Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 2
ROMANS CHAPTER 5
Now as we begin our last lesson for today, I trust that you are studying with us. Iris and I hope that every one of you have an interest in reading your Bible, understanding it, and hopefully coming to a knowledge of Salvation because that’s why this Book is given to the human race: that we can be brought back into a fellowship with The Creator. In the last lesson we commented on verse 15 and 16, so let’s read them once again before going into verse 17.
Remember, Paul wrote as he was moved by the Holy Spirit. I’ve always stressed Paul’s Apostleship for the Church Age as compared with Christ’s earthly ministry and the Four Gospels. Many people will say, “I’m going to go by what Jesus said.” These people mean well, but they’re not thinking. Because everything that Jesus said in His earthly ministry, with the exception of the last chapter of each one of the Four Gospels after His Resurrection, was said before the Cross. He hadn’t died yet, He hadn’t shed His blood. So if you’re going by what Jesus said in His earthly ministry then you’re going by that which was before the Cross. Now when you get to the Apostle Paul he makes it so plain that everything he has received, he received from the risen Lord in glory. So Paul’s words are still the words of Jesus, only now in the time that’s most appropriate – post Resurrection. He has finished the work of the Cross, and so I stand by my guns that we have to adhere to the writings of Paul because this is where the meat of our doctrine really lies.
“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many (in other words all that will believe).”
“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift (in other words, as Adam plunged the human race into condemnation with his act of sin, so Christ has lifted the human race, by virtue of death on the Cross): for the judgment was by one to condemnation (every one is under that condemnation), but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.”
And like I’ve said in the last three lessons, Paul is just hammering this theme of justification home. I don’t want anyone who has heard me teach these first few chapters of Romans ever forget this word “Justification.” This is what we are, we’re justified by a judicial decree of the Almighty God Himself, that since we have believed the Gospel for our Salvation, then He can restore us back as Adam was before he fell. Of course we’re still going to sin, and He has made compensation for all of that by virtue of His Advocacy at the Father’s right hand. Now let’s move on into verse 17.
“For if by one man’s offence (Adam’s) death reigned (as a king) by one (because of Adam); much more…”
Do you see how Paul is constantly driving home the Grace of God, which is going to compensate for the fall of Adam, is greater than anything Adam did? And this is what we have to understand, that, yes, it seems like God is severe in condemning everyone who was born out of Adam’s race, but yet He’s not severe because He’s made the way back for every human being without lifting a finger. If God would makes us do something almost impossible for our Salvation then that would be different, but He doesn’t. He just lays it right out in front of every human being. You know when I teach John Chapter 10 the good shepherd chapter, I always ask where is the door to that sheep fold? Is it up on some cliff? Is it across the ocean? No it’s on ground level, it’s where anybody can walk through it. It’s accessible for anyone to go into the door of the sheep fold. So Salvation is not something that people have to obtain or work for or grasp at, but rather it’s right in front of every human being. Now reading on.
“For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign (not like old death does, but now we’re going to reign forever) in life by one, Jesus Christ.”
Not because of what I do, but because of what He accomplished. So as Adam was the federal head of the human race, and he plunged everyone into a place of condemnation, the second Adam, Jesus Christ has accomplished everything that is necessary to bring fallen man back to Himself. The only difference is now there has to be an exercise of will. Now I know there is a lot of controversy of how much will is exercised in Salvation, and how much of it is in election. But nevertheless, I sort of bring the two extremes to the middle, and granted, God has to open our eyes, and hearts. But on the other hand man has the prerogative to reject it. And I think that is what will be so hard on lost people when they go through all eternity regretting their rejection of God’s opportunity.
Now verse 18. Notice that verse starts out with “Therefore.” When Paul uses `therefore’ and `wherefore,’ just go back and see what he has said. This is so heavy and important that it’s just repeated over and over for about two or three chapters. That means God wants us to get it straight. Yet Salvation can be by nothing that man can do, but it’s all been accomplished by the work of the Cross, and He is just in being the Justifier of those who believe. He’s not cutting corners. God isn’t winking at man’s sins. He has paid the total price for it so now He can be just in justifying the unbeliever.
“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (this constantly brings the two into play) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
Now this isn’t just in Romans. Come back with me to the Book of Ephesians for a moment. We haven’t bounced back and forth in these past few lessons because Romans is so self explanatory. But for a change of pace let’s look at Ephesians Chapter 2. Now remember, Paul always writes to the believer.
AND you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins (why? Because of Adam); Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (remember II Corinthians 4:3,4. Well here it is again), the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation (or manner of living) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature (what does that mean? We’re born with it) the children of wrath, even as others.”
That’s where we have come from. Now verse 4. Oh, for twenty-five years I’ve been teaching people to look for this next little word. “But” and that’s the flip side. Oh, we were the children of wrath, and disobedience, we were enemies of God, but what happened?
