Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 21
OLD ADAM CRUCIFIED – ROMANS 3:19-22
As we begin this book let’s continue in the Book of Romans, beginning in Chapter 3. In our last lesson we wound up with God’s great controversy with the human race and how He had built His case as a prosecuting Attorney, not against any one segment, race or class, but against the whole human race. And in Romans Chapter 1 we looked at the immoral man; and God tells us why they are guilty. Then we looked at moral man, who on the outside is good. There is nothing anybody can find wrong with him, but God has just as much to say about him as He does the immoral man. The third category was the religious individual who thought because of his religion he had everything he needed to meet his Maker. Then we came to that great conclusion as we left our last program that all have failed, all are guilty, there is none righteous, no not one.
So we pick up at verse 19 of Chapter 3, and when I teach this chapter I always like to make a statement that there are two chapter 3’s in The Bible that I think are mandatory for every believer to understand. The first one is in the Book of Genesis Chapter 3 where we have the account of sin making its appearance, when Adam rebelled and ate of the forbidden fruit. In Chapter 3 then, mankind is a fallen race, totally disobedient to everything that God says and as a result of their fall we’ve seen the 6000 years of human suffering, of degeneration, corruption, evil and wickedness; and it all begin back in the Garden of Eden.
So God comes to that conclusion here in Romans 3 that this is the problem, and the only remedy is the one God Himself has provided. This flies in the face of human reasoning, and we will see why here in just a moment. Now as we come in to verse 19 just glance at the verses ahead of it, and you will notice that it isn’t a very pretty picture. But that’s what God sees whenever He looks at a human being still in Old Adam. That’s where He saw me and you, and that’s where He still sees every lost person. We are an open sepulcher, our mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. We have no fear of God so that’s the picture of the unbeliever that God sees.
“Now we know (and when Paul says we know, he’s talking about something that is solid ground. This isn’t just wishful thinking, this isn’t something that only a theologian could dream up. This is basic scriptural fact) that what things soever the law saith it saith to them who are under the law:…”
I don’t think any of you here in the class have any trouble answering the question, “Who was under the Law?” The Nation of Israel – the Jew! And that’s why they were put in that place of special responsibility. God gave them the Law, printed on the tables of stone and it was as plain as day. And the Jew had the whole system of what we call law, the religious, the ritual, the sacrifices, the priesthood, the civil law, and it then all comprised what we call the Law. But at the heart of the Law are the Ten Commandments. So as we study these terms, in Romans especially, we are always going to be careful. Are we talking about the Ten Commandments or are we talking about the whole system of law? In other words if a Jew misused his neighbor, the civil law stipulated how he had to make things right. The ceremonial law designated under a certain circumstance of sin or wrong doing he had to bring such and such to the priest, and so on and so forth. But at the heart of all these laws is the moral Law, or what we call the Ten Commandments. So I think here in the first part of verse 19 Paul is talking about the Ten Commandments, the moral Law. Let’s look at the verse again:
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith (thou shalt and thou shalt not), it saith to them who are under the law (the whole system of law. The Nation of Israel and they alone were under that. But it doesn’t stop there. Now it goes on and says that not just Jewish mouth, but rather ): that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
Who does that include? Everybody! Jew and Gentile, black and white, rich and poor. Regardless of a person’s status he’s under that demand of the Law. Most people think that if they can just keep the Law then they become righteous, but that verse says they become guilty before God. We can’t stop there without taking the next verse.
“Therefore (since the Mosaic Ten Commandments makes everyone guilty, therefore) by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight (now look at this last statement): for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Now underline that word `sin,’ because for the first time that we have really seen it in the Book of Romans where it will take the application or the definition that I like to make of the word `sin’ Those of you who have been with me during a study of Romans know what I’m going to say. You can put in its place, I think, without exception “old Adam” throughout the Book of Romans (of course if it doesn’t fit somewhere then back away from it). The old sin nature that each of us are born with. Now let’s read it that way, substituting the word `sin‘ with old Adam.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of old Adam.”
