Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 22
GOD DECLARES US JUST AS IF WE HAVE NEVER SINNED
Now let’s just come right back to Romans Chapter 5 where we left off in our last lesson, and we will begin with verse 10.
“For if, when we were enemies,…” People don’t realize that until we become a believer we’re enemies of God, and to prove my point turn over to Romans Chapter 8.
“For to be carnally (fleshly) minded is death (the end result of Spiritual death); but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind (the unsaved person) is enmity(enemy) against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
I don’t like to broadcast that to the world because I’m afraid they’ll get the idea, “See, no wonder I do what I do.” Well, that’s right, they’re not subject to God’s law. I’m amazed that our society holds together as well as it does. They’re not subject to the laws of God, but rather they’re enemies of God, and you can bring it into the secular realm. The Russian Government can’t come over and do anything to me. Why? Because I’m not a citizen of Russia, and not under their control. Consequently, I can do whatever I want to as far as Russian law is concerned. It’s the same way spiritually with lost people. They’re not under God’s control, actually. But rather they’re enemies, they’re aliens, and we had better get it straight, because until we come God’s way, that’s exactly the way He looks at the mass river of humanity. They’re enemies of God! God doesn’t stop loving His enemies. God keeps pouring out His Grace upon them, and offering them their Salvation. Now Romans 5:10 again:
“For if, when we were enemies, were were reconciled (reconciled is one of the crucial terms in Paul’s letters. That the work of the Cross now has made reconciliation not just possible but available to the whole human race. So if we were reconciled) to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled (he’s talking to you and I as believers), we shall be saved by (not His death, but by) his life.”
See how the whole thing comes together? He had to die, He had to shed His Blood in payment for our sin, but He didn’t stay in the grave. He arose victorious the Scripture says, over sin and death and hell. And since He was victorious, then we are also. So that’s been imputed to our account so now we not only have Salvation for this life, but also for all of eternity. We have already within us eternal life. That’s why believers over the ages have been able to go to a martyrs death with no fear. I’ve often wondered how did these people stand there at the stake as they piled the brush around them. I imagine that was just to cause mental anguish, just thinking about what was coming. But you don’t hear any accounts of how they screamed and begged for mercy. On the contrary, they were usually singing hymns and offering a prayer. That’s the amazing reality of people who have eternal life. They can burn the flesh, they can take this life, but they can’t touch my eternal life or yours. And this is what Paul is admonishing us to understand; that now, by virtue of the work of the Cross, yes, we’re justified, we’re declared just as if we have never sinned, but also we have eternal life. Reading on.
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the world is bent on happiness. Everybody wants to be happy, but very few people talk about joy, and do you know what the difference is? Happiness is the result of our material surroundings, and joy is a spiritual attribute, and that is why Paul hardly ever uses the word happy, but he can say over and over like in the Book of Philippians, “Rejoice, and again I say rejoice.” And that comes from the root word `joy.’ When we have eternal life, regardless whether we’re happy or not, we have that joy that is unspeakable, and that’s why believers don’t necessarily have to enjoy a lot of the world’s goods. Believers can be happy in poverty as well as in wealth because joy is a spiritual thing), by whom we have now received the atonement.”
And again we have to stop at words like `atonement’ because everyone of them are so doctrinally heavy. Justification is a tremendous doctrinal term that most Christians know nothing of. Eternal life is a doctrinal term, and is something that can never be taken from us, and now we come to this big word `atonement.’ Now as it’s used in the Old Testament (unfortunately, and I don’t know how in the world it happened), it wasn’t the appropriate word for the Day of Atonement back in Israel’s history. Although the High Priest did everything exactly right, and even though he offered the blood of the sacrifice on the Holy of Holies and Mercy Seat, yet it never took away a single sin. It was just simply a stop-gap waiting for the coming of Christ. So actually the word `atonement’ was a misnomer, and it should have been a word that had to do with covering or a sweeping under the rug, which was actually what God was doing with the sins of the Old Testament believer. He swept them under the rug until the true Atonement was finalized when the Blood of Christ was shed. And when Christ shed His Blood, even the stuff under the rug was atoned for and they were forgiven.
