[ 253 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Justification
[ 254 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] God Declares Us Just as if We Have Never Sinned
[ 255 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Romans Chapter 5 |a
[ 256 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Romans Chapter 5 |b
[ 257 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Where Sin Abounds
[ 258 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Grace Much More Abounds
[ 259 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Romans 6:1-14 |a
[ 260 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Romans 6:1-14 |b
[ 261 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] The Old Sin Nature
[ 262 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] The New Nature
[ 263 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] The Old Sin Nature vs. The New Nature
[ 264 ] Les Feldick [ Book 22 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Romans 6 & 7
Romans Chapter 5
JUSTIFICATION – GOD DECLARES US JUST AS IF WE HAVE NEVER SINNED. ROMANS CHAPTER 5
Let’s turn to Romans Chapter 5. The main subject we have dealt with in the past couple of chapters is justification. Remember, when Scripture repeats something two or more times in a short period, it’s for emphasis, and it’s the same way with this whole theme of the doctrine of justification. This is something you don’t take lightly or gloss over, and say, “Oh well, I don’t understand it anyway.” There are a few things I think are crucial. The first one is Faith, and that is simply Taking God at His Word. In other words, what He says is, when we believe it, this is what God is pleased with. And that’s all faith is; nothing more. And then this term of justification. It’s that judicial act of God, where the Sovereign God in all of His Holiness and righteousness, the moment He sees the sinner believe the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) then God declares him justified. Just as if he had never sinned. Now that’s hard for us to comprehend, and certainly none of us `feel’ it.
`Feel’ is the word that so many people use mistakenly when it comes to our Christian experience. “Well, I don’t feel this and I don’t feel that.” Listen, The Bible never uses the word `feel,’ we’re not supposed to feel justified, or forgiven. You know you are because The Book says so, and that’s what we have to keep hammering away at people. Don’t try to figure it out in the human, because it can’t be done. Rather just rest on what God has said, and The Word says that when we recognize we are indeed a child of Adam, there’s that great gulf fixed between us and the Creator; and the only way back to a fellowship with Him is by believing the Gospel. “That Christ died for our sins, and that He was buried and that He arose from the dead.” And the moment we believe that with all our heart, then God just does everything on our behalf, and remember I put all those terms on the board several lessons ago. One of them was “Justification.” Romans Chapter 5:
“THEREFORE, being justified by faith (just as if we had never sinned by virtue of us taking God at His Word), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
“By whom also we have access by faith…”
See how this is emphasized? We have access into this glorious state as a believer now in relationship with The Creator Himself. My, when I see the people in the world and all their activities, they think they are living it up. And even if they can live it to the fullest for a whole 70 years, what is that compared to billions upon billions and billions of years that eternity will be? If only people could get the perspective, that we’re not talking about just limiting ourselves, and ignoring all the pleasures of this world that we might have a few years of bliss, but rather for us it’s an eternity forever and ever and ever. And for the world who are out there thinking that they’re living it up, it’s at most for a whole life-time of seventy years or so. But you see out of that seventy years, how many years can most people really live it up? Ten to twenty? The old body can’t take it much longer than that, and then instead of an eternity of bliss and glory they’re facing an eternity of regret, doom, and separation from The Creator.
It’s so ridiculous that you wonder people can reject it. I can’t comprehend it. I mean if God was expecting us to cross a raging river and hope that we could make it, or if He was expecting us to climb some sheer cliff as you see some of these rock climbers do; if God was putting that kind of requirement on our Salvation, then I could see people not buying it. After all, that’s just too difficult; but here He’s made it so easy. He’s made it so simple, and the rewards are so great even in this life, and yet the world just passes it by and walks it underfoot. I’ll never understand it. Now verse 2 again:
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (that’s indeed what we’re looking forward to). And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience, and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Now come in at verse 6 and let’s begin our study today. “For when we were yet without strength,…”
Now remember how many times I have taken you back to Israel on the shores of the Red Sea? To me it’s as vivid an example as there is in Scripture. How the Nation of Israel stood there on the shores of the Red Sea with the Egyptian armies behind them ready to destroy them, forbidding mountains on their right, and no possibility of going to the left. So they are locked in, and they’re without strength, and they knew not what to do. And instead of trying to hurry up and build bridges or find boats and rafts what did God tell them to do? “Stand still, and wait for the power of God.” And of course they didn’t have to wait very long, because He opened the Red Sea and Israel went through on dry ground. You all know the account. That’s exactly where we found ourselves before we had Salvation. We, too, were without strength. We were without hope, and helpless, and there was nothing we could do. And then God just opens the way through His Grace. Verse 6 again:
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
Remember as we saw back in Chapter 4, what kind of people were we? Ungodly! Now the word `ungodly’ does not mean necessarily that they have to be on skid row. And it doesn’t always mean that they have to come to the end of themselves, because the little prefix `un’ simply means what? Without. So these people are without God, though they may be good people. They may be the very epitome of society. They may be the very best of church members, but if they have never experienced God’s saving Grace they’re ungodly, because they are without God in their lives. Do you see that? And so let’s be careful of the terminology. Always remember, God saves the down and out, but He also saves the up and out, and everything in between. So in due time, then, Christ died for those that were without God. Now a verse just comes to mind that we need to look at in II Corinthians Chapter 4, and this again says it all. And for those of us who try to enlighten the unbeliever, those who are going their merry way to a Christ-less eternity, we sometime wonder why we can’t get through to these people. I can tell from some of our letters and phone calls that we are getting through to a lot of people, but I know there’s millions more that we can’t touch, and here’s the reason, and we had better understand that this is what The Book says about it.
II Corinthians 4:3
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:”
The believer understands what the Gospel is all about, it’s what got him where he is. But for the lost masses of humanity, they really don’t know the plight that they’re in, and don’t really understand why they are what they are. But you see The Bible makes it so plain. Now who’s hiding the Gospel from the lost? A lot of time I teach you that God hides things from the human race and that was His prerogative as we’ve seen so often from Luke 18.
“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, `Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.’ And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” God did that for a purpose in those verses, but now we’re dealing with the other side of the coin. Look at verses 3 and 4 again in II Corinthians 4:
II Corinthians 4:3,4
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom (the lost of this world) the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not (Satan has blinders on them, and you and I can’t take them off. That takes an act of God. Satan has so blinded the unbelieving world), lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Now doesn’t that say it all? This is why we have such a hard time trying to convince the masses of their needs, they are blinded by the god of this world, and I don’t have to tell you who that is. That’s the old Devil himself, and unless God somehow strips away that blindness, then even you and I are helpless. In that same light, turn to Acts Chapter 16. And this again is what everyone of us, as we try to deal with people, have to understand. Yes we have to do our part, we have to open the Scriptures, but we can’t stuff it down their throat. We can’t force them to believe it, that’s going to take an act of God Himself. Here in Acts Chapter 16 Paul and Barnabas are now in the Greek city of Philippi up in Northern Greece. They had just begun their work on the Continent of Europe. And as they went out to a little place (where evidently some Jews were permitted to worship since they didn’t have a synagogue in Philippi), they come to this little park along the river, and some Jewish women were there who believed in God, but they were as lost as lost can be.
“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God (she believed in God, she was religious, but she was still lost), heard us: whose heart the Lord opened (we must never lose sight of Who opens the heart. Now we must do our part but God has to open their spiritual heart. He has to open their understanding that they can believe the Gospel), that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” God used the human instrument Paul, but He had to open her spiritual heart and eyes. Now back to Romans Chapter 5. Remember the last word of verse 6 was `ungodly.’
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die (now that makes sense doesn’t it? Why should Christ die for a world of people who didn’t need Salvation? It would have been ridiculous to the extreme. Even Christ used an example when He said that the well didn’t need a doctor, but rather the sick, and it’s the same way here. He wouldn’t have had to die if the world was righteous, but the world isn’t): yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” Now I love this next verse. I think I’ve known it since I was a kid.
“But God (you know how I’m always pointing out that three letter word `but.’ Here’s another good example. For righteous men there would be no need for Christ to die, even if people were good it wouldn’t be quite so mandatory, But God) commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Now we were dealing with a young lady when we had our seminar out in Denver, and hopefully by now she’s into the tapes so she will probably hear me rehearse this. But as we dealt with her that evening around the dinner table, the first opposition she had was this. She said, “Les, I’m not that bad. I’ve never really sinned, or did anything immoral. I’ve never stolen from anybody.” So we had to go all the way back to Genesis and show the young lady that it all began with Adam, and many people need that, so she wasn’t unique. There are hosts of people that do not understand that we’re not sinners because we break God’s laws, but rather we break God’s law because we’re sinners, and that began with Adam. So we took the young lady all during the dinner hour to these various concepts that it was in Adam that every human being became a sinner. I guess by ten o’clock that evening she was beginning to almost bat her eyes because she was hearing things that she had never heard before. She had been in church the Sunday before, but she had never heard this. So this is why we have to show people that they’re unrighteous, and ungodly not because of what they’re doing or their lifestyle, but because God has decreed every child of Adam as being a sinner. Now we can have good sinners, wet sinners, dry sinners, but we are all sinners until we recognize it, and are saved of course by believing the Gospel. Verse 8 again:
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Remember that Paul writes to believers. So he is writing to you and I who have become believers of this Gospel, telling us again what God did on our behalf. Remember we, too, were at one time sinners. We’re sons and daughters of Adam just as well as everyone else. And while we were in that sinful state, God had already taken the pain to go to the Cross to purchase mankind’s Salvation. I was thinking as I was driving here to Tulsa today. You know I love to teach this Book and I love to teach the beginning back in Genesis, and I love teaching the endings in Revelation, but as I mentioned here a few lessons ago, it’s kind of hard to get people to zero in on where we are in the Book of Romans. But The Lord has been answering our prayers, and now we’re getting almost as many calls and letters commenting on the Book of Romans as we did on the Book of Revelation, and I would have never expected that, so we just trust The Lord is using the teaching in this Book.
How many times have you heard people say, “Well, when I can clean up my life, and can quit this bad habit, then I’ll become a Christian.” I remember several years ago I was holding a series of morning and evening classes up in Iowa, and a dear lady was the first one that would come to the morning and evening classes. She would be there at least a half hour early so that I could lay out the Scriptures to her. Finally, one evening I asked her why in the world she didn’t just simply believe the Gospel, and enter into this glorious life. And do you know what her answer was? “Les, if I could just quit the booze I would.” Do you hear that? She was probably a borderline alcoholic. But listen, that isn’t the way it’s done. You become a believer and then God helps you quit the problem, but most can’t see it that way. But this verse makes it so plain:
“…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” That’s exactly where God finds us. Now go into verse 9.
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood,…”
In other words, through faith in His Blood. You know I don’t ascribe to the teaching that we have to drink of the literal Blood of Christ as some are taught. But by faith we have the power of His shed Blood applied to our need. I think it was old Doctor De Haan of the old Radio Bible Class that I remember hearing years ago, and he made a statement one morning that I never forgot. He said that according to our physical chemistry, if you were to place something into a little basin of blood, it’s going to come out blood red or at least a dark shade of brown. But in God’s chemistry when something is placed in the Blood of Christ, it comes out as white as new fallen snow.” Now that’s God’s chemistry, and this is what we must understand. We think, “How can we be washed in the Blood and come out white?” Well, in the physical it can’t be done, but in the spiritual realm, in God’s chemistry the red in the Blood of Christ makes us as white as snow. Looking at this verse again:
“Much more then, being now justified…”
Declared by a judicial act of God, we are now just as if we had never sinned. Think about that for a moment. Just as if we had never sinned. In other words, where does that place us? All the way back to when? To Adam before he fell. Not in the physical; this old body is still going to be corrupt, this old body is still going to be prone to disease. And I’ve told people for twenty-five years, if an alcoholic gets saved, don’t expect that body that has been wrecked by alcohol and cirrhosis of the liver to become new. He’s not going to get a new liver. I know The Lord can do a lot of things, but when a body has been ravaged by sin, then Salvation isn’t going to give us a new physical body. But in the eyes of God being justified, yes, God sees us as Adam was before he ever fell. Because this is the whole theme of this Book from cover to cover: that God wants to reconcile the human being back to what he was in Adam before sin entered in. But now as born-again believers, justified and placed securely in Christ, we can never fall as Adam did. And you see this is exactly what God can do when we believe the Gospel; He can declare us just as if we had never sinned. Now I’m going to keep almost shouting that at people for months to come, because so few professing believers even realize that we are to reckon ourselves just as if we had never sinned because that is what God has declared us to be.
Now I think psychology even comes in here, and I have nothing against psychology if it’s used correctly. However, some of it can be abused. But psychologically speaking, if you were to tell a young man coming up out of high school years, “Well, you’re never going to amount to anything, you’ll never be anything but a drunk and probably end up in prison.” I can just about guarantee that he will end up just exactly that, because he is psychologically programmed to believe that everybody expects him to be a drunk and a reform school drop-out. But on the other hand if we encourage a young person, “Now, you can be this and you can do that, and you can be the glory of God in person,” then he’ll quite likely be that. Now bring this into this same psychological mindset, that if I constantly remind myself, and my wife and I help each other to remember throughout the day and week, that in God’s eyes we are just as if we have never sinned, psychologically, what’s that going to help us do? To be just that. Listen, if I am a justified person then I had better live accordingly because this is the way I’ve been divinely planned to operate. But, you see, the lost person doesn’t have that going for him. And so he says, “Well, everybody else is doing it, why shouldn’t I?” And so they find themselves in broken homes, in prison, and in all sorts of problems simply because they won’t take God at His Word. Finishing verse 9:
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood (we can’t go around that. You remember I put that on the board several weeks ago as one of the absolutes of Scripture? That without the shedding of blood there is no remission? The liberals and the preachers can do whatever they want with it but you can’t go around, over or under it. You have to face it head on. That without the shedding of blood there is no remission. Let’s read on now) we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
Not for anything we’ve done, but by simply believing in that finished work of the Cross. I can’t put it in any more simple words. The finished work of the Cross, how that Christ died for my sins. His Blood was shed that I might be declared just as if I’d never sinned. He rose from the dead in power and victory and when we believe it, God has guaranteed, as we’re going to see in our next lesson, that we’re going to have eternal life. Oh, we’re not just going to have it better for the 50 years that we’ve got in this world, but eternal life. Which means forever and ever and ever in His presence. And I think too many people lose sight of that. And I guess the best little glimpse we’ve ever gotten is when Paul in I Corinthians 2:9 had just a glimpse of it and then he came back and he said…, “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard the things that have been prepared for them that love Him.”
LESSON ONE * PART II
JUSTIFICATION – GOD DECLARES US JUST AS IF WE HAVE NEVER SINNED. ROMANS CHAPTER 5
Now let’s just come right back to Romans Chapter 5 where we left off in our last lesson, and we will begin with verse 10.
“For if, when we were enemies,…” People don’t realize that until we become a believer we’re enemies of God, and to prove my point turn over to Romans Chapter 8.
“For to be carnally (fleshly) minded is death (the end result of Spiritual death); but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind (the unsaved person) is enmity (enemy) against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
I don’t like to broadcast that to the world because I’m afraid they’ll get the idea, “See, no wonder I do what I do.” Well, that’s right, they’re not subject to God’s law. I’m amazed that our society holds together as well as it does. They’re not subject to the laws of God, but rather they’re enemies of God, and you can bring it into the secular realm. The Russian Government can’t come over and do anything to me. Why? Because I’m not a citizen of Russia, and not under their control. Consequently, I can do whatever I want to as far as Russian law is concerned. It’s the same way spiritually with lost people. They’re not under God’s control, actually. But rather they’re enemies, they’re aliens, and we had better get it straight, because until we come God’s way, that’s exactly the way He looks at the mass river of humanity. They’re enemies of God! God doesn’t stop loving His enemies. God keeps pouring out His Grace upon them, and offering them their Salvation. Now Romans 5:10 again:
“For if, when we were enemies, were were reconciled (reconciled is one of the crucial terms in Paul’s letters. That the work of the Cross now has made reconciliation not just possible but available to the whole human race. So if we were reconciled) to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled (he’s talking to you and I as believers), we shall be saved by (not His death, but by) his life.”
See how the whole thing comes together? He had to die, He had to shed His Blood in payment for our sin, but He didn’t stay in the grave. He arose victorious the Scripture says, over sin and death and hell. And since He was victorious, then we are also. So that’s been imputed to our account so now we not only have Salvation for this life, but also for all of eternity. We have already within us eternal life. That’s why believers over the ages have been able to go to a martyrs death with no fear. I’ve often wondered how did these people stand there at the stake as they piled the brush around them. I imagine that was just to cause mental anguish, just thinking about what was coming. But you don’t hear any accounts of how they screamed and begged for mercy. On the contrary, they were usually singing hymns and offering a prayer. That’s the amazing reality of people who have eternal life. They can burn the flesh, they can take this life, but they can’t touch my eternal life or yours. And this is what Paul is admonishing us to understand; that now, by virtue of the work of the Cross, yes, we’re justified, we’re declared just as if we have never sinned, but also we have eternal life. Reading on.
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the world is bent on happiness. Everybody wants to be happy, but very few people talk about joy, and do you know what the difference is? Happiness is the result of our material surroundings, and joy is a spiritual attribute, and that is why Paul hardly ever uses the word happy, but he can say over and over like in the Book of Philippians, “Rejoice, and again I say rejoice.” And that comes from the root word `joy.’ When we have eternal life, regardless whether we’re happy or not, we have that joy that is unspeakable, and that’s why believers don’t necessarily have to enjoy a lot of the world’s goods. Believers can be happy in poverty as well as in wealth because joy is a spiritual thing), by whom we have now received the atonement.”
