Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 34
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES VICTORY OVER SIN
Now before we start with the Scriptures, let’s review just a little. Galatians is a Book determining the fact that we’re not under Law but rather Grace. I know there are lots of people that don’t know what we’re talking about, and they’ll look at you quizzically and say, “Well, what do you mean?” Well hopefully what the Book of Galatians is showing is that we’re not under the system of Law, we are not under any kind of legalistic demands for our salvation. But rather salvation is all of Grace by faith only + nothing, or else any works you add to salvation takes away from the finished work of the Cross. See this is the whole concept of God dealing with us, this predominately Gentile Body of Christ in Grace, is that we have to believe that He did everything that needs to be done.
And as soon as we try to add to that for salvation then in actuality say, “Well Christ didn’t really finish it!” But he did and God has let us know in his Word and especially through the writings of this apostle Paul that it was finished and we stand in His presence justified, forgiven, sanctified, glorified, and all those good words simply because we can believe that it is a finished transaction. So this has been the whole concept of this little letter to the Galatians who were being tempted to go back under legalism, which at that time was prompted by the Jew, and that was circumcision. So Paul has been dealing with that in particular. But for us today circumcision is not so much the criteria, but it’s all these other things that people try to tell us that we have to do beside believing the Gospel, as found in I Corinthians 15:1-4. But don’t you believe what they say, because the Word says that it is by faith, and faith alone. And back in Romans Paul uses the old man Abraham as the prime example of someone who was saved by faith and faith alone. Now as we begin our study in verse 13 we find –
“For, brethren, (believers) ye have been called unto liberty; (freedom) only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh,…”
Now we need to stop there and go back to Romans Chapter 3 because Scripture has to constantly explain Scripture. Then we will also look at a verse in Chapter 6, and I think this just says it all.
“And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some (those that opposed him) affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.” (and sure.)
We sometimes hear that even in our own culture. “Well to be under the Grace of God means that I’m saved and now I can do as I please.” Listen, the Scripture never teaches that, and when Paul says, “that it was reported, it was slanderously reported.” In other words, they were trying to drag the guy’s ministry down in the mud by telling people, “Oh the apostle Paul just teaches that once you’re saved you are at liberty to do what ever you want to do.” And there have been some great men that took that line, but not the apostle Paul. Now turn with me here in Romans to Chapter 5:20, and the text is also along this same line of thinking. That, yes, we’re saved by Grace, we live by Grace, we walk by Grace, but that is not license.
“Moreover the law entered, that the offence (that sin might be seen for what it really is) might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:”
Now that tells you that no matter how far down an individual can go into sin and wickedness, yet the Grace of God is always capable of going even lower and bring that individual back up to a place of righteousness. Now verse 21.
“That as sin hath reigned (like a king) unto death, even so might grace (this liberty, this freedom) reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
All right then you come on into Chapter 6:1 I’m sure that Paul still has on his mind that he was slanderously reported in Chapter 3 to have taught that they could now do as they please.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (in other words, are we to actually test God’s offer of Grace, by seeing how much evil we can do, and get away with it?) 2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, (old Adam) live any longer therein?”
So this is the whole concept, that yes we’re set free, we are at liberty, and yet not liberty to go contrary to the Word of God. Now that wouldn’t make sense would it? But to have liberty as a believer is so wonderful. But this is an area where we can have a difference of opinion, because something that might not strike me as being intrinsically sinful to some one else it may be. So here is where our liberty comes into play. You have to determine between yourself and the Lord as to what your behavior is going to be in certain areas. We covered this several months ago, a good example is giving.
Someone may be led to give 30 or 40 percent of their income, well that’s great, but someone else may not be able to have that kind of opportunity, and they may give considerably less,but no one is mandated as to how much they give in this age of Grace. That’s Christian liberty! That’s what we have in Grace. Now that’s just one example. Now coming back to Galatians Chapter 5. We are not to use this liberty as an occasion to the flesh, and say, “Well I’m now saved, I’m a child of God and I can do whatever I wish.” Well I think most true believers know better than that. It’s these people who may have tasted of salvation, and had an emotional experience, but they’ve never really entered in to a genuine salvation experience. Now those kind of people may be able to take this approach, but for the true believer I think most of them know better than that. Now verse 13 again.
