STS 24-7 1726
Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could join us! In today’s program, we conclude a series of classics from our Search the Scriptures Daily archives first broadcast in 2008, with the late founder of The Berean Call, Dave Hunt, and TBC executive director Tom McMahon. This week, they address the question: Why Must We Obey God? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re tuned in to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. In this first segment of our program, our topic is, and has been, Dave Hunt’s book Seeking and Finding God: In Search of the True Faith. We spent the last few weeks camped out on chapter 9, titled, “What Is the Gospel?” in which Dave explains the gospel of salvation.
What I want to do is summarize what we’ve covered thus far in explaining the gospel. In Genesis 1, God declares that everything He created is very good. In Genesis 2, God made Adam’s obedience critical to their relationship by commanding him not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree in the garden. And the penalty God decreed for disobedience was death, that is, physical death, the separation of his spirit and soul from his body, and spiritual separation from God for eternity. In Genesis 3, we see that Adam and Eve both disobeyed God, and the penalty was carried out. And the consequence of this first sin affected Adam and Eve and all their descendants. The death process caused by sin worked its way through the entire creation, all of creation, like some poisonous leaven.
Dave, as we stated last week, mankind has no solution for this condition – that’s the bad news. The good news is that God has provided a solution, the only solution possible for condemned humanity. Most Christians know this verse, John:3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And God indicated, as we mentioned last week, His solution to Adam and Eve in Genesis:3:15, and then He covered them both with skins of slain animals, symbolically signifying that it would only be through death that salvation would be provided. And we quoted Hebrews:9:22: “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.”
Dave: Well, Tom, you said something very important there. I mean, you said a number of important things, but you said that mankind had no solution to this separation.
Dave: Every religion is an attempt to bring a solution. Why cannot man bring a solution? Well, because God makes the rules, and the rules are “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” The Bible says, "The soul that sinneth, it must die." And you explained physical death and spiritual death, separation from God forever. The only life allowed in heaven is resurrection life, and of course angels have life, God himself is the Author of life, but as far as man is concerned, there’s no solution except – well, Tom, truthfully, there are some people who will not be resurrected. I hope I’ll be one of them, because they won’t die. Nevertheless, they will have to have new bodies, redeemed bodies, paid for by the blood of Christ on the cross. So there’s no way that man can bridge this chasm – no way, absolutely impossible! There’s a lot of do-it-yourself kits out there, Tom.
Tom: Dave, that’s what we’ve been saying over and over again. You mentioned it earlier that, first of all, the penalty is an infinite penalty. So anyone who thinks that, “Well, I can solve this problem myself” – they have to work at it for eternity, paying the penalty for sin! The wages of sin is death, we find in Romans and the other verses that you mentioned. So, man can’t pay it, and, as you said, all the religions of the world - and biblical Christianity – the gospel is not a religion, okay? It’s a relationship with the Lord, and it’s His way. Religion – we can say it this way – these are man’s ideas of how to get to God, and the burden is on man to get to God. Biblical Christianity, the Gospel, God does it – He did it all. It’s a divine accomplishment as opposed to human achievement. Human achievement won’t make it, won’t cut it, there’s no possibility.
Dave: Well, there are a number of reasons for that, Tom, and we don’t want to go into too much detail; I’m sure you’ve got other things there, but we’ve often given the illustration – you see, it’s a matter of law; it’s a matter of breaking the law. Now if you stand before the judge – you’ve broken the law – maybe it’s just that you’ve got a speeding ticket. Well, you tell the judge, “You know, look, I promise you, you let me off this time, I will never ever, ever, ever break the law again!”
Well, what does the judge say? “If you never break the law again, you are only doing what the law requires. You don’t get extra credit for that.”
Now what would we do about the fact that you’ve already broken the law? How are we going to make up for that? You cannot make up for breaking the law.
One of the things that I learned as a little child, it’s horrible when you’ve done something bad! You can’t get it back; you can’t undo it. So there’s no way that man can undo his sin. Now what is the solution? Well then, are we stuck forever? You said it very well: it’s not what we can do because we can’t do anything; it’s about what God has done, and God himself became a man, and as a man, He could represent all mankind, and He lived a perfect, sinless life. Although He lived a perfect, sinless life, He was hated, He was mocked and scorned, and finally scourged, and nailed to the cross. There He said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” But Isaiah 53 says, “It pleased Jehovah to bruise Him – Thou hast put Him to grief when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.” So, Isaiah 53 says Jehovah laid upon Him the sins of us all. Now, how He can do that… As you said, we could be punished for eternity. That would never pay. This is an infinite debt against an infinite God, infinite in righteousness. You can never pay that off.
