with your spouse. If both of you are believers, you have the mind of Christ, so instead of leaning on your own understanding, you can rely on His. You can address any disagreements and difficulties with one another in the context of being in the light, and asking Him for understanding, allowing God to love one another through you.
So the problem is not marriage problems but heart problems. Either you, your wife or both have a heart problem. So you need to deal with the source of the problem. You have to deal with the heart, not the marriage. Disagreements will come and people will not get along when thrown into a close knit situation, as in marriage or work. If you do not draw upon the Lord’s wisdom, you will be a mess.
The problem of not understanding law and grace is also evident when people are raised under false teaching and think they have to repent of all their sins, going to a confessional booth or quoting 1 John 1:9, to stay in fellowship with God. When you live in false thinking like that, that binds you. Truth is what sets you free. The repentance of sin is repenting of the sin of unbelief in Him so as to become born again, a person with the very Spirit of Jesus living in you. All other sins were taken away at the cross, and that before you and I were ever born. It is when you are in Christ that you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, and under a New Covenant, He says He remembers them no more, and He has imputed to us His righteousness, for we never had any of our own.
If you think God is distant from you because of some sin you did, or that you must confess or else God will remain angry with you, you have a crippled relationship with God, not because you do not have a relationship with Him, if you are in Christ, but because you are not free to go to God because of the error in your thinking. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. He remembers your sins no more. He tells us to go boldly to the throne of grace for help in time of need. Why would I want to go to God if I think He is mad at me all the time?
It is so vitally important to get into God’s word to get to know Him, to get to know the New Covenant you are living under today. Take that precious and important time to allow God to renew your mind with truth, as one who loves and accepts you unconditionally and has the very best in mind for you, who is there to be gracious to you and who has given you everything you need for life and godliness. His Spirit lives in you. There is no partiality with God, and you have the mind of Christ. He says He will guide you into all truth. Will you let Him?
Tom from Denver, CO
Tom: I got a question that revolves around divorce and remarriage. I am torn about a few scriptures.
32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Tom: You would think the person doing the divorcing is guilty of adultery, but it seems the person divorced is guilty of adultery.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11
10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:15
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.
Tom: God’s grace seems to cover a situation where an unbeliever leaves.
Tom: I am married to a woman who is divorcing me without biblical ground. What does that leave me after the divorce? Do I remain unmarried so I do not cause someone else to commit adultery, being a divorced person. Yet I do not believe I have the gift of singleness.
Bob: Unfortunately, you are functioning under the law. That may be one of the problems that is even in your marriage. It sure seems like it. When you are talking about a Christ talking about divorce, right before and after that he was talking about law that says do not murder and if you hate your brother you already committed murder. So you are thinking how many times you are murdering your wife and how much she has murdered you. Jesus then talked about how when you look lustfully at a woman then you have already committed adultery. What does that do to us?
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[Exodus 20:13] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.”
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[Exodus 20:14] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Bob: Now, here is the criteria for divorce under the law. How are you doing with that one? Then you have one on oath. How are you doing with that one? Then you have this law to be loving enemies as you love yourself. How are you doing with that one? What the Lord was giving us, what we know as the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), it buried those who were self righteous, who thought they were obeying the law when they were not even obeying that. If you are under law, this is how stringent the law would be, and how stringent that would be from God’s advantage point under the law. That is under law. You are not under the law.
13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Bob: The grace of God had to come. You see the same thing in the Lord’s prayer.
15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Bob: Is that true after the cross? No. Was it true before the cross? Would that be the criteria under law? Yes, absolutely. That is what law is.
Bob: So go back to the Corinthian passage. Paul is dealing with this under the grace of God. There was nothing wrong with the law. The law is pure and holy but when it flows through me it kills me.
9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
Bob: The law is not for today, but for your entire life. No man except one, Christ Jesus, ever walked on this earth in a perfect life. That is, he walked in perfect love, thereby fulfilling the law. That is why Jesus had to come. If we were capable of doing these things, whether the beatitudes or the ten commandments, then he would not have to come for us.
