[ 265 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] There is Therefore Now No Condemnation |a
[ 266 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] There is Therefore Now No Condemnation |b
[ 267 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Romans 8:1-14 |a
[ 268 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Romans 8:1-14 |b
[ 269 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Roman Road to Salvation |a
[ 270 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Roman Road to Salvation |b
[ 271 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Romans 8:14-17 |a
[ 272 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Romans 8:14-17 |b
[ 273 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us? |a
[ 274 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us? |b
[ 275 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Romans 8:1-39 |a
[ 276 ] Les Feldick [ Book 23 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Romans 8:1-39 |b
THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION ROMANS 8:1-14
We’ll jump right into Romans Chapter 8, as we completed Chapter 7 in our last lesson. And as we do so we come to what I think is one of the greatest chapters of all of the Scripture, and probably what is the greatest book in all of Scripture; the Book of Romans. Martin Luther called Romans the masterpiece of Scripture, and I like to refer to it as a multi-carat diamond gemstone. It just has the fire of a diamond in it, and this Chapter 8 is a gemstone in itself.
So as we look at these things I trust all of you will take advantage of this tremendous book. In fact I was thinking the other day of how the politicians and religious community are alarmed because America just simply can’t keep going in the direction that we are going. The politicians think that if we had more money for the different programs and prisons it would solve everything. Some think we need a third party, and still others think we need something else, but listen, all America needs is this: if every one from the age of twelve up regardless of their denomination or religious handle, would read this Book of Romans once a week for six months, then you would see things happen in this country. That’s how much I can put on this Book of Romans. And if every American would read Chapter 8 once a day, that might even speed it up a little bit. Because this is so apropos and practical; this isn’t pie in the sky, this is The Word of God brought right down to the level of every human being. Even twelve and thirteen-year-old kids can comprehend it. So as we look at Chapter 8 I’m going to stop with what ordinarily would be the very first word, `Therefore.’
“THERE is therefore…”
Here Paul has it in a little bit different setting than when he usually uses this word or `Wherefore,’ but when I see one of these two words in any other place in Scripture what does it do? It sends you back to why he’s saying `therefore.’ I do not use or own any commentaries. I was warned years ago to beware of them. In fact, one wag puts it this way: he says not to put much on the commentaries for they are nothing but commentators, and commentators are just common taters. Southern individuals appreciate that.
But I do happen to have a couple of books that have been given me. They are by two great theologians. One British, and the other an American. They have both gone on to be with The Lord, and they were both used of God. It was interesting as I looked at what they had to say about Romans Chapter 8, and especially this word `Therefore.’ This one gentlemen (they both had their Phd.’s) said that this `Therefore’ does not take you back to Chapter 7, but rather it takes you back to Romans Chapter 5 verse 1. And there Paul uses the word again.
“THEREFORE being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
So that why this gentlemen thinks that word is there in Chapter 8. Then I read the other one, and he was just totally opposite of the first gentlemen. He said that this `Therefore’ takes you back to Chapter 7. Well, I’m going totally opposite of both of them. I’m going to maintain that this `Therefore’ takes us back to the very first verse of the Book of Romans. If you’ll remember, as we’ve been studying it, those first three chapters, what did God do through the Apostle’s pen? He proved the whole race as being utterly sinful, utterly rebellious, utterly opposite to the things of God. And he finally came to that great conclusion in Chapter 3 and verse 23,
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Remember that? As he built the case against the gross immoral person. And then the moral person. And then the religious person. And then he put all three categories together and said there’s no difference, they are all unprofitable for all have sinned? And then you go into Chapter 4 and he begins to lay out “justification by faith” for as “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” And then he came to Chapter 5, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” And then he came on into Chapter 6 and he enlarged on `justification,’ that it was all accomplished when Christ died on that Cross, was buried and rose again. We spent quite a little time on that Chapter 6. And then we came into Chapter 7 and now Paul is explaining the dilemma. “Oh wretched man that I am!” “How can I be delivered from this body of sin?” You remember what his problem was? “The things I would do, I don’t. The things I don’t do or shouldn’t do, I do.” What’s going to be the answer? Alright, what follows? Chapter 8. And so that’s where I think this `therefore’ is referring to. Everything that we’ve learned in these previous seven chapters is going to be all wrapped up in what we’ll learn in Chapter 8.
“There is therefore now no condemnation…”
There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians, and I’m not saying they’re not. But they can’t buy this. They say there is no such thing as this kind of security. You’ve got to work and you’ve got to strive and you have to be careful or you’re going to lose it. Like I told someone just the other day, “How are you going to know what sin cast you out?” Well, they won’t know. So what do they have to do? They have to live a life of perpetual insecurity because no one has the wherewithal to hang on of our own. So I come back to these promises of Scripture: “There is therefore….” Because we’ve been justified by faith, because Christ has died and been buried and has risen from the dead. Because all of this has been accomplished by an act of God to which we contributed nothing of our own energy. There was nothing in all of that, that we could do in the flesh. It was all the work of God. And that being the case, that we’re justified by faith, which is something that is invisible, it’s something that you don’t work at. So since we’re justified by faith, God can come back through this Apostle and say:
“There is therefore now no condemnation….”
And I will over and over, with qualification, go back to this. I had one gentleman call more than once. He just didn’t like the idea of my teaching this kind of eternal security. I said, “Now listen. I always qualify this. I’m not talking about any haphazard church member who just happened to have walked an aisle and joined the church or whatever, I’m talking about someone who has genuine faith in The Gospel and has had a genuine Salvation experience.” It came up the other night in one of my classes. An individual came and said, “Les, I’ve never had that great experience that somebody talks about. I’ve never seen a great white light and I haven’t had that tremendous emotional upheaval. Does that mean I’ve never been saved?” Well, of course not! The Scripture doesn’t say that you have to experience some emotional high. The Scripture doesn’t say you have to go through a prescribed set of rules. In fact, I’ve been toying with this for the last several weeks – in our Tulsa class, someone asked a question sort of like this and I said, “Let’s just see what the Scripture says.” And so we went through all these verses in Romans and just had a blast.
The next Wednesday night, before I had time to start, the whole group on the front row said, “Hey, will you go over again what you did last week?” I said, “Well, of course if that’s what you want.” And so we did it again and had just as much of a blast. Well, then, the other night in Muskogee it came up and so those of you that were in that class, we went through those same verses again to show people from the Scripture how to know yourself, if you’re saved or how to lead someone else that is seeking. And we may do that before the afternoon is over. I haven’t decided yet. But one thing I do want to get out of this first verse is that, when God has finished the transaction of our Salvation, then, yes, we are secure. We have been crucified with Christ and you can’t take yourself off that Cross. You can’t put yourself on that Cross. We’ve covered all of that. The Crucifixion was the kind of death that no one could do by themselves. It took the work of someone else to nail Christ to that Cross. And the same way when we come into this Salvation experience, it’s an act of God that places us in the Person of Christ; it’s an act of God that resurrects us from darkness into life and so, consequently, God Himself is the One that says it. I don’t., and no denomination can say it. But God says ,”There is therefore now no condemnation to (whom) them which are (where) in Christ….”
I think it was just last night when we were talking about some of these things in the class. What does it mean to be “in Christ?” That’s an easy prepositional phrase to just roll off our lips, but what does it really mean to be in Christ? Come back to the Book of Ephesians Chapter 5 for a moment and let’s look at a little bit of explanation. Someday we will probably teach some of this book on the air. Ephesians is also a deeper or higher level of the Christian experience because Paul will bring things out in Ephesians that he doesn’t in Romans, Galatians, or the Corinthians. Because this is higher ground this is deeper water, but now in Ephesians Chapter 5 he comes down to verse 25. This is a verse that should speak to every married couple, and that is the responsibility of the man in that marriage relationship.
But you see what Paul is bringing out here by inspiration is that Christ’s relationship to you and I as members of the Body of Christ is identical to the relationship of the husband and wife. Now, in a marriage relationship that is made in Heaven, that husband and wife were two people, but they become one. And many wedding ceremonies point that out by blowing out the two candles and lighting the one. And that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. It’s the same way when we become in union with Christ. We’re two separate entities of course, but once we’ve entered in and have enjoyed this position in Christ, what have we become? Like husband and wife because we’re one with Him. Now, that’s a deep concept when you understand it’s all in the realm of the spiritual, and the only way we can comprehend it is by faith. That’s what The Book teaches, and if The Book teaches it then we have believe it. That’s what God expects. Remember the verse I like to go back to in Deuteronomy?
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Now, it’s the same way here. God is revealing a relationship not just between the husband and the wife, but a relationship between Christ, and you and I as members of His Body. Look what he says:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it (the Body of Christ of which you and I are members) with the washing of water (not baptismal water, but) by the word.” This Book is the cleansing agent. And now verse 27:
“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
And then come down to verse 30. This is impossible for me to comprehend except by faith. It’s what The Book says.
“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”
In other words, in the realm of the spiritual what have we become? We’ve become totally integrated with Christ Himself, we’re in Him. The Scriptures also teach not only are we in Christ, but He is in us! See, it’s a two way street. The moment we’re saved, yes, we’re placed in Christ, but He also comes and dwells within us, and so that’s why Paul uses this whole marriage relationship. Verse 32:
“This a great mystery (now you know that’s one of Paul’s words, and one of those secrets that God has now revealed to this apostle. You never see any of this anywhere else in Scripture. You never saw this kind of relationship even between Israel and God, or between Abraham and Jehovah; oh, but look what ours is): but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
See? As a husband and wife come together and become one, so Christ and this Body of believers become one. We are just totally integrated. Now, let me take you back to I Corinthians Chapter 3 for a moment, and again, here we have the other direction. Not only are we in Christ, but He is in us, and the world knows nothing of this. I suppose if they hear me just by accident as they’re flipping through their channels they’ll think what kind of a kook is this anyway. What’s he talking about? But you see for us who know and love The Word, it’s as plain as day; it’s so believable, because it’s practical, and it’s experiential because we know it’s happened. Now, come down to verse 16, and look what it says:
I Corinthians 3:16
“Know ye not (we’re expected to know) that ye are the temple (or dwelling place) of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
When we say that Christ dwells in me, we know Christ is bodily at the Father’s right hand, and He cannot leave that bodily position. So when we speak of Christ being in us then it has to be in the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at another one over in Chapter 6 of this same book. I’m always emphasizing that when the Scripture repeats something, it’s making a point.
I Corinthians 6:19,20
“What? know ye not that your body (this body we’re living in today) is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own (it isn’t that we have deserved it or earned it, but what is it? Verse 20)? For ye are bought with a price (with the Blood of Christ as Peter puts it in his little epistle); therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Come on over to the Book of Colossians Chapter 3, and look what a tremendous statement is there. If it weren’t for faith we couldn’t comprehend it, but it’s what God says, and we believe it.
“IF ye then be risen with Christ,…”
What did we learn back there in Romans Chapter 6? That when Christ died, I died. When He was buried, we were also buried; that is in the mind of God. Now, we didn’t stay in the tomb anymore than He did, so what happened? We were resurrected and we, too, were given new life; and we’ll see in Romans Chapter 8 that it’s eternal life. We’re going to live forever in His presence. I’ve told young people over and over to just stop and think, “Even if you could live a whole lifetime of 70 or 80 years and be able to live it up like a twenty-five or thirty-year-old what is even that compared to the billions of billions of years that are going to be in eternity?” Now, that’s eternity and it’s coming. That’s why this Book has been left with us to prepare us for that eternity that’s coming. But I think we’re living in a time when the materialism and the good times and so forth are just keeping our young people in the dark. That doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying life. My lands, I think I’ve enjoyed life as much as anybody can, and I’ve never had to get drunk to do it. Never! I used to tell guys in the service, “Look, what in the world are you gaining? You don’t even remember what you did, do you call that a good time?” But anyway, here we have it now in Colossians Chapter 3 and verse 1:
“IF ye then be risen with Christ (there is going to be a change in our appetites, and desires, and we’re going to), seek those things which are above,…” Which are eternal. How did The Lord Jesus put it back there in His earthly ministry?
“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
I’ve tried to drill in to young people, even my own, to get their priorities straight, and that doesn’t mean you have to go into a monastery and become nothing but a monk. You can enjoy life to the full, because God has given us all these blessings to enjoy, but priority-speaking, Heaven is where we have our first interest. Now, completing Colossians 3:1:
“IF ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
We are living in a `things’ society, but things perish. I noticed over the years, especially when I was young, that I wanted a particular make and model of car, and I finally got it, and then what? I learned a long time ago, and I’d like to think that it’s original with me, “Anticipation is a lot more exciting than realization.” Because once you have realized it, then it’s just `blah.’ But on these eternal things anticipation is great, but the realization is going to be greater. Now reading on.
“For ye are dead (in your old Adamic state), and your life is hid with Christ in God.” God and Christ are One in the same in reality, and so again when Romans 8:1 says:
“THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,…”
When we’re in Christ then we’re hidden in God, and wrapped up in the God-Head, and nothing can touch us. Jesus put it in a real simple form when He said, “no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” That was almost a simplistic understatement compared to this. Here we have the full ramification that if we have entered into this Salvation experience by faith, then we can stand on this promise that indeed we’re dead to the old Adam. Verse 4:
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear (and He will, and we think it’s not too far into the future), then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
What a prospect and promise! Now, I’ve got it good. I’m not wealthy or rich by any stretch of the imagination. I live in a little portion of Oklahoma that’s beautiful and all of that, but the glorious part is still to come.
LESSON ONE * PART II
THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION ROMANS 8:1-14
We have people from many denominations, and that’s the way it is in every class I teach, but our purpose and intent is to get people to study their own Bible. You may not always agree with me, and you don’t have to. You can certainly disagree with some of my approaches to Scripture, and still be a believer. But the reason I like to pass it on is that this Book has become so thrilling to my own heart after I realized some of the things that I hadn’t ever been taught: God’s dealing with the Nation of Israel, and then when He turned to the Gentiles we just have a whole different approach. Once you see that, this Book just gets so exciting, and is so easy to comprehend.
Now, let’s get back to where we left off in the last lesson, and we really never got past the word `Therefore’ in the last lesson in Romans 8 and verse 1. But remember, none of this can be just glossed over and taken lightly. The whole idea of Bible study is to read carefully. So many people just read it, and say, “Well, I’ve read my Bible today.” But read it carefully and see what it really says. In fact when I answer a question that comes in the mail I’ll answer it with a Scripture, but always tell the party to read it carefully, because if you’re just going to read it to be reading it, then you’re not going to get what I’m trying to tell you. And it’s the same way with this whole chapter of Romans 8, we’re going to take it slowly and carefully because this chapter is the gemstone of the Book of Romans, and the Book of Romans is the gemstone of The Bible.
“THERE is therefore now no condemnation…” Remember back in John’s Gospel, what did Jesus say?
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life;…”
Now, what is already resting on the unbeliever? Condemnation. See? Condemnation rests upon every son of Adam. We’re born sinners, and we never can forget that. We are born into the Adamic race `sinners.’ And that is what we have been looking at in these previous chapters of Romans. We are all sons of Adam, and under condemnation. But now we see the Scripture says that there is no condemnation. What a difference! Well, what made the difference? The Gospel! Some evangelists, pastors, Sunday school teachers, and so forth have put cliches in place of the Gospel. And I guess the one used the most is, “Taking Jesus into your heart.” How many times have we heard someone say, “Well, just come and take Jesus into your heart.” I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it now, “That’s not the Gospel.” Alice, from our class gave me a little book the other day that said the same thing. When someone gives me a book, I read it and give it back; that’s my library. A lady told me one time, as she was leaving my class, that she would like to see my library. I told her I didn’t have a library, and she couldn’t believe it. I just have two or three books that I use a little bit, but other than that I don’t have a library. A gentlemen up here in Northern Oklahoma sent me a whole box of books the other day. Bless his heart, I hope he’s watching the program today because I haven’t had time to tell him how much I appreciate these books.
But anyway, all of mankind is under this condemnation, but now once we are in Christ there is no condemnation. That’s what The Book says, I didn’t dream it up. So reading on in verse 1:
“THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (I’ll probably make some of you mad when I say the rest of this verse does not belong here in verse 1. Someone will scream, `Oh, you’re taking away from the Word of God. No I’m not, because I noticed a long time ago that it doesn’t really fit. Now some Bibles even have it in their margins that these words…), who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (…do not belong in verse 1, but they belong in verse 4, and they’re down there).
You say, “What are you talking about?” Well, just analyze it for a minute. I’m always almost just screaming at people that Salvation is faith + nothing. No human energy, no human merit, because it’s faith + nothing. Now, if you leave these words in verse 1 what does that make me? Well, it makes me a liar, because what does The Book say? And remember all of the early manuscripts don’t have it, and all the great Bible scholars will tell you the same thing. Why?
“THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
What does that tell you? How did you get in Christ Jesus according to that? By not walking in the flesh, but rather the Spirit. That is not what has put us in the Body of Christ. Do you see that? And so just leave those words off verse 1, but when we get down to verse 4, it’s perfect. It’s exactly where they belong.
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who (because of verse 3, that God sending His own Son in likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, to take care of old Adam, condemned old Adam in the flesh. And now then this becomes appropriate) walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.”
