Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 21
REDEMPTION AND JUSTIFICATION
Now back to Romans Chapter 3. We have been taking this very slowly because I’m afraid very few people really get a solid understanding of what these chapters are all about. Hopefully we can make it so plain that not one can be left confused. So let’s begin in verse 20 for a little review. And the Apostle Paul writes to the believers who are predominately Gentiles, but remember Jews are also eligible for this salvation, and some Jews are coming to know The Lord. But it’s predominately God dealing with the Gentile. So for the church at Rome as well as believers today Paul writes:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now (in other words the Law could not do a thing to bring someone into salvation, but the flip side is we do have something that does, and that is) the righteousness of God without the law is manifested (put into the spotlight), being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”
Here I always have to stop. I emphasize Paul’s teaching so much and, for us today I think 90% of our study time in The Bible should be in his epistles. But never will I indicate that you forget about the rest of Scripture. The Old Testament is just as well fitted as the New Testament, and it all dovetails together, and I hope that is what I have been bringing out as we have been studying Through The Bible in the past five years. Remember the Old Testament was under predominately the economy of Law, to the Nation of Israel who were under the Law with all their Temple worship, their priesthood, and their sacrifices. But now that God has turned to the Gentiles, then naturally that economy had to slip off the scene as we saw in the Book of Acts, and we have something totally different. This may disturb a few people, but all I ask is don’t take my word for it, search the Scriptures. Do you find the same kind of language that Paul uses back in the Four Gospels? I’ll tell you before you look that you won’t. You won’t find it in the Old Testament because this is part of that “revelation” that Paul is constantly talking about. The mysteries, the secrets that had been held in the mind of God until He revealed them to this Apostle to the Gentiles. And what we have to hone in on is this new revelation.
I’ve used this illustration many times, and I’ll repeat it again. Say you had a will prepared ten years ago, and put it in a strong box for safe keeping. But a month ago you drew up a new will, and put it in the same strong box, and tomorrow you die. When your will is probated which one will they declare valid? The latest one. And it’s the same way with Scripture, we have to understand that Paul has now come with new revelations that have never been revealed before, and this is what we will be held accountable for. You know denominations are so stringent and they only want their people to get what they teach, and that’s okay if they’re lined up with The Book, but you see what I’ve tried to tell people all these years is this. When you stand before The Lord one day He’s not going to say you were certainly loyal and obedient to your denomination, but rather we are going to be judged according to The Book, and not according to what Les or anyone else says, and that’s all I try to get people to see. What does this Book say? Look at verse 21 again:
“Even the righteousness of God (what does that really mean? God can never do anything amiss, otherwise He couldn’t be God. So whatever God does is going to be absolutely fair, just, and right) without the law is manifested (is laid out in the open), being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”
It was still based on all the Old Testament writings. You don’t throw the Old Testament away. I’ve had many people tell me that they never look at the Old Testament because that’s all outdated. No it isn’t. The Old Testament is still applicable. In fact, let me show you a verse right here in Romans to back that up. This verse says it all.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime (Old Testament) were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
Not doctrine but rather our learning. See the difference? Doctrine is what we had better have straight in what we believe, so far as our eternal destiny is concern. Doctrine is what we need for living the Christian life today. But for our learning, that is to understand why we have this doctrine. So the Old Testament is still applicable for our learning, to give us the background of how all this fell in place, and that now God can turn to the whole human race with His tremendous plan of salvation. Look at verse 4 again. We have to use the whole Book. Now back to Romans 3.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference:”
Between Jew and Gentile. Everybody is now on the same level. The Jew used to be in a place of pre-eminence, they had the law, the priesthood and Temple, but no more. There is now no distinction between Jew and Gentile. Now verse 23, and this is the capstone of everything that God laid out in chapters 1 and 2. The immoral man, the moral man, the religious man; it didn’t make any difference. Every child of Adam is now under this decree.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
No person that has ever lived can merit favor with God on his own. It’s impossible, for The Book says “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We’re all condemned, and I pointed out in our last series of lessons “We are not sinners because we break the law, but rather we break the law because we are sinners.” People have a hard time understanding that. We are born sinners. But let’s look at the flip side in verse 24. Because of all that God has done it is not a hopeless situation, because here is the promise.
I like to define words. To justify someone is to declare them just as if nothing had ever happened. That’s justification. To bring it into the scriptural realm, justification is that judicial act of God whereby He declares the sinner who believes, “Just as if he had never sinned.” That’s hard for us to swallow, that once God justifies us, He sees us just like He saw Adam before he fell? Yes, and that’s hard to comprehend. But it’s a Biblical truth. We are justified without a cause. In other words God didn’t finally get back in a corner and say, “Okay, I’ll justify you, and declare you just as if you have never sinned because you deserve it.” No. God justifies us freely.
“Being justified freely by his grace (without a cause even though we don’t deserve it, when we believe) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Many people teach that everybody is going to end up in Heaven, and a lot of folk right here in this area think, “I’ll make it somehow or other.” but that’s not according to The Book. It still boils down to to that personal decision to recognize themselves as a sinner and that they believe What Christ has done on their behalf is all that God demands. We’re justified freely by His grace. Very few church people understand this word `Grace.’ Grace is that attribute of God whereby He, in His love and mercy, pours out on Sons of Adam the opportunity for eternal life if they will just believe the Gospel. (Ref. I Cor. 15:1-4) Now that’s Grace. I always like to use the Apostle Paul as an example when he was on the road to Damascus as probably the most perfect picture of the Grace of God in all of Scripture.
