Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 23
IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?
As we begin the last four lessons of this book we are also beginning our sixth year on television and we never dreamed we’d be on longer than six months, Now here we are covering a good part of the nation. We’ve even had a couple of calls from Canada, so it’s exciting how The Lord is expanding our ministry. Let’s go right into where we left off in Romans Chapter 8. I know we have been in this chapter a long time, and I hope you’re not getting tired of it. But it’s such a tremendous chapter, I call it the gemstone of Scripture, and so many have called and written how they have enjoyed this chapter. Now, verse 30, and here Paul writes:
“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
When we started our study in this book, I was explaining the word `Salvation’ in Romans 1:16, and how that one of the things God accomplished on our behalf as a result of our Salvation experience, was that, not only were we justified, sanctified, forgiven, baptized into the Body, and all these other things, but God also glorified us. I know that we as believers don’t walk around on this planet with a halo around us. We don’t walk around exuding some kind of an angelic presence that would indicate that we’ve been glorified, but here in this verse is repeated again that not only have we been justified, but also glorified. There is only one way to explain that because our fellow man doesn’t see it, but God does. And so every time God looks upon the believer, remember He doesn’t see Les Feldick, or you in particular, but rather He sees Christ Jesus. We get a little picture of Christ’s glory there on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17, when Peter, James, and John had the opportunity of seeing Him literally glorified in their presence.
“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.”
What I like to say comes out of this verse 30, since God says we’re Glorified. We can’t see it on each other, but God sees it when He looks on us. Now, that should be enough to excite the most blase of believers. To think that God has already glorified, and He sees us as He sees Christ in all of His glory. When you go back into verse 30, you might remember that in our last lesson we discussed the term `Predestination.’ We’ll be dealing with this term again, how that God, before anything was ever created, knew the believer, and knew where he would be in God’s Body of Christ. This is one of the teachings that I know has thrown a curve at a lot of people: that God in His foreknowledge chose us in Christ before anything was ever created. And then in my closing remarks in the last lesson, I said that, yes, we have all these verses: “Whosoever will may come.” Christ tasted death for every man. In fact Paul says in II Corinthians Chapter 5:
II Corinthians 5:14,15
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; 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.”
So if Christ died for all, then we’re all dead. Now, who does that include? The whole human race. He didn’t die just for the small percentage who have become believers, He died for every man, woman, and child that has ever been born into the family of Adam. And that’s part of Scripture, but setting against that we have all these verses that say, “You were chosen before the foundation of the world.” You cannot come to God unless He calls you. Now, we can’t reconcile those two doctrines because it’s beyond us. But remember, that as we’re going down the river of time, and in that family of the human race there’s that constant invitation to enter the door of Salvation that says, “Whosoever will may come.” And then when we go through that door, what’s written on the other side? “Chosen in Him before the world was ever created.”
I was telling Doctor Bellamy the other night, that I happened to pick up a book by a tremendous Bible scholar in the early part of the century, and he was dealing with that same subject. He said that these things may to us sound contradictory. On the one hand you have, “Whosoever will may come.” And over here you’ve got, “But you were chosen by an act of God.” How are you going to reconcile them? Well, I think he had the answer. If this is what God says then you believe it, and you don’t try to argue with Him, or reconcile it. Just leave it there and let Him settle what we think is a great controversy. The theologians are still arguing about that subject.
So I like what this Bible scholar wrote. Yes, “Chosen before the foundation of the world, but on the other hand whosoever will may come.” And never lose sight of that, because if you get too taken by either one of these, then you’re out in left field, but you reconcile both of them together, that as the human race moves down through time every individual has that opportunity of choice, but on the other hand they cannot choose unless God calls them, and He elects them. Now, let’s move on to verse 31, and oh, what a tremendous verse, and to think that most people who read their Bible just skim right over this verse, and don’t even realize what an impact it should make on them. Let’s look at it carefully. Notice Paul just keeps on building from verse one of this chapter to now.
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Now, look carefully at your particular Bible, and I think you will see that there are some words that have been added by the translators and they’re italicized. Notice the word `be’ is italicized, and has been added by the translators, and if you go a little further in the verse the “can be” has also been added, so let’s leave them out. Once in a while it’s better to leave it as it was in the original, and this is the way I’m going to teach it:
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
That’s fantastic isn’t it? Now, the first thing we think of in a verse like that is that God is promising that nothing can happen to us if we’re a believer. No, no that’s not what it means. Let’s just look at some Scriptures. Turn with me to the Book of II Corinthians, Chapter 11, and here the Apostle Paul (whom I feel was probably the greatest servant that God ever had of the human race, and I said a few weeks ago I think that he evens surpasses Moses a little bit), went through so much for the sake of the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4), and yet the very same man wrote, “If God for us, who against us?” And yet look what Paul had to endure.
