Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P545 (06-18-20)
It is quite often that people read a passage of scripture that just does not seem very clear to them. Other scriptures they have read makes them think they have not properly understood that passage of scripture. So they call in to get clarification and understanding. There are several passages of scripture that are frequently asked even today. There are these passages in Romans 8 about election and predestination, and there is a whole erroneous theology people have come up with on that. Then you have this passage in the time Jesus was walking the earth prior to the cross in John 20:22-23, where Jesus said to receive the Holy spirit and that if you do not forgive someone their sins they are not forgiven. Then you have the one in Hebrews 10:26-27, about sinning against the knowledge of truth and the expectation of raging fire that consumes the enemies of God. Many a person has incorrectly understood this to mean you can lose your salvation.
So oftentimes, when people grow up in false teaching and theology, it takes time to unravel all the things that they have been taught. They repeat what they have heard since childhood and believe them to be true. The key is to let people know first of all about the Deity of Christ. For otherwise, what would be a reason to study the word of God, and to hold onto that as being the very word of God? Then you can prepare a foundation on key foundational truths about law and grace and about the New Covenant. So often, just a few scriptures here and there are shared with someone steeped in false teaching and they have their understanding of the meaning of words that are often in conflict with truth in God’s word. Furthermore, they just tend to repeat things they have been taught as if they are true, for that is all they know and have been taught. But as they go through a study with you, and you open the word of God to them, they begin to see truth, and the truth dispels the error. I can certainly attest to that in my own life. And, what a blessing it is when truth is made known to you, not by men, but by the Spirit of God. Jesus said the truth shall set you free and when the Son sets you free you are free indeed.
So to address certain errors in thinking in regard to election and predestination, you really need to read the book of Ephesians first and then go back to Romans. Ephesians provides more detail that Romans summarizes. When you do so, you will realize that election is about God having a plan in His heart before the foundation of the world that the Jew and the Gentile will be saved the same way, by faith alone in the completed work of Christ Jesus. It is not about you’s and me’s but about the Jew and the Gentile. Listen as Bob goes through the first several chapters in Ephesians, explaining the scriptures. As you listen, follow along in your bible or the transcript with additional scriptures written out for you.
He also explains the gospel, in what Jesus Christ came to do. Oftentimes, a false understanding of election comes from an incorrect understanding of what salvation is. Many people think salvation is getting your sins forgiven. No, that is a necessary preparation for salvation to be given. Salvation is the receiving of new life, the resurrected life of Christ Jesus. The death of the cross is what had to take place in order for the cause of our death, which is sin, to be taken away, eternally for all people, past, present and future. There are several passages of scripture that Bob explains to help a person understand what salvation is.
In this passage in John 20:22-23, other scriptures often are more clear so as to know what the scripture is not saying. For example, in John 7:39, we read that the Spirit has not yet been given. So that tells us that in John 20:22-23, Jesus is not telling them to receive the Holy Spirit right at that moment, but in 50 days from now, at Pentecost, when the Spirit will be given and then receive Him then. Now, concerning forgiving someone their sins, at this side of the cross, we forgive because they are already forgiven. In 1 John 2:2, it tells us that. And also Hebrews makes it clear that God remembers our sins no more and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
That is why an understanding of the New Covenant by reading the entire book of Hebrews, and focusing on chapters 7, 9 and 10, in particular, is so important. That big picture of what Jesus did for us is needed to unravel these kinds of passages in the gospels, such as in John. You have to realize also that at the time Jesus was walking the earth, sins have not yet been forgiven. He has not died yet on the cross. Now, on this side of the cross, they are forgiven but not everyone is a forgiven person. For as Paul said, if Jesus was not raised, then we are still dead in our sins. It is in Him, in the receiving of Him, His resurrected life, you have righteousness, holiness, redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Your sins are forgiven but in Him is when you receive that forgiveness and become a forgiven person, a new creation in Christ. Listen as Bob explains this in more detail.
