Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 20
Let’s begin with our definition of salvation. We’ve listed several words connected with salvation, so we’ll continue with that study. “The next item that God did on our behalf the moment we believed, is that God reckoned us as crucified with Christ.” This isn’t a progressive unfolding upon us. This an act of God instantaneously the moment we believed, and what makes this term “Salvation” so fantastic. God has done all of this without even checking me out to see if I’m worthy of it! So as we study these words associated with salvation, remember these are acts of God, no man can touch them. He alone has done it all! Crucifixion aims at only one thing – death! So you and I as believers have been in the mind of God, put to death. He had to do it that way, because this goes back to the very first law that God gave to the human race, when He told Adam and Eve, and Ezekiel the following:
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Then He puts it in just a slightly different way to Ezekiel: “The soul that sinneth shall surely die.”
So if God’s law has determined that every human being is a sinner because we are sons of Adam, then it means that every human being has to die. I don’t know if it’s the right term or not but I’ve often called it a loophole. A loophole is when the law says such and such, but smart lawyers find a way to get through it or around it. Well, God has given us a tremendous loophole to His first law, “The soul that sinneth shall surely die.” And that loophole was that He died in our place, but we still have to experience the same death that He experienced in the Person of Christ. And we called that substitution. Now Romans Chapter 6:
“Knowing this, that our old man…”
Many people don’t know what the Scripture is talking about when it calls us the old man. Well, it’s the old Adamic nature that we are born with that is bent to rebellion. I’ve said: “You take that sweet innocent little new born baby, how soon will he or she sin?” Just as quick as they can. They will show it one way or another even in their total innocence. That little Adamic nature pops up, and they show fits of anger. Then when they get a little older, they can lie like the dickens. Did you teach them to lie? No! Where did it come from? That old Adamic nature. And when they get older still, they will start using bad language. Did you teach them? Probably not, but they know how to use it. Where did they get it? The old nature. And so we are all born with that old Adamic nature, which sins before we are old enough to know what’s what. And what is the decree? It has to die. God has demanded it. But here is the loophole. Reading verse 6 again:
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified (it’s put to death) with him (Christ), that the body of sin (the controlling factor of old Adam) might be destroyed (or put out of commission, it has to have that power over us totally broken. No human endeavor can do that. Only the power of God can break the control of our old Adamic nature. We can’t do it. Oh, to a degree maybe. With Godly parents and a good home life, we can teach kids a certain amount of restraint and teach them not to do certain things, but there comes a point in the best person’s life when they’re still going to give in to the control of old Adam. The only way we can be delivered is that Adam has to die), that henceforth we should not serve sin.” God in a substitutionary manner died my death, He died your death in your place. Paul makes that plain in Galatians Chapter 2.
“I am crucified with Christ (do you see that? It’s just as plain as it can be): nevertheless I live (Paul wasn’t actually nailed to a Roman Cross, but he was crucified, and he’s alive); yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:…”
That’s called the new life. The new creation he speaks of in II Corinthians Chapter 5. We are a new creation. Why? Because old Adam has been put to death, he’s crucified, his power over our daily behavior has been broken, and he’s dead. And that’s what Paul experienced when he said:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh (day by day, as we endure the things of this world) I live by the faith (or faithfulness) of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
It’s because of what Christ accomplished on our behalf, and what He is to us in our everyday experiences that we are able to cope. And so it’s through Christ’s faithfulness, and not ours. And when He said He gave Himself for me, then that’s substitutionary, and an act of God. So that when Christ hung on that Cross, and died, who else did God see in Christ? Every believer! And that is how we are reckoned as crucified. I didn’t make it up, The Book says it. I know that’s the way God looks at it! He said so! So it’s a matter of faith again. We just can’t comprehend these things, except through the eyes of faith. That when He died, you and I died. When He lay in the tomb, for all divine purposes, God saw you and I in the tomb; dead to the old life, and ready for Resurrection to the new. Now let’s turn to the Book of Ephesians Chapter 2. This is a natural follow up, this is written to every believer.
“AND you hath (past tense) he quickened (Made alive! Why did He have to make us alive? Because He crucified us. He put old Adam to death on the Cross, He reckoned us in the tomb, but He couldn’t leave us there anymore than He could have left Christ in the tomb. Our faith would be for nothing had He not risen from the dead, but He also made us alive), who were dead to trespasses and sins;” Now verse 5:
“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved;)”
Do you see how plain that is? Do you believe it? You had better, because that is what The Book says. And so He has quickened us together with Christ, and not by works, or by joining something, but by Grace. The unmerited favor of God accomplished all these things. So it’s by Grace you are saved.