Now, for you and I under Paul’s Gospel, oh, the minute we believe, we experience the fullness of atonement, and break the word into the three syllables that it makes. At-one-ment, and that’s the best definition I can find. That as soon as we believe we are at-one-ment with God Himself. Why? Because we’re right back like He was in Adam, and we have once againreconciliation which is another one of those heavy words. We’re reconciled to God, we’re in full fellowship with Him, we’re His, we’re a joint heir, and all these good things have happened simply because we believed the Gospel. Now I’m not taking away other ramifications of the Christian experience. The only reason I don’t mention the local church any more than I do is because there are so many local churches that I wouldn’t want anybody to even try to get anything from because they’re going to be misled, and they’re not going to be fed from The Word. But I’m not saying they all are.
My, I remember years ago a young couple left our area of the world and went down to Dallas. As they were preparing to leave (and they were just newly converted through our class), I gave them this little bit of advice. Now Dallas is huge; there are hundreds of churches, so don’t just go to whatever denomination you happen to be in. Look around and visit, because in a city that size you’re bound to find a church that teaches and preaches The Word pretty much as I do. And you know, in about three months they wrote the sweetest letter to the effect that’s exactly what they had done. They had found a church, not in their denomination, but they found one that teaches just like I do. This church has fellowship and a passion for lost souls. So when I refrain from pushing the local church, it’s not because I’m against the local church, it’s just that I have to be so careful that people are admonished to get involved in a church that’s true to The Book. We know that a lot of them are not. I can’t help that, and I’m not criticizing any one group in particular. I’ve found you can find good ones in various denominations. So the word `atonement’ again. We have been made at one with God Himself as the result of that shed Blood and the work of the Cross.
Now verse 12, and Paul is going to bridge some information here that nowhere else in Scripture can be found. Jesus never mentioned it. I’m sure the reason He didn’t was because He waited for the revelations that were given to this apostle to do it. Jesus never taught as far as I can determine, the ramifications of Adam, his sin, and how it carries over into the whole human race. He certainly taught that all were sinners. But to tie it back into Adam like Paul does, I don’t find it. Nor can I find it anywhere in the Old Testament; but here it comes from Paul, laid out as plain as day.
“Wherefore, as by one man (not one woman, don’t you lay the blame on Eve. It’s Adams fault) sin entered into the world,…”
Now when you see this word `sin’ in the singular from this point forward in Romans just put in there “the old sin nature” or “old Adam,” unless the setting just totally violates it. Because there’s a big difference between sin and sins. Sin is that factory that is within us, it’s that fallen nature that we have inherited from Adam. Sins (plural) are the acts that are promoted by old Adam. Now do I make that clear? In other words, we are a sinner by being the offspring of Adam; then as a sinner we commit sins. And notice here in verse 12 that it’s `sin’ (singular). So, by one man the old sin nature came on the scene. And that sin nature can think nothing but things that are contrary to the will of God. And that’s what makes the human race enemies of God. People can try to train old Adam, dress him up, and make him look pretty good, but then The Word of God comes along and prods it and all of a sudden people lose control of their old sin nature, because it’s the enemy of God.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world (and what came with it?), and death by sin;…”
I suppose there are theologians that would disagree with me, but I do not feel that anything died, even in the animal world, back there in the Garden of Eden until Adam sinned. Now that’s my own conviction. The reason I feel that way is because you see everything ate of that which grew naturally. They ate of the herbs, fruits, and grasses, so consequently, nothing lost it’s life in order to support another species. So until Adam sinned, nothing died. Death was an unknown entity. But as soon as Adam sinned, the curse fell not just on Adam and Even, but on the whole creation. I sometimes wonder if maybe the whole universe isn’t under the curse, but we know the curse fell on everything, and with the curse came death. Now remember when we were back in Genesis, I even tied that into good science. The laws of thermal dynamics; the first law of thermal dynamics says that nothing is being created or destroyed. The second law of thermal dynamics says what? Everything is dying and going into a less usable state. I feel the first law was applicable until Adam sinned, but the moment he sinned and death entered, the second law of thermal dynamics came into play. And so everything now dies, corrupts, and degenerates.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men,…”
If the Lord tarries, death will pass upon everyone of us physically. We hope we’re close enough to the end now that most of us are going to live to hear the trumpet call. I’m a firm believer in that. I honestly feel that unless something takes me ahead of time, that I’m going to be alive when that great trumpet sounds. Recently, when we were in Denver, I had a fellow named Jim tell me that he had twenty-eight men working for him. He tells them almost every morning that one of these days they are going to see old Jim’s pickup stopped at a stoplight in Denver and it will be empty. And he tells them not to bother looking for him because he’s out of here. Things like that just thrill me because Jim came from a background which had none of this knowledge. All true believers have this blessed hope. But remember, death has passed upon the whole human race, and creation. Everything now faces death.
