Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 33
GALATIANS 2:7 – 3:5
Let’s turn right back to where we left off in the last lesson, and that would be Galatians 2:15. Where Paul after coming away from his confrontation with Peter who was still succumbing to the demands of the Law-keeping Jews at Jerusalem says:
“We who are Jews by nature, (by birth) and not sinners of the Gentiles, (we’re not after those pagan Gentiles, who were looked down upon by the Jews of that day) 16. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law, for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
We need to go back to Romans chapter 3 where it makes it a little plainer than this. One earlier Bible scholar that I’ve read in days gone by, puts it like this. The little letter to the Galatians is sort of like an artist who had the picture in his mind and he drew it first in pencil. And after he saw the whole picture in pencil he then put on canvas with oil, and that’s the Book of Romans. And you know I kind of like that. Galatians is just sort of an introduction, it covers all the bases, but you don’t get the graphic detail until you get into Romans. Now this verse 16 of Galatians is a good example of that. It’ kind of hard to sort out, but here it is in Romans chapter 3.
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, (now that’s the Ten Commandments we’re referring to) it saith to them who are under the law: (in other words the Ten Commandments were directly given to the Nation of Israel, not to the Gentile world. But since it’s the Law of the Sovereign Creator God, how far does the influence of that Law go? To the ends of the earth, and look what the rest of the verse says ) that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
Even a Gentile can’t come up after having stolen something and say, “Well I never did anything wrong.” Yes, you did because the Law of God says, “That it’s against His will, against His Law to steal.” So every mouth was stopped, and all the world became guilty before God. Now that being the case:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law (in other words by Law-keeping, by works) there shall no flesh (Jew or Gentile) be justified in his sight:…”
Why? Because the Law only has one function – You know we have people all over this part of the world that think by keeping the Law, by keeping the commandments, that they are making brownie points and someday God will just let them slip in under the door, but it’s not going to work that way. The Law wasn’t given for that reason. The Law had one function and that was to show mankind how sinful they really are. Every human being has been a Law-breaker, and we’re sinners by nature.
“…for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Now let’s come on down to verse 23.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Not just Gentiles like the Jews perhaps thought, but everybody, Jews and Gentiles have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And its not anything we have done, that’s not what makes us sinners but rather we’re sinners because of who we are. We’re sons of Adam. Now verse 24 has the remedy.
“Being justified freely (without a cause) by his grace (His unmerited favor poured out on us) through the redemption (or the buying back process) that is in Christ Jesus: 25. Whom God (this same Christ Jesus) hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, (remember we looked at the ramifications of the blood in our last lesson. Going all the way back to Genesis 9, Leviticus 17, the blood was something very special in God’s sight because in the blood is the life.) to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; (the righteousness of Christ) that he (Christ) might be just, and the justifier of him which(repents and is baptized? No way, but) believeth in Jesus.”
You can put anything in there that you want to including keeping the Ten Commandments but it just doesn’t say that, but only He will be the Justifier to him who believeth. Now verse 27.
“Where is boasting then? (who can brag?) It is excluded. (Why? Because the law of faith excludes it as you see in the remains of the verse.) By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”
And the law of faith is? Believe the Gospel for your salvation. I’ve got a list of Salvation verses which is included in this book #33. We put them together for our classes and we’ve mailed a lot of them out over the years. These are all basic salvation verses, and all I want people to realize is that not one of them says anything about what we can do except“BELIEVE.” All of these verses say basically the same thing, and that is “When we believe that Christ died and rose from the dead thou shall be saved.” Now it says it in various and different ways, and they have all came from Paul’s various epistles and they all make no mention of repentance and baptism. Every one of them makes no mention of any kind of works or doings or keeping, but rather they all say basically the same thing –
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God:”
But all I want people to see is that all of these basic salvation verses are just like one in Romans 3, that it’s through faith in His Blood, through His death, burial, and resurrection, and that if we believe it in our heart then God does all the rest. We don’t have to do anything because He does it. We’ve been seeing the results of the power of the Gospel as people have been writing and calling. And I know these are people who have had no exposure to this whatsoever. And yet the Lord is opening their eyes that it isn’t what we do, but what we believe by faith. Now back to Galatians chapter 2.
“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, (not by the Law) we ourselves also are found sinners (remember we’re children of Adam) is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.” And here’s the basic reasoning in verse 18. Now this takes a little thinking I know it does. But think it through, and remember Paul’s past no one else could ever come close to, but look what he says.
“For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor,”
Now what’s he saying? Here he’s been a Law keeping Jew, a great practitioner of Judaism. He thought the Law and the Temple and the Old Testament was the epitome of everything. But once he saw the truth of the power of the Gospel of Christ how that He died, shed His blood, and rose from the dead then he could literally destroy everything of the old account. Now he says, “if I go back and put my converts back under the Law and command them to keep circumcision then I am rebuilding what I’ve torn down.” Do you get that? Let’s look at Colossians chapter 2 and nobody understood this better than the apostle Paul. This is a graphic statement. Here he is speaking of the work of the Cross.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, (the Law, and especially the Law that was being practiced at the time of Christ which was a degenerated 613 rules and regulations.) which was contrary to us, and (the Law was absolutely contrary to human nature. Everything in the Law, human nature says do it. So He) took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross;”
Now that’s what Paul means then as we come back to Galatians chapter 2 that once he helped believing Jews like himself to see that that old economy had been totally done away with.It was nailed to our Savior’s Cross.! Now Paul says if I come back and tell these converts that I was wrong, and now I’ve got to put them back under the Law then he says, “I’m building again that which I have destroyed.” Isn’t that beautiful, but Paul says, he couldn’t do that. Paul could not go back on the revelations that the Lord had given him. Now let’s move on to verse 19, and this is his whole reason for pressing on constantly throughout the Roman Empire with the Gospel of the Grace of God.