Do you see the difference? This is what we have to learn to do. You just analyze the Scriptures in the light of what all of Scripture teaches and then you can see an error like this. How it crept in, I don’t think anybody really knows. But they all agree that it’s an error that should not be in verse 1. And of course, my premise is that it makes it sound like we got in Christ by virtue of our walking. And we did not. Let’s go on to verse 2.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Remember when we were back in Chapter 5 we were looking at this word `law.’ I said you have to always, according to the context, determine what `law’ are we talking about? Sometimes, the word `law’ will simply be used as a fact of everyday living. In other words, we speak of the law of gravity. It’s just a fact of our living everyday that what is up is going to fall down. No man can change the law of gravity. It’s absolute. We speak of the law of buoyancy. The law of buoyancy is that if you can put something in the water that weighs less than the amount of water it pushes aside, it’s going to float. It’s a law. It’s a fact of life. Now, this word used here is in the same context. “For the law,” the very fact of our everyday life is that, the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me (or set me) free from (another fact of life, another established, fundamental absolute which was that) the law of sin and death (was operating every day). The law of sin and death. It’s just a fact of life that mankind is under the curse. Mankind is under the power and the control of Satanic powers. Now, you need a verse for that? II Corinthians Chapter 4, verses 3 and 4. This is exactly what I just read out of Romans 8.
II Corinthians 4:3,4a
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…..”
That’s the world outside of us. Going up and down their busy lifestyle. They are lost. See how plain that is? He hasn’t blinded the minds of those that have come and joined the church. He hasn’t blinded the minds of those who don’t read their Bible. He has blinded the minds of those that will not believe. It’s that simple.
II Corinthians 4:4
“In whom the god of this world 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.”
Now, that’s what we’re up against when we try to enlighten people, and try to bring them to that same joy of Salvation that we enjoy; it’s just like water falling off a duck’s back. Why? Because they are blinded by the powers of Satan. They see absolutely nothing to be gained and so, consequently, they go on their way in total darkness. Now, come back Romans Chapter 8 and let’s read verse 2 again.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hat made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Now, what do you have here? Two facts of life. The one is that God is able to come in and do an operation in our life that totally gives us a new outlook on life. It gives us hope for that eternity to come. It’s a whole new ball game compared to the rest of the verse of being locked into sin and death. Remember the verse back in Romans Chapter 6 we looked at several weeks ago, verse 23? A verse I think that most people, if they have had any Sunday School and Bible experience at all, have memorized this verse.
“For the wages (and remember wages are what you earn) of sin is death (do you see how sin and death are connected?); but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Isn’t that a perfect comparison for what we see here in Romans 8? That the law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus, that fact of life that we can experience seven days a week, totally sets us apart from that other fact of life which is sin and death. It’s an everyday experience for the whole world that they’re living in the midst of sin and death. The two are so tied together, and remember where did it all begin? When Adam ate, and just as soon as he ate, what happened? He sinned, and the moment he sinned what came according to Romans 5? Death! So sin and death have been tied together ever since Adam took that first bite. And there is only one remedy for it, and that’s The Gospel. By believing The Gospel that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead. You know at the first part of this lesson I was talking about cliches, and how so many people just say, “Well, just give your heart to Jesus,” or “Ask Jesus to come into your heart.” What are they circumventing? The Gospel!
When I was a kid (and I imagine most of you older people will nod your heads in agreement, and not that it was all wrong, but I think it was totally over done), Sunday after Sunday all we heard was hellfire and brimstone. And it scared the socks off people. I’ve had so many of those come into my classes, and they had been turned off by that approach. They told me if that’s all Christianity is then I don’t need it. But it is true, lost people are headed to a Devil’s hell (and don’t ever accuse me of not teaching that), but that is not the Gospel. Hell-fire and brimstone preaching is not the Gospel, and nether is telling folks to come forward and take Jesus into their life. Do you hear me? The Gospel is believing for your Salvation that Christ died for you, was buried for you and rose from the dead for you. (Ref: I Corinthians 15:1-4, and another good one is Romans 10:9,10.) Then when you believe the Gospel, Who are you taking into your life? Jesus Christ! Absolutely you do. He becomes your personal Savior, absolutely He does. But when you use those little cliches by themselves then it’s not the Gospel.
Now, it’s the same way back here in this verse again. Here we have the law of sin and death. That’s been with man ever since Adam ate. But now to counteract that, and supersede that, what do we have? The law of the Spirit of Life. I guess I should make this point right here since the word `Spirit’ is now used. Do you realize that in those first seven chapters of Romans the Holy Spirit was only mentioned one time, and then not in a really doctrinal sense. And after Paul explained that dilemma in Chapter 7, we come into Chapter 8 and the Holy Spirit is going to be mentioned nineteen times in just this one chapter. Nineteen times there is a direct reference to the work of the Holy Spirit. In those first seven chapters, Paul lays all the ground work of how we ended up in sin and under condemnation, and how that Christ died that we might be justified from all that, and how we might be forgiven. Then he comes through Chapter 7 with the dilemma of, “How can I overcome that old Adam, how can I keep it in defeat?” Well, what’s the answer? Romans Chapter 8: the Holy Spirit. And it’s the indwelling Spirit now that becomes our law if you want to put it that way. Now, let’s read on:
“For what the law (the Mosaic law) could not do (it was limited), in that it was weak through the flesh,…” Go to Hebrews 8:7.
“For if that first covenant (the law of Moses) had been faultless (now stop. When you see the words “if it would have been,” then what is implied? That it was faulty, it was not faultless like we like to think), then should no place have been sought for the second.” If it had been perfect then there was no need for anything more. But it wasn’t. Oh, it was perfect from God’s perspective, but not from mankind, because man couldn’t keep it. Now, verse 8:
“For finding fault with them, he saith, `Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.'”
So what the Scripture is showing us then is that the Mosaic Law from man’s perspective was faulty. And as I’ve emphasized ever since I started this series back in Genesis, the Law had no power to help mankind to keep it. Are you all aware of that? The Law had absolutely no power to keep a man from stealing, committing adultery, and what have you. All it could do was condemn him. That’s all. Now, come back to Romans Chapter 8 again. Living under the law of the Spirit, what’s the big difference? Well, the Spirit indwells us as we saw in the last lesson, and thus becomes our law. The Holy Spirit becomes our guideline for Christian living, not a set of rules and regulations, but His influence, His power. Do you see the difference?
And so all the Law did was just sit there in cold stone, there was nothing warm or cuddly about the Law, because it was severe, it condemned, and it did nothing to help that person keep it. But the indwelling Holy Spirit is warm, He is loving, and He does embrace us, He does cuddle us. And as He does so, He gives us that desire to live pleasing in God’s sight, He takes away that desire to be a rebel, to be obnoxious, wicked, and all that. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit. Now, verse 3 again:
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak…”
It had no power. Never accuse me of saying that the Ten Commandments weren’t perfect, absolutely they were. But they were powerless. A good illustration is that the Law was just like a mirror. You come in from an afternoon of working in your yard on a hot summer day, and you’re sweaty and grimy, and you look in the mirror, and all the mirror can do is show you what’s wrong, and what needs cleaning up, but the mirror is never going to reach out and clean you, it can’t, it’s helpless. And that was the Law. It was just the mirror that showed man his utter sinfulness, and helplessness, but the indwelling Holy Spirit is something totally different.
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”
I tell my classes night after night that this is something I still cannot comprehend except through the eyes of faith. He was the Creator of Genesis 1:1. He is the One Who spoke and the universe came into being. He’s the One Who spoke and Adam came up out of the dust of the ground. Yet Jesus Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for the sake of dealing with the old Adam. He condemned the old Adam and the flesh, and that was His whole purpose of coming – to get right down to man’s level in man’s frame of flesh that He might condemn sin in the flesh.
LESSON ONE * PART III
THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION ROMANS 8:1-14
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin (in other words to take the place of that old Adam so that we could be crucified with Him), condemned (old Adam) sin in the flesh:”
I’m using the words “old Adam” in place of the singular word `sin’ throughout the Book of Romans, because that’s what it’s really talking about. Don’t forget what we have learned in the earlier chapters. When Paul speaks of `sin’ the singular, then it’s the old Adam, and he is the fountainhead of all our problems. It’s that Adamic sinful nature, and then the fruits of old Adam are the things that he causes us to do, and that’s `sins’ plural.
“That the righteousness of the law…”
The law was righteous. I said in the last lesson that it was weak, and I had you turn to Hebrews, but the main verses for that reference is in Galatians. Let’s follow that up in Galatians Chapter 4. And all of this is exactly what Paul is constantly referring to, and that was what the law could not do. It couldn’t because it was weak from the fleshly side, from mans point of view. From God’s point of view it was absolutely perfect, and always will be.
“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God,… (they were idolaters) But now, after that ye have know God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”
What’s he talking about? The Law. The whole thrust of this little Book of Galatians is to prove to these Gentile believers up in Galatia that they weren’t under the Mosaic Law, but under Grace. The Law was weak and beggarly, and yet they thought they wanted to go back under the Law. Paul told them he could raise his voice against them because why would a believer want to go back under the Law once he has tasted of Grace? Back to Romans Chapter 8 again.
“That the righteousness of the law (as God first gave the law it was perfect, it was holy, it was righteous) might be fulfilled in us (who are believers, who now enjoy that position in Christ; and now as a result of that position in Christ which we have gained by believing the Gospel, now comes that appropriate place for that little statement in verse 1 that I said didn’t belong up there), who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” So the Spirit becomes our guideline for living. Turn over to Romans Chapter 13 for a moment, and let’s look at verse 8.
“Owe no man any thing (or defraud no one), but to love one another: for he that loveth another (in other words the love of God is operating in that believer) hath fulfilled the law.” And then you come on down to verse 10 and we find:
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love (the God-given love) is the fulfilling of the law.”
Nothing we could do would do it, but when the love of God that is imparted now through the power of the Holy Spirit works in our life then, yes, we fulfill the whole law. Back again to Romans Chapter 8.
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
One of the marks of true Salvation is a change in lifestyle. It’s a change in appetite, it’s a change in our whole thought process. Because whereas we were once under the control of the world and the flesh, and the Devil, now we’re under the control of the Spirit of God. The things Paul says I once hated now I love, and the things I once loved I now hate, and that’s exactly as it should be. That’s what I always look for if I’ve had the opportunity of bringing someone to a knowledge of Salvation. I like to see that complete change in lifestyle. That change in desire, because that’s the whole point. Now, he comes into verse 5, and he makes this comparison again between the lost and saved individual, the true Christian.
“For they that are after the flesh (now I believe that this word `flesh’ is the same as sin. It’s old Adam) do mind the things of the flesh (or old Adam. That makes sense doesn’t it? When a person is still out in the world, he’s in spiritual darkness, he is blinded by the god of this world so that he can’t believe. Then, naturally, all he has any concern for are the things of this world. He has fleshly appetites, he has nothing but fleshly visions of materialism and so forth, so he has no concept of the Spirit. And so they mind the things of the flesh, or the old Adamic nature); but (the flip side) they that are (living) after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
Over and over I’ve seen some of the most ungodly people who never had any spiritual appetite whatsoever. And yet when they came to believe the Gospel and were genuinely saved, they can’t exhaust what’s in this Book. They just can’t get enough of it. Well, that’s as it should be. That’s exactly the way Scripture wants it to be.
“For to be carnally…”
What does it mean to be carnal? Sometimes Paul will speak of a carnal Christian, a carnal believer, one who is not Spirit-filled, and one who is not Spirit-directed. He’s a believer, he’s in the Body of Christ, but his priorities are mixed up, and he’s still more in the flesh than he is in the Spirit. Paul refers to that kind of person as a carnal believer, but normally when we see this word `carnal’ we think of the lost individual, the individual who is still under control of old Adam. He is still in the flesh, he has nothing of eternal life in him whatsoever, he is carnal. Now, read on:
“For to be carnally minded is death;…” Remember what Jesus said about this?
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Well, this verse 6 here in Romans is the same thing. These lost people are headed in only one direction, and that is spiritual death – eternal death, and absolutely there’s an eternal doom for those who reject the Gospel. And sad to say, all through human history that’s always been the biggest majority. Remember the analogy that Jesus used of the broad way and narrow way?
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
God has always had to be satisfied with just that small remnant. You can go all the way back to Elijah there on Mount Carmel, and the account of how he put to death all the prophets of Baal. Then Queen Jezebel heard about it and sent a messenger right back to tell Elijah that “by tomorrow at this time he’ll be just as dead as my prophets,” Then instead of standing up, and realizing that his God had just defeated all the powers of Baal, what did Elijah do? He ran, and ran, and ran. He must of been in pretty good shape. But he ran a long ways, and when he finally pooped out what did he do? He sat down under a little old Juniper tree out there in the desert and said, “God take my life, this is the last of Israel, I’m the only one left.” But what was God’s answer? “Elijah there aren’t many, but I do still have 7000.” That was a remnant. And it was that way all the way up through human history. And even now through the Church Age it’s always been just a small percentage, a small remnant, and I feel that as we’re rushing to the end times it’s getting smaller and smaller.
I appreciated the message our own pastor brought last Sunday night. He was preaching on the 144,000 in Revelation 7, and I agreed with him 110%. He said, “I foresee no great world-wide revival,” and neither do I. But he did say that there could be pockets here and there which means that we’re not to just give up and say, “Well, it’s never going to happen.” Maybe you and I can cause a revival in our little corner of the world. But there is certainly nothing in Scripture that indicates that there is going to be a vast revival in the Church Age. The Tribulation will be a different story. When those 144,000 Jewish preachers go to work there is going to be a great multitude saved. The Scripture says that. But we have to be aware, for the most part, the world today is totally unconcerned about things of the Spirit. They’re more concerned with how much salary they can make, how big their home is, and how many cars they can drive. There is nothing wrong with those things in their rightful place, but when they become first priority, blinding them to spiritual truths, they’re going to be awfully sorry someday. They are going to wish they would have had their priorities straight.
“For to be carnally minded is death (spiritual death, and eternal doom without end); but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
And what kind of life? The eternal life of God Himself has now become part and parcel of every one of us who believes, and it’s going to carry throughout all eternity. We can’t comprehend that, at least I can’t, anymore than I can comprehend the outer edges of space; it is beyond us. When I read some of these things it just boggles my mind. I was reading an article that someone gave me the other night. To show the eternalness and the infiniteness of God, our sun in the solar system is so huge that it would take a million and three hundred thousand of our planet earth just to equal the size of it. Now, that’s beyond my understanding, and then the star Centaurus out there is so much bigger again than our sun that it would take several hundred thousand of our sun to equal the size of it. That’s the infinite God! That’s eternity! And that’s where we’re headed. So we’re dealing with eternal things that are without dimensions, that are beyond human comprehension. And what little we do comprehend, we appropriate how? By faith!
I’ve stressed over the years this is not some far out kooky stuff that some Jew sat by his camp fire and dreamed up. No, No. Because there is so much of prophecy in this Book that foretold events hundreds, and thousands of years in advance, and it’s all come true. Everything that hasn’t come true yet – we can already see the handwriting on the wall, that it’s about to. If that much is true, then why can’t it all be true? Well, it is. So when we contemplate these things, we just rest on The Word of God as absolute, it’s true, and as sure as anything can be, and we can rest on it. This next verse throws a curve at most people. And this is another thing that would be hard to comprehend if The Book didn’t say it.
“Because the carnal mind (anyone who is still under the control of old Adam. Someone who has never had the power of the Gospel operate in their life, he is still the carnal mind, and that mind) is enmity against God;…”
You talk to good people here in Oklahoma or anywhere else you can think of, and they’ll say, “Well, no, I don’t hate God. I love God, I believe in Him, I’m not His enemy.” Oh, no, The Book says they are, and The Book doesn’t lie. Now, how can The Book say that when people say the opposite. Because you see their old Adamic nature is still a rebel, and that’s what people have to be convinced of. Their old Adamic nature is a natural born rebel against the things of God. And if you’re a rebel, then you’re an enemy! There are many of us that use the expression, “With friends like that, who needs enemies?” Well, it’s the same way with God. A lot of these people who claim to be His friend, hey, He can’t call them His friends. They’re His enemy. Why? Because they’re in that state of mind that is rebellious. They’re not going to do what God says to do. They’re not going to admit that they’re a sinner. They’re not going to admit that they have a spiritual lacking. Well, what is that? That’s rebellion. And when you’re a rebel, then you’re an enemy, and it’s that simple. Now, reading on:
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God (now the next part of that verse is shocking): for it (the Adamic mind) is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
That’s scary isn’t it? Do you know what I always think of when I read that? I think it’s amazing that man is as civilized as he is. I really do. Because the unsaved person is not subject to the law of God. God doesn’t expect the unbeliever to keep His law. God doesn’t expect the unbeliever to be a good person, because God sees down in his nature that he’s anything but good. Let’s go back to where we were several months ago in Romans Chapter 3, and let’s start at verse 10.
“As it is written, `There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth (that is in that old Adamic nature), there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.'”
And you see people won’t agree to that, and will say, “Now wait a minute that’s not me. I do a lot of good. I’m a good citizen, I contribute to a lot of charity.” But you see that’s not what God is looking at. He’s looking at the heart. He’s looking at their old Adamic carnal mind.