How could Christ pay this infinite penalty for all mankind? We believe – we’re not Calvinists, so we believe Christ didn’t die just for a few, the elect. He died for all. “For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him…”
So, any way you look at it, Tom, someone who is infinite in power, who could carry this heavy load of sin, and be punished for it – that’s the only possible solution.
Tom: And it tells us that not only must Jesus have been a man – the perfect man, the sinless man, but representative of mankind, but He also had to be God to experience…the Scripture says that “He tasted death for every man.” So, only God could do that. We can’t comprehend this, Dave, but we have the verses. You quoted from Isaiah 53, the Hebrew prophets telling us about the Messiah, “the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.”
Dave: Now, Tom, when you deal with unbelievers, especially atheists, hard core atheists, who hate God, are determined to do away this, well, they throw a lot of things at you, and you need to be ready for them: “Well, this is not justice – for the guilty to go free, for the innocent to suffer for the guilty – that’s not justice.”
Well, it’s not – it’s not right, but it’s a gift. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through…” – I’d love to go through Scripture and see how many times it says, in Christ, through Christ. This only comes through Christ, and not because He’s the Son of God up in heaven, but because He came to this earth and paid the penalty for our sins.
So, then the problem arises, well, how does this pay the penalty, and what changes? What about these people who Christ died for them – what keeps them? Even in heaven you have that question. “Well, how can you be sure? Now if we have free will, it’s not going to be taken away from us. How can you be sure, that even in heaven you might rebel?”
Well, the Bible has a number of solutions to that. We are new creatures in Christ Jesus. We are born again, and we are transformed. But I like the way Paul puts it: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
So, now we’ve got another problem. Well, but the Bible says we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, we’re transformed – you experienced that, Tom; I experienced it. Something happened. When I received Christ, something happened – miraculous – happened inside of me. I had different desires, different ambitions, and so forth. I had been a very obstreperous person. I think I have sometimes said I was in a thousand fights before I was very far into my teens. That was changed in a moment. The last fight I was ever in, it was my fault, and I could not double my fists to hit back. I had no desire to hit this guy. It was my fault, and my friends were bewildered. “Well, we just saw what you did to that other guy a few weeks ago. [Well, he was attacking me, and pushing it.] You didn’t even double up your fist!”
I couldn’t! Something had happened inside of me. I had no desire to hit somebody. But it’s not just that transformation, but something happened that changed me for eternity and made me fit for eternity. And, you know, Tom, I hope I haven’t said it too often on this program, but I often give an illustration. Well, it’s not an illustration, and I won’t go to the trouble of letting people try to guess who I am talking about. But there was a man – and this is a true story, not an illustration – he was on death row. The day of his execution had arrived. He heard the footsteps of the jailer coming down the corridor and the key turns in the lock. He’s going to be led out to his execution. And he says “You’re free; another man is dying in your place.”
Well, everybody that knows the Bible knows who that was! It was Barabbas. But did that change Barabbas’s life? Did that make him a new man? It set that criminal free to go out and live he pleased, and that is not the gospel! That is not – there are a lot of people who think, “Well, now, if I’ve got eternal security, and you’re telling me that I can’t lose my salvation, I’ll just live the way I want to! I can sin all I want to because I’m home free.” No, that would prove that you are not a new creature in Christ Jesus. But Paul said, in contrast to Barabbas (I already quoted it): “I am crucified with Christ.” So, the person who really comes to Christ, really believes in Him, accepts His death as his own. This is what I deserved. He did it for me. We have an old chorus (maybe it’s a hymn. No, it’s a chorus): “After all He’s done for me, after all He’s done for me, how can I do less than give Him my best and live for Him completely, After all He ‘s done for me.”
Tom: Dave, you know, the two of us – the Lord has had different things for us to do – not only have we been dealing with physical issues, but in terms of our work, you have been working on a book dealing with atheism – militant atheism. These guys are humanists and evolutionists and so on.
Dave: They hate God.
Tom: They hate God, and they are out to undermine and attack the gospel.
Dave: And they are best sellers on the New York Times list – never happened before, Tom.
Tom: I know, but that’s been your thrust. What the Lord has had me doing, as you well know, is dealing with what’s going on in the evangelical church over the last two or three years. Dave, this is shocking. Twenty-some years ago, I got to help you with a book called The Seduction of Christianity, and I remember a couple of years after that, with regard to the church, we thought things couldn’t get any worse. But now what we are seeing, you know, there were fringe elements, you know – they were the hyper-Pentecostals, hyper-Charismatics that were into the Word/Faith, Positive Confession stuff. We dealt with psychology as well, but evangelical Christianity was different, there were still people hanging in there with the Word of God.