And again we have to stop at words like `atonement’ because everyone of them are so doctrinally heavy. Justification is a tremendous doctrinal term that most Christians know nothing of. Eternal life is a doctrinal term, and is something that can never be taken from us, and now we come to this big word `atonement.’ Now as it’s used in the Old Testament (unfortunately, and I don’t know how in the world it happened), it wasn’t the appropriate word for the Day of Atonement back in Israel’s history. Although the High Priest did everything exactly right, and even though he offered the blood of the sacrifice on the Holy of Holies and Mercy Seat, yet it never took away a single sin. It was just simply a stop-gap waiting for the coming of Christ. So actually the word `atonement’ was a misnomer, and it should have been a word that had to do with covering or a sweeping under the rug, which was actually what God was doing with the sins of the Old Testament believer. He swept them under the rug until the true Atonement was finalized when the Blood of Christ was shed. And when Christ shed His Blood, even the stuff under the rug was atoned for and they were forgiven.
Now, for you and I under Paul’s Gospel, oh, the minute we believe, we experience the fullness of atonement, and break the word into the three syllables that it makes. At-one-ment, and that’s the best definition I can find. That as soon as we believe we are at-one-ment with God Himself. Why? Because we’re right back like He was in Adam, and we have once again reconciliation which is another one of those heavy words. We’re reconciled to God, we’re in full fellowship with Him, we’re His, we’re a joint heir, and all these good things have happened simply because we believed the Gospel. Now I’m not taking away other ramifications of the Christian experience. The only reason I don’t mention the local church any more than I do is because there are so many local churches that I wouldn’t want anybody to even try to get anything from because they’re going to be misled, and they’re not going to be fed from The Word. But I’m not saying they all are.
My, I remember years ago a young couple left our area of the world and went down to Dallas. As they were preparing to leave (and they were just newly converted through our class), I gave them this little bit of advice. Now Dallas is huge; there are hundreds of churches, so don’t just go to whatever denomination you happen to be in. Look around and visit, because in a city that size you’re bound to find a church that teaches and preaches The Word pretty much as I do. And you know, in about three months they wrote the sweetest letter to the effect that’s exactly what they had done. They had found a church, not in their denomination, but they found one that teaches just like I do. This church has fellowship and a passion for lost souls. So when I refrain from pushing the local church, it’s not because I’m against the local church, it’s just that I have to be so careful that people are admonished to get involved in a church that’s true to The Book. We know that a lot of them are not. I can’t help that, and I’m not criticizing any one group in particular. I’ve found you can find good ones in various denominations. So the word `atonement’ again. We have been made at one with God Himself as the result of that shed Blood and the work of the Cross.
Now verse 12, and Paul is going to bridge some information here that nowhere else in Scripture can be found. Jesus never mentioned it. I’m sure the reason He didn’t was because He waited for the revelations that were given to this apostle to do it. Jesus never taught as far as I can determine, the ramifications of Adam, his sin, and how it carries over into the whole human race. He certainly taught that all were sinners. But to tie it back into Adam like Paul does, I don’t find it. Nor can I find it anywhere in the Old Testament; but here it comes from Paul, laid out as plain as day.
“Wherefore, as by one man (not one woman, don’t you lay the blame on Eve. It’s Adams fault) sin entered into the world,…”
Now when you see this word `sin’ in the singular from this point forward in Romans just put in there “the old sin nature” or “old Adam,” unless the setting just totally violates it. Because there’s a big difference between sin and sins. Sin is that factory that is within us, it’s that fallen nature that we have inherited from Adam. Sins (plural) are the acts that are promoted by old Adam. Now do I make that clear? In other words, we are a sinner by being the offspring of Adam; then as a sinner we commit sins. And notice here in verse 12 that it’s `sin’ (singular). So, by one man the old sin nature came on the scene. And that sin nature can think nothing but things that are contrary to the will of God. And that’s what makes the human race enemies of God. People can try to train old Adam, dress him up, and make him look pretty good, but then The Word of God comes along and prods it and all of a sudden people lose control of their old sin nature, because it’s the enemy of God.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world (and what came with it?), and death by sin;…”
I suppose there are theologians that would disagree with me, but I do not feel that anything died, even in the animal world, back there in the Garden of Eden until Adam sinned. Now that’s my own conviction. The reason I feel that way is because you see everything ate of that which grew naturally. They ate of the herbs, fruits, and grasses, so consequently, nothing lost it’s life in order to support another species. So until Adam sinned, nothing died. Death was an unknown entity. But as soon as Adam sinned, the curse fell not just on Adam and Even, but on the whole creation. I sometimes wonder if maybe the whole universe isn’t under the curse, but we know the curse fell on everything, and with the curse came death. Now remember when we were back in Genesis, I even tied that into good science. The laws of thermal dynamics; the first law of thermal dynamics says that nothing is being created or destroyed. The second law of thermal dynamics says what? Everything is dying and going into a less usable state. I feel the first law was applicable until Adam sinned, but the moment he sinned and death entered, the second law of thermal dynamics came into play. And so everything now dies, corrupts, and degenerates.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men,…”
If the Lord tarries, death will pass upon everyone of us physically. We hope we’re close enough to the end now that most of us are going to live to hear the trumpet call. I’m a firm believer in that. I honestly feel that unless something takes me ahead of time, that I’m going to be alive when that great trumpet sounds. Recently, when we were in Denver, I had a fellow named Jim tell me that he had twenty-eight men working for him. He tells them almost every morning that one of these days they are going to see old Jim’s pickup stopped at a stoplight in Denver and it will be empty. And he tells them not to bother looking for him because he’s out of here. Things like that just thrill me because Jim came from a background which had none of this knowledge. All true believers have this blessed hope. But remember, death has passed upon the whole human race, and creation. Everything now faces death.
Now I’m very close to nature, being a farmer and rancher, and I’m out there among all these things that live and die constantly. I find that even in the insect world (they may not have brains enough to have it all figured out), they all try to avoid death. Even the fly on the wall, when you try to swat him, escapes for his life. And it’s the same way through all of nature; everything is trying to maintain life, they all hate death. As a rancher I can have a critter die out there in the pasture, and the rest of the herd will have some kind of a hateful reaction to that dead animal. Everything hates death; why shouldn’t we? I don’t know anybody that treasures death. I can even remember my dear old grandmother who was 96 years old. I can see her sitting in that rocking chair crocheting, and she would say, “Oh I wish the Lord would come.” But as soon as her heart would flutter a little bit what would she say? Call the doctor. And that’s just the perfect example of not wanting to die. I know that there are probably some who are racked with pain that are maybe looking forward to it, but under normal circumstances we all hate death. And that’s as it should be; it’s part of the curse. It’s part of the fall of Adam that we should detest death.
“…and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
Everyone’s a sinner according to Romans 3:23 because it started with Adam. Now I’ve had people say, “Why in the world did God do that? Why did He let Adam sin?” Well you see it was in the Sovereign working of God that mankind should be left with that alternative, otherwise there would be no free choice. There would be no exercise of the will if Satan would not have been permitted to have come into the Garden of Eden. And if sin hadn’t entered, then the human race would have been without choice; they would have been like robots. But we’re not robots, we’re a created being, we’re given a choice, and we can reject or accept God’s tremendous offer of Salvation. Now in verse 13 is a little parentheses, and it’s kind of hard to explain, but I’ll try.
“(For until the law [from Adam until Moses, which would be about 2500 years] sin [or Adamic nature] was in the world [the pre-flood people had the old sin nature, they were no different than we are]; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.)”
Now that’s really as tough as it sounds. The best example I can give of that is this. Say you’ve been used to going through an intersection (maybe out on the edge of town or out in the country), where it’s been more or less the first one there is first served, and you could go through that intersection without stopping. But traffic has increased, and maybe there’s been a traffic fatality or two, and so the powers that be finally put in a stop sign. But you go on through that intersection like you’ve always done; now what happens? Well, the cops are going to pull you over and say, “Hey, you’ve broken the law.” You tell him that you’ve always gone through that intersection without stopping, and he will tell you, “That’s true, but now there’s a stop sign, and that makes all the difference in the world.”
Now it’s exactly what we have here. From Adam until the Law of Moses there was no written law, and there was no formal system of worship, but once the Law was given, that changed everything, and now people are to behold the law. But until then, God could not impute their individual acts of transgression because they were not, per se, breaking a law. Now they had a conscience; we saw that back in Romans Chapter 2, and a conscience was written in the hearts of everyone even before the Law was given. So all Paul is saying is that until the Law was given, God didn’t impute all of their acts of disobedience because they were not, per se, breaking a law, even though they were going contrary to conscience.
“Nevertheless (so don’t say, “Oh well, they had it pretty good.” No they were just as responsible as we are) death reigned from Adam to Moses,…”
Now in the Book of Romans when you see the word `sin’ I want you think of the old sin nature, the old Adam. And when you see the word `reigned,’ think of a king on his throne. And so what we’re going to have now is, as soon as Adam fell, death reigned like a king because it was tied to sin. Now reading on.
“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression,…”
Now what does that mean? Well, what was Adam’s sin? Just a simple act of disobedience by eating what God said not to eat. Were all the millions of people that lived between Adam and Moses guilty of eating the forbidden fruit? No. They didn’t commit the same sin that Adam did, but in actuality they were still disobedient to other things that God had put even in their conscience. Go back to Romans Chapter 2 and refresh your memory. Remember, Paul is referring to the fact that the Jews have had the Law for 1500 years, so he’s going to those who didn’t have the law which were Gentiles.
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law (that is the law of Moses), do by nature (naturally) the things contained in the law, these (Gentiles), having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience…”
So even though they didn’t have the Ten Commandments, did those people have moral system? Yes, of course they did, and it was based on conscience. I’ve told you about missionaries that have come from the jungles of South America, where uncivilized tribes of people still run around in their loin cloths, and still hunt with blow guns, and spears, but within their own tribal community those uncivilized people have a moral code that would put America to shame. Where do they get it? From their conscience. So when the Scripture says, “That even though they did not have the law, yet they were guilty of sin just as much as anyone else.”
LESSON ONE * PART III
JUSTIFICATION – GOD DECLARES US JUST AS IF WE HAVE NEVER SINNED. ROMANS CHAPTER 5
Let’s get back to the subject at hand – justification by faith and faith alone, and how the need for it began back in the Garden of Eden when Adam fell, and death came with sin. The human race is faced with that dilemma that not only are we sinners, but we are also in a circumstance of death. Spiritual death has already taken place, because we’re born dead spiritually, and physical death is coming. Every human being will approach it someday if The Lord tarries. First, let’s read the last three verses from the last lesson.
“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin [the old Adamic nature] entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (for until the Law, sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression [they were not faced with a tree and a forbidden fruit]: who is the figure [or picture] of him that was to come).”
We didn’t get to comment on that last portion of the verse so we’ll touch on it now. Adam, you see, is the first man, and Christ is the second Man, or second Adam. Let’s pick that up in a reference so turn with me to I Corinthians 15 for a moment, because I want people to know that we don’t just pull this out of the woodwork someplace. Hopefully what I teach I can back up with Scripture. On your way to Chapter 15 let’s stop for a moment in Chapter 2 and I’ll show you something. Our class was discussing that many people don’t realize that until they become a believer, a child of God by virtue of Salvation and faith, that this Book is utterly impossible to comprehend. Oh, the unbeliever may be able to read some of the stories and some of the miracles, and get something out of it. But when it comes to the basic deep things of Scripture no one can understand them until they become a child of God.
I’ve been very blunt with some people. I know I had one gentlemen that came to my class for three years. Now I’m not one to take them by the nape of the neck, and try to force them into a conversion experience. Well, every week I was just tickled that he was there, but he would tell me, “Les, I just can’t understand all this.” And I said, “When you become a believer you will!” Now you can’t do that with everybody, but with him it was just fine. He finally did become a believer, and now of course he’s just like a weed – he’s just growing and can now comprehend the Scriptures. And that’s scriptural, that isn’t just my own idea and I can show you that here in I Corinthians Chapter 2 where Paul makes that so plain.
I Corinthians 2:13,14
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man (the unsaved, the lost man) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them (why?), because they are spiritually discerned (or understood).”
So we have to be real patient. I think that’s one of the attributes God has given me when I deal with unbelievers. I’m very patient. I don’t care if it takes three years for them to come to the place of understanding the Gospel. I would hope it would be sooner, but nevertheless I’m still going to be patient with them because I realize where they’re coming from. They can’t comprehend these things until God opens their eyes and heart, and we leave that to His timing. Now Chapter 15, picking up with the subject of the first man, Adam, and Christ the second. We have to understand that the first man Adam, even with that simple act of disobedience of eating the forbidden fruit, plunged the whole human race into condemnation. Every human being beginning with Cain has been a fallen creature by virtue of Adam’s act of rebellion. But God didn’t leave it there. Now He comes around and comes with the second Man, The Christ, and He makes it possible for every degenerate son of Adam to become a regenerate son of God. It’s just that simple, and yet it’s complex. So now looking at I Corinthians 15:45.
I Corinthians 15:45
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul (that’s back in Genesis Chapter 2 I think it is, where God breathed into him the breath of life, and he became a living soul): the last Adam (Jesus, The Christ. The next two words, “was made,” have been added by the translators unfortunately. I think they’re better left out) was made a quickening spirit. Now the word `quickening’ here means life-giving. When God quickens something He gives it life. For example Ephesians 2:1:
“AND you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins (He hath made us alive);”
So the first Adam was made a living soul by virtue of creation, in perfect fellowship with his Maker. The Lord could walk with him in the cool of the day, and there was nothing between them, just perfect fellowship. Then the second Adam was brought on the scene as a life-giving Spirit in the Person of Jesus Christ, The God-Man.
Someone asked me why only Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels and not John? Well, you see, those three Gospels deal with Christ in His humanity. In other words, Matthew depicts Him as King Who would one day rule on David’s throne as a human King. He came up through the genealogy of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and down that royal family of David. Now in Mark He’s depicted as the Servant, and everything that He does shows His willingness to be a Servant, and again from His human side. Then Luke depicts Him of course as the Son of Man, so constantly throughout that Gospel again we see that human side of Him.
Then John comes along and depicts Him as the Son of God in His Deity. So now you can pick up little tidbits that Matthew, Mark, and Luke give of the account of temptations in the wilderness, and John doesn’t. Why not? Because those temptations had an immediate effect upon the human side of Him, but had no effect upon His Deity side, so John leaves it out. His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He sweated drops of Blood, as it were, and He agonized and pleaded with the Twelve to pray with Him, John is the only one that doesn’t record this. Why? That was part of His human side, and not the Deity side, so John can leave those things out. These things are what makes such differences as you study your Scripture. Yes, He was the God-Man, He was total God, He was total man, and they never crossed over. You can go back into His earthly ministry. There was a time when the average person who got into some of the situations that Jesus did would have let the God side take over, but He never did. So we have to take it by faith that He was Deity, but He was also human. Now bringing this into the text here with the Apostle Paul, as Adam was the first Federal Head of the human race, so Christ now becomes the culmination of all this because we’re not just dealing with the physical, we’re dealing with the spiritual. The next verse:
I Corinthians 15:46
“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.”
Now remember when we were way back in the Old Testament I would make this point constantly. That the rule of thumb all the way through Scripture is that you would have the natural first and then the spiritual. First Cain and then Abel. First Ishmael and then Isaac. First Esau and then Jacob. First King Saul and then King David; and you find this all through Scripture. And now here it comes again. First Adam, the natural, and then the second Adam, The Christ, the spiritual. And we have one big set of circumstances in the future, and that will be in the Tribulation. First will come the Anti-christ the human, and then Christ the spiritual at His second coming. You can’t separate them all through Scripture, so Paul makes the point. Looking at the verse again:
I Corinthians 15:46-48
“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural (referring to Adam); and afterward that which is spiritual.” In other words, all of us began with the natural man Adam. And the reason we call him natural was God created him out of the dust of the earth.
“The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven (see how plain that is?). As is the earthy (the offspring of Adam), such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly (the spiritual realm), such are they also that are heavenly.”
All the way up through the Old Testament, especially when we began studying Israel, I pointed out Israel was God’s earthly people. All their promises were earthly, they had no concept of dying and going to Heaven. They only saw the grave, and many of them, of course, didn’t believe in life hereafter, but those that did only saw a Kingdom on this earth which has been promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the rest of them. They were an earthly people. Now when we get to the Church Age, oh, what a difference! Now we’re not an earthly people, but rather a heavenly people. Our citizenship according to the Apostle Paul, is already in Heaven. Oh, we’re still tied to the old earth, but our citizenship is in Heaven as we see in the Book of Colossians. This is Paul’s prayer on behalf of the Colossi believers.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (or prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who (in reference to God the Father) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath (past tense) translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Well, where is the Kingdom tonight? It’s up in Heaven; it’s where Christ is. And so this is why we are already citizens of glory, because that’s where Christ is. Now, one day when He comes and brings the Kingdom back to earth, we will be with Him there also. And then of course we will be reigning and ruling with Him on the earth. Now come back to I Corinthians 15 again as we didn’t quite get finished. Going on to verse 49 (and remember, verse 48 shows things that are earthy, things that are heavenly are heavenly):
I Corinthians 15::49,50
“And as we have borne the image of the earthy (of course we are, we’re sons of Adam, flesh and blood), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (we’re going to move from the natural state to the heavenly). Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”
So what has to happen? We’ll have to have a new body. That just stands to reason, and it will be fashioned after Christ’s Resurrected Body. That’s our hope, that one day we’ll have that glorious body that won’t be contained by walls or ceilings or space. And yet I think we will enjoy the pleasures of eating and enjoying some of these things, and it will all be possible because our Lord ate out there on the shores of Galilee after the Resurrection.
