[ 385 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Salvation By Grace + Faith + Nothing |a
[ 386 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Salvation By Grace + Faith + Nothing |b
[ 387 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Galatians 2:7 - 3:5 |a
[ 388 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Galatians 2:7 - 3:5 |b
[ 389 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Abraham Believed God For Righteousness |a
[ 390 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Abraham Believed God For Righteousness |b
[ 391 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Galatians 3:6-14 |a
[ 392 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Galatians 3:6-14 |b
[ 393 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] The True Intent Of The Law Is Condemnation |a
[ 394 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] The True Intent Of The Law Is Condemnation |b
[ 395 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Galatians 3:15-29 |a
[ 396 ] Les Feldick [ Book 33 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Galatians 3:15-29 |b
SALVATION BY GRACE + FAITH + NOTHING
GALATIANS 2:7 – 3:5
As we begin book 33 let’s just pause for a moment and praise the Lord for extending this ministry nationwide. When we first started this television ministry seven years ago we figured it would probably be just to the Tulsa area, but the Lord has seen fit to extend it nationwide. It takes a lot of work and most of it is volunteer for all of this to come together, so we just thank the Lord for everything.
Now we’re in Galatians, chapter 2, and in our last lesson we had gotten up to about verse 8 or 9. But as you know I always like to make constant review and a little bit of reminder why this little letter was written. Remember the whole theme of this little letter to the Galatian Church is “We’re not under Law, but rather Grace.” That of course is a statement that came straight from the lips of the apostle Paul. Up until that time that was an unknown tenet, and as we’re going to see here, even Peter, for the most part and the eleven, had no comprehension of this great move of God to come away from Israel and the Covenant promises and all that was attached to the Jewish economy, and go out to the whole wide world, to the black and white, rich and poor, East and West, Jew or Gentile with this tremendous Gospel of the Grace of God that had been revealed to the apostle Paul from the ascended Lord in glory.
We don’t know this Glorious Gospel of Salvation for us today until we get to the writings of the apostle Paul. I know this is hard for a lot of people to swallow. In fact I was just reading something written by a gentlemen the other day for whom I have had a lot of respect, but I couldn’t agree with him when he said, “There is no difference between Peter’s message and Paul’s message.” For goodness sake, there’s so much difference it’s like daylight and dark. Maybe it just takes common lay people to see that. Now, as we’re going to see later on in this chapter there was that difference of opinion between Peter and Paul and that Peter had a hard time with Paul’s writings and especially salvation as he tells us in II Peter.
II Peter 3:15-16a
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16. As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things in which are some things; (salvation in verse 15) hard to be understood,…”
Why was it hard for him to understand? Well, Peter came out of that Jewish background under the Covenant promises, under the Law. Nothing had changed except the Jew’s Messiah had made His appearance, and had presented Himself to Israel as their King, and their Redeemer, and for the most part the Nation of Israel had rejected it. Sure, several thousands came around to it, but on the whole the Nation of Israel rejected Christ at His First Advent, they crucified Him. In the Book of Acts Peter appeals to the Nation of Israel over and over to still repent of the fact that they had crucified their Messiah.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37. Now when they (the Jews) heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38. Then Peter said unto them, `Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.'”
Peter also told these Jews that God had raised Him from the dead, and that He was alive and still in a position to come back and be their King. But Israel rejected that offer. Israel went on in unbelief until finally in Acts chapter 9 God did something again that was supernatural when he saved that arch religionist, that zealot, Saul of Tarsus. God then immediately made the announcement:
“And he said unto me, `Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.'” And that’s when everything began to change and he had to make that graphic statement in Romans chapter 6:15:
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
But the moment Paul started having Gentile converts under his Gospel as outlined in I Corinthians 15:1-4, the believing Judaisers from Jerusalem began to undermine it and were still trying to convince these Gentiles when they told them that they also had to keep the Law of Moses, you have to be circumcised. So the Galatians were falling for that line of thinking, and Paul even makes the stringent statement in Galatians, in fact let’s look at that statement. And this statement is just as applicable today as it was the day he wrote it. Because even though it may not be circumcision that we’re dealing with, we still have all these other aspects of legalism that Paul had to confront here, especially to the Galatians.
I’m so thankful that we did teach I and II Corinthians before we came to Galatians. Now I know that’s the way it sits in the format, and that’s the way the Holy Spirit intended it, but I can see why it’s that way. Because all the things that he wrote in the Corinthian Church letters were not so much a failure in their doctrine as it was a failure in their practice. But when you get to Galatians its not the practice, but rather the doctrine, and look what he says in verse 6.
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7. Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” It was a perversion of the Gospel that was afflicting these Galatian Churches. These Judaisers would pervert the Gospel, and now look at this tremendous statement in verse 8 and 9.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (in Scripture that means an eternal separation) 9. As we said before, so say I now again, `If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, (that is from this man Paul) let him be accursed.'”
So Paul goes on to show how God’s supernaturally reached down and saved him by Grace. He taught him for 3 years down in the desert, at Mount Sinai. After that God didn’t send him back to the Twelve to pick up everything that they knew, which most people imagine happened. Most think that Paul was just an extension of Peter and the eleven’s ministry. Heavens No! My, the Holy Spirit through the pen of the apostle Paul makes it so plain that there had to be a total break between the Twelve and this man’s ministry. Now we pick it up in verse 11 and 12. Remember this is all review, I know, but we always have new people coming in every week, and even for those of you who have heard it ten times they still call and say, “Don’t ever stop reviewing.”
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
And then Paul goes on to show how the Lord had to supernaturally save him and took him down into Arabia for 3 years. Then in chapter 2 where we left off last lesson, Paul is being confronted by the `wheels’ in Jerusalem. Now I don’t do that to make any snide remarks because that’s what they were. In our language of today, they were the wheels. They were the head men of the Jerusalem Church. It was all Jewish, and I maintain that those Jewish believers at Jerusalem were still basically Law-keepers. They had not comprehended Paul’s Gospel of Grace, and I’ve shown my reasons for saying that. Peter in the vision of the sheet said:
“…Not so, Lord: for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” Why? “Because I’ve never gone contrary to the Law, I eat kosher, I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” Well what is that? That’s Law! Then we got to the very threshold of Cornelius and the moment he walked in what did he say to Cornelius?
“And he said unto them, Ye know how that is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company or come unto one of another nation:…”
Well if Peter understood Paul’s Gospel of Grace that wouldn’t even have crossed his mind. He should have been thrilled to death to go into the house of a military officer, but you see it was bugging him. Here he was a good Jew and according to the Law he couldn’t go into Cornelius’ home, but of course God had made it plain that this is what He wanted. So this was the controversy as we saw in our last few lessons. How that these Jewish emissaries from Jerusalem were undermining Paul’s little congregations wherever he went.
Even in Corinth he had to defend his apostleship because the Jerusalem people were saying that Paul was just someone who had gone out on his own. You haven’t got any official recognition from Peter and the eleven.. But Paul didn’t need any official recognition from Peter, because he got his from the ONE Who’s in charge. He got his from the Lord who’s in heaven, but these Jews just couldn’t understand that. So now let’s go to chapter 2, verse 5 and this hits us directly. If it were not for this verse you and I as Gentiles would still be out there in paganism. But this man Paul stuck to his guns.
“To whom (that is the leaders in Jerusalem) we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; (for what purpose?) that the truth of the gospel (Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace) might continue with you.” (Gentiles) 6. But of these who seemed to be somewhat,…”
Why did they seem to be somewhat? Well at one time they were somewhat. They were the leaders and remember I went back and showed you in the Book of Acts that all of those Jewish believers in that Jerusalem congregation had land and houses and CD’s and stocks and whatever else they may have had and they turned it in to cash, and what did they do with that cash? Laid it at the apostles feet. Why would they do that? Because they were in charge. But now you see some 22 years after Pentecost Paul is writing by inspiration, and says, “But of these who seemed to be somewhat,” But they weren’t because their power base was slipping away. God was turning away from the Jews and He was now going out into the Gentile world and so this is why he says what he says.
“But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me; God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference (when they sat down and laid line upon line, and precept upon precept) added nothing to me:”
Now who was above and who was beneath? Paul took the ascendancy and the Twelve in Jerusalem had to finally admit, “OK Paul you’re right, evidently the Lord is doing something different.” Now I’m not taking anything away from the Twelve’s spiritual relationship with God. It was just that God had not yet revealed to those Jewish believers at Jerusalem that He was doing something different. You know I’m always going back to Deuteronomy 29:29
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: (now what does that mean? God can keep in His mind whatever He wants to keep, and He will reveal it whenever He’s good and ready and not until. So He kept all these things secret and they are still secret to most people because they can’t see that even to this day. But then that verse goes on to say that once it’s revealed then we are to believe it.) but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Now Peter and the eleven were in the position that God had not revealed it to them. God hadn’t told them that, through Paul, He was doing something that had never been done. So I’m not blaming them for being out of step with God or less spiritual. It was just that God had not yet revealed to those Jewish believers that now He’s doing something totally different. In fact let me show you in the Book of Philippians chapter 1. This is an interesting little verse, and I suppose most people miss it completely. And again remember that the letter to the Philippians was to a Gentile congregation.
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; (or discernment) 10. That ye may approve things that are excellent; (in the Greek that is translated different. So read it in that light.) that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;”
How different? Well as different as night and day. Oh it’s the same God, but now a whole new body of truth is being revealed that had never been revealed before. Just think, was there anything in Christ’s earthly ministry that spoke of a Gentile Body of Christ? Not a word. Our salvation by believing Paul’s Gospel that you must believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and rose again, this is found only in Paul’s writings. Was there ever a word that the Holy Spirit would indwell individual believers? Not a word. Was there anything in Scripture that the Blood of Christ had atoned for all the sins of the whole world? Not a word. Oh it was all back there in latent language, but to just come right out and say it, you can’t find it until you get to Paul.
It’s the same way with the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church, and I know this throws a curve at people. You won’t find this happening anywhere but in Paul’s writings, because it is uniquely a Church phenomena, and Israel knew nothing of such a thing for you see it was revealed only to this apostle, because all these items within this body of truth are so totally different than anything that had ever been revealed before. For example, the word Justification just came to mind. Can you see a place in Scripture where it says, “and you can be justified from all things by just simple faith in the Gospel.” No it’s not in there. I know in Amos I think it is that the just shall live by faith, and it was on that premise that Martin Luther made his move. But to take Justification in the context that Paul teaches it was unheard of. It was a secret held in the mind of God. Now back to Galatians chapter 2.
“But contrariwise, (on the other hand) when they (the Twelve and the Jerusalem leaders) saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (Gentiles) was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (Jew) was (committed) unto Peter; ”
This is when they suddenly realize that we have a fork in the road. Here we’ve been coming down through Scripture Jew only, Jew only, Jew only, with a few exceptions. But it had been Jew only since Abraham back in Genesis chapter 12. Now all of a sudden back in Acts chapter 9, God says, “I’m going to do something different.” It’s just like a fork in the road, and of course we usually teach the Book of Acts as transitional, not a complete break from Judaism and the Jewish believers, but nevertheless there’s that bridging over now then from God dealing with Israel to his dealing with the Gentiles.
So this is what these Jews are finally seeing. That the Gospel of the Gentiles was committed unto Paul, as the Gospel of the Jew was committed unto Peter. You can never tell me that it was the same Gospel. There is no way that you can show me the Gospel of the Grace of God in Christ’s earthly ministry or as Peter preaches in the Book of Acts. It’s just not in there.
You can’t find where you believe only for salvation the Gospel of Grace that Jesus died for you, was buried, and rose again except in Paul’s writings. That’s why so many denominations use works for salvation, they refuse to use Paul’s Gospel of faith + nothing. But anyway it’s just not in the Scriptures except in Paul’s teaching. So here they’re recognizing this great difference of operations.
“(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, (Jews only) the same (God) was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)”
See the difference? Now verse 9 (this is 20 years after Pentecost). I don’t like to put a lot of emphasis on the order of names, but there is a certain degree of it. In verse 9 who’s listed first? James is.
“And when James, Cephas, and John…”
Now the casual reader won’t catch that. So what’s happened? Peter has lost something. Do you remember I told you in our last lesson that back in Acts chapter 15 when the counsel was raging in Jerusalem with arguing over whether these Gentile converts of Paul had to keep the Jewish Law? Remember after there had been much disputing Peter rose up, and what did Peter tell them. “Hey wait a minute I remember a long time ago God used me to speak to a group of Gentiles.” Peter was referring to the house of Cornelius, but you know how long it had been since he witnessed to those Gentiles? 12 years.
You would have thought that when he saw the amazing conversion of those pagan Romans with the evidence that they had been saved without any of the attending ramifications of Judaism, you would have thought that Peter would have gone right back to Jerusalem and say, “Hey fellows let’s get out of this place, the Gentiles are beginning to wake up.” But does he? No. He goes back to Jerusalem and gets called on the carpet for having gone to a Gentiles in Acts 11:1-3, and there the disciples stay. Why? God had not yet permitted them to move any further in their ministry than what it says here, as apostles to the Nation of Israel. So, again we find Peter in second place in the order of the disciples.
“And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, (Gentiles) and they unto the circumcision.” (Jews)
Do you see that? It’s in your Bible. They shook hands on the whole deal and said, “All right Paul, you and Barnabas go on back to your Gentile field and we will stay here among the Jews.” Now verse 10, but there’s going to be some strings attached which is all right. They’re going to say, “OK Paul we’ll agree that you can continue to preach to your Gentile converts, and they won’t have to keep the Law of Moses or practice circumcision, but we’re going to add some strings, and here’s one of them.
“Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.”
Remember, they had a bunch of poor Jews there in Jerusalem who had sold all their property. The kitty had run out after 20 years and now they’re destitute, they’re poor. But God isn’t going to abandon them. So God, by the guidance of the Holy Sprit inspired Paul and Barnabas that, as they circulated among the Gentile Churches, they would take collections and offerings for those poor Jews in Jerusalem. Now we always have to qualify that with Scripture so come back to Romans chapter 15 verse 25.
“But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. 26, For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia (northern and southern Greece) to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.” That was the whole idea that when they got the permission from the Twelve to go ahead and preach this Gospel, but remember these poor Jewish believers in Jerusalem. All right come on over to I Corinthians chapter 16 and we might as well start with verse 1.
I Corinthians 16:1-3
“Now concerning the collection (the offering) for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 3. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.”
LESSON ONE * PART II
SALVATION BY GRACE + FAITH + NOTHING
GALATIANS 2:7 – 3:5
We’re going to start where we left off in Galatians chapter 2 where Paul and Barnabas have finally gotten the okay from the leadership at Jerusalem that they can continue their ministry to the Gentiles and Peter and the leadership there would continue their ministry to the Jews. But the Jewish leadership is going to put some stipulations on it. Number 1 they wanted Paul to remember the poor saints in Jerusalem who were destitute as we discussed last lesson. So God is now providing for them providentially with the offerings from Paul’s Gentile converts. Now let’s read verse 9:
“And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars perceived (understood) the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, (Gentiles) and they unto the circumcision. (Jews) 10. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.”
Now, come back to Acts 15 and we’ll see that they also added a couple of other little strings to the whole deal. It’s kind of interesting that Peter had finally come to Paul’s rescue. And if he hadn’t, then Paul’s Gospel would have died right then and there, but of course God is Sovereign. He had Peter ready to defend Paul, and I maintain that the biggest reason that he had sent him up to Cornelius’ house 12 years before, was not only for the house of Cornelius, but that Peter would be in a mental position to come to Paul’s defense at this conference in Jerusalem these 12 years later.
You know, we see the near term, but God always see the big picture, and we’re going to see a graphic illustration of that a little later in the Book of Galatians. But Peter suddenly realized that, yes, he’d gone to the house of pagan Gentiles and he hadn’t brought them under the Law, he hadn’t introduced circumcision, and while he was yet speaking what happened? They believed. And of course they didn’t believe Paul’s Gospel, that hadn’t been revealed yet, but they believed that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel, and God saved them under those conditions. Now looking at verse 12.
“Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.”
Now there’s another point I need to make. Remember what I Corinthians 1:22 says? Let’s go back for a moment and look at it. There is no way that you can escape this. It just constantly comes up in front of you. And I suppose that most people just casually read over these verses, but what a graphic statement.
I Corinthians 1:22a
“For the Jews require a sign…”
Now God knew that and He put up with that all the way up through the their history. We all know that. Remember when Moses was first confronted? He was a typical Jew and he said, “God they’re not going to believe me. How do I know?” And what did God have to do? Showed him a sign by having him throw his rod on the ground. And when Moses got to Pharaoh, and the only way that he could convince the children of Israel that he was legitimate was by signs and miracles. Why have I always said that Christ performed all those signs and miracles during His earthly ministry? To prove to the Nation of Israel Who He was. I think that He so graphically showed the difference in the mindset of Jews and Gentiles because back in His earthly ministry He told the citizens of Capernaum:
“And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted into heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the might works, which have been done in thee, and been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day, 24. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, then for thee.” They wouldn’t have had to say, “Well show us a sign.” They were Gentiles they were ready to believe just by being able to hear it, but the Jews required a sign.
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written this book: 31. But these are written, that ye (Jews) might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
Well now back to Acts chapter 15. So again I am positive that if Paul and Barnabas could not have rehearsed some miraculous signs and miracles in their ministry these Jews at this conference would have never bought it. But since they could according to verse 11 and 12 they were convinced because this got the Jews attention. Verse 13.
