Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 66
BUT GOD! (Faith Plus Nothing!) – Part 4
Acts 13:30, Rom. 3:21, Rom. 4:5, Rom. 5:8
For those of you out in television, again how we thank you for your letters, your prayer support, well, just for everything! We know that without you and the Lord’s help, we could never reach the audience that we’re reaching. For those of you here in the studio, we always appreciate your faithfulness in coming in every month and doing these four programs. Okay, we’re going to continue on with our “But Now’s” and “But God.” In Romans chapter 5 verse 8, we have a “But God.” But again, we’re going to look at the first few verses that lead up to it and then see why there is a sudden flip-side.
So, Romans chapter 5, we’ll start at verse 1. Now remember, we just came out of chapter 4 where he lifted up Abraham as the example of a man of faith, whose salvation was based on his faith plus nothing, and then his works followed. But it is the same way with a believer. Just because we proclaim a salvation by faith alone, it doesn’t mean that you just make a verbal recognition and then go on in your same old lifestyle. That just isn’t it. But when we become a true believer, by faith in this Gospel, we’re going to be different. The world is going to recognize it in short order. Not because we’re oddballs, it’s just because we have different priorities. We have a completely different agenda from the world, but it has to make a difference. Otherwise, I have a lot of doubts about a lot of people’s profession of salvation.
“Therefore being justified by faith,…” Plus repent and be baptized? Now you’re learning, aren’t you? You see, these are all verses that I can refer to when people say where does it say Faith plus Nothing? Because it doesn’t add anything. It says, “Therefore being justified by faith.” Period. That’s it. Most of Christendom adds something, and it’s getting worse by the day. I just can’t comprehend it except that Satan knows his time is short, and the more he can befuddle the masses, the more he becomes the winner. Remember that the Gospel of Salvation has always been responded to by the few, not the many. Always.
I’ve got to remind people, when you get to the flood, out of the four or five billion people that were on the earth, how many were faithful to God? Eight. Now, that’s the worst one in Scripture. Then Elijah had one out of 7000. That’s one tenth of one percent. Then you get to the Book of Isaiah chapter 1 verse 9, I think it is, where it says had it not been for the “very small remnant” of the righteous in Israel. Now, what’s a remnant? It’s just that little sample of what’s left. And what’s a very small remnant? A small piece of the sample.
That’s all there were, again, in Israel. Then the Lord comes along with his own definition of “broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many go in thereat. But narrow is the way and straight is the gate and few there be that find it.” Now, I say that only as a shaking up of people when they’re so complacent and think, “Well, everybody else is going to make it. I think I will too.” No, everybody else isn’t going to make it. Only the few.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” Now, maybe this is a good time. I didn’t intend to do this, but I sometimes feel the Spirit does lead for whatever purposes.
Galatians chapter 1, now, if we’ve seen anything in these previous three programs, it’s the fact that salvation is “without a work.” It’s without anything that a person can do of their on volition. It’s by faith and faith alone in that finished work of the cross. That’s the Gospel of Salvation that Paul has been commissioned to preach. All right, now look what he says in Galatians 1. This is a repetition again, I know it is, starting at verse 6, and this is enough to scare the socks off of you.
“I marvel that you are so soon removed from him who called you into the grace of Christ (They’re falling for what?) unto another gospel: (Oh, not just totally different, but off the wall different, next verse) 7. Which is not another; but there be some that trouble (or disturb) you, and would pervert (Pollute, adulterate, make it something less than what God intended.) the gospel of Christ.”
Now, here it is where Paul again takes credit for being the Apostle of the Gentiles, and he alone has this Gospel, as he says in Galatians chapter 2 verse 2, “Which I preach to the Gentiles,” and which he calls in Romans 16:25, “my Gospel.” All right, here is the warning to those who preach any salvation message other then Paul’s.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Anathema! Cast out! Condemned! And why will he be condemned? For perverting Paul’s Gospel! That’s serious business. And how are they perverting it? By adding to it. Adding whatever it is.
All right, come a little further in Galatians. That’s the whole purpose of these six chapters you know, is to bring these Galatian, Gentile believers up short – don’t fall for something that is added to my Gospel of Salvation message. Don’t you let someone come in and say, “You have to be circumcised to be saved.” Don’t you let these men tell you that unless you keep Moses’ Law you can’t be saved.
And today, I have to say, don’t you let these people come in and say that unless you speak in tongues, you can’t be saved; or unless you repent and are baptized my way, you can’t be saved. I have to tell people, don’t you buy this when they say, “Unless you give ten percent of your income, you’re going to Hell.” I’m responsible! Just like Paul was with circumcision and legalism. There’s no difference. It’s all legalism. All right, so what does he say in chapter 5 verse 1.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty (That’s grace without works!) wherewith Christ hath made us free,…” How did He make us free? By dying on that cross in our place. By shedding His Divine, sinless blood as payment for our sin, and being raised from the dead in power and glory that He might impart to us eternal life. That’s the liberty and the grace that we stand in.