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, `Peace be unto you.’ But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, `Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have,’ And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, `Have ye here any meat?’ And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honey comb. And he took it, and did eat before them.”
Isn’t that just as plain as day? Now come back to Romans Chapter 5, verse 15. Now the reason that Paul has been laying all of this out in front of us is to again establish a basic doctrine especially for us as Gentiles. Recently, when we had our seminar in Minneapolis, I had a Jewish lady come and ask some questions. She said that she was a Jewish believer, but she said that she was getting kind of worried. She asked, “If the rapture were to take place tonight, because I’m a Jew, will I be left behind?” Oh, lands no, because you’re a member of the Body of Christ. When we come into the Body of Christ, the Church, it doesn’t matter what color we are. It doesn’t matter if we are Jew or Gentile. We are all one in Christ if we have believed the Gospel for our Salvation (Reference I Corinthians 15:1-4). So when the rapture takes place, yes, Jewish believers are going to go along with us as will people who may have come from other backgrounds, because we are one in Christ. Now verse 15:
“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one (this is Adam) many (or all as the Scripture says in other places) be dead, much more the grace of God,…”
In reality, according to what God has done, every human being who was born of Adam should one day be in glory, because there is none left out. But why won’t they be? They have chosen not to be. The Scripture makes it plain that all have had their opportunity. I know that’s hard to swallow, but God in His Sovereignty understands and that’s what the Scripture has explained.
“… and the gift (the people who think they must work for their Salvation are flying in the face of this Book, because it’s a gift. That’s something that God has done for the human race out of the goodness of His heart. He has given it as a gift. But many people will try to work for it, and God won’t stand for it. So the gift) by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”
Do you see how the Scriptures go back and forth with the terminology? In some places Christ is called God over and over. Here Paul refers to Him as the Man. Now that’s not taking away from His Deity; it’s just simply going right along with His whole virgin birth that He was born God in the flesh, but He was also born human. So I like to refer to Him as the God-Man.
“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift:…”
That’s a double negative there and that can get confusing. Maybe I can clarify it. As I’ve said before, we are not sinners because we ate of the forbidden fruit. We’re not guilty of the similitude of Adam’s sin. That’s what he did. We didn’t do anything to merit condemnation, we inherited it. We’re sons of Adam, and we are immediately born into this world spiritually dead. Spiritually an enemy of God. Now it’s hard for me to explain, but that’s God’s business and He doesn’t make any mistakes. So we just have to take it by faith that this is the way God has set the whole thing in motion. That He created Adam innocent, sinless, perfect; but Adam fell, and then God decreed that everyone that came from Adam would be a fallen creature. But He did everything to bring that fallen creature back to his original state if they will only believe. It’s always been by faith. Adam and Eve were restored into fellowship by faith, and it was that way all the way up through the Old Testament. We didn’t go through what Adam did. Neither did Christ go through what Adam did, but He superseded it. Everything that Adam accomplished to bring the human race into condemnation, God, through the Person of Jesus Christ, has reconciled it. He’s paid the debt, and done everything possible to bring man back unto Himself. Now reading the verse in it’s entirety.
“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one (Adam) to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.”
Oh, it’s beyond our comprehension and that’s why we have to take it by faith. There is no way you can understand it. I know I can’t, and I don’t even pretend to, but I know The Book says it and I believe it, and I can rest in it. I never have to worry or wonder if I’m going to make it. I know there are many people who have spent a lifetime preaching The Word, and as they face the grim reaper they start to wonder and worry, “Where am I going to spend eternity? Have I done enough good? Have I done this or that? Am I going to make it.” Wouldn’t that be awful to be in that situation? Remember, none of us could do enough good to merit Salvation. But we rest by faith on this finished work of the Cross. Don’t worry about where you will spend eternity if you have placed your faith in the Gospel. So the free gift, that which we do not work for, is of many offences. In other words, everyone of us are guilty of a whole train-load of sins. But they’ve all been canceled, and paid for by the work of the Cross. I know I have people out there that are sitting there shaking their heads. But listen, this isn’t my idea, this is exactly what The Book says. And that’s why I like for them to put the Scripture on the screen. I’d rather you see the Scripture for yourself and just read it as it’s on the screen.
“…but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.”
LESSON ONE * PART IV
JUSTIFICATION – GOD DECLARES US JUST AS IF WE HAVE NEVER SINNED. ROMANS CHAPTER 5
Now as we begin our last lesson for today, I trust that you are studying with us. Iris and I hope that every one of you have an interest in reading your Bible, understanding it, and hopefully coming to a knowledge of Salvation because that’s why this Book is given to the human race: that we can be brought back into a fellowship with The Creator. In the last lesson we commented on verse 15 and 16, so let’s read them once again before going into verse 17.
Remember, Paul wrote as he was moved by the Holy Spirit. I’ve always stressed Paul’s Apostleship for the Church Age as compared with Christ’s earthly ministry and the Four Gospels. Many people will say, “I’m going to go by what Jesus said.” These people mean well, but they’re not thinking. Because everything that Jesus said in His earthly ministry, with the exception of the last chapter of each one of the Four Gospels after His Resurrection, was said before the Cross. He hadn’t died yet, He hadn’t shed His blood. So if you’re going by what Jesus said in His earthly ministry then you’re going by that which was before the Cross. Now when you get to the Apostle Paul he makes it so plain that everything he has received, he received from the risen Lord in glory. So Paul’s words are still the words of Jesus, only now in the time that’s most appropriate – post Resurrection. He has finished the work of the Cross, and so I stand by my guns that we have to adhere to the writings of Paul because this is where the meat of our doctrine really lies.
“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many (in other words all that will believe).”
“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift (in other words, as Adam plunged the human race into condemnation with his act of sin, so Christ has lifted the human race, by virtue of death on the Cross): for the judgment was by one to condemnation (every one is under that condemnation), but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.”
And like I’ve said in the last three lessons, Paul is just hammering this theme of justification home. I don’t want anyone who has heard me teach these first few chapters of Romans ever forget this word “Justification.” This is what we are, we’re justified by a judicial decree of the Almighty God Himself, that since we have believed the Gospel for our Salvation, then He can restore us back as Adam was before he fell. Of course we’re still going to sin, and He has made compensation for all of that by virtue of His Advocacy at the Father’s right hand. Now let’s move on into verse 17.
“For if by one man’s offence (Adam’s) death reigned (as a king) by one (because of Adam); much more…”
Do you see how Paul is constantly driving home the Grace of God, which is going to compensate for the fall of Adam, is greater than anything Adam did? And this is what we have to understand, that, yes, it seems like God is severe in condemning everyone who was born out of Adam’s race, but yet He’s not severe because He’s made the way back for every human being without lifting a finger. If God would makes us do something almost impossible for our Salvation then that would be different, but He doesn’t. He just lays it right out in front of every human being. You know when I teach John Chapter 10 the good shepherd chapter, I always ask where is the door to that sheep fold? Is it up on some cliff? Is it across the ocean? No it’s on ground level, it’s where anybody can walk through it. It’s accessible for anyone to go into the door of the sheep fold. So Salvation is not something that people have to obtain or work for or grasp at, but rather it’s right in front of every human being. Now reading on.
“For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign (not like old death does, but now we’re going to reign forever) in life by one, Jesus Christ.”
Not because of what I do, but because of what He accomplished. So as Adam was the federal head of the human race, and he plunged everyone into a place of condemnation, the second Adam, Jesus Christ has accomplished everything that is necessary to bring fallen man back to Himself. The only difference is now there has to be an exercise of will. Now I know there is a lot of controversy of how much will is exercised in Salvation, and how much of it is in election. But nevertheless, I sort of bring the two extremes to the middle, and granted, God has to open our eyes, and hearts. But on the other hand man has the prerogative to reject it. And I think that is what will be so hard on lost people when they go through all eternity regretting their rejection of God’s opportunity.
Now verse 18. Notice that verse starts out with “Therefore.” When Paul uses `therefore’ and `wherefore,’ just go back and see what he has said. This is so heavy and important that it’s just repeated over and over for about two or three chapters. That means God wants us to get it straight. Yet Salvation can be by nothing that man can do, but it’s all been accomplished by the work of the Cross, and He is just in being the Justifier of those who believe. He’s not cutting corners. God isn’t winking at man’s sins. He has paid the total price for it so now He can be just in justifying the unbeliever.
“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (this constantly brings the two into play) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
Now this isn’t just in Romans. Come back with me to the Book of Ephesians for a moment. We haven’t bounced back and forth in these past few lessons because Romans is so self explanatory. But for a change of pace let’s look at Ephesians Chapter 2. Now remember, Paul always writes to the believer.
AND you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins (why? Because of Adam); Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (remember II Corinthians 4:3,4. Well here it is again), the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation (or manner of living) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature (what does that mean? We’re born with it) the children of wrath, even as others.”
That’s where we have come from. Now verse 4. Oh, for twenty-five years I’ve been teaching people to look for this next little word. “But” and that’s the flip side. Oh, we were the children of wrath, and disobedience, we were enemies of God, but what happened?
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins (we were filthy with sin), hath quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ,…”
Now what’s that a picture of? His Resurrection. Remember I always like to put it this way. When Christ was on the Cross God saw you and I there with Him. When He was in the tomb, whom did God see there with Him? You and I. And as He rose from the dead in Resurrection power, who was in there with Him? You and I. And here Paul brings it out. We have been raised out of that deadness.
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
We are so special tonight. Just because we believe the Gospel for our Salvation, He considers us as already seated with Him in the heavenlies. And so we wait for Him to come and take us to Himself. I had one listener write that she had just lost a loved one, and wanted some comfort. She knew that she was a believer, and I just sent back a few verses to her; and I got her answer today. What a comfort to know that our loved ones, if we know they were believers, are in His presence. They’re already seated in the heavenlies, and so it’s not that big a jump from here to there, and that’s why we don’t have to fear death. They can kill the body, but they can’t kill that which is already a citizen of Heaven.
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus (now for a couple of verses that most of us have all memorized some where along the line). For by grace (unmerited favor) are ye saved (and what’s the vehicle that saves you?) through faith (now Grace has made it possible, but faith is the vehicle); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Now I know this is nothing new for you, but get these things down pat so that you can share with your unsaved friends and neighbors that there is nothing that they can do. They can not join enough churches, they can’t go to enough baptisms, they can’t go through anything else that you can name, because if they could it would no longer be a gift. But when they just simply receive it by faith, Oh, then God does everything that needs to be done.
” Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
But that’s not going to be the case. There isn’t going to be a single soul in Heaven that’s going to be able to brag about what they did to get there. Because everyone, and that also includes the Old Testament believer, is going to be there because of “Faith + Nothing.” Now verse 10, and it doesn’t stop there. We’re not just saved to go on our way and do nothing about it. God has the next step in our life as a believer and that is:
“For we are his workmanship (we’re the result of actually a recreation of God Himself, so we become a workmanship), in Christ Jesus unto good works (absolutely we’re to let the world understand where we’re coming from. We’ve been created for good works), which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
In other words, before He ever created Adam, and He saw the whole mess that mankind was going to go into, yet He had already fore-ordained that His believers, those that were His should maintain good works. Now I have to think even as I speak, “What about Abraham?” What kind of a man was Abraham in the eyes of his contemporaries? They thought the world of him. From what I can gather, Abraham never had a bad word said about him except the one time he tried to pawn off his wife as his sister, but Abraham was well-spoken of, the great businessman that he must have been, and it was the same way with Jacob. Jacob was a rascal, he was a cheat, but once he met The Lord there at Peniel there was never another bad word said about him. He was an example for others from then on. And on up through the Old Testament and into the New we find that every time one of God’s choice servants come on the scene, we see good works. That’s what we’re created for, and He knew that before He ever created Adam that this would be the result of a Salvation experience. Now for the next few moments let’s go back Romans Chapter 5.
“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
I know it’s repetition, but it’s for a purpose. The Scripture repeats all of this and I’m repeating it, because God want us to understand and not be in a fog about it whatsoever, that the moment we believe the finished work of the Cross, God has justified us by virtue of His shed Blood. He has declared us “Just as if we have never sinned.” That has such a psychological impact. When we move through our daily life, and we are constantly aware from the moment we awake until we go to sleep at night that we are a justified person, I can guarantee that will effect our behavior. If it doesn’t, there’s something wrong. When you understand you’re declared a justified person by an act of God, it must have an effect.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many (all) were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Now for a moment let’s go to the Book of Philippians Chapter 2. Absolutely, Christ was obedient. Just as surely as Isaac was when Abraham laid him upon that altar. There is nothing in Scripture that he fought back, he was totally obedient to the wishes of his father Abraham. Here we have that in Christ in verse 5:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (He was equal with God); But made himself of no reputation (Who made Him that way? He did Himself. He lowered Himself from being the mighty Creator God to a man walking the streets of dusty Palestine), and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Now what could He have done? He could have zapped the whole thing. He could have stricken every Roman soldier, and every Jewish Priest in Jerusalem with just a spoken word. But He was obedient because He knew it was the will of the Father, the Godhead of which He was part. Now back to Romans again:
“Moreover the law entered (that was 2500 years after Adam), that the offence might abound (the Law entered so that God could get control of sinful men. The Law showed how sinful man really was. That’s all the Law could do then and that’s all the Law can do today. It has no saving power, or no power of justification whatsoever; it shows us our sins). But where sin abounded (by the time that Christ came in His first advent the whole world was steeped in idolatry, and paganism, and sin abounded. We think it’s bad today, and they talk about new this and new that, but nothing has changed. Everything that we see today has been part and parcel of the human race down through history, the only thing is it’s so magnified tonight because of our tremendous numbers, but nevertheless it still stands that where sin abounded), grace did much more abound: ”
LESSON TWO * PART I
WHERE SIN ABOUNDS, GRACE MUCH MORE ABOUNDS. ROMANS 6:1-14
Let’s get back into Romans Chapter 5, verses 20, and 21. As I teach the Old Testament, especially Genesis and the Book of Revelation, there is no problem keeping people’s interest. But when you start teaching in a book like Romans, people are not as excited. They should be because this is where we are. But I will say that the response from our television audience has been almost as good as it was when we were teaching the exciting Book of Revelation. My, I had a call from the state of Indiana the other day, and this fellow couldn’t say enough for what Romans was doing for him.
“Moreover the law entered, that the offence (the fall, the sin) might abound (sounds like the Law caused sin to abound doesn’t it? It wasn’t that the Law caused people to sin more, but the Law caused people to realize how sinful they were. We’re not sinners because we break the Law, but rather we break the Law because we’re sinners. Our whole sin problem began with Adam, we have inherited it; so the very nature of mankind is to be sinful. When the Law came in all it could do was show man how sinful he really was. That is what Paul is trying to drive home in these chapters). But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:”
I like to call this three letter word `sin’ singular, the old Adam, or the old sin nature. Never lose sight of that, and you won’t do any violence to Scripture if you use it synonymous as such.
“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:”
Go back into human history, or even in our own present day. When you read of the horrendous atrocities that armed forces can commit against their enemy. How can they do that? Take the country of Yugoslavia. How can these young men from one area of the world that are fighting against their enemies lose all sense of morality. They think any female is free game for their animal appetite, and nobody seems to try to take that appetite away from them; they appear to have full liberty. In fact I read the statement of one general of a bygone time. He said, “Well that’s just one of the privileges of being a foot soldier.” Where do they get such thinking? Why do these young men suddenly lose everything that they must have learned at their momma’s knee? It’s that old sin nature, and everyone of us, as we saw back in Romans Chapters 1 and 2, are capable of those same things. I tried to explain in Chapter 3, when the old sin nature is exposed for what it really is, and God says, “we are all sinners,” then we must stop and realize that under like circumstances we would probably be prone to do the same thing.
During my own service days, back in basic training (I was older than most of the kids that were coming in), these seventeen year-olds, especially, would be doing things I just knew they didn’t do back home. I would ask them about it once in a while. “Did you do this at home?” They would answer, “Oh no!” “Well, why do you do it here?” I asked. They replied, “Because nobody knows me here.” Isn’t that the perfect answer? Even the unbeliever can be inhibited by virtue of his surroundings, his circumstances, his parental influence, and the influence of community. But you put them in a totally strange environment, away from home, and the old Adam has free course. See, this is just what happens then when soldiers of an invading army can just pillage a community and rape the women, and seemly it doesn’t bother them. That’s the old Adam. And every one of us before we were saved would have been capable of those same things, because that’s where the human race is coming from. So this is what Paul is trying to show, that the old Adam abounds with sin, but where sin abounds the Grace of God is always greater.
“That as sin (the old Adam) hath reigned (like a king) unto death, even so might grace reign…”
Like a king. We have these two alternatives. We can either let old Adam rule supreme, or we can let the Grace of God come in and overwhelm old Adam. God’s grace rules supreme, and that’s where the matter of choice comes in. God will not force anybody, so we should never try to force these things down anyone’s throat. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. As The Lord creates interest in them, and they begin to ask questions, we should be ready with all the Scriptures at our command, and then be able to bring them to a knowledge of what The Book is trying to say.