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins (we were filthy with sin), hath quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ,…”
Now what’s that a picture of? His Resurrection. Remember I always like to put it this way. When Christ was on the Cross God saw you and I there with Him. When He was in the tomb, whom did God see there with Him? You and I. And as He rose from the dead in Resurrection power, who was in there with Him? You and I. And here Paul brings it out. We have been raised out of that deadness.
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
We are so special tonight. Just because we believe the Gospel for our Salvation, He considers us as already seated with Him in the heavenlies. And so we wait for Him to come and take us to Himself. I had one listener write that she had just lost a loved one, and wanted some comfort. She knew that she was a believer, and I just sent back a few verses to her; and I got her answer today. What a comfort to know that our loved ones, if we know they were believers, are in His presence. They’re already seated in the heavenlies, and so it’s not that big a jump from here to there, and that’s why we don’t have to fear death. They can kill the body, but they can’t kill that which is already a citizen of Heaven.
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus (now for a couple of verses that most of us have all memorized some where along the line). For by grace (unmerited favor) are ye saved (and what’s the vehicle that saves you?) through faith (now Grace has made it possible, but faith is the vehicle);and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Now I know this is nothing new for you, but get these things down pat so that you can share with your unsaved friends and neighbors that there is nothing that they can do. They can not join enough churches, they can’t go to enough baptisms, they can’t go through anything else that you can name, because if they could it would no longer be a gift. But when they just simply receive it by faith, Oh, then God does everything that needs to be done.
” Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
But that’s not going to be the case. There isn’t going to be a single soul in Heaven that’s going to be able to brag about what they did to get there. Because everyone, and that also includes the Old Testament believer, is going to be there because of “Faith + Nothing.” Now verse 10, and it doesn’t stop there. We’re not just saved to go on our way and do nothing about it. God has the next step in our life as a believer and that is:
“For we are his workmanship (we’re the result of actually a recreation of God Himself, so we become a workmanship), in Christ Jesus unto good works (absolutely we’re to let the world understand where we’re coming from. We’ve been created for good works), which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
In other words, before He ever created Adam, and He saw the whole mess that mankind was going to go into, yet He had already fore-ordained that His believers, those that were His should maintain good works. Now I have to think even as I speak, “What about Abraham?” What kind of a man was Abraham in the eyes of his contemporaries? They thought the world of him. From what I can gather, Abraham never had a bad word said about him except the one time he tried to pawn off his wife as his sister, but Abraham was well-spoken of, the great businessman that he must have been, and it was the same way with Jacob. Jacob was a rascal, he was a cheat, but once he met The Lord there at Peniel there was never another bad word said about him. He was an example for others from then on. And on up through the Old Testament and into the New we find that every time one of God’s choice servants come on the scene, we see good works. That’s what we’re created for, and He knew that before He ever created Adam that this would be the result of a Salvation experience. Now for the next few moments let’s go back Romans Chapter 5.
“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
I know it’s repetition, but it’s for a purpose. The Scripture repeats all of this and I’m repeating it, because God want us to understand and not be in a fog about it whatsoever, that the moment we believe the finished work of the Cross, God has justified us by virtue of His shed Blood. He has declared us “Just as if we have never sinned.” That has such a psychological impact. When we move through our daily life, and we are constantly aware from the moment we awake until we go to sleep at night that we are a justified person, I can guarantee that will effect our behavior. If it doesn’t, there’s something wrong. When you understand you’re declared a justified person by an act of God, it must have an effect.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many (all) were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Now for a moment let’s go to the Book of Philippians Chapter 2. Absolutely, Christ was obedient. Just as surely as Isaac was when Abraham laid him upon that altar. There is nothing in Scripture that he fought back, he was totally obedient to the wishes of his father Abraham. Here we have that in Christ in verse 5:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (He was equal with God); But made himself of no reputation (Who made Him that way? He did Himself. He lowered Himself from being the mighty Creator God to a man walking the streets of dusty Palestine), and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Now what could He have done? He could have zapped the whole thing. He could have stricken every Roman soldier, and every Jewish Priest in Jerusalem with just a spoken word. But He was obedient because He knew it was the will of the Father, the Godhead of which He was part. Now back to Romans again:
“Moreover the law entered (that was 2500 years after Adam), that the offence might abound (the Law entered so that God could get control of sinful men. The Law showed how sinful man really was. That’s all the Law could do then and that’s all the Law can do today. It has no saving power, or no power of justification whatsoever; it shows us our sins). But where sin abounded (by the time that Christ came in His first advent the whole world was steeped in idolatry, and paganism, and sin abounded. We think it’s bad today, and they talk about new this and new that, but nothing has changed. Everything that we see today has been part and parcel of the human race down through history, the only thing is it’s so magnified tonight because of our tremendous numbers, but nevertheless it still stands that where sin abounded), grace did much more abound: “