Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 33
THE LAW IS CONDEMNATION
Now as we begin this lesson we’re just going to jump right in at Galatians chapter 3 and let’s begin with verse 18.
“For if the inheritance be of the law, (that is the Mosaic Law and system. If everything that is of our spiritual inheritance is concerned with the Law) it is no more of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”
But as we saw in the last lesson what did God do with Abraham? Promise, Promise, and Promise. I will, I will, I will, and the Law couldn’t fulfill any of those promises, because all the Law could do was condemn Israel. It didn’t fulfill any promises per say, and so if the Law was going to do the job then it was no more a promise. But God gave the covenant based on promise. In other words when God said it, that settles it, and that’s where we come in by faith. Now verse 19 is a verse I really want to get into, and spend some time on.
“Wherefore then serveth the law? (if it’s part of the promises, and it’s certainly not part of Grace, well what was the purpose of it? Why did God ever give the Law to Israel in the first place? Because God doesn’t do anything without a valid reason, and He did give the Law for a reason) It was added because of transgressions,…”
How many years of human history had transpired from the time of Adam until Moses received the Law? 2500 years mankind went without a written Law till God gave the Law to Moses. So the Law was added 2500 years after the human race had begun because of transgressions, sins. Let’s go back and look how sin ran rampant during that time in Genesis chapter 6. Up until the Law was given at Mount Sinai there was no system of worship. There was no organized religion as we call it. There was no written, “Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not.” And so what happened? Well here we have a good example of that in this chapter.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Can you imagine that? We’re getting close to that time again, but not that close yet. But evil things were all that people could think about. Things that were evil and wicked, and dishonest, always trying to cook up a crooked deal. You know I get a kick out of our law-making process. Just as soon as our government passes a law, being a democracy that we are in the coffee shops all over America writing on napkins, what are people doing? Figuring out a way to beat the law. Have you ever thought of that? Especially in programs. I’m a farmer and rancher from way back and I guess the farm programs had their place, but, shoot, I can remember they could come out with a new farm plan and those farmers, myself included would sit and try to figure how to beat the government every time.
Well it isn’t just farmer, it’s everybody. They’re always out to beat the system. Well as soon as enough of them get away with it what does the legislature have to do? Pass another law, and it just keeps on feeding on it. See? That’s the human race. Just as soon as people figure out how to beat the system the system has to correct it. Well now we’re up against it with high tech stuff. In fact I was just reading again yesterday, it’s getting easier and easier for people to rob the system through the computers. But back here in Genesis chapter 6 all people could think about was how to be wicked in some other way. Now verse 11.
“The earth also was corrupt before God,…”
I don’t know if you think of the same things when you see the word corrupt that I do, but I imagine that you do. The first thing I think of is an old rotten potato. Now there’s nothing that smells or looks worse than a rotten potato. In corruption I think of something that is vile, and something that you don’t even want to touch, something that smells to high heaven. The whole world was corrupt.
“…and the earth was filled with violence.” Corruption and violence went hand and hand, and it’s just different today. In fact what did the Lord say in Matthew 24?
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Well we’re getting close and this is a good description of the earth today. Now come on down to verse 12 of Genesis chapter 6. And you know I’m always saying that when the Scripture repeats something 3 or 4 times in a matter of a few verses, it’s there for emphasis, it’s getting our attention. And here it come again:
“And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me: for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”
Was there anything to deter violence, and corruption? No. There was no law, there was no system of worship, there was no ritual that men could follow, and this is the end result. Even after the destruction of the flood everything starts cranking up again and it’s heading right down that same old road, until they get to Babel, and then they’re ready to embrace every evil, pagan concept of worship that you can imagine. All the Tower of Babel was a place of worship, and it was pagan, and it was ungodly. Out of it came all the immorality of the mythologies, and gods and goddess and you name it, and once again God just saw it all, and said, “Now this time I’m not going to destroy them, but I am going to do something different.
