Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 68
BUT CHRIST – LIVETH IN ME – Part 4
I Corinthians 15:20 and Galatians 2:20
My, it’s been a good afternoon of fellowship and teaching. We just love to teach the Word. Again, I just want to thank our listening audience for everything. We just can’t believe how you all support us and how we never have to ask for a dime, and yet we pay the bills every month. We just give the Lord the glory.
Okay, again we’re going to remind our listening audience of a means of saving me a lot of letter writing. Instead of asking me to write answers to your questions, you can just buy the book of eighty-eight typical questions. The answers are taken from the program. I don’t think we’ve had a complaint from anybody that they didn’t enjoy it. So, if you are looking for something like that, call the girls and they’ll get it out to you for $11.00 postage paid.
Okay, let’s continue on with a little different take on our “Buts,” as this one is going to be “But Christ.” Turn with me to Galatians chapter 2 verse 20. While you’re looking for that, I want to remind our Canadian listeners that since you’re having trouble using the 800 number, call our regular number at 1-918-768-3218. Hopefully that will help you. All right, here in Galatians 2:20 we have Paul’s tremendous testimony of saving faith.
“I am (What?) crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:…” Did you get it? Oh, when we become a believer, our old Adamic nature is put to death – “But Christ!” The God of Creation. The One who went to that cross and suffered and died for our salvation. “But Christ liveth in me.” Now, think for a minute. Have you ever heard such a concept until you get to Paul? Did any of the Old Testament believers have that kind of an understanding of their God? No. They didn’t have a concept that God lived in them. Jesus in His earthly ministry never taught such a concept.
But in this Age of Grace, and let’s see, I think there’s one in Colossians. Let’s turn ahead a minute. It just came to mind. Yes, Colossians chapter 1 verse 27. This is what I want people to understand. This is why I spend so much time in Paul’s epistles. It isn’t that I’m trying to elevate Paul. That’s not the point. But it’s through this man that we receive so many things concerning God that you won’t find anywhere else in Scripture. That’s what makes it so unique. Here he’s talking about you and me as believers. Colossians 1 verse 27. Now listen – don’t miss this!
“To whom God would make known (complete understanding) what is the riches of the glory of this mystery (What is the other word for mystery? Secret! And when was it kept secret? From Adam until Paul! It was never revealed. And here it is.) among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you,…” Not just in the Apostle. We’ve got that same testimony that he had! That Christ liveth in me! Now, that’s not something you arrogantly throw at people and say, “Well, I’m better than you.” No, that’s not the idea.
The idea is that we have such a fabulous salvation. The Grace of God is so beyond human comprehension that you and I can take this as a promise. We can claim it, without any arrogance, without any pride. It’s just a fact of God’s Grace that when we believe Paul’s Gospel, then Christ enters in to dwell within us – in the person of the Holy Spirit. We’re going to look at that if we have time yet today in one of our “But Now’s.”
If you’ll come back then to Galatians chapter 2, let’s go back up, because like we’ve been doing, after showing you the “But…whatever,” then we go back up a few verses and see what goes before it. To see what caused the Holy Spirit to move Paul to write the words of this verse. So, let’s go all the way back up to verse 15.
“We who are Jews by nature, (And, of course, Saul of Tarsus was a Jew’s Jew.) and not sinners of the Gentiles,” Now again, I just have to stop. I’m afraid too many Church people do not realize this. What were the kinds of people that Paul brought into knowledge of salvation? Gentiles.
But what were Gentiles in Paul’s day? They were what we would call the scum of society. The riffraff. Oh, they may have been living elite. But morally? They were scum. They had no moral principles. None. So, the Jew looked down at those filthy Gentiles, not only with their physical inability to keep bodily clean, because that was a Jewish phenomenon.
You’ve got to remember that the vast majority of the world didn’t take a bath every day, like we do. They lived filthy. And to the Jew it was just anathema that people could live and be so dirty. But listen, they did. So this is why he used that term that these Jews looked down at Gentiles as not just sinners, but actually they were almost the off scouring of humanity in their eyes. All right, now then verse 16.
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law,…” Oh, that just flew in the face of the Jews of Paul’s day. That’s why they hated Paul so. They would put him to death in a minute, if they could, because he was flying in the face of their religion.
“…but by the faith of Jesus Christ, (Or in Jesus Christ) even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ,…” Now, I think to clarify that, I won’t do any injustice to Scripture, but what is really behind our faith in Christ? His what? His faithfulness!
