Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 21
THE IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD
ROMANS 4 – 5:5
We will begin with Romans Chapter 5, but before we do it’s always so good to be able to share with you in each lesson. Sometimes we have as many as ten different denominations that will attend our study. But our main goal is to help everyone learn how to read their Bible and read it with understanding, and of course through the process we like to see folks come to a saving knowledge, and be sure of their eternal destiny.
We have with us today two very special guests. Keith Decker of Decker & Sons Publishing who does the final proofing and gets each of these books ready for the printer. Also, with Keith today is his mother Marjorie Ainsborough Decker who, of course, is world-renowned as Christian Mother Goose. We have such a sweet relationship with this family and it’s such a joy doing business with people like these. We just absolutely love the Decker family, and think Keith is doing a fantastic job getting these books printed.
Let’s begin our study for this lesson, and we’ll begin with verse 1: And the first word in Chapter 5 throws you right back into Chapter 4. We won’t do that, but the Therefore means everything we have just studied in Chapter 4. Abraham as a perfect example of having entered into a Salvation experience by faith and faith alone, and how that even though it seemed impossible yet he never wavered in his faith. Except through the eyes of faith, I can’t comprehend that the Creator God Himself, the God who controls everything, took on human flesh. He walked the streets of Palestine, He went to that Cross, and died for me. I can’t comprehend that, except through the eyes of faith. I can’t explain it, and there’s no way you can explain it. But this is exactly were God wants us, and that is to simply say, “Lord I can’t understand it, but I believe it.” There’s not a shadow of doubt in my mine that this is all true.
“THEREFORE being justified by faith,..”
Paul has said that over and over in the past couple of chapters. Why? Because it’s got to be driven home that you’re not justified in what you do. When I say you’re not justified by works as the Scriptures say, what are we referring to? Well the best generalized answer is, works according to Scripture, and its work in salvation is anything you can do in the energy of the flesh. Anything that you can say, “Hey, I think I’d better do this so I can merit heaven.” That’s works. Now you can just start numbering them.
I’ll never forget years and years ago, Iris and I read a little book that was in the location of Southern Missouri, and it was about a teenage boy and his dog. There came a point in his life when he thought he had to keep peace in the family, and he wanted to set his mom’s mind at ease so he came to the conclusion that he had better go to church and join up. Very typical. So he joined the church (that’s a work), but joining the church never saved anybody. A lot of people got the idea by walking the aisle, that that’s how you’re saved. Hey that never saved anybody. I’ve got nothing against people making a genuine profession of faith, by walking the aisle. But the walking of the aisle is a work, and it won’t bring Salvation. Giving, tithing, can become a work; lot’s of people think that if they can give enough then they can buy their way into Heaven. No you can’t! Keep your money, because God can’t use it anyway. So any of these things that you can do in the energy of the flesh is works.
Baptism is something that if one pastor won’t do it, then another one will. All you have to do is say, “Hey I want to be baptized and join the Church.” They’ll do it, but what is it? It’s a work. It’s something that you have decided to do. And you can just go on and on and on. You can go visit the sick, give to the poor, but remember that’s all works. Which in their own respective places after believing The Gospel for your Salvation, then that’s fine. That’s what God expects, but you see the world out there is trying to do that for Salvation, and it won’t work, God won’t recognize it. So here we have to come back to scriptural premise, “The just live by faith.”
“THEREFORE being justified by faith (+ nothing), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Remember the account of the gentlemen we discussed earlier. Remember he called me just two hours after he asked God to save him, and when he called me he had total peace. A total load taken off his shoulders. And that’s what Salvation does. We have seen it over and over and over. And I guess I’ve been privileged to have some of the most ungodly people. I mean the very worst. The kind you would think would never have a drop of spiritual interest in them, and then they come to the tremendous realization that their sins are gone. They’re forgiven, they’re justified, they’re cleansed. And in verse 1 once we have this justification by faith, now we have peace with God.
Now peace, of course, is something that the world is looking for tonight, but the world understands peace in a whole different light than Scripture does. When the world speaks of peace what are they talking about? Absence of war; and my that’s noble. I hate to read about the ravages of Yugoslavia and other areas, it’s awful. And, oh, it would be great if we could outlaw war, but there will be no peace until the Prince of Peace comes at His second coming. And the world politicians can’t seem to understand that. Now of course I recognize that they have to work for peace. You can’t just let the thing fall completely apart, in fact I’ve said before that I’m not alarmed at the population increase, because we are so close to the end that this is all part of the end scenario. Yes, there’s a population explosion. Egypt, one of the poorest nations on earth is a good example. If it weren’t for the billions from Uncle Sam, they would all starve. Oh, but this population explosion is all part and parcel of getting the world ready for the return of Christ.