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
Now you want to remember that Paul is writing to the Galatian believers who were in various congregations, and amongst themselves believer with believers, they were to serve one another through love. Now I need to come back to my definition of Biblical love, or the Agape love as we saw it in John’s gospel when Jesus said to Peter, “Peter loveth thou me?” Do you remember those accounts? And Peter never did really get the full impact of Agape love, because Peter came back and said, “I Phileo you,” Meaning I’m fond of you. It was a lesser term then agape.
My best definition for us in the English speaking world of agape love is, “Seeking that other persons highest good.” That is true agape love in practice, when in every circumstance try to seek that other person’s highest good. Now that means many times we will even sell ourselves short in order to accomplish that which is the highest good for the other person. So this is what the apostle Paul is talking about in verse 13. Rather than use our liberty for an occasion to satisfy the lust of the flesh, rather we are to let that God-given agape love, the love that always seeks the other persons highest good. Now verse 14.
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Now let’s go back and compare what Paul writes in Romans Chapter 13. And again you need to compare Scripture with Scripture so that you don’t say, “Well that doesn’t really mean what it says.” A lot of people will say that when you confront them about something. But it does mean what it says, and if you don’t believe what it says in this one then find another place where it collaborates it and it all fits.
“…for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
Every part of it, because love is always the answer for what the Law demands, and I’ve gone over all of this more than once. Can you steal from someone that you really love? Why no way! Can you go out and bear false witness about someone you really love and are seeking their highest good? No. And it’s the same way with sexual immorality of the day. If true agape love is functioning, the present day surge of immorality and adultery would die on the vine. Because there is no true love in that kind of sexual satisfaction. It always leaves people miserable, you all know that. Triangles do nothing but cause unhappiness and grief and sorrow, and why? Because there is no true love involved in something like that.
Coveting is another one, you don’t wish you had something that someone has that you love. So love is the fulfilling of the whole Law, and then Paul goes on to repeat them in verse 9. So when I say that Paul teaches that we’re not under Law but rather Grace, that doesn’t mean that Paul says we’re free to steal, bear false witness and covet. No way but all he means is that the Law doesn’t hang over us as a threatening punishment, that if you break it the hand of God is going to come down on you. That’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying, “That once we’ve come into Salvation through faith and under the Grace of God our whole system of want to changes.” We no longer want to do these things that are contrary to the Law. So it isn’t a matter of having to have the Law in order to maintain Christian discipline. We’re going to see when we get down to a couple of verses later that it’s that indwelling Holy Spirit that takes the place of the Law. And that’s what we have to constantly emphasize. Now if we can come back to Galatians Chapter 5, and for repetition let’s read verse 14 again.
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Now that takes care of everything. Now verse 15 is just an admonition.
“But if ye bite and devour one another,…”
Now that will take in the bearing of false witness commandment. My, you can destroy a persons character in 5 minutes, and this is what is so sad about our political system. We love our freedoms and liberties, but you know all someone has to do is by innuendo make something of a derogatory comment and immediately that person is put on a defense, but what has happened in the eyes of the public? He’s guilty. Whether he is or not just by virtue of implication he is now guilty until he can prove himself innocent. Well Paul is telling believers that this is the same thing that they are doing to each other. Every time you say something nasty about one of your fellow believers you are by implication putting them in a place of defending their character or what ever. And so Paul is saying, “You had better be careful, because it will eat you alive.”
“…take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”
Literally just eaten up by those to whom you are being an adversary. Now let’s move on an as you can see I have already drawn my circles on the board, to save a little time, to show the make up of mankind.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
In other words, to keep from fulfilling the lust of the flesh you must walk in the power and the control of the Holy Spirit. Now that makes sense doesn’t it? When the Holy Spirit is operating you’re not going to go out and steal, the Holy Spirit will never tell a believer to go and steal or do anything contrary to the Word. So when we walk in the Spirit and He is in complete control then these things of old Adamic nature, which is still lurking there in the background, won’t come to the front. Now getting back to the circles that I have drawn on the board. Now verse 17.
“For the flesh (old Adam, that old Adamic nature) lusteth (or declares war on our new nature or) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;…”
So it’s a constant battle. The battle line are defined from the very moment we’re saved until we leave this life by death, or we trust one day soon, through the Rapture. But until one or the other happens we are in a constant warfare. Now reading on in verse 17.