“Their throat is an open sepulchre (that’s an open grave, there’s nothing pretty about that); with their tongues they have used deceit (we see this in our government and everything else); the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood (I don’t even listen to the news much anymore, because of all the murders, and why? Because that’s the Adamic nature see? And he’s being turned loose more and more); Destruction and misery are in their ways (you don’t believe that? You haven’t see the news in Bosnia lately): And the way of peace have they not know: There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Why not? Because they have no comprehension of Who God is. They have no real comprehension of the power that He can employ, they ignore Him, and push Him out of their thinking. That’s exactly what Paul is talking about in Romans 8:7. Let’s look at it again.
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
Now, that’s hard to swallow isn’t it? That mankind is not subject to the law of God, and can’t be? That’s what it says, and it means exactly what it says. And here’s the problem with the Christian community even in our present time now. We would like to think that maybe we could legislate some decent morality, and cause people to stop all of these murders, and stop the teenage pregnancy, to stop drug additions, but you can’t. We’ve seen that in the drug war, they can’t stop the drugs, and they’ll never stop the drugs until people stop wanting to use them. See? When people stop using drugs then the whole business will fall apart. Even back in the days of prohibition we had the same thing. They could pass a law prohibiting the sale of whisky, but did it stop? No. Because people still wanted it, and as long as someone wants it someone will produce it. That’s human nature. And even though the laws of God are clear, and precise, mankind totally rejects them. Verse 8, and here’s a conclusive thought: if this is the state of mankind which is lost; if this is the way people are when they are outside of the Gospel, outside of being positionally “in Christ,” then:
“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
One of the absolutes of Scripture is in Hebrews Chapter 11, the great faith chapter:
“But without faith it is impossible to please him;…” (God)
And so the unbeliever who is an enemy of God is an enemy simply because he has does not have faith.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION ROMANS 8:1-14
I have been stressing during the five years we have been on television, Paul is the designated apostle of the Gentiles. Consequently, I feel that it’s in the Pauline letters that we have to garner basically the fundamental truths for Salvation, for the Christian walk, for the operation of the local Church. It all has to come from these letters of Paul. Now, that never implies that the rest of The Bible is inappropriate. God forbid! Paul himself writes:
II Timothy 3:16
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
But here in this Book of Romans, especially, we have so much that is fundamental for us as Gentiles. I don’t do this for any kind of monetary gain, nor we do certainly hope to be famous. That would be the last thing I’d want. We want to reach a multitude of people with the truth of God’s Word. And He is blessing it. I wish I could let especially our class people who have been so instrumental in helping us financially, listen in on our phone calls, and read our letters. It would just thrill your heart, because God is touching a lot of hearts. Now, back to Romans Chapter 8 verse 8.
“So then they that are in the flesh (that are under the control of old Adam) cannot please God.”
I don’t care how good they are, or how much they dress up old Adam (and we can make him look real nice on the outside). But when the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God, the Law of God finally hits old Adam where it hurts, the veneer flies off, and we see him as he really is. That’s what has to happen if we’re going to come out of darkness, and come into the light of the Gospel. Now, verse 9:
“But ye are not in the flesh,…”
Paul always writes only to believers. He doesn’t write to the unsaved world. Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s not appropriate for them, but he’s not writing it to them. So all these things we said in the last lesson concerning those who are under the control of old Adam still comes from the pen of the Apostle Paul, but he’s writing it to us. Why does Paul get into all of these ramifications of how we died with Christ, and how we’ve been raised from the dead with Him, when we’re already saved? Do we have to know all these things for Salvation? No. I don’t expect a new person that has just been totally untaught in the Scriptures to know about these things. Although they are normally the easiest ones to work with. But they don’t have to know all about these deep doctrinal things to be saved. Oh, heaven forbid, but once we’ve become a child of God, now what does God expect? That we learn, and that we grow, and we get a graphic understanding of all that God has done on our behalf. And then that’s what makes us what we are.
This is what’s the problem with so-called mainstream Christianity. They’ve got maybe the elementary things, but they’ve never gone into the deeper things, and, consequently, they have no understanding of these deep doctrines that Paul is now privileged by the work of the Holy Spirit to give to us in his letters.
“But ye are not in the flesh (not under the control of old Adam), but in the Spirit (you’re in Christ, your position has changed, you’re no longer in the flesh and here’s the condition), if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you….”
Now, isn’t that plain? The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the proof that you have eternal life. Let’s go to the Book of Ephesians and look at a verse we’ve used several times on the program. Here is one of the verses I like to use in association with Romans 1:16
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (the Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;” I also like to use it with Romans 10:9-10, and Romans 10:13.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I also like to use it with Romans 5:8.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And there are others I like to use for Salvation verses, and I like to use this one in Ephesians as well.
“In whom (Christ) ye also trusted (believed), after that ye heard the word of truth (now there’s the sequence. We have to hear the word of truth first. And the word of truth is the Gospel, the good news of your Salvation, that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again), the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed (and look at all the things that aren’t in there. It’s just the word `believed.’ All the things that are attached to Salvation have been added by so many people, and they are refusing to look at how Paul puts it, and Paul puts it faith plus nothing), ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.”
I could have used this verse when we were in Romans 8:1. Why are we sealed? Because there is no condemnation on us. Why is there no condemnation on us? Because we’re sealed. It goes both ways. Do you see why I came from Romans 8 to Ephesians 1? It’s the same thing. Let’s come back to Romans 8. And remember, you’re not in the flesh, and under the control of old Adam if the indwelling Holy Spirit is evident. Because if you have believed the Gospel, if you have believed the truth of it, then the Holy Spirit is in you, and if the Holy Spirit is in you then you’re a believer. You can flip back and forth, and they both come to the same conclusion: You’re in Christ. There is now no condemnation, you’ve been forgiven all your trespasses, Paul says, in the Book of Colossians.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having (past tense) forgiven you all trespasses;”
We are also a new creation, and we can find that one in II Corinthians, because the Scripture has to speak for itself. Don’t go by what I say, but rather what The Book says. And let’s start reading in verse 14. These verses are just too good to pass over.
II Corinthians 5:14,15
“For the love of Christ constraineth us (it drives us); because we thus judge (or conclude), that if one died for all (for every human being), then were all (every human being was) dead (spiritually): And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” Now, what is that? The Gospel. There’s the Gospel, it just keeps popping up all the time. Now, verse 16:
II Corinthians 5:16
“Wherefore (Because of the work of the Cross, His death, burial, and Resurrection) henceforth know we no man after the flesh:…”
What’s he talking about? Christ in His earthly ministry. And isn’t that exactly where so much of our preaching is today? Sunday after Sunday they preach about Jesus, and all His miracles, and His signs, and His wonders. But what does Paul say about that? Hey, we’re not following any man in the flesh, we are to now take Christ after the work of the Cross, after His death, burial, and Resurrection. He’s ascended into glory, now that’s the Christ that we’re attached to. Oh, I grant you it’s the same man, the same God, but nevertheless the Christ before the Cross was not the object of our Salvation that He is after the Cross. That stands to reason, because it’s the work of the Cross that makes possible our Salvation experience. So Paul says that he doesn’t know anyone after the flesh. We’re not preaching Jesus in His earthly ministry. Now, continuing on:
II Corinthians 5:16
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh (that’s why I know he’s talking about Jesus and His earthly ministry) yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh (Paul lived at the same time that Christ did), yet now henceforth know we him no more.”
So Paul says that since His death, burial, and Resurrection we do not look back and know Him in His earthly ministry as such. There is nothing wrong with studying His earthly ministry, so don’t misunderstand me, but that’s not the basis of our Salvation today. Our Salvation is not based on the earthly ministry of Jesus. That was His ministry to the Nation of Israel. The Name of Jesus was His Name of humiliation, He was going to the Cross, the sin-Bearer, and once He rises from the dead in power and glory, then it’s no longer appropriate to refer to Him as Jesus. But now He is the Lord Jesus, He’s Jesus Christ, He’s the Lord Jesus Christ. All of these things are now more appropriate. The verse I wanted to show you is verse 17.
II Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore (he is speaking of that which he has just given us. The Christ of the work of the the Cross, the Christ in Resurrection power, the Christ Who is now seated in the Heavenlies at the right hand of the Father) if any man be in Christ,…”
It doesn’t say that if any man is good, or has joined the church, or has done everything that some denomination demands, but if any man be in Christ, that’s the secret. And if he’s in Christ, as we saw in the Book of Ephesians, then he’s been sealed by the Spirit. And as we saw in an earlier lesson, if we’re in Christ, then He’s in us. Oh, this is mind boggling. We’re in Him, and He’s in us. Remember I used the analogy of marriage that as husband and wife become one so you and I in Christ are one. Continuing the verse:
II Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation…”
You can’t just fix up the old. When we were back in Genesis I gave the illustration that when Adam sinned, immediately his nature, his soul, became a sin nature, and the spirit part of him died, and because it was now dead he lost fellowship with his Creator. I made the analogy that that dead spirit in Adam was like a dead battery in your car. I think it was a good illustration. It would be like you had a dead battery in your car, and instead of just asking someone to bring a jumper cable and give you some energy from an outside source you decided to get a pan of water with some soap and a rag. You start cleaning up that old battery, and you get it shinning like a new dime. You get in your car and turn the key on and what? Nothing. Why? It’s still dead, but when when you bring in some outside energy either from a jump or you generate your battery, what happens? You’ve got power. It’s the same way spiritually. We’ve been dead as a result of Adam’s sin, and it takes an outside source of power. It takes the power of God to energize our spirit, and when He energizes the spirit He makes us a new person. We’re a new creation. It’s that simple. Now, reading verse 17 again:
II Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
The evidence of Salvation is a total change in lifestyles, and old things absolutely fall away. We knew a young couple when we were still in Iowa. The man was an insurance executive up in the Twin Cities, and we had a Bible study in the home of his parents. They would drive about 150 miles every Saturday to the study. After about six or seven, during a coffee break, he said, “You know Les, since my wife and I have come to know The Lord a lot of things have changed. We used to keep the refrigerator full of beer, we had the wet bar well-stocked, and then one day my wife Patty said, Listen, this just doesn’t fit.” And so I said, “Well, let’s pitch it away. Then they poured it all down the stool and flushed it away.” And he said, “The amazing thing was as time progressed all of our previous drinking friends disappeared, and we had a new circle of friends that came in.” That’s exactly how it works. When you become a believer the whole circle of your friendships will probably change.
Your whole desire begins to change, and that is as it should be because it’s two totally different worlds. That doesn’t mean that we get so heavenly minded we’re no earthly good. We still function, we still work, we still plan, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact I always tell people, especially if they have accumulated some wealth, that there is nothing wrong with that. Paul tells us that:
II Corinthians 12:14
“….Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.”
Children shouldn’t have to lay up for the parent. There is nothing wrong with accumulating some wealth, or accumulating an estate. There is nothing wrong with that as long as it’s in God’s timetable and His plan for your life. Absolutely. Now, let’s turn back to Romans Chapter 8, and read verse 9 again.
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit (you’re under His control instead of old Adam), if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man (anyone) have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
That person does not belong to Christ, it’s that simple. Here is the criteria; if you have the indwelling Holy Spirit, you’re in Christ, and how do you get the Holy Spirit? By believing the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4) And when you believe the Gospel for your Salvation then God does it all. He puts Himself in us, He put us in Him, and we have this assurance. Let’s go to the little Book of I John Chapter 3, starting with verse 1: How beautifully this fits with what Paul is writing in Romans and Ephesians. This is written sometime after Paul’s letters so this is why it fits so beautifully.
I John 3:1
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us (believers), that we (believers) should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
Have you experienced it? I know you have. I`ve had so many of my class people tell me, even their own church people will begin to sense that you’re different. You’ve somehow gained the knowledge of the Word that they don’t have and so consequently they feel you’re kind of odd. Well, the truth of the matter is, they’re the ones that are a little odd because they don’t know what The Book says. But here it is, the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not, that is The Lord Jesus. Now, verse 2:
I John 3:2
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, (It doesn’t say we hope to be, we think we might be. It says now we are the sons, or the children, of God) and it doth not appear what we shall be (we can’t comprehend that eternal future but this much we know): but we know that, when he (The Lord Jesus Christ) shall appear (what does that mean? He’s coming! The world may think that they’re going to keep going forever, and the United Nations is going to solve all the world’s problems. No, it’s not. There’ll be no peace on this earth until the Prince of Peace comes. I’ve said for years, the Psalms say pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That means you pray for The Lord’s coming! Because Jerusalem will have no peace until the Prince of Peace is back in Jerusalem. So when you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, you’re praying, Lord come quickly, as John does in Revelation ), we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Someone asked me the question again about our eternal state concerning our body. And they said, “Now, wait a minute. Are we going to have a body in eternity?” Absolutely! Never in all of Scripture does the human being operate without a body. The soul and spirit by itself does not operate as an entity. It has to have a body. Let’s turn to Philippians, Chapter 3. You see how one Scripture leads you to another? When John says that we’re going to see Him as He is, how are we going to see Him? What’s He going to be like?
“For our conversation (our citizenship) is in heaven (as a believer we’re already citizens up there); from whence (that same heaven) also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working, whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
LESSON TWO * PART I
ROMAN ROAD TO SALVATION:
Studying The Bible is what this program is all about. I’ve always said that I’m not a preacher or evangelist, but I feel The Lord has given me the ability to teach the Word in a way that ordinary people can understand it. In fact, a lady in our class was just expressing to me that a relative she had heard from out on the west coast was enjoying this teaching in Romans, and how it had totally opened her eyes to a lot of things she had never heard before. So I realize that we are teaching things not normally taught. We’re getting a little deeper in The Book, and we just feel that the Christian community needs this today. We have to get into the doctrines of what God has revealed, and what He’s revealed the Scripture says, “He expects us to hang on to it, to believe it, and to trust in it.”
At the end of our last lesson we were in the area of Romans 8:10, but to pick up the flow, let’s start reading in verse 5:
“For they that are after the flesh…”
Paul always writes to the believer, and the reason all these things are being written is so that we have a real reason for living as believers. Paul writes to the believer to enhance our belief, or faith, and give us roots, so we will not be tossed about with every wind of doctrine, and oh, they’re coming at us from every direction. When the disciples asked The Lord what were the signs of His coming at the end of the age, the first thing He said was:
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, `Take heed that no man deceive you.'”
And so we know that the deception, the false teaching that is flooding our country is part and parcel of the end time scenario. So these things are written to us who believe, but it is also going to have an impact on those who do not as yet believe. I’m getting more and more a burden for lost people than I have ever had before, because I’m realizing how many, even church people, have never had a real Salvation experience. Now, verse 5 continuing:
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh (the word here for `flesh’ is another word for the old Adamic nature); but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” A person that is a child of God is going to mind the things of the Spirit.
“For to be carnally (another word for fleshly) minded is death (spiritual death, eternal doom); but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” And of course that life is eternal life.
“Because the carnal mind (the mind we’re born with, that mind that we’ve inherited from Adam) is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
I’ve pointed out that most people don’t realize they’re an enemy of God. Recently, I was reading a footnote in some Bible teacher’s old book. He referred to a great revival that had taken place on the campus of Yale University. This goes back quite a ways. A lot of the students were experiencing Salvation but there was one young lady who was so benevolent that she would help anybody under any circumstance. She was everybody’s friend, but as yet she had shown no interest in this revival. So some of the girls that had found Salvation in the revival were talking to her one day, and inviting her to come to the meeting, but she just wouldn’t respond. Finally in desperation, one of the girls said, “Please come because God loves you, and wants to save you.” The girl’s temper flared, and she stamped her foot, and said, “I hate God!”
Well, you see that’s just exactly what I’ve been talking about. People can keep old Adam under control, but when he’s prodded, out it comes, and I thought that was the perfect example of what we’re up against. People can put on a good veneer, but when they’re really confronted with the demands of a loving God then they show their true colors. And they do hate God, because the Scripture says they’re enemies of God. This is exactly what verse 7 is talking about. The lost person is an enemy of God. Now, verse 8:
“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit (you’re a whole new person who has been born into the very family of God, as we’ll see when we get to verse 14 and 15. And here’s the criteria, here’s the proof), if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you (if He doesn’t, then you’re on thin ice). Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
I think sometimes people have to be scared a little bit. They have to be shook up, and realize that you can’t just take these things in one ear and out the other, and dress it up a little bit on Sunday morning for an hour, and then hope to spend eternity in the presence of our Creator. It’s just not going to happen. Paul makes several warnings that have scared me over the years, not for myself, but for the sake of people who are living an illusion. In fact, a verse just comes to mind that’s found in the Book of Galatians. So turn to Galatians Chapter 5 and this verse will shake people up, or at least should. First, Paul tells us in Romans 2:
“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
Everybody is going to either stand as lost or saved by what they have done with Paul’s Gospel, and that Gospel is believing for Salvation that Christ died, was buried. and rose again. The admonition to the Galatian believers is not to fall victim to the legalizers who were making in-roads into the congregations that Paul had established in Asia Minor. So now Paul writes again to believers:
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Law, legalism, Judaism.
