Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 22
ROMANS 6 & 7
You know as we teach we hope you are beginning to understand, and enjoy The Bible. We’ve come to the place where I think that too many people just rely on what people have written, and maybe within their denominational confines, and they are so totally unaware of so many of these Scriptural truths. And, of course, that’s what thrills us when we hear from you that you’re just beginning to understand and see things that you have never seen before. We are even getting letters from pastors who are enjoying our teachings. Now turn with me to Chapter 7 again and we’ll try to finish the chapter, or at least get close to finishing it in this lesson. In our last lesson we finished at verse 14, where Paul now is reconstructing how he had to deal with the old Adam as he came under that conversion experience when he met Christ on the road to Damascus. And now he comes to the conclusion in verse 14:
“For we know that the law is spiritual (absolutely. When I say we’re not under Law, but rather under Grace it isn’t because the Law has lost it’s spiritual power, or condition, absolutely it’s spiritual, it is the very mind of God so far as mankind is concerned): but I am carnal, sold under (the old Adamic nature or under) sin.”
And as I made my closing remarks in the last lesson that when Adam fell, when Adam sinned, he plunged the whole human race into that condition, and, consequently, Christ had to die in order to bring fallen mankind back to Himself. And so lest some get rather judgmental toward God, and I know people do, “Well, how in the world could God call me a sinner because of what Adam did 6000 years ago?” Well, I can’t answer that, but I just know that God’s mind is higher than our minds, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and this is the way that He Sovereignly set it all in motion: that He put Adam and Eve in the Garden, and gave them one simple responsibility – that they not eat of that one tree, and it was just merely a means of testing to see if they could remain obedient. There wasn’t anything that wicked in the fruit, but it was a means of testing. And Adam flunked totally, so he ate, and again a Sovereign God declared that now that Adam had sinned then all his offspring would inherit that sin nature.
So you see this is what we try to teach when we show that the blood circulatory system of the fetus, as the mother carries it, is never touched by the mother’s blood, and that is what gives rise to the virgin birth. Mary could carry the child Jesus and her blood never course through His veins. But the circulatory system of every human fetus originates with the father. And so also with Christ in His virgin birth, His blood system originated with the Father, and so it was divine, sinless blood contrary to those of us who are the offspring of Adam. So every child of Adam then is sold under the curse, he’s under that old Adam. As we come into verse 15, we come to verses that are sometimes hard to understand. Maybe it will help if you understand that now Paul is writing as the believer who now has reckoned old Adam as he’s been teaching, crucified, dead, but he is still left as an influence even in our Christian life.
Now I know there are two ways of looking at this, and I still maintain what I’ve always taught, that old Adam is crucified, he’s declared dead in the mind of God. In other words the moment you and I believe the Gospel (Reference I Corinthians 15:1-4) God saw you and I in the Person of Christ on the Cross. Now, of course, God has to be the Omnipotent, Omniscient God that He is or that wouldn’t be possible, but it is possible because with Him nothing is impossible. And so God saw every true believer in Christ, as He hung on that Cross. As we saw back in Chapter 6, He saw us in Christ in the grave. As Christ was buried, we were buried. He saw us in Christ when He rose in Resurrection power and so we also are resurrected in newness of life. And now Paul comes in explaining all of this from that believers point of view that, yes, we still have to wrestle against the influence of that old Adamic nature, even though God has reckoned it as crucified. God has declared it dead, but from experience we’d better realize he is still with us. He is defeated and has been placed under subjection of a new nature that has come in by virtue of the power of God. But, here’s where we all find ourselves, even as believers.
“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that I do not; but what I hate, that do I.” Isn’t that confusing? But it really isn’t because he’s talking about these two natures. Now let me show you a verse that probably clarifies that even a little better. Turn to Galatians, Chapter 5 and drop down to verse 16 and 17.
“This I say then, `walk in the Spirit (now you remember when we talked about our position in Christ? That when we became believers we were baptized into the Body of Christ and that’s now our position. We are in Christ. He is still alluding to that same position doctrinally),… and you shall not fulfil (or live after) the lust of the flesh.'”
Now again, who is the flesh? Old Adam! In other words, if we walk according to the position that God has given us, we’re not going to give in to the demands of old Adam. Now I always like to qualify the word `position.’ When you take the president of a great corporation, or the president of the United States of America, that presidency has been held by many different people. But it’s the position that we recognize. In other words, I can’t name all the past presidents of General Motors. But I can allude to the president’s position of General Motors. The same way with the White House. We can name certain presidents, but I imagine very few of us can name all of them. But we’re all aware of the fact that America has never been without a president. The position has always been filled by someone. Now, it’s the same way with our position in Christ. It is a position and we are to live in accord with that position, just like we expect people in important places to live in accordance with that position. And when they don’t, we’re disappointed. And, of course, God can be, too. So walk in the Spirit, that position of being in Christ, and then you’ll not give in to the old desires of old Adam. Now verse 17, and I think this proves my point.
