Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 22
ROMANS CHAPTER 5
Let’s get back to the subject at hand – justification by faith and faith alone, and how the need for it began back in the Garden of Eden when Adam fell, and death came with sin. The human race is faced with that dilemma that not only are we sinners, but we are also in a circumstance of death. Spiritual death has already taken place, because we’re born dead spiritually, and physical death is coming. Every human being will approach it someday if The Lord tarries. First, let’s read the last three verses from the last lesson.
“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin [the old Adamic nature] entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (for until the Law, sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression [they were not faced with a tree and a forbidden fruit]: who is the figure [or picture] of him that was to come).”
We didn’t get to comment on that last portion of the verse so we’ll touch on it now. Adam, you see, is the first man, and Christ is the second Man, or second Adam. Let’s pick that up in a reference so turn with me to I Corinthians 15 for a moment, because I want people to know that we don’t just pull this out of the woodwork someplace. Hopefully what I teach I can back up with Scripture. On your way to Chapter 15 let’s stop for a moment in Chapter 2 and I’ll show you something. Our class was discussing that many people don’t realize that until they become a believer, a child of God by virtue of Salvation and faith, that this Book is utterly impossible to comprehend. Oh, the unbeliever may be able to read some of the stories and some of the miracles, and get something out of it. But when it comes to the basic deep things of Scripture no one can understand them until they become a child of God.
I’ve been very blunt with some people. I know I had one gentlemen that came to my class for three years. Now I’m not one to take them by the nape of the neck, and try to force them into a conversion experience. Well, every week I was just tickled that he was there, but he would tell me, “Les, I just can’t understand all this.” And I said, “When you become a believer you will!” Now you can’t do that with everybody, but with him it was just fine. He finally did become a believer, and now of course he’s just like a weed – he’s just growing and can now comprehend the Scriptures. And that’s scriptural, that isn’t just my own idea and I can show you that here in I Corinthians Chapter 2 where Paul makes that so plain.
I Corinthians 2:13,14
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man (the unsaved, the lost man) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them (why?), because they are spiritually discerned (or understood).”
So we have to be real patient. I think that’s one of the attributes God has given me when I deal with unbelievers. I’m very patient. I don’t care if it takes three years for them to come to the place of understanding the Gospel. I would hope it would be sooner, but nevertheless I’m still going to be patient with them because I realize where they’re coming from. They can’t comprehend these things until God opens their eyes and heart, and we leave that to His timing. Now Chapter 15, picking up with the subject of the first man, Adam, and Christ the second. We have to understand that the first man Adam, even with that simple act of disobedience of eating the forbidden fruit, plunged the whole human race into condemnation. Every human being beginning with Cain has been a fallen creature by virtue of Adam’s act of rebellion. But God didn’t leave it there. Now He comes around and comes with the second Man, The Christ, and He makes it possible for every degenerate son of Adam to become a regenerate son of God. It’s just that simple, and yet it’s complex. So now looking at I Corinthians 15:45.
I Corinthians 15:45
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul (that’s back in Genesis Chapter 2 I think it is, where God breathed into him the breath of life, and he became a living soul): the last Adam (Jesus, The Christ. The next two words, “was made,” have been added by the translators unfortunately. I think they’re better left out) was made a quickening spirit.Now the word `quickening’ here means life-giving. When God quickens something He gives it life. For example Ephesians 2:1:
“AND you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins (He hath made us alive);”
So the first Adam was made a living soul by virtue of creation, in perfect fellowship with his Maker. The Lord could walk with him in the cool of the day, and there was nothing between them, just perfect fellowship. Then the second Adam was brought on the scene as a life-giving Spirit in the Person of Jesus Christ, The God-Man.
Someone asked me why only Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels and not John? Well, you see, those three Gospels deal with Christ in His humanity. In other words, Matthew depicts Him as King Who would one day rule on David’s throne as a human King. He came up through the genealogy of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and down that royal family of David. Now in Mark He’s depicted as the Servant, and everything that He does shows His willingness to be a Servant, and again from His human side. Then Luke depicts Him of course as the Son of Man, so constantly throughout that Gospel again we see that human side of Him.