And now verse 2. My when I first saw this about 20 years ago it just shook me up, because I could understand that there are millions of people that this verse is talking to. And what does Paul say?
“Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.”
Paul is talking about circumcision for Salvation. If they’re going to depend on something that they can do themselves in the flesh for their Salvation then Christ shall profit them nothing. The first time I saw that it just scared me to death. How many millions of good people, church members who wouldn’t dream of missing a Sunday morning service, and yet they’re depending on something of the flesh that they have done rather than just relying totally on the finished work of the Cross. And if you add any one thing plus the Cross, then you cancel the work of the Cross. We’ve got to warn people about this. I’m not a preacher and I’m not here to scare people, but on the other hand I think we have to realize what the Word says. And it says, “If you do anything in the energy of the flesh, Christ shall profit you nothing.” Paul goes on in verse 3:
“For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.”
Now, remember circumcision was the big deal back then, because it was the Jewish people who were bringing this in among the Gentile churches. But I’ve always pointed out that this can be anything that you can do in the energy of the flesh. Joining the church, being baptized, taking The Lord’s Supper, good works. As long as you tie it to Salvation you’re canceling the work of the Cross because God is adamant that He finished it! He did everything that needed to be done, and if we’re not satisfied, then He’s not accepting us. And that is why Paul is repeating it in verse 3. Now, there has only been one Person Who has walked this planet that was able to keep the whole law and that was Christ Himself. So it’s an utter impossibility to keep the whole law. Then Paul puts the cap on it in verse 4.
“Christ is become of no effect unto you (Christ can’t touch us as long as we try to do something in the energy of the flesh), whosoever of you are justified by the law (or doing something in the energy of the flesh. Then Paul says); ye are fallen from grace.”
Now, that doesn’t mean they have been saved and then fell out, but rather they have turned their back on that which God has provided. Now, let’s come back Romans Chapter 8, and verse 10:
“And if Christ be in you,…”
I make a lot of Paul, and I make no apology for it because Paul claims to be the apostle of the Gentiles. It’s within Paul’s writings that most of Christendom gets its basic doctrine. Yet it seems that Christendom never gives him the credit. I’ve had people come up to me who had a Sunday School teacher or preacher who just detested Paul’s writing, and they can’t even see why his writings are in our Bible. Recently, a lady told me that she could never quite believe me when I would tell that there are people who didn’t think Paul should be in our Bible. But she said, “Today I heard it with my own ears.” She had used Paul as a reference to a lady, and the lady told her that she couldn’t see how anyone could believe anything Paul writes, and that Paul shouldn’t even be in our Bible. That’s probably putting it a little stronger than most, but that is the sub-conscience feeling of a lot of people. They think Paul is so far out that they don’t pay any attention to him. But it is foundational to our Salvation, and to our Christian experience that we realize what this apostle is saying. This whole idea of Christ indwelling Gentile believers is a Pauline doctrine. In fact let’s look at another one that speaks of Christ being in you. In the Book of Colossians, Chapter 1, and drop down to verse 27. And like I said, you won’t find statements like this in the Four Gospels, or in the Old Testament, or any of the rest of The Bible except in Paul’s writings. Look what he says:
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery (secret) among the Gentiles (now the fact that God has been dealing with Israel for over 2000 years before Christ came on the scene was one thing, but now that He’s dealing with Gentiles? This had never been heard of before. This particular mystery is); which is Christ in you (and then that gives us), the hope of glory:” Now, back to Romans 8. Reading on in verse 10.
“And if Christ be in you, the body (the old Adam again) is dead because of sin (in other words Adam and the flesh was all under the curse, and this body is going to die if The Lord doesn’t come to translate it. That’s all part of the fall of man that death came in, and so all men has to die); but the (Holy) Spirit is life because of righteousness.” I think Paul is referring to eternal life, that life which will never end because of righteousness.
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead (here we have the implication again of the Trinity. God the Father used the power of the Holy Spirit to raise the Son. See how clear that is? So if He) dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Look at another Cross reference because that’s how we learn to study the Scriptures by using more than one verse at a time. In Ephesians Chapter 2, Paul has almost the same identical language.
“And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were (past tense) dead (something that’s dead is of no use, and that’s where the human race lies so far as God is concerned) in trespasses and sins.” We believers, too, were once dead in trespasses and sins.
“Wherein time past ye walked according to the course of this world (we were like everybody else, and now as a believer, hopefully now we’re different. Last Christmas, the city of McAlester was having a parade, and it was crowded downtown. We were on our way to Bible study and the gentlemen who was walking with me to our class room, said, `you know a few years ago I would have been with the crowd. I’d never dream of going to a Bible study. But now it’s exactly the opposite. I wouldn’t dream of being out there with them, I’d rather be here studying The Word.’ Well, we’ve heard that over and over, and this is exactly the way it has to work. But remember in time past we all walked) according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” And then verse 5:
“Even when we were dead in sins (`sins’ is plural. The word sin deals with that old Adamic nature. But when it’s plural it’s the results of that Adamic nature. I like to use the old whisky still as an example. The still is one thing, but what it produces is what bends peoples minds. The still itself doesn’t cause people to get drunk, but it’s what the still produces. And it’s the same way with old Adam. Adam is like that old still, producing sins, plural. So Paul says that when we were dead in the activity that was prompted by old Adam He), hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” And not by works. Now, Romans again.
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die (that’s what God told Adam and Eve in the Garden, and it hasn’t changed); but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (or put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
The Christian life does involve discipline, but you’re not going to give things up that you just love to do because the things you once loved you now hate and vice versa. So it’s not a matter of giving it up, it’s just a matter of having a change of appetites.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they (hope to be? No, they) are the sons of God.”
Most of Christendom today feels that if you do everything right, if you can hang on, if this, and if that, you might make it. But this Book never says that. This Book says that today you are in one of two categories. You are either lost, and hell bound, or you’re saved and heaven bound. It’s that simple, and I’m no more narrow than The Book is. This is what The Book declares There are only two classes of people in the world, you’re either in Christ or you’re not, there is no half way in-between. Now, verse 15.
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, `Abba, Father.'”
The word `adoption’ as Paul uses it does not mean the same as in our culture, such as taking a child that was born to someone else and then legally adopting them into our family. But the word `adoption’ goes back to a Greek and Roman practice. They would take the eldest son and put him under the control of tutors until he reached the age where he was fully educated, and trained, and he could step right in side by side with the father in business. Now, when the son had reached that age and he was ready for that position then they went through the rites of what? Adoption.
What the word really means, as Paul uses it, is that we’re placed as a full son. Not just as one who has been taken legally from another family, but a son who has gone through the training years, and now he is placed as a full partner with the father. The glory of all this is, “The moment we’re saved, yes, we’re born into the family of God, but immediately God places us as the full heir with Jesus Christ.” You don’t have to work for 20 years like poor old Jacob had to for his wives. We don’t have to strive, hoping that we can obtain this position, but it all happens the moment we believe, and that’s why we can say, “Abba, Father” as it is here in verse 15. So get these basic doctrinal truths straight, that, yes, at Salvation we are born into the family of God by the work of the Holy Spirit, but there comes another act of God that places us then as full heir. Now, reading on.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs of God (and not just an heir down the line some place who’s going to hope for maybe a little bit of the inheritance, but we’re what?); and joint-heirs with Christ;…”
Even in our own culture a joint-heir implies equality. What’s his is hers and vice versa. So as we come in by being born in the family of God, placed as an equal full-grown son and placed in that position by adoption, we become joint-heirs, with Jesus Christ.
LESSON TWO * PART II
ROMAN ROAD TO SALVATION:
Now, the question came up several weeks ago in our Tulsa class if I would go through the plan of Salvation using the Scriptures of course, which I did. At the end of that hour so many of them were so appreciative that when we came back the next week several asked me if I would do it again. So we did it again, and then we did the same thing in the Muskogee class. R.L. made real good notes during that class and he came back the next week, with those verses typed out. Iris has made copies of them, so the notes are available if you would like them.
The plan of Salvation. How can you know that you are in Christ as we have been seeing in Romans Chapter 8, and all the other various chapters in Romans? How can you know that you have eternal life? How can you know that you don’t have to worry about missing heaven? How can you know that all these things that Paul is talking about are really yours? Well, all of this is based on `faith.’ You can do nothing in the realm of the Spirit without faith which is Taking God at his Word. So that’s why we’re going to study the Word. How can we come to a place of having, and knowing that we have eternal life? Well, the best place and the first place I always like to start with is Romans Chapter 3, and verse 23.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
All have come short, and they can not meet God’s criteria. They can no way claim to be good enough to enter God’s heaven. In fact, it was the Navigators or the Campus Crusade who, in their little helps for students, witnessing one on one, admonished their students not to just ask someone, “Are you a Christian?” Because invariably people will say, “Yes,” but instead you ask them, “Why should God let you into His heaven?”
I myself have used that question over the years, and I think it is the best way to start. After you ask that question you will hear all the various reasons, and by approaching them that way you sort of put them on the spot, and you let them express themselves, and it’s amazing what you hear. Of all the reasons that people will give, as to why they think God should let them into His heaven, they will invariably overlook Romans 3:23. But this is the very first step of faith on the road to Salvation, and that is to recognize that in ourselves we are lost. We are like sheep without a shepherd. We are separated from God because of the fall of Adam, who was the federal head of the whole human race, and so, consequently, the Scripture says, “That everyone has come short of the glory of God.” Which means we can’t enter God’s heaven unless God does something on our behalf. Now, the next verse I always like to use is Romans Chapter 6 and verse 23.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Now, as you deal with someone (and that’s the reason we are doing this), hopefully sometime in the future you’ll have an opportunity, maybe with a child, or grandchild, or co-worker, or neighbor, or whomever, to let them see these verses in their Bible. Don’t let them have to take your word for anything. Point out that in Romans 6:23 it says the wages of sin is death, and wages is something that you work for. Wages are never a gift. Wages are something that you get in return for something you have done. Now, what the Scripture is pointing out then is The old Adamic nature, that nature we’re born with has only one direction, and that is death. Eternal death. Everything that lost person does be it good or bad is piling up wages for his eternal doom. That’s what the Scripture says, but the flip side, the last half of 6:23 says:
“…but the gift of God is eternal life…”
Now, you see the difference between wages and gift? Wages you work for, and that’s what you deserve, but a gift is something you do not deserve. And that is what Salvation is all about. It’s a gift, and not something that you can do, not one iota of work to earn, it has to be a gift. Now, I would like for you to turn to Romans Chapter 1, and verse 16, and this is a well known verse, where Paul now writes:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (the Gospel) is the power of God unto salvation…”
Now, remember when were back in Romans Chapter 1, I spent almost a whole lesson or more on that word `Salvation.’ It’s that all inclusive word that implies everything that God does on behalf of the believer who cries out, “I’m a sinner, I’m in need of Salvation, I believe that Christ died for me.” Then God does everything else. He imputes righteousness, He forgives, He cleanses, He baptizes us into Christ’s Body, He does everything that needs to be done, and how do we know He did it? By faith. You’re not going to feel any of those things, or see any of those things, but you’re going to know that He did it because The Book says so. But what is the Gospel? Now, here we have to leave Romans for a few moments, and go back to that portion that we have used over and over in I Corinthians 15, the first four verses. And here is the Gospel that saves you. Now, I have nothing against John 3:16 so please don’t misunderstand me. But John 3:16 by itself is not the Gospel, it is certainly a part of it once you understand the Gospel. But the Gospel that we had better believe if we want eternal life is found here in this passage. And now let’s look at the Gospel.
I Corinthians 15:1-4
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (do you see how plain that is?) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved (it’s by the Gospel that you’re saved, and you’d better know what you believed), if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received (Paul received our Gospel from the crucified, buried, and Resurrected Lord from Heaven), how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
In other words, this was all pre-planned before anything was ever created. God would create man, and man would sin, and find himself in need of a Saviour, a Redeemer. so God set everything in motion, and brought about Christ in His earthly ministry, brought about His Crucifixion, and raised Him from the dead, brought Him back into heaven from which He has now revealed these things that Paul calls the secrets or the mysteries, and the very core of that is the Gospel. “That Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.” Now, while we’re out of Romans let’s go on to the Book of Ephesians for a moment, and look at Chapter 1. I’m going to make this as plain as I know how to make it, and I know it works because I’ve seen so many that have come from various backgrounds, and life styles, and they have come to be what the Scripture calls living epistles. They are trophies of God’s Grace, not anything that Les Feldick did, but only that they saw what The Book says.
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth (what’s the word of truth?), the gospel of your salvation (that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead. So after you’ve heard the Gospel, and you’re old enough to consider it, and old enough to understand that not only are you a sinner, but now you can understand that Christ is the remedy. Now, read on): in whom also after that ye believed (now do you see all the things that it doesn’t say? I’m just stressing what Salvation is. I’m not against the local church, but when it comes to Salvation you can’t put church membership, or baptism, or The Lord’s Supper in with believing because they are not in here. Now, those things can follow after you have believed for Salvation. After you believed what did God do?), ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
Now, I’m still a cow man, and I’ve been working cattle every day lately, and one of the very marks of ranching is what? The brand. And it denotes ownership, and that’s exactly what the indwelling Holy Spirit is for God, it is His mark of ownership. Verse 13 again:
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
Back to the Book of Romans Chapter 5, and verse 8. These verses are just loaded if people will stop and examine them.
“But God (The Almighty, Creator, Triune God) commendeth (extended) his love toward us (everything is based on His love), in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Why did God create mankind when He knew that he would become such a disappointment, and create such a catastrophe on the planet? Why did God ever create man in the first place? To have someone He could love, and a creature who could respond to that love. Now, that’s the whole idea of the marriage relationship as I have said so often before. That’s why Paul tells us in Ephesians:
“Husbands, love your wives,…”
Men, extend that love to the female, and God has put within her a responder, and she will respond to that love. And that is what God does in the big picture to the whole human race. He extends His love. That was the whole idea of the Cross – that He loved us and gave Himself for us. And then He has every right in the world, and Heaven, to expect that love to be responded to. People will sometimes say, “How can a God of love and mercy send people to an eternal hell?” Well, that’s why. Because He’s already loved them to the very extent that heaven could offer, and He gave it to every human being who has ever lived. And when a human being spurns that love, then God in His Sovereignty has every right in the world to reject them at the Great White Throne Judgment. This Book was given to the human race for basically the sole purpose of helping people escape this wrath of a righteous God. Romans 5:8 again:
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet (still) sinners (God doesn’t expect people to straighten up, and clean up their lives, and then approach Him for Salvation. God saves everybody just exactly where we are, and then He does the work of regeneration. And that’s what He wants, He wants all the credit, and glory. So while we were yet sinners), Christ died for us.” Now, let’s stay in this same chapter, and come over to verse 20. I think this is a verse that isn’t in the list that R.L. has, but it’s a good one just the same.
“Moreover the law entered (the human experience), that the offence (man’s sins) might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:”
The Law entered 1500 years B.C. with Moses coming down off the mountain, and he introduced the law to the Nation of Israel. Until the written Law appeared man could only go by conscience, but when the written Law came there was no doubt that everything man was doing, even after searing his conscience, was breaking God’s Law and became sin. The last part of that verse deals with Grace. Everyone of us knows of somebody that we think is so ungodly they are so hateful toward God, they live the life of a reprobate, and most people don’t even like to associate with them, but God still loves them. And God is able to reach below the vilest sinner, and lift him up and make him a saint. “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:” And that’s why Paul refers to his gospel as the Gospel of the Grace of God. Now, let’s go over to Chapter 10. And let’s read verse 9 through 13. I always like to end up with verse 13 when we lead someone to The Lord.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
In other words, God expects you to communicate this not only to Himself, but to others. God is a commentator, and he expects us to verbalize some of these things. I’m afraid too many people have just had a mental assent, and say, “Yeah, I believe in God.” But that’s not what God is looking for. God is looking for a verbalization of all of these various steps. You tell God that you recognize from Scripture that you’re a sinner. Tell Him out loud, “Lord I’m a sinner, I’m a child of Adam, and I have no reason to expect you to take me into your heaven, because that’s what your Book tells me.” And the same way when we call on Him for Salvation. Don’t just assume that God reads your heart although He certainly can, but He wants us to actually, audibly say it out loud. Just ask God to save you, and tell Him that you believe that what He’s done, He’s done on your behalf. So looking at verse 9 again:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth (verbally) the Lord Jesus, (Now, here we have to go beyond the Jesus of His earthly ministry. During His earthly ministry, He hadn’t died yet, but as soon as He finished the work of the Cross, and the power of the Resurrection, He now becomes Lord of our lives. He becomes not just Jesus, but He becomes Jesus Christ The Lord, or The Lord Jesus Christ. I think that it is only proper to approach Him on those terms. Now, reading on:) and shalt (what?) believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, (and believing is something that you don’t do with your hands and feet, but believing is the attitude of the heart. So if you believe that Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead what’s the promise?) thou shalt be saved.”