I told my Sunday School class way back in the 60’s that I wasn’t worried about an atomic bomb destroying the world, and I never have been. You might say, “Les, you’re crazy!” No I’m not, because I know this world is not going to end until it ends God’s way in God’s own time. And so why get all shook up about it. Now, if you really look back at the time of the dropping of the first bomb 50 years ago, how many times political things happened that before that time, the world would have been in war. But it didn’t happen. Why? Because of the nuclear energy that was sitting back there in the closet someplace, and God wasn’t about to let it be used. So what did He do? He kept the thing from igniting. I’m thinking right now for example the time we shot down an Iranian plane in the Gulf. Ordinarily that would have precipitated war, but it didn’t, and why? Because God’s in control.
The men of this world are not going to bring the end of the world. They are not going to bring in a nuclear holocaust until God says it’s time. I’m sure that during the Tribulation there will be nuclear warheads exploded. I’m positive of that, but it’s not going to happen until that time. Man is not going to destroy this planet. God is! So I don’t worry about these things that so many people are shook up about. Now hear what I’m saying. I’m against pollution, I’m against trashing the planet, my heart weeps when I drive along my beautiful valley road, and see trash on it. I hate it, but I’m not going to say that if we don’t clean it up that we’re going to destroy the planet. These are just signs that we are getting so close to the end.
And as I mentioned just a few lessons ago, as we look at the Nation of Israel, and how close they are coming to being assimilated, losing their identity, well all that tells me is that we’re just that much closer than what most of us realize. All right, so as believers we have peace with God, not just the absence of war, but a relationship. Several Scriptures just came to mind, let’s turn to the Book of Colossians Chapter 2 for a moment. This is a verse that is so precious to me, because of what I see in it. A lot of people may not see it as I do. Verse 14 is the verse we are looking for, but let’s begin with verse 13. And remember that Paul always writes to the believer. Colossi was in Gentile territory so it was probably a congregation of mostly Gentiles. I feel that almost all these congregations had some believing Jews. But predominately Gentiles, so now look what Paul says even to you and I, the Church, tonight.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh (old Adam), hath he quickened (made alive, He has done something in the area of the Spiritual) together with him (that is when Christ was raised from the dead we also were raised from the dead), having (now that word `having’ is a past tense participle) forgiven you (how many?) all trespasses(do you believe that? Well you had better, because that’s what God has said);”
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us (the Law! All the ramifications that were against mankind. His inability to keep it, it’s severity. If someone was caught picking up sticks on the Sabbath, what was the sentence? Death! The same for adultery. Boy if that still applied today there wouldn’t be many left would there? It was severe, and drastic, but now what has happened to it?), which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”
Now how graphic can you get? When He hung there on the Cross the laws and ordinances that were against us were nailed there as well. That ended it. And that’s why He was the fulfilling of the Law. What put Him on the Cross? His laws, and remember how you fulfill the Law? LOVE! (Romans 13:8) How did Christ fulfill the Law? His love, the ultimate by being nailed to that Cross. All right let’s look at another one in Colossians Chapter 1:24. Where Paul speaks of being a minister in verse 23:
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions (his suffering) of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;” Oh everything was fulfilled when He went to that Cross. Another one that comes to mind is in Ephesians Chapter 3; let’s look at it.
“To the intent that now (after the finished work of the Cross and the revelation of this great Gospel of Grace) unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be know by the church (the true believers) the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”
Why did God do it all? You know I’ve had questions come in over the phone such as, “Well if God knew that the world was going to end up in such a mess, and that men would rebel so, then why did He ever make them in the first place.” Well it all boils down to that question we’ve had since we were kids. Who am I, where did I come from, and why am I here. Why are we here? We’re objects of God love. Now to be an object of love, what does the giver expect in return. Love, and that’s why He made the human race. Angels couldn’t respond, and so He made the human race with that indwelling attribute of will to either respond to His love or to reject it. And so that’s why He had to bring Satan on the scene so we could exercise that choice, otherwise there would be no will exercised. So the whole program of the human race was that God could have prepared people to fellowship with. And to return or extend His love to them that had responded of their own free will to His love. And that’s why we are here, and that’s why the vast majority of mankind are given the free option to reject it if they want to. Remember, God doesn’t want someone in His Heaven if they can’t respond to His love. But to those who respond to His love, He’s prepared things like what Paul says:
I Corinthians 2:9
“But as it is written, `Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.'”