“That as sin (old Adam) hath reigned unto death (misery. Look at the world’s misery caused by Old Adam), even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I maintain that this is a narrow Book, and Christianity is a narrow concept. Christianity doesn’t reach out and say, “If you’re a Muslim, or any other religion you can still profess Christianity.” That doesn’t work, because the Scripture says, “There is no other name given under Heaven among men whereby we must be saved.” That makes it very narrow doesn’t it? Yet it’s absolute. You know I’ve been stressing the absoluteness of The Word of God, and I always like to stress that this Book stands head and shoulders above any other religious book in this world, because it’s the only Book on earth that tells the future, hundreds and thousands of years in advance. It has been fulfilled so far, and the rest will be. There is not another book on earth that can do that. The Bible is absolute, and we can trust it. Grace abounds more even where sin abounds.
“WHAT shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin (shall we continue to let old Adam have his way and reign as king?), that grace may abound? God forbid….”
Don’t even think such a thought. Now if I understand Greek correctly the term `God’ isn’t even in verse 2. It’s rather “banish the thought.” Just because God’s Grace is so overwhelming that we are now free to do as we please, let old Adam control us, and God will somehow take care of it. If you explain to some curiosity seeker that the Grace of God is greater than all our sins, that we’re not under any demands of the Law, but rather we’re living under Grace, they will shake their heads, and say, “Well you’re telling me that you can do whatever you want to do, and God’s Grace will take care of it?” No, I’ve never taught that. In fact I’ve told my classes now for over 25 years that “Grace is not license.” Grace is not license; it doesn’t give us the freedom to do as we please; it just simply changes our appetites, and our motives. But beginning here in Romans 3:7 Paul was up against the same thing.
“For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) [We are being falsely accused of this very thing that when we proclaim the Grace of God as being so great, and so free, then they accuse us of saying, “Well you can just do as you please because the Grace of God will take care of it.” But look at Paul’s answer] Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin (and under His Grace);” Now Chapter 6 again. Paul says:
“…Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid (and here is the reason), How shall we, that are dead to sin (old Adam), live any longer therein?” When did our old Adam die? The moment we believed the Gospel. God reckoned him dead, crucified. See that’s what Paul meant in Galatians Chapter 2.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Now the whole work of the Gospel in the hearts of men is that we can put old Adam on the Cross, reckon him as dead, no longer ruling as a king; he is kaput, and now we have Christ living and reigning in His Grace. Now verse 3: Here is where I’ll probably run into a buzz saw of controversy, but I’m going to teach it as I feel The Lord has led me to, although it’s completely opposite of what I used to practice years and years ago. I used this verse just as much as anybody to convince people of water baptism, but I suddenly saw that this goes way beyond water baptism. And all I ask people to do is not take my word for it, but open their eyes, and take off the blinders of tradition, and look at what The Book says.
“Know ye not, that so many of us were baptized into (not the Church, not a denomination, but rather baptized into) Jesus Christ (water can’t do that, water can’t put anybody into the Body of Christ, and I can prove that from Scripture. This has to be the work of the Spirit of God. It will break down if you try to make this teach water baptism) were baptized into his death?”
Let’s look at some references. Turn with me first to I Corinthians Chapter 12, and look what The Book says (regardless of what I say). Here is Paul’s use of the word which is strictly Pauline. Now when I use the word `Pauline’ I hope everybody understands I mean that which came from the pen of the Apostle Paul. This is a Pauline term, “The Body of Christ.” In Ephesians 1, he makes it so plain as he uses the, “Body of Christ, and the Church which is His Body.” It’s the same concept here in I Corinthians Chapter 12, except in verse 12 he’s using the human body as an example.
I Corinthians 12:12
“For as the body (this human body) is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are (still) one body (now he’s talking about this body – we have eyes, fingers, toes, hands, legs, the whole body, and all of its members are still singular in its purpose. They are singular in their nerve endings. If you strike your thumb with a hammer, the whole body will hurt, not just the thumb, because it all goes to that central nervous system. Paul is using that as an example. And look what he says at the end of the verse): so also is Christ.
He is the Head of the Body which is composed of many members. Now I know there are some that just ridicule this idea of the so-called Body of Christ as being an invisible entity, but the Scriptures don’t. The Scripture teaches it, especially in Paul’s writings, that we now become members of the Body of Christ of which He is the Head in Heaven, and we’re the Body still here on the earth. How did we become then a member of the Body of Christ? How did we get into that organism? Well we didn’t sign up for it, some preacher didn’t baptize you into it. But first you had to believe the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4), and the Holy Spirit automatically and immediately the moment we believe did what’s in verse 13:
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit (see how clear that is? And it’s capitalized so it’s the Holy Spirit) are we (what’s the next word?) all baptized into one body,…” That doesn’t mean everybody is going to be saved. Paul only writes to believers, so when he says all, he’s not including the lost, but rather every believer.
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into (not a local Church or denomination, but into) one body,…”
Now that’s an act of God, that’s something that we can’t put our hands on. That’s in the area of the invisible again. When we started our study in Romans, I put all the things on the blackboard that God did the moment we believed. And I said that everyone of them are such that you can’t put your fingers on them. You can’t see them, or touch them, but we know they happened. How? By faith. Because The Book says so that this is what God did, and we believe it. I can’t look back and say I could feel when the Holy Spirit put me into the Body, or that others saw it happen. No, I can’t say that, and neither can you. But we know it happened because The Book says it did. The moment that every child of God believes, the Holy Spirit baptizes them into the Body of Christ.
Now the word `baptized’ in the Greek, even in classic Greek such as Homer would use, the word “Baptizo” many times would refer to a ship being sunk at sea. So what did the word really imply? Well, I always like to use the phrase “totally engulfed,” When something was baptizoed, when something was baptized it was totally engulfed. That didn’t always mean by water, and in the spiritual realm it could mean a lot of things. In other words, Israel, coming out of Egypt was spoken of as being baptized unto Moses. What does that mean? The Nation of Israel was totally engulfed in Moses’ leadership. And when we speak of something being baptized it’s again meaning that it’s totally engulfed by it. For example:
I Corinthians 12:13a
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,…” We were totally engulfed, we weren’t just set up on the edge someplace, but rather we were engulfed in all this. Let’s finish this verse and then let’s turn to the Book of Colossians for a moment.
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit are we all (every believer, not just the most spiritual) baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” Now let’s turn to Colossians Chapter 3, and see where that puts us. Here’s where this baptism puts us as we’re in the Body, and here is our position tonight as believers.
“For ye are dead (old Adam), and your life (that which took the place of Old Adam, that new creation) is hid with Christ (where) in God.”
See how plain that is? So the moment we believed, we were placed into the Body of Christ, and that Body of Christ is hid in God. And that gives me another loaded shell for my security of a person that is genuinely saved. There is no one that can get at us there. Now let’s back up in Colossians in Chapter 1. All of these things took place by virtue of the Holy Spirit baptizing us, engulfing us again in the Body of Christ, into the very core of God’s being, even while He is still in Heaven, and we’re still on the earth, yet our position is there. Here Paul has been praying on behalf of the Colossi believers. And he comes down to the end of his prayer in verse 12.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (or prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who (speaking of God the Father) hath (past tense) delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into (See that position? Just like being baptized, engulfed by) the kingdom of his dear Son:”
LESSON TWO * PART II
WHERE SIN ABOUNDS, GRACE MUCH MORE ABOUNDS. ROMANS 6:1-14
Back to Romans Chapter 6. We have the same kind of language so we’ll read verse 3 as we go into verse 4.
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ (that was the work of the Holy Spirit. Ref. I Corinthians 12:13) were baptized into his death?”
Remember the Gospel, that Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, and that He arose again from the dead. Now that’s the Gospel, and we have to go through that spiritually at least in the mind of God, and we experience it by faith, that when He died, we died. As He was buried, we also were buried. And as He arose from the grave, we arose in newness of life. And as I said in the last lesson, this goes way beyond what water baptism can do. This is the work of the Almighty Himself, and now verse 4:
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Now I don’t know of any denomination that teaches that when they baptize you with water, they are baptizing you into death. Most are baptizing you into the Church, or into the denomination, but you see this is into something far different. Now this means that Christ was really dead. He proved that by being in the tomb for three days and three nights. He was really dead, and the same thing has to happen to us in the realm of old Adam. Old Adam has to die, and we have to be sure he’s dead, and so as He died, we died in the mind of God. He saw us in the tomb, and that’s the baptism He speaks of in verse 4. That again as we were engulfed in that three days in the tomb experience of Christ Himself, so also we have died, and we’ll see that in more detail in the Book of Romans.
Now, in order for us to experience the resurrection from the grave we naturally had to go into it. But we’re not going to stay there any more than Christ did, we are resurrected out of it. Turn for a moment to the Book of Ephesians. Because this a theme Paul never drops all through his epistles, he’s always hammering this home. That Christ died for our sins, and that as He died, we have to die, and out of that death we get new eternal life. Now let’s look at Ephesians Chapter 2 for a moment. Paul always writes to believers. I’m forever telling you Paul always writes to believers, and to make my point let’s flip back to Ephesians Chapter 1.
“PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:” See this is to every believer, and every believer according to Scripture is a saint. So these Pauline letters all start basically the same way, and that’s where I get it that Paul writes only to the believer. Now on to Chapter 2, and see how this all fits together.
“AND you (as a believer) hath (it’s already done) he quickened, (made alive with eternal life) who were dead in trespasses and sins;” In other words, the unsaved world in all their activity as they go barreling up and down these freeways, and as they are in their offices, and all their fast lane experiences – what are they? They’re dead! It’s a world full of dead people; not physically dead, but spiritually dead. They are wrapped up in the spider web of Satan, and I’ll show you a verse for that in just a moment.
“Wherein (in that life of sin) in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (Satan), the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all (you and I, every believer has come out of that kind of lifestyle) had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
Back in the forties or fifties there was a popular song which went something like, “Doing what comes naturally.” When you do what comes naturally, who are you abiding by? The old nature under the control of Satan. But then we have the flip side in verse 4:
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,”
The flip side is we are no longer in that lifestyle. Now because of God’s Grace and His mercy, we are experiencing His love. Back to Romans 6. So we have be engulfed into the very death of Christ Himself. We have to identify with that. Old Adam has to die, and we have to be separated from him. Verse 4 again:
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so (in the same manner) we also should walk in newness of life.”
A verse comes to mind in II Corinthians that we can use here. These are concepts that not too many people are hearing, and yet it’s so fundamental to our Christian plan of Salvation.
II Corinthians 5:17,18
“Therefore if any man be in (positional term. That person who has been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body) Christ, he is a new creature (creation is a better word than creature, because our Salvation is a work of creation, a work of the power of God): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
“And all things are of God (as a believer don’t ever get the idea that you’re going to have a rose petal pathway. No way, we’re going to have just as many trials and tests as the world. The only difference is we have a stabilizing power that’s going to see us through it), who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us (it’s our responsibility to share this with those around us) the ministry of reconciliation;”
Now come back to Romans again. So now we have been raised from the dead even as Christ was, we are now quickened, we have been given new life, we’ve been given a whole new set of principles and values, and then in verse 5 he’s going to explain it with even a more simple explanation. And he’s going to do that by using the word “Planted.” This may give away my age, but how many of you remember the old radio comedy team of Fibber McGee and Molly, one of the characters of their program was the old undertaker. Remember that? His name was Digger O’Dell, and I can’t help but think of old Digger every time I see this verse, because he was always going out to plant somebody. We used to laugh at that, but it was so Scripturally true. That’s just exactly what we do when we take a loved one to the cemetery who’s a believer. And if the Lord tarries long enough and I go the way of the cemetery, they’re going to do the same thing with me; they’re going to plant me. That’s exactly what Paul is alluding to, and that is, when the body is placed in the earth in death, it’s waiting for the resurrection day. And out of that death will come resurrection life, and that’s why he uses the term. I’m going to take you back, and Jesus used the same analogy. Alright, verse 5 …
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death (what he’s talking about? The tomb. If we have been in the tomb as He was; if we have been buried because we’re dead, and old Adam is now crucified, here’s the guarantee), we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”
Just as surely as He rose from the dead, then one day we will also, if we have to go that route. I’m trusting that before that happens The Lord is going to come, and we’re going to be out of here. (Ref. I Thessalonians 4:13-18) Now verse 6, and here Paul is going to recap. How is all of this possible? What’s he talking about?
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him,…”
What does crucifixion do? It puts to death, it kills. Turn for a moment to John Chapter 12, and I’m going to show you that Paul is not out in left field with all of this. He’s following right in the concept of Christ Himself as He spoke just before He was crucified. Here it’s building up for the week of Passover, and there are multitudes of Jews who have come in from the then-known world for this Feast of Passover. But just as when we go to Israel, we like to go down to the Wailing Wall, and watch the carrying on of these Jews at their Wailing Wall, I imagine that it was pretty much the same way back then. Some Gentiles may have been visiting Jerusalem on business, and so forth, because I personally don’t think these Greeks were proselytes, but probably just curiosity seekers, and they had been hearing about this Jesus of Nazareth, and all the miracles that He had been performing. Let’s start at verse 20. It picks up with these Gentiles in the midst of all these Jews.
“And there were certain Greeks (Gentiles) among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same (Gentiles, and we don’t know how many there were) came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, `Sir, we would see Jesus.'”
We would like to talk to this fellow. My we’ve heard a lot about Him. You know Philip had a hot potato, and he didn’t know exactly how to handle it because he knew that Jesus had nothing to do with Gentiles (Ref. Matthew 10:5) for three years, with but two exceptions, and they were tough ones. So Philip was wondering how he was going to handle this. Philip knows Jesus isn’t going to see a Gentile so he cops out by taking the problem over to Andrew.
“Philip cometh and telleth Andrew (can’t you just picture that conversation? And I can hear old Andrew tell Philip, “Now wait a minute Philip, we can’t take this responsibility on ourselves, we had better at least go in and ask Him.” So Philip and Andrew pick their way through the crowd and find Jesus.): and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.”
“And Jesus answered them (Philip, and Andrew), saying (bring them in? Take me to them? No!), `The hour is come (probably within 48 hours before He would be on the Cross), that the Son of man should be glorified (speaking of His death, burial, and Resurrection). Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn (kernel) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.'”
Now what’s He talking about? If you take that kernel of wheat, and leave it in a granary some place it will never reproduce, but rather what does it have to do? It has to be planted, and when you plant something then you’re burying it. Now as a result of that burial, the moisture, the sunshine, and all the activity in nature, what happens to that kernel of wheat? It dies, it rots, but out of that death will come that new green shoot. Out of that little green shoot will come the stem, and maybe a hundred kernels. Now Jesus is using that simple illustration in reference to His own death, burial, and Resurrection. That unless He is to die, and spend those three days and nights in the grave, and be resurrected from the dead, then there would be no Salvation for those Greeks. See, He’s already looking forward to the time when the Gospel (Ref I Corinthians 15:1-4) would go to the Gentiles.
I know a lot of people don’t understand this, but all the way from Genesis Chapter 12 to the Apostle Paul there were precious few Gentiles that had access to Salvation. There were a few exceptions, such as the city of Nineveh, Ruth, the Moabites, and Rahab, but for the most part it was Jew only, and Paul makes that plain in the Book of Ephesians Chapter 2. In fact, let’s look at it for a moment so I can show you what I’m talking about. Again Paul is writing to the Gentile believers at Ephesus, and in that area of the world.
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands (in other words, the Jew would refer to the Gentiles as uncircumcised); That at that time (when God was dealing with the Circumcision only, the Jew, and the Circumcision had no time for the Gentiles in spiritual things) ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel (that left them out of the Covenant promise of Israel) and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”
Now that was the lot of those Greeks. But they weren’t without hope, because what was soon to take place? His death, burial, and His Resurrection, and then as He would come forth from the grave just like that wheat that would grow up, it wouldn’t just come up with one kernel, but many. So this is the whole concept of Scripture, and that is this whole idea of death, burial, and Resurrection, and I think that is why God has saturated nature with it. Every place we look we are reminded of death, burial, and resurrection. As we live in a temperate climate the seasons speak of it, we go into winter, and everything is dead, and dormant. But come springtime we have new life. See, that’s resurrection life, and I think that’s the reason The Lord planned to have Easter, as we call it, in the springtime. And of course that’s what gave Satan the option to adulterate Easter, but nevertheless we’re to look beyond the adulteration of Satan, and look at the truth of Scripture that everything is wrapped up in His death, burial, and Resurrection. Now come back to Romans Chapter 6, and completing verse 6:
“Knowing this, that our old man (old Adam or sin nature) is crucified with him (that’s when our old Adam was crucified, and that was when Christ was. A lot of people can’t understand what we have to do with Someone who died 2000 years ago, and that’s a logical question. But it has everything to do with us today, because you see it was God Himself Who was there on the Cross. And God’s eternal. With God 2000 years is like a snap of the finger. So far as He’s concerned, His death, burial and Resurrection was almost contemporary with us), that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
The thought I want to leave as we wind down this lessons is this. Every believer of all the ages God saw in Christ. I mean that’s one of the miracles of Scriptures. This is one of the miracles of Salvation, that regardless of whether it was Adam or the last person that will find Salvation at the end of time as we know it, everyone of them God saw in the person of Christ as He hung on that Cross.
LESSON TWO * PART III
WHERE SIN ABOUNDS, GRACE MUCH MORE ABOUNDS. ROMANS 6:1-14
Now let’s get down to the subject at hand, and that would be in Romans Chapter 6, and this whole idea of overcoming the old sin nature, old Adam, and to enter into this new life which, of course, is what Christianity is all about. Christianity is not a religion, it’s not just something that we work for, it is something that is all accomplished by the Grace of God and by His power, and that alone. Now let’s review verse 6 and come right on into verse 7.