What kind of man was Saul of Tarsus? He was a religious zealot but he was contrary to God. He literally hated the name Jesus of Nazareth because he thought it was in opposition to his religion, so he persecuted those who had put their faith in Jesus. He literally committed many of them to prison, and even voted to have some put to death, he was what I’ve often said was the first man I would have zapped off the scene had I been God. And I think most of you would agree. But instead God saved him – not after he had done a lot of begging, and a lot of crusading saying, “I’ve got to straighten up my life so God can do something with me.” No, he was yet breathing slaughter, and threatenings against those believers and God zapped him with eternal life, and confronted him.
“And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, `Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?’ And he said, `Who art thou, Lord?’ And the Lord said, `I am Jesus whom thou persecutes:…'”
The man was transformed in a moment. And as we will see in Chapter 7, all of a sudden his religiosity just faded away, the Law came alive, and he realized he was a sinner, and the Grace of God just overwhelmed him. And that is where we all have to come, where we realize that there is nothing we can do. Another example I like to give is the children of Israel on the shores of the Red Sea. It looked hopeless, the Egyptian army behind them, populated areas to the left and mountains to the right and the Red Sea out in from of them. Completely hopeless. Did God say, “Well hurry up and build bridges?” No! God said almost the ridiculous didn’t He? He said, “Stand Still.” What did that mean? He meant there is nothing Israel can do. They’re locked in, they’re at His mercy. And what did God’s mercy do? Open the Red Sea. Now that’s Salvation Oh it’s so beautiful, if only people can understand that we are in that hopeless situation because we are sons of Adam, we’re sinners.
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”
Now these are all heavyweight words. First, justification whereby God declares the sinner just as if he had never sinned. On what basis? His Grace, not because we deserve it, but by His loving Grace. But how does he accomplish it through Grace? By redemption, and what’s redemption? Paying a price. I have a little illustration about redemption that goes like this. This young lad was handy making models and so one winter and spring he labored by the hour to make this special little boat so he could take it down to the seashore for their summer vacation. He put a lot of time and effort into that little boat, and when he finished, he had created a beautiful little thing. So the day came when they went to the beach, and he was playing with his boat, and it did everything that he wanted it to do. But after playing with the boat for a while something distracted the little boy, and he left his little boat there on the water’s edge. When he returned for it, the boat he had spent so much time on was gone, and he couldn’t find it anywhere. Finally he gave up trying to find it and the family went home.
That winter he was with his mother shopping when all of a sudden he discovered his boat in a pawn shop window. The little lad was just aghast, and said, “Momma, there’s my boat!”They went in to see what the store owner would say, and they saw a price on it. There was no way the little lad could afford to pay for his boat, and his mom wasn’t going to. So he determined that he’d go home and work and save his money until he had enough to buy his little boat back. Well, finally the day came when he had saved enough money, and he went bounding into the pawn shop and the boat was still there fortunately, and so he paid for it. But this is the point I want to make. As he was carrying that little boat home, he was talking to it. He said, “Little boat you’re twice over mine. I made you and now I’ve bought you back.” Well, you see that’s mankind. God had us in Adam until he fell, and then God lost the human race because of sin, and the only way He could get it back was to in due time pay the price, which He did at Calvary when He went to the Cross. Now that’s redemption. God’s Grace can be appropriated and that is the price that had to be paid for our redemption.
I have another illustration I would like to share with you. The basic Greek word used in redemption is “Exagorazo” – which means to buy out of the market. And naturally we are picturing a slave market in Paul’s day. Slaves would come in maybe from Europe after the Roman legions had brought back the victims of their military episodes, and then these people would end up in the slave market. And you want to remember in those days if they didn’t get bought out of the slave market, then the coliseum was the end for them, as they were fed to the lions. So the only hope they had was to be bought out of the market. The next Greek word used in this analogy is “Lutroo”– which means after they have been bought out of the market they can be set free. That’s exactly where we were. As sons of Adam falling short of the glory of God every human being is in Satan’s slave market whether they know it or not. Unless they are purchased out of Satan’s slave market they’re in pretty much the same situation as going to the coliseum only it’s spiritual, eternal, and death. The only hope is that they are bought out of that slave market. And that’s exactly what the Blood of Christ did, that Blood paid the price of redemption. He paid it in full, and He has not only bought us out of the slave market but He’s also set us free.
Now I’ll use this illustration to make a point. A rich Roman goes down to the slave market and he sees a young teenager that is healthy and strong so he buys him and takes him home. He cleans him up, puts him in nice clothes and gives him light duties to perform for him. Then in short order he tells this slave, “I’ve also paid for your freedom, and if you don’t want to stay here and be my servant then you’re free to go any where in the Roman Empire.” Well in those kind of circumstances what would you and I do? We probably wouldn’t go out into a strange land, but rather tell our master that we will stay right here and be his slave the rest of our lives. We’ve never had it this good before. And that’s the way the believer should respond. Once Christ has paid the price of redemption, and not only bought us out of the slave market of Satan, but He also sets us free. You know I’m always stressing that there is no freedom on this planet like a true believer experiences. That’s when we come into real freedom. I always have to follow that up with, “But that’s not a license.” That doesn’t mean that we can live for the devil and do whatever we please. Now back to the text again.
He tells us in verse 24 we are justified as if we have never sinned because God’s Grace has been poured out on us undeservingly. It’s because His shed Blood has paid the price of our redemption. Let me show you another verse. Go to I Peter Chapter 1. Peter is writing this a long time after his earthly ministry with Christ. Approximately thirty years later, and by now Paul’s revelation has also been made known to Peter. So Peter can write the following:
I Peter 1:18,19
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed (not bought) with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from you vain conversation received by tradition from you fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot;”
Now you can’t make it any plainer. And you see why I maintain that you cannot leave the blood out of the picture? And many of us might not exactly like that, but you can’t bypass the blood of Christ, because we have been redeemed by the blood.