Now, in regard to Hebrews 10:26-27, he is speaking to people not only not understanding, but having heard the truth, but willfully rejecting that truth. What Jesus did on the cross and the meaning of the resurrection is so important to understand. This verse is speaking to Jews who are going back to the day of atonement to get their sins forgiven. They say they believe in Christ, and that they believe what the apostles are saying, but they do not believe in what Jesus did. So they have a different Jesus than the Jesus of the bible. They are hearing the message of Christ and what he did but they are not entering into that truth. They are sinning against the knowledge of the truth. These Jews have not entered into the New Covenant that brings life but are hanging onto the Old Covenant that can only condemn. In several passages in Hebrews, the New Covenant is explained. Look at Hebrews 10:16-18 and Hebrews 9:22, as examples.
When Jesus died on the cross, he died for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2, 2 Corinthians 5:19). So if your sins are forgiven, what are you doing asking God to forgive you of your sins all over again, sacrificing a bull or a goat? That atoned for sin, but could never take away sin, as Hebrews explains. What are you doing? You are sinning against the knowledge of the truth, of what Jesus accomplished for you. You are insulting the Spirit of grace, you are exposing the Son of man to public shame all over again, who is not going to shed his blood on a cross again.
The same could be said of the Catholic going to a confession booth or to a Protestant quoting 1 John 1:9 to keep short accounts with God. In many such cases, they are people who have not repented in the first place and are sinning against the knowledge of the truth. Therefore, they are still dead in their sins because they have not believed the gospel that saves, not realizing their sins are forgiven already and failing to place their faith in the resurrected life of Christ offered to them. They have failed to come to Christ for life. You are to live in the new way of the Spirit. No longer is a person to live under the law of sin and death but under grace. That is why studying the scriptures to discover the grace of God is so vitally important. It is so important to understand law and grace and the New Covenant.
Douglas from CA
Douglas: I have a question on Romans 11, on the doctrine of election. What are your thoughts on it?
Bob: I am not going to answer that out of the book of Romans. I am going to the book of Ephesians to answer it. They are both dealing with election and predestination. Ephesians gives a broader reality of what that is than Romans. Therefore, after you get what it says in Ephesians, you can go back to Romans and know what it says.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Bob: Does it say He chose us to be saved? No. He chose us to be holy and blameless in his sight. Who does he do that to? To those who come to Christ by faith. That is, those who have heard the gospel, as we read about in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, of this gospel that saves.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
Bob: There is no baptism in there. There are no tongues in there. There is no church membership. There is no tithing record. It is the death, burial and the resurrection of Jesus. That is the gospel that saves. We are out of the equation. Whenever we get into the equation, we pervert the gospel. So he is talking about the fact that we were predestined to be blameless in his sight. That is what God had to do for us for we certainly could not make ourselves blameless. And we certainly could not make ourselves holy.
14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
Bob: So God had to make us blameless and he had to make us holy. That is all his work and none of ours.
Ephesians 1:4-5 (ESV)
In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ
Bob: So turn now to Romans 8:28. As you read there, you know he is addressing the Jews. The adoption he is talking about is to the Jews.
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Bob: In Ephesians, we get a clearer picture.
In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,
Bob: Now, he talks about this mystery. It is not a Perry Mason novel. It is a thought of God held in the heart of God until such a time He chose to reveal it. This is the mystery made known.
9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen
Bob: Who is the “also”? The Gentiles.
having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we,
Bob: Who are the “we”? The Jews.
who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also
Bob: Who is the “also”? The Gentiles.
were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed [both Jew and Gentile], you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
Bob: Now continuing on in Ephesians 2:11.
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) – 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Bob: Now, here is the mystery.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one
Bob: Who are the two? The Jew and the Gentile.
and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
Bob: How did He do that?
15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations.
