Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P639 (06-03-21)
A common question asked is in regard to the law. What is the law? Does it include the ten commandments as well as the dietary laws? Are those laws, particularly the ten commandments, a guide for us to live by? For Christians? Should believers be teaching people to obey the law? We all fall short of the law. We all have sinned. Can we ever be made holy by what we do? These are some of the most frequently asked questions.
First, what is the purpose of the law? Was the law ever added to make us righteous? According to the apostle Paul, no one will ever be made righteous by observing the law. It is through the law that we are conscious of sin. Why then was the law given? Paul even says the law is holy, righteous and good. But then he discovers that he is not righteous, and the law only stirred up sin in him. And that is the problem. The law is like a mirror. A mirror can show you there is dirt on your face, but a mirror cannot be used to remove the dirt. So Paul remarks that he came to the end of the law for righteousness. Where did he find righteousness he never had? He said thanks be to God through my Lord Jesus Christ.
So Paul was appointed as an apostle by God, and he said that no one else taught him except Jesus Christ, whom he encountered on the road to Damascus. At that time of new spiritual birth, the Holy Spirit was placed in him, so that he might have the mind of Christ, to know Christ and understand what the living Christ is saying. Truth is revealed by the Spirit of God through the Word of God. Paul was appointed so that what he received from the Lord would be written down, that truth revealed to him directly by Jesus Christ, through the now closed canon, the 66 books of the bible, is now available to us to know God. God wants all of us to know what He has offered us in Christ Jesus, to have the same Spirit of God to be placed in us, to have our minds renewed with truth, so as to walk in the new way of the Spirit.
In Christ you have been made complete, not lacking anything you need for life and godliness, because the risen Christ is alive, living in you. So to try to make yourself more holy, more set apart from the world, than what you already have is futile and nonsensical and only leads to putting yourself back under the law, where you are unproductive in your walk in the Lord, enslaved again to the law. You have direct access to the Spirit of God, alive living in you. Our growth in Christ is coming to know all that God has freely given us, to come to understand more and more what truth is that sets us free, but that is not getting more holy. The only holy one is Jesus, and He is alive living in you, teaching and guiding you into all truth, as His child.
But oftentimes, Christianity of today will hinder a person from growing in grace. Church leaders will mix law and grace, beating you over the head for not obeying the law, as if you have to make yourself holy by observing all kinds of Old Testament laws, tithing being a common example of that. So many leaders may not even be saved themselves. Oftentimes, only half a gospel is preached, as if salvation is getting your sins forgiven. The gospel often presented is Jesus’ death on a cross, a half gospel, that fails to explain the meaning of the resurrection, and therefore is not even the gospel. The cross was a necessary preparation, without which life could not be given. For as long as mankind is still under the law, they are under the penalty of the law, which is the wages of sin is death.
So the cross took care of the sin problem of the entire world, both for the lost and the saved. The cross was necessary so that the next time we sin, we would not die again. But that forgiveness of sins, provided then by Jesus’ shed blood on a cross, must be received in Him. The only sin attributable to man is the sin of unbelief in Jesus. That is what Jesus was saying in John 16. That sin of unbelief in Jesus is what needs to be repented of. So Jesus came to prove the world wrong about what sin is. It is not the nasty nine and the dirty dozen, but unbelief in Him. This is what keeps us from having life, faith in Him.
But the resurrection of Jesus from the dead solved the bigger problem, that man is dead and in need of life. That is why Jesus had to rise from the dead, so that by His resurrection from the dead, we can have His life placed in us. For as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15, without the resurrection we are to be the most pitied of all men and are still dead in our sins.
So salvation is coming to receive the resurrected life in Christ Jesus. Many people fail to come to Christ for life. In that case, they do not have the Spirit of God living in them and cannot understand grace. What Jesus did is He ushered in a New Covenant of grace, of life in Christ Jesus, that we now live under. That means the new spiritual man is led internally by the Spirit of God living in him. He is internally led and is no longer under the supervision of the law. So the law is good, but it is meant for the unrighteous, all of us born dead in Adam, born in sin, until we recognize our state of wretchedness and seek a Savior in Christ Jesus and come alive in Him. Once we were tutored by the law until faith shall be revealed to us. So the law is useful for the lost sinner, but is no longer needed when you have the Spirit of God living in you. As we read in Galatians about the fruit of the Spirit, where against such things there is no law, and in John 15, on the parable of the vine and the branch, where Jesus describes a visual illustration of how we live by faith in Him.
