Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 33
GALATIANS 2:7 – 3:5 – PART 2
Now back to Galatians where we left off in chapter 2, and we were looking at verse 20 where Paul makes this classic statement:
“I am crucified with Christ;…”
That is the very function of the Gospel. That Christ died for the sins of the world, and was buried, and that He arose from the dead. I always like to make the point and I’ve been making it more strongly than ever that when we come under that forgiveness, we are forgiven everything, past, present, and future. We will never, never come into the presence of God with sin on our back so to speak, because it has all been paid for. Now I know this is beyond all human comprehension. I can’t understand it, but I believe it because that’s what the Book teaches. We have been forgiven all our trespasses, not because of anything we have done, but all because of what Christ has accomplished on our behalf. And that’s what makes the Gospel so simple and yet so complex we’ll never understand it this side of glory. Paul goes on to say in verse 20 that even though he’s crucified by identification with Christ’s death:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith (faithfulness) of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Now what do I mean by the faithfulness? Someone asked from the television audience, “How do you get people to sit there all afternoon in those uncomfortable chairs?” Well, they’ve never complained, and that proves you don’t have to have upholstery to get people to come in if you’re feeding them from the Word. But anyway when our people came in today they picked a chair to sit on, I’ll bet there wasn’t a person in this room that analyzed or inspected that chair to see if it would hold you, did you? Not a one of you did that. Why didn’t you examine your chair? Your faith in that chair was enough. Now if you’re placing your faith in that chair in turn what does that chair have to be? Faithful. If the chair isn’t faithful, then you would go to the floor.
Now it’s the same way with Christ. He has claimed to have done everything that’s necessary, and I’ve put my faith in that. Now someday when I get to the eternal abode is God going to say, “Well I’m sorry Les, but it wasn’t what it seemed to be?” No way, but rather He’s going to say, “The Blood of Christ is faithful, He is faithful.” And that’s why we can trust Him. So this is what I’m sure that Paul is driving at in verse 20. That it’s through the faithfulness, his faith in the one who is faithful to keep us, because He loved me and gave Himself for me. The other day my 10 year old grandson asked me, “Grampa, do I love God enough? Do I have enough faith that if he should come tonight that I won’t be left behind?” Now that’s a pretty good question from a 10 year old isn’t it? But the question isn’t how much we love Him, but rather how much He has loved us? And you see that’s pointed out so clearly in John chapter 11 in the account of Lazarus. All through that chapter it isn’t how much Mary and Martha loved Jesus, but how much He loved them.
“Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, `Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.'”
“Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.”
Then when you come down to the shortest verse John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” What did the Jews in that area say?
“Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!”
So it wasn’t how much they loved Him, but the other way around. So we must remember that it’s not how much we love Him but how much He loves us, and has saved us, and has kept us. Now let’s go on to Galatians 2:21 where Paul says:
“I do not frustrate the grace of God:…”
Many people have the idea that God is something up there that is just waiting for them to goof up so He can zap them. No that’s not God’s attitude. God attitude is one of total love and mercy and Grace. Let me take you back to a verse we talked about in one of our classes the other night. Come back to I Corinthians and always remember the setting of these various letters of Paul. The Corinthian Church, as we taught so clearly I trust, was a carnal Church. They had a lot of problems, so they were not the epitome of strong believers, they were carnal, they were fleshly, but in spite of all that, look what Paul writes to them in chapter 1.
I Corinthians 1:6-8
“Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you; (Their testimony was confirmed, sealed, and settled) 7. So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: (In other words they were potentially able to accomplish great things as anybody could be. Now verse 8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now that’s mind boggling isn’t it? People like these Corinthians with all of their failures and their weaknesses, that if the Lord would have come within a day or two after having received this letter, would they have stood before God shaking in their boots because of all their failures? No. Paul says, “If the Lord should come they would stand before Him blameless.” And we know they weren’t blameless. So on what basis could God do that? His Grace.
