Classic Christianity Kindle Edition

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Classic Christianity (Kindle Edition): Life’s Too Short to Miss the Real Thing

Harvest House Publishers chooses to place eBooks on sale at various times as a way to support recent releases of Bob’s new book, Jesus Changes Everything.

A Word from the Publisher
President of Harvest House Publishers

I recall that sunny afternoon in 1988 as if it were yesterday. While driving down Hilyard Street in Eugene, Oregon, I tuned in to a local Christian radio station in search of a solid sermon from a well-known preacher. Instead, I found myself captivated by a biblical counseling call-in program—an unusual broadcast for a time when teachings like “Christian psychology” and “improving your self-esteem” dominated the airwaves.

The compassion of the teacher and the biblical focus of the counsel drew me to listen all the more. And I was pleased when I heard that the counselor and his ministry were located in Dallas, Texas, a city I would soon be visiting on business. So I scheduled an appointment to meet with the host of the program, Bob George of People to People Ministries, hoping to provide their outreach with some appropriate Harvest House books as premiums for their broadcast.

Bob will tell you more about the misunderstanding that followed, but the upshot was, he talked for nearly two hours at the appointment about who we are in Christ and the problems with today’s performance- based Christianity. I was riveted! I found myself nodding in wholehearted agreement with what made complete sense from my personal study of God’s Word. My past reading of the Bible was being illuminated with fresh insight right there on the spot. I had not heard such freeing news in my entire Christian life!

I had grown up in a strong Christian environment, and my constant heart’s desire was to better understand how to grow in my walk with the Lord. However, like so many of you who have opened these pages, I found myself struggling to keep sin at bay while striving to live the Christian life out of my own strength. I had a good handle on the basic doctrines of the Bible, and I was convinced Christ had died for and forgiven all my sins. After all, I was living for Christ. Yet something was missing amid all my efforts. I was “busy and barren,” as Bob George puts it. But I was about to embark on an amazing journey of biblical understanding, just as you are now.

That two-hour discussion in Dallas led to the first publication of Classic Christianity, in 1989. The book’s impact has far exceeded the expectations of both author and publisher—over 600,000 copies have been distributed worldwide in numerous languages! And the stories keep coming in about people transformed by the love and grace of Christ. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Classic Christianity represents the purest presentation of the gospel message I have ever read. Why? Because it effectively strips away, to the degree mere man can, all but “Christ, who is your life” (Colossians 3:4).

Finally, as president of Harvest House Publishers, I want to express my deep appreciation to and love for Bob and Amy George, Bob and Jena Christopher, Bob Davis, and so many other truly ministry-minded servants at People to People Ministries. These 20 years have been a huge joy for my wife and me and our staff! Thank you for welcoming Harvest House as an integral partner in your life-changing outreach.

And to you, the reader, if you want to understand who you are in Christ, if you want to stop striving and start resting, if you want to truly grow in your Christian life, read this book in its entirety, again and again. (And don’t miss the foreword by Major Ian Thomas, which alone is worth the price of the book!)

With eternal appreciation to God the Father and His servant Bob George,
Bob Hawkins Jr.
President, Harvest House Publishers

Miracle of a Lifetime

You could combine all the “miracles” you see on television. You could cut my leg off and see it grow back, and it still wouldn’t compare to what happened to me that day. I experienced the greatest miracle anyone would ever witness. I found the deepest need of my heart satisfied by the Lord Jesus Christ.

After we arrived home from Arrowhead Springs, I began in earnest to tell everyone about Jesus. And, life most eager and zealous new believers, the first people I wanted to share with were members of my family. I knew that my mom and dad were in the same condition I had been in all my life: religious, yet lost. They knew about Jesus, but they didn’t know Him personally.

I was so concerned that my parents hear the gospel communicated correctly that I flew back to Indiana, picked them up, and flew them back to California so that Dr. Bright could talk to Dad and tell him what he told me. I figured he did such a good job withme, he couldn’t miss with my dad, who, I knew, had just a few months left to live.

When Dr. Bright shared with Dad and asked if he would life to recieve Christ, Dad said, “Dr. Bright, I would be happy to pray with you, but you have to understand that I’ve lived a very moral life. In our church we have quite an array of stained glass windows. Dr. Bright, I paid for those windows—everyone one of them.” My heart sank as I listened to the conversation. My mind raced with concern at the thought that my dad was lost and dying.

We went home and, in another attempt to reach my dad, I gave him a book to read. I was so anxious for my dad to receive Christ that sometimes I felt like I was badgering him. I also realized how seriously ill he was, and I didn’t want to upset him. But this was important. I couldn’t watch my dad die without knowing Christ.

