Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P31 (01-20-19)
In Romans, the apostle Paul explains to us the nature of fallen man, how man is not only a sinner but spiritually dead and in need of life. Paul explained this in great detail, in regards to both the Jew, who pursued a righteousness as if it were by works, and a Gentile, who was so far removed from the things of God, the most heathenistic people there is, with temple worship and all kinds of promiscuity and evil behavior. The Gentiles were set aside while God is working with the Jews through the law and the Old Covenant he established. But then Paul is appointed to bring the gospel to the Gentile world, as God promised through the prophets of Old. So, to the Jew and the Gentile, God formed one new body out of both the Jew and the Gentile, called the Ecclesia, the people of God, made up of the those who are born again, made into a new creation by Christ, by believing the message of Christ.
After answering questions many questions that Paul anticipated would be asked concerning law and grace, Paul now resumes explaining this message of Christ, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. This work that Jesus Christ alone did is how man can be made acceptable to God. For until sin is taken away, God cannot offer eternal life to man. Until sin is taken away eternally from the eyes of God, man is still under this law of sin and death. So when Jesus shed his blood on a cross, the judgment of death for sin, the death that we deserved as a consequence of sin, was placed on him. The debt was paid in full for the sins of the entire world.
Now Jesus finished the work God gave him to do. Under the Old Covenant made with the Jews, bulls and goats were required as a temporary covering for sin, an atonement, that was only designed to last until Christ Jesus came and fulfilled all the requirements of the law for us, and then died, taking way sins, so that system of sacrifice is no longer needed. Now, Jesus is the final sacrifice. He will not shed his blood again. There is now no more sacrifice for sins. He is no longer standing, but sitting down at the right hand of God. Those who were standing were those Levitical priests who were daily sacrificing bulls and goats. For their work was never finished, and could never take away sins, for that was only a reminder of sins. But God initiated a New Covenant with all of mankind when he died on the cross, and He now says under this New Covenant, “I will remember their sins no more.”
Paul speaks about the resurrection, knowing that a cross had occurred, and testified that without the resurrection we are to be pitied of all men. For if Christ was not raised, then we are not raised either and are still dead in our sins. So when the law fulfills its purpose, revealing to you that not only are you a sinner, but there is a consequence to sin called death, you are now prepared in your heart for a message of new life. You have come to realize, like Paul, how wretched you really are, that the good I want to do I do not do and the bad that I do not want to do that I keep on doing. Then you realize Jesus not only took away all your sins, he offers to you new life, the very life of the Spirit of Christ, the living God, in you. You come to faith in Christ Jesus to proclaim the praises of him who is the answer to your question of who will rescue me from this body of death, and say “praise be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
You come to realize who you are in Christ, that there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. You have been born again, the Spirit of God has been placed in you the moment in time you believed, and you are a child of God. You are no longer under the law of sin and death but are under the law of life. That means you will never be out of fellowship with God for He has sealed in you the promised Holy Spirit that will never leave you or forsake you. That means if you sin tomorrow, and we will all sin, in this sin-indwelling flesh of ours, in this battle of the mind, with a flesh in conflict with the Spirit, you are not out of fellowship with God. If you are out of fellowship, you are lost. But when you are saved, born again, God lives in you to renew your mind and to live in you to will and to act according to His good purposes. He renews our mind. But as new creatures in Christ, we still have free will. We can choose or not choose to participate in the divine nature. If you give into the flesh, then you will be grieving the Spirit of God, meaning that the heart of a Father is concerned over you, for you are not living in accordance with the new life of the spirit God has given, and He knows how much heartache and pain that produces. God deals with you no longer as an enemy of God but deals with you in the attitude of a Father to a child. You will never cease to be a child of God.
So Paul makes his appeal to put aside the old way of the flesh and learn to walk in the way of the Spirit. Do not live in the energy of the flesh. Rely on the Holy Spirit living in you. Formerly you lived by rules or principles when you did not have the Holy Spirit living in you. But obedience to God through the letter of the law produced death in you. Why go back to those miserable principles? Walk in relationship of trust. The goal of the Christian life is not to stop sinning but to start trusting. God is reversing the problem of sin and death that happened in the garden of Eden when they chose to not trust God. That is the root of all sin. Anything that does not come from faith, trusting in God, is sin. God came to reverse that problem that resulted in the garden of Eden.
So what we are dead to is the life of God, who is to be living in us. What is the solution to that? God looks down on man and says, “Satan came in and messed up my creation. Satan entered into the picture and got Adam to sin. I told Adam the day he should eat thereof he will die, die spiritually. He did and he died.” Now all of us are born in Adam, not in the image of God, but in the image of Adam. We are told that in Genesis 5.
1 This is the written account of Adam’s family line.
When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created.
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
When Adam and Eve were created by God, He created them in the image of God, but when Adam and Eve had Seth, Seth was born in the image of Adam. So we are not born in the image of God. We are born in the image of Adam, dead. We have a body and a soul that is alive, but a spirit that is dead to God. God looks down on that whole situation and says, “these people need help”.
