Everyone who is a student of the Bible — or even a casual reader — has come across one or more — usually more — passages that are hard to understand … or difficult to reconcile with what we have come to understand.
So that’s what we’re going to be doing each Friday, and over the next number of Fridays. Bob Christopher and Richard Peifer may be able to help you with some of those passages that sometimes defy understanding … and in some instances, send cold chills down your spine as we take a revealing look at Hard Passages.
The results of the survey we posted on End Times show that our listeners are secure in Christ. They do have questions, but are overall secure in their faith. Often times we get caught up in trying to explain the End Times and miss Jesus. The Word of God testifies to Jesus Christ from beginning to end. Jesus shows up in your life and says "Peace. Be still." When you look to Christ he calms the troubled soul.
Are there two different types of forgiveness? The writer of Hebrews proclaims the clear answer - there is only one forgiveness. Hebrews 10 is one of, if not the, most powerful chapters in the Word of God as it relates to the finished work of Jesus Christ. It ties everything together regarding Jesus' sacrifice to take away the sins of the world. The law is only a shadow of the good things coming to us in Christ. Jesus offered himself to establish the new covenant. "By that will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). Knowing you have received 'once for all' forgiveness changes your heart and gives you the confidence to draw near to God. Believer, you have been sanctified, you have been made holy, and you have forgiveness of sins. That's good news!
The number one question we have received in 30+ years of ministry is "How can I be sure I am saved?" There are so many confusing teaching in the world among theologians. Is forgiveness judicial or parental forgiveness. Is there a judicial system of forgiveness - Jesus shedding his blood - that is eternal? Is there a parental forgiveness that we need when we mess up? Does our forgiveness hinge on whether we forgive others or not? The gospel does not teach any of those positions. There is not a two-tier system of forgiveness. The gospel is very clear - as believers in Christ, we ARE forgiven and always will be forgiven! We are forgiven, once and for all, by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Period. Understanding forgiveness is the foundation for all faith. Let this teaching resonate in your heart and give you assurance of your salvation.
Do the elements of communion actually become the flesh and blood of Christ? Is that what John 6:53 is saying? Certainly the Catholic religion believes it to be true. This verse is a metaphor of what a life of faith is all about.
Matthew 5:21-30 is a troubling passage that seems to hold commands about behavior. Is it true that anyone who says, "You fool!' Will be in danger of the fire of hell? What does it mean to be cleansed of wood and clay to be an instrument for special purposes? Galatians 5:19-21 describes acts of the flesh. What does that mean in light of our freedom of Christ? 2 Timothy 2:20-21 is a confusing scripture. How does this apply to us?
The hard passages we look at today will confirm the finished work of Jesus Christ and give you comfort instead of fear. 2 Corinthians 5:10 is our first passage. What is the judgment seat of Christ? Will my life be flashed up on some huge movie screen? Here's the good news - your sins have already been judged. Jesus took the punishment you deserved. This judgment has nothing to do with sin and there is nothing to fear. John 20:21-23 is troubling because it begs the question of when the apostles received the Holy Spirit. Is the Holy Spirit given twice? And what does it mean when it says "if you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." Do believers have the authority to forgive sins? Richard and Bob take a deep look at this passage and clarify what it means for the believer.
Romans 9:13 has caused anger from every side. God chose Jacob to be the child of promise. Esau rebelled against the plan of God and the people of God. "I hated" means a rejection of Esau's rebellion. Romans 9:17 refers to the hardening of Pharoah's heart. Did God cause that to happen? Does He do that to us? Romans 11:20 seems to suggest that we can lose our salvation. Can we be broken off because of unbelief? This passage talks about people groups, not individuals. The gospel message went first to the Jew, who rejected Jesus. The Gentiles were grafted into the message because of grace. Neither group should be boastful but be humble.
Categories: Hard Passages
We address 3 passages from 1 Peter. 1 Peter 3:3, 4 addresses women on the issue of adornment. It often is turned into a list of rules and regulations on the behavior of women. The message of this passage is respectful and pure conduct of a believing wife married to an unbelieving husband. 1 Peter 3:7 encourages husbands in how to treat their wives. It is not about a command. It is about an internal desire to love your wife. Be considerate; i.e., wisdom and understanding. Get to know your wife from the inside out. Treat her with respect; to honor and esteem your wife. Why? Because husbands and wives are fellow heirs with Christ equally. 1 Peter 3:18-22 is actually a passage of comfort. We can be certain and confident in our life even in times of suffering. This passage may be one of the most confusing in the entire Word of God. Listen as Bob brings insight into it's meaning.
Psalm 51:10-11 "Create in me a clean heart" is the most quoted part of this passage but this really is not a prayer for us who live in the New Covenant—it was an appropriate Old Covenant prayer for David. This prayer follows David's sin with Bathsheba. In this Psalm, David has seen the consequences of his sin and he is appealing to God's mercy. In Jeremiah 17:9 it says "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?". What is the heart? The center of life—if your heart stops beating, you will die. In the Jewish world, the word heart represents the whole person. Today, the center of the heart is in Jesus. Matthew 5:17-18 says "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." This is often held up as a proof text that we need to abide by the Ten Commandments. The passage points directly to Jesus, who came to fulfill the Old Covenant and usher in New Covenant.
The first "hard passage" is 1 John 5:16, 17. What is the 'sin that leads to death'? Aren't all sins forgiven? Context is important in this passage. The next passage is Matthew 22:1-14. Verse 14 says "Many are called but few are chosen". Does God pick and choose who will receive salvation? Romans 9:14-16 is the last hard passage. "What shall we say then, is there injustice on God's part?" Does this speak to predestination? This passage is not about individuals; it is about Jew and Gentiles.
*Physical CD limited to U.S. and Canada only.
You can still get The New Covenant Journey study guide here .
The New Covenant, or God’s legal will, provides everything you need for your journey as a believer in Christ. God desires that you embrace all that is yours and experience to the full the New Covenant Life.
There is nothing that can compare to it. So let’s begin. Let’s take an in-depth look at God’s will and what this wonderful covenant has in store for you.