Now, that’s a promise! God said, and I know the Apostle Paul wrote it, but God said it through him. And this is where He wants us to come. So just say, “God you said it, and I believe it with all my heart.” Then what does God become? Duty bound. He is duty bound to fulfill His Word, otherwise this Book is a lie. But He will fulfill what He said He would do. Now, reading verse 10:
“For with the heart man believeth (now I don’t want to scare people but I think once in a while we need to self examine. Am I just believing a head knowledge, or am I believing with all my inner most being that Christ died for me?) unto righteousness;…”
Now, that’s an imputed thing, and as soon as we believe the Gospel for our Salvation then God imputes His righteousness. Just like back in Genesis when God killed the animal for Adam and Eve, and it says that He clothed them. I pointed out that it wasn’t the covering for their nakedness that was done when it says He gave them coats of skin, but the last part of that verse in Genesis says that He clothed them. With what? Righteousness.
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
And then I took you to the Book of Isaiah Chapter 61, and Isaiah said the same thing.
“For I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness…”
Then I took you into Romans Chapter 3 where the Apostle Paul says the same thing happens unto all that believe.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:” Now, Paul is saying the same thing here in Romans 10:10
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness (that God can actually clothe him with the righteousness of Christ); and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Now, it isn’t that you have to tell somebody before you’re saved, but whenever you have experienced something good it should be hard not to tell someone about it. And it’s the same way with our Salvation, I mean we should be ready to talk about it at the drop of a hat. It should be just as easy as talking about the weather. We should be able to talk about these spiritual things that God has done on our behalf. I know I’m going to Heaven when I die, and that’s not a braggadocio statement because I’m deserving of it. I’m going to heaven because I know that Christ did everything on my behalf. I’ve done nothing and am not deserving. None of us are deserving of God’s Heaven, but we know we’re going there because of God’s promises. Now, we need to drop down to verse 13: And here is the culmination of this whole act of becoming a believer. You now recognize that Christ died for our sins, we recognize that we’re hopeless in ourselves, and now we call upon Him.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Now, that’s a promise. I’ve used it before, and I’ll use it again: you take a swimming pool on a hot summer day, and all those kids yelling and screaming, but it’s the kid that’s in trouble in spite of all the other racket that the lifeguard hears. Now, I think God is the same way. His ear is tuned to the very second that sinner cries out and says, “God, I’m a sinner, but I believe that You died for me.”
LESSON TWO * PART III
ROMAN ROAD TO SALVATION:
We’re going back to pick up again in Romans Chapter 8 verse 18. Paul has talked about something now that you and I as believers are looking forward to, and expecting it anytime, and that, of course, is the Rapture of the Church, the believers.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
When Paul says the sufferings of this time, he knew what it was to suffer. He tells us in II Corinthians some of what he had to suffer.
II Corinthians 11:24-27
“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice (three times) was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice (three times) I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep (sea); In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”
He suffered all of those things for the sake of the Gospel. He suffered. You and I here in America know very little of suffering. Now, we may yet someday suffer, we hope not, but it could happen. But even with all the sufferings and hardships that this man went through, he said it’s nothing compared with what’s waiting for us, the glory that’s going to be revealed. Now, verse 19:
“For the earnest expectation (now that word earnest means just what it says. It is just all enveloping) of the creature (creation) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God,”
What’s he saying? Everything in nature, the mountains, the rivers, the rocks, the birds, the animals, everything is waiting for the day when the children of God will be manifested, which, of course, means to be raptured. We all know according to Paul’s writings that this is what the believer calls, “The Blessed Hope.” And not because it’s a cop-out, but because we are suddenly going to be translated from this life to the eternal with our new bodies to be with The Lord forever in an instant. It may take place today, or tomorrow, and it may be a while yet, we don’t know because we don’t set dates, but it is going to happen, and we feel soon. As we see the things of the world taking place, and the appearance now of globalism, and all of its forms and shapes, with global religion, and global economies, and global government. We know this is the sure sign that we’re getting very close to the appearance of the Anti-christ who will be the world ruler under that global environment. But before that happens we’re going to be snatched away. Paul says in I Thessalonians, we’re going to be caught up and we will meet The Lord in the air.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (have died), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (go ahead of) them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Now, all of creation is looking for that day because all of creation knows that will trigger the final days of the curse. Because the seven years of that tribulation is going to be God’s way of paying off Satan’s mortgage which we studied in the Book of Revelation Chapter 5. But the tribulation will pay off the curse. The world will be delivered from it, and all of nature seemingly, according to Scripture. Again, this takes some faith, and I know it does, but all of nature is looking forward to it. Reading on in Romans 8:
“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same (creation) in hope,”
Now, what’s Paul talking about here? Well, the moment Adam sinned, what fell? The curse. Who came under the curse? Everything came under the awful effect of the curse. It’s the curse that causes the great areas of desert, such as the Sahara. That’s not the way God created it, and all the other things that have made the planet what it is today is the result of Adam’s rebellion. So as soon as the curse fell God came back with a remedy. Let’s go back to Genesis Chapter 3 and verse 15. Genesis 3 is where Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, then so did Adam. This is the event that all of Scripture points back to as the vortex of the human problem, “The Fall of Adam.” But just as soon as it all happened God came right back and makes a promise in Chapter 3. And here He is speaking to Satan who, of course, precipitated all of this, and He says to Satan:
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed;…”
In the Book of Galatians it tells us that the Seed of the woman is Jesus Christ. And so what we really have here is a promise then of a running battle between Satan and Jesus Christ, and you see it from this moment on. Just as soon as Satan understands God’s particular program, he comes in and tries to disrupt it. Just as soon as God made the Covenant with Abraham, Satan began a process that has been running now for over 4000 years, and that was what? To destroy the Jew, the Nation of Israel, because God promised that everything would be fulfilled through that little nation. And if Satan could destroy the Jew then he thwarts God’s plan for the ages, and so everything begins right here, this running battle. Skip on over to verse 17 where God speaks to Adam:
“And unto Adam he said, `Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground;…'”
Now, what is that? That’s the curse, and it didn’t just fall on Adam, and the ground per se, it fell on all of creation, everything came under the curse. Now, just as soon as the curse fell, all of the present day ecology was set up, and that is that one species of an animal or bird feeds and makes it substances on some other species. If you’ve ever watched wild life on public television, we almost cringe when we see how the leopard stalks the deer for example. That isn’t the way God created it, that’s the result of the curse. Consequently, all of creation somehow or other is aware that they were subjected to the curse, but also they are aware that the day is coming when the curse will be lifted. That’s what The Book says, I didn’t dream that up. Paul writes it by inspiration here in Romans 8. Verse 20 again.
“For the creature (creation) was made subject to vanity, not willingly, (it wasn’t creation that sinned, but rather Adam, but they came under the results of it) but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.”
In Genesis 3:15, as soon as the curse fell, God came back and said, “I have a remedy,” and that would be through the Redeemer, through the Son, through the Seed of the woman. Now, verse 21.
“Because the creature (creation) itself (all of creation) also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption (the curse, and creation is going to be restored as it was before Adam fell. In other words, wildlife will not fear anymore. Remember. before the curse nothing ate meat, everything ate of that which grew naturally. So the creation is going to be delivered from the bondage of corruption, and who is going to gain control of it as we see in the last part of this verse? The children of God) into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
And remember when you become a believer you become a child of God. So what is all creation waiting for? The day when Christ will rule as King of Kings and we’ll be reigning and ruling with Him, and we’ll be in dominion over this glorious new creation that will be brought out from under the curse. Now, verse 21.
“For we know that the whole creation (everything) groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
When I say that all of creation is aware of His coming, and of His restoring everything, as it was in the beginning, people will say, “Now, wait a minute, you’re getting out in left field. You mean to tell me that the rocks and the mountains are aware of God’s coming and reigning?” Yes they are, and the verses I always like to refer to are in Luke Chapter 19. Let’s go back there for a moment because I want you to see it with your own eyes, or otherwise you might think that I pulled it out of the woodwork. Let’s start at verse 39, and this is at the triumphant entry in the last week of Jesus’ ministry. The people have been shouting “Hosanna,” and laying the palm branches in His way, and the religious leaders of Israel got all shook up:
“And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, `Master, rebuke thy disciples.’ And he answered and said unto them, `I tell you that, if these (the multitude who are shouting “Hosanna”) should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.'”
Jesus said that, and He’s the Creator – He knows what the stones are capable of doing. Let’s go to Psalms Chapter 148. And if this doesn’t say it plain enough to open your eyes, then I’m helpless, because this says it all. When all of creation sees the Rapture of the believers, they know it’s only a little while until the curse is lifted, and they will enter into that glorious dominion under Christ’s rule and reign, and with Whom we, the believers, will be joint heirs.
“Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. (now watch it) Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light (the whole creation). Praise ye him, ye heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished them forever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth (now do you see they’re all put into the same basket? Everything is thrown into this same account of responding to the Creator. It’s unreal isn’t it? I couldn’t believe it if it was any place but here in God’s Word, but that’s what it says and I believe it. They are all subject to the power of their Creator God): Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children (all of these we have read about since verse one are included in): Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.”
It’s going to happen when the curse is lifted, and Christ returns. Now, turn with me for a moment to the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 11. I always think of an example that I trust will drive the point home, and that is the animal and bird kingdom under the curse have to live in constant fear of being somebody else’s lunch. So to bring it down to almost every household wherever they may live in this United States, I always like to use the little cottontail rabbit. They’re everywhere, almost everyone has seen one someplace. But the point I always like to make is this: does that little cotton tail ever relax? Never! The neighbor’s dog will have him if he would, an owl or hawk will swoop down and grab it, the foxes and coyotes catch them. All of these kind of creatures would love to eat that little cottontail, and he knows it. This is nature today, this is the ecology that everything is laboring under, it’s the curse. But someday that little cottontail will be able to relax. Let’s look now at when the curse will be lifted, and the Scripture defines it so clearly. This is when the Branch in verse one is going to rule and reign:
“And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins (and now we come into the animal kingdom, and how things will be after the curse has been lifted, and what the animals are looking forward to in Romans Chapter 8). The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid (all these animals will eat of the green things, and berries rather than meat) and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them (Mama’s won’t have to worry about their children in these situations). And the cow and the bear shall feed (together in the same place); their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child (baby) shall play on the hole of the asp (poisonous snake), and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den. (another venomous thing to be feared. Look at the next verse) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain (and a mountain in Scripture is a Kingdom): for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
Now, back to our study in Romans Chapter 8: So this is what everything in creation, as well as we believers, are looking for, and that is for this day when the curse will be lifted Now, verse 22:
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” As I explained with the little cottontail rabbit, most of creation is under constant duress. Now, verse 23:
“And not only they (the things of nature), but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit,…”
The believer is the only one who is anxiously looking forward to The Lord’s coming. The unbeliever shrinks from it, he’s not ready for it, he’d like to think it all away, but he’s not going to succeed, because our Lord is coming! And oh, I wish people would wake up, and realize how evident it is that He’s coming. The whole world is moving faster, and faster to that final moment when Christ is going to intervene once again in human history, and He’s going to set things straight. The curse is going to be lifted, He’s going to rule King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Now reading verse 23 again:
“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
When I was growing up all I heard about was the redemption of the soul, I never heard much about the body, but God has never used the human being as just a soul and spirit, it has to be the complete entity of body, soul, and spirit. In other words, our loved ones, as they’ve gone on to be in glory, are not walking around on the streets of gold, and singing, “Hallelujah.” They can’t because they don’t have their body yet. Remember, when we go from time to eternity it’s a whole different set of circumstances. I honestly believe that since eternity is out of time, and time is not reality, and although Adam has been dead nearly 6000 years he won’t realize that that much time has elapsed. So when I say they’re up there, and they’re not walking the streets of gold, don’t ask me what they have been doing all these years. There hasn’t been that many years, as far as they’re concerned but that’s another whole half hour.
The last part of verse 23 talks about the redemption of our body. The body hasn’t experienced redemption because it’s still under the curse. We all get sick and, if The Lord doesn’t come, we’re all going to die. But the day is coming when we will have a new body, and it’s part of the complete redemption. Go to Ephesians 1:14. The sealing of the Holy Spirit in verse 13 is the down payment.
“Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
We know He’s already redeemed our soul, our spirit, but what’s waiting? The redemption of the body. Paul tells us in Romans 8:23 everything is moving to the day when we will have that final redemption of the body; we’ll be complete; ready to enter eternity.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
ROMAN ROAD TO SALVATION:
Now, let’s pick up again in Romans Chapter 8. I hope people don’t get tired of hearing the same chapter over and over, but after all we’re not on a set format or schedule, so we’re just going to study it, and take it as it comes. In the last lesson we left off in verse 24 where Paul continues:
“For we are saved by hope (now someone is going to throw a curve at me by saying, “I thought you said we’re saved by faith.” Well, we are, but faith and hope are in the same meaning, actually); but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”
In other words, when we enter into the realm of the invisible, what do we have to depend on? Faith. Let’s go back to the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 11, for a moment, and look at a verse on hope and faith.
“Now faith (taking God at His Word) is the substance (the very meat) of things hoped for (just like in Romans Chapter 8), the evidence (the proof) of things not seen.”
So when we enter into the realm of the spiritual into these things which we cannot just tangibly touch, then it has to be on the basis of faith. And there again, if I didn’t know that this was the Word of God, then I couldn’t believe it. I mean some of these things are so far beyond human comprehension that you can’t believe it unless you are positive that this is the Word of God, and I am positive. There is so much in here to prove the validity of this Book that I don’t have to have any doubts. Someone might say, “Well, that’s just blind faith,” but I say it isn’t. My faith isn’t blind my faith is documented, and that’s what The Word is all about. Verse 1 again:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report (now here it is again in verse 3). Through faith (by simply taking God at His Word) we (believers) understand that the worlds (the universe) were framed by the word of God,…” He spoke it, and it all came into being, and if we can believe our astronomers (not the astrologers) that everything is still being created; it’s still moving further and further. I can believe that. Because God is infinite. There is no putting an outer shell on God’s creation. Finishing verse 3:
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen (tangible) were not made of things which do appear.”
What does that mean? Everything that’s been created that we can now see and handle came out of nothing. I remember a few years ago reading an article in a scientific magazine. It was written by a great physicist who had devoted his whole life trying to arrive at the origin of the universe. And of course there are still a lot of people trying to do that, but his whole article had brought himself and the reader to the conclusion that at the beginning, whenever that was, everything had come from a single source of light. And I said to myself, “That’s God, God is light.” You see, this guy was so close to the truth, and yet I’ll bet he was a rank unbeliever. Everything had come from one source of light and had just expanded out from that, so, consequently, he says, “I can see the day when everything could go back into that source of light.” And so can I. In fact, I think that’s exactly what God’s going to do when everything will be destroyed. The elements are going to melt with fervent heat, Peter says in his little epistle. And God is going to create new heavens and a new earth. I think that’s exactly what He will do. He will pull everything back into that original source of light and energy and from there He’ll create new heavens and a new earth. Revelation tells us that, and so does Peter. So faith and hope, then, are so intricately intertwined. Now, come back to Romans Chapter 8.
“…for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”
I’ve given the expression that I’ve learned over the years that anticipation is far more exciting than realization. When you look forward to something, that’s a lot more exciting than when it finally gets there. Now, verse 25.
“But if we hope (again by faith) for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
With God, time doesn’t mean much. God isn’t concerned whether He will bring everything into its fruition tomorrow, or whether it’s ten years from now or one hundred years from now. But we know it’s coming and we can’t push God to do it any faster. So what do we do? We wait patiently. But in your patience never lose sight of the fact that it is going to happen. Christ is going to return. And we feel it’s getting sooner every day. Now, verse 26 and let’s move into a little deeper area.
“Likewise the Spirit (the Holy Spirit who is now indwelling us, according to Paul’s teaching) also helpeth our infirmities (our weaknesses. There’s not much we can do about it because we’re dealing with the invisible, in the realm of the Spirit. But let God do it. God can strengthen us in our places of infirmity): for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
That verse is kind of hard to comprehend, except to say I think that there will come places in our lives when we just don’t know how to pray. We have an idea of what we want, but we can’t put it into words. I’ve told my classes over the years, when you get to that situation, just be quiet, shut up and let the Holy Spirit commune for you. This is not necessarily a tongues experience. That’s not what Paul is talking about. But we get to this place where the Holy Spirit actually intercedes on our behalf. Now, come back to I John. This is a different intercessory power that John talks about in his epistle.
I John 2:1
“My little children (who is he talking to? Believers! He doesn’t call the unbelieving world his children. It’s the believing element that is being addressed), these things I write unto you, that ye sin not (now what have I stressed over the years – that we are under Grace and not under law. Grace is not license. Just because we’re under Grace, just because the sin is always less than God’s Grace, that doesn’t give us license. And so John says the same thing. He begs the believer – sin not! Don’t sin!). And, if any man sin (that’s conditional. What are we going to do? We’re going to sin! You might as well admit it), we have an advocate with the Father (now what is an advocate? It’s an intercessor. We have Someone Who is interceding for us to the Father. And Who is it?), Jesus Christ the righteous:”
Absolutely He is! He is there 24 hours a day, every day of the year. I’ve told my classes over the years, and I think I’ve even said on the program, this is one of the miracles of our God. I’m sure that at any one moment of time, there are probably a million believers in all areas of the world that are approaching the throne room. But He hears every one as an individual. He doesn’t hear just a mumble-jumble of voices coming up before Him. And so when we pray we have that assurance that He hears us and He knows all about us as a person. Now, back in Romans 8, the Holy Spirit is interceding on behalf of us. And again, I think we have all three Persons of the Trinity involved, even in our prayer life. All three Persons are working for us constantly. A little later in this chapter, no wonder Paul will write, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” We’ve got all three Persons constantly working on our behalf. Let’s read on.