Oh listen, the world out there I know thinks that we’re a bunch of kooks, and fanatic nuts, and I know they do. And I just tell them, “Hey, live it for 70 or 80 years.” So what. But I’ve got an eternity of the things that will make the best this earth can offer seem like an old pig pen by comparison. But you see they can’t understand that we have simply responded to an extended love, and that’s why He went to the Cross; it was love. Now what was the final eternal purpose? Paul doesn’t really tell us here in Ephesians Chapter 3, but if you will come on over to II Timothy Chapter 1 we will find out.
II Timothy 1:7,8
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (the world may think we’re nuts, but God knows better). Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”
Now listen what kind of power are we talking about? We’re talking about the kind of power that can fling the stars, planets, sun and the moon into orbit without the benefit of a rocket or computers, and they never bump into one another, they’re all out there in perfect synchronization. That’s the kind of power we’re talking about. I mean it’s mind boggling. Now reading on.
II Timothy 1:9
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works (see how The Bible put down works for Salvation?), but according to his own purpose…”
You know back in the Book of Acts, Peter makes it so evident that before anything was ever created the Triune God had a meeting in eternity past, not that they had to sit around the table and banter it back and forth, but nevertheless the Trinity got together and agreed on creation, on mankind, knowing that he would sin, and they set up the plan of Salvation out of which the Son would come down and die, and be raised from the dead. That’s all part of this eternal purpose that God implemented before anything was ever created. Now finishing that verse.
II Timothy 1:9
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
Isn’t that glorious? I mean this is past human understanding, you and I are here today as recipients of His grace, but God knew about us way way back before anything was created. We’re not an accident in time, we are according to His divine and eternal purpose. Now let’s return to Romans Chapter 5 again for a few moments. Remember verse 1 says, we have this peace that passeth all understanding. Peace with God. How many people have to lay their head on the pillow at night and toss and turn until their guilt complex runs rough shod over them. They know they’re not at peace with maybe fellow men or maybe with government and certainly not with God. But the believer can put his head on the pillow and be at perfect peace with his Maker. Know that the work of the Cross has settled everything. Know that all these promises are true if we believe them. We rest on them. Now verse 2:
“By whom also we have access (how?) by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God..”
In other words God’s unmerited favour has just opened the windows of Heaven, and made it accessible to every human being anywhere and everywhere. But there has to be a door of access, and what is it? “FAITH!” Remember when we first started our series of lessons on Romans. I gave many of the things that God did the moment we believed. He sanctified us, He forgave us, He justified us, He glorified us, He baptized us into the Body, and on and on we went. And I said about everyone of them – “did you feel it when it happened? Could you see it when it happened? Could your neighbors see it when it happened?” So how do we know these things happened? The Book says so! And that’s faith! Everything becomes a reality then by faith.
So we have access into this grace when we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. But we’re not just pie in the sky people. I’ve said over and over through the years, “Listen, just because you become a believer, you’re not going to have a rose feathered pathway. You’re not going to live in a Garden of Eden.” We’re still in this old world. We’re still in a body of flesh. We’re still living in a time of trials and tribulations. That’s part of it and God isn’t removing us from that. He is simply saying, “I’ll see you through it.” We can go through valleys but God will always escort us. He will never forsake us. And so that’s what He’s saying here – that now we’re going to have tribulations. Now when I read of the potential of persecution coming on believers, even in America, the potential is there. The world is getting adamant, it is getting as one lady told me in her own church environment. She said, “Les, they’re getting aggressively in opposition to me.” Just because of her stand on the Gospel. Even within her own church circle. And so we can recognize the creeping tremors of persecution that are coming up. And so we may have to face some tribulation. Not The Tribulation, but tribulation. We may go through some times of trials and sufferings. But if we go through tribulation then we know that we’re going to gain something from it and what is it? Patience. Whenever I see this verse, I think of another little almost amusing anecdote.
One of our friends when we were still living in Iowa, had a large family. Seven or eight kids, just boom, boom, boom. And when you`ve got that many kids, you’re going to have some things that try your patience. And so that mother, one day, said, “Oh Les, some days I get so impatient. Will you pray with me that the Lord will give me patience with these kids?” I said, “Now wait a minute. Do you realize what you’re asking for?” And she said, “What do you mean?” I said, “There’s only one way God will give you patience and that’s tribulation.” She said, “Forget it!!” But you see, that’s exactly how God works. When we go through tribulation it’s going to teach us patience. And I’ve experienced it and I imagine many of you have. You go through a workplace situation, or whatever it may be, and it’s a trying experience. What’s the end result? Patience.
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;”