We are under the New Covenant today. Paul, in Romans and Galatians and other epistles, clearly explains this grace we now live under, in contrast to the Old Covenant law that got replaced. We have been set free from the law of sin and death so that we can serve the Lord by the Spirit He has given, a new life of liberty in Christ Jesus. If we are still under the law, which is described as a ministry of death, then we are under the punishment of that law, which is the wages of sin is death. We have no hope without being set free from that impossible law set against us. That is why God sent Jesus to do something for us we could never do.
So to grow in grace, it is not about just simply praying to God, for all kinds of religious people do that. You have to know who you are praying to, who he is and have truth understood so that you pray in accordance with the will of God. Truth comes by listening to God through His word, and not by some contemplative prayer practice, repeating a word or phrase or some mantra. You must worship in Spirit and in truth, but truth has to be revealed through His word by the Spirit of God, alive living in you, in its full context.
You have to allow, over time in God’s word, the Spirit to reveal truth to you. A seminary cannot even provide that, for it teaches you academically, what the bible says, and that can be useful. But to know what the bible means, you need to be born again first, having the Spirit of God living in you, and then be studying the bible yourself, not as you would a college textbook, but to get to know the author, allowing Him to reveal to you what it means. That is why you have the Spirit living in you, to guide you into all truth. Seminary might be useful, but seminaries could also be teaching you denominational persuasions of men, contrary to what the Spirit reveals as truth. The most effective way to learn is to be involved in or lead a bible study, and find out answers to questions asked by going through the entire bible, and so you grow together with other like-minded believers in home bible studies, who also desire to grow in grace.
John from Pittsburg, PA
John: That scripture that says without holiness no man shall see God. I was trying to get a more in depth understanding of that because I know all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Bob: Right. Again, so the only way we are going to get holiness, being set apart, is if God does it. Mark down Hebrews 10:14.
14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Bob: God had to make you what you could not make yourself. This is what has been done in Christianity, where people say, “Yes, God made me holy, but I can go out and make myself more holy.” So with that thinking, people set out to make themselves more holy than that which God made us. We make ourselves obnoxious but we do not make ourselves more holy. If you have been set apart for God by God, you are not going to be more set apart. That is what it means to be sanctified, to be set apart. You have been set apart. What sets you apart? Your belief in Christ Jesus.
Bob: See, John, when we stop to think about it, all of your thoughts have to go somewhere. You put your thoughts in a book, and capture those thoughts for eternity. You can put your thoughts in a song. You can put your thoughts in speech. What is demon-possession? Demons putting their thoughts in your mind. So, when you and I now have God’s thoughts in our mind through spiritual birth, we are set apart from the entire world. We are set apart because we are now born again people. We are set apart because we do not think like the people of the world. Our thoughts are not the same as other people.
(John shared this passage to confirm the truth of what he heard.)
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Bob: Absolutely. That is a perfect verse for that. We cannot set ourselves more apart. The more we learn about the truth of Christ Jesus, the more we are literally set apart from the thinking of the world. But we have not set ourselves apart. We just gained more information about the one who set us apart.
John: So when He says “It is finished”, it is finished.
Bob: Yes. It is finished.
John: Thank you, Bob. I listen to you every day. I just wanted to hear what you had to say.
Bob: Thank you, John. God bless you, my friend. Okay.
George from Houston, TX
George: Thanks for taking my call. I am calling about a new church movement called the emergent church movement, or the contemplative prayer movement. I just wonder if you may throw some light on that.
Bob: No, I cannot, George. I do not know anything about it and do not want to. I have been in the Lord for well over 40 years, and every year I see a new hobby horse come down the pike, which I call Christian hula hoops, a brand new movement and it dies out. Then another movement comes along and it dies out. You had the prayer of Jabez deal, and you cannot even pronounce Jabez. That took its turn. Then another prayer comes along.
