Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 20
MANIFOLD RESULTS OF SALVATION
Let’s pick up where we were at the close of the last lesson. I mentioned in the last lesson the word `salvation’ there in Romans 1:16:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation…”
I’ve made the comment that sometimes new versions just totally water down that word `Salvation,’ and even multitudes of church people do not really comprehend what is in the one word “Salvation.” Most people think of Salvation as just a fire escape, and that means that they are going to escape going to hell, and they are going to Heaven when they die. But you see the word `salvation’ implies so much more than that. I mentioned in our last lesson that I certainly didn’t have time to list all the words and their aspects of Salvation in a 30 minute study. But I would like to take time and run Scripture on some of these words that are associated with the word `Salvation.’ It may take all four lessons to just define that one word. So let’s start back in I Corinthians Chapter 15, because salvation is based upon the Gospel, and again, there is only one portion of Scripture that lays out the Gospel so completely and clearly, and yet so simply in these first four verses. When Paul refers to the Gospel this is what he is referring to.
I Corinthians 15:1-3a
“MOREOVER, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand (that is positionally); By which also ye are saved(nothing else saves us), 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,…”
Now always remember, Paul is so adamant about not receiving his Gospel from the earthly ministry of Christ. He did not go back down to Jerusalem and check in with the Twelve. But instead he had his own private seminary training with the ascended Lord from heaven, out there on the desert. And when he came away from that experience he begins these doctrines of Grace. I have also been so stringent in maintaining that our Gospel has to come primarily from the writings of this Apostle, because he is revealing things that are revealed to him from The Lord after His Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, from where He is now seated at the Father’s right hand. So always keep that in mind. In fact the Book of Hebrews Chapter 6:1 tells us:
“THEREFORE leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,…”
Now what does that mean? Well you don’t just stay there, those are elementary principles, and you don’t stay in the elementary, you move on. I’ve always used the analogy of our high school in our secular education. There is no way you can go into higher mathematics if you haven’t had third and fourth grade arithmetic. It’s utterly impossible. But you don’t stay in third and fourth grade arithmetic, you move on, building on what you have learned. And it’s the same way with the Scriptures. You must keep moving on to further revelations and move from Christ’s earthly ministry to the much deeper things that He revealed to the Apostle Paul. Now when the Apostle Paul says that he is referring us to what he has received, then we must sit up and take notice. Now, reading on about the Gospel in I Corinthians. Verse 3 again:
I Corinthians 15:3,4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins… And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
It was all back there in the Old Testament. It was all prophesied, but it was never really explained. No one understood, but now it comes out so plain that when He died, He died for the sins of the world, as full payment for the sin penalty. But He didn’t stay dead, He arose from the dead victorious over sin and Satan and death and Hell! And because He lives, we live. So that’s the Gospel, “That He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.” Now while we are in I Corinthians, let’s back up a few pages to Chapter 1. Remember, this is all Paul knows throughout all his Epistles. The preaching of what He calls my Gospel, the Gospel of the Grace of God, the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of God, and that’s all he knows. Now in I Corinthians Chapter 1, if you will come down to verse 18 you will see what I’m talking about.
I Corinthians 1:18
“For the preaching of the cross (do you see that?) is to them that perish foolishness (it doesn’t mean anything, and we will see how the world treats this Gospel a little later in Chapter 1); but unto us which are saved it (The Gospel, the preaching of the Cross) is the power of God.”
I can’t emphasize the power of God enough. Because this flys in the face of reformers. This flys in the face of good works people. There are so many people who think and preach that you have to earn your way into heaven. How can anyone even think that way There is nothing that we can do but take what God has offered. Now let’s drop down to verse 23:
I Corinthians 1:23
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block (overall they never could accept Who He said He was), and unto the Greeks foolishness;”
With all their high level intellectual philosophy, they were to believe that this humble carpenter from Nazareth accomplished everything that Paul says He accomplished. Foolishness! But now verse 24:
I Corinthians 1:24
“But unto them which are called (the true believer), both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
See, that’s a power that man can’t even begin to touch. And we are going to see it’s a power that has been exercised on our behalf that we can’t explain except by faith. Let’s look at a couple of verses and one of them is in the Book of Ephesians Chapter 1. Remember, Paul always wrote to believers, and for the most part Gentile believers. So he says to the Ephesian believers what he could just as well be writing to believers today:
“In whom ye also trusted (believed), after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation (believing that Christ died, was buried and rose again): in whom also after that ye believed (notice there is nothing else added, only believe), ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
My, what a loaded verse! You know I’ve had people almost drop their eye teeth as I read this verse. Most will tell you that this flys in the face of everything that they have been taught since infancy. But there is nothing in here that can deal with an infant. An infant can’t believe or understand the Gospel. This is something that someone has to be old enough to know right and wrong and that they are a sinner and need Salvation. They must be old enough to understand The Gospel that Christ died for them. Do you see that? And then after they have heard The Gospel and believed it, then God moves in and He seals us with the Holy Spirit of promise. Now before we go back to Romans let’s turn to II Peter for a verse. This is a verse we look at periodically, because it’s also such a loaded verse, and you very seldom see anyone use this verse because they are afraid of it or don’t understand it at all. This is at the end of his ministry and shortly before he is martyred. Paul’s Gospel has been on the scene now a good many years, and even though I think Peter had a hard time comprehending it at the beginning (and he still hasn’t really gotten the full knowledge of it), he knows at least enough to tell us this much:
II Peter 3:15a
“And account (or understand) that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;…”
That’s the whole theme of this Book from the time man is created, and falls in Genesis Chapter 3, all the way to the end of this Book. It is a Book that is trying to bring about the salvation of a fallen human race. The whole theme of this Book! And in that regard you can find Christ in one form or another on almost every page from cover to cover. Because this is God’s main concern that the human race can find salvation, that’s why He has done so much. Verse 15 again:
II Peter 3:15,16
“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; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things (what things? Salvation, and all that attends it); in which are some things hard to be understood,…”
Get back into Peter’s shoes. Peter was steeped in Judaism, steeped in legalism, steeped in Temple worship, steeped in all the Covenant promises coming out of the Old Testament for the Nation of Israel. Then for him to all of a sudden have to admit that God was not dealing anymore with the Nation of Israel on the Covenant promises, but instead, He is out to bring Salvation to the whole human race. That was unthinkable for him (reference Galatians 2:7-9). So Peter has a hard time with Paul’s Gospel, and I know he did. And even here at the close of his life, he’s still hedging just a little bit.