II Corinthians 11:24-28
“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one (or 39 licks with those cat-of-nine-tails). Thrice (three times) was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned (that is how the Jews killed people with stoning), thrice (three times) I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often (usually on foot), in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen (pagan and idolatrous), in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
And I thought that back there in Romans, “If God for us, who against us?” Do you see what I’m saying? Too many times we, as modern day believers, have the idea that just as soon as we become a believer, then everything is going to be a bed of roses. You’re going to have two Cadillacs in your garage, and you’re going to live in the biggest home in town, and you’re just going to live sumptuously. That’s not what He means, and never has been. Let’s look at another series of verses in the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 11 again, and drop in at verse 34. Now, this is isn’t talking about wicked people, this isn’t talking about back sliders, this is talking about God’s choicest believers. Even though they were back in the Old Testament economy that doesn’t make that much difference. It’s the same God. Now, look what happened.
“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword (what does that mean? Somebody was after them), out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens (or the unbelievers. Now, in verse 35 we’re going to see a little bit of the other side of the coin). Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance (they were being tested, and probably could have escaped it just by renouncing their faith, but they didn’t); that they might obtain a better resurrection:”
I don’t know how many of you have ever read Fox’s Book of Martyrs about the believers in the early Church day. They went through horrible persecutions, but they never flinched. Oh, once in a while one would but for the most part they didn’t. They went to their death singing hymns just like Paul and Silas back there in Philippi. The human race has gotten along pretty well the past two hundred years, we’ve experienced the rights of people that democracy has given us, but there is no guarantee of it. Even we in America may suddenly find ourselves someday under these same types of persecution. But here is where we have to rest, regardless of what comes; “If God for us, who can be against us?” Even Jesus said they may touch your flesh, but don’t worry about those who can hurt the body, but what you have to be concerned about is the soul. Now, reading on.
“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:”
God’s for us? Then how do they get away with these things? Well, you see the thing that really counts is the eternal. It’s the realm of the Spirit, that even though the powers that be may someday afflict our flesh. Someday we could find ourselves in prison. We could find ourselves with famine on our hands, the world grain supply is never more than 90 days. And if there is ever a complete loss of a new crop, the world is going to be in a tough situation for food. So don’t ever think that these things can’t happen, they can, and especially as we approach the end-times, and these things are going to be coming on us faster, and faster.
“They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;”
Come back with me again to Romans Chapter 8. So as you read these promises, “God for us, who against us?” rest assured that regardless of what someone or the powers that be may do to the flesh, they can never touch that invisible eternal part of us, because that is in God’s hand. And after all what’s this life? Never lose sight of this promise that God is for us, and, consequently, nothing can be against us. Now, verse 32 gives the reason. Why can God make such promises? What do we rest on?
“He (the God of verse 31) that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
I’ve stressed this many times that Paul never writes to anyone but believers. So when he uses this pronoun `us’ he’s talking about himself, and his fellow believers. Turn for a moment to a verse in I Thessalonians. You can see the difference between Paul speaking or writing to believers, and his references to the unbeliever. Let’s start with Chapter 4 and verse 17, just to show you the pronoun usage, and I think that will be enough for you to see what I’m talking about. Here in I Thessalonians 4, Paul is talking about himself and believers, and we always refer that these verses are the “Rapture of the Church.” Being caught up to meet The Lord in the air.
I Thessalonians 4:17
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Those `we‘ and `them’ are us as believers. In Chapter 5 we can see the other side of the coin, and that is those who will not be caught up to meet The Lord in the air – the unbelieving world.
I Thessalonians 5:1,2
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
That is when Christ will come in wrath and in judgment. Now, look at the unbelievers beginning with verse 3.
I Thessalonians 5:3
“For when (now what’s the pronoun?) they shall say, `Peace and safety;’ then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they (the unbelieving world) shall not escape.”
See the difference? In Chapter 4 Paul is dealing with the believer, but here in Chapter 5 he’s dealing with those who have been left behind at the Rapture, the unbeliever, so the pronoun switches from `we’ to `they.’ That’s the best example I can give in all of Paul’s writings, how that when he writes to us as believers the pronoun is `us’ and `we,’ and very seldom does he allude to the unbelieving world like he does here in Chapter 5. Let’s return to Romans 8.
So everything that Paul has been teaching in the Book of Romans, and especially here in Chapter 8 is resting upon this one fact: that the God of all creation, the God of glory, the God full of majesty, and power. The God who could have destroyed the whole human race. Who could have destroyed the planet, but He didn’t, and instead, He let those Roman soldiers nail Him to that Roman Cross, and put Him to death. And God didn’t do a thing to stop it, and that’s the meaning of verse 32 when Paul tells us:
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,…”
It wasn’t that God lost control. This was all pre-determined before anything was ever created, that Christ would go to that Cross. So everything rests on that Cross. I get so disturbed at people who try to tell others how to be saved, and never use one word about His death on the Cross, His burial or His Resurrection. These people are by-passing the Gospel (Ref. I Corinthians 15:1-4). Nothing thrills me more than a note I got in a Christmas card, where a gentlemen told me how thankful he was that he got into my class, and for the first time in his life he heard the Gospel. And this person had been in church most of his life. And what had he heard? That Christ died for him, and that He rose from the dead in power, and all for us. But people aren’t hearing that anymore. But regardless of what happens, that’s what I’ll always teach, because this is the Gospel. Let’s turn to Philippians Chapter 2 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: But made himself of no reputation (who made Him that way? He did, the Sovereign Creator God that Jesus Christ is and was), 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.”