Now, what do I mean by His faithfulness? Will He ever let us down? Is there any danger that we’ll slip into eternity and He’ll say, “I’m sorry, but My grace wasn’t sufficient for you?” You see, there’s always a possibility that you could walk in here some Wednesday afternoon and some joker has sawed the legs off of one of these chairs, so that they would break the minute somebody sat on it. Now, that’d be awful, I know. But it happened. I know. I’ll never forget. I opened up a lawn chair for somebody a few years ago. I didn’t do it just right, and when she sat down on it, it collapsed. Well, that’s what you call faithless. That chair didn’t hold her. Anything that let’s you down, is faithless.
Anything that you can rest on, like these chairs, are faithful. I don’t care what it is. Everything that you use, you intend it to be faithful. It’s going to do what it’s supposed to do. That’s Christ! He is faithful! He has done everything that needs to be done! We don’t have to look for something to garnish it. We don’t have to look for something to somehow prop it up. He and He alone is faithful! And when we place our faith in His faithfulness, we’re safe for all eternity! Nothing can take that from us because of His faithfulness. Now, reading on in verse 16.
“…we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified (made totally cleansed of all our sin by an act of God) by the faith (or the faithfulness) of Christ, and not by the works of the law:” And listen, the vast majority of church people today are depending on the Law – their legalism of one sort or another. And God won’t have it, because He’s done everything that needs to be done by Himself. All right, so it’s not by the works of the law.
“…for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Now, we need to turn to Romans chapter 3. Isn’t it amazing that the Spirit prompted Paul to write almost the same identical words here that he wrote in Romans? Almost identical! Romans chapter 3, these are verses that we use quite often. Drop in at verse 19.
“Now we know (Now there’s no doubt in that kind of a statement. That is something you can sink your teeth into.) that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:…” And who was under the Law? Israel. Nobody else. Israel was under the Law.
But the Law didn’t stop at Israel’s borders, it was universal. Still is. The Ten Commandments are just as valid for Indonesia or Japan or China or Russia or any other culture that you can name. Those Ten Commandments are still God’s guidelines to live by or whatever.
“…that every mouth may be stopped, (Not just Jews. Every human being is brought up short by those Ten Commandments. That’s God’s moral law.) and all the world. (Not just Israel) may become (Ready for Heaven? That’s what most people like to think!) may become guilty before God.” Most think the Ten Commandments are somehow a stairway to Heaven. No, they’re not! They are God’s means of condemnation! Anybody who cannot keep all ten of those commandments is forever guilty! Now, verse 20:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law (or by the keeping of the Ten Commandments) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:…” Nobody! Why? Because nobody can keep them. The little Book of James says that if you’re guilty of one, you’re guilty of – how many? All of them! Boy, now that’s a guilt trip, isn’t it? If you’re guilty of one, you’re guilty of all. So, we have to get away from this concept that the Ten Commandments are somehow a means to salvation. No. They’re simply a means of condemnation.
“Therefore by the deeds (or the keeping) of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Not life. Sin. And sin’s synonymous word is what? Death! That’s all the Law can do. Well, then I’ve got another one that I always like to use along with that. II Corinthians chapter 3 and the reason I like to use it is that so many times it brings people up short. Because when I say that Paul is talking about the Ten Commandments in Romans 3, they probably say, well…that’s Les’ idea. I can’t quite buy that. But, hey, this just puts the frosting on the cake. There’s no room for argument here.
II Corinthians 3:6a
“God; (of verse 5) Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; (That is this new concept of grace that Christ has finished the work of the cross.) not of the letter, (That’s Paul’s word for the Law – the Ten Commandments.) but of the spirit: for the letter (the Ten Commandments, they do what? They–) killeth,…” Now people don’t like that. That doesn’t sit with their theology. But that’s what the Book says. The Ten Commandments kill! How? By condemning! I can’t keep them. You can’t keep them. Neither can anybody else. So, we’d better quit trying to make headway, or make points with God, by keeping the Ten Commandments. It won’t do any good. That’s not what they’re meant for. They’re meant to convict. All right, read on.
II Corinthians 3:6b
“…for the letter killeth, but the spirit (That part we’re going to see when we get back to Galatians in a minute, the work of the Spirit and the indwelling Christ in the Spirit’s person.) giveth life.” Eternal life. Now, if you still doubt that I’m talking about the Ten Commandments, look at the next verse.
II Corinthians 3:7a
“But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones,…” Do you know of any other great document in all of human history that was placed in stone? Only the Ten Commandments. So, these engraven in stone Ten Commandments are nothing but ministrations of death! They condemn every human being.
