Sunday, June 13, 2021

811. The 800 Club: Looking Back - Double Talk - "The Spirit of the Law"

The spirit of the law. The letter of the law. These are phrases often used by religious theologians who erroneously teach a mixed covenant message of law and grace. The way they try to explain it, one might be led to believe that “the spirit of the law” is a phrase actually found within the written pages of the Bible (it’s not). Generally, this talk about the spirit vs. the letter of the law is rooted in the assumption that believers in Christ have been mandated by God to follow certain portions of the old covenant ministry which was arranged with Israel through Moses. Good luck with that.

We look at one of the passages today which is sometimes used by legalists regarding this topic. The next time someone tries to drag you into the theological weeds while trying to convince you about the spirit of the law, realize the Greek word for it is mumbo jumbo.



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Sunday, June 06, 2021

810. The 800 Club: Looking Back - Tithing, Abraham and Giving Gracefully

As we continue looking back over the years after reaching the milestone of our 800th podcast … we’re following up on last week’s program. Many advocates for “the tithe,” as it relates to giving ten percent of all of one’s money or income, will try to use Abraham as an example on why people should tithe this way today. They will apply a couple of easily misunderstood passages from the Bible, but as we take a closer look, we find the pieces to the puzzle just don’t fit. We try to bring some context from both the Old and New Testaments about Abe and how his tithe to Melchizedek was so very different from the “church tithing” of today—and like the Jewish people under the law—it really wasn’t about money with Abraham either.

We also address some questions about the “tithe money” being received today. If such a system was meant to be in place and ordained by God, who is really supposed to be the designated receiver of the tithes with the priesthood of men no longer in place? Is the church corporation’s bank considered the so-called storehouse?

There is a better way for us to function when it comes to giving, and it’s by the freedom of grace as God’s Spirit moves within our hearts. God is a giver, but not because He is obligated to be … He wants to do it out of love, and so it is with us in the New Covenant. We have inherited this desire to help others, and it doesn’t always involve money.

Here again are some links to some of our past talks about tithing:
495. Covenant Confusion: Tithing
496. Christianizing the Tithe
497. Abe Gives a Tenth to Mel  

The Tithe (Episodes 769-777). Click on the first episode and then click "Newer Post" for each subsequent part.



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Sunday, May 30, 2021

809. The 800 Club: Looking Back - Twisting the Tithe Into Money

In our look back over the past 800 programs, we’ve occasionally discussed tithing. When most Christians hear the word tithe, they assume it means to give or pay ten percent of all your money. Most will also assume this is to be designated to a church organization which they might call “the storehouse.” And there are those who teach that when one gives ten percent or more to the work of the ministry, that God will bless them with more money.

Sincere Christians can disagree on this subject, but most of what has been taught about the “principle” of tithing in the New Covenant is extracted from Bible verses and concepts very much out of context. Our quick review on the topic touches on why tithing became a requirement under the law for Israel (spoiler alert: it was about food, not money). And did Jesus really say we should tithe? You can certainly give ten percent of your money if it’s what you really want to do, but in the New Covenant, you are free to give as it’s on your heart to do so.

We've talked about the subject of tithing a few times in the past, and below are some links to some of our past talks.

First up is a short series we did a few years ago:
495. Covenant Confusion: Tithing
496. Christianizing the Tithe
497. Abe Gives a Tenth to Mel

And then a nine-part series that we did last year (Episodes 769-777). Click on the first episode below and then click "Newer Post" for each subsequent part:
The Tithe



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Sunday, May 23, 2021

808. The 800 Club: Looking Back - The Book of Hebrews - New Covenant Explained

One of the books in the New Testament that is often misunderstood is the letter to the Hebrews. A while back, we spent many weeks doing an entire series sifting through the chapters and addressing some misinterpreted “verses” that are sometimes used to scare people, leaving them in a place of fear which God never intends for His children. The letter to the Hebrews was written to address the Jewish community as they were trying to sort out the massive change of going from a covenant of stone tablets and animal sacrifices to something completely different regarding the ministry of the Spirit and the one sacrifice of Christ that brought that old way to an end. It is easy for us to underestimate the change of mind that they were transitioning into.