21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
Bob: In regard to marriage, it is better if you can remain married. That is God’s best for you and me. So, he is saying to Christians, if you are married to one another do not separate from your husband. If you do, remain unmarried or else be reconciled to your husband. A husband must not put away his wife. Is that always going to occur just because it says that? No, but it is certainly the standard, the ideal. If you guys will stick in there, and again, that is assuming there are two people who are in Christ who know the Lord and know what it means to be controlled by the love of God. If you are committed to being controlled by the love of the Lord, you are not seeking to destroy each other.
Bob: The problem is not marriage problems but heart problems. Either you, your wife or both have a heart problem. So you need to deal with the source of the problem. You have to deal with the heart, not the marriage. People will sometimes get into situations where we are in a relationship, marriage, work or in all kinds of ways, where you are thrown together for long term involvement. We irritate each other.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
p>Bob: We stay in that situation in marriage and we gut it out and do not talk and do not communicate. Irritation keeps building up until the last straw. So divorce is going to take place. I am just walking out. You tell them to stick with it and she is so emotionally drained out and is the last thing she wants to hear.
Bob: I am not trying to get your marriage back together. Whether you get back together or not, I do not know. What I am wanting to do is, individually, to see where it is in your wife’s life, husband’s life, or whoever, where it is we are missing the mark in regards to truth. If we find that out, because if we come to truth it will set us free. When you can be reconciled again, instead of destroying the marriage and walking out of it. If she is not willing and bent on divorce, and she is going to go through with it, you cannot stop her decision. You can encourage her to seek biblical counsel, but you cannot change a person’s will. God cannot either. If a person wants to say no, he will not violate that will. If that occurs then you are going to be in a situation of what it is talking about, of when an unbeliever leaves, even though referring to a lost person, but can also refer to a saved person who refuses to believe God when He says to hang in there. If that occurs there is nothing you can do but let them go. You cannot hang onto them.
1 Corinthians 7:8-9
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Bob: There is your practicality of the word of God. The best and ideal is to work out your differences. Realize you do not have marriage problems but personnel problems and heart problems. My wife can irritate me and I can irritate her.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”
Bob: My response can be much worse than what my spouse has done wrong. There are two sides to this. Yes, a person can be irritating, but how am I responding. A spouse can be demanding, but how am I responding? Is my ego refusing to hear what my wife is saying? All kinds of things going on. Disagreements will come and people will not get along when thrown into a close knit situation, as in marriage or work. If you do not draw upon the Lord’s wisdom, you will be a mess.
Bob: My prayer is that your wife and you will get together some way and realize there is a great need to see that you have heart problems that need to be solved.
Bob: Here is what you can say to your spouse. “Regardless of whether you stay together or not, I do want to be reconciled. I want to be friends.” If you can get her to accept that, that you are not trying to force us together, and we do not have to stay together in order to be pleasing to God. Thank God we are pleasing to God because of what Christ did, not what we did. If we can get back to, intelligently as two children of God, seek God’s will in order to find out what has been going on here, and be reconciled, it will certainly be worthwhile. If we cannot, then at least we can end up being good friends.
Tom: Can you put me on the line for ordering.
Bob: Yes, I want you to get a hold of the marriage tapes, Tom. I think they will be of good help to you.
Bill from Leavenworth, Kansas
Bill: What is the role of repentance? How does repentance fit in the terms of saving faith?
Bob: Repentance in the bible, as we mentioned before, is a strong word. We have watered it down like the word Christian and everything else. No meaning to it. It is used in scripture only as it relates to salvation because you are talking about total change in identity. You are not talking about smoking and quit smoking because you could start again and then it would mean you never repented. Repentance in scripture means a permanent change.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Bob: A permanent change is like talking to a caterpillar. I can make you into a butterfly, but realize what I am saying to you. When that occurs you will never be a worm again. I am not talking about two to act like a butterfly but that you will become a butterfly, a brand new creation. Repentance is a total change of mind. All of us are born into this world dead.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 16:9 (TLB)
9 The world’s sin is unbelief in me
Bob: We are all born into the world dead spiritually, an unbeliever. So what happens to us when we come to Christ? We change our mind. The change of mind could be all over the place as far as your background. To the Jew, their hope was in Moses, in the obedience to law. Their hope was being a Jew for salvation. Changing your mind there was letting go of a ton of preconceived notions. It was letting go of a ton of scripture, quite frankly, that was given to them by God and now He is saying a New Covenant has taken place. You are talking about a real change of mind, letting go of a lot of stuff and baggage in order to become a believer in Christ.
