Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 23
THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION
We’ll jump right into Romans Chapter 8, as we completed Chapter 7 in our last lesson. And as we do so we come to what I think is one of the greatest chapters of all of the Scripture, and probably what is the greatest book in all of Scripture; the Book of Romans. Martin Luther called Romans the masterpiece of Scripture, and I like to refer to it as a multi-carat diamond gemstone. It just has the fire of a diamond in it, and this Chapter 8 is a gemstone in itself.
So as we look at these things I trust all of you will take advantage of this tremendous book. In fact I was thinking the other day of how the politicians and religious community are alarmed because America just simply can’t keep going in the direction that we are going. The politicians think that if we had more money for the different programs and prisons it would solve everything. Some think we need a third party, and still others think we need something else, but listen, all America needs is this: if every one from the age of twelve up regardless of their denomination or religious handle, would read this Book of Romans once a week for six months, then you would see things happen in this country. That’s how much I can put on this Book of Romans. And if every American would read Chapter 8 once a day, that might even speed it up a little bit. Because this is so apropos and practical; this isn’t pie in the sky, this is The Word of God brought right down to the level of every human being. Even twelve and thirteen-year-old kids can comprehend it. So as we look at Chapter 8 I’m going to stop with what ordinarily would be the very first word, `Therefore.’
“THERE is therefore…”
Here Paul has it in a little bit different setting than when he usually uses this word or `Wherefore,’ but when I see one of these two words in any other place in Scripture what does it do? It sends you back to why he’s saying `therefore.’ I do not use or own any commentaries. I was warned years ago to beware of them. In fact, one wag puts it this way: he says not to put much on the commentaries for they are nothing but commentators, and commentators are just common taters. Southern individuals appreciate that.
But I do happen to have a couple of books that have been given me. They are by two great theologians. One British, and the other an American. They have both gone on to be with The Lord, and they were both used of God. It was interesting as I looked at what they had to say about Romans Chapter 8, and especially this word `Therefore.’ This one gentlemen (they both had their Phd.’s) said that this `Therefore’ does not take you back to Chapter 7, but rather it takes you back to Romans Chapter 5 verse 1. And there Paul uses the word again.
“THEREFORE being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
So that why this gentlemen thinks that word is there in Chapter 8. Then I read the other one, and he was just totally opposite of the first gentlemen. He said that this `Therefore’ takes you back to Chapter 7. Well, I’m going totally opposite of both of them. I’m going to maintain that this `Therefore’ takes us back to the very first verse of the Book of Romans. If you’ll remember, as we’ve been studying it, those first three chapters, what did God do through the Apostle’s pen? He proved the whole race as being utterly sinful, utterly rebellious, utterly opposite to the things of God. And he finally came to that great conclusion in Chapter 3 and verse 23,
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Remember that? As he built the case against the gross immoral person. And then the moral person. And then the religious person. And then he put all three categories together and said there’s no difference, they are all unprofitable for all have sinned? And then you go into Chapter 4 and he begins to lay out “justification by faith” for as “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” And then he came to Chapter 5, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” And then he came on into Chapter 6 and he enlarged on `justification,’ that it was all accomplished when Christ died on that Cross, was buried and rose again. We spent quite a little time on that Chapter 6. And then we came into Chapter 7 and now Paul is explaining the dilemma. “Oh wretched man that I am!” “How can I be delivered from this body of sin?” You remember what his problem was? “The things I would do, I don’t. The things I don’t do or shouldn’t do, I do.” What’s going to be the answer? Alright, what follows? Chapter 8. And so that’s where I think this `therefore’ is referring to. Everything that we’ve learned in these previous seven chapters is going to be all wrapped up in what we’ll learn in Chapter 8.
“There is therefore now no condemnation…”
There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians, and I’m not saying they’re not. But they can’t buy this. They say there is no such thing as this kind of security. You’ve got to work and you’ve got to strive and you have to be careful or you’re going to lose it. Like I told someone just the other day, “How are you going to know what sin cast you out?” Well, they won’t know. So what do they have to do? They have to live a life of perpetual insecurity because no one has the wherewithal to hang on of our own. So I come back to these promises of Scripture: “There is therefore….” Because we’ve been justified by faith, because Christ has died and been buried and has risen from the dead. Because all of this has been accomplished by an act of God to which we contributed nothing of our own energy. There was nothing in all of that, that we could do in the flesh. It was all the work of God. And that being the case, that we’re justified by faith, which is something that is invisible, it’s something that you don’t work at. So since we’re justified by faith, God can come back through this Apostle and say:
“There is therefore now no condemnation….”