So in order to give them life, which Adam had, there is a plan. Adam had eternal life. He had God’s life living in him. But he was born under the law that the wages of sin is death, whom God had said, “on the day you eat thereof, you will die”. What caused Adam’s death? Sin. How much sense would it be for God to say, “I am going to give these people life, but I am going to give the same kind of life condition that I gave to Adam. I am going to give them life under the same deal, that under the wages of sin is death.” What would happen to you the next moment you got life and you sinned? You would die again. We do not want that. We had that. It didn’t work. So, God in essence says, “I am going to develop a plan whereby I am going to give them eternal life. But in order to do that I have to take away the cause of death eternally. That is what I am going to do at the cross. It is not going to be the blood of a bull and a goat that can only cover sin. It is going to be the blood of the Lamb of God who will take away the sin of the world. Because sin has been taken away, I can now offer them life eternal. I can give them life that can never be destroyed. I can give them a life where there will never enter a condemnation awaiting them who belong to Christ Jesus.” Why?
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
The law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. What were you and I saved from? We were saved from the law of sin and death. How were we saved from that? We were saved by the life of Christ Jesus.
We think we were just saved from our sins. No, we were saved from the consequences of sins. The law of sin and death is consequence. You got sin and you got a consequence. What were you saved from? You were saved from the consequence. How were you saved from the consequence? You were saved by the thing that caused it. So He took away the cause of death in order to give you life eternal.
3 For what the law was powerless to do
What was the law powerless to do?
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
It was powerless to make anyone righteous. No one will be declared righteous by works of the law (Romans 3:20). No one will ever be justified through the law (Galatians 3:11). The law cannot give you life (Galatians 3:21). If the law could, then Jesus should have stayed home. The law cannot do anything except condemn you (Galatians 3:10). That is what the law is for, to condemn you (Romans 7:13). The law was powerless to do anything good for you. All it could do was to reveal that you were bad (Galatians 3:21), what you are, so you could turn to Christ for salvation (Galatians 3:22). The law was powerless to bring righteousness to a man. So why was the law powerless?
because it was weakened by the flesh,
There is nothing wrong with the law. It is holy, just and good, but when it flows through me, it kills me (Romans 7:11-13).
11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
So the problem is not with the law but with us. So what did God do for man of weakened flesh that the law could not do?
God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.
Jesus became the sin offering for the entire world. That one offering was of such a consequence, and of such value, that it took away the sins of the entire world. So did He condemn sinners? No, that is not what He said.
And so he condemned sin in the flesh,
He condemned the sin of ours.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
That is what the law could not do. It could not give us the righteousness of God.
The sin issue, the sin that is within us, has been condemned in us. He did not condemn the sinner because we were already under the law of sin and death. He condemned the sin that brought about that death. He condemned it. Why?
4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Is that good news? Yes!
5 Those who live
He is talking about people who are not saved.
5 Those who live according to the flesh
Why do they live that way?
have their minds set on what the flesh desires;
Their mind is set on fleshly desires. How many of you have fleshly desires? Do I see some hands not raised up? Are you paralyzed? How many of you have sinned? I see more hands raised now. How many of you have sinned because you have sinful desires? I see more hands go up. So what causes the sin? The desires of the flesh, the sinful desires, causes the sin. Does that mean because you have sinned, that you have your mind totally set and occupied on what your flesh desires? Does that mean that? Is that where your preoccupation as a child of God is? Where is your preoccupation? On the flesh or the Lord? It is on the Lord.
Let us look at the contrast between the mind of the lost and the saved. When you were lost, where was your preoccupation? On the flesh. You live to fulfill the flesh, did you not? Why get up in the morning unless it is to fulfill the flesh? Now, you are born again. Where is your preoccupation? Is there a change in attitude that takes place in your heart? Yes. You start thinking about the Lord now. Your mind starts thinking about the Lord. Your mind is on the Lord. You want to be the Lord’s person and all this.
1 Peter 1:13-14
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children [children of God, with Spirit living in you], do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
Who conflicts with that preoccupation with the Spirit? This dumb, stupid flesh of ours is in conflict with the Spirit. If you were living with your whole being centered on the desires of your flesh, it tells you something. You are lost. You cannot live that way as a saved man because you have got God living in you.
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Now that you are saved, does that mean you cannot have desires of the flesh. Do any of you have desires of the flesh again? Are you saved? Well, then that shows that you can have desires of the flesh and be saved. So we do not have to go around and say, “I do not understand anybody who does that?” All you have to do is take a look at yourself. We become so self righteous and say, “Oh, I will never do that”. Look at what the Lord said. This is what He said. You see someone caught in a sin, go to them to restore them, but do not go to condemn them because you will fall in the same trap they are in if you do not watch yourself.