“…and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” And what’s bondage? Anytime somebody lays on you something that you have to do to gain salvation. That’s bondage, whether you know it or not. And that’s most of Christendom. They’re under the thumb of requirements. They’re under fear.
Boy, I’ve got a good book at home entitled Churches That Abuse. You know what the abuses are? By putting people under the authority of that congregation and they’re scared to death to make a wrong move. It’s awful, and yet it’s running rampant. All right, but the Scripture says, “Don’t be entangled with that kind of stuff.”
“Behold, I Paul (The apostle of the Gentiles. The one who is speaking the words of Christ on our behalf.) say unto you, that if you be circumcised, (to somehow complete the plan of salvation. If you’re going to believe that, then Paul says,) Christ shall profit you nothing. 3. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, (For salvation – or anything else that I’ve already named – for salvation.) that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” If you’re going to go in with works, then you’ve got to keep it perfectly from stem to stern.
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; (or works) you are fallen from grace.” You are on your own and never had salvation to begin with. Oh, you thought you did, but you’re going to stand stark before the Great White Throne, and you’re not going to have a word of excuse, because by that time, every lost person will know where they missed it. God won’t have to tell them. They’re going to know. It’s going to be awful.
Never forget the admonition that if you are guilty of proclaiming a false, adulterated Gospel of Salvation, you are in danger of the anathema of God. So, be careful and only use Paul’s Gospel when you proclaim the message. All right, back to Romans chapter 5, reading verse 1 again.
“Therefore being justified by faith, (That is, in Paul’s Gospel, in that work of the cross.) we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” We don’t have to sweat and wonder and worry, “Have I done enough?”
You know, I’ve shared this with you on the program before. I had a fellow, quite a few years ago, who came up one night after one of my classes here in Oklahoma, and he says, “Les, my father-in-law, who was an evangelist for one of the major denominations for 25 years, came to live with us in his final days. And one day while he was walking my living room floor, it was obvious something was bothering him.”
And he said to him, “Dad, what’s your problem?” And Dad said, “If only I knew where I was going when I die.” And in shock the son said, “Dad! You mean to tell me you’ve been preaching for 25 years and you don’t know where you’re going?” You know what his answer was? “How can I? I don’t know if I’ve done enough.”
But that’s the multitudes of so-called Christendom. They’re hoping and praying that they’ve done enough, but they don’t know. So, this is exactly what Paul is saying here. We’ve been justified by faith. We have peace. You don’t have to worry and sweat and wonder, “If I die of a heart attack in the next minute, where am I going?” We know. Why? Because Christ finished it. I didn’t. He did! You didn’t. He did. So, this is the whole idea of Paul’s Gospel. All right, now verse 2.
“By whom (by this Lord Jesus the Christ) also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” For how long? A thousand years? We talked about it in the first half-hour. How long? Eternity!
I was thinking about it again a little while ago while I was teaching. You remember I made reference years ago to the back of this guy’s tee shirt. All he had was — Eternity. Have you thought about it? Now, that should shake people up. But do they? The rank and file of humanity, do they ever think of eternity? I’m afraid not. But, oh, they’d better, because that’s what’s ahead of us.
All right, so we come into the grace by faith, and we have hope of God’s glory for eternity. Eternity. All right, now verse 3.
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also:…” Yes, we all have problems. My, I said it years ago when I was still teaching just high school kids. I would tell those kids that just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you’re going to have a bed of roses through life.
Quite the opposite. The devil can really make things hard for us. You’ve all seen, especially at Christmas time, that card where the believer said that, well, Lord, you said that you would walk with me. Yes, I did. But how come I see only one pair of tracks so often? And what’s the answer? That’s when I was carrying you. And it’s so true. Yes, tough times come. Iris and I are going through it. Most of you out in television know it. Our daughter is quadriplegic. It’s heartbreaking. But we know the Lord will provide. He’ll either bring her back or something. But we never lose faith in the fact that it’s under His control. Every one of you here, we all go through trials and tribulations. It’s part of the program.
“…knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” Now, to bring a smile back on your face. I rehearsed this years and years ago. A friend of mine, who was the mother of seven kids, I guess, one night after I’d been teaching at our church up north, she came up and she said, “Les, pray that the Lord will give me patience with my seven kids.” I said, “Wait a minute. Do you realize when you pray for patience how you’re going to get it?” She says, “No.” I said, “Tribulation.” She said, “Forget it!”
Okay, but see, that’s the problem. We don’t want the tribulations that are necessary for the patience that comes by our faith. But listen, when God brings in the hard times, He’s going to always keep His promise to bring us through. All right, now then verse 4.