Then John comes along and depicts Him as the Son of God in His Deity. So now you can pick up little tidbits that Matthew, Mark, and Luke give of the account of temptations in the wilderness, and John doesn’t. Why not? Because those temptations had an immediate effect upon the human side of Him, but had no effect upon His Deity side, so John leaves it out. His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He sweated drops of Blood, as it were, and He agonized and pleaded with the Twelve to pray with Him, John is the only one that doesn’t record this. Why? That was part of His human side, and not the Deity side, so John can leave those things out. These things are what makes such differences as you study your Scripture. Yes, He was the God-Man, He was total God, He was total man, and they never crossed over. You can go back into His earthly ministry. There was a time when the average person who got into some of the situations that Jesus did would have let the God side take over, but He never did. So we have to take it by faith that He was Deity, but He was also human. Now bringing this into the text here with the Apostle Paul, as Adam was the first Federal Head of the human race, so Christ now becomes the culmination of all this because we’re not just dealing with the physical, we’re dealing with the spiritual. The next verse:
I Corinthians 15:46
“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.”
Now remember when we were way back in the Old Testament I would make this point constantly. That the rule of thumb all the way through Scripture is that you would have the natural first and then the spiritual. First Cain and then Abel. First Ishmael and then Isaac. First Esau and then Jacob. First King Saul and then King David; and you find this all through Scripture. And now here it comes again. First Adam, the natural, and then the second Adam, The Christ, the spiritual. And we have one big set of circumstances in the future, and that will be in the Tribulation. First will come the Anti-christ the human, and then Christ the spiritual at His second coming. You can’t separate them all through Scripture, so Paul makes the point. Looking at the verse again:
I Corinthians 15:46-48
“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural (referring to Adam); and afterward that which is spiritual.” In other words, all of us began with the natural man Adam. And the reason we call him natural was God created him out of the dust of the earth.
“The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven (see how plain that is?). As is the earthy (the offspring of Adam), such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly (the spiritual realm), such are they also that are heavenly.”
All the way up through the Old Testament, especially when we began studying Israel, I pointed out Israel was God’s earthly people. All their promises were earthly, they had no concept of dying and going to Heaven. They only saw the grave, and many of them, of course, didn’t believe in life hereafter, but those that did only saw a Kingdom on this earth which has been promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the rest of them. They were an earthly people. Now when we get to the Church Age, oh, what a difference! Now we’re not an earthly people, but rather a heavenly people. Our citizenship according to the Apostle Paul, is already in Heaven. Oh, we’re still tied to the old earth, but our citizenship is in Heaven as we see in the Book of Colossians. This is Paul’s prayer on behalf of the Colossi believers.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (or prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who (in reference to God the Father) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath (past tense) translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Well, where is the Kingdom tonight? It’s up in Heaven; it’s where Christ is. And so this is why we are already citizens of glory, because that’s where Christ is. Now, one day when He comes and brings the Kingdom back to earth, we will be with Him there also. And then of course we will be reigning and ruling with Him on the earth. Now come back to I Corinthians 15 again as we didn’t quite get finished. Going on to verse 49 (and remember, verse 48 shows things that are earthy, things that are heavenly are heavenly):
I Corinthians 15::49,50
“And as we have borne the image of the earthy (of course we are, we’re sons of Adam, flesh and blood), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (we’re going to move from the natural state to the heavenly). Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”
So what has to happen? We’ll have to have a new body. That just stands to reason, and it will be fashioned after Christ’s Resurrected Body. That’s our hope, that one day we’ll have that glorious body that won’t be contained by walls or ceilings or space. And yet I think we will enjoy the pleasures of eating and enjoying some of these things, and it will all be possible because our Lord ate out there on the shores of Galilee after the Resurrection.
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, `Peace be unto you.’ But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, `Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have,’ And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, `Have ye here any meat?’ And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honey comb. And he took it, and did eat before them.”