Bob: What separates the Jew from the Gentile? The law. They had the law and they thought they were keepers of the law. God said they were hypocrites. Nobody can keep the law.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
Bob: The Jew had the law and thought they were keeping it. The Gentiles never had the law. We just went over and took it away. That was the barrier between the two.
His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two,
Bob: Who are the two? Jew and Gentile. Who is the new man? It is a born again believer, called a child of God. You have a natural heritage. I am a Gentile. Ed Hecht is a Jew. But we have a heritage better than any one of those two, called a child of the living God, a spiritual birth God gave me, not of mom and dad, but God. If we concentrate and rejoice in that birth instead of natural birth, we would probably get a better handle on what God came to do.
thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away
Bob: Who was far away? The Gentile.
and peace to those who were near.
Bob: Who was the near? The Jew.
18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Bob: Predestination and election is not you’s and me’s. It is Jews and Gentiles that he was going to bring in the plan of God, that was held in His heart before the foundation of the world, that He was going to reveal in His time, which He did, that the Gentile was coming to Christ identically the same way as the Jew. This was not a pleasing thing to the Jew, who ultimately said, “here we are trying to keep the commandments and you say we did not get it. And you say to the Gentiles, who did not try to keep the law, but got it”. “You got it”. Why? You pursued it by works. They pursued it by grace.
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. 33 As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[Isaiah 8:14; 28:16]
Bob: So whether Jew under law or Gentile without law, there is only one way you are going to be saved and that is by putting your faith in what Jesus came to do for both of us, to die to take away eternally the sins of the world from the eyes of God. He did come cover sin, for that was atonement. That is what the blood of bulls and goats did. He came to do something far greater than atone for sin. He came to take away forever throughout eternity the sins of the entire world. That means that you came into this world, Douglas, as a forgiven person. If salvation was getting your sins forgiven, there is only one conclusion that you could come to if he died for the sins of the whole world, and that is universal salvation. That cannot be. You know that cannot be. Everybody knows that cannot be. But you are not saved by the death of Christ. You are saved by the life of Christ.
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, [this being an accomplished fact] how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Bob: You are saved from the consequence of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is resurrected life. The cross is what prepared you and me for salvation. It is a preparatory act. It is interesting to me that the cross was done on the Jewish holiday of the day of preparation.
42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.
Bob: That is not just happenstance. It happened because that is what the cross is, preparing you for salvation. It is not, in and of itself, salvation. It is what prepared you for salvation. It took away the cause of death eternally, spiritual death. He took away eternally the sins of the entire world. Sin is the cause of spiritual death. So having done that eternally. This is an eternal act. He is now able to offer you eternal resurrected life. The reason I have eternal life is the eternal; consequence of the cross. The reason as to whether you can lose salvation or not is an idiotic subject. If you are believing you can lose it, you are denying the cross that took away the cause of spiritual death. You are denying that Jesus took away the sins of the world. For me to say I can lose my salvation means He forgot one. That is the only thing that can cause my life, which has been forgiven, to depart from me, which is sin. The reason that is an impossibility is because of the cross. To deny eternal life, is to deny the eternal consequence of the cross. I just do not believe Jesus is happy with that.
Bob: In fact, the book of Hebrews deals with that.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Bob: That is what they are doing, sinning against the knowledge of the truth. And the knowledge of truth God just promised, that their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more and where these have been forgiven, not will, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[a]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[b]
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
Bob: So if you are continually going back to a sacrificial system, going back to a confession booth, willfully, or you keep on John 1:9 to keep short accounts with God, willfully, the bible say you have nothing to look forward to but going to hell. Why? You never accepted what Jesus did. You just accepted what you want Jesus to do. You just want Jesus to take some of your sins so you can have a piece of the action. That does not provide salvation. Jesus is saying, “I am not going to be insulted and I am not going back to the cross and die again. If I answered your prayer to forgive you, then that is what I would have to do. You are telling me to go back to the cross, for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. I did it once and I did it for all and I did it for all eternity. That one act enables you to have life eternal”.