All right, back to Galatians chapter 2 verse 17, because I want to get down to our key verse before the program is over.
“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, (That is through our faith in Paul’s Gospel.) we ourselves also are found sinners, (In other words, we still are prone to fall.) is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.” In other words, just because we’re still human and still fail, does that mean that God promotes sin? Why, heavens no!
“For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.” But that’s not the name of the game. We’ve been forgiven. We’ve been cleansed. But we are still human, and we are still going to sin. And the blood of Christ, of course, is what cleanses us of it. All right, now then verse 19.
“For I (Paul says) through the law, (Because it is a ministration of death.) am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.” Now think about that for a minute. There’s only one thing that can set us free from the condemnation of the Ten Commandments and what is it? Our saving faith. The work of the cross. That settles it.
Now, before we go into Paul’s testimony in verse 20, come back with me to Romans chapter 7. These are almost parallel verses. I like to use the whole concept of comparing Scripture with Scripture, so that we know we’re on solid ground.
“Wherefore, my brethren, (See, he’s writing to believers.) ye also are become dead to the law (How?) by the body of Christ; (the work of the cross) that ye should be married (or brought into union) to another, even to him who is raised from the dead,…” We become part and parcel of it. In other words, let me put it this way. The Christian plan of salvation, when we become a believer, is not just embracing another religion. It’s just not another “do good” thing. When we become a believer, we establish a relationship with God Himself. He is living in us. We are in Him, and it’s a two-way street.
And that’s what makes it so unique in all the religions of the world. That we are not just a follower of a religion, we are in a relationship with the God of Creation by virtue of our faith in the finished work of the cross. All right, read on.
“…that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Just like a marriage relationship is to bring forth children for the ongoing of the human race.) 5. For when we were in the flesh, (Lost. Commandment breakers. Condemned by them) the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” The same death that we saw in the last program at the Great White Throne. That’s what he’s talking about. Separation from God for all eternity. That’s what every lost person is working for.
“But now (We’ve come away from that. We’re no longer under that condemnation of the Law.) we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; (past tense) that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” All right, only got four minutes left, so we’d better get back to Galatians 2, or I won’t make it. Now, back to Galatians 2 verse 19.
“For I through the law am dead to the law,…” Do you see that? Because of the Law’s condemning us, when we run to God’s saving grace for salvation, we now become what? Dead to it! It can’t touch us! The Law can’t condemn you and me anymore, because we’re dead to it, and it’s dead to us. The Law can only condemn the lost person, not the believer. The Law does not condemn the believer.
Now, we may do the things that the Law speaks against, but it’s not condemning us as such. We are immediately under the blood and the forgiveness of Christ. Here’s the reason in verse 20, Paul’s testimony of saving grace. This should be the testimony of every believer.
“For I am crucified with Christ:…” What does crucifixion do? Well, it kills. It puts to death. And the reason I think God used crucifixion for all this was that that was one death that one human being cannot do to himself. They can fall on the sword. They can hang themselves. They can shoot themselves. They can do all kinds of means of putting themselves to death, but they cannot crucify themselves. It’s impossible. It has to be done by an outside force.
All right, so here again, we can’t crucify ourselves. We can’t do anything to merit salvation, but it put us at God’s mercy. We recognize that when He died, you died, and I died, because He died in our place. This is what Paul is saying, “I am crucified with Christ.” I died when He died. That’s what faith does. Then he goes on to say:
“…nevertheless I live;…” In other words, he’s not talking about a physical being put to death. He’s talking about a spiritual thing.
All right, now we come back to the whole concept. When we’re born into the world, we are born with what kind of a nature? A sin nature. You know, I always give the example, how old does that newborn have to be before that sin nature flares up? Well, not very old. The temper shows. Give him a couple of years and he can lie like a rug. Well, you don’t teach kids to lie. That’s all part of that old nature.
“…nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: (Paul isn’t living for himself. He’s living for the Christ who died for him.) and the life which I now live in the flesh (day to day, week in and week out) I live by the faith (Here we have again, I think, the faithfulness.) the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me, and (What?) gave himself for me.” Now what is that all based on? God’s what? God’s love! Everything concerning Christianity rests on the premise of love.
God died for the sins of the world, because he loved mankind. When we become a believer, at least it certainly should show forth, we begin to love people that we probably never thought of loving before. Now, I’m not talking about physical love. I’m talking about spiritual love. We have a concern for those around us. That’s what makes the difference between a true child of God and the run-of-the-mill, everyday person. So, always remember, yes, we’re put to death with Christ, but we live because He lives in us.