Isn’t that just as plain as day? Now come back to Romans Chapter 5, verse 15. Now the reason that Paul has been laying all of this out in front of us is to again establish a basic doctrine especially for us as Gentiles. Recently, when we had our seminar in Minneapolis, I had a Jewish lady come and ask some questions. She said that she was a Jewish believer, but she said that she was getting kind of worried. She asked, “If the rapture were to take place tonight, because I’m a Jew, will I be left behind?” Oh, lands no, because you’re a member of the Body of Christ. When we come into the Body of Christ, the Church, it doesn’t matter what color we are. It doesn’t matter if we are Jew or Gentile. We are all one in Christ if we have believed the Gospel for our Salvation (Reference I Corinthians 15:1-4). So when the rapture takes place, yes, Jewish believers are going to go along with us as will people who may have come from other backgrounds, because we are one in Christ. Now verse 15:
“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one (this is Adam) many (or all as the Scripture says in other places) be dead, much more the grace of God,…”
In reality, according to what God has done, every human being who was born of Adam should one day be in glory, because there is none left out. But why won’t they be? They have chosen not to be. The Scripture makes it plain that all have had their opportunity. I know that’s hard to swallow, but God in His Sovereignty understands and that’s what the Scripture has explained.
“… and the gift (the people who think they must work for their Salvation are flying in the face of this Book, because it’s a gift. That’s something that God has done for the human race out of the goodness of His heart. He has given it as a gift. But many people will try to work for it, and God won’t stand for it. So the gift) by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”
Do you see how the Scriptures go back and forth with the terminology? In some places Christ is called God over and over. Here Paul refers to Him as the Man. Now that’s not taking away from His Deity; it’s just simply going right along with His whole virgin birth that He was born God in the flesh, but He was also born human. So I like to refer to Him as the God-Man.
“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift:…”
That’s a double negative there and that can get confusing. Maybe I can clarify it. As I’ve said before, we are not sinners because we ate of the forbidden fruit. We’re not guilty of the similitude of Adam’s sin. That’s what he did. We didn’t do anything to merit condemnation, we inherited it. We’re sons of Adam, and we are immediately born into this world spiritually dead. Spiritually an enemy of God. Now it’s hard for me to explain, but that’s God’s business and He doesn’t make any mistakes. So we just have to take it by faith that this is the way God has set the whole thing in motion. That He created Adam innocent, sinless, perfect; but Adam fell, and then God decreed that everyone that came from Adam would be a fallen creature. But He did everything to bring that fallen creature back to his original state if they will only believe. It’s always been by faith. Adam and Eve were restored into fellowship by faith, and it was that way all the way up through the Old Testament. We didn’t go through what Adam did. Neither did Christ go through what Adam did, but He superseded it. Everything that Adam accomplished to bring the human race into condemnation, God, through the Person of Jesus Christ, has reconciled it. He’s paid the debt, and done everything possible to bring man back unto Himself. Now reading the verse in it’s entirety.
“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one (Adam) to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.”
Oh, it’s beyond our comprehension and that’s why we have to take it by faith. There is no way you can understand it. I know I can’t, and I don’t even pretend to, but I know The Book says it and I believe it, and I can rest in it. I never have to worry or wonder if I’m going to make it. I know there are many people who have spent a lifetime preaching The Word, and as they face the grim reaper they start to wonder and worry, “Where am I going to spend eternity? Have I done enough good? Have I done this or that? Am I going to make it.” Wouldn’t that be awful to be in that situation? Remember, none of us could do enough good to merit Salvation. But we rest by faith on this finished work of the Cross. Don’t worry about where you will spend eternity if you have placed your faith in the Gospel. So the free gift, that which we do not work for, is of many offences. In other words, everyone of us are guilty of a whole train-load of sins. But they’ve all been canceled, and paid for by the work of the Cross. I know I have people out there that are sitting there shaking their heads. But listen, this isn’t my idea, this is exactly what The Book says. And that’s why I like for them to put the Scripture on the screen. I’d rather you see the Scripture for yourself and just read it as it’s on the screen.
“…but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.”