“Knowing this, that our old man (the old nature) is crucified (put to death)…:
Let’s stop and qualify. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, and God had made only one stipulation, one responsibility, and that was not to eat of that one tree, God said:
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, `Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'”
Now I call that the very first fundamental law in Scripture. Then it’s repeated in Ezekiel.
“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Then Paul in that classic third Chapter of Romans tells us:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
And so God has mandated that as soon as Adam sinned, and as soon as every son of Adam has sinned, what has to be the result? Death! And there is no getting around it. The soul that sinneth has to die. It’s a command of God, but God gave mankind what we call a loophole. Yes we have to die, but we do not have to die in ourselves, we can take Christ’s death as our substitution. And so this is the whole concept then of Salvation, and that is, yes, we have to die because we’re sinners, but if we will just simply believe the Gospel, then Christ’s death takes our place. That’s what we call the substitutionary death of Christ. He took my place, and He took yours. So that’s why Paul has to teach that the old Adam has to be crucified, he has to be put to death because he’s a sinner. Now let’s read on.
“For he that is dead is freed from sin (or old Adam).”
I used to have two judges in my classes years ago, and one of them has since passed away, and when we would come to something like this, then naturally it always helped to get the feedback from somebody who has firsthand knowledge on these things. And when we would come to this idea that old Adam had to die in order to be broken from any relationship in the future, then I would use the analogy, especially with one of these judges in the class, by saying, “Now look, you have someone up for murder, and you’ve gone all the way through the trial process, and it’s evident that he was guilty. In fact, you can almost bet that the jury is going to vote to put him to death, but what if about a week before it’s all over the guy dies? He’s dead, then what?” Well, you all know how those judges answered. The trial’s over. It’s all done, because you don’t try a dead man. Even though he was as guilty as can be there is nothing you can do once he dies. Well, it’s the same way with regard to old Adam, the only way we can separate ourselves from that old Adamic nature is to put old Adam to death. And the moment that he dies, he loses that control over us. Have you got the picture? And that’s exactly what verse 7 is saying.
“For he that is dead (been crucified) is now freed from sin (old Adam).”
And until old Adam is put to death, he reigns as a king. Now verse 8, so Paul is building all of this for our own information to increase our faith of where we are as believers.
“Now if we be dead with Christ (if we have identified with that death then that’s when we died, and that all comes by faith when we believe the Gospel), we believe that we shall also live with him:”
So it isn’t a matter of being put to death, and then it’s over, but when old Adam is put to death then life really begins. So it all begins when we enter into this new relationship with God as part and parcel of our everyday existence and experiences. Now let’s move on to verse 9; we’re going to make a little headway today.
“Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.”
Now this is another concept that we have to get locked into our thinking. Christ did not have to die over and over again. Let’s turn back to the Book of Hebrews for a moment, because there is one word back there that I want people to never forget, and it’s the word “ONCE.” Here in Hebrews, we find Paul has been referring back to Aaron’s priesthood in Israel, and here in verse 27 he’s speaking of those priests.
“Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins (that is now referring to Christ compared to the Jewish high priest), and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. Now turn on over to Chapter 9, and let’s begin with verse 11.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (or creation, in other words, speaking of the One in Heaven); Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
That finished it, that settled it. It’s so sad as we move through the active world around us, and we see these multitudes of people, and all their fast lane living. And they think no further than this life. They never think of eternity, they never think in terms of God, and His Word, and they never come to realize that everything has already been done on their behalf if they would just believe the Gospel for their Salvation. (Ref: I Corinthians 15:1-4) If they had requirements that were almost impossible to reach then it would be a different story, but that’s not what they have to do. All they have to do is believe the Gospel, and God’s will take care of the so-called hard decisions. Now let’s also look at verse 25 and 26.
“Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others (the animals); For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world (age) hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Now I have one more here in Hebrews, and that will be in Chapter 10:
“By the which will we are sanctified (or set apart) through the offering of the body (not the Church which is His Body, but rather His physical body of flesh) of Jesus Christ once for all (never to have to be done again). And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man (Jesus Christ), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
For how long? Forever. Now I would like to show you a verse I promised to share with you in our last lesson. And this is the dilemma that the world is in, and that we’re up against, as we commiserate with them. So come back to II Corinthians Chapter 4, and my lands, if this doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what does. I think God isn’t willing that we get flustered or get discouraged, or give up, and I guess I’m as tempted as anyone at times. But let’s just realize what we’re up against as we think of the unsaved world, unconcerned, living their life only for today with no thought for eternity, and here’s their problem.
II Corinthians 4:3
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.”
Again, I was thinking the other day that maybe the world out there doesn’t understand what the Scripture means when it says that they are lost, and I’m afraid there are too many who do not. But the Lord Himself many times used earthly analogies, and one He used so many times was the sheep. We know a sheep would not last 48 hours out in a wilderness without the protection of the shepherd. They have no means of self-defense, no way to defend themselves. They’re dumb. They’re lost the minute you turn them loose, and again as I was thinking about this, I pictured a sheep out in the middle of the Sahara Desert. How long would that critter last? Well, maybe hours at the most. There may not be as many wild animals out there as there would be in some other area, but whatever, when you find a sheep out in that kind of circumstance where death lurks at any moment, what is he? He’s lost! He’s helpless and lost, and that’s exactly what the Scripture is talking about.
This is mankind without Salvation, they are lost, they are without any direction in life, they have no anchor, they have no real solid principles. The old Adamic nature is ruling and reigning like a king, but they’re lost. Now that’s exactly what the word `lost’ means as it’s used here in verse 3. They have no idea that they’re lost, and neither does a sheep until it’s too late, and then he can’t do anything about it. Now verse 4, and here is the crucial dilemma.
II Corinthians 4:4
“In whom the god (Satan) of this world (remember what Ephesians 2 said in the last lesson. That they are steeped in deadness, and the works of the flesh. It’s the same thing here – Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not. lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
The reason they can’t believe The Word is because Satan has them totally blinded. Now you want to remember that you don’t have to be in total darkness to be blinded. As I get older, I’m realizing that night driving isn’t as simple as it used to be because lights blind me more than they used to. So what can blind you? A bright light, and that’s what happens to a lot of people of this world who are lost. The things of this world are so bright, and so glistening, and so attractive, but it’s blinding them. The glorious Gospel of Christ is there for them, but they cannot see it. Now back to Romans Chapter 6, and reading verse 9 again.
“Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once (He died to take care of that old Adamic nature of mankind once): but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.”
“Likewise (what does that mean? That puts us into that same category, so likewise) reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Now I’m going to say something that a lot of people aren’t going to like, but it’s the truth of Scripture. When we became believers, those of you who are genuine children of God, you’re believers, you’ve accepted the Gospel and it’s power for your Salvation; do you know that’s when we were really given the free will? See, the lost person out there doesn’t have as much freedom as he thinks he does. He’s entwined in the spider web of the Devil, the flesh, and the world. He’s all wrapped up, and only the power of God can break that. But once the power of God breaks that binding force of the lost person he’s set free, and this is the freedom that Paul expounds on. Now if we’re going to have true freedom, what’s that going to do to the exercise of our will? Hey, that leaves it with us. But look at this word here in verse 11:
What does that mean? Come to a mental conclusion. You have this freedom now. It isn’t something that’s commanded, or demanded or has already been done, but rather now it’s left with our free will that we’re going to have to come to some place of decision even as a believer. Are we going to live spiritual lives or are we going to live carnal, fleshly lives? Yes, it’s possible for a Christian to make that kind of choice. The admonition of course is to be led of the Spirit, to live profitable lives, and to bring honor, and glory to the God of glory by keeping old Adam in subjection. But you have that free will, God has not taken that away from the believer. Reading on:
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin (old Adam) but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In other words you believed, and understand all that the Gospel has done for you. Now look at the next verse:
“Let (implies choice) not sin (old Adam) reign (like a king. Now of course this is the dilemma with a lot of unhappy believers. They’re miserable. Why? Because old Adam is still controlling them, he doesn’t have to. And the implication from Scripture is, choose to be a spirit-filled believer, and not a fleshly-minded believer. But still a believer. Now reading on. Don’t let sin reign) in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
Can it happen? Sure it can. Now God is not pleased when this happens, and the first thing I have to do is remind people when they say, “Well then, they are no longer saved.” I always say, “Now wait a minute.” If a true believer is going fool around in sin, and bring reproach upon the name of Christ, the first thing God will do is discipline him. That’s over in Hebrews just as plain as day.
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?”
God doesn’t chasten the unbeliever, but He will chasten the believer if he starts dabbling in sin. If the chastening doesn’t wake him up, and bring him to par then what will God do? Take him out. We call that the sin unto death, and Paul certainly teaches that. (Ref: I Corinthians 5:1-5) Let’s just read verse 5: This is a story about a believer who was committing a terrible sin.
I Corinthians 5:5
“To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
I think it’s rather sobering that we as believers had better be aware that if we start being obnoxious in our Christian behavior then God is going to spank. And God is the originator of discipline, He knows how. You know there are a lot of child psychologists that try to tell the parents how to discipline. You talk to them first, and then talk a little stronger second, and maybe send them to their room. Only when things get real tough do you give them that spanking on their little rear which is the real discipline. Well, God knows how to do all that better. So He will begin with discipline, and if discipline won’t do it, then He’s going to give us a good old whipping. And if that doesn’t do it, then we’re out of here, and I’ve seen it happen where a believer just refuses to come back, and bring honour to the glory of God, and just that quick they’re gone. Now I certainly don’t believe they were lost. I believe that God took them out for a purpose so that they would no longer bring reproach to His name. God will not permit His name to be dragged by a believer through the mud of this world. Let’s close with verse 13.
“Let not sin therefore reign (like a king) in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield (it’s a choice word again. Are we going to keep old Adam under subjection? Are we going to let Christ, and His Spirit reign like a king? Or are we going to give old Adam free reign, and let him reign like a king?)…”
LESSON TWO * PART IV
WHERE SIN ABOUNDS, GRACE MUCH MORE ABOUNDS. ROMANS 6:1-14
Returning to our study in Romans Chapter 6, I would like to begin by reviewing verse 13 again, and then getting into verse 14 and 15.
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin:…”
Or old Adam. Now I’m emphasizing this exercise of will in the life of a believer because the word here again doesn’t demand, or it doesn’t say that we’re not going to have an opportunity to have a choice, but it’s a matter of yielding. The constant admonition of Paul’s letters to the believer is, “Don’t give in to old Adam.” We see in I Corinthians that Paul tells us that he kept his body in subjection and under control.
I Corinthians 9:27
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Now that doesn’t mean that you have to become a clergy or a monk in a monastery or anything like that. I’ve always maintained that the Christian life is the greatest life of freedom of anything that the world has ever known.
I’ve read that back in the dark ages some of the priests of the Roman Church, just to show their humility and servitude, would wear garments made of hair with the hair next to their skin. This was to torment themselves supposedly to please God, and show their humility. That’s not what the Scripture asks. We do not have to go through some kind of torture in order to be a spiritual person. The Christian life is a life of joy; it’s a life of responsibility, yes, but it’s also a life that lets us enjoy it to the full. God does not mandate that, just because you’re a believer, you have to be as poor as a pauper. On the other hand I do not agree with these who say that if you’re a believer you will automatically become a millionaire. But whether you’re rich or poor or in-between we have this satisfying life that God has now imparted to us while we’re in this earthly sojourn.
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead (because that’s what we are. We have been raised from that deadness in the old Adam), and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Now here comes what I want to spend most of this lesson on, and that is verse 14.
“For sin (singular, old Adam, the old Adamic nature) shall not have dominion over you (now I trust all of you know what dominion is. That’s something that rules like a king, and so Paul is admonishing us that we don’t let old Adam have dominion over you. And this almost seems like anti-climatic. Don’t let him have dominion or let him influence you to live the life of the flesh): for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
You would think it should be the other way around. You can’t let old Adam have dominion over you because you’re under Law, and the Law stipulates what you can and cannot do. That’s not what it says, it’s the opposite of that. You are under grace. It’s hard to comprehend isn’t it? Here we have full freedom, we’re not under any demands of a set of rules and regulations. And under those circumstances I can still keep old Adam under subjection? Yes! See that’s the beauty of the Gospel of the Grace of God.
Now, look at the timeline again (front of book). Has mankind always had this kind of freedom? No. For 1500 years the Nation of Israel was under the Law, and when I talk about the Law, I always have to remind people that it was severe. The Law was demanding, and there was no hanky panky under the Law, it was severe to the extreme. You know the illustration I always like to give is if someone picked up sticks on the Sabbath day what was the result? Death. See? There were no ifs, ands, or buts – they were out of there. The same way with other great sins. If they would have committed murder, for example, there was no such thing as umpteen years of appeals. They were dead, so the law was very demanding.
So on the timeline at 2000 B.C. we have the call of Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees. And after Isaac had Jacob, and out of him came the twelve sons, then coming out of Egypt we have the Nation of Israel making it’s appearance under the leadership of Moses (Israel had become a nation while they were in slavery in Egypt), and then we had the giving of the Law shortly after that, and that, of course, was by Moses. The Lord gave it to him at Mt. Sinai. So we had Law 1500 years before the Cross. And when Christ came on the scene in His earthly ministry for those three years, was He under the Law? Yes. And He confined His ministry, again with the exception of two people, to the Nation of Israel under the Law. This is what I try to get across to people. I don’t downplay the Four Gospels, saying you should not read them or have anything to do with them, any more than I would the Old Testament. But as I have been saying over the past several months, you do not get Church doctrine, or Grace doctrine in the Four Gospels. It’s not in there. God is still dealing with the Nation of Israel under the Covenant promises, and under the Law, so consequently, there is nothing of Grace in there as we understand Grace.
Again, I always have to qualify. Grace has always been the attribute of God, because when Adam sinned way back there in the Garden of Eden, what attribute of God caused Him to go seeking for Adam and Eve? It was His Grace, we know it was. He didn’t have to, He could have just let them go, or zapped them and started over, but it was His Grace that went back, and reconciled Adam, and Eve unto Himself. I just had a question in the mail this morning again. “Will Adam be in Heaven or was He lost?” No, Adam is going to be in Heaven, because his faith, you see, put him back in fellowship with his Creator, and Eve as well. Now one of our best study Bibles makes the comment that “Grace began with the Cross.” Well as an attribute, of course, it did, but in experience there is still no Gospel of Grace even in the early chapters of Acts, and you can’t find it. But once the Apostle Paul is converted on the road to Damascus, and he makes his appearance to Ananias, the first thing that God reveals is that He is going to send this man where? To the Gentiles.
“Then Ananias answered, `Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.’ But the Lord said unto him, `Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me. to bear my name before the Gentiles,…'”
Well He couldn’t send an apostle to the Gentiles, and promote the Law of Israel because that was only for the Nation of Israel. So it stands to reason that if He’s going to go to the non-Jewish world then He’s going to have to go to something totally different than Judaism even though He is going to go first to the Jew and then the Gentile. Now let me show you how the Scripture qualifies that. Let’s jump ahead to the Book of Galatians, Chapter 2, for a moment, and this is all part and parcel of dividing Law and Grace, and there are a lot of people that absolutely don’t understand that. Remember Paul is writing here to the Churches there in Asia Minor who are being deluged with Judaisers who are trying to bring these Gentile believers under the Law. Legalism!
“THEN fourteen years after (Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus) I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.” Now remember by this time he’s been up there in Asia Minor on his missionary journeys. He has established Gentile Churches, and he has gotten word that they are being tempted with legalism, so he hurriedly writes this little epistle. Now verse 2, and this is the one I want you to see. Paul writes:
“And I went up by revelation (it was a supernatural trip. God had instructed it, and had led him up there), and communicated unto them (that would be Peter and the eleven, and other leaders of the Jerusalem believers) that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles (I Corinthians 15:1-4),…”
Hey, that was something totally different than what the Jews in Jerusalem knew about. It was an advance on what they knew, of course. But it was still something that they could not comprehend, that God was now going to go to the Gentile, pagan, idolatrous world, and bring those people to a place of reconciliation with Himself outside of Judaism. That was incomprehensible They couldn’t believe that the God of Abraham would go to those pagans, and bring them to a place of Salvation without bringing them under the law of Israel. If you doubt what I’m saying, come back to Acts 15 for a little bit. You will find this Chapter in Acts, and the second Chapter here in Galatians, are almost identical. It’s all the same set of events, and this is what Paul was up against when he was trying to bring the Gospel of the Grace of God in the midst of Judaisers who were still under the Law. That’s something that a lot of people can’t see, and it took me a long time to see it. Now it’s the same time frame, about 14 years after Paul’s conversion which was about 38 A.D. so this was about 52 A.D., and that makes it about 22 or 23 years after Pentecost, and don’t lose sight of that.
“AND certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren (that is these Gentile believers at Antioch), and said, `Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.'”
Now that’s what The Book says. I don’t care what traditionalists say. The Book says that these Jewish believers at Jerusalem were still so saturated with the Law that they tried to bring those Gentile believers of Paul’s ministry up in Antioch under it. But Paul said that these Gentile believers were already saved and that they didn’t have to keep the law of Moses because they are now under my Gospel which I’m preaching to the Gentiles. Now you say, “Well that’s just one verse Les, and I’m not satisfied.” All right then come on down to verse 5. Paul is now at Jerusalem, and he’s meeting with the Twelve, and the other leaders of the Church there.