Now I’m very close to nature, being a farmer and rancher, and I’m out there among all these things that live and die constantly. I find that even in the insect world (they may not have brains enough to have it all figured out), they all try to avoid death. Even the fly on the wall, when you try to swat him, escapes for his life. And it’s the same way through all of nature; everything is trying to maintain life, they all hate death. As a rancher I can have a critter die out there in the pasture, and the rest of the herd will have some kind of a hateful reaction to that dead animal. Everything hates death; why shouldn’t we? I don’t know anybody that treasures death. I can even remember my dear old grandmother who was 96 years old. I can see her sitting in that rocking chair crocheting, and she would say, “Oh I wish the Lord would come.” But as soon as her heart would flutter a little bit what would she say? Call the doctor. And that’s just the perfect example of not wanting to die. I know that there are probably some who are racked with pain that are maybe looking forward to it, but under normal circumstances we all hate death. And that’s as it should be; it’s part of the curse. It’s part of the fall of Adam that we should detest death.
“…and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
Everyone’s a sinner according to Romans 3:23 because it started with Adam. Now I’ve had people say, “Why in the world did God do that? Why did He let Adam sin?” Well you see it was in the Sovereign working of God that mankind should be left with that alternative, otherwise there would be no free choice. There would be no exercise of the will if Satan would not have been permitted to have come into the Garden of Eden. And if sin hadn’t entered, then the human race would have been without choice; they would have been like robots. But we’re not robots, we’re a created being, we’re given a choice, and we can reject or accept God’s tremendous offer of Salvation. Now in verse 13 is a little parentheses, and it’s kind of hard to explain, but I’ll try.
“(For until the law [from Adam until Moses, which would be about 2500 years] sin [or Adamic nature] was in the world [the pre-flood people had the old sin nature, they were no different than we are]; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.)”
Now that’s really as tough as it sounds. The best example I can give of that is this. Say you’ve been used to going through an intersection (maybe out on the edge of town or out in the country), where it’s been more or less the first one there is first served, and you could go through that intersection without stopping. But traffic has increased, and maybe there’s been a traffic fatality or two, and so the powers that be finally put in a stop sign. But you go on through that intersection like you’ve always done; now what happens? Well, the cops are going to pull you over and say, “Hey, you’ve broken the law.” You tell him that you’ve always gone through that intersection without stopping, and he will tell you, “That’s true, but now there’s a stop sign, and that makes all the difference in the world.”
Now it’s exactly what we have here. From Adam until the Law of Moses there was no written law, and there was no formal system of worship, but once the Law was given, that changed everything, and now people are to behold the law. But until then, God could not impute their individual acts of transgression because they were not, per se, breaking a law. Now they had a conscience; we saw that back in Romans Chapter 2, and a conscience was written in the hearts of everyone even before the Law was given. So all Paul is saying is that until the Law was given, God didn’t impute all of their acts of disobedience because they were not, per se, breaking a law, even though they were going contrary to conscience.
“Nevertheless (so don’t say, “Oh well, they had it pretty good.” No they were just as responsible as we are) death reigned from Adam to Moses,…”
Now in the Book of Romans when you see the word `sin’ I want you think of the old sin nature, the old Adam. And when you see the word `reigned,’ think of a king on his throne. And so what we’re going to have now is, as soon as Adam fell, death reigned like a king because it was tied to sin. Now reading on.
“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression,…”
Now what does that mean? Well, what was Adam’s sin? Just a simple act of disobedience by eating what God said not to eat. Were all the millions of people that lived between Adam and Moses guilty of eating the forbidden fruit? No. They didn’t commit the same sin that Adam did, but in actuality they were still disobedient to other things that God had put even in their conscience. Go back to Romans Chapter 2 and refresh your memory. Remember, Paul is referring to the fact that the Jews have had the Law for 1500 years, so he’s going to those who didn’t have the law which were Gentiles.
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law (that is the law of Moses), do by nature (naturally) the things contained in the law, these (Gentiles), having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience…”
So even though they didn’t have the Ten Commandments, did those people have moral system? Yes, of course they did, and it was based on conscience. I’ve told you about missionaries that have come from the jungles of South America, where uncivilized tribes of people still run around in their loin cloths, and still hunt with blow guns, and spears, but within their own tribal community those uncivilized people have a moral code that would put America to shame. Where do they get it? From their conscience. So when the Scripture says, “That even though they did not have the law, yet they were guilty of sin just as much as anyone else.”