“For the flesh (old Adam) lusteth (or warreth) against the Spirit, and the Spirit (that is the indwelling Spirit, that is part of us now) against the flesh (old Adam).”
Do you see that now? I’m sure you’ve all heard the little anecdote that I heard way back when I was a kid. I’ve heard it umpteen times since then and I’ve repeated it because it is so apropos. There was an old fellow, who had lived a life of degradation and had become an alcoholic and spent the good portion of his life in the tavern or bar. Then one day The Lord saved him miraculously and his whole life took on a new meaning. But the poor old fellow had to go by that bar every day to go get his mail. And so he was rehearsing with a friend of his one day, and he said, “You know, every time I start to go past that old hangout, it’s just like two little dogs inside are having a rip-roaring fight. A little black dog is fighting against the little white dog. They fight tooth and toenail. The little black dog says `Go inside, go back to your old lifestyle.'” The little white dog says, “Go get the mail.” And the friend asks, “Well, which one of the dogs win?” And he says, “The one I feed the best!” Well, you see that’s so typical. The little dog that is fed best is the one that’s going to be victorious. It’s a good anecdote. But that’s exactly where we find ourselves.
Now if we’re going to feed old Adam with all the lustful desires of this world, who is going to be victorious? Old Adam. But if we keep Adam starved and keep feeding the Spirit side, that’s where victory comes in. And this is why we have to stay in The Book. You know, people think they can go to church twice a year and maintain their Christianity. Impossible! You can’t survive physically eating twice a year, nor can you survive spiritually eating twice a year. It has to be a constant refurbishing, or nourishing that inner man, the Spirit of God, and we do that from The Book. And this is what enhances our whole spiritual life. Just feeding on the Word of God, fellowship with fellow believers, prayer time and all these things that make up what we call the Christian life. So we have this warfare between the old Adam and the new. Now let’s go back to Chapter 7 and maybe you can see what the poor old apostle is up against. He’s just as human as we are remember.
“For that which I do I allow not:….”
Now let’s break it down. What he lets old Adam do, the Spirit side says, “It’s wrong. Don’t do this.” And then he says the other side of the coin is that which I do not, that’s what I do. Do you see it. And it’s the same that we are in our Christian experience. The things that we know that we should not do we’re constantly finding ourselves doing, when we’re in defeat. And the things that we should do, are so easy to make excuses for: “I’m too tired. I’m going to stay home tonight. I’m not going to go to Bible Study.” And this is exactly how it works. Now let’s go on.
“If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.”
All he is doing is rebelling against the good statements of the Law. But old Adam says “Forget the Law, that’s God’s side – we’re anti-God.” I’ve pointed out over the years (and you have to agree with me because it’s so simple), everything that God says in this Book for mankind to do, for his own good, what does most of mankind do? The opposite! Everything that this Book warns us not to do, what does mankind in general do? They do it! In fact that’s one of the famous cliches lately isn’t it? Well, just do it! Don’t worry about whether it’s right or wrong, just do it. That’s the old Adamic nature working and taking sway of a life when God’s word says this is harmful, this is going to bring you nothing but sorrow and heartache. But Satan and the old nature say, “Do it.” Everybody else is. Does that make it right? No. So we have to go by what the Scripture says and then not give in to old Adam but keep him under control. As Paul says, “I then do not beat the air but I’m going to keep my body under control.” Now verse 17.
“Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
As a believer, when I do things that I know are wrong, it’s not the true “I” that I’ve now become, in Christ, but who is going to do it? Old Adam. Do you see that.? Now, I’m almost running that term into the ground. I’ll be off of it as soon as we get to Chapter 8, but until then I’m going to keep driving it home. That old Adam is the source of all our problems. That old sin nature. Now that goes back to what I said a little bit ago, God reckons him as dead. We’re to understand that he has been defeated and we’re to reckon him as such. But in experience, before the day is over, old Adam is going to be at our throat. He’s going to be at us to try to get us to do something that is contrary to the will of God. Now verse 18:
“For I know that in me [now he’s coming back to the flesh side. That’s in parenthesis] (that is, in my flesh) [that is in my old Adamic nature] dwelleth no good thing:…..”
Now that flies in the face of present day sociology doesn’t it? Because the sociologists are trying to constantly brainwash their kids, especially college level kids, saying that, “You are so good, you can do whatever you want to do. You can be whatever you want to be, because you have it within you to do so.” That’s the positive thinkers as well. Well, that’s contrary to Scripture. In fact, a good friend of mine got all wrapped up with these motivational tapes when they were having their heyday here a few years ago. I wrote and told him, “Look out. You claim to be a believer and you’re on thin ice because a believer never takes this approach that you can be whatever you want to be if you just think it. A believer has to say, “In myself I am nothing, but in Christ then, yes, I can become anything.” Now Paul is saying that from the old Adamic nature’s point of view there is nothing good.