Tom: Now, as I mentioned, I think, a couple of weeks ago, the Pew Foundation did a survey of forty-some thousand people in religious movements, and so on, and 57 percent of those who claim to be evangelicals said that they believed that Jesus isn’t the only way!
Dave: That means He’s a liar.
Tom: What have we just described here? The gospel – it’s impossible for man. Only Jesus could do it; only He could pay the full penalty for our sins. Yet, those who profess to believe in the Word of God are thinking, No, there are other ways. It’s irrational, it’s illogical, it’s apostasy, Dave!
Dave: But it’s pride, because man is going to do it himself. But how often is it said – how often did Jesus say, “I am the way, the truth, the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me.” Now, if you believe that, you cannot possibly think that there is any other way. Peter said it very well: “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
Tom: Dave, I think the thing that’s looming largely over the church right now, if you have 57 percent of evangelicals, those who claim to believe in the Bible, saying, no, there are other ways, this is going to gain momentum, because that’s what the world wants to hear. You know, the religious movement of all the religions coming together and working out problems and doing this and doing that, if you say, “No, there is only one way, the gospel is exclusive, it's free, it's a gift; it’s not like, Hey, we’ve got this club and you’ve got to go through this ritual to get into the club, or you’ve got to do this or that.” It’s something that God has provided as a free gift. And you know, the other thing about it, they say, “You guys, you know, you fundamentalists, you’re narrow-minded, you’re Bible thumpers, and you say you’ve got the only way,” Dave, we were like that! You just described yourself before coming to Christ. I was like that! It’s not like I can say, I’m so different, I’m so unique. No, it’s by God’s grace, it’s by God’s mercy, it’s by what He has done. And to reject that or if, you know, as the world says, “Well, it’s a matter of your arrogance,” Dave, Jesus said, “I am THE way, THE truth, THE life, no man comes to the Father but by Me…” you quoted it earlier. Is that arrogance?
Dave: It’s the truth, and if the medical doctor – I just had a change of diagnosis – for eight years I’m examined and they are concentrating on my hips. Finally, we got one doctor who kind of got slipped in there, and he looked at the x-ray and he says: “It’s not your hips; you’ve got a back problem.” And there was a disk that was impinging on the spinal column, and so forth. Now, would I say to this doctor, “Well, look at all these other guys! They didn’t say that. They’re talking about the hips, and you’re talking about…you are really arrogant to make a statement like that!” No, he spoke the truth. Okay?
Tom, if we have just enough time here let me quickly slip over just a little bit. We’ve got something called theistic evolution out there, and I won’t go into details about that, but these people believe in evolution, but they believe that this was the way that God created man. All right, now we’ve got a very serious problem. They are literally defying God! They are rejecting what the Bible says. For example, Romans:5:12, “…as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.”
“Well, wait a minute. Are you trying to say that nothing died before Adam sinned? How could you dare to say that? Why we’ve got millions and billions of years out there while we’ve got evolution going on and that’s what we are looking for, fossils and… That’s the evidence of death. It’s everywhere!”
The Bible says, No, there was no death until Adam sinned. Now, if you want to call yourself a Christian, and well, I’ll mention Francis Collins – I’m sure a good man. I’ve heard him on the radio, and he does a good job defending the Christian faith; I guess [he’s] one of the world’s greatest geneticists – but he wrote a very good book The Language of God. He says, “Look, DNA! That’s the language of God, you can’t get away from it,” but he’s an evolutionist.
So what kind of a Christian are you if you believe in evolution? Well, I mean, if you are going to believe in evolution, death has been here before Adam sinned. That is a rejection of what the Bible says. You just cannot reject the Bible. “Yeah, but science says…and what about this?” No, I’m sorry; everything else is going to have to fall in line with the Bible because the Bible does not make any mistakes. So we’ve got problems like that within the church, Tom that you referred to. “Well, yeah, I know Jesus did say, ‘I am the way, the truth, the life; no man comes to the Father but by me…’ but that’s so narrow. You’re excluding so many people out there. What about the heathen who never heard about it?”
God will deal with them according to His justice. He has given them the evidence in creation and in conscience. If they are not obedient to that, then that’s it. There’s no sacrifice for sin that would cover willful rejection of God’s grace.
So, Tom, we’ve kind of got into a lot of things here, but I think they are very important when we are talking about salvation, because people say, “Well, what about this? What about that?” We are going to go by the Bible first of all. This is God’s Word, and everything else must fall in line.
Gary: You’ve been listening to a special edition of Search the Scriptures 24/7 with Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. The complete radio discussion of Dave’s “Seeking and Finding God” is available from The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon, 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638; or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael, thanks for joining us and we hope you can be here again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.