When my parents returned to Indiana, Dad’s health took a turn for the worse. All of my family assembled to be with him for what we knew was our last opportunity to see Dad, and I wanted desperately to know for sure that he had eternal life.

In my heart, I cried to God: “I’ve got to know about Dad’s relationship with You. Please, God, don’t let him die without knowing You.” As our visit over the long weekend finally drew to a close, Dad summoned my brother and me into his hospital room.

Fragile, thin, and gaunt, he looked at us and said, “Boys, I want you to know that all the things I placed so much importance on during my life are meaningless. The only thing that really matters is man and his relationship with God.” Then Dad turned to me and said, “Bob, I read that book you gave me, and everything’s A-OK.”

I leaned over and kissed my dad a final kiss. That day I left to go back to California, and by the time I arrived home from the airport, the telephone was ringing with the news that my father had died. My reaction was simply, “Thank You, Lord. Thank You for giving me a wonderful father. Thank You for saving me and for allowing me to be a vehicle for You to save Dad. I know where I a going one day, and now I know for sure where Dad is: ‘absent for the body and present with the Lord.'”

Excerpt from Bob’s book, “Faith That Pleases God.”

Purchase: Faith That Pleases God: You Don’t Need to Strive for What You Already Have

The Law’s Purpose

The Purpose of The Law of God

What is the purpose of the law of God? Is the law of God for the saved or the lost? What does the law do for us? Can the law impart life? Does obeying the law make you righteous, does it make you clean? Does the law make you holy and perfect? What is the proper use of the law? The law’s standard is perfection. If you stumble in any one point of the law during your entire life, you are guilty of breaking all of it. Only perfection will do. Jesus is the answer.

First, the law defines sin. Romans 4:15 says that “where there is no law there is no transgression.” In other words, you can’t break a law that doesn’t exist. Policemen couldn’t pull you over and give you a ticket for speeding if the state did not have published and posted speed-limit laws. That’s why Romans 5:13 says, “For before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.”

Second, the law convicts men of their guilt and need for salvation. The question is, Who will ever come to a Savior? The answer: only someone who knows he needs to be saved. The major purpose for which God gave the law was to convince men of their lost condition so that they would be prepared to accept Jesus Christ as Savior.

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” (Romans 3:19-20).

Classic Christianity

God’s Solution to Man’s Problem – Life

Bread of Life

Play God's Solution to Man's Problem -- Life

…”There are those who sincerely try to live a life they do not have, substituting religion for God, Christianity for Christ, and their own noble endeavors for the energy, joy, and power of the Holy Spirit. In the absence of reality, they can only grasp at ritual, stubbornly defending the latter in the absence of the former, lest they be found with neither! There are those who have a life they never live. They have come to Christ and thanked Him only for what He did, but do not live in the power of who He is. Between the Jesus who was and the Jesus who will be they live in a spiritual vacuum, trying with no little zeal to live for Christ a life that only He can live in and through them, perpetually begging for what in Him they already have!” Major Ian Thomas (From the forward of Classic Christianity)

Romans 5:10
“For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!”

Now having been cleansed of all unrighteousness and the sin issue settled forever, there are only 2 things left that God had to do for man:

1. Provide Righteousness.
2. Provide Life.

I. God’s Gift of Righteousness.

A. Righteousness is From God.

Romans 10:3-4
“Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

Romans 1:16-17
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.”

Romans 3:21-22
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

Philippians 3:7-9
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”

B. Righteousness is a Gift.

Galatians 2:21
“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Romans 5:15-17
“But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”

Remember: Before righteousness could be given, man had to be totally forgiven and cleansed of all unrighteousness.

C. You Have Become The Righteousness Of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:30-31
“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. Therefore, as it is written: Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 5:21
“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that IN Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

II. God’s Gift of Life.

A. Man’s Condition Under The Law – Spiritually Dead.

Galatians 3:21
“Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.”

Romans 7:10
“I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.”

Romans 5:12
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”

Ephesians 2:1
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.”

John 3:36
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath (Death) remains on him.”

John 3:18
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned (Dead) already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

B. God’s Provision Under Grace – Saved By His Life.

1. Man is not merely saved by the death of Christ, but by the LIFE of Christ.

Romans 5:10
“For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!”

Colossians 2:13
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.”

John 10:10
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 1:4
“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.”

John 6:48
“I am the bread of life.”

John 5:39-40
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

John 14:6
“Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life.”

Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ephesians 2:4-5
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”

John 14:19
“Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live.”