…and these (two forces within each believer) are contrary (they are at total odds) the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
These two natures can’t agree on anything because the new nature has a whole new set of values that are in compliance with the righteousness, and the Holiness, and the laws of God. And the old nature, whose god is Satan, and the god of this world, this nature is bent in rebellion, and unbelief, and so they are two totally opposites, and they war constantly. Now we haven’t had a study on the circles that make up mankind in a long time so let’s go back to Genesis. I’m amused, and encouraged because in my system of teaching the two things that most people says have really opened their eyes to the Scripture are the timeline, and the 3 circles. The timeline has literally opened the Bible for so many people and the 3 circles help people understand the make up of man.
We had a gentlemen at one of our last seminars who said that when he first heard of me he hated me with a passion. He said, “My wife had gotten some of your tapes, and I hated those tapes, and if I could have gotten away with it I would have destroyed every one of them.” But he said, after arguing over the tapes he agreed to watch one of the half hour tapes just to get them out of the house and out of sight. He said, “I watched the first half hour and went about 10 minutes into the second half hour and,” he said, “you had the 3 circles on the board, and it just totally blew my mind. After watching you explain those circles I could see my problem, I was under the control of that old Adamic nature, and I had to have what my wife had and what you were talking about.”
So there is another prime example of how the teaching on the three circles has helped so many folk, and clarify our make up. Now the outer circle represents our own individual body. And as we’ve pointed out from Corinthians the body is just the exercise of the five senses, and it’s merely the temporary dwelling place for the next circle the “soul,” which I usually refer to now as the “personality,” the real you. It’s your personality, and is made up of the mind, the will, and the emotions in each person. Now that’s what really makes us click. It’s our mind that does the thinking, and formulates every thing. The will is what carries out the thinking, and then you have our make-up of emotions which is our love and anger, joy and what have you. Then we had the third part that Adam was first created with, body, soul, and spirit, whereby he had fellowship, and communion with the Creator. Now we know that as soon as Adam sinned as God had said –
“…for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
And so Adam didn’t die physically for 930 years, but his spirit, that part of him which he had been having fellowship with His Creator died, and became dormant. His spirit was still there but was dead like a car battery that has been run down, and it will remain dead until some outside power source comes in and regenerates it. Then at the same time with Adam, another thing happened to him. His personality, by which he was created, became then a sin nature. We refer to it as our old Adam. It had only one bent and that was rebellion against everything that God instructed or taught, it would say no. In fact all you have to do is just stop and think for a moment.
You look at the world around us and it’s been this way all the way back through history. Every thing that God says, “This do” for our own good what does Satan say? Well just the opposite. Satan is always telling the human race just the opposite of what God has instructed us to do. On the other hand every thing that God says we shouldn’t do, what does the Devil say? Do it. So this has been the conflict then between man and God ever since Adam became that original “sin nature” and his spirit or the place of fellowship was completely put out of commission, it was made dormant.
So now when we come into the human experience, yes we’re living in that same body of flesh, blood, and bones which operates the five senses and it’s in that body that now our old personality, this sin nature, is operating, and that’s as much as we’ve got. We’ve got no way of communicating with God while in that condition. Now people don’t like for me to say that, I know. When that poor old GI in the fox hole would cry out for God to help him, God didn’t hear that unless he cried out for salvation. That’s the prayer of an unbeliever that God hears, because you see there’s no means of communication for the lost person and God. There is none. Romans 8:7-8 makes it so plain that the lost person is an enemy of God. Well you don’t deal with your enemy if you’ve got one.
So here we are as a race of people living in the flesh with an old sin nature, a personality that is an enemy against God, and with nothing to keep us in communication with God. But now for the flip side. Here comes the Cross, and Paul teaches so explicitly for the first time in Scripture about this whole idea of a sin nature, and that is that if this sin nature can be crucified, and literally by faith committed unto God to have Him put it to death (because this old sin nature has to be declared dead, at least so far as God is concerned), although it remains a viable force in our living, but the minute God reckons old Adam as crucified, God then puts within us a new nature, a divine nature which is the very mind and nature of Christ Himself. And that’s what we mean when we become Christ-like or a Christian.
But never lose sight of the fact that even though God reckons old Adam as dead, and God sees him no more, and that’s justification. It’s just as if we’ve never sinned so far as God is concerned. So it’s just as if old Adam has been completely put out of God’s sight, but in our experience as a believer, he’s still there. The only hope we have is that God has intervened with something that will help us control this old Adam and we can keep him defeated.