“And after they (the Jews) had held their peace, James (the half brother of Jesus) answered, (you would think that Peter was the moderator, but it looks like James was.) saying Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14. Simon (Peter) hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16. After this (after calling out a people for His name, ) I will return, and will build, again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:” Referring to His second coming. And now let’s skip all the way down to verse 19.
“Wherefore (in light of all that has just taken place) my sentence (or decision is as the moderator) is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollution of idols, and from fornication and from things strangled, (things not killed properly) and from blood.”
Now you see in a way it’s amazing that these things were repeated and in another way it isn’t because you see these things still hold true today. God still has never given the human race permission to do any of these things. These things are still anathema to Him, and I’ll show you why in just a minute. Verse 21 gives the reason.
“For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.”
In other words James is saying, “Now look, if you’re going to go out into the Gentile world and preach this Gospel of Grace that’s well and good but for the sake of Jews who are in those pagan communities at least make your converts understand that some of these things are still fundamental going all the way back to the Law of Moses.” And that of course Paul agreed with, and I’m sure that he taught it as such. Now verse 22.
“Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23. and they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greetings unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:” Now go to verse 29 and the Holy Spirit has seen fit to repeat it. This is part of that written agreement that went to from the Jerusalem church up to Antioch.
“That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”
Now for a moment let’s go back to the Old Testament and see what they were referring to. That would be in Leviticus chapter 17 and 18. Even though this was part of the Law yet it was such that God could sanction it’s going right on through the Gospel of Grace. And as you know I firmly believe that we’re not under Law but rather Grace, but God is still holding us accountable for not doing any of these things. Now it’s interesting that for those who get involved in Satan worship this is where they begin. This is usually part of their initiation process, that they drink blood and become immoral and all the rest of it and here’s the reason in this chapter.
“And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. (now this is God speaking) 11. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: (this is why the Blood had to be sacrificed for the remission of sin. It was death for life.) and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
Now I’m going to make a point. What had to happened to the blood in the Old Testament sacrifices, as well as Christ’s Blood for the atonement of sin? It had to be applied. It had to be sprinkled on the altar, it had to be sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant’s mercy seat, and Christ also had to present His Blood remember where? The Holy of Holies in heaven. So it follows all the way through and for this reason God still demands that even under Grace we do not partake of these things. Now the other point was not to practice fornication or immorality. Now I know I have a lot of little kids watching my program and I’m not going to read it because it’s rather graphic, but you get into chapter 18 and God explicitly lays down these various immoral sins that believers are to have nothing to do with. Why? Because you see in verse 3.
“After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, (that is in the slavery) shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, (when they came in after Joshua) whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. 4. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.”
Then beginning in verse 6 God stipulates graphically all the immoral sins of the Canaanites and the Egyptians, and that believers are to have nothing to do with these sins even today. Just because we’re under Grace doesn’t mean that we are now free to eat blood, and practice immorality, or worship idols. Absolutely not! They’re forbidden! Now come to Galatians chapter 2.
Now we’re going to come an interesting situation, and I always have to clarify myself lest I be accused of not having a warm place in my heart for the apostle Peter. Yes I do, because I understand Peter’s position. Peter was still steeped in legalism, Peter still had not had his eyes totally opened to these Pauline truths and so Peter was in perfect accord with his Lord as far as it went. I’m not taking anything way from the man’s spiritual aspect whatsoever, but Peter could not comprehend what it was to be totally out from under the Law. So sometime after the Jerusalem counsel, and this had all been supposedly settled that these Gentiles, under Paul’s ministry who had been saved like you and I by the Gospel of Grace, were free to eat whatever they wanted to eat. They were not under any dietary law whatsoever, and Peter comes up to visit the Antioch Church and now look what happens.
“But when Peter was come to Antioch, (sometime after the Jerusalem counsel) I withstood him to the face,…”
Paul may have had to have gotten on a soap box to look Peter in the face because I think Peter was a tall Galilean, and Paul a typical Jew. I’m almost positive that he was much smaller in statue than Peter. So Paul withstood him to the face publicly. My that must have been an embarrassing thing for Peter and now look what goes on.
“…because he was to be blamed. (Peter was at fault. Now this isn’t the first time that poor old Peter stumbled, nor do we get to the place where we don’t stumble. Peter was just as human as all of us, and here he stumbled, and Paul called him on it. Now here is the whole reason.) 12. For before (in time-wise) that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.”
James is now the head man in Jerusalem and when emissaries came from James’ congregation, before they arrived Peter ate with Paul and the Gentile believers regardless what the meal was. But after these Jewish people arrived what does Peter do? Hey he’s scared of them, he’s afraid of them. And so to continue on and maintain the testimony of Paul’s Gospel of Grace that he could prove to these Jews from Jerusalem, “Hey fellows we are free to eat whatever we want to, we are no longer under the dietary laws, we’ve been set free from all that.” But instead of standing his ground for these Gentile believers, Peter gives in to his Law-keeping background. Isn’t that something? Peter gave in and refused to go in and eat with Paul’s Gentile converts.
Can you imagine what this did to the apostle Paul? Now I know Paul had that little short temper side of him. He has to apologize for it. I think Paul just got real upset with Peter. “Now Peter you’re being two faced.” That’s what we’d say today. “When there wasn’t anybody from Jerusalem here, you didn’t have any problem eating with my Gentile converts, but as soon as those people came from Jerusalem then you say, `No I’m a good Jew, I can’t do that.'” So Paul calls him on it. Looking at verse 12 again.
“For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles; but when they were come, (these Jews from James congregation) he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.”(the men from Jerusalem)
I’ve always given Peter credit, and I still do. Remember, leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and suddenly when Peter saw Christ arrested and when he denied he knew the Lord those 3 times. He even swore, and do you know why? He was afraid of the powers that were. But I’ve always made this point. After Peter witnessed the resurrection and the power of it, what happened to him? Peter was a different person. He was no longer afraid of anybody. He stood up to the Jewish religious leaders, he stood up to the Romans, and no doubt took a martyr’s death because of it. But here in this situation as an ordinary practicing Jew in a moment of weakness among these Gentile believers he blows his testimony again, and Paul has to call him on it. Now verse 13.
“And the other Jews (because of what Peter did) dissembled (or withdrew) likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas (Barnabas that had seen everything that Paul had accomplished with the Gentiles) also was carried away with their dissimulation. (or hypocrisy that they couldn’t eat with these Gentiles.) 14. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly (Peter not walking uprightly? Not here he wasn’t. He was failing miserably) according to the truth of the gospel….”
What Gospel? Paul’s Gospel of Grace which sets us free from these dietary rules and regulations. There is now no difference between Jew and Gentile, and Peter was not yet ready to recognize that. Let me show you what I’m talking about in II Peter, and I think this is such an enlightening verse. You know I taught for a long time before I found it, but what a verse. Now remember this just shortly before he and Paul were martyred. This isn’t at the beginning of his ministry this was clear at the end. He’s had all of these years of being in contact with Paul and Paul’s message and still he writes by inspiration the following.
II Peter 3:15-16
“And account (or understand) that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation: even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16. As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; (What things? salvation up in verse 15. The Gospel of Grace) in which (these epistles) are some things hard to be understood,…”
Now it’s hard for us to imagine that Peter could say anything like that isn’t it? After all these years Peter still can’t quite comprehend what Paul is driving home. I tell you why he couldn’t. Peter was so steeped in Judaism that it just didn’t come through. Peter wasn’t the only one that didn’t understand. My look at the multitude that is encompassed in the last part of this verse.
II Peter 3:16b
“…which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (or twist. What’s Peter still talking about? Paul’s epistles. So the unstable, the ones who don’t comprehend the Scriptures are still twisting them ) as they do also the other scriptures (And what’s the conclusion? They’re doing it but, it’s ) unto their own destruction.”
So when preachers and teachers ignore or delete the writings of the apostle Paul they are, according to Peter, signing themselves up for their own destruction. And that’s exactly why Paul wrote such strong language in the first chapter of Galatians, that if someone is going to preach any other Gospel for salvation than his Gospel let them be accursed. Now that’s strong language, but I didn’t put it in there, the Book says it and we have to stand on what the Book says. Now back to Galatians chapter 2, and looking at verse 14 again.
“But when I saw that they (Peter, and Barnabas, and these other Jews) walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel. I said unto Peter before them all, (this was a public rebuke) If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, (if you’re going to admit that the Grace of God has set you free from the Law) and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”
Do you see what he’s saying? Listen, it’s no different today. Oh I know the rhetoric is a little different, but the concept is the same. People are adding things that do not belong to the Gospel of Grace and then they wonder why people have a hard time comprehending it.
LESSON ONE * PART III
SALVATION BY GRACE + FAITH + NOTHING
GALATIANS 2:7 – 3:5
Let’s turn right back to where we left off in the last lesson, and that would be Galatians 2:15. Where Paul after coming away from his confrontation with Peter who was still succumbing to the demands of the Law-keeping Jews at Jerusalem says:
“We who are Jews by nature, (by birth) and not sinners of the Gentiles, (we’re not after those pagan Gentiles, who were looked down upon by the Jews of that day) 16. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law, for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
We need to go back to Romans chapter 3 where it makes it a little plainer than this. One earlier Bible scholar that I’ve read in days gone by, puts it like this. The little letter to the Galatians is sort of like an artist who had the picture in his mind and he drew it first in pencil. And after he saw the whole picture in pencil he then put on canvas with oil, and that’s the Book of Romans. And you know I kind of like that. Galatians is just sort of an introduction, it covers all the bases, but you don’t get the graphic detail until you get into Romans. Now this verse 16 of Galatians is a good example of that. It’ kind of hard to sort out, but here it is in Romans chapter 3.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, (now that’s the Ten Commandments we’re referring to) it saith to them who are under the law: (in other words the Ten Commandments were directly given to the Nation of Israel, not to the Gentile world. But since it’s the Law of the Sovereign Creator God, how far does the influence of that Law go? To the ends of the earth, and look what the rest of the verse says ) that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
Even a Gentile can’t come up after having stolen something and say, “Well I never did anything wrong.” Yes, you did because the Law of God says, “That it’s against His will, against His Law to steal.” So every mouth was stopped, and all the world became guilty before God. Now that being the case:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law (in other words by Law-keeping, by works) there shall no flesh (Jew or Gentile) be justified in his sight:…”
Why? Because the Law only has one function – You know we have people all over this part of the world that think by keeping the Law, by keeping the commandments, that they are making brownie points and someday God will just let them slip in under the door, but it’s not going to work that way. The Law wasn’t given for that reason. The Law had one function and that was to show mankind how sinful they really are. Every human being has been a Law-breaker, and we’re sinners by nature.
“…for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Now let’s come on down to verse 23.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Not just Gentiles like the Jews perhaps thought, but everybody, Jews and Gentiles have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And its not anything we have done, that’s not what makes us sinners but rather we’re sinners because of who we are. We’re sons of Adam. Now verse 24 has the remedy.
“Being justified freely (without a cause) by his grace (His unmerited favor poured out on us) through the redemption (or the buying back process) that is in Christ Jesus: 25. Whom God (this same Christ Jesus) hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, (remember we looked at the ramifications of the blood in our last lesson. Going all the way back to Genesis 9, Leviticus 17, the blood was something very special in God’s sight because in the blood is the life.) to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; (the righteousness of Christ) that he (Christ) might be just, and the justifier of him which (repents and is baptized? No way, but) believeth in Jesus.”
You can put anything in there that you want to including keeping the Ten Commandments but it just doesn’t say that, but only He will be the Justifier to him who believeth. Now verse 27.
“Where is boasting then? (who can brag?) It is excluded. (Why? Because the law of faith excludes it as you see in the remains of the verse.) By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”
And the law of faith is? Believe the Gospel for your salvation. I’ve got a list of Salvation verses which is included in this book #33. We put them together for our classes and we’ve mailed a lot of them out over the years. These are all basic salvation verses, and all I want people to realize is that not one of them says anything about what we can do except “BELIEVE.” All of these verses say basically the same thing, and that is “When we believe that Christ died and rose from the dead thou shall be saved.” Now it says it in various and different ways, and they have all came from Paul’s various epistles and they all make no mention of repentance and baptism. Every one of them makes no mention of any kind of works or doings or keeping, but rather they all say basically the same thing –
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God:”
But all I want people to see is that all of these basic salvation verses are just like one in Romans 3, that it’s through faith in His Blood, through His death, burial, and resurrection, and that if we believe it in our heart then God does all the rest. We don’t have to do anything because He does it. We’ve been seeing the results of the power of the Gospel as people have been writing and calling. And I know these are people who have had no exposure to this whatsoever. And yet the Lord is opening their eyes that it isn’t what we do, but what we believe by faith. Now back to Galatians chapter 2.
“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, (not by the Law) we ourselves also are found sinners (remember we’re children of Adam) is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.” And here’s the basic reasoning in verse 18. Now this takes a little thinking I know it does. But think it through, and remember Paul’s past no one else could ever come close to, but look what he says.
“For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor,”
Now what’s he saying? Here he’s been a Law keeping Jew, a great practitioner of Judaism. He thought the Law and the Temple and the Old Testament was the epitome of everything. But once he saw the truth of the power of the Gospel of Christ how that He died, shed His blood, and rose from the dead then he could literally destroy everything of the old account. Now he says, “if I go back and put my converts back under the Law and command them to keep circumcision then I am rebuilding what I’ve torn down.” Do you get that? Let’s look at Colossians chapter 2 and nobody understood this better than the apostle Paul. This is a graphic statement. Here he is speaking of the work of the Cross.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, (the Law, and especially the Law that was being practiced at the time of Christ which was a degenerated 613 rules and regulations.) which was contrary to us, and (the Law was absolutely contrary to human nature. Everything in the Law, human nature says do it. So He) took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross;”
Now that’s what Paul means then as we come back to Galatians chapter 2 that once he helped believing Jews like himself to see that that old economy had been totally done away with. It was nailed to our Savior’s Cross.! Now Paul says if I come back and tell these converts that I was wrong, and now I’ve got to put them back under the Law then he says, “I’m building again that which I have destroyed.” Isn’t that beautiful, but Paul says, he couldn’t do that. Paul could not go back on the revelations that the Lord had given him. Now let’s move on to verse 19, and this is his whole reason for pressing on constantly throughout the Roman Empire with the Gospel of the Grace of God.
“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.”
What was the Law? Perfect. Right. It was the very mind of God it was perfect from God’s point of view. But what was it from man’s point of view? It was something that he could keep. It was weak, it was beggarly, because even though it was perfect from God’s point of view, from man’s stand point he couldn’t keep it because there was no power in the Law to help him keep it. Do you understand that? Remember the Law was given to Moses on hard cold stone. Now listen stone is not cuddly. I don’t care how old we are, some things are cuddly, but stone is not one of them. It is cold, and it is not something that you can just bring to yourself. That was the Law.
And even Peter had to admit that it was a yoke. It was like a millstone around people’s necks because of it’s heavy demands, and man’s inability to keep it and it had nothing to help him do it. Now that was the Law, and the Law was severe. If you went out on the Sabbath day and picked up a few sticks for the fireplace, it wasn’t a slap on the wrist, but rather a death penalty. If someone was caught in an act of immorality it wasn’t a wink of the eye, it was death! That’s how severe the Law was. But we have been set free from all of that because of the finished work of the Cross. But you and I and anyone who has experienced salvation would never realize why we needed salvation if it weren’t for the Law. Do you see that?
My own pastor the last few Sundays has been in the Book of Romans and I have been thoroughly enjoying it, and I’ve told him so. One of the comments he’s made is, “You can never be saved until you know that you’re lost.” How do you know that you’re lost? Because the Law condemns you. If it weren’t for the Law then anybody could say, “Well I’m good enough. and God will accept me.” But the Law says you’re guilty. There isn’t a one of us in this room who hasn’t broken the Ten Commandments and we know that. And if we’ve broken the Ten Commandments what are we? We’re Law breakers, and if we’re a Law breaker then we’re a sinner.
You know a lot of people have the idea that a sinner is just somebody that is down in the gutter. Somebody who has committed murder or somebody who has been in a house of ill repute, or any of these things that the world looks at as maybe sinful. Hey listen, good people are sinners, nice people are sinners, church people are sinners, because we’re all guilty of having broken God’s perfect Law. So then what condemns us? The Law. Come back with me to the tough chapter of Romans 7. That chapter is what I like to refer to as 8th Grade arithmetic when I was in school. But I remember those 8th Grade arithmetic problems were tough. We called them story problems. They would give you a whole paragraph of a background and all of the ramifications and I tell you what, it would just blow your mind to try to work them out. Well that’s sort of like what Romans chapter 7 is like. This chapter just boggles your mind and then all of a sudden it comes out.
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. (is the Law something evil or wicked?) Nay, I had not known sin, (or the old sin nature) but by the law, for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” See how simple that is? So it was the Law that condemned this religious Jew, and he thought he was keeping it.
“But sin, (the old sin nature) taking occasion by the commandments, (the Law) wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. (it got his mind just broiling) For without the law sin was dead. (it was inoperative) 9. For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”
Old Adam woke up and old Adam in Saul’s makeup said, “Hey that’s me, because I’m a coveter.” And then what did he do? I died. Now what does he mean? Well he had to die in the realm of that old Adam who was a Law breaker, and with the death of old Adam, what happened? New life. Now that’s what we talk about all the time, that’s salvation. When our old Adam is put to death because he was a Law breaker and we become a believer in the finished work of the Cross which is the Gospel then we’re a new creation, we’re alive, we have eternal life and Paul is constantly referring to that. Peter also said that salvation was all Paul talks about in all his epistles. Now back to Galatians chapter 2 verse 20 which is a classic. It’s a verse that I think most kids in daily vacation Bible school use to memorize. Here Paul now gives his own personal testimony under inspiration of the spirit and it becomes the Word of God.
