Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P677 (10-07-21)
Encouragement and Helpful Advice to Grow in Grace
Growing in grace requires getting to know God better. That is why God give us two ears and one mouth, so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. You cannot understand the grace of God until you listen to Him talking to you. God already knows everything about us. Before a word comes out of our mouth, He knows it. But we do not know everything about God, and we come to know Him, what truth is, and God is full of grace and truth, by listening. God hears the attitudes of our heart. If we were mute, that would certainly be the case. So you may come to discover that as you grow in grace, you will spend less time talking and more time listening.
Many people have asked about growing in grace. People ask about where to start reading the bible or even how to read the bible. Unlike any other book, the bible is a love letter from God to you. So if you had a girlfriend or a fiancé, and you wrote a letter to her, do you think you need to also give her instructions on how to read it? She will already be reading it many times over, analyzing it, wanting to get to know you even more, because she has fallen in love with you. So too also with God. The bible is a book to be read to get to know the author.
As far as where to start reading the bible, the book of John is a good place to start. That is written through the apostle John, who is known as the disciple whom Jesus loved, and he writes of his experience with Jesus and of all Jesus did and said during His time on earth. Then from there you can read Romans and other epistles of Paul, for that is where you get more explanatory information on what this gospel is we came to believe and living in this grace that is ours in Christ Jesus. Then you lay a foundation on these fundamental truths with the understanding of the deity of Christ, the inerrant word of God, the totality of forgiveness, the difference between law and grace, your new identity in Christ and the New Covenant we live under today. The book of Hebrews is an excellent book to understand the New Covenant.
Bob George ministries offers a Closer Look series of books that focuses on foundational truth through various scriptures, logically laid out to help us grasp these concepts. This series of books helps a person get grounded on the fundamentals. Revelation could later be read once you have a solid foundation. The book of Revelation tells us that we will be blessed by reading and taking to heart what we read there about end time events (Revelation 1:3), not to be looking for the antichrist, but to be encouraged of heart to realize the blessed hope we have in Christ Jesus, that there is an end to this fallen world we live in and one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1-2), where we will forever be with the Lord, and where there will no longer be any more sorrow, heartache and pain (Revelation 21:4).
But the most fundamental key to getting to know Christ, of what truth is, in order to grow in grace, is to rely on the Holy Spirit, who lives in you, to teach you, and not rely on preconceived ideas of what the bible means based on tradition or biases from religious upbringing, those denominational persuasions of men.
1 Corinthians 2:9-11
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.
This presumes you are born again. If you are not born again, then trying to read the bible would be like reading a mystery book. It would sound so strange and foolish to you because you would not have the Holy Spirit living in you to be able to discern what it means.
1 Corinthians 2:14
14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
As you start reading the bible, there will be passages that will not make sense to you right away. For example, you read 2 Corinthians 12:20-21, and you wonder about this Corinthian church with all its problems.
2 Corinthians 12:20-21
20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.
The background of this church in Corinth is a city full of unbelievable sexual immorality and debauchery and that is the culture these new believers came out of, and are struggling in walking in the new way of the Spirit. What is Paul talking about here in regard to sin and repentance? As you slow down to read it, from beginning to end, you realize this is about to be the third visit Paul will have with this church. He taught them truth again and again, and they are not grabbing a hold of it. So he is grieved that their lives are not changing as God intends for someone who is born again. So he is grieved for them and is humbled by the fact that they are not getting it and not walking in freedom. Christ calls us to be different than that of the world. So when he comes again, he does not desire to have to point out these things to them yet again, but he will have to since they are so slow to learn. A person can be a believer and choose not to participate in the divine nature. Many times if a person falls back into a sinful lifestyle after hearing the truth, it is harder to overcome sin, but not impossible. They have let sin become their master even though in Christ they are free.
Other times people are reading a passage in Hebrews such as Hebrews 6:4-6. Many a person has read a passage like this and have become fearful that they have fallen away and cannot be brought back to repentance. Great fear just grips them and they do not know how to resolve what they are reading or deal with sin.
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
The problem here is they do not have the proper understanding of this passage in regard to who the author was writing to, to those who were never born again. They also may not have grown enough in their understanding of the complete gospel or of the New Covenant we, as those born again in Christ Jesus, are to be living under today. As that gets explained and cleared up, many a believer is greatly relieved. They come to understand that God deals with us as children of God, those not under a law of sin and death, as if the next time I sin God will put me to death, but under grace, to be able to fail so that if or when I do fail, God will renew my mind, teach me truth, so I can walk in the new way of the Spirit. When you grow in grace, you come to understand the totality of the cross and the totality of the resurrection. At His death, when He became sin for you and me, He had to enter into the totality of our death with us, so that we could enter into the totality of His resurrection. He had to become like us so we could become like Him.
So, in understanding this verse, you have to have an understanding of what this New Covenant is, as explained in other parts of Hebrews, and that Hebrews was written to a Jewish audience during the transition period of people just coming out from being under an Old Covenant system. This New Covenant is brand new to them, and it has to be taught and explained.
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.”[Jeremiah 31:33]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[Jeremiah 31:34]
18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
So we have Jews who have not come to faith in Christ Jesus alone, in what He alone accomplished by His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), and so they are still going back to the day of atonement, sacrificing a bull and a goat to get their sins forgiven, temporarily covered until the next time they sin. But Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). What is finished? As we read in Hebrews 10:16-18, their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more and where these have been forgiven there is no longer any sacrifice for sins. It is over. It is done. You cannot believe in the totality of the cross while believing that you have to keep sacrificing bulls and goats. You have to let go of one to accept the other. So if you are holding on to both, you have not really come to complete faith in Christ alone, and are still lost. You have heard the truth from the apostles. You have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord, but you did not swallow it. You did not totally believe the truth spoken to you. Judas Iscariot would be an example of this. You never came alive in Christ Jesus. If you are still trying to get your sins forgiven by what you do, then you are insulting the Spirit of grace, making a mockery of the cross, and subjecting Jesus to public disgrace all over again. As we read in Hebrews 9:22, that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins, so if Jesus did not take away all the sins of the world when He shed His blood on a cross, then what would Jesus have to do whenever we sinned? He would have to die on a cross again. He is not going to do that because God the Father said propitiation has taken place, whereby the blood of Jesus on a cross over 2000 years ago completely satisfied the demand of death for sin once and for all, for all sins, back to Adam and forward to eternity, and requires no repeat sacrifice as that of bulls and goats did. So, the word of admonishment is to make up your mind as to what you are going to believe, and your eternal destiny depends on it.