“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed (notice they were believers. They believed for their Salvation that Jesus was the Christ. And that was what they had to believe under Judaism. They had to believe that Jesus was Who He said He was), saying, `That it was needful to circumcise them (who are `them?’ The Gentile believers at Antioch. And so they’re telling Paul and Barnabas that they have to circumcise those Gentiles), and to command them to keep the law of Moses.'”
That’s what The Book says. This as plain as day, and then people try to tell me that the Gospel of Grace started way back there. No it didn’t because this kind of demand wouldn’t have been placed on these Gentile believers if that was the case. Now let’s come back again to Galatians Chapter 2 just for a moment. Remember the setting now. Paul had been ministering to Gentiles up at Antioch, where the Scriptures says, “They were first called Christians.” But here we find Peter and the rest of these Jewish believers are all shook up at Paul because he is claiming these Gentiles as saved people, but they’re not keeping the Law of Judaism, and they thought that was impossible so they bring them to Jerusalem.
“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty (to be free from the Law) which we have in Christ Jesus (as Grace Age believers we’re in Christ, we’re in the Body, and certainly Paul and Barnabas were as well), that they might bring us into bondage.” Now what does that mean? Back under the Law. Oh these Jewish believers at Jerusalem were still trying to hang the Law not only on Paul and Barnabas, but also on those Antioch Gentile believers.
“To whom (Paul says) we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour (they didn’t give in); that the truth of the gospel (Paul’s Gospel that he preached to the Gentile) might continue with you.”
What would have happened to Christianity if these Jewish leaders at Jerusalem would have convinced Paul that the Gentile believers had to subject themselves to the Mosaic system? It would have died, and that would be the end of it. But you see Paul didn’t give in, thanks, of course, to a Sovereign God of all Grace, but nevertheless this is where it was all hanging in the balance, that if Paul would have given in, our Gospel as we now know it, would have died, but of course our God wouldn’t have allowed that. Now drop on down to verse 9. I guess this is why a lot of people don’t like Paul. They don’t like what he says, and so they ignore him.
“And when James, Cephas (Peter), and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship (when they finally comprehended that Paul was on the right track with regard to these Gentiles they finally gave in and said, “Okay, we agree.” So they shook hands on it); that we should go unto the heathen (Gentiles), and they unto the circumcision (Jews).”
Isn’t that as plain as day? This is what introduced this whole Gospel of Grace, that now we Gentiles are not subjected to the Jewish system, we’re not subject to the legalism of Judaism because we’re set free from all of that, and our Gospel is simply believing that Christ died for me and rose from the dead for my Salvation. I did nothing. That doesn’t mean that we stop there. We move on because we have been created unto good works. Absolutely we have. That’s what Paul has been talking about in these previous verses, that we don’t give in to old Adam, we now live above the desires of old Adam, we now have the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have Christ Himself becoming the Head of our daily living. Verse 14 again.
“For sin (old Adam) shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
For the last 1900 + years God has been dealing with the whole human race, not just Gentiles, but even the Nation of Israel on the basis of His Grace. I’ll say it again: “Very few people even among Christendom understand the Grace of God.” I don’t understand it, and don’t even pretend to. It’s far beyond human comprehension. What am I talking about? That the God of creation Himself, one of the Persons in that invisible triune Godhead, stepped out, and took on human flesh, walked among sinful men, subjected Himself to the desires of sinful men, was sinless, and He let them nail Him to a Roman Cross. He permitted it; He could have zapped the whole Roman Empire with one word had He wanted to. But He suffered and died simply because He was ready to pour out Salvation to the whole human race. Now that’s Grace!
And then you take it a little further. Here we are now, especially in our beloved nation with the past 200 years of our Christian heritage, enjoying a standard of living like no other people ever in human history. What is that? Grace. We don’t deserve it. Just because we’re Americans is no reason we have the right to enjoy 90% of the world’s resources with just 6% of its people. But God has seen fit in His Grace to pour it out upon us. And so everything that you and I enjoy, every breath of air, every bite of food, every good thing is Grace, and we don’t deserve it. So this is the whole comprehension of Paul’s Gospel, and that is that God has poured out His Grace, not just upon America and Israel, but rather the whole world. And of course that becomes our responsibility to let the world know that the Grace of God reaches to the vilest person.
Going back a couple of lessons we learned that where sin abounds, the Grace of God is always greater. I read an account one time of Dwight L. Moody, and he had preached a tremendous sermon in Chicago on the Grace of God, and after all the audience had cleared out there was one poor old reprobate sitting on the back row weeping. Moody walked back, and said, “Young man what’s the matter with you?” And the young man said, “Don’t tell me the Grace of God can help, because you don’t know what I’ve been.” This young man had been a recruiter for the prostitution trade of Chicago. And so the man told Moody that because of him countless numbers of beautiful young girls have ended up alcoholics and drug addicts, and many had been murdered or had committed suicide. And then the young man said to Moody, “You mean to tell me that God will still save me?” Dwight L. Moody said, “That’s the Grace of God.” And that is as good an example as you could find other than the Apostle Paul himself. The Grace of God can go far beyond the vilest sinner that we can dream of. It’s almost unbelievable if it weren’t that The Word so clearly declares it.
“…ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
LESSON THREE * PART I
THE OLD SIN NATURE VS THE NEW NATURE
ROMANS 6 & 7
In our classes we are informal, trying to reach folks regardless of where they are, across all denominational lines. And just because I reach across denominational lines doesn’t mean I will ever compromise in order to do so. I teach The Book as I feel it needs to be taught. Now let’s continue with our study in the Book of Romans. I’m taking it slowly because I know that most of what I’ve been teaching, the average churchgoer and believer never have any contact with. We realize that most of our Sunday school material will not go into the depth of these doctrines, so that is why we are taking it rather slowly. We left off last lesson in Romans 6 at verse 14. Remember, I’ve been stressing in these past few lessons that the word `sin’ (singular) is the old Adamic nature that we’re born with, and that’s why it is singular. It’s the fountainhead then of sins (plural). So the old Adam is what produces sins (plural), and we always have to keep that separated as we study Scripture.
“For sin (the old sin nature, old Adam) shall not have dominion over you (now in the last lesson I was stressing, “reigning like a king,” or we can crucify old Adam, and let the Grace of God in the Person of Christ and the Holy Spirit reign as King); for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Now I always have to stop and qualify, as I’ve done for the last several years, that when I maintain that we’re not under the Law that doesn’t mean that we cast aside the Ten Commandments as no good, because they are still holy, perfect, and still the mind of God. They are still the criteria for social behavior whether it’s Christian or non-Christian. The Ten Commandments do not become a criteria of doctrine, and that’s why I have no compunction about having the Ten Commandments in our public schools, because the Ten Commandments in themselves are not a religious doctrine, but rather simply the mind of God, that everything within those Ten Commandment is for mankind’s own good. And that’s what we have to understand when we have the Ten Commandments hanging on a classroom wall, we are not placing a demand on any child regardless what beliefs they have or don’t have, but rather the basic laws of the Ten Commandments just simply establish a good society. And when a society rebels against those Commandments they’re in trouble. And, consequently, empires have fallen, one right after the other because they ignore these basic tenants of God’s Law. But also remember the Ten Commandments are not a criteria for Salvation, or a set of doctrines, and we’re not under them as the Nation of Israel was, and all their legalist priesthood, and sacrifices and so forth, and this is what Paul is referring to. We’re not under that legalist system, we’re under Grace, and that’s as different as daylight is from dark.
“What then? shall we sin (let old Adam continue to rule supreme), because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Notice the answer is God forbid, but I think a more accurate translation is, “Banish the thought.” Don’t even think such a thing, because it’s nowhere near what God is trying to show us.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are…”
Now he just brings this into the everyday world. If you are employed by someone then naturally he is the one who is going to tell you what he expects of you. He is the one who will be paying your wages, and he is the one you are to give your allegiance to, because you’re his employee. Now of course the word `servants’ is implying the same thing. Paul again is going to bring everything back to this idea of old Adam. Maybe some people are beginning to get tired of hearing me use that term over the last few chapters, but as I again was preparing my thoughts for this lesson last night, I got to thinking that’s the reason Paul is making such a big deal over these two themes that we have been emphasizing over and over ever since we came into Chapter 4.
First it was `Justification.’ You are justified, you’re declared just as if you have never sinned. For almost two chapters that was repeated over and over, that you’re justified by faith, and faith alone. Now in Chapter 6, Paul is telling us over and over that we have to deal with “Old Adam.” Old Adam has to be crucified, and put to death. I think that I came to the right conclusion in my preparation, and that is to show that no kind of human endeavor can do what is being accomplished in these two or three chapters. In other words, no amount of Church membership, works, baptism, sacraments, or elements you can put in here, nothing can do what Paul is teaching in justification by faith, and in putting old Adam to death. Works can’t do that, because it has to be the works of the Creator God Himself, and I think that’s where the emphasis lies.
All around us whether it be in the city, small town, country, or Timbuktu, most people are still of the impression that they have to do something. This is totally foreign to that kind of thinking, so I’m going to go along with Paul, and keep repeating it until he stops repeating it, which will be when we get to Chapter 8. Then all of a sudden we will break out into the sunlight of how free and secure we are, but until we do we’ll keep repeating as he does.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey (if you are a child of Adam, then that’s the one you’re going to be serving); whether of sin unto death, or (the other side of the coin) of obedience unto righteousness?”
in the right standing with God, and His Grace, you can enjoy that now and for all eternity. See, that’s the only choice in life. Whether we are living in America, Europe, or some third world country there are only two choices for life. Are you going to serve the old Adam who is under the control of Satan, and be entrapped in his eternal doom, or are we going to turn our back on him, and enjoy God’s righteousness, bliss, and heaven for ever.
“But God be thanked, that ye were (past tense) the servants of sin (our past), but (now the flip side) ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you (Paul’s Gospel as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4). Being then made free from sin (old Adam), ye became the servants (bond slave) of righteousness.” See how clear this comes out now after repeating it over and over?
“I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh (what’s Paul saying in so many words? “I’m coming down to your level. I’m speaking on your level, because you are still human, and in the flesh, and I’m not coming with some high and mighty statement you can’t comprehend”): for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity;…”
Now what’s he describing? The life of a person out there in the world. Never lose sight of the fact that everyone of these Gentile converts that Paul has brought out of darkness into the light of the Gospel were pagan idolaters. In fact let’s look at I Thessalonians for a moment, and this says it all. If I can just get people to understand that as Paul writes to these believers he is writing to Gentile men and women who had been steeped in idolatry. They had been in all the idolatrous, and pagan practices that were rampant in the ancient world. You know I always like to make mention of the fact that we think that we’re living in a whole new world, that we are living in a whole new social strata, I mean, after all, we have finally arrived. No we haven’t. We’re living in the same old sin that has plagued the world since the beginning. Idolatry and paganism promoted it more than a lot of things that are taking place in our society. Here in I Thessalonians Chapter 1, let’s start with verse 9.
I Thessalonians 1:9
“For they themselves (the ones up there in Northern and Southern Greece that Macedonia and Achaia in verse 8) shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;”
Do you see that? Thessalonica was in Northern Greece not far from Philippi, and every place that Paul gained converts this would have held true. They turned from idols to the living God. Now that took something, and again you want to realize that when people are saved and become believers, and come out of a culture that is totally different to Christianity, then they come under pressure and persecution. As Paul writes, he keeps this uppermost in his mind that these new converts did not have an easy row living in the midst of their idolatrous friends and relatives. Now back to Romans 6:20.
“For when ye were (past tense) the servants (under the dominion of old Adam) of sin, ye were free from righteousness.”
What? God doesn’t expect the unsaved person to live righteously. You can’t legislate Christian morals and principles. We’d like to, I know, because we think it would make for a better world, but we just can’t do it. You cannot legislate morality. Let me show you in Romans 8. It shocks people when I point this out. This certainly isn’t giving the unbelieving world more free reign than they already have, but rather saying what the Word of God says.
“Because the carnal mind…” Now the word `carnal’ as Paul uses it can be used two different ways. He’ll speak of a carnal believer, that is a Christian who is still fleshly-minded, but he’s saved, and he’s in the Body of Christ. But he has not come out of that old lifestyle, as Paul has been begging him to do in Romans Chapters 6 and 7, but he’s carnal, he’s more fleshly concerned than he is spiritual. On the other hand Paul can speak of carnal people as being totally unsaved. They are totally lost, so the text has to define the word for you. But here Paul is talking about the unsaved carnal person. Now the whole verse:
“Because the carnal mind (the lost) is enmity (an enemy) against God (most lost people if you tell them that they’re an enemy of God they’d swat you. But whether they know it or not, the Book says the lost are enemies of God): for it (the carnal unbeliever) is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
Do you see how that fits with what I just said? You can not legislate Christian morality on the world, and that’s why we don’t even attempt to try. God doesn’t want us to, because it won’t work. The only thing that will work is when they have that inner change, the work of God in their lives. Now back to Romans Chapter 6.
“For when ye were the servants of sin (old Adam), ye were free from righteousness.” So when you’re lost you’re under no demands to live righteously. God doesn’t expect it. Now in the next verse Paul is going back into their idolatrous life style and ask:
“What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.”
Well, they had the fruit of ungodliness, that was the end result of their lifestyle in idolatry. You let a person produce nothing but bad fruit throughout his entire sojourn on earth, what’s his end? Spiritual death. Separation from God forever and ever and ever as we see the last part of that verse, and that’s what The Book says. That the end result of a person who is going to live under total control of old Adam, and passes off the scene having done nothing different, death is the result. Not only physical, but also spiritual death as well. Let’s go for a moment to the Book of Revelation Chapter 20, and look at the spiritual death that Paul is referring to. He’s not just talking about dying physically, but rather a spiritual death. I don’t have time here to go back and review the whole chapter so we’ll have to jump in at verse 5. Remember that chapter 20 is at the end of the Tribulation, the Millennial reign of Christ, the Kingdom has come in, and He’s going to reign and rule for a thousand years, and now John writes:
“But the rest of the dead (the lost who have not experienced resurrection) lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” In other words, at the end of the thousand years, that’s when the Great White Throne Judgment will come about for the lost. The first resurrection is for believers only.
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection (this will be from Adam to the last person saved); on such (the believer) the second death hath no power,…”
So what’s the second death that He’s talking about? The eternal doom, when they will be sent away from the presence of God back over here in Chapter 20:11-15 at the Great White Throne Judgment. They will never again have any contact, or conversation with their Creator God because they are totally separated. That is the spiritual death. This is the same thing Paul is talking about in Romans. Either we take care of old Adam, and enter into this righteousness we call Salvation, and have eternal bliss in the presence of God, or we let old Adam reign supreme, and pass off the scene, never having done anything about it, and go to the second death.
“But now (in their saved estate) being made free from sin (old Adam), and become servants to God, ye have your fruit (now you are producing something totally different. Can you see that? The old Adam produced fruit to nothing but condemnation and evil. But being made free from old Adam you have entered in to the Salvation experience that God has offered, and become) unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” We can’t comprehend what it means to live forever in God’s presence, but that’s what the Scripture is talking about. We can enjoy the saving Grace of God in this life, but it’s not going to stop at the grave; it’s going to take us on into the everlasting life, that eternal abiding with God Himself. This is what Paul is burning himself out for. When he sets himself up as an example, that’s something I can go for, because he was just as human as I am. Paul suffered those privations for the sake of the Gospel beyond what we can imagine.
“For the wages of sin (or you might say, the wages that old Adam pays is the second death, eternal doom) is death; but (the flip side is) the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Now the key word in this verse is “Gift” You’re all acquainted with gifts, and we all like to get a gift, but as soon as you contribute something to the cost of that gift, then it’s no longer a gift. And there again is what the majority of even Christendom is trying to do: take away the gift aspect of Salvation, and they want to work for it. They think they have to do something. And of course I always have to qualify what I’m talking about. I’m talking about Salvation, and then of course after we have entered into Salvation, yes then all these other things have to fall into place. There has to be the good works, the manifestation of our saving faith, there has to be this whole idea of bringing honor and glory to God. And as the catechism says, “Enjoy Him Forever.”
LESSON THREE * PART II
THE OLD SIN NATURE VS THE NEW NATURE
ROMANS 6 & 7
Now in our last lesson we left off with the last verse in Chapter 6. And remember that Paul has just been constantly hammering home our having to deal with old Adam. That sin nature with which we are born, and where the multitudes of the human race are existing., and are under the control of that old Adamic nature which is prone to rebellion, which is contrary to the will of God because it is under the control of God’s greatest adversary, and that is Satan. I just happened to think of a verse we were going to use a couple of lessons ago, and never got back to it, and it goes right in line with what I’ve just said. So turn with me to II Corinthians Chapter 4. This says it better than I could ever hope to. Here is where the human race is in such a dilemma, and those of us who are trying our best to awaken them to their needs, it’s our dilemma, because this is what we’re up against.
II Corinthians 4:3,4
“But if our gospel (ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) be hid (and it is), it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not (who blinded them? Satan, the god of this world), lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Now that’s a dilemma. I mean that is something that mankind is constantly laboring under; that Satan has totally blinded their eyes to the truth of the Word of God. Now in that same light let’s use another verse that we use so often, at least in my classes during the week. Come with me back to the Book of Acts Chapter 16. I share this passage so often, in fact I did in my class last night. This is what you and I as believers have to understand, and we have to pray to this end. There is not a thing we can do until God takes away this Satan-inspired blindness. Here in Acts we have Paul and Silas teaching in the city of Philippi, in Northern Greece, and they’ve gone out to a little riverside park, and there Paul found a few Jewish women in a devotional time, they couldn’t have full synagogue services of course.