“I am crucified with Christ:…”
Now Paul didn’t die on a Roman cross. If he died a martyr’s death, I think it was by beheading. So what’s he’s talking about? Oh that day on the road to Damascus when the Lord spoke to him, and literally knocked him to the ground, and in a moment Saul of Tarsus recognized that he was dealing with the ascended Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified One, what happened? Oh Saul died that day, he was crucified in the old Adam, and immediately he became a new man, a new creation.
So this is Paul’s whole thrust of teaching, that now as believers we have these two forces working within us. God reckons old Adam as absolutely dead, but in experience, oh he’s still there. I’ve always told people that I don’t mind the attacks of Satan half as much as I do the attacks of my old Adam. Now think about that. As you go through a week of life right here and now where do you run into most of your difficulties? Not Satanic as much as old Adam, he’s the one that pops those thoughts in your mind, he’s the one that catches us in these moments of weakness, and of course don’t take away from Satan’s power either. But it’s our old Adam that just constantly confronts us to still go the direction of the old adamic nature. But opposite it we now have that new nature which is energized by the Holy Spirit. Now verse 20 again.
“I am crucified with Christ: (when Christ died that’s when we died) nevertheless I live; (physically) yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh (here and now, day by day) I live by the faith (or the faithfulness, He is faithful, He will never let us down.) of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Remember Peter in the Book of Acts to the Nation of Israel said, “You killed Him.” But Paul to the Body of Christ says, “He loved you and gave himself for you.”
LESSON ONE * PART IV
SALVATION BY GRACE + FAITH + NOTHING
GALATIANS 2:7 – 3:5
Now back to Galatians where we left off in chapter 2, and we were looking at verse 20 where Paul makes this classic statement:
“I am crucified with Christ;…”
That is the very function of the Gospel. That Christ died for the sins of the world, and was buried, and that He arose from the dead. I always like to make the point and I’ve been making it more strongly than ever that when we come under that forgiveness, we are forgiven everything, past, present, and future. We will never, never come into the presence of God with sin on our back so to speak, because it has all been paid for. Now I know this is beyond all human comprehension. I can’t understand it, but I believe it because that’s what the Book teaches. We have been forgiven all our trespasses, not because of anything we have done, but all because of what Christ has accomplished on our behalf. And that’s what makes the Gospel so simple and yet so complex we’ll never understand it this side of glory. Paul goes on to say in verse 20 that even though he’s crucified by identification with Christ’s death:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith (faithfulness) of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Now what do I mean by the faithfulness? Someone asked from the television audience, “How do you get people to sit there all afternoon in those uncomfortable chairs?” Well, they’ve never complained, and that proves you don’t have to have upholstery to get people to come in if you’re feeding them from the Word. But anyway when our people came in today they picked a chair to sit on, I’ll bet there wasn’t a person in this room that analyzed or inspected that chair to see if it would hold you, did you? Not a one of you did that. Why didn’t you examine your chair? Your faith in that chair was enough. Now if you’re placing your faith in that chair in turn what does that chair have to be? Faithful. If the chair isn’t faithful, then you would go to the floor.
Now it’s the same way with Christ. He has claimed to have done everything that’s necessary, and I’ve put my faith in that. Now someday when I get to the eternal abode is God going to say, “Well I’m sorry Les, but it wasn’t what it seemed to be?” No way, but rather He’s going to say, “The Blood of Christ is faithful, He is faithful.” And that’s why we can trust Him. So this is what I’m sure that Paul is driving at in verse 20. That it’s through the faithfulness, his faith in the one who is faithful to keep us, because He loved me and gave Himself for me. The other day my 10 year old grandson asked me, “Grampa, do I love God enough? Do I have enough faith that if he should come tonight that I won’t be left behind?” Now that’s a pretty good question from a 10 year old isn’t it? But the question isn’t how much we love Him, but rather how much He has loved us? And you see that’s pointed out so clearly in John chapter 11 in the account of Lazarus. All through that chapter it isn’t how much Mary and Martha loved Jesus, but how much He loved them.
“Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, `Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.'”
“Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.”
Then when you come down to the shortest verse John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” What did the Jews in that area say?
“Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!”
So it wasn’t how much they loved Him, but the other way around. So we must remember that it’s not how much we love Him but how much He loves us, and has saved us, and has kept us. Now let’s go on to Galatians 2:21 where Paul says:
“I do not frustrate the grace of God:…”
Many people have the idea that God is something up there that is just waiting for them to goof up so He can zap them. No that’s not God’s attitude. God attitude is one of total love and mercy and Grace. Let me take you back to a verse we talked about in one of our classes the other night. Come back to I Corinthians and always remember the setting of these various letters of Paul. The Corinthian Church, as we taught so clearly I trust, was a carnal Church. They had a lot of problems, so they were not the epitome of strong believers, they were carnal, they were fleshly, but in spite of all that, look what Paul writes to them in chapter 1.
I Corinthians 1:6-8
“Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you; (Their testimony was confirmed, sealed, and settled) 7. So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: (In other words they were potentially able to accomplish great things as anybody could be. Now verse 8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now that’s mind boggling isn’t it? People like these Corinthians with all of their failures and their weaknesses, that if the Lord would have come within a day or two after having received this letter, would they have stood before God shaking in their boots because of all their failures? No. Paul says, “If the Lord should come they would stand before Him blameless.” And we know they weren’t blameless. So on what basis could God do that? His Grace.
I remember we hadn’t been on television very long when I got a call from a listener and he was upset that I was alluding to eternal security for a true believer. He wanted to know how I could do such a thing. So I said to him, “Now look, what part of God made it possible for you to be saved in the first place?” Well he answered correctly when he said, “His Grace.” I asked him if he deserved His Grace? He replied no. I asked him, “Can’t you believe that this same Grace is going to keep those that are His even though we don’t deserve it?” Well I never got him to agree with me, but we must understand that none of us deserve to stay saved. But we do stay saved because of His Grace if we have been truly saved by His Gospel as outlined in I Corinthians 15:1-4 in the first place.
So remember we stand before God blameless because of the Grace of God. That unmerited favor. Now I always say that’s not license. That doesn’t say to the believer to go out and do as you please. No way. But when the believer is under the power of the Holy Spirit and is trying his best in the light of Scripture to walk pleasing in God’s sight, and he fails does God kick him out? No. Anyone who has been a parent can relate to this. The little one has just began to take those first faltering steps, and we’re all proud of them. In fact I’ve got a little grandson that just started to walk this past week, and we’re all just tickled to death to see that little fellow walk clear across the room, but when he falls does everybody get upset and give him a boot in his little seat? No, we pick them up and get them on their little wobbly feet and get them going. Well that’s what God does. God doesn’t expect us never to fall, and when we do He’s right there ready to pick us up and put us on our way. But that’s not the concept that most people have of the Grace of God, but that’s what it is. Now looking at verse 21 again.
“I do not frustrate…”
Paul says, “I’m not going to fly in the face of the Grace of God and say, “But I have to do this because this is what the Law says.” We today are not under the Law, but where are we? We are under Grace. Oh what a difference that makes. Grace is that attribute of God that’s capable of pouring out undeserved favor and mercy on sinners like you and I, sons of Adam. And all because of the love that was poured out at the Cross. That was love epitomized. That was as great an act of love as has ever been done, and all because He loved you and I as sinners, completely undeserving.
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, (legalism) then Christ is dead in vain.”
If you can be righteous by legalism then Christ was the biggest fool that ever walked to have gone to that kind of a death if indeed it didn’t accomplish that for which He went. But He did accomplish it, it’s finished and He did not die in vain. This little Book of Galatians is constantly showing the difference between Law and Grace – and how Paul is confronting these little congregations up there in Galatia who were being submarined by the Judaisers who were saying that you can’t saved by Grace alone – but rather you have to keep the Law, and you have to keep circumcision.
You know we might think that this is something in the past that took place, and we’re not up against anything like that today. Well we’re not up against circumcision, but you know what? We’ve got a couple dozen other things that we add that is just as insidious. They creep into the life of believers and they begin to doubt, and begin to wonder, have I really believed enough? And just as soon as you begin to doubt what does old Satan pop into your mind? Well maybe I do have to do this or do that. Now that’s the way old Satan works, so we have to constantly stay in the Word, believe that it’s True, and it is by Grace and Faith + NOTHING! Now to chapter 3.
“O foolish Galatians, (now why does Paul use the word foolish? Because they were being hoodwinked into thinking they had to add to his Gospel.) who hath bewitched you, (who has been fooling with your thinking?) that ye should not obey the truth, (and what was the truth? Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and risen from the dead + nothing) before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
And here these Judaisers were saying it had to be + something. And that’s the way it had always been with the exception of Abraham. It was always + something. Many people would say the Old Testament saints were saved by faith. Yes they were saved by faith, but not faith alone. It was faith + and even in Christ’s earthly ministry they weren’t saved by just believing that He was the Messiah. They had to repent and be baptized, they still had to keep the Law, they were still under Temple worship so it was faith + something.
But now beginning with Paul’s Gospel it’s faith + Nothing. I remember a lady was bamboozled by this when she first came to the class. She was an artist and she made a little plaque for me of an odd looking little duck to be sure. He’s got his head cocked to one side, with the question “Faith + Nothing?” That’s where most people are. It’s like, “Les, are you crazy – Faith + Nothing?” Hey 90% of Christendom doesn’t hear that. 90% of Christianity says, “It’s Faith + something.” But Paul says it’s faith + nothing for salvation. Now I’m not talking about the Christian experience as we go on down the road. I’m talking about salvation here, it’s faith + nothing. If it isn’t then Christ died for nothing, and that’s what Paul says, when he said then He died in vain. Now verse 2.
“This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit (The Holy Sprit. Again the evidence of their salvation) by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Speaking of the hearing of faith, come back to Romans chapter 10 for a moment because we’ve got to keep comparing scripture with scripture. Now this is just simple little verse.
“So then faith (saving faith) cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Now saving faith cometh by works? No. By what? Hearing. Now there’s no work in hearing, and that’s how faith comes. We contemplated it. We recognize that Christ died for me and rose from the dead, and that’s all I need. And we believe it, and by believing it then we are listening to the Word of God. Remember all faith is taking God at His Word. God said it and I believe it, and God recognizes it, and on the basis of that He moves in and does everything that needs to be done. Now that’s simplification, and many people can’t buy salvation being that easy, but I can’t help that. The scriptures says, “That it’s by faith and not the works of the Law.” Now back to Galatians 3. In verse 3 it’s the same thing only in a little different wording. And why would God repeat this? Repetition. Repetition is the mother of learning.
“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, (the work of the Holy Spirit which generated salvation because of their faith) are ye now made perfect (or made right with God) by the flesh?” Now what’s the flesh a reference to? The Law. The Law was fleshly, it was weak, it was beggarly. Let’s look at that in Romans chapter 7.
“For when we were in the flesh, (we had no spiritual life) the motions of sins, (the activity of what the Law would condemn us for) which were by the law, did work in our members (this body of flesh) to bring forth fruit unto death, (that is what the unsaved person is living for. All he’s living for is the day when he dies physically and the works of his unsaved experience are going to come up before him at the great White Throne Judgment. And the fruit that they’re going to have is death!) 6. But (flip side) now we are delivered from the law, (which was an administration of death) that being dead wherein we were held; (that is the Law) that we should serve (now as believers) in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (the Law)
We’re not under that Law of the oldness of the letter, we are now in this whole new frame of thinking which is the spiritual realm. And how do we get there? Just by believing the Gospel! Now back to Galatians chapter 3. Let’s look at verse 3 again.
“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, (that is by believing Paul’s Gospel through faith + nothing) are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (are you now going to move into a deeper spiritual life by the flesh? And what does the flesh want in the Galatian Churches? Legalism, Law. It’s just part of that old Adamic Nature to want to be under some kind of a Law.) 4. Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, (Holy Spirit) and worketh miracles among you, (whatever it was) doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
Well you can answer that question. They couldn’t perform any miracles under the working of Law, it was impossible. But when the Holy Spirit activated the hearts and minds of those pagan Galatians and others throughout the Roman Empire, then what was it? It was a miraculous transformation from paganism with all of it’s excesses, with it’s idolatry, and it’s immorality, and what did they do? They stepped out into a whole new lifestyle. Now that’s a miracle enough in itself, and no doubt in the early churches there were other manifestations of the miraculous. Paul doesn’t explicitly delineate them, but the question is still the same. If you have witnessed a miracle was it through the keeping of the Law? Or was it through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit Who was activated, how? By Faith + nothing! This is the whole theme of this Book of Galatians, so don’t be suckered into coming under some kind of a works religion!
PLAN FOR HEAVEN
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what Law: of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.”
I Corinthians 15:1-6
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, 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, 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: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
“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.”
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, 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 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.”
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 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 shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
MANIFOLD RESULTS OF SALVATION
THE GOSPEL – Our Position – I Corinthians 15:1-4
JUSTIFIED – Romans 3:24
REDEEMED – Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7
SANCTIFIED – I Corinthians 1:30
FORGIVEN – Colossians 2:13
BAPTIZED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT – I Corinthians 12:13
GLORIFIED – Romans 8:17
INDWELT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT – I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19
IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS – Rom. 1:18; Isaiah 61:10 (clothed with garments of salvation, covered with the robe of righteousness)
QUICKENED – New Creation (Made Alive) – Ephesians 2:1
ADOPTION – Joint Heirs – Romans 8:14
TRANSLATED and DELIVERED from Power of Darkness – Colossians 1:13-14
RECONCILED – II Corinthians 5:18
ETERNAL LIFE – Ephesians 2:5-7
LESSON TWO * PART I
ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
We always have to realize that these letters of the apostle Paul stand in the center of our New Testament pretty much by themselves because this is the part of the Word that is directed primarily to the Gentile Church, or as Paul puts it, “The Body of Christ!” Never forget that the Old Testament and the Four Gospels and the early chapters of Acts were all directed to the Nation of Israel. But when Israel continued to reject everything and would not believe that Christ was the promised Messiah then God moved in providentially and took away their Temple, took away the city of Jerusalem, uprooted the nation from the land and put them out into the nations of the world in what we call a dispersion.
God then turned to the pagan Gentile world beginning with the apostle Paul. We have just returned from the Mediterranean and more or less following in the footsteps of the apostle Paul it just behooves all of us that were together of what that man put up with to get the Gospel to us Gentiles, and never lose sight of that. It wasn’t just his suffering as he lists his sufferings back in II Corinthians but, it was just the nature of the area. You have all known about his ship wreck on the island of Malta, and how he said in the Book of Acts that he was actually three times in the deep. We, on this trip, could readily see, because we had happened to have had a week of rough weather, and even though we were on a pretty good sized ship it was pretty topsy turvy wasn’t it Lynn and Viola? It was quite a week but nevertheless we had opportunity to hold our classes morning and afternoon in spite of the adverse weather. But anyway it just gave us a glimpse of what the apostle had to go through in order to bring the Gospel to the Gentile world.
Now in the writings of Paul we can see how the Holy Spirit has laid out the format that He wanted them in. Now in normal thinking most people think that Galatians should have been in front of Romans because Galatians, in the terms of a Bible teacher in by gone days puts it, “Galatians, if you compare it to an artist, is more or less his pencil drawing of what he has in his own mind, and then Romans is likened to the final paint and oil on canvas.” Well I kind of like that, because that’s exactly like Galatians is. Galatians is so introductory. It doesn’t get down into the deep things of Romans, and yet it has its divine purpose for being exactly where it is following the two letters to the Corinthians.
Now most of you were with us as we taught I and II Corinthians where Paul had to deal not only with problems in the congregation, but a constant flow of attack on his person. His enemies were always decrying that he was an impostor, and he had something that he had drummed up on his own. They would also say, that he did not have the authority from Peter, James, and John, so remember in those 2 letters to the Corinthians he was always having to defend his apostleship. Now in Galatians the average reader probably can’t discern the difference, but in this Book he’s not defending his person so much as he is his doctrine.
Now that’s a word that I don’t want any to use loosely. Doctrine is something that has pretty much, in our day and time, gone by the board. But listen if you do not have doctrine, then you have nothing. We’re seeing so much today with the emphasis on “experience” and that’s well and good as far as that goes, but listen experience does not set your feet in concrete. It takes doctrine, and that’s the primary word as we’re seeing here in Galatians. Paul in this Book is refuting false doctrine, and teachings that had crept not only into the Galatians Churches, but every Church that he ever founded. But that problem is not just unique to Paul’s day, it has plagued Christianity up through the centuries, and is just a applicable today as it was the day Paul wrote it.
Most congregations today are still teaching the false teaching of legalism. Normally when you think of legalism as just simply the Temple worship, and Judaism. No, legalism comes in all kinds of shapes and forms, and it’s always so subtle. You see legalism appeals to the human concept, “I have to do something!” And Paul’s doctrine says, as I’ve stressed it over and over that, “we do nothing” “But we rest on and believe in only what God has says. That He has finished it on our behalf, and that of course is the Gospel of our salvation, and that is believing in your heart for salvation, that Jesus died for you, was buried, and rose again + NOTHING! (compare I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10.