“And he that searcheth the hearts (this is the area in which God works. You and I can’t look on each others hearts. I can’t judge anyone, nor would I ever try. But God does) knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit (now hold it. Where, so far as you and I are concerned, is the Spirit? He’s in us. Now, that’s a concept that we cannot understand. A person of the Godhead dwelling in me? Absolutely! It’s what The Book says. And again, we take it by faith that the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is indwelling the believer. And it’s through that Holy Spirit that God searches the heart of the believer), because He (the Holy Spirit) maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Does that leave out the Son? No! It just involves all three. The Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf and the Son intercedes on our behalf to the Father. It’s just fantastic. And no wonder verse 28 can say what? This is a verse that the whole world rests on:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…”
For everybody? No. There’s a qualification here. Who is it? The believer! All things work together for your good and mine, as a believer, not for the world necessarily. Everything is working for the fruition of His eternal plan for the ages, absolutely it is. But in our everyday moment by moment experience, it’s only the believer that God is working out the best for him. Now, that may also include some things that aren’t so good. I’ve found in my life, at the time I was going through some things, I’d say, “Lord, why? Why are you doing this to me?” But years later I can look back and I can say, “Praise The Lord that took place because it brought me to where I am, and you’re the same way.” This is the joy of being a believer. God may bring some tough things into our lives. He may bring some bad experiences. But it’s for His own purpose to bring us to the place that He wants us to be.
Remember the illustration that I gave you about the young lady, when invited to partake of the love of God said, “I hate God!” Well, that’s where most people are. You have to get them in a tight spot to express it, but that’s where they really are. They don’t love God. And they’re the first one, that when things go a little bad, to say, “Well, where’s God?” Well, God’s there, but it’s their problem, not His. Now, let’s continue with verse 28:
“…to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Now, we’re going to get into a few areas that are a little bit sticky, I know.
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate…”
Now, right here I always have to stop and forewarn people. We’ve got those around us, and I’m sure I’ve got them living around me down in my little neck of the woods (and I don’t know what to call them, fatalists or whatever). But their idea is that if God has already predetermined I’m supposed to go to Heaven, I’ll get there. And if I’m predestined to go to Hell, there’s nothing I can do about it and I’ll be going there, so don’t worry about it. Well, that’s not what the word `predestination’ is talking about. In fact, what I’ve done in my classes over the years is get people to see what are we predestined to. Look at it real carefully.
“For whom he did fore know, he also did predestinate to (Hell? No, it didn’t say that. Does it say to Heaven? No, it doesn’t say that either. See what I mean? We’ve got to look at what The Book says. Let’s look at what it really says. What it really says is) Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be (a position which in this case is being) conformed (or be made like), to the image of his Son,…”
Now, that’s not heaven or hell. That’s a position that God has reserved for every individual believer. Now, on that same basis let’s look at another one over in the Book of Ephesians in Chapter 1. And let’s start at verse 4. I know that some of these things are mind boggling, but hopefully before the lesson is over we’ll be able to reconcile some of these things.
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world (in other words before anything was created He already had us all marked), that we should be holy and without blame before him in love;” As a result of that love extended on the Cross. Now, watch verse 5:
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”
A lesson or two ago I defined the word `adoption’ as Paul uses it, and as it was practiced in the Roman and the Greek culture. When the child born of the husband and wife was put under tutors, he was educated, and trained, and prepared to come in at an equal level with the father, and we’ll say for a business. When that child reached that point in life he went through the “rites of adoption.” Now, the custom that is kin to that in the Hebrew culture is the “Bar Mitzvah,” and that was when the boy reached the age of 14. But it wasn’t in the same category as the Romans and Greeks, because they were in the secular world, and they were preparing their child to come in and be a co-worker in the business. But Paul teaches that the moment we become a believer we don’t go through years of tutoring, and training, but rather we are immediately placed as an heir with the Father and Son. And that’s exactly what he is saying here. We were predestinated, not to heaven or hell, but we’re predestinated as a believer to this position right there with Christ from day one as a joint heir in the process of the adoption. And I think Paul uses it once more here in this chapter.
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance,…”
Just like we saw in Romans 8, that we are joint heirs with Christ. Now, if you’re a joint heir that means whatever belongs to the other party is yours. In the secular economy, if the other half passes off the scene, who ends up with everything? The heir does. Now, we’re joint heirs, and of course Christ is never going to die and pass off the scene so we’re going to be joint heirs forever with Him. Now, reading verse 11 again:
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”
Do you know what that means? God has predetermined everything. Let’s go back to the Book of Acts for a moment and let me show you a verse that ties in. This is a verse we’ve looked at before, but it’s almost the same kind of language so let’s look at it. And, of course, here he’s speaking of Jesus of Nazareth in verse 22:
“Him (Jesus), being delivered (up to be crucified) by the determinate counsel (It’s the same word) and foreknowledge of God (notice the language is the same as it was in Ephesians 1:11), ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”
Now, what’s a determinate counsel? It’s a meeting of the minds (plural). So Who had a determinate meeting of the minds? The Trinity. Way back in eternity past, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, came together and by a determinate agreeing of their three minds, they decided to create the universe, and they decided to put in little old planet earth, and on it they would put the human race. They knew in foreknowledge that the human race would fall in the man Adam. And they knew in that predetermine counsel then that one Person of that Triune God would have to be a Redeemer. Isn’t that beautiful? And so everything according to that predetermined counsel of Acts Chapter 2 brought the whole thing moving. Then, as a small part of that whole big picture come you and I, again according to that same kind of Triune counsel, that same Triune meeting of the minds. God put the finger on everyone of us and said, “I have a place waiting for you.” Now, if that isn’t enough to thrill you then I don’t know what would.
But that’s where we are, we’re in that predetermined position that was put there by the counsel of the Triune God before anything was ever created. Now the big argument comes up, “Well, now wait a minute. Are we elected, are we chosen before we ever had anything to do about it?” And the opposite party comes and says, “It was all of our own free will. We decided to choose Salvation.” And I say, “Well, now wait a minute, Yes whosoever will sits over here, you can’t deny it.” The Scripture is full of it, that Christ died for every man, (I Corinthians 15:1-4) He tasted death for every man, He’s not willing that any should perish. But over here the Scripture says you were chosen before the foundation of the world. Now, maybe you can, but I can’t explain those two facts of Scripture. But I’m going to let them set in Scripture by faith. This is what God has said, and I’m going to let Him settle the controversy because I can’t. Do you remember that I put this one on the board several years ago, and I think it’s as good an application as I ever found.
Here’s the river of humanity. Ever since Adam, the human race has just been flowing like old man river, but all along the banks of the river are these doors of opportunity, and what’s on the front part of the door? “Whosoever will may come!” So the `whosoever’ goes through that door of opportunity, and when he gets to the other side and looks back, what does he see on the other side of the door? “Chosen in Him, before the world was ever created.” Now, I can’t put it any better, because that is exactly the way it is. We have to decide for ourselves, and yet the moment we decide God says. “I chose you.”
LESSON THREE * PART I
IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?
As we begin the last four lessons of this book we are also beginning our sixth year on television and we never dreamed we’d be on longer than six months, Now here we are covering a good part of the nation. We’ve even had a couple of calls from Canada, so it’s exciting how The Lord is expanding our ministry. Let’s go right into where we left off in Romans Chapter 8. I know we have been in this chapter a long time, and I hope you’re not getting tired of it. But it’s such a tremendous chapter, I call it the gemstone of Scripture, and so many have called and written how they have enjoyed this chapter. Now, verse 30, and here Paul writes:
“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
When we started our study in this book, I was explaining the word `Salvation’ in Romans 1:16, and how that one of the things God accomplished on our behalf as a result of our Salvation experience, was that, not only were we justified, sanctified, forgiven, baptized into the Body, and all these other things, but God also glorified us. I know that we as believers don’t walk around on this planet with a halo around us. We don’t walk around exuding some kind of an angelic presence that would indicate that we’ve been glorified, but here in this verse is repeated again that not only have we been justified, but also glorified. There is only one way to explain that because our fellow man doesn’t see it, but God does. And so every time God looks upon the believer, remember He doesn’t see Les Feldick, or you in particular, but rather He sees Christ Jesus. We get a little picture of Christ’s glory there on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17, when Peter, James, and John had the opportunity of seeing Him literally glorified in their presence.
“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.”
What I like to say comes out of this verse 30, since God says we’re Glorified. We can’t see it on each other, but God sees it when He looks on us. Now, that should be enough to excite the most blase of believers. To think that God has already glorified, and He sees us as He sees Christ in all of His glory. When you go back into verse 30, you might remember that in our last lesson we discussed the term `Predestination.’ We’ll be dealing with this term again, how that God, before anything was ever created, knew the believer, and knew where he would be in God’s Body of Christ. This is one of the teachings that I know has thrown a curve at a lot of people: that God in His foreknowledge chose us in Christ before anything was ever created. And then in my closing remarks in the last lesson, I said that, yes, we have all these verses: “Whosoever will may come.” Christ tasted death for every man. In fact Paul says in II Corinthians Chapter 5:
II Corinthians 5:14,15
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
So if Christ died for all, then we’re all dead. Now, who does that include? The whole human race. He didn’t die just for the small percentage who have become believers, He died for every man, woman, and child that has ever been born into the family of Adam. And that’s part of Scripture, but setting against that we have all these verses that say, “You were chosen before the foundation of the world.” You cannot come to God unless He calls you. Now, we can’t reconcile those two doctrines because it’s beyond us. But remember, that as we’re going down the river of time, and in that family of the human race there’s that constant invitation to enter the door of Salvation that says, “Whosoever will may come.” And then when we go through that door, what’s written on the other side? “Chosen in Him before the world was ever created.”
I was telling Doctor Bellamy the other night, that I happened to pick up a book by a tremendous Bible scholar in the early part of the century, and he was dealing with that same subject. He said that these things may to us sound contradictory. On the one hand you have, “Whosoever will may come.” And over here you’ve got, “But you were chosen by an act of God.” How are you going to reconcile them? Well, I think he had the answer. If this is what God says then you believe it, and you don’t try to argue with Him, or reconcile it. Just leave it there and let Him settle what we think is a great controversy. The theologians are still arguing about that subject.
So I like what this Bible scholar wrote. Yes, “Chosen before the foundation of the world, but on the other hand whosoever will may come.” And never lose sight of that, because if you get too taken by either one of these, then you’re out in left field, but you reconcile both of them together, that as the human race moves down through time every individual has that opportunity of choice, but on the other hand they cannot choose unless God calls them, and He elects them. Now, let’s move on to verse 31, and oh, what a tremendous verse, and to think that most people who read their Bible just skim right over this verse, and don’t even realize what an impact it should make on them. Let’s look at it carefully. Notice Paul just keeps on building from verse one of this chapter to now.
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Now, look carefully at your particular Bible, and I think you will see that there are some words that have been added by the translators and they’re italicized. Notice the word `be’ is italicized, and has been added by the translators, and if you go a little further in the verse the “can be” has also been added, so let’s leave them out. Once in a while it’s better to leave it as it was in the original, and this is the way I’m going to teach it:
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
That’s fantastic isn’t it? Now, the first thing we think of in a verse like that is that God is promising that nothing can happen to us if we’re a believer. No, no that’s not what it means. Let’s just look at some Scriptures. Turn with me to the Book of II Corinthians, Chapter 11, and here the Apostle Paul (whom I feel was probably the greatest servant that God ever had of the human race, and I said a few weeks ago I think that he evens surpasses Moses a little bit), went through so much for the sake of the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4), and yet the very same man wrote, “If God for us, who against us?” And yet look what Paul had to endure.
II Corinthians 11:24-28
“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one (or 39 licks with those cat-of-nine-tails). Thrice (three times) was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned (that is how the Jews killed people with stoning), thrice (three times) I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often (usually on foot), in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen (pagan and idolatrous), in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
And I thought that back there in Romans, “If God for us, who against us?” Do you see what I’m saying? Too many times we, as modern day believers, have the idea that just as soon as we become a believer, then everything is going to be a bed of roses. You’re going to have two Cadillacs in your garage, and you’re going to live in the biggest home in town, and you’re just going to live sumptuously. That’s not what He means, and never has been. Let’s look at another series of verses in the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 11 again, and drop in at verse 34. Now, this is isn’t talking about wicked people, this isn’t talking about back sliders, this is talking about God’s choicest believers. Even though they were back in the Old Testament economy that doesn’t make that much difference. It’s the same God. Now, look what happened.
“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword (what does that mean? Somebody was after them), out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens (or the unbelievers. Now, in verse 35 we’re going to see a little bit of the other side of the coin). Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance (they were being tested, and probably could have escaped it just by renouncing their faith, but they didn’t); that they might obtain a better resurrection:”
I don’t know how many of you have ever read Fox’s Book of Martyrs about the believers in the early Church day. They went through horrible persecutions, but they never flinched. Oh, once in a while one would but for the most part they didn’t. They went to their death singing hymns just like Paul and Silas back there in Philippi. The human race has gotten along pretty well the past two hundred years, we’ve experienced the rights of people that democracy has given us, but there is no guarantee of it. Even we in America may suddenly find ourselves someday under these same types of persecution. But here is where we have to rest, regardless of what comes; “If God for us, who can be against us?” Even Jesus said they may touch your flesh, but don’t worry about those who can hurt the body, but what you have to be concerned about is the soul. Now, reading on.
“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:”
God’s for us? Then how do they get away with these things? Well, you see the thing that really counts is the eternal. It’s the realm of the Spirit, that even though the powers that be may someday afflict our flesh. Someday we could find ourselves in prison. We could find ourselves with famine on our hands, the world grain supply is never more than 90 days. And if there is ever a complete loss of a new crop, the world is going to be in a tough situation for food. So don’t ever think that these things can’t happen, they can, and especially as we approach the end-times, and these things are going to be coming on us faster, and faster.
“They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;”
Come back with me again to Romans Chapter 8. So as you read these promises, “God for us, who against us?” rest assured that regardless of what someone or the powers that be may do to the flesh, they can never touch that invisible eternal part of us, because that is in God’s hand. And after all what’s this life? Never lose sight of this promise that God is for us, and, consequently, nothing can be against us. Now, verse 32 gives the reason. Why can God make such promises? What do we rest on?
“He (the God of verse 31) that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
I’ve stressed this many times that Paul never writes to anyone but believers. So when he uses this pronoun `us’ he’s talking about himself, and his fellow believers. Turn for a moment to a verse in I Thessalonians. You can see the difference between Paul speaking or writing to believers, and his references to the unbeliever. Let’s start with Chapter 4 and verse 17, just to show you the pronoun usage, and I think that will be enough for you to see what I’m talking about. Here in I Thessalonians 4, Paul is talking about himself and believers, and we always refer that these verses are the “Rapture of the Church.” Being caught up to meet The Lord in the air.
I Thessalonians 4:17
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Those `we’ and `them’ are us as believers. In Chapter 5 we can see the other side of the coin, and that is those who will not be caught up to meet The Lord in the air – the unbelieving world.
I Thessalonians 5:1,2
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
That is when Christ will come in wrath and in judgment. Now, look at the unbelievers beginning with verse 3.
I Thessalonians 5:3
“For when (now what’s the pronoun?) they shall say, `Peace and safety;’ then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they (the unbelieving world) shall not escape.”
See the difference? In Chapter 4 Paul is dealing with the believer, but here in Chapter 5 he’s dealing with those who have been left behind at the Rapture, the unbeliever, so the pronoun switches from `we’ to `they.’ That’s the best example I can give in all of Paul’s writings, how that when he writes to us as believers the pronoun is `us’ and `we,’ and very seldom does he allude to the unbelieving world like he does here in Chapter 5. Let’s return to Romans 8.
So everything that Paul has been teaching in the Book of Romans, and especially here in Chapter 8 is resting upon this one fact: that the God of all creation, the God of glory, the God full of majesty, and power. The God who could have destroyed the whole human race. Who could have destroyed the planet, but He didn’t, and instead, He let those Roman soldiers nail Him to that Roman Cross, and put Him to death. And God didn’t do a thing to stop it, and that’s the meaning of verse 32 when Paul tells us:
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,…”
It wasn’t that God lost control. This was all pre-determined before anything was ever created, that Christ would go to that Cross. So everything rests on that Cross. I get so disturbed at people who try to tell others how to be saved, and never use one word about His death on the Cross, His burial or His Resurrection. These people are by-passing the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4). Nothing thrills me more than a note I got in a Christmas card, where a gentlemen told me how thankful he was that he got into my class, and for the first time in his life he heard the Gospel. And this person had been in church most of his life. And what had he heard? That Christ died for him, and that He rose from the dead in power, and all for us. But people aren’t hearing that anymore. But regardless of what happens, that’s what I’ll always teach, because this is the Gospel. Let’s turn to Philippians Chapter 2 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: But made himself of no reputation (who made Him that way? He did, the Sovereign Creator God that Jesus Christ is and was), 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.”