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Bob: But if you continue to tenaciously hang onto your traditions and you tenaciously want to go back to your sacrificial system or go back to your confession booth, or keep short accounts with God, thinking you are keeping your slate clean, then it simply means you never accepted Jesus cleaning your slate. There is no other conclusion to it on that. If I am still asking for what He said He provided, it means I do not believe He provided it. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. You just have to be stupid to keep doing what you are doing. For it is stupidity to keep asking God to do what in Christ He has already done. That does not make an ounce of sense to a thinking person. So election and predestination is that God is going to predestine the Gentiles as going to have the same opportunity as the Jews, as the religious trying to keep the law, and these people, the Gentiles, who have not been trying to keep the law, with a hedonistic background, to offer salvation identically the same way. That is through the one who accomplished what we could never have accomplished.
Floyd from Rosebud, TX
Floyd: I grew up in a very legalistic church. Most of all my family is. About 6 years ago, I was converted. Now, in reaching our family, the church they are in, they split salvation as the work on the cross only for salvation but not for keeping power. What is the best way to reach somebody like that?
Bob: The problem you run into with people who are educated in heretical teaching, they are educated in heretical teaching. They know what they have been taught, even though it is all wrong. They know what heretical teaching is. So you need to get into a study with the very basics with people, and bring them out of error. Some place along the line, when we go through bible studies, starting out with the Deity of Christ. Some people say that is minute. No it is not minute. It is paramount. If you do not know who Jesus is, there is no sense studying the bible. Then you study the word of God, so you have confidence in the word of God and depend on that for truth. You allow God to teach you what the word of God means. You go into law and grace, and the New Covenant. It may take a long time. For example, a Mormon is educated in Mormon theology. A Jehovah Witness is educated in Jehovah Witness theology. It is not true but it is their theology. So you have a lot of cultic type activities that are very educated in what they teach. You cannot go playing spiritual hopscotch with them through scripture, and just quoting a little verse of scripture here and there. You have to hit the whole context with them and try to pull it out of them and as they come to know the truth, and let truth push out the error. There are no two points to salvation. Salvation is Jesus.
Floyd: What I did is we did a full systematic approach, the sinner on the cross, and grace. When you present that with them, then they shut you down real quick. Then I become a dangerous person to them.
Bob: They are sinning against the truth. That is what Hebrews says. If you sin against the knowedge of truth, what are you sinning against? The knowledge of truth.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Bob: If a person is continually sinning against the knowledge of truth, refusing to listen to what truth is, they will go to hell. Truth sets you free and when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Bob: You cannot live in rebellion toward His completed work on the cross, the invasion of the Holy Spirit to give life to the dead and His continual work of teaching, counseling and controlling our lives as we live His life here on the face of the earth. You cannot be in rebellion against that and say, “I am walking with God”.
Floyd: Yes. Everybody looks at Christ by faith and is born again. Is it possible for them to accept Christ without accepting His finished work?
No, of course not. Accepting Christ is just not accepting an image out there. It is accepting what Christ came to do It is not just knowing He existed. It would be like me accepting Abe Lincoln, but I am not willing to accept he was president of the United States. Then I have got a different Abe Lincoln. It is the same thing. If you deny the work of Jesus Christ, his death on a cross or his resurrection, then you are denying the Jesus of the bible. You have got another Jesus. You have got a straw man you have built yourself, and quite frankly you are not going to be saved by a straw man.
Floyd: Do you have a specific book that would deal with that?
Bob: Well, I believe that if you would get a hold of our book, A Scriptural Journey to Discover the Grace of God, it has all the scriptures that we teach in our seminars. All the different subjects that are basic, yet profound. You get through that, it is only scripture. If a person is going to argue, they have to realize they are arguing against scripture instead of what man has to say.
Bob: I will put you on hold and we will get that information to you, Floyd.
Floyd: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
Rita from San Diego, CA
Rita: I called you to let you know my husband had prostate cancer. It was removed and he is cancer free for a year and a half. My question was one we talked about in our bible study yesterday. It is out of John 20.