Well maybe that’s enough for introductions. So this little letter of Galatians is to refute false doctrine which was primarily the inroad of legalism. Remember in chapter 3 Paul made the point of the fact that they didn’t come into this glorious position that they enjoyed now as believers by Law keeping, but how? By faith. By believing the Gospel. All right so now then again as an illustration of faith Paul goes back to the Old Testament and picks up Abraham once again.
“Even as Abraham believed God, and it (his believing God) was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 12:1)
Now contemplate that statement. Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Now ask yourself the question, how much else did Abraham do? Well nothing! He didn’t bring a sacrifice, he didn’t keep a set of commandments, he didn’t get baptized in the river Jordan, he didn’t do anything but believed God when He told Abraham to go to a land that he would show him. Now I’ve put this on the board before and will again, and that is to believe in God which 90% of Americans do, and to believe God. Now to believe in God is what the multitude of people around the world do. If it’s not the One True God then they’re believing in some god. But on the other hand to believe God then that’s faith. When we believe God then we’re taking Him at His Word, and we’re exercising faith. And that’s what God is looking for.
So when Paul again says here in Galatians that we are to believe God as Abraham did that sends us back first to the Book of Romans chapter 4, and then we’re going to go all the way back to Genesis and see how all of this has been building. You know I’m always making the reference to the fact that the Bible is a progressive revelation. In other words what was built back there in the Old Testament has not been thrown aside, but has rather been built upon, and we’re going to reconstruct that in a moment, but we’re going to go from the top down instead of from the bottom up. Let’s just compare scripture with scripture.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3. For what saith the scripture? (and that’s what counts. It doesn’t matter what Paul says, or I say, but what matters is what does God say, and that of course is where the scripture comes in.) Abraham (believed not in God, but rather) believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
Now what does that tell you? God said something and Abraham believed it. Now you know that faith cometh by hearing, we looked at that in the last lesson. And that says, “that God has to say something before mankind can believe it.” So here it is. “Abraham believed God, and it was counted (or imputed) unto him for righteousness.” Now that brings another thought to mind, so maybe we had better deal with it as I trust the Spirit is leading this way. I hadn’t intended to do this, but let’s come on over the other way to the little Book of James. Here is one of those places where the scoffer especially and even a lot of well-meaning Christians will say, “Well the Bible contradicts itself, and I have problems with that.” Well come back to James chapter 2, and we’ll deal with it. I’m sure you are all aware of this verse. “Now Les how can you say that Abraham and we are saved by “Faith + Nothing? James says, “That if he doesn’t see works then he can’t see salvation.” Well let’s point it out.
“Was not Abraham our father (James was a Jew just like Paul) justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” (this was some 50 years after the call of Abraham)
Now the first thing that I would say would be, when does God deal with the faith of Abraham? At the very beginning like He does with you and I or back here when Isaac is already on the scene which is some 50 years later? At the beginning. So James isn’t talking about Abraham’s origin, but rather he’s talking about something that took place some 50 years later which was at the offering of Isaac.
“Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was (his) faith made perfect? 23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”
Is that a contradiction to what Paul says? On the surface it seems that way, but you see what is James really looking at? He is looking at the faith of an individual as man determines it. Now if you and I are to determine whether a person has saving faith or not then what’s the only criteria we have for that determination? Their works. But God doesn’t need works, God looks on the heart, and so Abraham was saved by faith + nothing because he didn’t have to show works to anybody, he was dealing only with God.
So the next time somebody jumps you and says, “well the scripture contradicts itself because James says, you can’t be saved without works, and Paul says you’re saved by faith alone.” But always remember James is looking at it from man’s point of view that absolutely if there are no works then you and I have no idea that a man has saving faith. But God looks at each of us like He did at Abraham and He sees our faith without works. I don’t have to do any works to prove to God that I have faith. But if I want to prove that to my neighbor then I’d better show some works. Do you see the difference? There is no controversy, no contradiction, but just simply two totally difference events. Now come back to Romans 4 for a moment, and then we will go back to Genesis.
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it (his believing) was counted unto him for righteousness. 4. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” And we’re not under a debt economy. Oh maybe we are in politics, but not spiritually. We will never put God in our debt, and so we can’t work for salvation, not one iota. And now verse 5 says it all.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. ”
Now, since Paul uses Abraham as the epitome of faith, let’s go back to Genesis chapter 12 and check it out. The most important part of the whole Old Testament is the Abrahamic Covenant. It is the very bench mark of everything on which you and I rest by faith, and faith alone. And let’s look at it once again.
“Now the LORD had said (back in chapter 11) unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: (and then God makes these great covenant promises to him) 2. And I will make of thee a great nation, (the Nation of Israel) and I will bless thee, (materially as well as spiritually) and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee (Abraham) shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Now we’ve got to go back to Genesis chapter 3 to pick up that benchmark of all the families of the earth being blessed. I’m coming from the top down instead of from the bottom up, but here we’re coming now all the way from Paul’s stipulation that as Abraham believed God so this is where we are with like faith today. Now then as faith was that which imputed righteousness unto Abraham, and that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed, then in chapter 3 we find that Adam and Eve have just eaten of the fruit, and have totally plunged the whole human race under the curse. And here is a covenant that God makes with Adam. Now it’s not a very pretty covenant because in this covenant God is promising all the ramifications of the curse, and how that everything would come under the curse. But in the very center of this covenant that God makes with Adam is a promise of a Redeemer. Let’s look at beginning with verse 15. Here God says –
” And I will put enmity between thee (Satan whom He’s addressing) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; (here we pick up the seed of the woman from this who is Christ. All right then there would be a running battle between Satan and Christ) it (the seed of the woman, Christ) shall bruise thy (Satan’s) head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Which of course Satan accomplished when he cause the suffering of Christ at Calvary. Now from this place in Genesis chapter 3 that we find God is going to promise a Redeemer through the woman. On that promise now we build the Abrahamic Covenant that it’s going to be through this man and his offspring that the Seed of the woman would come. Now am I making myself clear?
In Genesis 3 God promised Adam that one day the Seed of the woman would one day defeat sin, death, and Satan. Abraham is now given the promise that this Seed of the woman would come through his lineage through the Nation of Israel. So the Abrahamic Covenant then becomes the very foundation of everything as we come on up into the New Testament and the appearance of Christ and His earthly ministry, His rejection by Israel, and then we move on into the Church Age after the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. So all of our foundations of faith, not only the how, but also the why all rest on what God promised Abraham.
Maybe before we go back to the Book of Galatians we need to stop in Romans chapter 11. We should have caught this verse while we were there. Remember the last part of that Abrahamic Covenant was that in thee (Abraham) would all the families of the earth be blessed. Of course that comes primarily through Christ, the Seed of the woman coming through the seed of Abraham. But it is also a result of what God promised through the apostle Paul in Romans chapter 11, and this is an account of how Israel had rejected everything and God is going to literally strip the branches from the tree which is Israel that is rooted in Abraham, and He’s going to graft in the Gentiles. Now this all ties together. Let’s drop in at verse 15.
“For if the casting away of them (the Jew, the Nation of Israel) be the reconciling of the world, (the whole world.) what shall the receiving of them (the Nation of Israel) be, but life from the dead? ”
And of course we saw that in our past teaching in Ezekiel 37 and 38 how that that valley of dry bones was shaking and finally came together, and finally the flesh came on and the skin on, and finally one day in the future now the nation is going to experience life. Well what is it but life from the dead. Now verse 16.
“For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. (but Israel didn’t appreciate that position, and so God broke off in the next verse) 17. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; ”
Now what’s the analogy? Well when Israel rejected everything and God turned to the Gentiles through the apostle Paul and began to call out the Body of Christ what made it possible? As he removed Israel from feeding on the root and the fatness of their father Abraham, who has he now put in their place? The Gentiles. Remember we taught this, I thought, in our series on the Book of Romans. And so here we are, the whole Gentile world now in this place of privilege, this place of blessing that Israel had enjoyed all through the Old Testament.
But now we’ve also got to be careful. Just because Israel was resting on the root and fatness of Abraham, the man of faith, did that automatically make every Jew a believer? No way! Most of them weren’t. Well it’s the same way with the Gentiles. Here we are as Gentiles nations of the world. Everyone is in that place of privilege, and blessing and an opportunity to hear the Gospel and be saved. Now that doesn’t mean that every Gentile is going to be saved by no means. But what does it mean? That every Gentile has an opportunity. Every Gentile is going to be held responsible when they come to that Great White Throne Judgment lost.
They’re not going to be able to say, “Well I never had a chance.” God’s going to say, “Oh yes you did. You rested on the root and fatness of Abraham. You had just as much opportunity as the covenant people Israel did of the past, but you didn’t take advantage of it, you refused it.” You know I’ve been stressing for the past several lessons how that when Christ died, how many sins of the world did He take care of? All of them! Every human being that has ever lived has already been declared reconciled so far as God is concerned. They’ve been pardoned so far as God is concerned, but until they appropriate it with the kind of faith that Abraham had which was a relatively simple faith, then it’s all for nothing. You know this is what I’m always stressing. God doesn’t look for someone who knows the Bible from cover to cover before he can be saved. God isn’t looking for some primary example of Holy living before he can save, but what did Romans 4 say?
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Now that’s where God works. Many people have the idea, “If I can just clean up my act, I’ll be saved.” NO. The ungodly person has to stay right where he’s at because that’s where God’s going to reach down and save him.
LESSON TWO * PART II
ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
Now in our last lesson we were looking at the fact that Abraham was justified by faith + nothing.! I can’t emphasize that enough, although I should be known for that by now. Our salvation rests on nothing that we can do in the flesh, but it is all resting on the finished work of the Cross through His death, burial, and resurrection, and now we appropriate it by faith. Then after we have received salvation, then yes we move into an area of service and what ever you put on it. But not for salvation. Now in verse 7 Paul continues on with Abraham as his theme.
“Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, (in other words those of us who have entered into a salvation experience by faith only) the same are the children (or the sons) of Abraham.”
Now I’ve got to stop there for a while. How many people have come up to me and said, “Well we’ve always been told that when we became a Christian we became a Jew.” And I always tell them, I don’t know who told you that but they are way out in left field, because a Jew is a Jew by virtue of, first and foremost, his birth, his genetics, his blood line, and the keeping of the Law. But a Gentile is a Gentile of the Gentiles, and if you’ve had salvation then you are simply a Gentile sinner saved by Grace, and not a Jew. Then they point to this verse we have just read. “But the Bible says, we are children of Abraham.” Well you’ve got to realize what the Bible is saying, and not take it out of context. What the Bible is really saying here in verse 7
“…they which are of faith, (way) the same are the children of Abraham.”
We have entered in the faith way + nothing the same way that Abraham did, and so consequently we are spiritually now connected to this man Abraham. Now to follow that up we’ve again got to go all the way back to Genesis. I’m sorry. I hadn’t planned on doing this but we must. So let’s turn to chapter 13, and there are some interesting words in this passage. Now of course this is the chapter after the Abrahamic Covenant was given so he’s already on covenant ground, he already has all these promises. Now look what God says to Abraham.
“And I will make thy seed…”
Or your off spring. Also here is another little quirk of Hebrew. You have to discern from the context whether the word seed is singular and speaking of Christ or whether it’s plural and speaking of the whole Nation of Israel. Now that takes some doing I know, and I know when we taught Genesis I gave the example even in our English language. You can have 12 sheep over there, and 1 over here, but what do you call them? Sheep. It’s the same way with the Hebrew word that pertains to the word seed. It can be plural, but the same identical word can be singular, so you must use your where with all to determine from the text is it speaking singular, and the Messiah, or it is speaking plural the children of Israel. Well this one is plural.
“And I will make thy seed (the off spring) as the dust of the earth:…”
Now what’s dust? Is it earthly or heavenly? Well it’s earthly. So his earthly protegee would be as the numbers of the sand of the sea. In other words the Nation of Israel would be in terminology of course that is comparative. Compared to the rest of the nations of the ancient world were by far more in number. Now turn the page to Genesis chapter 15, and verse 5. And now look what God promises.
“And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and (count or) tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”
Now what was God doing? Playing games? No. God in His infinite Sovereign Grace was promising Abraham 2 different groups of people that would be connected to him. Now naturally the dust of the earth was his earthly offspring who came by the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Now when God brings him out and tells him to look toward the heavens, now God is talking about a heavenly connection. Most of you have been hearing me teach long enough to know that we have two concepts in Scripture, “The earthly people Israel and The heavenly people who are the Church.” All right Abraham is being promised a connection to both of them. He will have an earthly progeny which was the children of Israel, but he’s also going to have a heavenly progeny which are those who have entered in like he did by faith, and faith alone.
So now you have this two fold promise the Nation of Israel which would be earthly, but also a group out there some place who would be connected to him only in the realm of the spiritual. Now I think that I’ve already made my point as you come back to the Book of Galatians. Let me put something on the board, and maybe it will help a little bit. On the time line we have Abraham back here 2000 years before Christ. Also on this time line we have the finished work of the Cross at Calvary, and then here you and I stand in this interval from the time of the early Acts, and I think especially with Paul’s ministry, and the Body of Christ is being called out.
All right I think I’ve already made my point. How do we become members of the Body of Christ that is being called out? By faith + nothing! Abraham became the Friend of God and his righteousness because of his faith + nothing also! And this was done just by believing what God said. Now if you were in an algebra class what would I be able to say? There’s an equality. Right? This is equal to this. Why? Because Abraham received eternal life the same way the Church age believer does, we all came in the same way. Now to make my point, how did people back here from Adam, Abel, Seth, Noah, and all the way up to Abraham, how did they come into a right relationship with God, faith + nothing? No way, but rather it was faith + sacrifice. They couldn’t approach God without the sacrifice. Coming up to the Cross even in Christ’s earthly ministry, did Jesus ever teach the concept of a salvation by faith and faith alone. No. What were they to do? They were still to be adherence to the Law of Moses, they also had the added responsibility of repentance and water baptism, + their faith. But faith alone wouldn’t cut it. Even in the early chapters of Acts, it wasn’t just faith and faith alone. They had to repent and be baptized, and that was a requirement. It wasn’t just empty words, but a requirement.
But then along comes the apostle Paul with faith + nothing, and this is why he had so much opposition. And that’s why I imagine out there at least silently I’ve also got that opposition. I don’t hear it personally, but I know it’s out there. “Les you make it too simple! You’ve got to repent and be baptized.” And I’ve even had people call and say, “Well we’ve always been told that you have to repent, be baptized, and speak in tongues before we’re saved.” Well that’s not faith + nothing, that’s faith + something. OK now what’s my point?
That just as surely as Abraham was saved by faith + nothing when he believed God when He told him to go to a land that He would show him. We, in the Body of Christ, are saved by faith + nothing when we believe God when he tells us to believe the Gospel for salvation in I Corinthians 15:1-4. So by the basis of faith + nothing Abraham had imputed righteousness, you and I as members of the Body of Christ have also imputed righteousness, and that makes us just like Abraham. Does that make sense? No one else in all of God’s economy had that privilege. Let me show you in the Book of Hebrews. Maybe that will make my point. Chapter 11 – the great faith chapter. It goes clear back to Genesis chapter 4.
“By faith Abel (believed God? No. He offered. He did something) offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” By faith, primarily, but it was faith plus. Now you come all the way down to verse 7.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear (and what did he do?) prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”
He did something. Now, let me ask you. If Noah would have stood out there in the Middle East and said, “Alright God, I believe you that a flood is coming,” and never built an ark, what would have happened? He would have gotten washed away along with the rest of them. But along with his faith that a flood was coming, what did he do? He built an ark. And all the rest of the way up through Scripture, all those great men of God, Jacob, Isaac, David and all the rest. They were men of faith, but faith alone? No! Faith plus Temple worship, plus Law keeping, plus this, plus that. Am I making my point? But Abraham never made a sacrifice until years later. He did not do anything he just simply believed God. God saw that man’s faith and He imputed righteousness to him. And so it is with us. Without out doing a thing, we just simply say, “Yes Lord, I believe it, that you died for me, that you were raised in resurrection power, with all my heart.” And that’s all God is looking for. Now let’s go back to Galatians chapter 3. I could stay in Hebrews 11 another few minutes and prove the same thing. That all those other heroes of faith were also attached with some type of a human work.
“And the scripture, (the Old Testament) foreseeing (God’s foreknowledge sees the end from the beginning) that God would justify the heathen (Gentiles) through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”
Now I know there are some great theologians who stand on the premise that Abraham knew the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. And I stand on my hackles and say, “No way! No way could Abraham, and there’s nothing in scripture to indicate that he did. There is nothing to indicate Abraham foresaw the death on a Cross and the burial and resurrection of the Messiah.” Now, he had an inkling. All the Old Testament prophets had an inkling that God was going to do something. And they also understood from Isaiah onward that God was going to have salvation for the Gentiles. But they didn’t know how. In fact, we may have looked at this previously on a program – I don’t think I have, but I may have. Come back with me to I Peter chapter 1. It kind of rings a bell that we may have kind of looked at it a few programs back, but it won’t hurt to look at it again.
I Peter 1:10
“Of which salvation the prophets (the Old Testament writers) have inquired and searched diligently, (if they knew it all, then why look and ask. But they didn’t.) who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; 11. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”
In other words, did those Old Testament prophets understand this gospel of Grace? Well, of course not! God never intended for them to understand it. He had been keeping it secret. In fact, come back with me to Romans chapter 16. This was our theme verse all the while we were sailing the Mediterranean last week and as we had our classes before and after noon. We reveled in that, but the weather wasn’t all that commodious so it wasn’t all that glorious. But we reveled in the word, Romans 16. Now if the Old Testament prophets had understood the gospel of Grace, and if Abraham would have seen that Christ would indeed come and die and be raised from the dead and offer salvation to the whole world, then this verse becomes almost spurious, but it isn’t. It’s the truth.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.”