Now I want to give you a couple statements, and I trust you will write them in the fly leaf of your Bible. The first one is this. We are not sinners because we break the Law. That’s hard to swallow isn’t it? Most everyone thinks the reason we are sinners is because we have committed adultery, or have stolen and cheated. But contrary to that we break the Law(The moral ten) because we are sinners, and sons of Adam. Now that is contrary to what most religions teach and contrary to what probably nine out of ten church members think today. They think the reason we’re sinners is because we are always breaking the Law, and that’s not the problem. The problem is we have something within us that wants to constantly break the Law, and then of course when we break the law we are guilty.
But now we need to go back to Adam again don’t we? Because that’s where it all began. When Adam was created he was perfect, there was not an ounce of sin in him, not even a sinful thought. He was as pure, I think, as Christ Himself was in His earthly advent. But how long did it last? Until Adam took that step of disobedience back there in the Garden of Eden, and it was a simple step. He simply took and ate of that fruit that was forbidden, and immediately he became a sin-nature individual. Then all he could think, in spite of himself, constantly was that which was contrary to the very laws of his Creator God, and every human being has inherited that ever since. So this is where we are then in the statements I just gave you.You are not a sinner today because of anything you have done so far as actively performing a sinful act. You are a sinner because you are a child of Adam, and being a child of Adam everything that God says to do, then old Adam says to do the opposite.
I’ve been trying to think of a good illustration of this old sin nature because we have millions of people all around us that are good people. You can hardly find a flaw in their lifestyle. They have a beautiful home and family, their children are well behaved, they have never cheated a person out of a dime, they have never been unfaithful to each other, and from all outward appearances they are good people. I don’t know if this illustration will make sense to you or not but I want to try it. Take an individual who has a beautiful horse, well trained and groomed. This owner is so proud of that animal that he takes him to the show places, and puts him through his paces. And of course the owner is well-dressed himself. They are a beautiful pair to behold. But after this particular show (and he has won his purple ribbons, and he’s sitting there on his beautiful steed accepting all the applause of what they have accomplished. His animal is standing there perfectly contented, beautiful, being held in awe), all of a sudden, as if someone hit that horse with about ten electric cattle prods, that horse just bucked wildly.
Now that is about the end of the analogy because you can never carry spiritual things very far. Alright, that beautiful steed I’m telling you about is a picture of old Adam. You see we can groom him, we can control him a lot of the time, and make him just fool the world that, “Hey, he’s okay.” But all of a sudden something makes old Adam just erupt like this animal that had been hit with a bunch of cattle prods. Here is what I want you to answer me. What am I likening the cattle prods to? What causes old Adam to suddenly lose his poise, suddenly realize that all that pent up power for wickedness came to the fore front? The Law! Do you see that?
People can have themselves all veneered and be so beautiful, and have everything under control, and then one day the Law comes and they’ve read it and memorized it, but they never heard it. Then one day the Law comes and it just smashes old Adam, and he erupts. Now let me take you to Romans Chapter 7. It’s this chapter that the theologians like to banter back and forth, and I’m not going to pay any attention to their arguments, but rather look at the way this old layman sees it. Start with verse 9. This verse has raised a lot of eyebrows or has caused people to just skim right over it, because they don’t understand anyway. Now don’t forget the story of my beautiful horse. Here is the Apostle Paul under that same set of circumstances. He’s got his life, religiously he thinks, under complete control. A religious zealot who was admired and looked up to by the whole Jewish religious community. Then all of a sudden that horse beneath him erupts, and it changed his life.
“For I was alive without the law once:…”
What does he mean? He knew the Law from the time he was at his mother’s knee let alone Gamaliel’s. The Law had already been in force for 1500 years before Saul came along. So he says I was alive without the Law. How could he have been? Because he was part and parcel of that Judaistic society. I’ll tell you where Saul was, and that’s where most people are today when they read their Bible. They read, but most of the time it goes right over their heads. And the same way with Saul. He thought he knew the Law from cover to cover. He thought he knew those Ten Commandments forward and backwards, but you know what? He had never understood what they really said, it was just so many words. But there on the road to Damascus as he was confronted with the ascended Lord, all of a sudden the Law meant what it said to Saul of Tarsus. And what happened? He realized that he was the biggest law breaker of all. And that’s why he claims that he was such a sinner, he had persecuted the believers. But it was when the Law finally got hold of Saul, that he had to recognize, “I’m nothing!” So what happened? He said, “I died.” Let’s look at the verse again.