22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Rita: We were wondering why he said that when that was not going to happen until Pentecost. And the other one is confusing. We just could not unwrap that one.
Bob: Both of them are pretty easy to unwrap. First of all, when he said he breathed on them, and said “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Obviously if they received the Holy Spirit right then, then Pentecost was an uneventful situation and should not have come.
39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Bob: In John 7:39, the Holy Spirit was not given then, but later because Jesus said, “I have not yet been glorified”. There is going to be no Spirit that is going to be received until he was glorified. So that was a future event. Receive the Holy Spirit when? At that time when it comes. Not right now, but at the time of the Holy Spirit.
Bob: Now on the day of Pentecost was when the Spirit came to bring life to us. The whole transaction of salvation was completed wasn;’t it? The cross, 50 days earlier took away the sins of the world, and the resurrection brought eternal life to the believer.
Bob: Now, he says if you forgive their sins, they are forgiven. Why are they forgiven? Because you forgave them? No. They are already forgiven. You and I have been given the right to say to any person on the face of the earth, to say your sins are forgiven because they are.
1 John 2:2 (KJV)
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Bob: Do you know that you are a forgiven person? Now you have not received that forgiveness through his resurrected life but you are a forgiven person. Do you have the right to say that? You sure do. How come? It has been secured in heaven.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
1 Corinthians 1:30
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
Bob: Do you have the right to say to anybody that if you reject the Son of God that you are going to go to hell? Why? That has been secured in heaven.
36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
Bob: This is not an if you forgive they are forgiven because you forgive. You forgive because they are already forgiven. The only unforgivable sin is the sin of the rejection of Christ Jesus.
Rita: It was confusing when it sounds in the way it is written, that they are forgiving sins and they are retaining the sins. No, it is just talking about what happened because of the death and resurrection and eventually Pentecost, receiving the Holy Spirit, and being in Christ.
Bob: Even forgiveness was not forgiven until receiving the life of Christ. Without the resurrection we are to be pitied of all people and are still in our sins. That is 50 days prior to Pentecost, you are still in your sins. Your sins have been forgiven. The forgiveness provided then is only received in his resurrection. That is the meaning of Pentecost. Pentecost is when the whole transaction has been completed. When he said this to them it had not been completed yet. He is just saying in a future event, receive the Holy Spirit. When? When it is offered. He did not say it was offered right then. He just said receive the Holy Spirit. It does not say he breathed on them. The Greek on that says he took a deep breath. A lot of people blow on people, like Benny Hinn, who blows on people, knocking people over and that type of thing. That is ridiculous. That is not even what Jesus did.
Rita: That makes a difference. He was doing an action. I guess in the way it was translated. It sounded like a good proof text for people who wanted to say the priesthood had power to forgive people.
Bob: All of us are called saints, aren’t we?
1 Peter 2:9
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Bob: Again you have to ask the question today as a born again believer. Do you have the ability to say to a person your sins are forgiven? Do we or do we not?
Rita: Of course.
Rita: Because they are forgiven.
Bob: Right. My saying they are forgiven does not bring about forgiveness. I am just telling them what Christ did. And when I tell a person if you do not receive the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are going to die in your sins, because that is what he has revealed to us. I am not causing that to be brought about.
Bob: What you are dealing with is, that, I as a priest, or whatever I call myself, I have the ability to say your sins are forgiven, and that it does not matter if God has forgiven them or not. Well there is a certain sense that is true, the first part. That is true of all people. All of your sins are forgiven because God did forgive them already, over 2000 years ago.
2 Corinthians 5:19
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.
Rita: Thank you so much. It puts it in the context of the passage and the context of what would happen at Pentecost. It all makes sense. I really appreciate that.
Bob: You are sure welcome, Rita. You call any time, okay?
Rita: I sure will. God bless you.
Bob: Same to you. Bye bye.