I remember we hadn’t been on television very long when I got a call from a listener and he was upset that I was alluding to eternal security for a true believer. He wanted to know how I could do such a thing. So I said to him, “Now look, what part of God made it possible for you to be saved in the first place?” Well he answered correctly when he said, “His Grace.” I asked him if he deserved His Grace? He replied no. I asked him, “Can’t you believe that this same Grace is going to keep those that are His even though we don’t deserve it?” Well I never got him to agree with me, but we must understand that none of us deserve to stay saved. But we do stay saved because of His Grace if we have been truly saved by His Gospel as outlined in I Corinthians 15:1-4 in the first place.
So remember we stand before God blameless because of the Grace of God. That unmerited favor. Now I always say that’s not license. That doesn’t say to the believer to go out and do as you please. No way. But when the believer is under the power of the Holy Spirit and is trying his best in the light of Scripture to walk pleasing in God’s sight, and he fails does God kick him out? No. Anyone who has been a parent can relate to this. The little one has just began to take those first faltering steps, and we’re all proud of them. In fact I’ve got a little grandson that just started to walk this past week, and we’re all just tickled to death to see that little fellow walk clear across the room, but when he falls does everybody get upset and give him a boot in his little seat? No, we pick them up and get them on their little wobbly feet and get them going. Well that’s what God does. God doesn’t expect us never to fall, and when we do He’s right there ready to pick us up and put us on our way. But that’s not the concept that most people have of the Grace of God, but that’s what it is. Now looking at verse 21 again.
“I do not frustrate…”
Paul says, “I’m not going to fly in the face of the Grace of God and say, “But I have to do this because this is what the Law says.” We today are not under the Law, but where are we? We are under Grace. Oh what a difference that makes. Grace is that attribute of God that’s capable of pouring out undeserved favor and mercy on sinners like you and I, sons of Adam.And all because of the love that was poured out at the Cross. That was love epitomized. That was as great an act of love as has ever been done, and all because He loved you and I as sinners, completely undeserving.
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, (legalism) then Christ is dead in vain.”
If you can be righteous by legalism then Christ was the biggest fool that ever walked to have gone to that kind of a death if indeed it didn’t accomplish that for which He went. But He did accomplish it, it’s finished and He did not die in vain. This little Book of Galatians is constantly showing the difference between Law and Grace – and how Paul is confronting these little congregations up there in Galatia who were being submarined by the Judaisers who were saying that you can’t saved by Grace alone – but rather you have to keep the Law, and you have to keep circumcision.
You know we might think that this is something in the past that took place, and we’re not up against anything like that today. Well we’re not up against circumcision, but you know what? We’ve got a couple dozen other things that we add that is just as insidious. They creep into the life of believers and they begin to doubt, and begin to wonder, have I really believed enough? And just as soon as you begin to doubt what does old Satan pop into your mind? Well maybe I do have to do this or do that. Now that’s the way old Satan works, so we have to constantly stay in the Word, believe that it’s True, and it is by Grace and Faith + NOTHING! Now to chapter 3.
“O foolish Galatians, (now why does Paul use the word foolish? Because they were being hoodwinked into thinking they had to add to his Gospel.) who hath bewitched you, (who has been fooling with your thinking?) that ye should not obey the truth, (and what was the truth? Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and risen from the dead + nothing) before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
And here these Judaisers were saying it had to be + something. And that’s the way it had always been with the exception of Abraham. It was always + something. Many people would say the Old Testament saints were saved by faith. Yes they were saved by faith, but not faith alone. It was faith + and even in Christ’s earthly ministry they weren’t saved by just believing that He was the Messiah. They had to repent and be baptized, they still had to keep the Law, they were still under Temple worship so it was faith + something.
But now beginning with Paul’s Gospel it’s faith + Nothing. I remember a lady was bamboozled by this when she first came to the class. She was an artist and she made a little plaque for me of an odd looking little duck to be sure. He’s got his head cocked to one side, with the question “Faith + Nothing?” That’s where most people are. It’s like, “Les, are you crazy – Faith + Nothing?” Hey 90% of Christendom doesn’t hear that. 90% of Christianity says, “It’s Faith + something.” But Paul says it’s faith + nothing for salvation. Now I’m not talking about the Christian experience as we go on down the road. I’m talking about salvation here, it’s faith + nothing. If it isn’t then Christ died for nothing, and that’s what Paul says, when he said then He died in vain. Now verse 2.