And I will over and over, with qualification, go back to this. I had one gentleman call more than once. He just didn’t like the idea of my teaching this kind of eternal security. I said, “Now listen. I always qualify this. I’m not talking about any haphazard church member who just happened to have walked an aisle and joined the church or whatever, I’m talking about someone who has genuine faith in The Gospel and has had a genuine Salvation experience.” It came up the other night in one of my classes. An individual came and said, “Les, I’ve never had that great experience that somebody talks about. I’ve never seen a great white light and I haven’t had that tremendous emotional upheaval. Does that mean I’ve never been saved?” Well, of course not! The Scripture doesn’t say that you have to experience some emotional high. The Scripture doesn’t say you have to go through a prescribed set of rules. In fact, I’ve been toying with this for the last several weeks – in our Tulsa class, someone asked a question sort of like this and I said, “Let’s just see what the Scripture says.” And so we went through all these verses in Romans and just had a blast.
The next Wednesday night, before I had time to start, the whole group on the front row said, “Hey, will you go over again what you did last week?” I said, “Well, of course if that’s what you want.” And so we did it again and had just as much of a blast. Well, then, the other night in Muskogee it came up and so those of you that were in that class, we went through those same verses again to show people from the Scripture how to know yourself, if you’re saved or how to lead someone else that is seeking. And we may do that before the afternoon is over. I haven’t decided yet. But one thing I do want to get out of this first verse is that, when God has finished the transaction of our Salvation, then, yes, we are secure. We have been crucified with Christ and you can’t take yourself off that Cross. You can’t put yourself on that Cross. We’ve covered all of that. The Crucifixion was the kind of death that no one could do by themselves. It took the work of someone else to nail Christ to that Cross. And the same way when we come into this Salvation experience, it’s an act of God that places us in the Person of Christ; it’s an act of God that resurrects us from darkness into life and so, consequently, God Himself is the One that says it. I don’t., and no denomination can say it. But God says ,“There is therefore now no condemnation to (whom) them which are (where) in Christ….”
I think it was just last night when we were talking about some of these things in the class. What does it mean to be “in Christ?” That’s an easy prepositional phrase to just roll off our lips, but what does it really mean to be in Christ? Come back to the Book of Ephesians Chapter 5 for a moment and let’s look at a little bit of explanation. Someday we will probably teach some of this book on the air. Ephesians is also a deeper or higher level of the Christian experience because Paul will bring things out in Ephesians that he doesn’t in Romans, Galatians, or the Corinthians. Because this is higher ground this is deeper water, but now in Ephesians Chapter 5 he comes down to verse 25. This is a verse that should speak to every married couple, and that is the responsibility of the man in that marriage relationship.
But you see what Paul is bringing out here by inspiration is that Christ’s relationship to you and I as members of the Body of Christ is identical to the relationship of the husband and wife. Now, in a marriage relationship that is made in Heaven, that husband and wife were two people, but they become one. And many wedding ceremonies point that out by blowing out the two candles and lighting the one. And that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be. It’s the same way when we become in union with Christ. We’re two separate entities of course, but once we’ve entered in and have enjoyed this position in Christ, what have we become? Like husband and wife because we’re one with Him. Now, that’s a deep concept when you understand it’s all in the realm of the spiritual, and the only way we can comprehend it is by faith. That’s what The Book teaches, and if The Book teaches it then we have believe it. That’s what God expects. Remember the verse I like to go back to in Deuteronomy?
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Now, it’s the same way here. God is revealing a relationship not just between the husband and the wife, but a relationship between Christ, and you and I as members of His Body. Look what he says:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it (the Body of Christ of which you and I are members)with the washing of water (not baptismal water, but) by the word.” This Book is the cleansing agent. And now verse 27:
“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
And then come down to verse 30. This is impossible for me to comprehend except by faith. It’s what The Book says.