LESSON THREE * PART II
IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?
Now, we only covered two verses in our last lesson, and we’re still in verse 32, and I can’t emphasize enough that everything that God now has done, and is doing on our behalf, is based on that finished work of the Cross, where God did not even spare His Son. Why? So that He could purchase mankind back to Himself. Now, the first thing we may wonder if we’re not taught in these things is, Well, why does God have to do this? He’s Sovereign, and He could do any way He wanted, but you see God never goes against His own principals. God is Holy, God is righteous, God is Omnipotent, He is full of all knowledge. And so He knows what has to be done to reconcile fallen man back to Himself. And so in His knowledge, and understanding He is the One Who determined that it had to be the sacrificial death of Himself on our behalf.
I’ll never forget the first time I taught that Christ was the Creator God, and my class just sat there aghast. They had never heard this before, and they were so aghast that as we talked about it afterwards over a cup of coffee, they said, “Les, are you sure you know what you’re talking about?” Now, this conversation goes back a long time ago. And I said, “I sure hope so, I’ve never taught it before, but I’ve just seen it in the last few weeks, and I have to teach it.” Well, it wasn’t long that I read where someone else had also made that statement that, “Christ was the Creator.” And of course since then I’ve seen it many times, but for the longest time you just didn’t see that very often in print. I think it was Martin Luther who struggled over Psalms 110:1:
“The LORD said unto my Lord, `Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.'”
And Martin Luther just couldn’t comprehend, and he had been wrestling with it for years. And one morning he came bursting out of his study, and he almost screamed at his wife, “Now, I see it.” She said, “You see what?” He replied, “It was God crying out to God.” And that’s what it is, because Christ is God. And back up here in Romans Chapter 8, we have in just a few verses all three Persons of that God-head. I know there are people who refuse to believe that there’s a Trinity. They say, “God is One.” Yes God is One, but He’s in three Persons as we see in Romans 8:26:
“Likewise the Spirit (capitalized) also helpeth our infirmities:… And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Now, there you have the Spirit, and God in His Triune entity, but come on down a little further in this chapter and you’re dealing with Christ. So here you have all three Persons of the Trinity within just a few verses, and yet when you see the term `God’ it is the Triune God, the whole God-Head as Paul calls it. And what is it? God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three distinct entities, and yet One God. Can you see that? Alright, now let’s come on down to verse 33. Since Christ died, and God let Him, God permitted it to happen. He directed that it had to happen in order to purchase our Salvation. There would have never been a person saved, not even in the Old Testament economy, without the work of the Cross. It had to be to satisfy a Holy and Righteous God. Now, let’s read:
“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
Now, what does that word `elect’ mean? Chosen. When you elect someone you designate them to be whatever you intend them to be, and the word `election’ in the Greek is exactly that. It is an act of choosing, and that is what God has done with everyone of His believers. Now, I think I’ll finish the chapter, and then I want to take you back to some of the statements that Jesus made Himself during His earthly ministry: that He has chosen us, and that no man comes to God on his own prerogative. Sometimes we like to think, “Well, I can just decide to go with God anytime I feel like it.” Oh no you can’t because you have to be back again in that chosen aspect, but on the other hand we have the Scriptures, “Whosoever will.” So reading that verse again:
“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
Not our neighbor, boss, husband or wife. We don’t have to give an account to any of them. It’s God, the Triune God, the Creator God, the sustaining God, He’s the One Who determines who we are and what we are in the realm of the Spirit. Now, verse 34, so if He is the One Who has chosen us, if He is the One Who has forgiven us, if He is the One Who has taken us unto Himself, then:
“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again,…”
Now, do you see how Paul is constantly hammering that everything revolves around that finished work of the Cross? The fact that Christ died, His divine Blood had to be shed, because always remember:
“…and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
So without the shedding of Blood there is no remission. You can’t bypass the Blood, it had to happen. So He’s the One Who died, and rose from the dead, and He’s the One Who is at the right hand of God interceding for us. He’s the One Who is watching over us, and He is the one who promised, “If God is for you, who can be against you?” And never lose sight of that, but don’t ever interpret that to mean that nothing bad can ever happen to a believer. Don’t ever get the idea that the things of this world can’t attack the believer. Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, and he does that often, and he can confuse the issue, but we have these promises, if we’ll rest on them, that God is still in total control. God’s Sovereign!
Now we’re coming into a series of verses that will probably disturb one group of people of various denominations, and that is that group of people who feel that you can not be assured of your Salvation. They think that you have to hope you make it, you have to work like the dickens to hang on, and you have to be sure that you don’t ever sin in such a way that you will lose your Salvation, and end up in Hell instead of God’s Heaven. These verses are just going to fly in the face of that kind of thinking. I can’t help it, because all I’m going to show you is what The Book says. Now, verse 35:
“Who shall separate us (and that means just exactly what it say) from the love of Christ? shall tribulation,…”
That word tribulation is used something like 29 times in the New Testament, and maybe with one exception that word is associated with the activity surrounding the believer. You go back into the Book of Revelation, in fact, let’s turn to that book right now. Someday we’re going to teach this part of Revelation – the letters to the seven churches in the opening chapters. Revelation Chapter2 verse 9. This is a letter to the church in Smyrna (verse 8) and Smyrna actually means to smell “just like myrrh,” and myrrh does not exude its fragrance until it’s crushed. This is exactly what the church at Smyrna was indicating, that the more persecution crushed those believers, the more they exuded their testimony. And you see that’s why Satan had to give up persecuting the early Church because he couldn’t get ahead of it. The more he persecuted the more it thrived, so he took the opposite attack, and that was to join them, and then Christianity began to slide. Let’s read:
“I know thy works, and tribulation (God knew about their tribulation, and the Church at Smyrna was going through horrible pressure), and poverty, (but thou art rich)…”
They were poor in material things because the persecution was taking them away from their income. It probably took them away from their job situation. It took all their wealth away if they had any. That was part of the persecution, but spiritually they were what? Rich! The Church today is just the opposite of that day, and that’s what the letter to the Church at Laodicea was all about. Now, reading on:
“I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews (believers), and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan (they were impostors). Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer (did believer’s suffer? You bet they did): behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison (for their faith), that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days (I think that ten days refers to ten distinct periods of time during the Roman Empire when the Church came under horrible pressure, but these believers didn’t give up); be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
Now, back to Romans again. So we’re going to suffer tribulations, and as I mentioned before, it’s only been in the last couple hundred years that western civilization, at least, has been able to guarantee the rights of the individual, and the freedom of worship, and so forth. But for the most part this has been unheard of. We’re living in an extremely different time than most Christians had to live in, because we do have a government, that so far at least, guarantees our rights to assembly, and to religion. Verse 35 continuing:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness (Paul went through times of nakedness, and cold, he was thirsty, and hungry, and how did Paul die? Beheaded by the sword), or peril, or sword?”
And there is nothing said that we will be spared the sword, but none of this will separate us from our Lord. Can the Devil bring in enough persecution to force a believer out of his place in the Body of Christ? Never! God has guaranteed that because of the work of the Cross we are secure. Not because of what we have done, not because of what we merit, but only because of what He has done, and let’s never lose sight of that. We never maintain our assurance of Salvation and security because of who we are or what we are, or what we have done. That is never part of the picture. Everything that keeps us secure is that finished work of the Christ. Verse 36:
“As it is written, `For thy sake (the sake of the Christ of the Cross) we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'”
I read an account not too long ago about someone years back when Chicago was still the capital of the meat packing business. They would slaughter the cattle, sheep, and hogs all within one huge complex. A visitor was being taken on a tour and he just couldn’t help but notice that as he went from the hog killing area, with all of the squealing and all the commotion that goes on with hogs, to the sheep killing area, what happened. Utter silence, and I’ve witnessed that myself. I’ll never forget that when they take sheep to the slaughter they have a goat. And that goat leads those sheep up to the place where they are to be killed, and then the goat slips out a side door. And then he goes back and gets another bunch. It’s simply amazing, but those sheep go to their slaughter in utter silence.
And this is the analogy that Paul draws of the believer. We may someday just come to the place where we, too, will go like sheep to the slaughter. Are we going to scream and squeal like a bunch of pigs? No, because that’s not the way God works. Do you remember what Isaiah said about the Lamb of God?
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
Why? Because there was no need for Him to scream and argue, and so it has been with Christians down through the ages. Take a lot of the hunks and macho people of today, most of them think Christianity is for women and children. But they have it all wrong, because back in the days when persecution was running rampant it took ten times more man to stand up for the slaughter, to be burned at the stake, and to be put on the rack. You all know what the rack was, that was when their bones were all broken without killing them. That’s when it takes a real man, and I bet most of those so called machos could never hold a candle to those saints. But Paul says this is all part and parcel of what God has imparted to us, the promise that even though we may have to go through these things, and many have, it will never separate us from the love of Christ.
And remember this life, even if somehow we could live to be 100, what is that compared to eternity? Eternity, never ending forever and ever and ever, and yet the human race will not consider that. All they look at is, what can I enjoy in the here and now? But you see this Book looks at everything in the light of eternity, and so this is why we have to take this blessed assurance that regardless of what may happen, nothing can separate us from our spending eternity with our Creator God. Well, let’s move on to verse 37.
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Were those sheep, being led quietly to their death, conquerors? That’s the analogy. We’re led like sheep to the slaughter, but this verse says, “…yet we’re conquerors.” That’s fantastic isn’t it? So we don’t have to mind being meek, and quiet, and coming under persecution, and doing without squealing like a hog. Because in the end we’re still going to be more than conquerors, How? Through the One that loved us, that’s where it is. You and I in the energy of the flesh can do nothing, we are nothing. Now verse 38 Paul says:
“For I am persuaded…”
What does it mean to be persuaded? Totally convinced. I think it was King Agrippa back in Acts Chapter 26 where Paul had been witnessing to him and what did old King Agrippa say to Paul?
“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, `Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.'”
But I don’t believe that King Agrippa ever believed the Gospel and became a Christian, and do you know why? Because Agrippa could never be convinced that what Paul was telling him was true. And that’s where a lot of people are today: they hear the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4), they hear this Book taught, but they can’t be convinced. They simply can’t believe it. And I’ve had people approach me and say, “Well, what have you got?” And I’ll tell them, but most will come back with, “But I can’t believe that. I can’t believe that’s all it takes.”
I’ll never forget a young man in my class at Wilburton, OK. I think he’s still receiving our tapes, and if so, I hope he hears this. He was one of these kids who from the time he was 5 or 6 years-old had no home life, no parents, he just literally made it on his own. He came up after class one night, and said, “Les, do you mean to tell me that I can have all of this free for nothing?” I told him, “Yes.” He said, “I can’t believe that.” And then he told me of how he had to scratch and fight for every little bit of food that he had as a kid growing up. He said, “I just can’t believe that.” And I told him, “I’m sorry, but until you can believe it you can’t have it.” And so the young man left. But I’m hoping that sometime in the interim he will still come to his senses and see that, yes, all of this is ours for the taking, if we will only believe it. Now, continuing on with verse 38:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,”
Now, why do you suppose that the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to start with death instead of life like we would normally put it? Stop and think for a moment, what’s he driving at? Death is the easy way out. That’s why we have so many suicides, they think that’s their easiest way out. They can’t cope with their problems, they can’t cope with their circumstances, so they take their life, and that ends it as far as this life is concerned. But what about life? Oh, we’re living in a world that’s filled with heartaches and turmoils. A life that’s lived with all kinds of oppositions to the home and family. Hey, life is difficult. Life is not easy. In fact, I was reading a book someone sent me a while back, and I almost had to quit reading it because all the writer was pointing out was all these things that make life difficult. True, but it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to be thinking about, so you see death is easy by comparison. But Paul tells us that even all the difficulties of life can’t separate us from the love of God. Now, as we come to close of this lesson I wish I had more time for the next few words in verse 38: that is principalities and powers, nor things present, or things to come.
The word `principalities’ here in the Greek is `Arche.’ It deals with people who are in a high position. The word `power’ is from the Greek word `Dunamis’ from which we get `Dynamo,’ and it means energy. Paul is delineating here that principalities, the position, and the energy that comes from that position are going to do everything that they can to take us away from the love of Christ. But they can’t do it. I wish I had time to take you to Ephesians in Chapter 6 to enlighten you even more. There the word `powers’ is used a little differently than in Romans. There it’s not speaking of energy, but again, power as Jesus gave to the Twelve when they went out to perform the miracles. But, nevertheless, the powers that be in the realm of Satan are positioned and they are loaded with energy that seemingly never runs out.
LESSON THREE * PART III
IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?
Let’s get back to Romans Chapter 8. I’d like to go back to those last 6 or 7 verses and pick out some things I neglected to bring out in the the last lesson. But before I do I would like to say that I hope you’re studying the Word with us, and learning what The Book says and what The Book doesn’t say. The Scriptures are not just some gobbledy-gook, but rather written by the hand of God so that anybody can understand it. You don’t have to be highly educated, or have a great theological education to comprehend the Scriptures. Now, of course, that’s what precipitated the Dark Ages, when the church had gotten so powerful that they had pulled the Scriptures away from the common man and brought it into the monasteries because they felt only the monks and educated could discern the Word of God, but that’s not what God intends. He wants all of us to become students, to learn how to study this Book. That’s what Paul meant when he wrote to Timothy that we are to:
II Timothy 2:15
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
I want to come back and cover some of these verses that we looked at in the last lesson. And someone had a question about verse 31 so let’s turn to that verse now. Here is a verse that is so paramount to our Christian experience as a child of God, that we have to understand that those of us who have been called, we’ve been elected, we’ve been justified, we’ve been glorified, and that being the case:
“What shall we then say to these things (what’s Paul talking about? That we’ve been justified, glorified, forgiven, and all these things that Paul alone teaches. How can we say that? Well, we can come to the conclusion if that’s all true, then)? If God be for us, who can be against us?” And that’s where God wants us to rest, there is no one that can condemn us because of verse 32.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,…”
And as we saw in the Book of Philippians The Lord Jesus Himself was obedient unto that kind of a death. Just like Isaac of old. A lot of those things back in the Old Testament were just a preview of what took place in the New. As Abraham laid Isaac upon the altar, is there anything in Scripture that indicates that Isaac struggled? Did Isaac fight back? But in complete obedience he let Abraham, his father, lay him upon that altar. Well, that was just a preview of how God the Son would react to the same situation, that He gave Himself up as we see in Philippians:
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Romans 8:33:
“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?…”
I stressed a little bit in the last half hour that these verses just absolutely hammer home the idea that once God has put the finger on us, has elected us, and we have responded and we have entered into His tremendous Salvation, then who in the world can touch that? Nobody can touch it, because it’s something that God has done, and don’t let anyone ever tell you, “How can you be so conceited as to tell me that you know that you’ll go to Heaven when you die, when no one can know.” When someone talks like that, they themselves are totally unaware of true saving faith. Because if you have enough faith to believe the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4), if your faith is sufficient to bring you into that Salvation, then you should have enough faith to take God at His Word, and the rest of it. And that is that you’re His. No one can take us out of His hand, and we’re going to see that in just a little bit. Verse 33 again.
“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
Would God elect someone who somewhere down the road would chose to reject Him? I can’t see it happening, and the reason I’m using that example is I had a fellow tell me that one time. I said, “Look, the Scripture says that God will never cast us out.” He said, “Oh, I know that, but I could cast myself out.” I said how? He replied, “By committing some horrible sin.” I said, “Look, you can’t touch yourself so far as being in that position in the Body of Christ any more than someone else can. We are totally, and I can’t emphasize this enough; we are totally under the power of the Sovereign God, and nobody can supersede his power.” These closing verses of Romans 8 are like the crescendo of a great orchestra. A crescendo is when that sound just builds and builds, and it’s got your attention. It’s been building throughout these first eight chapters of Romans, but now here comes this crescendo. I think Paul, if we could have heard him in person, would have just shouted it. “Look, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ!” We see this in verse 35:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword (we covered that in the last lesson. Verse 36)? ….we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Oh, not of what we have, not through any ability that I or you have, but what makes us conquerors? Christ Jesus. He became everything. What does the Book of Colossians say?
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
And that is where we live and move, and there is nothing in us that can merit any favor with God, it is all of His Grace. And remember that Grace could never have happened if it had not been for mercy. We no longer have to cry for mercy because God poured out His mercy on Christ there on the Cross. His mercy has already been poured out. Since His mercy has been poured out, now He can give Grace. “Unmerited favor.” We don’t deserve any of this. Now, let’s look again at verse 38:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,”
Go to Ephesians Chapter 6. I felt we had to do this part over since we didn’t have time to cover it in the last lesson. Paul writes:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Not down in the gutter, not on skid row, but in high places. Now, that should wake us up. We’re up against something that is beyond the normal. It’s up here with tremendous power, and position. These powers are in high positions and let’s compare the same Greek word `powers’ back in Matthew Chapter 10 so we get an idea of what Paul is really driving at when he says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and against powers,”
“And when he (The Lord Jesus in His earthly ministry) had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power…”
Now, that word `power’ is the same word in the Greek that we found back in Ephesians, and it was authority. So these principalities and powers have authority, and don’t you ever doubt it. Don’t you ever forget that Satan is powerful. My, he can transform himself into an angel of light. He is the the one, according to II Corinthians 4:3-4, that prevents the lost from comprehending the Gospel. So this word is designated `authority.’ Another one is in Acts Chapter 26, and we see that same kind of a meaning. And this Scripture is going to be in regards to Paul, and it’s the same Greek word again.