Bob: I told a man the other day, “What do you think is the most important? My talking to God or God talking to me?” If I am talking to God, I do not think He is impressed with my talking to Him. I am very impressed with His talking to me. Unless I grab a hold of what He has expressed to me, then I do not have anything of much importance to say to Him. People think that all we have to do is pray, pray, and pray. The Muslim prays. The Buddhist prays. The Mormon prays. The Jehovah Witness prays. Everybody prays.
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Why do people put emphasis on praying when they do not know who they are praying to, or what they are praying or are praying about or whether they are praying according to God’s will, which is the only way prayers will be answered. So people put emphasis on the wrong place. People should place the emphasis on the word of God to be fed. Until we are fed we need to quit talking.
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
The issue is why do I think it is going to make me more spiritual to talk to God? Where I am going to become spiritual is when I allow God to talk to me. People do not put emphasis on reading the word, for then you have to come to unity. There is division when truth conflicts with error. There is no division in prayer. Everybody’s prayer cannot be bad. But when you study the word of God, then you can have decisions. People do not like division. Everybody wants to get together believing the same thing. So to be certain of that, avoid studying the word of God and just rather pray instead. I do not pay attention to those things, George. What I am interested in is people studying the word of God, to take God at His word, that He is living in you and rejoice in that, and to be fed internally by the living Christ, who lives in and through you and me. What we say back to God in prayer should be a reflection of what He has said to us through His revealed word.
George: Okay. Thank you Bob.
Bob: Okay. God bless you.
Ted from Indianapolis IN
Ted: I talk to the Lord. I just lived the life of great pleasure, and I work a short distance from where I live. I have to leave at 3:30 in the morning and on the way to work, I talk to the Lord. It is like He is right in the vehicle with me. When I get to work, I have this peace that comes over me and lasts all day long. I am just so thankful for your ministry. It has helped me a lot. I want to make that a quick testimony if that is all right.
Bob: It certainly is Ted. Thanks for calling. It is wonderful to hear people who are growing in the Lord Jesus Christ, which obviously you are. Do not ever get away from that, Ted. Remember the more you study the word of God, the only purpose is to study it is to get to know the Lord better. Do not get under any bondage of legalism. The Lord will take you on that journey of peace that you entered into throughout your Christian experience. We thank you very much for sharing your life with us and what God has been doing in your life.
Ted: You know, brother Bob. He is my copilot every morning on my way to work.
Bob: I got a better idea. He is your pilot. You are the copilot. Keep it in proper perspective, brother. He is the pilot.
Ted: You are right.
Bob: Yes. You are the copilot sitting and enjoying the Lord. Alright, Ted. God bless you.
Ted: God bless you.
Bob: Thank you so much Ted for your call.
Steve from Jamestowne, IN
Steve: I was wondering if a degree is required to be a pastor of a church?
Bob: It depends on what denomination you are talking about. There are some denominations, Presbyterian and Methodist, that if you are going to be a pastor in their church, you have to go to their seminary. That is what you will be going to learn, their doctrine. That is why they are there, to teach you their doctrine. But you do not have to be, as an example, in many of the Baptist denominations. They believe that God calls you, and if God is the one who sent you. First of all, He calls you unto Himself. Then if God called you unto Himself and then has sent you to be a pastor-teacher, then it will not matter whether you have gone to seminary or not.
2 Corinthians 3:6
6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Steve: I was thinking about going to school for a degree. I guess it would be a theology degree. There are a number of things.
Bob: What is it you want to do with your life, Steve?
Steve: I want to proclaim the truth.
Bob: Do you want to do that in a specific denomination?
Steve: Whoever will listen to me.
Bob: There is no one who will listen to you in a certain denomination unless you went to their seminary.
Steve: Right. The only way I could do it right now, being married with children and a regular job.
Bob: Are you teaching a bible study now? Do you have a home bible study going?
Steve: No sir.
2 Timothy 2:15
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Bob: Steve, again, start one. Why would you want to say I want to proclaim the gospel when you are not proclaiming. I would get a bible study in your neighborhood and start teaching the bible. It will be the best learning experience you will ever have.