“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”
In other words, in the realm of the spiritual what have we become? We’ve become totally integrated with Christ Himself, we’re in Him. The Scriptures also teach not only are we in Christ, but He is in us! See, it’s a two way street. The moment we’re saved, yes, we’re placed in Christ, but He also comes and dwells within us, and so that’s why Paul uses this whole marriage relationship. Verse 32:
“This a great mystery (now you know that’s one of Paul’s words, and one of those secrets that God has now revealed to this apostle. You never see any of this anywhere else in Scripture. You never saw this kind of relationship even between Israel and God, or between Abraham and Jehovah; oh, but look what ours is): but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
See? As a husband and wife come together and become one, so Christ and this Body of believers become one. We are just totally integrated. Now, let me take you back to I Corinthians Chapter 3 for a moment, and again, here we have the other direction. Not only are we in Christ, but He is in us, and the world knows nothing of this. I suppose if they hear me just by accident as they’re flipping through their channels they’ll think what kind of a kook is this anyway. What’s he talking about? But you see for us who know and love The Word, it’s as plain as day; it’s so believable, because it’s practical, and it’s experiential because we know it’s happened. Now, come down to verse 16, and look what it says:
I Corinthians 3:16
“Know ye not (we’re expected to know) that ye are the temple (or dwelling place) of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
When we say that Christ dwells in me, we know Christ is bodily at the Father’s right hand, and He cannot leave that bodily position. So when we speak of Christ being in us then it has to be in the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at another one over in Chapter 6 of this same book. I’m always emphasizing that when the Scripture repeats something, it’s making a point.
I Corinthians 6:19,20
“What? know ye not that your body (this body we’re living in today) is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own (it isn’t that we have deserved it or earned it, but what is it? Verse 20)? For ye are bought with a price (with the Blood of Christ as Peter puts it in his little epistle); therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Come on over to the Book of Colossians Chapter 3, and look what a tremendous statement is there. If it weren’t for faith we couldn’t comprehend it, but it’s what God says, and we believe it.
“IF ye then be risen with Christ,…”
What did we learn back there in Romans Chapter 6? That when Christ died, I died. When He was buried, we were also buried; that is in the mind of God. Now, we didn’t stay in the tomb anymore than He did, so what happened? We were resurrected and we, too, were given new life; and we’ll see in Romans Chapter 8 that it’s eternal life. We’re going to live forever in His presence. I’ve told young people over and over to just stop and think, “Even if you could live a whole lifetime of 70 or 80 years and be able to live it up like a twenty-five or thirty-year-old what is even that compared to the billions of billions of years that are going to be in eternity?” Now, that’s eternity and it’s coming. That’s why this Book has been left with us to prepare us for that eternity that’s coming. But I think we’re living in a time when the materialism and the good times and so forth are just keeping our young people in the dark. That doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying life. My lands, I think I’ve enjoyed life as much as anybody can, and I’ve never had to get drunk to do it. Never! I used to tell guys in the service, “Look, what in the world are you gaining? You don’t even remember what you did, do you call that a good time?” But anyway, here we have it now in Colossians Chapter 3 and verse 1:
“IF ye then be risen with Christ (there is going to be a change in our appetites, and desires, and we’re going to), seek those things which are above,…” Which are eternal. How did The Lord Jesus put it back there in His earthly ministry?
“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
I’ve tried to drill in to young people, even my own, to get their priorities straight, and that doesn’t mean you have to go into a monastery and become nothing but a monk. You can enjoy life to the full, because God has given us all these blessings to enjoy, but priority-speaking, Heaven is where we have our first interest. Now, completing Colossians 3:1:
“IF ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
We are living in a `things’ society, but things perish. I noticed over the years, especially when I was young, that I wanted a particular make and model of car, and I finally got it, and then what? I learned a long time ago, and I’d like to think that it’s original with me, “Anticipation is a lot more exciting than realization.” Because once you have realized it, then it’s just `blah.’ But on these eternal things anticipation is great, but the realization is going to be greater. Now reading on.
“For ye are dead (in your old Adamic state), and your life is hid with Christ in God.” God and Christ are One in the same in reality, and so again when Romans 8:1 says:
“THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,…”
When we’re in Christ then we’re hidden in God, and wrapped up in the God-Head, and nothing can touch us. Jesus put it in a real simple form when He said, “no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” That was almost a simplistic understatement compared to this. Here we have the full ramification that if we have entered into this Salvation experience by faith, then we can stand on this promise that indeed we’re dead to the old Adam. Verse 4:
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear (and He will, and we think it’s not too far into the future), then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
What a prospect and promise! Now, I’ve got it good. I’m not wealthy or rich by any stretch of the imagination. I live in a little portion of Oklahoma that’s beautiful and all of that, but the glorious part is still to come.