Bob: In our day and age, we could still have the same thing. There are denominations where there is a ton of baggage. When talking about coming to Christ, even in Protestant or Catholic religion, you are talking about how you have to keep sacraments or keep 1 John 1:9 confessing, or you can lose your inheritance, assuming you are even a son or daughter. Tradition is so strong that if you defect from the religion of your parents, you are no longer a son. It is a total change of mind. When you repent and change your mind that this is not truth and that it is a total change of mind and identity. That can be very hard to do.
Bob: Other people like myself, I did not believe in much of anything. I did not have a lot to change my mind about. My change of mind is that I did not know Jesus was my sufficiency. I did not know what to believe and I also did not have much I believed in. It was not letting go of a lot of stuff because I was not holding onto anything. But still, a change of mind had to take place. Repentance means to change your mind.
Bob: In the early church, in Acts, where that was emphasized, that was talking to Jews steeped in Judaism. That change of mind had a lot of meaning to them, and even more so today than living in America, where almost everyone heard about Jesus, and at least had exposure there. Jesus had just come on the scene in those early days. You had to have a lot of evidence in those days. Jesus provided all the evidence anyone needed to know that he is truly God on earth.
Bill: We hear a lot about a full commitment of your heart to Christ and the Lordship of Christ and one’s life and we want desperately. Are they different from saving faith or is it all the same thing?
Bob: Again, I think we add a lot of stuff. When you and I come to Christ by faith, and we come in so many different ways. Sometimes it is like a cry for help. We come to Christ in His sufficiency and my depravity and we ask him into our hearts. At that point we are a child of God and a child has to grow. In the early days, we acted just like a baby but still a child. There is growth connected with it. After a while you come to see who Christ is.
Bob: This emphasis people have of “I am going to make Christ Lord of my life” and what that means that I will never do anything but God what wants and not what Bob wants. Before we leave the room with that commitment you got something going on in your head.
Bob: Your identity in Christ is the emphasis. I exchanged my life for His. It is no longer I who live but Christ is alive, living in me is what ultimately brings us to that attitude, “Lord, not my will but yours be done”. Faith says, ’Lord, you would not be telling me what you are saying unless it is for my good. You know all things and know what is best for me.” Just realize that flesh is always in conflict with Spirit. But the fact is I settled the issue that I want your will and not mine.
Bob: We may vary back and forth in performance on that but our heart never changes once that commitment and that understanding is there, that that is what I want is your will.
Ron from Oregon
Ron: I was excited about reading Classic Christianity.
Ron: I was once lost and into cars, bars, Hollywood celebrities, and movie stars. In 1968, when I was 42 years old I became saved. Around 1978 to 1979, I understood Christ is my life. Listening to tapes by E. M. Thomas reaffirmed that. About 3 1/2 years ago, God taught me my flesh is not worth it. I was a pastor in Oregon and they did not want to hear grace. I am now a pastor in a new church and it has grown a hundred fold.
Ron: God uses different roads to get to come to the end of ourselves. Beatitudes that Christian read and they give it a try yet not realizing how impossible it is. When we realize we can’t we realize He can and not only that He can but He did. When we rest in that exchange of life, where that has taken place everything is new. All things become new. What is new is Christ lives in us. Every day is a new day with Christ in control, living a life I could not live myself.
Bob: We sure gave it a try though.
Ron: I was preaching in England, and the Lord asked him, “Are you willing to die for me?” 50% of you and 50% of the Holy Spirit is not good enough.
Bob: It is like people believe in a Brille cream theology, just a little dab will do it.
Ron: Christ in me can, and the only one who can.