“And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us.” See, now that’s Paul’s doctrine, again, of the indwelling Spirit. Don’t ever get away from that. Paul alone teaches it, that we have the Spirit of God dwelling within us. He’s the One who takes the place of the Law. It’s the Spirit who tells us right from wrong.
I was reading a secular editorial again just last night in one of our nation’s newspapers, that too many of our young people no longer know the difference between right and wrong. They have no attributes. They have no qualities to go by. But, oh listen, this is all part of where we have our experience and our hope based on the Word of God.
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. 6. For when we (as believers. That’s who Paul always writes to.) were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for (What kind of people?) the ungodly.” He never shed a drop of blood for “good” people. He didn’t shed a drop a blood for righteous people. Because God knows that those kinds of people will never subject themselves to His Grace. They will still come knocking on the pearly gates and say, but I’ve done enough. I’ve done my good works. And God won’t have it. He died only for the ungodly, those who know they’re lost. All right, here’s the reason, verse 7.
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: (Who’s going to go and give his life for some good person that’s perfectly capable of taking care of it himself?) yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (Now, here’s my theme.) 8. But God (Oh, what a difference! Way above the human experience.) commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” I remember years ago when Iris had a friend that she would try to witness to. You know what her number one excuse was? Well, when I get good enough that God can accept me; then I’ll become a Christian. What a horrible mentality. She had others that would tell her, well, when I can quit smoking, or when I can quit drinking, or when I can quit catting around; then I will get saved. That’s not the way it works! Because God alone has to give us victory over these things. But, you see, lost humanity has a hard time understanding that.
I gave the example in the seminar Saturday at McAlester, of a girl that Iris and I dealt with out in Colorado years ago. Maybe someday she’ll hear this program and she’ll say, “Hey, that was me.” She was a young lady at the time, 31 or 32 years old. She came in as we were having dinner with one of her relatives, and the subject came up as we were speaking, and she just volunteered it – she said, “I’m not a sinner.” ” No?” “I’ve always been a good girl. I was a good girl in high school. My parents never had any trouble with me. I’m a good wife. I’m a good mother. I’m a good girl.” “And you’re not a sinner?” “No, I’m not a sinner.” Well, this started about 7 o’clock in the evening, dinner hour, and by 10 o’clock we finally got her convinced from the Scriptures that she was a sinner. No matter how good she was, she was still a sinner. That’s the problem with the human race. We can’t be good enough to make it. We have to come as a sinner, because that’s who God died for.
All right, “But God” in spite of all the other things that were going for the human race or against the human race, “God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Now, we’ll move on to verse 9.
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood,…” Now, there again, that’s a concept I think that only God Himself understands. Why did He demand a blood sacrifice? Now, don’t write me letters! I’ve got just as many ideas as you have out there. But nevertheless, God had a particular reason in His Sovereign Holy way of thinking that it had to be a shed blood salvation. We have to have the blood payment for sin.
Even Peter recognized that by the end of his ministry. Let’s go there a minute. Peter recognizes that the shed blood was the price of redemption. And even though I maintain that Peter still does not have an understanding of Paul’s Gospel, yet he understood the ramifications of the shed blood, coming out of the Old Testament economy.
I Peter chapter 1 verses 18 and 19, now remember, Peter is writing to fellow Jews. He says:
I Peter 1:18
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed (or bought back) with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;” Now, what’s that a slam at? The legalism of Judaism, that it was a works religion. Indeed it was. Now verse 19. Here’s another ‘but,’ the flip-side. Peter’s listeners, or his readers, weren’t believers because of their law keeping.
I Peter 1:19
“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” Now, why do you suppose Peter was lead of the Holy Spirit to put it “without blemish and without spot?”
Because back in Exodus, that was the direction for bringing the Passover Lamb. They had to bring it up out of the flock fourteen days before, and they were to watch it, and then the last three days they were to really examine it so that there was not a blemish. There was not a fault in that lamb, so it could be offered as the Passover sacrifice on the day of Passover.
All right, Christ fulfilled that picture by being the perfect Lamb of God. That’s why His blood could not come from a human father and a human mother. Now, I shake people up. That’s why Mary’s blood could not flow through the baby Jesus in the womb. It would have corrupted His Divine blood. It had to be the perfect sinless blood of the Lamb of God. That’s the only blood that could pay for redemption. And again people fight it. “I can’t believe it.” I can’t help that. It’s the Word of God, and it says that His was the perfect Passover lamb, in fulfillment. In fact, let’s quickly look at I Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 7.
I Corinthians 5:7
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened, (Now, he’s using the bread dough as an example of the believers transition from the lost estate, with sin permeating us, to now being controlled by the Holy Spirit.) For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:” Do you see that? What did the Passover lamb demand? Perfection. Without spot and without blemish. So, the Lord Jesus fulfilled everything that was in type in the Old Testament. Now Romans 5:9 again.
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”