I’m going to find one man, and He found him. I think Abram was the only man that God could use. God spoke to him and gave him these promises. Then after Abram received all the promises, and I wills of chapter 12, 15, and 17 and so forth, now it comes to the place where God says, “Man has to understand what’s right and what’s wrong, because he doesn’t seem to get it.” So He gave the Law, and He laid it down with authority. “Thou shalt have no other God’s before me.” Well right off the bat what did that fly in the face of? Everything that had taken place at Babel, because Babel was the beginning of all the false worships. Then God comes on through with the rest of the Ten Commandments. Now remember, and very few people understand this. Percentage wise it would be way down but what does Romans 3:19-20 say? These are verses that very few people even know that are in their Bible, and yet they say so much. Remember what we just saw in Galatians. That the Law was added because of sin. It did not take sin away from people, but rather it merely showed them their sins.
“Now we know (full knowledge) that what things soever the law saith, (the Ten Commandments in particular) it saith to them who are under the law; (who was that? Israel. Only Israel was put under the Law, but the power of it, the convicting part of it didn’t stop with Israel, but rather went out to the whole human race.) that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
Now you see that’s exactly the opposite of what most people think is the function of the Law. Most people think that the Law was given to help people do right, do the best they could, and God would somehow wink and say, “Yeah you didn’t do too bad, I’ll let you in.” But you see that wasn’t the purpose of the Law. The Law was given for only one purpose and that was to show mankind how far they fell short of God’s standard. No man has ever lived that could keep the Ten Commandments, because it’s impossible. So it was given for that purpose alone. Now verse 20 makes it so clear. Now since all the world has become guilty by the giving of the Law:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Oh if my classes don’t learn anything else in 20 years I’ve been teaching, I would hope that they learn that. That the Law can do nothing but convict a person of their utter sinfulness. So that’s why it was added. Up until this time of the flood God couldn’t impute all that wackiness. He couldn’t put to those people’s account because they weren’t breaking any written laws. Now that’s hard for us to comprehend and I know it is. We say, “Now wait a minute when they come up before the Great White Throne the books aren’t going to be open for them like they will be for every one since the Law?” No not in the same way.
Now they’re going to come before the Great White Throne, and they’re going to be consigned to their place of judgment but God is not going to be able to say, “Look at all the Law-breaking that you did.” Because they had no law, and you can’t break a law if there isn’t one. But as soon as the Law was given then the whole world became responsible. Now there is no question, adultery is sin. Yes, thievery is sin, yes coveting is sin, and all the way down through the Ten Commandments. So now all the world has been made guilty because now there is no excuse, ” Well I didn’t know there was a law against that. Now they know and that’s what it means. Now back to the Book of Galatians. Verse 19 again –
“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed (singular Seed the Christ) should come to whom the promise was made: and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”
In other words this whole covenant promise made to Abraham was spiritual. It never left the hands of spiritual beings, and as it was given to Abraham and that’s all it was. It was something that was heavenly in it’s origin, and Abraham merely became the subject of it, but Abraham couldn’t change it, and even though his offspring would break it, and break it and break it, God kept it settled, and He’s never going to go back on it. And that’s why we can say with all the confidence in the world He’s not through with Israel. God hasn’t finished His covenant promises with them. If Israel would be like most of Christendom says tonight that they’re off the board and God is all through with them, then all of the covenants fall apart. Do you understand that? And the covenant won’t fall apart because God is not through with Israel, and He is still going to finish and fulfill those covenant promises. Now verse 20 almost says what I’ve been saying along.
“Now a mediator (a go between) is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”
Well what does that mean? If you’re going to have a controversy between two people and you bring in a mediator, and I guess we’re more aware of that through labor unions and management, and they can’t get together on a contract. So what do they bring in? A mediator. And the purpose of the mediator is to make a meeting of the minds on each side. But God is not going to use a three person mediation. God is a mediator, and the instigator, and the fulfiller, and He alone is involved. Even man can’t touch those covenants, it’s impossible. So that’s what it means then when it says God is ONE. I guess I could put it this way. He is the One and Only involved in a covenant. He gives it, He carries it out, and He’s going to complete it, and man has nothing to do with it. OK now verse 21. And this is a good question isn’t it?
“Is the law then against the promises of God?…”
If all these promises to Abraham were given without the Law, and they were remember. That was about 500 years before the Law was given to Moses. Does the Law come in and cancel the promises? Why no, it enhances them. Now finish the verse.
