This is the revelation that opened the door to grace for Bob George. He loved the Lord and was busy with ministry, but he was frustrated and miserable. Something was wrong. That’s what bondage looks like to a Christian; it’s joyless, misery no matter how hard you are working for the Lord.
Happily, Bob George was set free by grace and he then wrote a book called Classic Christianity. This book has since become a classic. Written in 1989, it has sold more than 600,000 copies in 27 languages. Why? Because it is contains the antidote to dead religion and churchianity. It proclaims the gospel of God’s grace and acceptance.
There’s a big difference between knowing what something says and knowing what it means. Millions of Christians know what the Bible says. But many do not know what it means because that can only be revealed by the Spirit… Man does not need the enlightening ministry of the Holy Spirit to understand the law; the law was given specifically for the natural man. We need the Holy Spirit to open our minds to the things having to do with the unfathomable riches of His love and grace, those things that “God has freely given us.” (p.39)
One of the main takeaways of Classic Christianity is how most have only heard half the gospel. They know that Jesus died for their sins but they don’t know that he rose so that they might walk in newness of life. Forgiveness of sins is wonderful, but there is more to this new life than forgiveness.
Jesus Christ laid down His life for us so that he could give His life to us so that He could live His life through us! (p.159)
(If that reminds you of something that W. Ian Thomas would say, I think there is a connection between these two: Thomas wrote the foreword to Classic Christianity.)
A half-heard gospel is the reason why some people are opposed to grace. They hear about God’s blanket forgiveness and immediately conclude that grace will give us a license to sin. (As if we needed one!) Continuing in sin makes no sense for the Christian. It would be as though the restored and robed prodigal decided to leave his father’s banqueting table to feed with the pigs. Sure, he could do that if he wanted to – the father won’t stop him – but why would he want to?
A frequently asked question is, “Will some believers take the message of grace as a license to sin?” I answer it the same way: “If their understanding of the gospel goes no farther than the forgiveness of sins – probably yes. But when you understand that Christ not only died for the forgiveness of your sins, but also rose again to come and live in you – absolutely not!” (175)
The value of this book for those who are already acquainted with grace, is that it is very practical guide to living by faith. It shows how to walk in grace in your day-to-day life.
Bob George runs a radio tall-back program called People to People so he regularly hears from Christians who are struggling. If you are battling with something, chances are there’s a story about it in this book about it.
It is not enough to tell people what they should stop doing… We are not able to let go of things until we have something new to hang onto. It reminds me of a small child in a playpen, playing with his favorite teddy bear. How can you take that bear away without a commotion? It’s simple: get him a puppy… The way to break a habit or preoccupation is by developing a new habit or preoccupation. Then you will push out the old, just as light dispels darkness and truth dispels error. (184)
Sticking with the metaphor, Classic Christianity is about the fun of playing with a living puppy as opposed to the lifeless thrills to be had from a stuffed toy. It’s about the real life that flows from knowing you are a child of God and that Jesus, “the master pianist,” desires to produce the beautiful music of his life in and through you.