Bob: I am serious. The best training you will ever have is to sit down and have a home bible study. You have to learn to think quickly, and to say, “I do not know but I will find out.” You will be searching the scriptures because people will be asking you questions that you do not know. So you will have to go back and search the entire bible, and in the process, you will get more bible education than four years of bible college. It is the best way I know of to learn. How to teach is to teach in a small group weekly bible study where people are growing in grace together, and you are growing in their lives. After doing that, if you want to go for a formal education, there is nothing wrong with that, but it depends on what bible college you go to because everyone has a bias and a persuasion. If you do, you will have to find a place whose bias and persuasion is the bias and persuasion of the bible, which is on the grace of God. So you will have to find a grace-oriented bible school. At a bible college, how are you going to study the bible? Academically.
1 Corinthians 1:9-10
9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”[Isaiah 64:4] – the things God has prepared for those who love him –
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
Bob: So you are not going to have the Spirit revealed what the meaning of the word of God is academically. It has to be spiritually. That does not mean that you cannot get an education in what the bible says. But for you to understand what it means, you are going to not have to depend on a bible professor or radio minister. You will have to depend on the Spirit, who lives in you, to reveal to you what it means.
Steve: I know some people are stubborn. I do not know. Not that it matters to me, but getting degrees, not that it means a thing. But some people will not listen to you or give you the time of day unless you have something.
That would be people to their own detriment. I do not have a degree. I have a degree in marketing. I have taught in seminaries but I have never been to seminary. I have taken a seminary course but I have not graduated from a specific seminary and I praise God I have not.
Bob: That knocks that argument down. So the issue is, do you want to proclaim Jesus?
Steve: Yes, I do.
Bob: Get in that bible study and proclaim Him.
Steve: I will.
Okay, brother. Good to talk to you, pal.
Robert from Atlanta, GA
Robert: I have a question to ask you in reference to the law and the commandments. I wholeheartedly believe we are under grace. But the ten commandments and Mosaic laws, and the dietary laws, when you read in the bible in Romans where Paul says we are no longer under the law but freed from it. When he says “law”, what does he mean? Can you define law.
Bob: It is all of it. It is all of the law of Moses. It is the first five books of the bible. It is the entire law. It includes the ten commandments. It includes dietary laws. You do not go to Mt. Sinai. You go to the empty tomb.
2 Corinthians 3:7-9
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!
Bob: There it confirms it to you. There is no question what that is, the ten commandments, for they were written on stone. Moses came down from the mountain with the ten commandments and the Shakina glory showed on his face. So he is saying that the ministry brought death. The ministry of the ten commandments brought death.
Bob: Paul said that nothing was wrong with the law but when it flows through me it kills me. If the ministry that condemns me came with glory, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness. So we are no longer under the law at all. As a matter of fact, if you are under the law you are under a curse. What is the curse of being under the law?
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[Deuteronomy 27:26] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”
23 For the wages of sin is death
Bob: But you are no longer under that. You have been freed from the law of sin and death by the law of life in Christ Jesus.
2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.
Bob: Why are we justified by faith in Christ?
16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
Bob: No man will ever be justified in the sight of God by obedience to the law. The law cannot justify you. The law cannot make you righteous. The law cannot give you life. The only thing the law can do is kill you. Now that faith has come in Jesus Christ, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Bob: If you reverse that last passage, what do you have? If you are under the law, sin is your master. So what people do is put people under the law, under the mastery of sin, and beat them every Sunday for sinning. That is why Paul says this in Galatians.
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
Bob: He goes on to say this.
8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse [or eternally condemned]!
Bob: What was the gospel preached to them? The gospel of grace. The gospel that you are no longer under the supervision of the law once you come to Christ. The law has done its work. It showed you that you are a sinner. It showed you there is a consequence to sin called death and you turned to Christ for forgiveness that is in Him, by means of His shed blood on a cross, and receiving His life through His resurrection from the dead. The law has now completed its work in you so you can be led now internally by the Son of God rather than the law written on stone.
