Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 23
ROMANS 8:14-17 – PART 2
Now, let’s pick up again in Romans Chapter 8. I hope people don’t get tired of hearing the same chapter over and over, but after all we’re not on a set format or schedule, so we’re just going to study it, and take it as it comes. In the last lesson we left off in verse 24 where Paul continues:
“For we are saved by hope (now someone is going to throw a curve at me by saying, “I thought you said we’re saved by faith.” Well, we are, but faith and hope are in the same meaning, actually); but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”
In other words, when we enter into the realm of the invisible, what do we have to depend on? Faith. Let’s go back to the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 11, for a moment, and look at a verse on hope and faith.
“Now faith (taking God at His Word) is the substance (the very meat) of things hoped for (just like in Romans Chapter 8), the evidence (the proof) of things not seen.”
So when we enter into the realm of the spiritual into these things which we cannot just tangibly touch, then it has to be on the basis of faith. And there again, if I didn’t know that this was the Word of God, then I couldn’t believe it. I mean some of these things are so far beyond human comprehension that you can’t believe it unless you are positive that this is the Word of God, and I am positive. There is so much in here to prove the validity of this Book that I don’t have to have any doubts. Someone might say, “Well, that’s just blind faith,” but I say it isn’t. My faith isn’t blind my faith is documented, and that’s what The Word is all about. Verse 1 again:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report (now here it is again in verse 3). Through faith (by simply taking God at His Word) we (believers) understand that the worlds (the universe) were framed by the word of God,…” He spoke it, and it all came into being, and if we can believe our astronomers (not the astrologers) that everything is still being created; it’s still moving further and further. I can believe that. Because God is infinite. There is no putting an outer shell on God’s creation. Finishing verse 3:
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen (tangible) were not made of things which do appear.”
What does that mean? Everything that’s been created that we can now see and handle came out of nothing. I remember a few years ago reading an article in a scientific magazine. It was written by a great physicist who had devoted his whole life trying to arrive at the origin of the universe. And of course there are still a lot of people trying to do that, but his whole article had brought himself and the reader to the conclusion that at the beginning, whenever that was, everything had come from a single source of light. And I said to myself, “That’s God, God is light.” You see, this guy was so close to the truth, and yet I’ll bet he was a rank unbeliever. Everything had come from one source of light and had just expanded out from that, so, consequently, he says, “I can see the day when everything could go back into that source of light.” And so can I. In fact, I think that’s exactly what God’s going to do when everything will be destroyed. The elements are going to melt with fervent heat, Peter says in his little epistle. And God is going to create new heavens and a new earth. I think that’s exactly what He will do. He will pull everything back into that original source of light and energy and from there He’ll create new heavens and a new earth. Revelation tells us that, and so does Peter. So faith and hope, then, are so intricately intertwined. Now, come back to Romans Chapter 8.
“…for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”
I’ve given the expression that I’ve learned over the years that anticipation is far more exciting than realization. When you look forward to something, that’s a lot more exciting than when it finally gets there. Now, verse 25.
“But if we hope (again by faith) for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
With God, time doesn’t mean much. God isn’t concerned whether He will bring everything into its fruition tomorrow, or whether it’s ten years from now or one hundred years from now. But we know it’s coming and we can’t push God to do it any faster. So what do we do? We wait patiently. But in your patience never lose sight of the fact that it is going to happen. Christ is going to return. And we feel it’s getting sooner every day. Now, verse 26 and let’s move into a little deeper area.
“Likewise the Spirit (the Holy Spirit who is now indwelling us, according to Paul’s teaching) also helpeth our infirmities (our weaknesses. There’s not much we can do about it because we’re dealing with the invisible, in the realm of the Spirit. But let God do it. God can strengthen us in our places of infirmity): for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
That verse is kind of hard to comprehend, except to say I think that there will come places in our lives when we just don’t know how to pray. We have an idea of what we want, but we can’t put it into words. I’ve told my classes over the years, when you get to that situation, just be quiet, shut up and let the Holy Spirit commune for you. This is not necessarily a tongues experience. That’s not what Paul is talking about. But we get to this place where the Holy Spirit actually intercedes on our behalf. Now, come back to I John. This is a different intercessory power that John talks about in his epistle.