It was kept secret and there was no way the Old Testament saints could know it. It was in the mind of God. There was no way He was going to let them understand. The Twelve didn’t understand. (Luke 18:34) Now from all the prophetic references in the Old Testament about His death and His resurrection, you would have thought that the Twelve would have understood that He was going to die. But did they? No! They had no idea that He was going to go to that Roman Cross. And when He hung there, did they expect to see Him on Sunday? Of course not! They thought it was over with, and all done. What did Peter say? “I go fishing.” Why? Everything was now hopeless. But you see God kept it secret. He didn’t reveal it to people. I think it’s the same way today. A lot of people are kept blind to the truth of the Gospel until God opens their eyes. But the minute He opens their eyes they become intensely responsible, because that’s His sovereign grace.
Now let’s come back again to Galatians chapter 3. So the gospel which was preached unto Abraham was a not a gospel that Abraham understood. He had a concept that God was going to send a redeemer. Every Jew, even if he has a segment of believing left in him today, is looking for the Redemption – the day of Redemption. What is their day of redemption? When Messiah should come. Now they have a few of those things mixed up, but nevertheless, this whole concept of resurrection and Israel coming in to a place of redemption was certainly on Abraham’s mind. But to be able to associate it with a death, burial and resurrection and the shedding of that atoning blood of Christ. They had no concept of that! Because God didn’t expect them to.
“So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”
Now, let’s put that in a little plainer English. Maybe some of the new translations have already it. “So they who are of the faith way, (that’s us) those of us who have come into a right relationship, the faith way plus nothing, are blessed with the man of faith, Abraham.” And so Abraham was the friend of God. You and I as believers are the friends of God. We’re no longer enemies. And all because of our faith in what He has said and what He has said concerns that which He had accomplished in the work of the Cross.
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse:…”
Do you realize how many millions of people are in that position and they don’t know it? They are supposedly Law keepers. They are supposedly keeping the commandments, and thereby thinking they are pleasing God. They are not pleasing God. They are placing themselves under the curse! Unbelievable, except this is what the Book says. Legalism in what ever form you want to put it, anything that says I want to do it my way. I’m going to do this and that. That person puts themselves under the curse of God. Now the word “Curse” here is more than just puncturing a voodoo doll with a needle. This verse is the real thing. This is the curse of the Almighty. In fact, let’s go back and look at Deuteronomy 27. And this is why our Bible tells us Christ was under the curse of the Law. And in this chapter he’s coming through all the horrible things that man can do that brings down the wrath of God. But we’re not going to look at all of them. And in verse 26 this is what Paul is referring to in Galatians. He’s warning people: “Look when you say that you’re going to keep the Law in order to merit favor with God, there’s no way that any mortal man can do it. So where do they put themselves? Under the curse! I want you to see it with your own eyes.
“Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.”
Now what does that mean? That if you don’t keep every last jot and tittle of the Law as no man can do, and only God could do, you’re under the curse of God. It’s plain and simple. And this is exactly what Paul is making reference to. It’s a tremendous warning. Don’t try to put yourself under the Law because since you’re human, you cannot keep it anyway. But when you put yourself under a so-called legal system, you are actually putting yourself under the curse of God. Now that’s serious business. That’s serious language. It’s not mine – it’s the Book’s.
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”
Listen, that’s what the Law commands. Do this! Do that! Let’s go back to Exodus 19 for a moment. Israel has just been led out of Egypt and they are gathered around Mt. Sinai and God is preparing to, with Moses and Aaron, bring the Nation of Israel under the system of Law. And now look how Israel responds.
“And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.”
I wonder what the Lord said? He must have smiled and said, “That’s what they think.” Because, you see, people cannot keep the Law and yet anytime someone says they’re doing the best they can, and they are keeping the Law, then they are putting themselves under the curse.
LESSON TWO * PART III
ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
We’ll start this lesson in Galatians chapter 3 verse 11. We’re stressing that we’re not under Law, we’re under Grace. And remember that the whole reason for this letter is that those Churches up in Galatia were being submarined where false teaching was coming in and was literally torpedoing then with, “But you can’t be saved with faith + nothing, you also have to keep the Law of Moses.” Now let’s go back to Acts chapter 15. We covered this in book 32, but look at verse 1. This was written by Luke, and is indeed the problem.
“And certain men which came down from Judaea (to Antioch) taught the brethren, (they somehow wiggled their way in to get in position to teach. Remember they were believing Jews.) and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses ye cannot be saved.
Now, in verse 5 it’s repeated again and we find some Pharisees who had become believers. Now when I say they had become believers I’m not talking about with Paul’s Gospel of I Corinthians 15:1-4. They had become believers of the Gospel of the Kingdom, or the Gospel of the Circumcision that Peter preached. (Gal. 2:7-9) And that Gospel for salvation was believing who Christ said He was plus repentance and water baptism. Now verse 5.
“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying. That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
This is what Paul was constantly up against. Everywhere he had begun a little congregation of primarily Gentile believers these Judaisers would come in and torpedo Paul’s message with this kind of teaching. They would say, “You can’t be saved by faith alone.” I’m sure there are people out there who say, “Don’t listen to Les Feldick, because you can’t be saved by faith alone.” Well, it isn’t Les Feldick that is saying that, but rather it’s this Book that says it. Now come back to Galatians 3:11. Here we find Paul confronting this false teaching that was leading these people astray, do you remember what he said in chapter 1? You are falling for a perverted Gospel.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” So if you add or take away from Paul’s Gospel you are in trouble. Well here in verse 11 Paul is still dealing on that same premise.
“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, (Maybe you can fool people that you’re a Christian by Law keeping, but you will never fool God) it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” There is nothing else added to that verse. So it’s faith + nothing. Verse 12.
“And the law (works religion) is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them (these works) shall live in them.”
In other words if you’re going to try to keep the Law or add works for salvation then you need to keep the whole Law. It’s like a dear brother in the Lord that lives near me who was talking to a neighbor, and this neighbor thought he needed to keep the Law for salvation. He told his neighbor, “Now wait a minute if you’re going to keep the Law then you need a temple. You had better find a priest, and you’d better go buy a flock of sheep, because if you’re going to keep the Law, you’ve got to keep it all if my Bible means what it says.” And I couldn’t have told his neighbor any better, because this is where most people are. If they want to keep the Law for salvation, then they had better keep it to the last iota. Remember there was only one way they could keep the Law and that was to have the Temple, priesthood, and the sacrifice, and even then they couldn’t accomplish it because it’s impossible
So here’s where we’ve got to get people to stop and think, “Am I trying to obtain salvation by some kind of a works religion?” And when you add anything to faith then it becomes a religion. Religion is man attempting to somehow merit favor with God where Christianity is God reaching down in Grace and saving sinful men. Oh what a difference. There’s no comparison between the two. Religion will always demand works, religion will always tell people what they have to do and what they can’t do. But true Gospel Christianity says, “you do nothing because God had done it all.” Now verse 13.
“Christ hath (past tensed) redeemed us (He has bought us, He has paid a price for us, and redeemed us) from the curse of the law, (remember what we read in Deuteronomy? If you do not keep every jot and tittle of the Law to perfection then you’re under the curse. Now that sounds like harsh language, but that’s what the Book said. `cursed is every man that does not do them if you’re going to do the Law.’) being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” Now look at Deuteronomy 21:18. Now this is back in Israel’s history under the Law.
“If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: (in other words he is a total rebel) 19. Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; (in other words to the authorities) 20. And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.”
Does that ring a bell? Oh yeah it does. You have all heard of families that have one. Remember the book “Tough Love”? What was advocated? With this kind of an individual, you have to take steps and exercise some tough love. You can’t just keep feeding him and helping him out of his tight places, but rather you’ve got to deal with him. Well Israel did, only far worse than what that book ever suggested. Look what their remedy was.
“And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear,”
See this is what the sociologists have totally removed from our judicial system. Our kids have no fear of the Law, and that’s our problem. They can do whatever they want to do and they know they’re going to get a slap on the wrist at most and then they’ll be back on the streets. Hey if we would practice some of this it wouldn’t take long for our judicial system to right itself. I remember a friend of mine who was in the service in Japan in the occupational forces after W.W.II. When he came home he said, “Boy there’s nobody in jail in Japan, the courts don’t have much to do because the police deal with the problem on the sidewalks. They practically beat somebody to death if they caught them stealing or snatching a purse. So there wasn’t a problem at that time, but I’m sure it’s changed some by now, but there wasn’t much crime at that time because they dealt with it. Well that’s exactly what Israel was instructed to do. If you have that kind of no good rebellious drunkard son then turn him over to the authorities, and the authorities were to literally stone that young man to death. And remember stoning was not a very pretty picture, it was awful. Now reading on in verse 22.
“And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: (now the hanging on the tree didn’t kill him, the stoning did. So what was the purpose of hanging them on a tree? A public spectacle! To let the public know that this is the way Israel deals with this kind of an individual. Now people will read this and say, “Well that’s barbaric.” Maybe so but they didn’t have the crime problem that we’ve got.) 23. His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God; …” Now does all that ring a bell? Who hung on a tree? Christ did, and as soon as Israel saw the sun begin to set what did they scramble for? Get Him off that tree because we can’t have him on there after sundown. See this is all ringing a bell with their Old Testament.
“His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (and here is the reason) (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;)…”
We say this is awful, but look what is this all a preview of? Of what Christ accomplished on our behalf. Let’s go to II Corinthians. Here again, when I can stand up here and teach a total salvation based on the finished work of the Cross + nothing, this is why I can do it. And at the same time keep that picture on your mind for what it was for that rebel who was a sinner to be sure and he had been stoned to death, and then hanged on a tree for the public to see. All right it was all a preview of the One that was to come.
II Corinthians 5:21a
“For he (God) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us,…”
All sins, even the worst, and they were all laid on Him. He took the place of that rebel, sinful, son of Israel. And He took the place so that God could put the curse of the Law on Christ. Now listen that’s strong language I know it is. That’s not the kind of language most people like to hear. But listen this is what the Word declares. Christ became the curse under God. He fulfilled all the curse of the Law so that God in turn could now say, “I have forgiven every human being that’s ever lived. I have reconciled them, I have pardoned them. It’s there for anyone and every one who will simply believe it.” And oh they refuse to believe it. Now let’s look at Romans chapter 3. Where this whole plan of salvation from the pen of the apostle Paul really has it’s beginning. Again it’s that same concept that by the keeping of the Law there is no justification. I always like to use those two verses together as I’ll never forget one time I was using them and a young pastor happened to be in my class at the time. I hadn’t commented on them, only read them and his mouth just dropped opened. You know the first thing that came to mind? He’s never seen this before. He had never seen this before but the Spirit just blew his mind and look what it says.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: (who was under the Law? Jew. But it didn’t stop at the borders of Israel because the ramifications of the Law went to the whole human race.) that every mouth may be stopped and all the world (may have a way to heaven. That’s not what your Bible says is it? Your Bible says that all the world ) may become guilty before God. (and all the Law could do was pronounce guilt upon every human being.) 20. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified (and oh why can’t works religion people see this? They must evidently just closing their eyes to it and say, `No, my Church, my religion will be good enough.” However my Bible says, “No it won’t!” I don’t care what Church it is. If the Church you belong to holds you to something that you have to do to earn salvation then my Bible says, `Then there is no justification in that, but rather condemnation.’) in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
The Ten Commandments, as beautiful as they are, perfect as they are, yet by those commandments is nothing more than the understanding on sin. Sin is the breaking of the Ten Commandments. Oh but now look at verse 21 for the flip side.
“But now (something totally different has taken over) the righteousness of God without the law (leave out the Law, it has no part in your salvation.) is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”
What does that mean? It isn’t like the people of Corinth when they accused the apostle Paul that he was coming in like an impostor with some kind of false religion and something that he had concocted on his own. But what did Paul say? “I’m not coming with something that’s a watered downed product. I am coming with the truth of the Gospel.” And the world has hated it from day one. And even today the world’s main goal is to work for their salvation. I want to do something so I can take pride in what I’ve accomplished. God hates pride like nothing else. So here we have without the Law even though it was witnessed by all the Old Testament before it. Remember what I said in the last lesson? Everything builds on that which was before. So we had the Law, and the prophets, and the life of Christ, and it all brings us to His death, burial and resurrection. And then we have the apostle Paul who comes out and declares it to the Gentile world, not just to Israel.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith (or the faithfulness) of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (and then verse 23 the all inclusive verse of condemnation where I always say you have to start.) 23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Why? Because we’ve all broken God’s Law, everyone of us.) 24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”
You all know what redemption involves. It means paying a price for something that was once yours and you lost it. And that’s exactly what happened to the human race. It was God’s in the person of Adam and Eve, but what happened? God lost it when they sinned, and the moment he lost it what did God immediately kick into gear? A plan of redemption through the Seed of the woman. Now it took centuries before it became a reality but nevertheless it all began right after Adam and Even sinned. God put in motion the plan of buying back the whole human race. That of course is what Paul is teaching here in Romans chapter 3. Now verse 25.
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,…” It’s the blood that is the price of redemption. Peter tells us that in his little epistle:
I Peter 1:18-19
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold received by tradition from your fathers; 19. but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot:” You are not bought with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.. It’s the price of redemption all through Scripture. That’s the reason that Hebrews says –
“…and without shedding of blood is no remission.” It has to be paid for with atoning blood. Now come on down to Romans 3:26.
“To declare, I say, at this time his (Christ) righteousness that he (Christ) might be just, (absolutely fair) and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” See how simple it is? It’s so very simple. All right in the short time we have left let’s return to Galatians, and we were in verse 13.
“Christ hath redeemed us (He has paid the price of redemption with His blood) from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; (Christ fulfilled that, He became that curse that was hung on a tree.) for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”
Now I suppose that a lot of people have wondered down through the ages, well why did God choose death by crucifixion. The normal death for people in Israel was stoning. Well you see He had to be lifted up, He had to be placed on a tree to fulfill this whole concept of, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” He couldn’t have died any other death, it would have never fulfilled the total picture and that why I ways tell you that all of Scripture fits. It’s just like a jig saw puzzle, everything fits, and that’s why it’s so dangerous to lift a verse out of context, because we have to use every bit of it.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ;…”
Now I’m always teaching that this Book is progressive revelation. In other words God doesn’t always reveal everything exactly from the front. He’s going to keep adding revelations to revelations.
“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ;…” Now in your mind’s eye, through Whom was the blessing originally supposed to come? Turn to Isaiah 42 and find out.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment (or rule) to the Gentiles.” Who are we talking about? The Messiah, the Christ! All right let’s follow this up by turning to Isaiah 49.
“And he said, (God did up in verse 5) It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, (He’s talking to Israel the nation) that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. 7. Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.” So here we have Israel again as having been raised up by God to be a light to the Gentiles. Now let’s go all the way over to chapter 59 and drop in at verse 20.
“And the Redeemer (The Messiah, the Christ) shall come to Zion, (Jerusalem) and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. 21. As for me this is my covenant with them, (Israel) saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever,”
Now that is in reality the new covenant of Jeremiah chapter 31:31. But as yet it hasn’t been kicked into gear, but it will. Right now it isn’t applicable but it’s in Israel’s future. Look at Isaiah 60:1.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, (the prophet is talking to Israel, and the light is their Messiah) and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee, 2. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, (that is spiritual darkness) and gross darkness the people: (Israel) but the LORD shall arise upon thee, (Israel) and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Israel) 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, (The Jews, Israel’s) and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”
Now let’s go on to the Book of Zechariah chapter 8 for now. Now we’ve covered all these verses before when we studied the Abrahamic Covenant. But repetition is one of the main ways to learn. Now in light of everything that we’ve come through, that the Messiah would be the light of Israel, and Israel in turn would be the light of the Gentiles, then we find here –
“Thus saith, the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities; 21. And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, (city) saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: (they will be hungry for a knowledge of the Lord. They will say to their neighbor) I will go also. 22. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. (now to show the connection of Israel in this look at verse 23) 23. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days (when Israel would be the vehicle) it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, now what does that mean? Anybody and everybody but Israel, and they) even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you.”
Am I getting through? How was God going to reach the Gentiles? Through the Nation of Israel. But what did Israel do with that? They rejected it. They said thanks but no thanks. “We’ll not have that man to rule over us, crucify Him!” Now stop for a moment in the Book of Romans chapter 11 and put the top on this study.
“I say then, Have they (the Nation of Israel) stumbled that they should fall? (Israel completely out of God’s program?) God forbid: but rather through their fall (when did Israel experience this kind of a fall? When they crucified their Messiah, and rejected His offer of the King and the Kingdom, and the Old Testament promises, then through their fall) salvation is come unto the Gentiles,…” Now back to Galatians chapter 3. Looking at verse 14 again to see why we went back to Isaiah, Zechariah, and Romans.
“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles though Jesus Christ;…”
It doesn’t say that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through the Nation of Israel like we just studied in Isaiah does it? What has happened? Israel fell out of the picture when she fell. When she rejected the Messiah she also rejected that glorious opportunity of being a kingdom of priests to the Gentile world. You remember Exodus chapter 19? As they were gathered around Sinai what did God tell them?