“And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither (we don’t know how many). And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple (a business lady), of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God (she was religious, but not a Christian), heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”
See how plain that is? Here was a lady, probably in the upper crust of her day, and to be a seller of purple she had to be rather well-to-do. She was Jewish, she had a certain amount of religion and she had a certain amount of knowledge about God, but was lost. Just as lost as the ones we read about in II Corinthians Chapter 4. Her eyes were just as blinded by Satan as anybody else’s, but when Paul came on the scene, The Lord opened her spiritual understanding. The Lord opened her heart, but that in itself didn’t do it. She had to attend to the things that were spoken by Paul. And you see that’s where you and I are as believers There is nothing that you and I can do to win a lost person until The Lord opens their heart, and then when that happens we have to be there with the truth of Scripture. And as I’ve taught over the years, God has seen fit to leave His Word in the hands of human beings, not angels. Why didn’t God appoint angels to do His evangelism? Well, He saw fit to leave it in the hands of believers to share these things, and Paul says in II Corinthians Chapter 5 that we’re ambassadors for Christ.
II Corinthians 5:20
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
You know what an ambassador is? He is someone who is serving his home government, but in a foreign environment, and as that ambassador, then, we are to bring people to a reconciliation with God. But back here in Romans 6, we have been dealing with the old Adam, that we can’t do anything in ourselves, but rather it has to be a work of God to place old Adam on the Cross. He has to be crucified, he has to be put to death. Now there are several areas of death that we have to consider. Number one, as the result of Adam’s fall, is physical death. This old body is going to die if The Lord doesn’t come. It’s something that every human being is going to experience. No one except Christ Himself is going to escape physical death, that’s part of the curse. But if you remember the circles that I put on the board several lessons ago, inside this body of flesh, God has placed that invisible part of us. The personality, the ego, whatever you want to call it, and that is centered in the mind, will, and emotion. Now that mind, will, and emotion that we’re born with comprises the old Adam.
Now even though old Adam is living in this body of flesh which is going to die, we also have to appropriate a death to that old Adam to that spirit side of us, and that, of course, is where Paul is dealing the most. When we talk about old Adam having to die, that means that the old sin nature we’re born with has to die spiritually either in this life by appropriating the work of the Cross, and having him reckoned as dead in Christ, or old Adam is going to experience death at the Great White Throne, and as we saw in our last lesson, consigned to the Lake of Fire forever and ever – that’s the second death, and in the area of the spirit. Now let’s go into Chapter 7. Now I don’t claim to be a theologian by any stretch of the imagination, yet here is a chapter that theologians can discuss and argue over, and never come to any conclusions. I personally can’t see this chapter as that difficult. I find Chapter 7 a thrilling chapter, and, of course, Paul is dealing again with this same thing that we’ve been talking about. How are we going to deal with old Adam, as over against the new divine nature that Christ places in us at Salvation. Now remember that when Adam is crucified there had to be something to immediately replace him or we would be an empty entity. But God does replace old Adam with a new nature, the Divine nature that comes from God by a creative work, and that’s what we’re going to deal with now here in this chapter.
“KNOW ye not, brethren (believers), (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?”
Now he’s not just talking about the Mosaic Law here, he’s talking about law as it governs society. You and I live under the government, and the Constitution of the United States, and that constitutional law is going to be over us, and will control us till we die. But the moment we die, the American government loses all control. They can’t do anything to a dead person. Now that’s what Paul is driving at. The only way you can sever something is by death. The only way you can stop the bank from foreclosing on a mortgage is, you die, and then they can’t do anything. I gave the example of a man on trial a couple of lessons ago, he’s as guilty as can be, but before the verdict can come in he dies. The trial is then over because death has ended the whole thing. And here Paul is using this same analogy, that now we’re going to come into a marriage relationship under the civil law of the land. Whether it’s Israel or America, it makes no difference.
“For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law (not the Mosaic Law here, but rather the law of the land) to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.”
Not the husband’s dominion over her as such, but the law of the land under which they were married is going to determine how they treat their community property, and how they do all these other things under the law of the land. But when the husband dies, now what? The woman is as free as a bird, she is no longer under any of the previous demands of that husband. Why? Because he’s dead, and that settles it. Now verse 3:
“So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law (so, if her husband is dead, then she is free from the law that kept those two people together. Do you see that? That’s the law that he’s talking about. The law of the land that made them husband and wife); so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” And now verse 4, and it’s the key to the whole concept.
“Wherefore,…” In a word he’s saying, “I’m just laying out an illustration,” that, since the law of the land has kept husband and wife together, and it lays out how they’re going to handle their property, and their wealth, and whether we like it or not there are laws stipulating how this will be done.
“Wherefore, my brethren (Paul is talking to the believers at Rome), ye also are become dead to the law (we’re talking about the law of Moses, the Mosaic system. How?) by the body of Christ;…” Now not the invisible Body that we talked about a lesson or two ago, not that invisible consortium or organism of believers baptized into Christ, the Church. But rather this body is speaking of His body of flesh with which He was crucified. Be sure you determine what we’re talking about. Now reading the verse again:
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law (Mosaic system) by the body of Christ (that was crucified); that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
Now let’s sort this all out. Paul says that just the same as a husband and wife are by the law held together, they cannot operate, or function without the law of the land being part and parcel. Well just for example, take income tax. That income tax is set up for husband and wives, you either file jointly or separately, it doesn’t make a bit of difference. Uncle Sam looks over the shoulder of you as husband and wife as long as you live, and it looks like it will always be that way. But as soon as one of those partners die, the other is free from the law that held them together. And now Paul is drawing the analogy so also the lost person is under the demands of the Mosaic law, the Ten Commandments. The lost person, whether he wants to admit it or not, is under the very anathema of God when they commit adultery, steal, kill or any of the things that are contrary to the law. Do you see that? I don’t care how anti-religious a person can be, I don’t care if he’s an atheist, those commandments of God are still hanging over him. He can’t escape them, and one day he comes before the Great White Throne, he will be judged according to that law. Don’t ever lose sight of that. The Law, the Ten Commandments are perfect, they’re righteous, they’re holy, and they’re eternal. We can’t just write them off, and say, “Oh well, that was Old Testament stuff.” No, no, it’s the eternal mind of God that’s been revealed to mankind.
Now then, if we are going to come out from under that demand of those Ten Commandments hanging over our heads, then there is only one way we can do it. We’ve got to die. Do you hear that? We have to die. Oh, not physically, but in that old Adam. And so here we go again, the same old story. Old Adam has to be crucified, and the minute he is crucified, and is dead in the eyes of God, the Ten Commandments no longer hang over him. He’s dead!
But we don’t leave it there – we pick up another relationship (it’s just like the widow who has lost her husband somewhere down the road, what is she free to do? Marry another. Absolutely! There is nothing in Scripture against that). And in this new relationship now she can be giving her allegiance to a second husband, but with old Adam we’re not dealing with the physical, we’re dealing with the spiritual, so, as soon as old Adam is crucified, and he’s reckoned as dead, immediately God reckons that we’re married, and have a new relationship, not under the Mosaic Law, but under the love, and Grace, and mercy of Christ Himself; and so we’re married to Christ. Do you see that?
Now there is somebody (and I won’t use their name on the letters they write, and I don’t even respond to them), that when I spoke of the Bride of Christ one time, the envelope (which I did not open) came all marked on the outside “Bride of Christ – Sir” Do you see what they were driving at? They thought that I was referring to the Bride of Christ and you and I as believers as female in gender. Well, this is merely a relationship, this is a position as we see when we study the Book of Ephesians. That when we’re married to Christ in the analogy of Paul’s writings it’s that union between us and Christ like a husband and wife, and, of course, Paul uses that in Ephesians Chapter 5.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it:”
That’s a constant analogy that Paul brings out, and here it is again in this chapter in Romans. Crucify old Adam, put him to death so that he is broken from the demands of the Ten Commandments, and be married to Christ. Let’s jump ahead a little bit here in Chapter 7, and verse 6, then I’ll come back to verse 4 and 5.
“But now (that we’re married to Christ) we are delivered from the law (most people don’t know that this verse is in their Bible, but here it is as plain as day. Now that we’re married to Christ as a result of old Adam being crucified, now we are delivered from the law), that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit,…”
The Holy Spirit that comes in and indwells us becomes our law. See, we don’t become lawless because we’re not under the Ten Commandments, because something far better takes its place, the indwelling Spirit. And contrary to nuts that are in institutions that say, “God told me to kill him,” remember God never tells someone to kill. God never tells someone to go out and break up a family and home by committing adultery. God never does any of that, but that’s what they try to say. God, the Spirit never goes contrary to the basic laws of God. The Holy Spirit will never instruct a believer to do wrong, and you know that. So let’s look at the verse again:
“But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter (the law, the Ten Commandments).” Now let’s go back up to verse 4 for a moment.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
Now remember, fruit is that productive result of whatever it may be. In other words, you plant an apple tree, and I don’t think you plant an apple tree just for shade. Do you? I sure don’t. If I want a shade tree, then I’ll plant a shade tree, but if I want apples, then I plant an apple tree, and hope that someday in the future to receive the rewards of that tree. And what are the rewards of that tree? Fruit. It’s the same way when the groom and the bride come together in their marriage relationship under normal circumstances – their dream is to have a family. Isn’t that right? What are those children? Their fruit of that union. Now it’s the same way in the believer. When we come into this marriage relationship with Christ, what does God now look for? Fruit. And what is the fruit of a believer now married to Christ? Other believers. That’s where soul winning, and witnessing comes in – that we can win other lost people for Christ, and it becomes fruit. Now I mentioned in a previous lesson that I do not ascribe to any kind of a Christianity that just takes people by the nape of the neck and tries to push this down their throat. It doesn’t work that way. But we certainly have a concern for the spiritual needs of these lost people.
It just tears my heart out when I look at the masses of humanity, and realize that most of them are going to a Devil’s Hell. I don’t know who they are, I can’t judge, and neither can you, but I just know from Scripture that most of them are. Remember, God has always just had a small remnant, and it’s certainly no different today. Now grant you, we probably have a higher percentage of believers in America, what with all the preaching and Bible teaching we have, but you take the world population as a whole, what percentage of them are going to be in God’s Heaven? Well precious few, but those few are God’s fruit, as a result of His relationship with human beings.
LESSON THREE * PART III
THE OLD SIN NATURE VS THE NEW NATURE
ROMANS 6 & 7
Now back to our study in Romans, and we’ll jump right in at verses 5 and 6. Now we made some comment on verse 6 in our last study, but we’ll look at it briefly again. Paul is still dealing with breaking the relationship with old Adam who has to be crucified not by anything we do. We can’t crucify ourselves, and I guess that’s one reason The Lord chose crucifixion rather than any other form of death, because that’s one form of death, you see, that man cannot accomplish on his own. You cannot crucify yourself, you can’t drive the nails into your hands, and put the pole up in the air, because that had to be done by outsiders. So I believe that was one reason that crucifixion was the death of choice to carry through this whole theme, that as we are crucified with Christ it is nothing we can do. We can not crucify ourselves, it is wholly, totally, and completely a work of God on our behalf. Now then in verse 5 Paul is reviewing all of this again, as he has done so often.
“For when we were in the flesh (under control of old Adam), the motions (or results) of sins (plural. Now do you see the difference? Sin is the old Adam, he is the fountainhead of our sins of action. Old Adam is just simply the manufacturing point, but what we do are sins and then it becomes plural), which were by the law (it goes right back to the things the Law said to do and not to do, and which man in turn does not do and does do), did work in our members to bring forth fruit (the end production) unto death.” That’s all it can work for as we saw in Romans 6:23:
“For the wages (that old Adam pays) of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now Romans 7:6. What’s the first word?
“But (and I always call that the flip side. Where old Adam did nothing but generate sins that became fruit unto death, the flip side now is) now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held (under old Adam); that we should serve in newness of spirit (under the control of the Holy Spirit), and not in the oldness of the letter (or the Law).” Do you see how clearly this comes out. Now we move on into verse 7.
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin (or like old Adam? Is the Law something that just generates sin. Well what’s his answer)? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin (old Adam), but by the law (remember I said in the last lesson that the law hangs over the old Adamic nature, and is constantly trying to convict him that he’s breaking it. This is what Paul is going to make reference to. It was the Law that showed Paul what old Adam was all about): for I had not known lust, except the law had said, `Thou shalt not covet.'”
Now this is an interesting commandment. Why does Paul pick this commandment “Thou shalt not covet” as his example instead of “Thou shalt not kill, or Thou shalt not steal? Well those of you who have been in my evening classes know. This is the one commandment, out of the ten, that has to always be committed first. Now I know that makes you frown, and I don’t blame you. Let me explain. You cannot kill unless you covet. You cannot steal unless you covet. You cannot commit adultery unless you covet. You cannot destroy someone’s character with false gossip unless you covet. Can you see that? All the way through the Ten Commandments the thing that triggers breaking the Law is coveting.
Now after I have taught this, people will come back after they have had time to think, and say, “Now wait a minute Les, how about when it says `Thou shalt not take the name of The Lord thy God in vain,’ where does coveting fit in that?” It fits perfectly. Because, by and large, why do people curse and swear? Why do people use foul language? They covet something, and what is it? Attention. They think they’re drawing attention to themselves with their foul language, and so again, coveting triggers it. No matter how you look at it, you cannot break one of the Ten Commandments unless, of course, you covet first, and so that’s why Paul is going to use this commandment as the primary example of the law. Now verse 8:
“But sin (old Adam), taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (and if I understand the word correctly, it’s immoral thinking), For without the law sin (old Adam) was dead.”
Now what does he mean being dead? He’s not functioning in the spirit realm because he is not paying any attention to the Law. Now don’t lose sight of what kind of a man that Paul was. What was he? Religious. A religious fanatic in fact. He was an Israelite, a Pharisee of the Pharisees of the Tribe of Benjamin, circumcised the eighth day, he was the epitome of a Judaistic Jew. He practiced the Jewish religion to the hilt, but as a Pharisee, religious, self-righteous man that he was, was he paying any attention to the Law? No, because he was above it. He had no compunction that he was a law-breaker because he was so religious he was practically above the Law, so the Law wasn’t convicting him as he was going along his religious way, and people are no different today. Now verse 9:
“For I was alive without the law once (in other words he was functioning as a Pharisee, as a religious zealot, and the Law wasn’t even touching him. It was rolling off of him like water off a duck): but when the commandment came, sin (old Adam) revived (woke up, and as soon as the Law came down on the Adamic part of Paul, and woke him up, what happened to Paul’s old Adam?), and I died.”
Do you see that? Come back with me to the Book of Acts. I hadn’t planned on doing this. I want you to get a perfect picture of what Paul really was as a fanatical, religious Jew, and what he’s referring to in Chapter 7 of Romans.
“AND Saul (the Jew, the Pharisee, the religious fanatic), yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord (these Jewish believers who had now embraced Christ as their Messiah), went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues (dealing mostly with Jews), that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women (he didn’t care if it was women he dragged into prison), he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him (and, of course, this is The Lord from Heaven now speaking), `Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’ And he said, `Who art thou, Lord?…'”
Now those of you who have made a study of the Old Testament, and I think that it carries right into the early part of the New Testament, Who was Lord? Jehovah! Jehovah! And I feel no violence to Scripture that had Saul not had such an awe for the name, in all practical circumstances he would have said, “Who art thou, Jehovah?” because he knew this voice was coming from the presence of God, there was no doubt about that. And so I like to put it that he knew he was talking to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was talking to Jehovah. Now continuing on with verse 5.
“And he said, `Who art thou, Lord?’ And the Lord said, `I am Jesus…'”
Man, who would even have thought such a thing in Paul’s shoes. Jehovah is claiming to be Jesus of Nazareth whom he hated, and detested, whom he thought was an impostor, who was a blasphemer, and He’s Jehovah? Well look what it did to the man. It melted him like wax, and no wonder he fell to the ground blinded physically in order to see spiritually Who Jesus really was. He was the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and you remember I proved this when we were way back four or five years ago in Exodus, Remember when the voice from the burning bush told Moses:
“And God said unto Moses, `I AM THAT I AM:’ and he said, `Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.'”
And then remember I took you into John’s Gospel Chapter 8, and as the Pharisees again of Jesus day confronted Him:
“Then said the Jews unto him, `Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?’ Jesus said unto them, `Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.'”
What was he telling them? I’m the same One that spoke from the burning bush, I’m the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and of course He was. So now then Saul had to recognize that the One he was hating, the One he was trying to stamp out, this Jesus of Nazareth was the God that he thought he was worshipping. And so he had to bring the two together. Now let’s turn to Acts Chapter 26 for a moment. And now, of course, as the Apostle has gone through all his trials and sufferings, and he’s coming down toward the end of his freedom, at least before he will be imprisoned in Rome, look what he says in verse 9:
“I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” See what I just told you? He really thought Jesus of Nazareth was an impostor, and he wanted to stamp out anybody who had anything to do with this Jesus.
“Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death (and what was their crime? Believing that Jesus was the Christ), I gave my voice (or vote) against them (or I voted to have them put to death).”
“And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme (he was forcing these Jewish believers to renounce their faith in Jesus. It’s unbelievable, but this is what he was doing in the name of his religion. There isn’t any thing more tortuous, or inhuman than religious fanatics); and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.”