“….for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
Now I’m going to warn you, we haven’t seen but one reference to the Holy Spirit in these first seven chapters. But as soon as we break into Chapter 8, I think it’s 19 times in that one chapter, we’re going to see the Holy Spirit. So you see the question he is asking here is going to be answered in the next chapter. But for now, he’s still asking how am I going to do that which the new nature wants me to do when the old nature keeps tipping the balances? Now verse 19:
“For the good that I would I do not (he repeats it again): but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
And here’s where we all find ourselves. I’ve had people tell me or have told my little wife, that they no longer sin. They have reached that pinnacle of Christianity where they no longer commit sin. Well, bless their hearts, I haven’t been out of bed 15 minutes in the morning and I’m guilty, one way or another. Usually in the thought processes. And so this is what we have to realize. We never get to that place of perfection. It’s just like the apostle here, old Adam is never going to quit working on us. Old Adam is that part of us that gets greedy, that gets envious, covetous. My, you see something that your neighbor has got and the first thing, what does old Adam say? “Hey I’ve got to have that.” That’s what Paul is warning against. We don’t live on that plane anymore. Now let’s go on.
“Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin (old Adam) that dwelleth in me.”
Do you see how plain that is? I trust converting that word “sin” to “old Adam” is doing as much for you as it has for me. This just opens up this portion of the Scripture, that when we realize that it isn’t sins, it isn’t the things that we do that are sinful that’s our problem. The problem is the production center of those thoughts and those sins, which is old Adam.
“I find then (not The Law but what) a law… (I always like to explain right here that when Paul uses the term “law,” whether it’s the Ten or whether it’s the whole system of Judaism, or whether it’s the Law of Christ or some other law, he’s pointing out something that is a fact of life that we have to reckon with. And that’s what he has here. “I find then a fact of life that you just can’t get around, you have to meet it head on”) when I would do good, evil is present with me.”
We all experience that. You see the more you try to do what’s pleasing to The Lord, the more Satan is going to attack. And that’s why I even plead with my television audience as well as my class people. I know that our teaching is starting to penetrate places that Satan doesn’t want it to go. And I live in constant fear of Satanic attack in one way or another. And the only thing that’s protecting me, I know, is the prayers of the saints. As I mentioned in our last taping, nothing thrills me more than to get a letter from someone saying, “Les, we pray for you and Iris two times a day, three times a day,” and we need it, but so do you. And this is why I maintain we believers have to constantly pray for one another. Because we’re up against an adversary who doesn’t like anything we’re doing. I’ve noticed even in my ministry among people who have been so influential in getting this program going, how Satan is attacking them. It’s evident and they realize he is. So far, God has protected us, but I covet your prayers and this is what Paul was up against as well. That whenever he attempted to do something that was glorious for God, the Devil opposed him. Now verse 22.
“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:”
He’s not talking about the Ten Commandments. But he’s talking about a fact of life that now since his conversion, Christ in the Person of the Holy Spirit is dwelling where? Within him! That’s the inward man he’s talking about. That Christ now dwells within. And He is the One that can give us victory over our adversary first and foremost, old Adam. But old Adam is under the control of Satan.
“But I see another law (fact of life) in my members, warring against the law of my mind (it is a warfare between the new nature and the old), and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin (fact of life) which is in my members (that old Adam is in my members. That’s just simply paraphrasing and hopefully clarifying it).”
“O wretched man that I am (Paul hasn’t mentioned the Holy Spirit’s power yet in these first seven chapters. That’s going to break out in Chapter 8 so be patient. Don’t say, “Well, where’s the Holy Spirit in Paul’s life.” He’s there but he’s waiting until the appropriate time. He’s just going to explode in Chapter 8)! who shall deliver me from the body of this death(from this influence of old Adam. How am I going to overcome it?)?”
“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God (not necessarily the Ten, but all of God’s principles, that becomes now the Law of God); but with the flesh the law of sin.”
I think in the book of Galatians Paul refers to it as the Law of Christ. Now the Law of Christ will never fly in the face of the Ten Commandments, as I’ve said earlier, but it’s more than the Ten Commandments. The Law of Christ is this complete liberty that we now have. Turn with me to Galatians as another verse comes to mind.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with (what?) the yoke of bondage.”
Now, what is the yoke of bondage? The Law. Legalism. Anything that says, “But you have to do this. You have to go through this ritual. You have to go through this prescribed route.” That’s legalism. And grace says you do nothing but believe the Gospel and let God do everything that needs to be done.