“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests,…”
Now I make a big deal of it, that every Jew could have been a go-between, between the Gentile world and their God. What a prospect they had, but they blew it, they dropped the ball, but it didn’t stop God, thank goodness. Because now Paul can write that the Gentiles have received the blessing of Abraham, not through Israel but how? Directly through the Lord Jesus Christ, immediately as soon as they believe! We don’t have to wait for Israel to get her act together. We don’t have to wait for a Jew to come to a particular community and give us the knowledge of their God. Oh God has done something totally different, and that is, “He went straight to the pagan world with the message of salvation through the apostle Paul without Israel as a go-between. Now another verse just comes to mind in the Book of Ephesians in chapter 1.
“In whom (speaking of Christ) also we have obtained an inheritance, (Paul is writing to Gentiles.) being predestinated, according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:” Now, then, according to the eternal purpose of God. And here it even makes it more emphatic. Drop down again to verse 11.
“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”
Was God caught off base when Israel crucified the Messiah? No, because it was all in the eternal purposes. Now flip on over to II Timothy chapter 1, and oh this is so beautiful, and I hope you can see it. Do you remember how I’m always using verse 23 in Acts chapter 2, that according to the determinate counsel of God all these things had happened. All right now look at verses 8 and 9.
II Timothy 1:8-9
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9. Who (God) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works (does that ring a bell? What have I been screaming the past 3 lessons? Not by works, not by keeping the Law. So not according to our works) but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us (not through Israel, but rather) in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
Oh that’s his eternal purpose. Yes, God made a valid offer to the Nation of Israel. He wasn’t playing games with them, those were valid offers that he made the nation. Even when they could have gone into the promised land of milk and honey at Kadesh Barnea. God told them to go in and take the land and I’ll drive the Canaanites out with hornets. The land is laying there ready it in production, all you have to do is take it over. I’ll drive them out slow so that the weeds won’t take over before you get there. Israel didn’t do it. But was it a valid offer? Absolutely they could have, but what did God know? That they wouldn’t.
So the whole divine purpose of the 40 year wilderness wondering was all in the divine plan. But if wasn’t because God didn’t give them a valid offer. And that’s what I use as my argument, that when Christ came and presented Himself as the King of Israel it was a valid offer. He came to His own for what purposes? To be their Redeemer and King! But as a valid offer the Nation of Israel rejected it, and that fulfilled the eternal purposes, and that was, “Salvation to the whole human race, without Israel, without the Law, without the Temple, without proselytizing, it was salvation by faith and faith alone.” Glorious? Man I think it’s something that we should be more excited about.
You know I’m sort of in the middle. I don’t go along with wild emotionalism, but I also don’t go along with this staid religionism either. My, if anybody has a reason to be happy and joyful I think it’s the believer. But on the other hand we have to do that which is in order. Now back to Galatians chapter 3, and let’s look at verse 14 again. I hope we have time to go beyond this verse but I doubt it. Now remember Christ became a curse, hung on a stake, as it were, like Deuteronomy’s wayward rebel son. All of that for this.
“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; (and for what purpose?) that we (as Gentiles) might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
So all the purposes of God are coming to fruition in this glorious age of Grace. Not only do we not have to keep the Law, but as a result of our salvation experience, God gives us something 10,000 times better than the Ten Commandments and what is it? The Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit becomes our guideline, not the Ten Commandments. So when I say we’re not under the Law, that doesn’t mean that you chuck the fact that it’s wrong to kill and steal, because the Holy Spirit is going to show us that, and that’s the whole difference. In fact come back for a moment to Romans chapter 7, and this says it so beautifully.
Romans chapter 7:6
“But now (Paul lays it out how it has been, and then he uses the flip side, but now) we are delivered from the law, (as Grace age believers) that being dead (spiritually) wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, (What’s the newness of the spirit? The Holy Spirit that guides and directs us, and remember the Holy Spirit never instructs someone to do something that is contrary to the Law. The Holy Spirit will never tell someone to go commit adultery, or steal, or kill, or covet, or do anything wrong.) and not in the oldness of the letter.” The oldness of the letter was the Law. We’re no longer under the Law, but rather Grace, and the Holy Spirit takes the place of the Law. Now back to our text in Galatians.
“That the blessing of Abraham…”
Has there ever been a man more blessed than Abraham? I doubt it, unless it would be the apostle Paul, but you see the apostle Paul didn’t get through it as easy as Abraham did. Paul suffered so much just like the scriptures says he would. As we were traveling that Mediterranean Sea last week and here we were on a big ship, and poor old Paul was bouncing around on a little boat that wasn’t much bigger than a cork. And yet he suffered so for the sake of the Gospel to get it out to the ends of the Roman Empire. What a lesson, when you see all the immoral remains of that Roman Empire, and to think that that man was in the midst of it constantly, and yet never letting it turn his mind aside, he just preached the Gospel. It was quite a revelation believe me. Now finishing verse 14.
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit (how?) through faith.”
Without any works of the Law, that’s a gift of God that was all part and parcel of that whole plan of redemption that yes we have eternal salvation, but we also have the indwelling Holy Spirit.
LESSON THREE * PART I
THE TRUE INTENT OF THE LAW IS CONDEMNATION
Now before we begin with verse 15 today I want to go back up to verse 13 and pick up the flow.
“Christ hath (past tense) redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through (not through Israel as the Old Testament had promised, but through) Jesus Christ; (in other words that finished work of the Cross) that we (as Gentiles) might receive the promise of the Spirit through (not through the Law but) faith. 15. Brethren, (Paul was speaking to Gentile believers up there in central Turkey in Galatia, and Paul says -) I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, (or can cancel) or addeth thereto.”
Now that sounds like double talk in a way doesn’t it? But you see what the apostle is really saying is that as he himself is also human, he’s a man like anyone else, and he has an understanding that the Law, so far as humanity was concerned, was weak and beggarly. It just couldn’t get the job done, and that sometimes shocks people. We ordinarily think of the Law from the other side, and that is that it was what? Perfect, Holy, Righteous, and that it is. But from mans point of view it was powerless, and all it could do was point the finger of condemnation at mankind. All right, but since it’s a covenant, and remember a covenant in Scripture is always a one way street. Every covenant in Scripture begins and ends with God, and men can’t touch it. They can’t enlarge on it, they can’t subtract from it, and this is exactly what he is saying. Even though from a mans standpoint it is weak and beggarly – now look at it again in verse 15.
“Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, (and we know it was as it was settled in heaven. So if it be confirmed,) no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.”
Now let me take you back to a scripture. Sometimes things come to mind that I didn’t intend to do and this is one of them. Come back with me to II Samuel chapter 7, and here we find the Davidic covenant. Now that just simply means that it was a covenant that God made with David concerning his offspring, the Nation of Israel. And for sake of time let’s start with verse 14. Where He’s been speaking about the Royal line of the house of David which would lead up to the coming of the King, the Christ, the Messiah. This Royal blood line is going to come down through Solomon on one side, and Nathan on the other. But He’s speaking primarily here of Solomon, and the Lord says-
II Samuel 7:14
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son, If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:”
Now even though it sounds like He’s only addressing Solomon in particular, yet He’s looking at the long view the whole Nation of Israel. That’s who He’s really talking to. He would chasten the Nation of Israel by the nations who were their enemies, and the various other ways that God had of chastening His people. Now continue on.
II Samuel 7:15
“But (now the flip side).) my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.”
Yes He’s going to chasten them, He’s going to deal harshly with them when they come into a place of unbelief, and abject behavior, but in spite of everything that Israel does in opposition to her God His mercy will never depart from them. Why? Because it’s a covenant, and God will never go back on His word, and He has promised that through the line of David coming down through Solomon and Nathan would one day would come the King, the Messiah, and it had to happen regardless of what Israel did in the mean time, the covenant stands secure. Now coming back to Galatians chapter 3. Remember there are all kinds of covenants in the Old Testament. It starts with the Abrahamic in Genesis chapter 12, and then the Davidic that we just looked at. You have the Palestinian that promised Israel the land of Palestine. You’ve got the covenant of the Law which was a covenant, and none of those things could Israel or anybody else add to or take away or ever cancel because it’s made and going to end with God. Now let’s move on to verse 16.
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, (plural) as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, (that is the Seed of Abraham in this case) which is Christ.”
Now I guess we’d better chase that down all the way back to Genesis chapter 3, because after all that’s what the scripture expects us to do. Even if this is old to you, and it’s just review for a lot of you, yet I think that the scriptures demand that we just build line upon line and precept upon precept, and not just wonder what Paul is talking about. Well let’s go back and see what he’s talking about, because it’s all back here. And most of you have grown up with this verse. I think one great old preacher once called this verse “the beginning of the line of scarlet thread in scripture, and now here it is. God says to Satan –
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; (see the language? And the seed of the woman) it shall bruise thy head, (Christ defeated Satan at the finished work of the Cross) and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Satan also got his licks in by virtue of making Christ suffer.)
All right now that’s the beginning of the promise then of the seed of the woman. It would come through the female side of the human race, not from Adam, but from the woman, and we can follow this all the way through scripture. Now if you will come to Genesis chapter 12, and let’s look at a portion of scripture that most of you have worn out your Bible on, and we call it the Abrahamic Covenant. I still maintain that it’s one of the most important portions of the whole Old Testament. If you don’t understand the Abrahamic Covenant then the rest of the Bible is sort of like a mist. You just can’t see it clearly! But once you get an understanding of this covenant, then everything falls into place. Now don’t forget the seed of the woman back there in Genesis 3:15.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, (in Genesis 11:31) Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Remember when God says, “I will” what is that? It’s a promise that He’s going to do it, and nothing in heaven or earth will ever stop Him. So He says, “I will shew thee a land.” Now verse 2.
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and (I will) curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Now that’s a bunch of promises isn’t it? That’s a truck load of promises that were promised to this one man. Now on the surface it doesn’t seem that great, but all of human history since 2000 BC is resting on these promises, and God has kept every one of them. Abraham became a great man. He’s still thought of as one of the great men of history. The scriptures uphold him as a great man. God blessed him in his progeny, and God has blessed those who bless Israel. God has cursed those who cursed Israel, and if you think I’m stretching the point, then you don’t know human history. All you have to do is go back into human history, and every nation that has ever come down hard on the Jew has gone down the tube, right on up through our present system of nations. Anyone that has turned against the Nation of Israel goes down the tube whether they like it or not. That’s why I’ve maintained for the past 25 years that as long as America remains a friend of Israel then America is going to be in pretty safe straits. But if we ever turn on the Nation of Israel and stab them in the back then America is going to go down the tube just like all the others have.
Now you might say, “What are you talking about?” Well Spain is probably one of the best examples. Now if you know American history, who were the explorers that really covered a good part of North America? The Spaniards. Spain was riding on the crest of national power and empire, and then in 1492, which was a little before some of the great explorers, remember God’s wheels turn slowly. But in 1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella made the decree that every Jew would either be out of Spain, convert to Catholicism, or be dead by such and such a day. So there was a great exodus out of Spain, and it wasn’t but a 100 years and what was Spain? Nothing! Just a blimp on history, and so it’s always been with every empire that has turned on the Jew, down they go, and it all comes back to this covenant promise, that, “He will bless them that bless the Nation of Israel, and He would curse them who curse the Nation of Israel.”
But however way things go one promise is secure and that is through the man Abraham all of the families of the earth would receive a blessing. And that came about with their Messiah. When Christ came and finished the work of the Cross, He became then a blessing out of the line of Abraham, but a blessing for the whole human race, and that’s where you and I are tonight. Remember when I teach Romans chapter 11 that He broke of the branches of natural Israel, and He grafted in the Gentiles? Oh I love that chapter. And when He sat Israel aside for a season, He brought the whole Gentile world into that place of privilege.
Not that they’re all saved, but they’re brought into that place of privilege where they now have an opportunity for salvation based again on the promises made to Abraham.
Oh it’s fascinating when you study this, and the whole human race for the past 1900 + years as Gentiles have been resting and feeding on the fatness of the root of Abraham while Israel has been out there in a dispersion. But the day is coming and I think it is getting close, where God is going to once again going to shut the door on the Gentile world. He’ll break them off from that grafted position, and then Israel will be grafted back in again as Paul says in Romans chapter 11.
At that time the Gentiles will find themselves again where they were before – without a Messiah and outside the covenant promises. Well I hope you have seen the promises of I will, I will, I will and all the way up through Abraham’s life God is constantly promising. Now remember some of these things took years before they were consummated. This is why the poor man grew impatient and finally succumbed to the temptation to use a slave girl. For after all he couldn’t have a nation of people if he didn’t have even one son. So that gave rise to the birth of Ishmael which we will be looking at in a future lesson. Now before we leave the Book of Genesis come on over to chapter 21:12 We’re going to follow this “seed” concept for a little bit. In this chapter Ishmael has reached the age of tormenting little Isaac. Isaac is now about 5 years old, and so Ishmael and his mother Hagar are sent out into the wilderness at God’s instructions.
“And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, (in other words because he had sent Ishmael out into the desert) and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Now the word “seed” in the Hebrew is like “sheep” in the English. And that is if you’ve got one over there it’s a sheep. If you’ve got 5 or 6 down here it’s still sheep. Well it’s the same way with seed in the Hebrew. So in the Scripture the only way you can tell the difference is by watching the context. Is the Scripture speaking of the many which would be the offspring of Israel, the tribes, and multitudes of people or is it speaking of the singular the “Seed” which was Christ! Now this one in verse 12 is singular. The Lord is not speaking of the millions of people from the 12 tribes. Look at the last part of verse 12 again.
“…hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy (singular) seed be called.”
So we have this constant promise according to the Abrahamic Covenant that through Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, and the 12 sons would come the Messiah. Not through Ishmael, but through Isaac. Now you see the Muslim world argues with that because they claim that the Old Testament has been polluted, and distorted, and that in reality Ishmael was the promised seed. Well you see that’s how it’s so easy to confuse people and lead them astray. But our Bible being the Word of God that it is, we can rest on it that it was through Isaac that the “Seed” singular would come. Now let’s come back to Galatians chapter 3 again and pick it up in verse 16 again.
“Now to Abraham and his seed (the singular seed, Isaac, and not the whole nation in this setting) were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.”
And so this why everyone of us, regardless where we are in human history, we are all benefiting from this Abrahamic Covenant through whom all the world would be blessed. Now let’s move on to verse 17. Now Paul says –
“And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in (in the person of) Christ, (and now he’s talking about) the law, (the Law was a covenant just like the Abrahamic or Davidic Covenant were covenants. They were agreements that God made and which He could never change or withdraw. It’s settled forever, because God made it, and this Law covenant) which was four hundred and thirty years after,…”
430 years later Israel is going to come out of Egypt and receive the Law at Sinai. Now we’ve got to stop here for a moment because here is one of the places in Scripture where the scoffer likes to scoff and say, “see the Scripture contradicts itself.” Here it says 430 years. In another place it says 400 years. Well what’s going on? Well believe me there’s no contradiction at all. Again let’s come back to Genesis chapter 15, and set the record straight. Here God is speaking before Abraham’s name was changed.
“And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed (now here seed is plural, God is talking about the whole Nation of Israel.) shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, (speaking of Egypt) and shall serve them; (in slavery) and they shall afflict them four hundred years:”
Now let’s come over to Exodus chapter 12:40.
“Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 41. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. 42a It is a night to be much observed…”
Now that was the night of the Passover when Israel begins to exodus out of Egypt. Now I would like for you come to the Book of Acts chapter 7. Stephen in this chapter is rehearsing the whole history of Israel. Just like Paul does a little later on in the Book of Acts.
“And God spake on this wise, That his seed (the offspring of Abraham) should sojourn in a strange land; and they should bring into bondage, and entreat them evil (not 430 but now it’s) four hundred years.”
Is that a contradiction? No! It’s just simply a benchmark from where they measured time. Remember at Ur when God first spoke to Abraham it would seem that Abraham was at that time 50 years old. So he leaves Ur and migrates all the way up the Euphrates valley to this place in Syria call Haran. And there they stop until his father Terah dies. Then after Terah dies we find Abraham and Lot, and Sarah are now ready to move down into the land of Canaan. Now we can pretty much figure out from Scripture that when he left Haran he was 75 years old. So 25 years after the promise God made to Abraham, he still doesn’t have a child. Now when you start going back on the chronology of all of this the 430 years begins from the time he left Haran and came down to Canaan until Moses led the children out in what we call the Exodus for a total of 430 years. Now the 400 years that Stephen spoke of is from the time that Isaac was 5 years old and Ishmael is sent out into the wilderness till Moses leads the people out. So it’s just a matter of a benchmark of time. It depends on from what event you began counting. Are you going to start from Haran or when Isaac is 5 years old?
LESSON THREE * PART II
THE TRUE INTENT OF THE LAW IS CONDEMNATION
Now as we begin this lesson we’re just going to jump right in at Galatians chapter 3 and let’s begin with verse 18.
“For if the inheritance be of the law, (that is the Mosaic Law and system. If everything that is of our spiritual inheritance is concerned with the Law) it is no more of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”
But as we saw in the last lesson what did God do with Abraham? Promise, Promise, and Promise. I will, I will, I will, and the Law couldn’t fulfill any of those promises, because all the Law could do was condemn Israel. It didn’t fulfill any promises per say, and so if the Law was going to do the job then it was no more a promise. But God gave the covenant based on promise. In other words when God said it, that settles it, and that’s where we come in by faith. Now verse 19 is a verse I really want to get into, and spend some time on.