John 5:24
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

2. Salvation is restoring man to his true humanity.

John 3:3-6
“In reply Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. How can a man be born when he is old? Nicodemus asked. Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born! Jesus answered, I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

Colossians 1:25-27
“I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

III. In Him You Have Eternal Life.

A. God’s Testimony Concerning Eternal Life.

Hebrews 13:5
“God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

1 John 5:9-13
“We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

B. Questions To Consider:

1. What caused the Spirit of God to depart from Adam?
2. What caused the Spirit of God to depart from Jesus?
3. What is the only thing that could cause the Spirit of God to depart from you?
4. Where are your sins?
5. Were your sins judged?
6. What was the verdict?
7. What was the penalty?
8. Who took it?
9. How much of it did He take?
10. Therefore, how much is left for you?
11. Why can’t the Spirit of God depart from you when you sin?

IV. Conclusion: In Him You Are Complete.

Colossians 2:9-10
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness (completeness) in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”

2 Peter 1:3
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”

Ephesians 1:13
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”

V. The Christian Lives By Faith.

Ephesians 2:8-9
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Romans 14:23b
“Everything that does not come from faith is sin.”

Colossians 2:6
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live (by faith) in him.”

Hebrews 10:38a
“But my righteous one will live by faith.”

Hebrews 11:6
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

A. Faith Must Have An Object.

B. The Object of the Christian’s Faith is Jesus Christ and His Finished Work.

John 11:25-26 (KJV)
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

VI. Practical Application.

A. You Will Never Experience a Changed Life Until You Experience the Exchanged Life.

Philippians 1:21
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Galatians 2:20
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

B. Are You Willing to Accept Christ as Your Life?

1. Are you willing to live with the attitude of not my will, but Yours be done?
2. Are you willing to give up trying to control your circumstances?
3. Are you willing to give up trying to control everyone around you – kids, mate, parents, employees, etc.
4. Are you willing to give up trying to control your future?
5. Are you willing to surrender to the One Who: Gave His Life for You, So He Could Give His Life to You, So He Could Live His Life Through You?

Light & Darkness in the Scriptures

Being in the light is saved
Being in darkness is lost

Light of the World - John 8:12

Luke 11:33-36
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp, of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it is dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”

Luke 16:8
“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.”

John 3:19-21
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of the light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light,  so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

John 8:12
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 12:35-36
“Then Jesus told them, ‘You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.”

Acts 26:17-18
(Jesus speaking to Paul on the Damascus Road)
“I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”

Romans 1:21-23
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”

Romans 13:12-14
“The night is nearly over, the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”

2 Corinthians 4:3-6
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 6:14-16
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and unrightsousness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.”

Ephesians 4:17-18
“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

Ephesians 5:8-14
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said. ‘Wake up, 0 sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Ephesians 6:12
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Colossians 1:12-13
“…the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Thessalonians 5:4-9
“But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like the others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Timothy 6:15b-16
“God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.”

Peter 2:9
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

I John 1:5-7
“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God Is light, In Him there Is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 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 every sin.”

I John 2:8-11
“Yet I am writing you a new command, its truth is seen in Him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”

Read more in understanding of 1 John 1:9.

What About 1 John 1:9?

1 John 1:9One of the most asked questions on the radio that Bob George answered was, “What about 1 John 1:9?” The 1 John 1:9 question is still being asked today. So, how are we to understand 1 John 1:9 in light of the New Covenant?

Play 1 John

We invite you to feel free to follow along with Bob with it is finished bible verses.

1 John 1:9

When we read the Bible, we need to look at the context in which each book was written. If we don’t do that, it’s easy to misinterpret what a particular book or chapter is really saying. When that happens, we can easily come to wrong conclusions, which can then cause a lot of misunderstanding about the work of Christ on our behalf.

One example of this is that many people believe that although their sins have been forgiven prior to salvation, after salvation it is up to them to obtain forgiveness through their confession. Others believe that all their sins have been forgiven at the cross, however, they cannot experience forgiveness unless they confess each time they sin. The verse both parties use to defend their belief is I John 1:9. Let’s read the first chapter of 1 John, and keep in mind two important questions: “Who was John’s audience?” and ‘What was he trying to accomplish in this letter?”