I John 2:1
“My little children (who is he talking to? Believers! He doesn’t call the unbelieving world his children. It’s the believing element that is being addressed), these things I write unto you, that ye sin not (now what have I stressed over the years – that we are under Grace and not under law. Grace is not license. Just because we’re under Grace, just because the sin is always less than God’s Grace, that doesn’t give us license. And so John says the same thing. He begs the believer – sin not! Don’t sin!). And, if any man sin (that’s conditional. What are we going to do? We’re going to sin! You might as well admit it), we have an advocate with the Father (now what is an advocate? It’s an intercessor. We have Someone Who is interceding for us to the Father. And Who is it?), Jesus Christ the righteous:”
Absolutely He is! He is there 24 hours a day, every day of the year. I’ve told my classes over the years, and I think I’ve even said on the program, this is one of the miracles of our God. I’m sure that at any one moment of time, there are probably a million believers in all areas of the world that are approaching the throne room. But He hears every one as an individual. He doesn’t hear just a mumble-jumble of voices coming up before Him. And so when we pray we have that assurance that He hears us and He knows all about us as a person. Now, back in Romans 8, the Holy Spirit is interceding on behalf of us. And again, I think we have all three Persons of the Trinity involved, even in our prayer life. All three Persons are working for us constantly. A little later in this chapter, no wonder Paul will write, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” We’ve got all three Persons constantly working on our behalf. Let’s read on.
“And he that searcheth the hearts (this is the area in which God works. You and I can’t look on each others hearts. I can’t judge anyone, nor would I ever try. But God does) knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit (now hold it. Where, so far as you and I are concerned, is the Spirit? He’s in us. Now, that’s a concept that we cannot understand. A person of the Godhead dwelling in me? Absolutely! It’s what The Book says. And again, we take it by faith that the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is indwelling the believer. And it’s through that Holy Spirit that God searches the heart of the believer), because He (the Holy Spirit) maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Does that leave out the Son? No! It just involves all three. The Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf and the Son intercedes on our behalf to the Father. It’s just fantastic. And no wonder verse 28 can say what? This is a verse that the whole world rests on:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…”
For everybody? No. There’s a qualification here. Who is it? The believer! All things work together for your good and mine, as a believer, not for the world necessarily. Everything is working for the fruition of His eternal plan for the ages, absolutely it is. But in our everyday moment by moment experience, it’s only the believer that God is working out the best for him. Now, that may also include some things that aren’t so good. I’ve found in my life, at the time I was going through some things, I’d say, “Lord, why? Why are you doing this to me?” But years later I can look back and I can say, “Praise The Lord that took place because it brought me to where I am, and you’re the same way.” This is the joy of being a believer. God may bring some tough things into our lives. He may bring some bad experiences. But it’s for His own purpose to bring us to the place that He wants us to be.
Remember the illustration that I gave you about the young lady, when invited to partake of the love of God said, “I hate God!” Well, that’s where most people are. You have to get them in a tight spot to express it, but that’s where they really are. They don’t love God. And they’re the first one, that when things go a little bad, to say, “Well, where’s God?” Well, God’s there, but it’s their problem, not His. Now, let’s continue with verse 28:
“…to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Now, we’re going to get into a few areas that are a little bit sticky, I know.
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate…”
Now, right here I always have to stop and forewarn people. We’ve got those around us, and I’m sure I’ve got them living around me down in my little neck of the woods (and I don’t know what to call them, fatalists or whatever). But their idea is that if God has already predetermined I’m supposed to go to Heaven, I’ll get there. And if I’m predestined to go to Hell, there’s nothing I can do about it and I’ll be going there, so don’t worry about it. Well, that’s not what the word `predestination’ is talking about. In fact, what I’ve done in my classes over the years is get people to see what are we predestined to. Look at it real carefully.
“For whom he did fore know, he also did predestinate to (Hell? No, it didn’t say that. Does it say to Heaven? No, it doesn’t say that either. See what I mean? We’ve got to look at what The Book says. Let’s look at what it really says. What it really says is) Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be (a position which in this case is being) conformed (or be made like), to the image of his Son,…”
Now, that’s not heaven or hell. That’s a position that God has reserved for every individual believer. Now, on that same basis let’s look at another one over in the Book of Ephesians in Chapter 1. And let’s start at verse 4. I know that some of these things are mind boggling, but hopefully before the lesson is over we’ll be able to reconcile some of these things.