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
You don’t feel like you are sitting together in heaven tonight do you? I don’t either, but we are so far as God is concerned. We are already seated in the heavenlies in the Person of Christ. This is beyond comprehension. But The Book declares it, and we had better believe it! God already sees us as together with Him in the heavenlies. Then verses 8 and 9 are favorites of many believers.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Remember this is a gift, and we don’t have to work for it. Wouldn’t heaven be a boring place if every believer you met would collar you and say, “Hey, can I tell you what I did to get here?” That wouldn’t be heaven. But that isn’t going to happen. Every believer is going to say the same thing, “I’m here for one reason, the finished work of the Cross, Faith plus nothing.” Then we don’t have any room to boast. Even if you said it’s faith plus working to keep it, then you could boast on what you did to keep your salvation. No! We have to reckon that God has done everything, and we have done nothing but appropriate it by faith. Amazing Grace! Turn to II Corinthians Chapter 5. This is the nitty gritty of everyday Christian living. This is what every believer has to set his hooks into to strengthen his faith, and not be blown about with every wind of doctrine. This is fundamental, and it all began with what God did on our behalf.
II Corinthians 5:14,15
“For the love love of Christ constraineth us (it drives us on); because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” The Gospel plain as day.
But Grace is not a license. Just because God has declared us forgiven, justified, redeemed, and reconciled, that doesn’t mean we can live as we please, but it brings a love requirement, such a debt for such love that we should want to do all we can to please Him.
II Corinthians 5:16
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”
Paul is referring to Christ’s earthly ministry. Was any of this taught in the Four Gospels? No, because this is all based on His death, burial, and Resurrection, and that hadn’t happened yet. They couldn’t teach doctrine based on His death, burial, and Resurrection. So I maintain you won’t find any of this in the Four Gospels. It’s impossible. I know men were justified in the Old Testament, but not on the same basis as you and I are under Grace. So Paul says he doesn’t even look back at Christ’s earthly ministry. That isn’t where our doctrines lie. Paul and Christ were about the same age. I’m sure that Saul of Tarsus (that religious Jew) was fretting and fuming every time someone came to the Temple area and told him what Jesus was doing. Oh, Paul knew all about Him, as he says in verse 16. Even though he never had a personal contact so far as we know from Scripture, he knew all about Him. Now verse 17, and this is the verse I wanted to bring you to.
II Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore (because of His work of the Cross) if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
In other words, when old Adam dies, God imparts to us a new divine nature. And that new nature, beloved, cannot sin, because it’s divine. It is placed there by an act of God, but we still have the old flesh, the old Adam that is still capable of tripping us up, but so far as the new nature is concerned, “No it can’t sin.” Verse 18:
II Corinthians 5:18
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;”
We hear a lot about reconciliation lately, broken families, and homes. What’s the best thing that can happen usually? To be reconciled. To be brought back together, and into full fellowship. It’s a lot like redemption. In redemption you have lost control of something. And the only way you can gain control is to buy it back. Someone that has need of reconciliation has been separated, and this is what God wants to do with the whole human race.
II corinthians 5:19
“To wit (that is to say), that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
I maintain that when Christ died, He paid the sin debt for every human being that ever lived. No one need wake up in eternal doom, and say, “Well, God didn’t supply my needs.” Yes He did! I gave this illustration once. A man had committed a murder, and was convicted and sentenced to death. While he was waiting in death row to pay for his crime the governor of the state pardoned him and wrote a pardon for him. In the man’s anger and rebellion he tore up his pardon and stomped it on the floor, not realizing what it was. So he went to the gallows to be hanged. Just before the trap door was to be opened they asked him if he had anything to say. He said, “Yes, tell the world I’m not dying for murdering a man, I’m dying because I rejected my pardon.” That’s exactly where every human being is. They have all been pardoned. They have been reconciled, they’ve had everything done on their behalf that needed to be done, but some don’t believe it. They stomp it underfoot. And so they will go to their eternal doom, not because of their sins, but rather their “UNBELIEF!”They have rejected the pardon. They refuse to hear The Gospel by which they are saved. The pity of it is that He has reconciled the world to Himself. Now reading verse 19 again:
II Corinthians 5:19
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;…
I think too many people think that lost people are going to go out to their doom because of their sins. Now that will enter into it no doubt, because they will be judged at the Great White Throne according to the books. Plural. But it isn’t their sins that’s condemning them, but their unbelief. Turn to Hebrews for a graphic illustration. In Chapter 3 we find Paul rehashing the activity of Israel when they rejected the Land of Promise at Kadesh Barnea. God had promised He would send hornets ahead of them to drive out the Canaanites. By the time Israel was ready to settle, the Canaanites would be moving out ahead of them. But the children of Israel rejected it. They said, “No, we can’t take the land, we are like grasshoppers in their sights. The cities are walled, we can’t defeat the Canaanites.” So they wept that night and all the next day. The Land was in front of them, but they couldn’t take it. What it all boiled down to we see at the end of this chapter:
“While it is said, `To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom swear he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that (had sinned so grossly? No but rather because they) believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” This all happened at Kadesh Barnea with the incident of the twelve spies.