“I verily thought with myself (back in his pre-Salvation experience), that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 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;”
What does that mean? Paul was put in position to do what he was doing. Authority. Now, bring that back to what we saw in Ephesians:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,…”
And they have authority. And that authority is Satan, and he is doing everything that he can, not only to frustrate the life of you and I as believers, but also to keep lost humanity in darkness. And he will have that power until God breaks that power. Here again is why we have to come back to the very fact that God is the One Who opens our heart, God is the One through the working of the Holy Spirit Who gives us an understanding. Now, return to Romans 8 for a little bit, and then we may look at a couple of verses in John.
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (all of creation, there is nothing that has ever been created whether it’s on the demonic side or on the righteous angelic side), shall be able to separate us (or take us) from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Someone might say, “Well, that’s Paul, and I don’t have time for his teachings.” Well, let’s go back and see what Jesus Himself says. Let’s turn to John’s Gospel Chapter 6. And here Jesus is speaking:
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;…”
Who is making the first move? God is. Don’t you ever believe anyone when they say, “Oh, seek this and that, and after God.” because it’s impossible. You and I can’t seek God, because it not in us; no unbeliever is going to go running after God, it’s not in him. If he suddenly has an appetite for the things of God, then God put it there first. And it’s the same as Jesus is saying here:
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me (as a result of God moving him) I will in no wise cast out.”
Now, Jesus said it in His earthly ministry that anybody that God has chosen, that God has elected, that God has sent to Him would in no wise ever be cast out. And that means what it says. Now, let’s look at John Chapter 10. Ordinarily I don’t like to raise my voice, but when I find out that there are people who totally don’t understand this, and think I’m way out in left field, then that’s why I have to show you what The Book says: It isn’t what I think.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man (and man has been added by the translators so I prefer to leave it out. Neither shall any) pluck them out of my hand.”
Now, compare that word any with what Paul has said in Romans Chapter 8, and what do you also include? The whole sphere of creation. Not just man, but neither the angelic powers, the Satanic powers, nothing can pluck them out of His hand. Now, can you believe that? Well, if you can believe that God in Christ died, and rose again for your Salvation, then you should be able to have enough faith to believe these things. You’re His, and no one can take you away from Him. Now, you see the first thing I’ll be accused of is, “Well, you’re going to tell people that they can do what ever they want to do just because they will never be lost?” Never have I said that. Grace is not license! Don’t ever get the idea that the Scripture teaches that since we’re safe, that since we’re secure we are free to do what we want.
So we believers live in constant awareness that we don’t want to fall, or commit a sin. But we also have enough common sense to know that we could. I would hope that I would never fall into any great sin. We’re all guilty of these mundane sins of everyday living, and thoughts.
But so far as falling into a great sin such as David did. Did David fall into sin? Was David a believer? Yes. Did David lose his Salvation? No. But oh, what did David know how to do? Beg for forgiveness, and of course he was back before the Age of Grace. But if you want to see a man, David to me was a “man’s man.” David was as manly as any person that ever lived. Yet as a man’s man, we read in the psalms where he poured out his heart in sweat drops begging for forgiveness after he was convicted of his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, and of murdering her husband Uriah. He was a true child of God, otherwise it would have never bothered him. You can go all through Scripture and all the great people failed miserably.
Abraham for example, with his beautiful wife Sara, goes down into Egypt and what happens? “Sara, as beautiful as you are, they’re going want you in their harem. There’s nothing that I can do to stop it unless they kill me, so for goodness sake don’t tell them that you’re my wife, but rather my sister.” That was sin. Did God kick Abraham out? No! Abraham had to come to the place of recognizing his sin as a believer. Look at Peter in the New Testament. In fact, I had a question from a listener the other day, “What did Jesus mean when He said to Peter there in the Book of Luke?”
“And the Lord said, `Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:'”
What did Jesus know that was just down the road in a matter of hours? Peters denial. And here, great big Peter, to probably a teenage girl, cursed and swore that he didn’t know Jesus. He didn’t have a thing to do with Him, and what happened? The cock crowed, and what happened to Peter? He wept bitterly. Why? He was convicted of his sin. Did that act throw Peter out? No! But he was reconciled immediately when he confessed his sin, and so it is with a believer in Paul’s doctrines of Grace. Paul never gives us license to sin. John’s little epistle at the back of your Bible tells:
I John 2:1
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin (we’re going to, and if we sin), we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
And then back in the Book of Revelation Chapter 12. My, don’t ever think for a minute that believers aren’t subjected to sin. I’ve never seen a true believer that just makes up his mind that he’s going to go out and get drunk, or commit adultery, or cheat someone, but it can happen. But a believer has to be constantly on guard.
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, `Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren (believers) is cast down (Satan), which accused them (believers) before our God day and night.'”
Now, if it’s impossible for believers to sin, then Satan wouldn’t have had anything to accuse them of, but he did, and he does, and he will until we’re in The Lord’s presence. Because as long as we’re in this body of flesh we are going to be prone to fall. I like this simple analogy: most, if not all of you, have raised children, and when they were little and learning how to walk, did they just start walking? No, they fell, and what did a good mom or dad do? Kick them in the rear, and say, “What’s the matter with you?” No. We picked them up, and lovingly set them on their feet, and got them started again.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?
We just want to teach The Word, and help people see what The Book says, and, just as important, what it doesn’t say. Understanding The Book is really not that hard, and the best way to study is to compare Scripture with Scripture. Peter says:
II Peter 1:20
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
That means that you cannot build a doctrine on one verse of Scripture here and there, because then you can build anything. But it’s our prerogative to use all the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation, and see that they fit. Seeming contradictions may arise, but when you study you find they’re not contradictory at all. Usually it’s because in one instance God is dealing with the Nation of Israel, and in another what may seem contradictory is His dealing with the Church Age. And there is a vast difference.
Before going further I want to point out that Romans Chapters 9, 10, and 11 are parenthetical. Here are three chapters that sit in the middle of the Book of Romans, and Paul is going to suddenly digress, and deal with the Jew. Chapter 9 is going to deal with the Nation of Israel’s past. Chapter 10 is about God dealing with Israel today in the present. And Chapter 11 is Israel’s future. Then when you come to Chapter 12 it begins like we left off in Chapter 8. It fits beautifully when you make it parenthetical. In our ordinary English usage, you can make a sentence that makes sense, and then all of a sudden you think of something that you can stick in the middle of the sentence that will enlighten it, so you open your sentence up and what do you put in the middle? A parenthesis ( ). How exactly this fits in Romans. We just finished Chapter 8, and all those great verses of assurance in the closing verses, how that Christ died for us, and, consequently, God is for us, no one can be against us:
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (creation), shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans Chapter 9 verse 1 just doesn’t fit, does it?
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:” (Israel)
There is just no real connection, but turn over to Chapter 12, and look at verse 1, which is the other side of the parenthesis, and this just fits so beautifully: Now, remember what Romans 8:39 said about “nothing could separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And now look what Romans 12:1 says:
“I beseech you therefore (and remember the `therefore’ is what Paul just finished up with in Chapter 8. If God is securing us so completely that nothing can touch us then I beseech you therefore), brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Now, do you see how this fits? I just wanted you to see that this is a parenthetical section of the Book of Romans where Paul is going to leave off with all of his instructions, and his doctrines for you and I as Gentiles, and he’s going to deal with the Nation of Israel for three chapters, her past, her present, and her future. Let’s come back to Chapter 9, and since Paul is saying it, I’m going to qualify it with some of the Old Testament Scriptures which, of course, he uses himself over and over in his early writings.
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:”
How could this man say such a thing as that? Because of his love for the Jew. Who else said almost the same thing? Moses.
“And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, `Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.'”
And isn’t it amazing how I’m always comparing, or at least holding up, these two men. Moses the giver of the Law to the Nation of Israel on Mount Sinai, and then comes the Apostle Paul (I think also at Mount Sinai), and God gives him these doctrines of Grace. I think these two great men, in their own respective areas, are the greatest two men in all human history. Both of them make that kind of statement concerning the Nation of Israel. I’m pointing this out to say that probably 90% of Christendom, including the Roman Catholics, as well as Protestants, is of the opinion that God is all through with the Nation of Israel. That God has nothing more to do with the Jew because they rejected and crucified their Messiah. They’ve been called everything and anything ever since.
The vast majority of the politicians and religious leaders of the world say, “The Jew of today has no connection with the Jew of The Bible.” But I tell you they are in every way connected to this Book, even though most church members today see no connection between the little Nation of Israel that’s sitting there like a little hornets nest ready to be knocked down and destroyed. That little Nation of Israel is still God’s Covenant people. Now, granted, He has set them aside. Look again at our timeline (front of book). From Genesis 1:1, and the creation of Adam in Chapter 1 is 4004 B.C. Those first 2000 years of human history are covered with the first 11 chapters in the Book of Genesis.
Abraham comes on the scene at 2000 B.C., and in Genesis 12 God is going to do something totally different. Out of that one race of Adam he picks one man (Abram) in Ur of the Chaldees. He was a Syrian, and became the father of the Jewish race. God promises that one man, Abram, that out of him He’s going to bring about a nation of people totally different than any other race of people on earth. And they are going to be the vehicle through which God is now going to communicate, and bring about the whole plan of redemption to the whole human race through Israel. So God gives Abraham the Covenant. We spent a lot of time on that Abrahamic Covenant. God in Genesis 12 promised, “I will make of you a great nation, I’ll put you in a geographical area of land, and one day I will come and be your King, and be your government.”
Now, that’s basically the Abrahamic Covenant. Then about 500 years later we find God calls out Moses. Israel is now down in Egypt, they’re multiplying, and God tells Moses that He’s going to send him into Pharaoh. He was to lead His people who had come now from the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the twelve sons, out of Egypt. God tells Moses, “You’re going to bring them to Myself, and I’m going to start working with this little nation of people and prepare them for the coming of the Messiah.” Now, that was really the whole purpose of bringing the Nation of Israel out of Egypt. And that’s what Genesis says, “That when Jacob went down into Egypt, God promised him that there He would make of Jacob, and those twelve sons a nation of people.” And that’s where the Jewish Nation came from.
Moses then was given the Law about 1500 B.C., and that was about 500 years after Abraham was called out of Syria. Then about 1000 B.C., about 500 years after the law, we have another great patriarch, David. Then with King David we find God makes another Covenant, and that is that through King David would come a Royal Family bloodline. And through this Royal Family would come The King of Israel. When you follow the genealogy coming out of David, you’ve got David and Bathsheba, and they have two sons. Solomon on the one side, and Nathan on the other. That’s the family tree, and they come through history until finally you have Joseph on the one side, and Mary on the other. And Christ is the last possible Son of David that could be The King, and He makes His appearance to the Nation of Israel. That’s the whole idea of His first Advent. He came to be that promised King according to the Abrahamic Covenant. Now, this is exactly what Paul says in verse 4.
“Who are Israelites (see that?); to whom pertaineth the adoption (or the positioning), and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;”
God promised the Nation of Israel over and over. Now, contrary to worldly opinion, Jews, whether they’re in Israel, Russia, or America, are still the same Jews that we read about in The Bible. Now, turn with me to Deuteronomy Chapter 4, verses 32 and 33:
“For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it (and what is it?)? Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?”
What’s He talking about? Mount Sinai. Remember how God came down on the mountain, and the smoke just billowed, and the Nation of Israel was at the foot of the mountain? They weren’t destroyed, and yet the presence of God was that close to them. And so God says, “Did anything like this ever happen to anybody else?” Never. So they are a Covenant, special, set aside people. Let’s go to II Samuel Chapter 7, as God is now giving David the promise, “That through him would come this royal family.” And we’ve all heard the expression, “The house of David.” Well, that’s what it is, it is a Royal Family, and even though there were ungodly kings down through history, yet the royal blood kept together until the birth of Christ, and especially through Mary who was the physical mother, and, of course, God is the Father. But, nevertheless Joseph was the legal father, and so he, too, had to be included in that Davidic genealogy. So here God is speaking to David through the prophet Nathan, and he is referring first and for most to Solomon:
II Samuel 7:13,14
“He shall build an house for my name (now that has a two-fold meaning. Solomon is going to build the Temple there in Jerusalem, but he is also going to be the beginning of this royal family), and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever (now that goes beyond human history, that goes on into eternity. So we’re dealing again in the realm of the Spirit. Then in verse 14 God says to David). I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If (this is exactly what we were talking about in the last lesson so far as you and I as believers are concerned if) he commit iniquity (and will he? You bet he will, and remember, God is not just talking about Solomon, but also the Nation of Israel), I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:”
Has God done it to this nation? Over and over Israel has come under the disciplinary action of their God because of their unbelief, and because of their sins. Then in verse 15, what’s the first word? `But.’ Whenever you see this word, look for the flip side. Yes, they’re going to commit iniquity, but the flip side is God says:
II Samuel 7:15
“But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.”
Regardless of how Israel falls into wickedness – God’s going to discipline them, and we know He has. They still must face the greatest discipline that any people have ever had when they go through the Tribulation, but He’s not going to destroy the Nation of Israel. He has not turned His back on them forever. He has set them aside for a season. It was during this 2000 years from Abraham to Christ that he dealt only with this favored nation, with some exceptions. Even after the Crucifixion, in the early chapters of Acts, who does Peter address? “Oh ye Children of Israel.” “Ye men of Israel.” And Peter pleads with them to respond to the fact that the One they crucified was their Messiah. But nationally, Israel wouldn’t believe it. Some did, but mostly the nation rejected Him. What did God do? Discipline again. God brought in the Roman Army under Titus, and Titus besieged the city, and when he finally gained entrance to it it was the greatest mayhem man could imagine as those Roman legions destroyed the Jew by the thousands. They took the Temple down stone by stone as the prophet had written would happen.
Israel was dispersed into every nation on the face of the earth. Then about the turn of the century the Jew started coming back. They set up Kibbutzes and little by little the Nation of Israel was making its appearance again. Then in 1948 they had that war with the Arabs. Then President Harry Truman, bless his heart, was the first world leader to declare the Nation of Israel a sovereign state. To this day I claim that’s why he beat Thomas Dewey in the next election. But the little Nation of Israel becomes a sovereign state again, yet the world says, “That’s not anything that God has to do with, because He’s all through with the Jew.” No He isn’t, because He has promised that His mercy wouldn’t depart from that nation. Let’s go to the Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 31. And when these people try to say that the Nation of Israel has nothing to do with Scripture (because God is through with the Jew, He cast them off when they crucified their Messiah), then they don’t know their Bible. The Scripture is adamant that He will come back, and fulfill these Covenant promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: `If those ordinances (these laws of nature and science) depart from before me,’ saith the LORD, `then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.’ Thus saith the LORD; `If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath (if you can do that God says then), I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,’ saith the LORD.”
It can’t be done. Will He ever cast aside Israel? Never. God is not through with His chosen nation Israel. When they rejected their Messiah, and crucified Him, and Peter couldn’t get them to believe in the early chapter of Acts, God then raised up that other little Jew, Saul of Tarsus, whom we know as Paul, and sent him primarily to the Gentiles. Just as sure as there were Gentile exceptions as God dealt with the Jews, yes, there are certainly individual Jews who can be saved in the age of Grace. But you can’t let the Church go in and mix up with Israel in the coming Tribulation because the Tribulation will again be God dealing with Israel, and not the Church. Since we’re still in Jeremiah let’s look at that in Chapter 30. Now, I’ve got to back up with Scripture what I just said. The Tribulation is primarily God dealing with the Nation of Israel, and you cannot run the Church into God’s dealing with His Covenant people because we are not under any of these Covenants. They have nothing to do with the Gentiles, they are Jew only. And those Covenants will finally come into fruition in the Tribulation.
“For thus saith the LORD; `We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?'”
Why? Because of the horrible events that are coming on the earth. And it’s going to be primarily centered again in the Middle East. Now, I think it’s scary as you read your news accounts lately. We know that several of those Middle Eastern nations have nuclear war heads. Some feel Israel alone has over 200. Well, I think anyone can understand what 200 nuclear warheads can do to any part of the world. And most of those nations around Israel probably have a few also. So the potential for mass destruction is hanging over the Middle East. So there’s going to be tremendous fear, tremendous suffering like you and I can not imagine, and it will be directed primarily to the Children of Israel. Now, reading on.
“Alas! for that day is great (all you have to do is think back through human history at all the horrible things that have happened, and yet they all pale into insignificance when put against this final seven years of human history), so that none is like it: it is even the time Jacob’s trouble (and who is Jacob? Israel. So this seven year period is primarily the time of Israel’s trouble. God will be dealing with them, in His wrath and vexation, with the end result that out of them will come a remnant of believers), but he shall be saved out of it.” Never lose sight of the fact that all through Scripture God has always had His remnant of believers.