The audience was a confused church in Asia. The pastor there asked John to write a letter to help clear up some major doctrinal heresy called “Gnosticism.” Gnosticism comes from the Greek word “gnosis”, which means knowledge. The Gnostics were a group of people who believed they possessed superior spiritual knowledge. They believed that all flesh is evil and that only spirit is good. Because they believed that, they didn’t believe that Jesus really came in the flesh – they believed He was an illusion. They also believed that because sin had to do with our flesh, there really wasn’t sin – sin was also just an Illusion. (That’s similar to people today who believe sickness is an illusion.) The church in Ephesus was filled with people who not only didn’t believe Christ came in the flesh, they didn’t believe sin was real.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life” (I John 1:1). In other words, John is establishing that he was an eyewitness to the fact that Jesus truly did come in the flesh. He did this to convince the Gnostics that Jesus was not an illusion.

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ” (verse 3). This verse says two things. First, John repeats the fact that he, the rest of the apostles and other people saw Christ in the flesh. He wanted the Gnostics to realize that there were many people who could testify to the reality of Christ. Second, he is saying that there are some people in the audience who were not in the fellowship with Christ.

“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all” (verse 5). John’s message in this verse is clear: God is light and in Him there is no darkness. We are either in the light (saved) or in darkness (lost). Scriptures are full of this comparison between light (saved) vs. darkness (lost). On our next posting we look more in-depth to learn more about light and darkness in the scriptures.

“If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” (verse 6). In other words, if someone says he has fellowship with Christ, but is walking in darkness (lost), he is lying and not practicing the truth. The Gnostics claimed to be in fellowship with Christ (saved), and yet were actually living a lie and therefore weren’t practicing the truth.

“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” (verse 7). In other words, if we walk in the light (are saved) we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. To put it another way, once we are saved, we are permanently in the fellowship because the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from all sin. Therefore, we aren’t forgiven because we confess our sins. We are forgiven because of what Christ did for us on the cross.

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (verse 8). John is now addressing the belief the Gnostics had regarding sin because they didn’t believe it was real and therefore believed they had no sin. The “we” John is using here doesn’t refer to believers. He is referring to the Gnostics, who believed they were without sin. Because they claimed to be without sin, then they were only deceiving themselves and the truth (Jesus) was not in them.

However, verse 9 says that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” In other words, if the Gnostics were to confess they had sins, then God, Who is faithful and righteous, would forgive and cleanse them from their unrighteousness. In the Greek language, the words “forgive” and “cleanse” mean past actions that have results today and will continue to have results in the future. Also, the word “all” used in these verses means all. It doesn’t mean that we are cleansed of our past sins and our past unrighteousness, it means we were cleansed of all our unrighteousness. And if God cleanses us from all unrighteousness, then we are cleansed forever!

“If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives” (verse 10). Basically this verse is a repeat of verse 8. To put it simply, it means that the Gnostics can’t claim to be without sin and yet be saved. John is saying that because the Gnostics claimed they had no sin, they were actually calling God a liar and therefore didn’t know the truth.

The purpose of the first chapter of 1 John was to compare the truth of God to the error of gnosticism. John was addressing the Gnostics, who were deceived by their own teaching. He wanted the Gnostics to understand that what they believed conflicted with what God said. He was not, however, addressing believers.

Today, there are people who believe that Christians must confess their sins in order to be forgiven. They believe that it is possible for us to be “in and out” of fellowship with God and that we must “keep short accounts” (or stay “fessed up”). The Bible doesn’t teach that we are “in and out” of fellowship with God. A person who is saved is in fellowship with God – eternally. “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” (1 Corinthians 1:9). A person who is lost is not in fellowship with God. There is no bouncing back and forth. You are either in fellowship with God (saved, walking in the light) or you are not in fellowship with God (lost, walking in darkness).

Scripture also doesn’t teach the idea of “keeping short accounts” (being “fessed up”). Teaching that we are to “keep short accounts” with God causes very real and damaging problems because we miss the point of what confession really is. Such popular teaching makes confession a mindless cure-all, a “bar of soap” we use daily to clean up our flesh. A common scenario would be of a person privately confessing to God a bitter attitude towards another and then asking for forgiveness. Afterwards, he doesn’t think about it, feeling that he has adequately met the “spiritual” requirement.

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:13) The fact is that while the sin issue is dead between you and God, it isn’t between the people with whom we come in contact daily. When we realize we’ve wronged another, we need to go to that person and take steps toward reconciling the relationship with that person.

It is easy to “confess” our sins and continue on, thinking we have met a spiritual” requirement. But has there really been a change in our attitude, and not just our action? That would be like the little boy whose father angrily tells him to sit down and be quiet in church. The little boy does so, but tells his father that “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside!” God is much more concerned with changed attitudes. As our attitudes change – through the truth of God’s Word – our actions will eventually change.

