Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 23
Let’s get back to Romans Chapter 8. I’d like to go back to those last 6 or 7 verses and pick out some things I neglected to bring out in the the last lesson. But before I do I would like to say that I hope you’re studying the Word with us, and learning what The Book says and what The Book doesn’t say. The Scriptures are not just some gobbledy-gook, but rather written by the hand of God so that anybody can understand it. You don’t have to be highly educated, or have a great theological education to comprehend the Scriptures. Now, of course, that’s what precipitated the Dark Ages, when the church had gotten so powerful that they had pulled the Scriptures away from the common man and brought it into the monasteries because they felt only the monks and educated could discern the Word of God, but that’s not what God intends. He wants all of us to become students, to learn how to study this Book. That’s what Paul meant when he wrote to Timothy that we are to:
II Timothy 2:15
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
I want to come back and cover some of these verses that we looked at in the last lesson. And someone had a question about verse 31 so let’s turn to that verse now. Here is a verse that is so paramount to our Christian experience as a child of God, that we have to understand that those of us who have been called, we’ve been elected, we’ve been justified, we’ve been glorified, and that being the case:
“What shall we then say to these things (what’s Paul talking about? That we’ve been justified, glorified, forgiven, and all these things that Paul alone teaches. How can we say that? Well, we can come to the conclusion if that’s all true, then)? If God be for us, who can be against us?” And that’s where God wants us to rest, there is no one that can condemn us because of verse 32.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,…”
And as we saw in the Book of Philippians The Lord Jesus Himself was obedient unto that kind of a death. Just like Isaac of old. A lot of those things back in the Old Testament were just a preview of what took place in the New. As Abraham laid Isaac upon the altar, is there anything in Scripture that indicates that Isaac struggled? Did Isaac fight back? But in complete obedience he let Abraham, his father, lay him upon that altar. Well, that was just a preview of how God the Son would react to the same situation, that He gave Himself up as we see in Philippians:
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Romans 8:33:
“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?…”
I stressed a little bit in the last half hour that these verses just absolutely hammer home the idea that once God has put the finger on us, has elected us, and we have responded and we have entered into His tremendous Salvation, then who in the world can touch that? Nobody can touch it, because it’s something that God has done, and don’t let anyone ever tell you, “How can you be so conceited as to tell me that you know that you’ll go to Heaven when you die, when no one can know.” When someone talks like that, they themselves are totally unaware of true saving faith. Because if you have enough faith to believe the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4), if your faith is sufficient to bring you into that Salvation, then you should have enough faith to take God at His Word, and the rest of it. And that is that you’re His. No one can take us out of His hand, and we’re going to see that in just a little bit. Verse 33 again.
“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
Would God elect someone who somewhere down the road would chose to reject Him? I can’t see it happening, and the reason I’m using that example is I had a fellow tell me that one time. I said, “Look, the Scripture says that God will never cast us out.” He said, “Oh, I know that, but I could cast myself out.” I said how? He replied, “By committing some horrible sin.” I said, “Look, you can’t touch yourself so far as being in that position in the Body of Christ any more than someone else can. We are totally, and I can’t emphasize this enough; we are totally under the power of the Sovereign God, and nobody can supersede his power.” These closing verses of Romans 8 are like the crescendo of a great orchestra. A crescendo is when that sound just builds and builds, and it’s got your attention. It’s been building throughout these first eight chapters of Romans, but now here comes this crescendo. I think Paul, if we could have heard him in person, would have just shouted it. “Look, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ!” We see this in verse 35:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword (we covered that in the last lesson. Verse 36)? ….we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Oh, not of what we have, not through any ability that I or you have, but what makes us conquerors? Christ Jesus. He became everything. What does the Book of Colossians say?
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
And that is where we live and move, and there is nothing in us that can merit any favor with God, it is all of His Grace. And remember that Grace could never have happened if it had not been for mercy. We no longer have to cry for mercy because God poured out His mercy on Christ there on the Cross. His mercy has already been poured out. Since His mercy has been poured out, now He can give Grace. “Unmerited favor.” We don’t deserve any of this. Now, let’s look again at verse 38:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,”
Go to Ephesians Chapter 6. I felt we had to do this part over since we didn’t have time to cover it in the last lesson. Paul writes:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Not down in the gutter, not on skid row, but in high places. Now, that should wake us up. We’re up against something that is beyond the normal. It’s up here with tremendous power, and position. These powers are in high positions and let’s compare the same Greek word `powers’ back in Matthew Chapter 10 so we get an idea of what Paul is really driving at when he says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and against powers,”
“And when he (The Lord Jesus in His earthly ministry) had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power…”
Now, that word `power’ is the same word in the Greek that we found back in Ephesians, and it was authority. So these principalities and powers have authority, and don’t you ever doubt it. Don’t you ever forget that Satan is powerful. My, he can transform himself into an angel of light. He is the the one, according to II Corinthians 4:3-4, that prevents the lost from comprehending the Gospel. So this word is designated `authority.’ Another one is in Acts Chapter 26, and we see that same kind of a meaning. And this Scripture is going to be in regards to Paul, and it’s the same Greek word again.