“Wherefore then serveth the law? (if it’s part of the promises, and it’s certainly not part of Grace, well what was the purpose of it? Why did God ever give the Law to Israel in the first place? Because God doesn’t do anything without a valid reason, and He did give the Law for a reason) It was added because of transgressions,…”
How many years of human history had transpired from the time of Adam until Moses received the Law? 2500 years mankind went without a written Law till God gave the Law to Moses. So the Law was added 2500 years after the human race had begun because of transgressions, sins. Let’s go back and look how sin ran rampant during that time in Genesis chapter 6. Up until the Law was given at Mount Sinai there was no system of worship. There was no organized religion as we call it. There was no written, “Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not.” And so what happened? Well here we have a good example of that in this chapter.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Can you imagine that? We’re getting close to that time again, but not that close yet. But evil things were all that people could think about. Things that were evil and wicked, and dishonest, always trying to cook up a crooked deal. You know I get a kick out of our law-making process. Just as soon as our government passes a law, being a democracy that we are in the coffee shops all over America writing on napkins, what are people doing? Figuring out a way to beat the law. Have you ever thought of that? Especially in programs. I’m a farmer and rancher from way back and I guess the farm programs had their place, but, shoot, I can remember they could come out with a new farm plan and those farmers, myself included would sit and try to figure how to beat the government every time.
Well it isn’t just farmer, it’s everybody. They’re always out to beat the system. Well as soon as enough of them get away with it what does the legislature have to do? Pass another law, and it just keeps on feeding on it. See? That’s the human race. Just as soon as people figure out how to beat the system the system has to correct it. Well now we’re up against it with high tech stuff. In fact I was just reading again yesterday, it’s getting easier and easier for people to rob the system through the computers. But back here in Genesis chapter 6 all people could think about was how to be wicked in some other way. Now verse 11.
“The earth also was corrupt before God,…”
I don’t know if you think of the same things when you see the word corrupt that I do, but I imagine that you do. The first thing I think of is an old rotten potato. Now there’s nothing that smells or looks worse than a rotten potato. In corruption I think of something that is vile, and something that you don’t even want to touch, something that smells to high heaven. The whole world was corrupt.
“…and the earth was filled with violence.” Corruption and violence went hand and hand, and it’s just different today. In fact what did the Lord say in Matthew 24?
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Well we’re getting close and this is a good description of the earth today. Now come on down to verse 12 of Genesis chapter 6. And you know I’m always saying that when the Scripture repeats something 3 or 4 times in a matter of a few verses, it’s there for emphasis, it’s getting our attention. And here it come again:
“And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me: for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”
Was there anything to deter violence, and corruption? No. There was no law, there was no system of worship, there was no ritual that men could follow, and this is the end result. Even after the destruction of the flood everything starts cranking up again and it’s heading right down that same old road, until they get to Babel, and then they’re ready to embrace every evil, pagan concept of worship that you can imagine. All the Tower of Babel was a place of worship, and it was pagan, and it was ungodly. Out of it came all the immorality of the mythologies, and gods and goddess and you name it, and once again God just saw it all, and said, “Now this time I’m not going to destroy them, but I am going to do something different.
I’m going to find one man, and He found him. I think Abram was the only man that God could use. God spoke to him and gave him these promises. Then after Abram received all the promises, and I wills of chapter 12, 15, and 17 and so forth, now it comes to the place where God says, “Man has to understand what’s right and what’s wrong, because he doesn’t seem to get it.” So He gave the Law, and He laid it down with authority. “Thou shalt have no other God’s before me.” Well right off the bat what did that fly in the face of? Everything that had taken place at Babel, because Babel was the beginning of all the false worships. Then God comes on through with the rest of the Ten Commandments. Now remember, and very few people understand this. Percentage wise it would be way down but what does Romans 3:19-20 say? These are verses that very few people even know that are in their Bible, and yet they say so much. Remember what we just saw in Galatians. That the Law was added because of sin. It did not take sin away from people, but rather it merely showed them their sins.
“Now we know (full knowledge) that what things soever the law saith, (the Ten Commandments in particular) it saith to them who are under the law; (who was that? Israel. Only Israel was put under the Law, but the power of it, the convicting part of it didn’t stop with Israel, but rather went out to the whole human race.) that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
Now you see that’s exactly the opposite of what most people think is the function of the Law. Most people think that the Law was given to help people do right, do the best they could, and God would somehow wink and say, “Yeah you didn’t do too bad, I’ll let you in.” But you see that wasn’t the purpose of the Law. The Law was given for only one purpose and that was to show mankind how far they fell short of God’s standard. No man has ever lived that could keep the Ten Commandments, because it’s impossible. So it was given for that purpose alone. Now verse 20 makes it so clear. Now since all the world has become guilty by the giving of the Law:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Oh if my classes don’t learn anything else in 20 years I’ve been teaching, I would hope that they learn that. That the Law can do nothing but convict a person of their utter sinfulness. So that’s why it was added. Up until this time of the flood God couldn’t impute all that wackiness. He couldn’t put to those people’s account because they weren’t breaking any written laws. Now that’s hard for us to comprehend and I know it is. We say, “Now wait a minute when they come up before the Great White Throne the books aren’t going to be open for them like they will be for every one since the Law?” No not in the same way.
Now they’re going to come before the Great White Throne, and they’re going to be consigned to their place of judgment but God is not going to be able to say, “Look at all the Law-breaking that you did.” Because they had no law, and you can’t break a law if there isn’t one. But as soon as the Law was given then the whole world became responsible. Now there is no question, adultery is sin. Yes, thievery is sin, yes coveting is sin, and all the way down through the Ten Commandments. So now all the world has been made guilty because now there is no excuse, ” Well I didn’t know there was a law against that. Now they know and that’s what it means. Now back to the Book of Galatians. Verse 19 again –
“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed (singular Seed the Christ) should come to whom the promise was made: and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”
In other words this whole covenant promise made to Abraham was spiritual. It never left the hands of spiritual beings, and as it was given to Abraham and that’s all it was. It was something that was heavenly in it’s origin, and Abraham merely became the subject of it, but Abraham couldn’t change it, and even though his offspring would break it, and break it and break it, God kept it settled, and He’s never going to go back on it. And that’s why we can say with all the confidence in the world He’s not through with Israel. God hasn’t finished His covenant promises with them. If Israel would be like most of Christendom says tonight that they’re off the board and God is all through with them, then all of the covenants fall apart. Do you understand that? And the covenant won’t fall apart because God is not through with Israel, and He is still going to finish and fulfill those covenant promises. Now verse 20 almost says what I’ve been saying along.
“Now a mediator (a go between) is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”
Well what does that mean? If you’re going to have a controversy between two people and you bring in a mediator, and I guess we’re more aware of that through labor unions and management, and they can’t get together on a contract. So what do they bring in? A mediator. And the purpose of the mediator is to make a meeting of the minds on each side. But God is not going to use a three person mediation. God is a mediator, and the instigator, and the fulfiller, and He alone is involved. Even man can’t touch those covenants, it’s impossible. So that’s what it means then when it says God is ONE. I guess I could put it this way. He is the One and Only involved in a covenant. He gives it, He carries it out, and He’s going to complete it, and man has nothing to do with it. OK now verse 21. And this is a good question isn’t it?
“Is the law then against the promises of God?…”
If all these promises to Abraham were given without the Law, and they were remember. That was about 500 years before the Law was given to Moses. Does the Law come in and cancel the promises? Why no, it enhances them. Now finish the verse.
“God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”
Do you see what that says? That if it was possible for the Law to give eternal life, and the potential was there. Because you see all the demands of the Holy God was in those Ten Commandments. What I’m standing here telling you is, that if a human being could have kept all Ten, would God have had to have let that person into His heaven? Why sure He would, because the Law was perfect, and anybody that could fulfill it he would have met God’s demands, and then God could say, “Come on into my heaven.” But what’s the problem with that? No person can do it. Nobody can keep those Ten Commandments other than Christ Himself. So the Law reverts right back to what we said it was before. It does nothing but condemn the whole human race. Day in and day out the Law is condemning good people and bad. See that’s what so sad, there are a lot of good upright nice people who for the most part keep the Law. They wouldn’t dream of robbing a bank, or committing adultery. They wouldn’t dream of gossiping but somewhere along the line they’re going to fail. And if you fail one Law, then James says, you’ve broken them all. And so we’re Law breakers, we don’t stand a chance, by Law keeping. All right now verse 22. Here is the great answer to the even greater dilemma.
“But the scripture (the Word of God) hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Now let’s come back to Romans chapter 3 and see how this fits so beautifully again with Galatians.
“What then? are we (Jews, Paul speaks of) better than they? (Gentiles) No, in no wise;…”
Now what did that do the Jewish community? Oh it just sent them into orbit. How dare that man tell people that Gentiles are just as good as Jews. Because you see for almost 2000 years the Jews had heard that they’re special. You’re my covenant people, you have been set apart from the rest of the world. You’re not to intermarry with them. You are to stay within your tribe. And now have this little Jew come out and say, “That there is no difference.” No wonder the Jews plagued the Apostle Paul every step of his way. It just infuriated them that this man was attempting to take the salvation of Israel’s God to those pagan Gentiles. Who ever heard of such a thing. And so what they did was that they followed him from city to city and in anyway they could they tried to defeat him and his purpose. They plagued him until his death. Well this was the crowning reason. Now reading on in verse 22.
Romans 3:9b – 10
“… for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:”
What do you think the Pharisees thought when they heard that? Oh they could have put him to death, because they were righteous in their own eyes. And here the apostle is making it so plain that no one is righteous, not even the most religious Jew. And of course the crowing verse of all this is verse 23. This is a verse that I’ve used over and over. This is a verse that every person who wants salvation has to start at. My pastor last Sunday put it this way “You can never be saved until you realize how lost you are!” Now you can’t put it any better than that, because that’s what Romans 3:23 says.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Remember when we were back in the Four Gospels and Jesus gave the analogy of the 99 sheep, and I pointed out that everybody thinks they were safe in the fold according to the old hymn. But the 99 weren’t safe in the fold they were out on the desert without a shepherd, and you put sheep out on the desert as dumb as they are, and what are they? They’re lost in 30 minutes, and they didn’t know it. But that one little lamb that was caught in a crevice someplace bleeding his little throat dry, what did that little fellow know? That he was lost, and in trouble. So which one did the Lord save? The 99 or the one? The one. Why? Because it knew it was lost, and that was the picture. Well it’s the same way today. Multitudes are sitting in their Churches Sunday after Sunday and they think they’re all right, but they will never be saved until they realize how lost they are. Like that little lamb in a crevice that had no hope unless the shepherd comes and find him. Well it’s the same way with lost people today they have to understand that they’re hopelessly lost, and then God can save them and not until. Now back to Galatians once more and looking at verse 22 again.
“But the Scripture (as we’ve just shown you) hath concluded all under sin, (Jew and Gentile) that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ (in other words by believing in His death, shed blood, His burial and His resurrection that those who would believe that for salvation) might be given to them that believe.” What? Eternal Life!
Remember it doesn’t do any good to believe the Gospel until you realize that you’re lost. See this is where it’s so hard, especially for good people. They’ll always say, “Well I’m not that bad, In fact I’m pretty good.” Yeah they are, they’re probably better than I am, but until they realize how lost they are spiritually, until they realize what the Scripture concludes, God can’t save them. They are just without hope, and one day they’re going to wake up and it’s going to be too late. But always remember God has forgiven every sin. He has done everything that needs to be done.
LESSON THREE * PART III
THE TRUE INTENT OF THE LAW IS CONDEMNATION
In this lesson we will continue in Galatians chapter 3, and hopefully compare Scripture with Scripture. Let’s pick up with verse 23.
“But before faith came, we were kept under the law,…” Here we’ve got to explain something. You’ve heard me teach it and you’ve heard others teach that all the way back to Adam the criteria for salvation was faith. “Taking God at His word.” Faith began just as soon as God dealt with Adam and Eve after they had sinned. Adam had to take God at His word. So what does this verse mean?
“But before faith came…” Well without doing any violence to Scripture, and I hope it can enhance it, after the word faith I like to put “way.” I think that will help.
“….before the faith way came we were kept under the law…”
What do we mean by that? I’m always teaching that we’re not under Law, but rather under Grace, and Grace says, “Keep the Law?” No Grace says, “By Faith, and Faith alone + nothing!” So I think that clarifies it, at least hopefully. Before the faith way, before men and women could be saved by faith + nothing, without the Law, but before that came in – and here Paul goes back and speaks as a Jew –
“…we were kept under the law…”
Now don’t brush off the meaning of that statement, “under the Law.” I don’t know if any of you have ever been under a heavy burden, but I remember when Iris and I were in Haiti a year or two ago we were just amazed at their women. They would unload a ship that had rice on board, and would lay a 100 pound sack on the shoulders of some of these poor little women that you would swear must be 90 years old. They would just take right off with that huge bag of rice. Now most of us would have no idea of what that would feel like, but can you imagine it? That was a burden. Now we speak of the donkeys and oxen of the ancient times as beasts of burden, because they were loaded down with their commodity. And again most of us don’t know what it’s like to carry a burden. It’s just something that weighs you down, but listen that’s what the Law was. It was a burden that just rested on the shoulders of the people that were under it, and they knew nothing of liberty and they knew nothing except constant fear of the Law because of the severity of the penalty for breaking it. So before the faith way Israel was under the burden of the Law constantly 24 hours a day. And they were –
“…shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.”
One of my favorite statements concerning Scripture and that is “it’s a progressive revelation.” God didn’t tell everything up in front, and so when He gave the Law did He tell Israel and the rest of the world that one day Christ would die and all of a sudden the word, Grace? No He didn’t. So here they went 1500 years under the Law and then progressively God reveals these tremendous doctrines of Grace through the apostle Paul. So paraphrasing verse 23 it says, “So before the faith way came we were kept under the Law shut up during this time with no alternative way out, until the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” There is your releasing then of something that had been kept secret. I’m always referring to Paul’s use of that word, so come back with me to the Ephesians chapter 3 and let’s look at verse 9. This verse says it all in a nut shell.
“And to make (Paul through his apostleship) all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, (secret) which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”
Now there is the reason it had to be revealed. It had been kept secret all the way up through the Old Testament, there was not a word about God going to Gentiles with the Gospel of the Grace of God. As we saw a recently in Galatians 3:14 that salvation came to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, but in the Old Testament it was supposed to have been through the Nation of Israel. Israel was to be the light to the Gentiles, Israel was to be the vehicle, but they dropped the ball, they rejected it in unbelief. And then what did God do? He opened up the windows heaven of Grace through the apostle Paul, and revealed to that man these secrets that had been kept in the mind of God all the way up through the Old Testament economy. We are now in a time that these things are now clearly revealed Looking at the fact that Grace has now revealed – another verse comes to mind in Romans chapter 15, verse 4, all of these verses are so appropriate. This is exactly where we’re coming from.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime (the Old Testament) were written for our (salvation?, No. Our doctrine? No. For our what?) learning,…”
I’m simplistic, and I know I am. But I was trying to explain to someone the other day and said, “Now look, would you expect one of your kids to suddenly jump in a university calculus class, and they’d never had arithmetic in school?” Why that’s ridiculous isn’t it. Who would ever expect somebody to do calculus if they had never even learned the combination back in grade school? Well this is exactly what we do with people. We take them right into the further revelations of Scripture without any concept of what went before. And then we wonder why they have no root, why their faith does not hold, it’s because they don’t understand anything. Ignorance, and we’re all guilty of it. We expect people to all of a sudden latch on to these things without any background. But look what Paul says in this verse – All these things in the Old Testament and you can also include the Four Gospels now as far as I’m concerned, because they’re all hooked to the Old Testament economy.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we (as believers now) through patience…”
Always remember that the learning process is a slow process. We have to have time and repetition, and then we move on and get a little deeper, and then repetitious some more. Well that’s the way we’ve got to come through the Scriptures, and all of these things have been building, and building so that we, through comfort of the scriptures, might have hope. Now back to Galatians chapter 3.
“Wherefore (because of how God is dealing on a progressive revelation.. Wherefore) the law…”
Now you have to be careful when you read your Bible. Sometimes the Law speaks of that whole system of Judaism. The ceremonial law, the civil law, and the moral law. Sometime that’s all lopped into one word. But here I think the apostle Paul is making reference only to the moral Law, the Ten Commandments.
“Wherefore the law (the Ten Commandments) was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ,…”
Now what does that mean? Well for 1500 years Israel was under the Law, and it was a system, by which God was training them and teaching them, and hopefully bringing them to the place where they would be mature understanding believing Jews. That’s what God was hoping for. Now we know it didn’t happen but that was what He was striving for. So the purpose of the Law was to prepare the Nation of Israel for a great opportunity. To be vessels, to be instruments that He could use to bring in the masses of the Gentile world. So even for themselves a nation –
“…the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified (now not by Law keeping but) by faith.”
Now you want to remember that all the way from Exodus chapter 20 Israel was under the Law, and of course it was still the operation of faith that brought an individual Jew into a right relationship with God, but it was Law and faith, There was no such thing as faith + nothing, as I teach, until the Law was totally, totally satisfied at the Cross. And when Christ died He satisfied the demands of the Law in my place and yours. So Israel for 1500 years was under this Law to bring them to the place where they could have believed who Jesus was. Because all through the Old Testament the prophecies were looking forward to the coming of their Redeemer, King, and Messiah. They should have known who He was. They could have known who He was. The Old Testament was full of it, but why didn’t they? They were steeped in, what? UNBELIEF!