Teaching we must confess our sins in order to be forgiven doesn’t produce changed hearts. Why? Because we have placed ourselves under a “law” which demands that we confess every sin in order to be forgiven and stay in fellowship with God. However, there are no laws, Mosaic or man-made, that can free us from sin. The law was never meant to free us from sin because “the power of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56). Therefore, we usually end up repeating the same sin before the week (or even the day) is over and feel guilt and frustration over our inability to change.

This obsession with confession keeps us under the power of sin because we are consumed with thoughts of ourselves in a sincere desire to please God. As a result, though, we become so concerned about whether we are “in or out of fellowship” with God that we don’t have time for our relationships down here. We are too busy keeping “short accounts” to be able to serve our brothers in love. Compare and see how many times the Scriptures exhort us to love one another versus confessing our sins. The emphasis is overwhelmingly in favor of loving our brothers.

We need to focus on the fact that God has forever settled the sin issue. Before Christ, men’s sins separated them from God. Christ was the only solution to this dilemma. Then He hung on the cross and said “It is finished!”, He meant it is finished! God has bridged the gap between Himself and man through His Son. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them… God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18,19,21).

Since the Bible tells us that all of our sins are forgiven because of the grace of God, then what do we do when we do sin? Ignore it and say “I’m under grace, so it doesn’t make any difference if I sin?” Many believe that teaching the forgiveness of Christ will cause people to go out and sin more. Paul dealt with this argument over 2,000 years ago. He responded, “By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:2). He continues to tell us that “we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. . . In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. . . For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:6,7,11,14).

The more we understand our identification with Christ, the more we understand that we have been freed from the power of sin. We are freed from sin because of the work of Christ Jesus on our behalf, not because of our law keeping. Teaching the forgiveness we have in Christ is not a license to sin – we don’t need a license to sin. The only reason people often believe this is true is because they lack an understanding of God’s unconditional love, forgiveness and acceptance. They do not understand the motivating power of Christ’s love for them.

The Bible tells us “to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23,24). Concerning lying, for instance, we are told “to put off falsehood and speak truthfully to our neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (verse 25). Or, concerning stealing, Ephesians 4:28 says that “he who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” In other words, stop lying and start telling the truth. Quit stealing and go to work so you can share with others. These are not laws we are to keep. Because we are children of God, it doesn’t make sense for us to continue lying or stealing.

These are just a few verses that tell us what to do when we do sin. Not one verse says to confess our sins before we can go on with life. The motivation, instead, is found in Ephesians 4:32, which says we are to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” The only way we can ever love, forgive and accept others is because Christ has first loved, forgiven and accepted us. It is true that we will treat others the way we feel God is treating us. If we feel we have to perform for God and ask His forgiveness each time we sin, we expect the same performance from everyone else. If we believe God loves us only when we do the right things, then we tend to also love others when they, too, do the right things.

The opposite is also true. Only when we understand the unconditional love, forgiveness and acceptance of God will we ever be able to share that same love with those around us. It is impossible for us to love and forgive one another if we are constantly worrying about our own acceptance to God. The simple truth is that “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

If we believe we must continually confess our sins in order to be loved and forgiven by God, we are actually mocking God and telling Him that Christ’s work on our behalf was not sufficient. The damage caused by this belief is extensive. There are many who are in bondage to this “law” that was created and perpetuated by man. That’s why it is so important to understand what the bible says about Christ’s finished work on the cross and our identity in Him. As we understand these truths and keep our eyes on the Lord instead of ourselves, we will see our lives change.

Enter God’s rest today.

Welcome Message From Staff

Bob GeorgeWelcome friends to the new Bob George website.

If you are a new visitor or an old friend, we extend a warm welcome to everyone. We invite you to take the time to browse around the website and listen to the teaching messages. You will find hundreds of hours of Bob George original audio teachings from the Closer Look series of Bible studies, People to People radio broadcast archives with Bob George, and a wealth of topical information that is timeless in value. Please note that the website is still in the building phase and some items are not quite finished. As with any website, no website is ever quite finished; and there is always something to do that can make it better. As such, if anyone has suggestions, feel free to write to us with your comments and suggestions.

We encourage you to forward the message, share the page links with others, write an email to a friend with the link to the specific page of the website, and use the website as an online ministry tool to share with others the message of Jesus and the New Covenant today.

To send a message to Bob or Amy, or to send a message to the webmaster and friends and family support staff please use the contact form on the contact page. The contact page has a short message from Bob and some additional information regarding the online ministry.

In Jesus Christ,

The Bob George Support Staff

PS Here is the table of contents link for the Bob George website.