Some will say the book of Hebrews was meant only for Israel, but the revelation brought forth will be profitable for Gentiles of today because it shows the bigger picture of the Bible itself, and how we got to where we are in the New Covenant today and the perfect forgiveness brought by the blood of Jesus. After reaching over 800 programs, we’re looking back at past conversations and this week, it’s the book of Hebrews. 

On the podcast we mention a previous series we did on the entire book of Hebrews. You will find the first episode of that 21-part series here, and then click on Newer Post at the end of each post to listen to the entire series.



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Sunday, May 16, 2021

807. The 800 Club: Looking Back - Avoiding the Mixture of Two Different Covenants

As we reflect on surpassing 800 weekly podcasts, a primary theme over the years has been trying to help others to see the Bible in the context of two different covenants—the Old and the New. Being mindful of this as we turn the pages will help us to avoid getting confused about what the gospel is and what it is not. This can apply to the books of the law, the Psalms, prophets, the teachings of Jesus, and the writings from the apostles ... pretty much anything we read.

The New Covenant began after the death of Jesus. It was unlike the covenant God made with Israel when they came out of Egypt during the days of Moses. The Old way resulted with sin increasing, and brought guilt and reminded people of sins. It was weak and useless because forgiveness was never complete. The entire package needed to come to an end and be replaced with something new and better. While empty religion has tried to present a “revised” covenant where the Old and New are combined, Jesus fulfilled the law contained within the Old Covenant, and that finished work has brought to a place of grace and perfect love from God. Jesus became the guarantee, because He is the covenant.



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Sunday, May 09, 2021

806. The 800 Club: Looking Back – Sanctification - It Is Finished

Since our 800th program, we’ve been looking back at some of our most essential conversations when it comes to being established in the knowledge of the truth. One piece of good news that seems to elude religious folks is that our sanctification is not a work in progress, but was completed by Jesus Christ and gifted to us as a new creation in Him. Works-based religion yearns to try and make the gospel about what we do, thereby putting us in the spotlight instead of where it belongs—on the finished work of Jesus. They will dress it up to appear humble enough by saying salvation is an instant gift, but sanctification is a gradual process which we get to participate in through self-improvement while establishing some sort of moral high ground.

God makes it clear there is no boasting when it comes to our sanctification because it’s something Jesus already took care of for us, leaving no doubt that we’ve already been declared holy and set apart. Israel wasn’t able to achieve this by works and commandments … and we can’t either. We can rest from that effort and believe Jesus did enough to complete the job. Being sanctified isn’t something we’re trying to become, it’s who we are and part of our new identity in Him.



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Sunday, May 02, 2021

805. The 800 Club: Looking Back - Forgiveness by Blood - Not Repeated Confessions

As we reflect on the benchmark of more than 800 podcasts, one of the topics we’ve spent some time on is the misunderstanding of thinking believers need to continuously ask God for a renewed forgiveness. The concept comes from a single Bible verse that often misses the context surrounding it. Thinking that one needs to keeping seeking more forgiveness for each individual sin by repeatedly asking God to extend another round again—it diminishes the power of the blood of Jesus and His finished work. And you won’t be able to confess every single wrongful thought and action, leaving you to wonder where you stand with God and whether you are truly forgiven. The gospel reveals that we already are forgiven in Him by the blood of Jesus, through one sacrifice. This brings us into a place of peace and rest, and frees us to forgive others.

We've talked about this many times in the past here on the Growing in Grace podcast.  Here are a couple of those times, if you want to explore this a little more:

A six-part series on 1 John 1:9 begins here (click on Newer Post at the bottom left of each post to get to each of the six parts), and a single episode that we did as part of a series called "Born Identity" can be found here.



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