Why didn’t Israel go in and take the promised land at Kadesh Barnea? God told them that He’d “drive the Canaanites out, everything is ready for you. You can go in and take their vineyards, their fields, their harvest, their everything, it’s all waiting for you. I’ll use hornets to drive them out ” God had a system that He was literally going to remove the Canaanite population but leave everything else in tact. All they had to do was just walk in and take over with God’s blessing. Why didn’t they do it? Unbelief. Their unbelief was just simply awful.. God said, “There it is, take it!” And the first step of unbelief was, “well at least let us send in spies.” So God condescended, but that wasn’t His first intent. That was never His first instruction to send spies in first. God said, “Go in and take it!” But in their unbelief they wanted to send in the 12 spies one from each tribe, and if the spies would have come back and said, Yeah we can take it, and had went on in, God would have let them go on in. That’s what He had intended, it was a valid offer to the Nation of Israel. But why didn’t they? Unbelief! The horror of unbelief.
Listen every individual that will one day end up in the Lake of Fire is going to be there for one reason, and that is “UNBELIEF!” The determination of their punishment will be according to the works they have done in this life of course. But the cause of them being there in the first place is one word, Unbelief. As I mentioned to our Saturday night class, why is our own beloved nation almost like a flood turning their back upon this Word? Unbelief. The nation refuses to take this as the Word of God, and we’re suffering for it. Now coming back to our text in Galatians chapter 3. But nevertheless the Law was given that it might bring Israel to the place where they could recognize their Messiah and believe in Him, and trust Him, and they didn’t because of unbelief.
Paul makes a big deal of it, especially in Hebrews chapter 3. He says over and over, “why didn’t they get into the promised land? Why was God so provoked with that generation? And I always point back to Mount Sinai and they had the golden calf, and their gross immorality that they were involved in, but that isn’t what God held against them. But rather God held their unbelief against them. You can go all the way back through Scripture and see these unbeliefs. Why was Esau such a grief of mind to his parents? His unbelief. Because in his unbelief what did he do? He went and married Canaanite women. Ishmael is another example. What was one of the difference between Saul and David? Why didn’t Saul become the great king that David did? Man he was a lot bigger man, he should have been able to kill a hundred men to David’s one, but his problem was also unbelief. Saul even went so far as to go to the witch of Endor to get some information. Unbelief! And you see this all the way up through Scripture, how that mankind refused to believe the Word of God. Now let’s move on with verse 25.
“But after that faith (way) is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
Again I’m going to ask you mentally put the word “way” after faith. Being saved by faith + nothing in what God has said. Once we come to that place in God’s economy in this progressive revelation now then we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Let me explain schoolmaster here. The schoolmaster that Paul refers to is not in the Jewish economy, but rather the Greek and the Roman. And what the Greeks and Romans would do is hire a slave or a servant, and that servant was under the demands of the father to raise that child and tutor that child so that at some designated point out in the future, somewhere probably between 16 – 21 years old the tutor would be able to say, “Master this young man is now ready to come in and work right with you in your business. He’s got everything that he needs to know. He’s been well-tutored, and is prepared.”
Now when that father has agreed that indeed the son is ready then an adoption was instituted. It was not like we think of an adoption of taking a child from some other union, and legally bring him into another. That’s not what the Scripture word adoption meant. It meant to be placed as a full operation son of the father on equal basis with him in responsibility, and function and every other way. Now that’s their term schoolmaster that Paul is using here. This servant who had been hired to bring this child to the place where he could step right in and work with the father. All right do you get the picture? That’s what the Law was intended to do for Israel.
It was to prepare them and bring them to place that when the Messiah would come they were ready. And in faith they could have said, “Yes,” and a few of them did, but for the most part the nation rejected their Messiah. But they had that opportunity to believe everything that Christ was, had they been ready for it, but they were not. And so now it comes into our Gentile economy for you and I and it’s still a valid concept, that the law was given to prepare everything for the coming of the Messiah, that He could fulfill the work of Cross. Yes He had to die, and He had to be buried, He had to be raised from the dead for our justification, but now you see the Law has been satisfied, it has been completely paid in full through the work of the Cross, and we now enter in by faith + nothing. The Law has done it’s job, it’s done, it’s been crucified, and off the scene. Isn’t that beautiful? And all in the pre-determinate counsel of God.
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
So we’re children of God not by keeping the Law, but by faith in Christ Jesus. Oh listen, how many millions of so called Christians are flying in the face of this verse and saying, “Yeah but I’ve got to do this or that. I think I also need to do this.” But you see this verse like all Paul’s verses include none of that. We become the children of God by one thing and one alone, and that is by “Faith in the finished work of Christ.” And that of course is what Paul is implying here. Paul never speaks that just believing that He was the Messiah. That was back in Peter’s gospel and his domain, that was before these revelations were given to Paul. When Paul speaks by faith in Christ he’s talking about faith in that finished work of redemption. “The fact that Christ died for you, was buried and rose from the grave for you, and believing that for salvation.”
That reminds me of another phone call I had the other day. The lady was all shook up and said, “Les it’s getting to the place where I just see demons in my home and in my family, and I’m up against the forces of Satan, and it’s just about to drive me up the wall.” I said, “Lady do you know why? You have got your mind in the wrong places. You put your mind on the power of the resurrection and all of this demonic stuff will flee from you. Get your mind on the power of His resurrection and forget about the demons.” Beloved do you know that Paul never once as far as I can know even uses that word. If he does I want you to show me. He never once used the word demons as being active in the life of a believer, but rather all he can talk about is that wonderful power of His resurrection.
LESSON THREE * PART IV
THE TRUE INTENT OF THE LAW IS CONDEMNATION
Now this lesson will finish book 33, and I find that unreal. That means we’ve come to Tulsa 99 times to do these tapings of “Through The Bible.” Before we begin, let’s review where we ended our last lesson. Paul is writing to Gentile believers for the most part and says –
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
And as I mentioned in the last lesson when Paul speaks of faith in Christ he’s speaking of that whole finished work of redemption, which is faith in His death, His shed blood, His burial, and His resurrection. Paul stresses constantly the power of His resurrection.
“For as many of you as have been baptized into (your denomination?) Christ have put on Christ.”
Well that’s the way most people read it, isn’t it? Sure. You ask the average individual, how did you become a member of your Church? Well I was baptized into it! But you see that’s not what the Scriptures says. Here it says, “that you have been baptized into Christ.” Now there’s not a drop of water in this verse. It’s as dry as a bone, and to follow up with another verse come back to Romans chapter 6, and you have the same thing. I’ll never forget the first time I heard a guest preacher in one of our previous churches where we were members, and this preacher preached from Romans 6 and when he said there wasn’t a drop of water in this 3d verse we thought he was way out in left field. And at that time I was probably one of the strongest, but oh I can see now that he was 100 % right because there is no water in Romans chapter 6. Here it’s basically the same thing as what Paul is saying in Galatians chapter 3.
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into (not into a denomination or church, but rather into) Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”
If you’ve been placed in Christ then before you can get there you had to be identified with His death. And how have I always put it? When Christ died, God saw every one of us on the Cross in the Person of Christ, because He died in our place, and this is what God saw. He saw you and I crucified and that’s what He means in Galatians 2 when Paul says –
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;…”
Now just as surely as God saw us on the Cross in the person of Christ, He also saw us in the tomb. So here we are in the tomb, we’re buried with Him. Not by water but by virtue of God determining that now since He’s paid the sin debt for all that believe, and appropriate it then yes God said, “You’re dead, you’re crucified, I saw you in Christ, I saw you buried with Him in his death, in His tomb, and so also we’ve been resurrected with Him to a new life. We are totally different people as a result of this power of His resurrection, and so it’s a God thing. God in His Omnipotence, in His power, in His Omniscience, in His ability to work in the area of the invisible, He has placed us in all of these places.
In the area of the invisible He has seen everyone of us crucified with Christ. In the area of the invisible He saw everyone of us in the tomb with Christ, and in the area of the invisible He has resurrected everyone of us to a new life. How often haven’t I made this illustration? If you were to go down to the morgue and accompany a pathologist in a autopsy, would you ever see the soul of a person? Would you ever see their spirit? Of course not, it’s invisible. Does that mean that it’s not for real? You better believe it’s for real or you wouldn’t be here. But the soul and spirit are invisible, and that’s where God works, in the area of the invisible. He works in the area of our soul and spirit, and human hands can’t touch that. You can baptize this old body a hundred times and it’s not going to change the soul and spirit. Remember this is only an outer tabernacle, but only God can work in the area of the soul and spirit. I wish people could understand that. Looking at the verse again.
“Know ye not, that so many of us is were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized (or identified) into his death?” And then to verse 8:
“Now if we be dead with Christ, (in other words if we’ve been crucified with Him, if we’ve been buried with Him then) we believe that we shall also live with him:”
How are we going to live with Him? By His resurrection power. Do you see that? We’ve been raised in resurrection power. We’re a new person, we’re a whole new being, and now we are placed into Christ. How? Now on your way back to Galatians stop at I Corinthians chapter 12. These are verses that we use over and over because they are so foundational and so simplistic. You don’t have to have a seminary degree to understand some of these verses. They’re so simple but most people don’t understand them. Also keep in mind that Paul tells us in Ephesians now in this age of Grace that there is only one baptism and then I Corinthians tells us what baptism that is.
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5. One Lord, one faith, one baptism,”
I Corinthians 12:13
“For by one Spirit (the Holy Spirit, it’s capitalized) are we all (believers of Paul’s Gospel for salvation) baptized into one body, (the Body of Christ. Now here’s another verse that is as dry as a bone. There is not a drop of water in this verse. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit working in the area of the invisible placing you and I now in that new resurrected personage into that relationship with Christ.) whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and we have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
There is no color line in the Body of Christ, we believers are all baptized into that Body of Christ, and we are all one in Christ. We just came back from a cruise on the Mediterranean, and we had 62 of us from various parts of the country. But you know what? In just a matter of 24 hours we had all come together as though we had known each other all our lives. Why? We were all believers. We were all members of the Body of Christ, and you’re not strangers long when you’re believers, and it’s so beautiful. Now next week we’ll be going back to Israel, and we’ll have a different group and I know the same thing is going to happen again. That whole group of people is going to come together and by the time we come back it’s going to be as close knit as family. It just shows the fact that when you become members of the Body of Christ there is that unity that nothing can take apart.
Now this is what comes alone from the writings of the apostle Paul. This isn’t taught in the Four Gospels, this isn’t taught in the Old Testament, but Paul is constantly at it. That when we have faith in the Gospel then we become a member of the Body of Christ. Now back to Galatians chapter 3. Now verse 27 is too good a verse to just casually go over, I’m going to spend some time in it. So if you have been baptized by that Holy Spirit’s work into the Body of Christ, then something else has happened. What? You have put on Christ.
“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Now I know that maybe some of these things take more faith than the average believer has. In fact let’s come back to Romans again for a moment. You see Romans is the first Book of doctrine that Paul writes in our New Testament, and in his writings is where we must spend most of our time. So turn with me to Romans chapter 3. In one of our lessons earlier today we looked at verses 10 and 20 so now we’ll look at 21 and 22. Remember up in verse 20 it says-
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.. (now read on in verse 21 and you will see the flip side) “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, (or brought into the spot light) being witnessed by the law and the prophets:”
Remember what I told you in the last lesson that the Bible is a progressive revelation, and here is a good indication of that. Here we are today in Grace, there is no Law, nothing that is part of our salvation comes from the Law, but what does Grace rest on? The Law and the prophets, because they came before. See it’s a progressive thing. Here comes the Law of Moses, and then here comes the prophets with all of their teachings concerning the coming of the King and the kingdom. Then we’ve seen all that just fall through the cracks as we come up through the Old Testament, the Four Gospels and the Book of Acts, and so temporarily during these past 1900 + years God has turned to the Gentiles and calls out the Church. Of course we build on everything that’s gone before.
“Even the righteousness of God (not our righteousness. Ours in His sight is nothing but filthy rags, but God’s righteousness) which is by faith (or the faithfulness) of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”
Now I like to look at that word “upon” as being draped with some blanket or cloak that just totally covers me up, and it’s the righteousness of God. Which means that when God looks at me and you, what does He see? He sees that outer covering, and who is that outer covering? It’s Christ! That’s what it means to “put on Christ” that whatever God sees, it’s not me or you but rather Christ. How does that happen? It’s a work of God, I can’t do it.
I explained to one of my classes this past week, Can we crucify ourselves? It’s impossible. There is no way a person can crucify themselves. You might be able to have guts enough to put the first nail in your hand, but how are you going to put in the second one? Hey you have no way of doing it, and so it becomes utterly impossible. And so we have to realize it’s the same way in salvation. I can’t do anything, God has to do it all, because this is being done in the area of the invisible – in the soul and spirit. Now let’s come back again to the Book of Galatians. So we –
“…have put on Christ.”
And according to Romans that becomes His righteousness. We are clothed with His righteousness and that brings to mind another verse we need to look at the Book of Isaiah chapter 61.
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; (now this is a man under the Law remember.) for he (God) hath clothed me with the garments of salvation he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, (do you see how that fits with Romans) as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”
That’s the outward view now that God sees in that believer. Adorned, covered with righteousness, but inside it’s still old me for the most part, and it’s still old you. But on the other hand we are new creations in Christ because of all that has happened when we believe. Not when we go through a bunch of rituals that will never save anybody. Now come back to Galatians chapter 3 again. Now let’s look at verse 29.
“And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, (now that doesn’t make you a Jew, be careful thinking that. A lot of people teach that when you become a Christian you become a Jew. No, no, but we become the offspring of Abraham in the realm of the spirit. And so if you’re Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed, and if you are of the seed of Abraham in the realm of the spirit then you become) and heirs according to the promise.”
Now think about that. If you’re Christ’s you are Abraham’s seed. Now again we’ve got to go back to Genesis chapter 12. You’ve go to see these things before they really began to make sense. In chapter 12 we will just look at the 3d verse and remember it’s part of the Abrahamic Covenant.
“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee (Abraham) shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Since all families of the earth are blessed then God here is looking way beyond all the promises given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God is looking beyond the Law, He’s looking at this age of Grace we’re in tonight when now His blessing of salvation goes to the whole human race. And it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, black or white, it makes no difference. As soon as we become a believer of the Gospel then we are one in Christ, and we’re in the Body, and then we become heirs of the promises made to Abraham. Because you see God’s promise went way beyond the Nation of Israel, and so that’s where we come in then, as I showed you earlier.
As Abraham was saved by faith + nothing we are also. Did Abraham bring sacrifices for salvation? No. Was Abraham circumcised before he had salvation? No. Was Abraham under the Law? No. So what did Abraham do to merit salvation ? He just simply believed God. So he becomes then the first to really be saved by faith + nothing! Immediately after that sacrifices are coming in again. So now then here we are 2000 years BC and Abraham saved by faith + nothing. And here we are over on this side in our age of Grace, the 1900 + years also saved by faith + nothing. So what does that do? It just simply ties us to the man Abraham and that’s where we’re connected. not through earthly progeny, but only in the realm of the spiritually do we become the children of Abraham. Is that clear?
I hope I can make that plain, that here is where the connection comes in as God made the promises to Abraham 2000 years BC. And yes out of him would come the Nation of Israel. Yes through the Nation of Israel would come the Law, and yes Israel would be the vehicle that crucified the Redeemer, and made our salvation possible. But then Israel slips off the scene and the Gentiles come in and are dwelling on the root and the fatness of Abraham because all of those promises that were made to Abraham have become ours. So we have entered in to the whole concept of being joint heirs according to the promises. Now the subject of joint heirs should bring us back to Romans chapter 8.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons (or the born ones) of God. 15. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;…”
What did I tell you about the Law? It was a burden. It was severe. And don’t tell me that they didn’t live in a segment of fear. My goodness I bet you more than once they slipped out on a Saturday afternoon and tried to pick up a few sticks for fire, and they were scared to death that someone would see them and they would be stoned to death. But you see we’re not in that situation. Paul says we’re not under that sprit of bondage fear-
“… but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
Let me go back again to our last lesson. Remember when that tutor had that adult son ready to step in and be co-equal with the father? Did the son have to come in like a little puppy dog afraid of old dad? No. He’s prepared; he’s ready to come right in and work along side the father. Why? Because he’s been well-tutored, he’s ready for it. Well that’s where we are. By virtue of the work of the Cross, now God can place us as a full completely tutored son of God and we can come along side with Him. Now that’s our position. Someday if the Lord tarries we’ll be going into the Book of Ephesians, and that is a Book of positions. Where are we as believers? We’re in that exalted position, even though we’re here on the earth and still under the curse, we’re up against all the things that the rest of the world is, and a lot of us are kind of blind to the fact, but in faith we can see that we’re all ready in that exalted position in the heavenlies, and we’re already joint heirs with Christ.
“…but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
Can you picture an 18 year-old son in the Middle East – maybe his father has a jewelry store. Boy those jewelry stores over there will just knock your eyes out. Can you imagine the exhilaration of both the father and the son on the first morning that son comes in and says, “Dad, I’m finally ready and I’m going to run the business with you.” And to see that father just as exhilarated and hear him say, “Son I’ve been waiting for this day.” Can you imagine that? That’s what God says every time a child of God is saved. God the Father says, “I’ve been waiting for you. I’ve been waiting for this day.” And He places us right up there in a place of full responsibility. I know we begin as babes and we feed on the milk of the Word, but positionally we’re right up there with God the Son.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17. And if children, (or born ones) then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;…” What’s Christ’s is ours, and on the other hand what’s ours should be His. Do you see that? And then to close.
“if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”