“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.”
What was the Law? Perfect. Right. It was the very mind of God it was perfect from God’s point of view. But what was it from man’s point of view? It was something that he could keep. It was weak, it was beggarly, because even though it was perfect from God’s point of view, from man’s stand point he couldn’t keep it because there was no power in the Law to help him keep it. Do you understand that? Remember the Law was given to Moses on hard cold stone. Now listen stone is not cuddly. I don’t care how old we are, some things are cuddly, but stone is not one of them. It is cold, and it is not something that you can just bring to yourself. That was the Law.
And even Peter had to admit that it was a yoke. It was like a millstone around people’s necks because of it’s heavy demands, and man’s inability to keep it and it had nothing to help him do it. Now that was the Law, and the Law was severe. If you went out on the Sabbath day and picked up a few sticks for the fireplace, it wasn’t a slap on the wrist, but rather a deathpenalty. If someone was caught in an act of immorality it wasn’t a wink of the eye, it was death! That’s how severe the Law was. But we have been set free from all of that because of the finished work of the Cross. But you and I and anyone who has experienced salvation would never realize why we needed salvation if it weren’t for the Law. Do you see that?
My own pastor the last few Sundays has been in the Book of Romans and I have been thoroughly enjoying it, and I’ve told him so. One of the comments he’s made is, “You can never be saved until you know that you’re lost.” How do you know that you’re lost? Because the Law condemns you. If it weren’t for the Law then anybody could say, “Well I’m good enough. and God will accept me.” But the Law says you’re guilty. There isn’t a one of us in this room who hasn’t broken the Ten Commandments and we know that. And if we’ve broken the Ten Commandments what are we? We’re Law breakers, and if we’re a Law breaker then we’re a sinner.
You know a lot of people have the idea that a sinner is just somebody that is down in the gutter. Somebody who has committed murder or somebody who has been in a house of ill repute, or any of these things that the world looks at as maybe sinful. Hey listen, good people are sinners, nice people are sinners, church people are sinners, because we’re all guilty of having broken God’s perfect Law. So then what condemns us? The Law. Come back with me to the tough chapter of Romans 7. That chapter is what I like to refer to as 8th Grade arithmetic when I was in school. But I remember those 8th Grade arithmetic problems were tough. We called them story problems. They would give you a whole paragraph of a background and all of the ramifications and I tell you what, it would just blow your mind to try to work them out. Well that’s sort of like what Romans chapter 7 is like. This chapter just boggles your mind and then all of a sudden it comes out.
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. (is the Law something evil or wicked?) Nay, I had not known sin, (or the old sin nature) but by the law, for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” See how simple that is? So it was the Law that condemned this religious Jew, and he thought he was keeping it.
“But sin, (the old sin nature) taking occasion by the commandments, (the Law) wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. (it got his mind just broiling) For without the law sin was dead. (it was inoperative) 9. For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”
Old Adam woke up and old Adam in Saul’s makeup said, “Hey that’s me, because I’m a coveter.” And then what did he do? I died. Now what does he mean? Well he had to die in the realm of that old Adam who was a Law breaker, and with the death of old Adam, what happened? New life. Now that’s what we talk about all the time, that’s salvation. When our old Adam is put to death because he was a Law breaker and we become a believer in the finished work of the Cross which is the Gospel then we’re a new creation, we’re alive, we have eternal life and Paul is constantly referring to that. Peter also said that salvation was all Paul talks about in all his epistles. Now back to Galatians chapter 2 verse 20 which is a classic. It’s a verse that I think most kids in daily vacation Bible school use to memorize. Here Paul now gives his own personal testimony under inspiration of the spirit and it becomes the Word of God.
“I am crucified with Christ:…”
Now Paul didn’t die on a Roman cross. If he died a martyr’s death, I think it was by beheading. So what’s he’s talking about? Oh that day on the road to Damascus when the Lord spoke to him, and literally knocked him to the ground, and in a moment Saul of Tarsus recognized that he was dealing with the ascended Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified One, what happened? Oh Saul died that day, he was crucified in the old Adam, and immediately he became a new man, a new creation.
So this is Paul’s whole thrust of teaching, that now as believers we have these two forces working within us. God reckons old Adam as absolutely dead, but in experience, oh he’s still there. I’ve always told people that I don’t mind the attacks of Satan half as much as I do the attacks of my old Adam. Now think about that. As you go through a week of life right here and now where do you run into most of your difficulties? Not Satanic as much as old Adam, he’s the one that pops those thoughts in your mind, he’s the one that catches us in these moments of weakness, and of course don’t take away from Satan’s power either. But it’s our old Adam that just constantly confronts us to still go the direction of the old adamic nature. But opposite it we now have that new nature which is energized by the Holy Spirit. Now verse 20 again.
“I am crucified with Christ: (when Christ died that’s when we died) nevertheless I live; (physically) yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh (here and now, day by day) I live by the faith (or the faithfulness, He is faithful, He will never let us down.) of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Remember Peter in the Book of Acts to the Nation of Israel said, “You killed Him.” But Paul to the Body of Christ says, “He loved you and gave himself for you.”