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world (in other words before anything was created He already had us all marked), that we should be holy and without blame before him in love;” As a result of that love extended on the Cross. Now, watch verse 5:
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”
A lesson or two ago I defined the word `adoption’ as Paul uses it, and as it was practiced in the Roman and the Greek culture. When the child born of the husband and wife was put under tutors, he was educated, and trained, and prepared to come in at an equal level with the father, and we’ll say for a business. When that child reached that point in life he went through the “rites of adoption.” Now, the custom that is kin to that in the Hebrew culture is the “Bar Mitzvah,” and that was when the boy reached the age of 14. But it wasn’t in the same category as the Romans and Greeks, because they were in the secular world, and they were preparing their child to come in and be a co-worker in the business. But Paul teaches that the moment we become a believer we don’t go through years of tutoring, and training, but rather we are immediately placed as an heir with the Father and Son. And that’s exactly what he is saying here. We were predestinated, not to heaven or hell, but we’re predestinated as a believer to this position right there with Christ from day one as a joint heir in the process of the adoption. And I think Paul uses it once more here in this chapter.
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance,…”
Just like we saw in Romans 8, that we are joint heirs with Christ. Now, if you’re a joint heir that means whatever belongs to the other party is yours. In the secular economy, if the other half passes off the scene, who ends up with everything? The heir does. Now, we’re joint heirs, and of course Christ is never going to die and pass off the scene so we’re going to be joint heirs forever with Him. Now, reading verse 11 again:
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”
Do you know what that means? God has predetermined everything. Let’s go back to the Book of Acts for a moment and let me show you a verse that ties in. This is a verse we’ve looked at before, but it’s almost the same kind of language so let’s look at it. And, of course, here he’s speaking of Jesus of Nazareth in verse 22:
“Him (Jesus), being delivered (up to be crucified) by the determinate counsel (It’s the same word) and foreknowledge of God (notice the language is the same as it was in Ephesians 1:11), ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”
Now, what’s a determinate counsel? It’s a meeting of the minds (plural). So Who had a determinate meeting of the minds? The Trinity. Way back in eternity past, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, came together and by a determinate agreeing of their three minds, they decided to create the universe, and they decided to put in little old planet earth, and on it they would put the human race. They knew in foreknowledge that the human race would fall in the man Adam. And they knew in that predetermine counsel then that one Person of that Triune God would have to be a Redeemer. Isn’t that beautiful? And so everything according to that predetermined counsel of Acts Chapter 2 brought the whole thing moving. Then, as a small part of that whole big picture come you and I, again according to that same kind of Triune counsel, that same Triune meeting of the minds. God put the finger on everyone of us and said, “I have a place waiting for you.” Now, if that isn’t enough to thrill you then I don’t know what would.
But that’s where we are, we’re in that predetermined position that was put there by the counsel of the Triune God before anything was ever created. Now the big argument comes up, “Well, now wait a minute. Are we elected, are we chosen before we ever had anything to do about it?” And the opposite party comes and says, “It was all of our own free will. We decided to choose Salvation.” And I say, “Well, now wait a minute, Yes whosoever will sits over here, you can’t deny it.” The Scripture is full of it, that Christ died for every man, (I Corinthians 15:1-4) He tasted death for every man, He’s not willing that any should perish. But over here the Scripture says you were chosen before the foundation of the world. Now, maybe you can, but I can’t explain those two facts of Scripture. But I’m going to let them set in Scripture by faith. This is what God has said, and I’m going to let Him settle the controversy because I can’t. Do you remember that I put this one on the board several years ago, and I think it’s as good an application as I ever found.
Here’s the river of humanity. Ever since Adam, the human race has just been flowing like old man river, but all along the banks of the river are these doors of opportunity, and what’s on the front part of the door? “Whosoever will may come!” So the `whosoever’ goes through that door of opportunity, and when he gets to the other side and looks back, what does he see on the other side of the door? “Chosen in Him, before the world was ever created.” Now, I can’t put it any better, because that is exactly the way it is. We have to decide for ourselves, and yet the moment we decide God says. “I chose you.”