“I verily thought with myself (back in his pre-Salvation experience), that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests;”
What does that mean? Paul was put in position to do what he was doing. Authority. Now, bring that back to what we saw in Ephesians:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,…”
And they have authority. And that authority is Satan, and he is doing everything that he can, not only to frustrate the life of you and I as believers, but also to keep lost humanity in darkness. And he will have that power until God breaks that power. Here again is why we have to come back to the very fact that God is the One Who opens our heart, God is the One through the working of the Holy Spirit Who gives us an understanding. Now, return to Romans 8 for a little bit, and then we may look at a couple of verses in John.
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature (all of creation, there is nothing that has ever been created whether it’s on the demonic side or on the righteous angelic side), shall be able to separate us (or take us) from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Someone might say, “Well, that’s Paul, and I don’t have time for his teachings.” Well, let’s go back and see what Jesus Himself says. Let’s turn to John’s Gospel Chapter 6. And here Jesus is speaking:
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;…”
Who is making the first move? God is. Don’t you ever believe anyone when they say, “Oh, seek this and that, and after God.” because it’s impossible. You and I can’t seek God, because it not in us; no unbeliever is going to go running after God, it’s not in him. If he suddenly has an appetite for the things of God, then God put it there first. And it’s the same as Jesus is saying here:
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me (as a result of God moving him) I will in no wise cast out.”
Now, Jesus said it in His earthly ministry that anybody that God has chosen, that God has elected, that God has sent to Him would in no wise ever be cast out. And that means what it says. Now, let’s look at John Chapter 10. Ordinarily I don’t like to raise my voice, but when I find out that there are people who totally don’t understand this, and think I’m way out in left field, then that’s why I have to show you what The Book says: It isn’t what I think.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man (and man has been added by the translators so I prefer to leave it out. Neither shall any) pluck them out of my hand.”
Now, compare that word any with what Paul has said in Romans Chapter 8, and what do you also include? The whole sphere of creation. Not just man, but neither the angelic powers, the Satanic powers, nothing can pluck them out of His hand. Now, can you believe that? Well, if you can believe that God in Christ died, and rose again for your Salvation, then you should be able to have enough faith to believe these things. You’re His, and no one can take you away from Him. Now, you see the first thing I’ll be accused of is, “Well, you’re going to tell people that they can do what ever they want to do just because they will never be lost?” Never have I said that. Grace is not license! Don’t ever get the idea that the Scripture teaches that since we’re safe, that since we’re secure we are free to do what we want.
So we believers live in constant awareness that we don’t want to fall, or commit a sin. But we also have enough common sense to know that we could. I would hope that I would never fall into any great sin. We’re all guilty of these mundane sins of everyday living, and thoughts.
But so far as falling into a great sin such as David did. Did David fall into sin? Was David a believer? Yes. Did David lose his Salvation? No. But oh, what did David know how to do? Beg for forgiveness, and of course he was back before the Age of Grace. But if you want to see a man, David to me was a “man’s man.” David was as manly as any person that ever lived. Yet as a man’s man, we read in the psalms where he poured out his heart in sweat drops begging for forgiveness after he was convicted of his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, and of murdering her husband Uriah. He was a true child of God, otherwise it would have never bothered him. You can go all through Scripture and all the great people failed miserably.
Abraham for example, with his beautiful wife Sara, goes down into Egypt and what happens? “Sara, as beautiful as you are, they’re going want you in their harem. There’s nothing that I can do to stop it unless they kill me, so for goodness sake don’t tell them that you’re my wife, but rather my sister.” That was sin. Did God kick Abraham out? No! Abraham had to come to the place of recognizing his sin as a believer. Look at Peter in the New Testament. In fact, I had a question from a listener the other day, “What did Jesus mean when He said to Peter there in the Book of Luke?”
“And the Lord said, `Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:'”
What did Jesus know that was just down the road in a matter of hours? Peters denial. And here, great big Peter, to probably a teenage girl, cursed and swore that he didn’t know Jesus. He didn’t have a thing to do with Him, and what happened? The cock crowed, and what happened to Peter? He wept bitterly. Why? He was convicted of his sin. Did that act throw Peter out? No! But he was reconciled immediately when he confessed his sin, and so it is with a believer in Paul’s doctrines of Grace. Paul never gives us license to sin. John’s little epistle at the back of your Bible tells:
I John 2:1
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin (we’re going to, and if we sin), we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
And then back in the Book of Revelation Chapter 12. My, don’t ever think for a minute that believers aren’t subjected to sin. I’ve never seen a true believer that just makes up his mind that he’s going to go out and get drunk, or commit adultery, or cheat someone, but it can happen. But a believer has to be constantly on guard.
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, `Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren (believers)is cast down (Satan), which accused them (believers) before our God day and night.'”
Now, if it’s impossible for believers to sin, then Satan wouldn’t have had anything to accuse them of, but he did, and he does, and he will until we’re in The Lord’s presence. Because as long as we’re in this body of flesh we are going to be prone to fall. I like this simple analogy: most, if not all of you, have raised children, and when they were little and learning how to walk, did they just start walking? No, they fell, and what did a good mom or dad do? Kick them in the rear, and say, “What’s the matter with you?” No. We picked them up, and lovingly set them on their feet, and got them started again.