“God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”
Do you see what that says? That if it was possible for the Law to give eternal life, and the potential was there. Because you see all the demands of the Holy God was in those Ten Commandments. What I’m standing here telling you is, that if a human being could have kept all Ten, would God have had to have let that person into His heaven? Why sure He would, because the Law was perfect, and anybody that could fulfill it he would have met God’s demands, and then God could say, “Come on into my heaven.” But what’s the problem with that? No person can do it. Nobody can keep those Ten Commandments other than Christ Himself. So the Law reverts right back to what we said it was before. It does nothing but condemn the whole human race. Day in and day out the Law is condemning good people and bad. See that’s what so sad, there are a lot of good upright nice people who for the most part keep the Law. They wouldn’t dream of robbing a bank, or committing adultery. They wouldn’t dream of gossiping but somewhere along the line they’re going to fail. And if you fail one Law, then James says, you’ve broken them all. And so we’re Law breakers, we don’t stand a chance, by Law keeping. All right now verse 22. Here is the great answer to the even greater dilemma.
“But the scripture (the Word of God) hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Now let’s come back to Romans chapter 3 and see how this fits so beautifully again with Galatians.
“What then? are we (Jews, Paul speaks of) better than they? (Gentiles) No, in no wise;…”
Now what did that do the Jewish community? Oh it just sent them into orbit. How dare that man tell people that Gentiles are just as good as Jews. Because you see for almost 2000 years the Jews had heard that they’re special. You’re my covenant people, you have been set apart from the rest of the world. You’re not to intermarry with them. You are to stay within your tribe. And now have this little Jew come out and say, “That there is no difference.” No wonder the Jews plagued the Apostle Paul every step of his way. It just infuriated them that this man was attempting to take the salvation of Israel’s God to those pagan Gentiles. Who ever heard of such a thing. And so what they did was that they followed him from city to city and in anyway they could they tried to defeat him and his purpose. They plagued him until his death. Well this was the crowning reason. Now reading on in verse 22.
Romans 3:9b – 10
“… for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:”
What do you think the Pharisees thought when they heard that? Oh they could have put him to death, because they were righteous in their own eyes. And here the apostle is making it so plain that no one is righteous, not even the most religious Jew. And of course the crowing verse of all this is verse 23. This is a verse that I’ve used over and over. This is a verse that every person who wants salvation has to start at. My pastor last Sunday put it this way “You can never be saved until you realize how lost you are!” Now you can’t put it any better than that, because that’s what Romans 3:23 says.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Remember when we were back in the Four Gospels and Jesus gave the analogy of the 99 sheep, and I pointed out that everybody thinks they were safe in the fold according to the old hymn. But the 99 weren’t safe in the fold they were out on the desert without a shepherd, and you put sheep out on the desert as dumb as they are, and what are they? They’re lost in 30 minutes, and they didn’t know it. But that one little lamb that was caught in a crevice someplace bleeding his little throat dry, what did that little fellow know? That he was lost, and in trouble. So which one did the Lord save? The 99 or the one? The one. Why? Because it knew it was lost, and that was the picture. Well it’s the same way today. Multitudes are sitting in their Churches Sunday after Sunday and they think they’re all right, but they will never be saved until they realize how lost they are. Like that little lamb in a crevice that had no hope unless the shepherd comes and find him. Well it’s the same way with lost people today they have to understand that they’re hopelessly lost, and then God can save them and not until. Now back to Galatians once more and looking at verse 22 again.
“But the Scripture (as we’ve just shown you) hath concluded all under sin, (Jew and Gentile) that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ (in other words by believing in His death, shed blood, His burial and His resurrection that those who would believe that for salvation) might be given to them that believe.” What? Eternal Life!
Remember it doesn’t do any good to believe the Gospel until you realize that you’re lost. See this is where it’s so hard, especially for good people. They’ll always say, “Well I’m not that bad, In fact I’m pretty good.” Yeah they are, they’re probably better than I am, but until they realize how lost they are spiritually, until they realize what the Scripture concludes, God can’t save them. They are just without hope, and one day they’re going to wake up and it’s going to be too late. But always remember God has forgiven every sin. He has done everything that needs to be done.