4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Bob: Okay, brother?
Robert: Okay. I appreciate it.
Bob: Did that help?
Robert: It helped. We are having a bible study on that coming up. I believe whole-heartedly we are under grace. The argument was you cannot abolish the ten commandments.
Bob: Yes you can. If you are under the ten commandments, you are under a curse.
Bob: You cannot separate the law from the punishment of the law. If you have a sign out there to drive 30 mph and there is no punishment for driving 40, the sign is worthless. You might as well have a potato on it as a sign. It is worthless. You cannot have a law apart from punishment for violation.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit, who gives life [ resurrected life in Christ Jesus ] has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Bob: If you are under the law, you are under the law of sin and death. You cannot escape it. So what happens is people sit around being put to sleep by our own doctrine. People say, “We are under the law, but we are not under the punishment of the law.” That is not true. If you are not under the punishment of the law, the law is worthless. So we had to be freed from the law of sin and death. Now to be led eternally by the Spirit of God, who lives in you, read now what Jesus said.
7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
Bob: The role of the Spirit is to teach the world wrong about sin. Why does it say that? Because the world thinks sin is the nasty nine and the dirty dozen. But Jesus came and said this.
John 16:9 (TLB)
The world’s sin is unbelief in me
Bob: Keep reading. When the Holy Spirit comes He will convince the world wrong about sin, righteousness and judgment. About sin because they do not believe in me. There is the sin of the world. THe world does not believe in Jesus. All sins of the world were placed upon Christ at the cross, never to see them again.
2 Corinthians 5:19
19 God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s sins against them.
Bob: The only sin attributable to man is what did you do with my Son? Did you ignore what He came to do for you? Did you treat it as an unholy thing, the blood of the covenant that sanctified you, or did you accept Him, His forgiveness and His resurrected life, which is the only solution to the wages of sin being death? That is the only sin attributable to man. So once we come to Christ, now we are not led by the law that kills. We are led by the Spirit of God who gives life.
Bob: The reason people hang onto the law, Robert, is because they have no idea of the indwelling Christ, possibly never coming to Christ for life, only for forgiveness. A person like that is never going to experience what it means to be led internally by the Spirit of God, because he does not know He lives there. No one is home.
Robert: Okay. You really helped me out a lot. I really appreciate that.
Bob: I advise you to get the booklet A Scriptural Journey to Discover the Grace of God. One of the lessons is on law and grace, and goes over all the scriptures to reveal the fact that you are no longer under the law, neither the ten commandments or the dietary laws, but are now led internally by the Spirit of God who lives in you. It sheds light on the New Covenant, the life issue in Christ Jesus. It is a marvelous resource to all Christians. I recommend anybody to get a hold of it. It is a bible-sized booklet. I keep it tucked in my bible and have it in my hands at all times.
Bob: We will put you on hold and let the operator give you information on it.
Robert: Okay. Thank you again.
Bob: Okay. God bless you.
Steve from Whittier, CA
Steve: In Ecclesiastes 2, it talks about how what is crooked cannot be made straight. Also in Luke or John, John the Baptist says that the crooked path will be made straight. Are those passages related or are they totally different altogether?
Bob: No, Steve. They are not tied in together at all. You are tying in a different thing than Jesus was explaining.
2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. 5 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. 6 And all people will see God’s salvation.’”[Isaiah 40:3-5]
Bob: What is that, to make straight paths for the Lord, where every valley shall be filled, every hill made low, and every crooked road straight and the rough roads made smooth and all mankind will see God’s salvation? It is another way of saying that the Lord is coming. The paths are crooked. There are mountains and hills. There is roughness and God will make the way smooth. What is he talking about? He is talking about for people, to make a straight path for you and me to come to Christ. We do not have a crooked path to repentance for forgiveness or a crooked path to salvation. It is a straight path, straight to Christ Jesus, and no one else. There are not multiple paths, only one. That is why Jesus said this.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Bob: That is one straight path toward Jesus. There are many roads but there is only one path, and it says make straight that path that leads to Christ Jesus. That is what it is talking about. It is not talking about anything in regard to Ecclesiastes.
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