II Peter 3:16b
“…which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (or twist), as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
You know I pointed out to the class last night, how many times can you take a rank liberal, or someone from a different religion all together, and they can speak of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit, and make you think that they know what they are talking about, and they know nothing. But they use all the right words, and that’s what Peter means here, that they twist the Scripture to their own destruction. Let’s go back to Romans Chapter 1, verse 16 again:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;…”
Most people think it says to everyone that repents, is baptized and joins the church, but it doesn’t. Or to everyone that does good. Or to everyone that keeps the commandments. You see, it doesn’t say any of those things, but only to everyone that believeth the Gospel. Now why do I stress that from program to program? Let’s go for a moment to the Book of Hebrews Chapter 11:6 We haven’t looked at this verse in a long time. If only humanity could understand this. But the majority completely ignore it. They walk it underfoot:
“But without faith it is impossible to please him (God);…”
So what does God look for first and foremost? Faith! And when God doesn’t see faith there is nothing that He can do. You can go all the way back to Cain and Abel, and I imagine that Cain was probably a better guy than Abel was. He probably had a more noble personality, and a harder worker, but what was his problem? No Faith! He didn’t believe what God said.Abel did! Esau and Jacob are another perfect example. Esau was probably a better man than Jacob, so far as worldly views were concerned, but why couldn’t God use Esau? No Faith!He didn’t believe a thing concerning what God had said. The Nation of Israel, what was God’s constant controversy with that nation? They wouldn’t believe Him. After all that He had done on their behalf, and the visible manifestation of His power, yet they just couldn’t believe. He said, “Why didn’t they enter into their rest? Because of unbelief!” What’s the problem with the world tonight? It certainly isn’t the lack of technology, or education and intelligence, and the ability to read. What’s the problem then? They can’t believe it when they read it, or hear it. No Faith! And when there is no faith, you cannot even get close to pleasing God! It’s impossible. Back to Romans once again.
“…to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Now naturally, when Paul began his ministry back in the Book of Acts, we found that everywhere he went, he went to the Jew first in the synagogues. It was a logical place to start. Because after all, Israel had been the Covenant people of God, they had been steeped in the Word of God. They were the very writers of this Book, and so it was very logical that was the place to start. But after about thirty-some years, and they continued to reject it, Paul comes to that final statement, and says, “From henceforth we go to the Gentiles.” And so for the past 1900 + years, this precious Gospel has been going primarily to the Gentiles, but it’s still open to a Jew. However, he now is going to have to come the same way we do because Paul says over and over in the Book of Romans that there is no difference.
I’ve told my classes over and over that we know that from the very beginning of His dealing with the Nation of Israel, God called out Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the first thing He let them know was that He was going to set the Nation apart. They were to be a sanctified, set apart nation of people. You get into the Exodus with the Nation preparing to come out of Egypt, and the first three plagues also came upon Israel along with the Egyptians. But after that, He put a division between Israel and Egypt where none of the plagues could touch Israel. And He did that to prove His power. And so He put that division between them. And that was the beginning then of this great separation that God put between the Jew and the Gentile. And this continued all the way up through the Old Testament. He was dealing primarily with those Covenant people, the Nation of Israel. But they were `stiffnecked’ (as the Scriptures called them), they were steeped in unbelief, and finally God had to let the Temple be destroyed in 70 A.D. Then the Nation was dispersed, the land was emptied of them.
And that brings a thought today. Why can’t our politicians seem to understand that Palestine has always been the home of the Jew? They sure don’t act like they understand? They act as if the Jew is the impostor, the carpetbagger, the squatter. That’s the way they treat the Jew today. That’s his home land, and you can’t take that away from him. But God providentially uprooted them, because of their unbelief; but at the same time that He uprooted them, what did He promise them? That He would bring them back again. All the Old Testament screams of that. And we should be aware it, that indeed God is still going deal with His national people of Israel.
“For therein (that refers to the word `salvation’ in verse 16) is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written (And then quoting from Hab. 2:4, we find), `The just shall live by faith.'”
Martin Luther finally came to this conclusion. He was cloistered in a Catholic monastery, and then all of a sudden the light shone in, and what did Martin Luther conclude? “The just shall live by faith.” Not by works, not by religion, or ritual, but by faith. So that became his great theme of the Reformation. I think Christianity has come close to losing it again. We are all wrapped up in works, and materialism, and do this and do that. We have a program for everything. We are losing the whole idea that the just shall live by faith. And if you have heard me teach for a period of time, you know that I have a clear cut definition of the word faith. And what is it? “Taking God at His Word.” That is all faith is! Let’s go back to the Book of Hebrews and look at the Scripture’s own definition of The Word. Turn to Chapter 11, the great faith chapter.
“NOW faith is the substance (it’s the very core, it’s the epitome) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (things you can’t touch and see). For by it the elders (Old Testament saints) obtained a good report. Through faith (by taking God at His word) we understand (and know) that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. “ We are dealing with the invisible, and the only way we can comprehend the invisible is how? By faith!