“This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit (The Holy Sprit. Again the evidence of their salvation) by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Speaking of the hearing of faith, come back to Romans chapter 10 for a moment because we’ve got to keep comparing scripture with scripture. Now this is just simple little verse.
“So then faith (saving faith) cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Now saving faith cometh by works? No. By what? Hearing. Now there’s no work in hearing, and that’s how faith comes. We contemplated it. We recognize that Christ died for me and rose from the dead, and that’s all I need. And we believe it, and by believing it then we are listening to the Word of God. Remember all faith is taking God at His Word. God said it and I believe it, and God recognizes it, and on the basis of that He moves in and does everything that needs to be done. Now that’s simplification, and many people can’t buy salvation being that easy, but I can’t help that. The scriptures says, “That it’s by faith and not the works of the Law.” Now back to Galatians 3. In verse 3 it’s the same thing only in a little different wording. And why would God repeat this? Repetition. Repetition is the mother of learning.
“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, (the work of the Holy Spirit which generated salvation because of their faith) are ye now made perfect (or made right with God) by the flesh?” Now what’s the flesh a reference to? The Law. The Law was fleshly, it was weak, it was beggarly. Let’s look at that in Romans chapter 7.
“For when we were in the flesh, (we had no spiritual life) the motions of sins, (the activity of what the Law would condemn us for) which were by the law, did work in our members(this body of flesh) to bring forth fruit unto death, (that is what the unsaved person is living for. All he’s living for is the day when he dies physically and the works of his unsaved experience are going to come up before him at the great White Throne Judgment. And the fruit that they’re going to have is death!) 6. But (flip side) now we are delivered from the law,(which was an administration of death) that being dead wherein we were held; (that is the Law) that we should serve (now as believers) in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (the Law)
We’re not under that Law of the oldness of the letter, we are now in this whole new frame of thinking which is the spiritual realm. And how do we get there? Just by believing the Gospel! Now back to Galatians chapter 3. Let’s look at verse 3 again.
“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, (that is by believing Paul’s Gospel through faith + nothing) are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (are you now going to move into a deeper spiritual life by the flesh? And what does the flesh want in the Galatian Churches? Legalism, Law. It’s just part of that old Adamic Nature to want to be under some kind of a Law.) 4. Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, (Holy Spirit) and worketh miracles among you, (whatever it was) doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
Well you can answer that question. They couldn’t perform any miracles under the working of Law, it was impossible. But when the Holy Spirit activated the hearts and minds of those pagan Galatians and others throughout the Roman Empire, then what was it? It was a miraculous transformation from paganism with all of it’s excesses, with it’s idolatry, and it’s immorality, and what did they do? They stepped out into a whole new lifestyle. Now that’s a miracle enough in itself, and no doubt in the early churches there were other manifestations of the miraculous. Paul doesn’t explicitly delineate them, but the question is still the same. If you have witnessed a miracle was it through the keeping of the Law? Or was it through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit Who was activated, how? By Faith + nothing! This is the whole theme of this Book of Galatians, so don’t be suckered into coming under some kind of a works religion!
PLAN FOR HEAVEN
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what Law: of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.”
I Corinthians 15:1-6
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
MANIFOLD RESULTS OF SALVATION
THE GOSPEL – Our Position – I Corinthians 15:1-4
JUSTIFIED – Romans 3:24
REDEEMED – Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7
SANCTIFIED – I Corinthians 1:30
FORGIVEN – Colossians 2:13
BAPTIZED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT – I Corinthians 12:13
GLORIFIED – Romans 8:17
INDWELT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT – I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19
IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS – Rom. 1:18; Isaiah 61:10 (clothed with garments of salvation, covered with the robe of righteousness)
QUICKENED – New Creation (Made Alive) – Ephesians 2:1
ADOPTION – Joint Heirs – Romans 8:14
TRANSLATED and DELIVERED from Power of Darkness – Colossians 1:13-14
RECONCILED – II Corinthians 5:18
ETERNAL LIFE – Ephesians 2:5-7