“Whereupon as I went to Damascus…”
And as we saw in Chapter 9 that was his purpose in going to Damascus. Now if you will come back to the Book of Romans Chapter 7, and keep all this in mind; he’s so religious, and such a fanatic that the Law wasn’t even touching him, even though he was guilty of what we can call murder, when he actually demanded the death of these Jewish believers in his own mind, he was putting them to death murderously. Now verse 10:
“And the commandment (the ten), which was ordained to life, (remember they’re Holy, and perfect, because up in verse 9, as soon as old Adam in Saul woke up and realized that the Law was condemning him, what happened? He said, “I woke up, I revived,” and he became aware that the Law was convicting him, and that he had only one prospect as a Law-breaker, and that was eternal death) I found to be unto death.” Now verse 11:
“For sin (old Adam), taking occasion by the commandment (ten), deceived me, and by it slew me.”
Paul says it was killing me. What does he mean? Let’s compare Scripture with Scripture so come back with me to verse 5 of this same chapter. This is exactly what he’s talking about.
“For when we (he could say when I) were in the flesh, the motions of sins (in other words putting these people to death, blaspheming the name of Christ, and what ever else he may have been guilty of), which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”
And Saul was no different. Saul the religious fanatic everyday of his life was piling guilt, upon guilt, upon guilt, heading for the day when he too would leave this life, and would come before the Great White Throne, and hear those word, “Depart from me you religious fanatic, for I never knew you.” That’s where Saul was headed. Now back to our text in verse 11. So old Adam had been keeping him blind to the reality of the true purpose of the Law, which was to convict him. Remember what it said back in Romans Chapter 3?
“…for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” All right, that’s where it finally came to even with Saul. Now verse 12.
“Wherefore the law (the ten) is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”
“Was then that which is good made death unto me (in other words, can the Commandments be something other than good? Well he answers it)? God forbid (don’t think such a thought. But here’s what the Ten really amounted to). But sin (old Adam), that it might appear sin (old Adam. Now what’s he saying? He’s just making a double emphasis, but old Adam in order that he could be seen for what he really is, bent in rebellion, and evil, and ignoring the Law, but old Adam), working death in me by that which is good (that sounds like double talk, but you see what he’s saying over and over? That the Law in itself was good and perfect, but what was it doing to the man? It was killing him. It was convicting him); that sin (old Adam) by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”
Now I’ve got to take you back to Chapter 3 for a moment, because here’s where we get the explanation of what he’s talking about. I know most people have forgotten what we studied in Chapter 3. And keep this passage hooked up with Saul of Tarsus.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
The Law shows us what old Adam is really made of. Okay? Now come back to Chapter 7. So what does the Law do for Saul of Tarsus? It compounds his sinfulness. How by revealing everything that he does was sinful. Everything that he was doing was contrary to the will of a Holy God. Now verse 14.
“For we know (any good religious Jew knew this) that the law is spiritual (it was written by the finger of God, it was supernaturally presented to the Nation of Israel. It was holy, and God given, and spiritual): but I am carnal (in his pre-saved condition), sold under sin (or old Adam).”
He’s under the curse as the result of a fall, way back there in the Garden of Eden, and that is what we have been emphasizing now for six chapters here in this Book. That when Adam sinned, he plunged the whole human race under the curse, and separated them from their Creator. And Saul of Tarsus was no different, religious as he was. And so verse 14 says that he was carnal, fleshly, even though he was religious, yet the motivating power within him was not the things that were pleasing to God, but quite the contrary, because he was stamping out those who had recognized Jesus was indeed the Christ. Now again we have to understand the mind-set of not only Saul of Tarsus, but all the religious Jews of Jesus’ day. Why were they so constantly against Him? They could not believe that He was the Christ. He could not be the One promised all the way back from Genesis Chapter 12.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
THE OLD SIN NATURE VS THE NEW NATURE
ROMANS 6 & 7
You know as we teach we hope you are beginning to understand, and enjoy The Bible. We’ve come to the place where I think that too many people just rely on what people have written, and maybe within their denominational confines, and they are so totally unaware of so many of these Scriptural truths. And, of course, that’s what thrills us when we hear from you that you’re just beginning to understand and see things that you have never seen before. We are even getting letters from pastors who are enjoying our teachings. Now turn with me to Chapter 7 again and we’ll try to finish the chapter, or at least get close to finishing it in this lesson. In our last lesson we finished at verse 14, where Paul now is reconstructing how he had to deal with the old Adam as he came under that conversion experience when he met Christ on the road to Damascus. And now he comes to the conclusion in verse 14:
“For we know that the law is spiritual (absolutely. When I say we’re not under Law, but rather under Grace it isn’t because the Law has lost it’s spiritual power, or condition, absolutely it’s spiritual, it is the very mind of God so far as mankind is concerned): but I am carnal, sold under (the old Adamic nature or under) sin.”
And as I made my closing remarks in the last lesson that when Adam fell, when Adam sinned, he plunged the whole human race into that condition, and, consequently, Christ had to die in order to bring fallen mankind back to Himself. And so lest some get rather judgmental toward God, and I know people do, “Well, how in the world could God call me a sinner because of what Adam did 6000 years ago?” Well, I can’t answer that, but I just know that God’s mind is higher than our minds, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and this is the way that He Sovereignly set it all in motion: that He put Adam and Eve in the Garden, and gave them one simple responsibility – that they not eat of that one tree, and it was just merely a means of testing to see if they could remain obedient. There wasn’t anything that wicked in the fruit, but it was a means of testing. And Adam flunked totally, so he ate, and again a Sovereign God declared that now that Adam had sinned then all his offspring would inherit that sin nature.
So you see this is what we try to teach when we show that the blood circulatory system of the fetus, as the mother carries it, is never touched by the mother’s blood, and that is what gives rise to the virgin birth. Mary could carry the child Jesus and her blood never course through His veins. But the circulatory system of every human fetus originates with the father. And so also with Christ in His virgin birth, His blood system originated with the Father, and so it was divine, sinless blood contrary to those of us who are the offspring of Adam. So every child of Adam then is sold under the curse, he’s under that old Adam. As we come into verse 15, we come to verses that are sometimes hard to understand. Maybe it will help if you understand that now Paul is writing as the believer who now has reckoned old Adam as he’s been teaching, crucified, dead, but he is still left as an influence even in our Christian life.
Now I know there are two ways of looking at this, and I still maintain what I’ve always taught, that old Adam is crucified, he’s declared dead in the mind of God. In other words the moment you and I believe the Gospel (Reference I Corinthians 15:1-4) God saw you and I in the Person of Christ on the Cross. Now, of course, God has to be the Omnipotent, Omniscient God that He is or that wouldn’t be possible, but it is possible because with Him nothing is impossible. And so God saw every true believer in Christ, as He hung on that Cross. As we saw back in Chapter 6, He saw us in Christ in the grave. As Christ was buried, we were buried. He saw us in Christ when He rose in Resurrection power and so we also are resurrected in newness of life. And now Paul comes in explaining all of this from that believers point of view that, yes, we still have to wrestle against the influence of that old Adamic nature, even though God has reckoned it as crucified. God has declared it dead, but from experience we’d better realize he is still with us. He is defeated and has been placed under subjection of a new nature that has come in by virtue of the power of God. But, here’s where we all find ourselves, even as believers.
“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that I do not; but what I hate, that do I.” Isn’t that confusing? But it really isn’t because he’s talking about these two natures. Now let me show you a verse that probably clarifies that even a little better. Turn to Galatians, Chapter 5 and drop down to verse 16 and 17.
“This I say then, `walk in the Spirit (now you remember when we talked about our position in Christ? That when we became believers we were baptized into the Body of Christ and that’s now our position. We are in Christ. He is still alluding to that same position doctrinally),… and you shall not fulfil (or live after) the lust of the flesh.'”
Now again, who is the flesh? Old Adam! In other words, if we walk according to the position that God has given us, we’re not going to give in to the demands of old Adam. Now I always like to qualify the word `position.’ When you take the president of a great corporation, or the president of the United States of America, that presidency has been held by many different people. But it’s the position that we recognize. In other words, I can’t name all the past presidents of General Motors. But I can allude to the president’s position of General Motors. The same way with the White House. We can name certain presidents, but I imagine very few of us can name all of them. But we’re all aware of the fact that America has never been without a president. The position has always been filled by someone. Now, it’s the same way with our position in Christ. It is a position and we are to live in accord with that position, just like we expect people in important places to live in accordance with that position. And when they don’t, we’re disappointed. And, of course, God can be, too. So walk in the Spirit, that position of being in Christ, and then you’ll not give in to the old desires of old Adam. Now verse 17, and I think this proves my point.
“For the flesh (old Adam) lusteth (or warreth) against the Spirit, and the Spirit (that is the indwelling Spirit, that is part of us now) against the flesh (old Adam).”
Do you see that now? I’m sure you’ve all heard the little anecdote that I heard way back when I was a kid. I’ve heard it umpteen times since then and I’ve repeated it because it is so apropos. There was an old fellow, who had lived a life of degradation and had become an alcoholic and spent the good portion of his life in the tavern or bar. Then one day The Lord saved him miraculously and his whole life took on a new meaning. But the poor old fellow had to go by that bar every day to go get his mail. And so he was rehearsing with a friend of his one day, and he said, “You know, every time I start to go past that old hangout, it’s just like two little dogs inside are having a rip-roaring fight. A little black dog is fighting against the little white dog. They fight tooth and toenail. The little black dog says `Go inside, go back to your old lifestyle.'” The little white dog says, “Go get the mail.” And the friend asks, “Well, which one of the dogs win?” And he says, “The one I feed the best!” Well, you see that’s so typical. The little dog that is fed best is the one that’s going to be victorious. It’s a good anecdote. But that’s exactly where we find ourselves.
Now if we’re going to feed old Adam with all the lustful desires of this world, who is going to be victorious? Old Adam. But if we keep Adam starved and keep feeding the Spirit side, that’s where victory comes in. And this is why we have to stay in The Book. You know, people think they can go to church twice a year and maintain their Christianity. Impossible! You can’t survive physically eating twice a year, nor can you survive spiritually eating twice a year. It has to be a constant refurbishing, or nourishing that inner man, the Spirit of God, and we do that from The Book. And this is what enhances our whole spiritual life. Just feeding on the Word of God, fellowship with fellow believers, prayer time and all these things that make up what we call the Christian life. So we have this warfare between the old Adam and the new. Now let’s go back to Chapter 7 and maybe you can see what the poor old apostle is up against. He’s just as human as we are remember.
“For that which I do I allow not:….”
Now let’s break it down. What he lets old Adam do, the Spirit side says, “It’s wrong. Don’t do this.” And then he says the other side of the coin is that which I do not, that’s what I do. Do you see it. And it’s the same that we are in our Christian experience. The things that we know that we should not do we’re constantly finding ourselves doing, when we’re in defeat. And the things that we should do, are so easy to make excuses for: “I’m too tired. I’m going to stay home tonight. I’m not going to go to Bible Study.” And this is exactly how it works. Now let’s go on.
“If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.”
All he is doing is rebelling against the good statements of the Law. But old Adam says “Forget the Law, that’s God’s side – we’re anti-God.” I’ve pointed out over the years (and you have to agree with me because it’s so simple), everything that God says in this Book for mankind to do, for his own good, what does most of mankind do? The opposite! Everything that this Book warns us not to do, what does mankind in general do? They do it! In fact that’s one of the famous cliches lately isn’t it? Well, just do it! Don’t worry about whether it’s right or wrong, just do it. That’s the old Adamic nature working and taking sway of a life when God’s word says this is harmful, this is going to bring you nothing but sorrow and heartache. But Satan and the old nature say, “Do it.” Everybody else is. Does that make it right? No. So we have to go by what the Scripture says and then not give in to old Adam but keep him under control. As Paul says, “I then do not beat the air but I’m going to keep my body under control.” Now verse 17.
“Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
As a believer, when I do things that I know are wrong, it’s not the true “I” that I’ve now become, in Christ, but who is going to do it? Old Adam. Do you see that.? Now, I’m almost running that term into the ground. I’ll be off of it as soon as we get to Chapter 8, but until then I’m going to keep driving it home. That old Adam is the source of all our problems. That old sin nature. Now that goes back to what I said a little bit ago, God reckons him as dead. We’re to understand that he has been defeated and we’re to reckon him as such. But in experience, before the day is over, old Adam is going to be at our throat. He’s going to be at us to try to get us to do something that is contrary to the will of God. Now verse 18:
“For I know that in me [now he’s coming back to the flesh side. That’s in parenthesis] (that is, in my flesh) [that is in my old Adamic nature] dwelleth no good thing:…..”
Now that flies in the face of present day sociology doesn’t it? Because the sociologists are trying to constantly brainwash their kids, especially college level kids, saying that, “You are so good, you can do whatever you want to do. You can be whatever you want to be, because you have it within you to do so.” That’s the positive thinkers as well. Well, that’s contrary to Scripture. In fact, a good friend of mine got all wrapped up with these motivational tapes when they were having their heyday here a few years ago. I wrote and told him, “Look out. You claim to be a believer and you’re on thin ice because a believer never takes this approach that you can be whatever you want to be if you just think it. A believer has to say, “In myself I am nothing, but in Christ then, yes, I can become anything.” Now Paul is saying that from the old Adamic nature’s point of view there is nothing good.
“….for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
Now I’m going to warn you, we haven’t seen but one reference to the Holy Spirit in these first seven chapters. But as soon as we break into Chapter 8, I think it’s 19 times in that one chapter, we’re going to see the Holy Spirit. So you see the question he is asking here is going to be answered in the next chapter. But for now, he’s still asking how am I going to do that which the new nature wants me to do when the old nature keeps tipping the balances? Now verse 19:
“For the good that I would I do not (he repeats it again): but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
And here’s where we all find ourselves. I’ve had people tell me or have told my little wife, that they no longer sin. They have reached that pinnacle of Christianity where they no longer commit sin. Well, bless their hearts, I haven’t been out of bed 15 minutes in the morning and I’m guilty, one way or another. Usually in the thought processes. And so this is what we have to realize. We never get to that place of perfection. It’s just like the apostle here, old Adam is never going to quit working on us. Old Adam is that part of us that gets greedy, that gets envious, covetous. My, you see something that your neighbor has got and the first thing, what does old Adam say? “Hey I’ve got to have that.” That’s what Paul is warning against. We don’t live on that plane anymore. Now let’s go on.
“Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin (old Adam) that dwelleth in me.”
Do you see how plain that is? I trust converting that word “sin” to “old Adam” is doing as much for you as it has for me. This just opens up this portion of the Scripture, that when we realize that it isn’t sins, it isn’t the things that we do that are sinful that’s our problem. The problem is the production center of those thoughts and those sins, which is old Adam.
“I find then (not The Law but what) a law… (I always like to explain right here that when Paul uses the term “law,” whether it’s the Ten or whether it’s the whole system of Judaism, or whether it’s the Law of Christ or some other law, he’s pointing out something that is a fact of life that we have to reckon with. And that’s what he has here. “I find then a fact of life that you just can’t get around, you have to meet it head on”) when I would do good, evil is present with me.”
We all experience that. You see the more you try to do what’s pleasing to The Lord, the more Satan is going to attack. And that’s why I even plead with my television audience as well as my class people. I know that our teaching is starting to penetrate places that Satan doesn’t want it to go. And I live in constant fear of Satanic attack in one way or another. And the only thing that’s protecting me, I know, is the prayers of the saints. As I mentioned in our last taping, nothing thrills me more than to get a letter from someone saying, “Les, we pray for you and Iris two times a day, three times a day,” and we need it, but so do you. And this is why I maintain we believers have to constantly pray for one another. Because we’re up against an adversary who doesn’t like anything we’re doing. I’ve noticed even in my ministry among people who have been so influential in getting this program going, how Satan is attacking them. It’s evident and they realize he is. So far, God has protected us, but I covet your prayers and this is what Paul was up against as well. That whenever he attempted to do something that was glorious for God, the Devil opposed him. Now verse 22.
“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:”
He’s not talking about the Ten Commandments. But he’s talking about a fact of life that now since his conversion, Christ in the Person of the Holy Spirit is dwelling where? Within him! That’s the inward man he’s talking about. That Christ now dwells within. And He is the One that can give us victory over our adversary first and foremost, old Adam. But old Adam is under the control of Satan.
“But I see another law (fact of life) in my members, warring against the law of my mind (it is a warfare between the new nature and the old), and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin (fact of life) which is in my members (that old Adam is in my members. That’s just simply paraphrasing and hopefully clarifying it).”
“O wretched man that I am (Paul hasn’t mentioned the Holy Spirit’s power yet in these first seven chapters. That’s going to break out in Chapter 8 so be patient. Don’t say, “Well, where’s the Holy Spirit in Paul’s life.” He’s there but he’s waiting until the appropriate time. He’s just going to explode in Chapter 8)! who shall deliver me from the body of this death (from this influence of old Adam. How am I going to overcome it?)?”
“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God (not necessarily the Ten, but all of God’s principles, that becomes now the Law of God); but with the flesh the law of sin.”
I think in the book of Galatians Paul refers to it as the Law of Christ. Now the Law of Christ will never fly in the face of the Ten Commandments, as I’ve said earlier, but it’s more than the Ten Commandments. The Law of Christ is this complete liberty that we now have. Turn with me to Galatians as another verse comes to mind.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with (what?) the yoke of bondage.”
Now, what is the yoke of bondage? The Law. Legalism. Anything that says, “But you have to do this. You have to go through this ritual. You have to go through this prescribed route.” That’s legalism. And grace says you do nothing but believe the Gospel and let God do everything that needs to be done.