“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”
We know he didn’t die physically, so where did he die? That old Adam. Old Adam has to die, and that’s the theme of this Book of Romans, to deal with that old sin nature that is constantly making man rebel against the very tenets of God. By now you should be able to see what I’m driving at. Is that something we can do in the energy of the flesh? No! There is no way you can deal with old Adam in the flesh, because just like the gentlemen with the beautiful horse. He had trained that animal, he’s gained his rewards over him, but then one day when that horse was finally exploded with an outside source of energy, it showed itself for what it really was. It could be just as cantankerous, it could buck him just as far as the worst bronco ever could, and that’s where our old Adam is.
And we have to come to grips with that old Adam, and you can’t do it by joining a church. Now I’m not against the church, don’t ever let anyone get that idea, but rather I’m using the Church as an example that that is not what we have to do in order to get right with God. We have to first and foremost deal with this old Adam, and remember he’s in the area of the invisible. You can’t lay him out on the table and examine him. Old Adam is in the area of the spiritual, he’s in the invisible, and consequently when we start dealing in the area of the invisible there is only One that knows how to do it, and Who is it? The Creator Himself! He is the only One that can delve down into the depths of the spirit. So we have to deal with old Adam then through the work and power of our Creator, our Saviour and our Lord. Now Romans Chapter 3, verse 19 again:
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law (Israel): that every mouth may be stopped,…”
Now just think about that for a moment. I try to prepare my classes for this and it happens all the time. That good neighbor, friend, or good customer or client comes in and the conversation comes around to these things, and that person will say, “I’m doing the best I can, I think I’ll make it. Don’t give me a hassle because I’m pretty good. I’m keeping the commandments, I’ve joined the church, I’m a good family man, I give, so don’t talk to me about my having any problem facing eternity.” But you see they haven’t dealt with the core problem. “Old Adam!” And so the Law is the only way that God can come to that kind of a person and say, “You’re Guilty!” Do you see that? I don’t care how good they have been, or how good their record is. God still looks back and sees that throat like an open sepulcher. He still sees a mouth that is full of cursing, and thought processes that are as immoral as anybody can get and that is all coming out of old Adam.
Another good illustration is back in the 30’s during the bootlegging days. They could outlaw the consumption of alcohol if they wanted to, but you can’t stop people from getting it, so the only way they could really deal with the alcohol problem was to find where it was being made, and they tried to get rid of the stills. If you could get rid of every still in the world there wouldn’t be any alcohol, and that would get rid of the problem. It’s the same way with old Adam. He’s just like a still, he just keeps putting it out, and putting it out and putting it out, and I don’t care how you try to cover it up or wallpaper over it, it just won’t work until we deal with old Adam. Now verse 20, and you can’t approach God on the merit of what you have done. We have to come back and realize that God says, “we can doing nothing to merit favor with Him.”
“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.” We are going to see when we get into Chapter 4 that it’s so plain. The Apostle Paul tells us in verse 3 the following.
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” And it was his believing that caused God to call him a righteous man, and verse 2 tells us that it was not by works lest he should boast.
“For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory: but not before God.”
You know I’ve made the comment to my classes and maybe even here on the program several years ago the following. Have you ever envisioned heaven and you are there because of what you did down here to merit it? You know what I’ve told people? Everybody would be crossing the street to avoid someone because they wouldn’t want to listen to someone tell them over and over all they had done to get there. That wouldn’t be heaven, that would be awful. But it won’t be that way, because everyone of us is never going to be able to say a thing that we have done got us to heaven. It was only the work of a merciful God. Now let’s look at verse 20 again in Chapter 3.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
The knowledge of sin or the knowledge of our old Adam. And it’s the only place you will find it. Now again you won’t find language like this back in the Four Gospels. Jesus didn’t get into this part of the whole problem. Jesus was more or less just dealing with the Jews under the Law, but now you see the Apostle Paul is speaking out by Holy Spirit inspiration of course and is delving into the whole human race. Not just the problem in Israel and the Jews but everyone. Look at your newspaper today, the whole front page on any paper is covered with the same kind of stuff. Murder, rape, terrorism, crime, immorality. And why? Because the world is under control of that old Adamic nature with Satan at the top of it. And this is what we must understand. It’s old Adam who is at the heart of the sin program. It’s old Adam in the realm of the spirit that we have to deal with through the power and mercy and the Grace of God.