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
So he is getting at this totality of salvation that God brought to us. He is giving a contrast to a person who has their total mindset on the flesh, with the saved, who lives according with the Spirit, and has their mind set on what the Spirit desires.
but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Your number one goal is to have the desires of the Spirit. But you have a conflict.
6 The mind [of sinful man] governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Look at the emphasis that the apostle Paul is placing on our mind. He is saying that your mind is the seed bed of your soul. It is your heart. Our mind is preoccupied with the things of God or it is preoccupied with the things of the flesh. The mind of a sinful man is preoccupied with the flesh. The reason he is a sinful man is because of his mind. With your mind, until you have chosen to come to Christ by faith, you remain dead, do you not? What is the determining factor? What you think with your mind is the determining factor. When I came to Christ, with my mind, I chose to come to Christ. I recognized that I was dead in my mind. I recognized that I did not want to remain a sinner. I did not want to remain dead, so I chose life. The man who has not chosen that is dead. The mind that is under the control of the Spirit is life and peace. A man is going to experience peace in his heart when he keeps his mind focused on the prince of peace.
7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God;
That is why you have people who are at enmity to Christians, or against believers. They are people who do not like these things of God. What is that called? It is a sinful mind. We call them intellectuals. The bible says a sinful mind. They are against God. They do not like God. They do not like people talking about God. They stand up arrogant. “We do not want a nativity scene. We do not want prayer in the school. We do not like God.” They are like a pea ant on a rail train, sitting down shaking their fist at the engine coming down the tracks. We do not understand the fact how small we are. It is like these sign posts. “God is dead”, signed Nietzsche. “Nietzsche is dead”, signed God. A mind hostile to God is a sinful mind. There is our problem. What is the matter with a person? They have got a sinful mind.
Consider what the Lord Jesus said.
17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”
It is not what a man puts in his mouth that defiles him but what proceeds out of his heart, what proceeds out of his mind, his emotion, his will, that is what defiles a man.
7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
Why? What is the only thing that pleases God? Faith. So if you are not exercising faith, you cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.
If the Spirit of God lives in you, it tells you something, that when that occurs, you are no longer controlled by the flesh. It is not natural to be controlled by the flesh. Is it natural to be controlled by the flesh before you came to Christ? That is the only thing you can be controlled by when you are lost. When you come to Christ, you got a new control living in you. It is like climbing in an airplane and being under the control of aerodynamics. You had been freed from the law of gravity. As long as you are in the plane, you are under law of aerodynamics. What happens when you step out of the plane and decide to take a smoke? You will hit the ground. Do you choose to live under he law of gravity, if you choose to do that? No. You just step out of the plane and you will be under the controlled by the law of gravity. When you choose not to be controlled by God, guess who you will choose to be controlled by? Those are the only two sources of control we have in existence, God and Satan. You do not have to choose to be controlled by Satan as a Christian. All you have to do is choose not to be controlled by God. That is all. It is a choice to not believe, just like in the garden of Eden. When they chose not to believe God, then they were automatically controlled by Satan. They did not choose it by saying, “I want to be controlled by Satan.” This is what they were saying, “I do not want to believe God”. So then, they were automatically controlled by Satan.
And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
I know there are people, and probably some listening, who have grown up in a different denomination, where it taught that you are born again today, and then you receive the Spirit tomorrow, called a second blessing, or a third blessing or whatever word that you want to put on that. That is an impossibility according to the word of God. It is not an impossibility according to that doctrine, but it is an impossibility according to the word of God. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. How are you born again? Of the Spirit. If the Spirit of God does not belong to you, you do not belong to God. So how can you be indwelt by the Spirit today and not get the Spirit tomorrow? Are there two Spirits?
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
It does not say there are two baptisms. There is one baptism. That means, very simply, that when you are born again, then you are now indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Is that true or not? To be indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God is a point in time in history that is a critical time in life, just as you were born physically. You were not born physically over a month or two. You were born on a certain day, were you not? All of you agree with me on that. We were all born. That is critical. That is what it means to be indwelt by the Spirit, the same concept as being born physically.
To be indwelt by the Spirit is one thing and to be controlled by the Spirit is something different.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
In Ephesians 5, it means for you to be continually controlled by the Spirit. It is ongoing, of continually being controlled by the Spirit. Now, again, we memorize that passage out of context. So people, taking it out of context, make it to mean what they want it to mean. Some groups says it means you speak in tongues or have the gift of healing. Another group will say it says you are to witness to everyone who walks. Others say you sit piously with your hands folded, worshiping God. So there are all kinds of ideas of what it means to controlled by the Spirit.
Are we admonished to be controlled by Spirit? It says that. The problem of it is, we read Ephesians 5, because that is an easy verse, easy to memorize, and we ignore Ephesians 3 that precisely tells us what it means. Two chapters prior to Ephesians 5, the scripture tells us what it means to be controlled by the Spirit.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
What does it mean to be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God? It means to be filled with the Spirit. What does it mean to filled with the Spirit? It means to be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God. What does that mean? It just told us. It means to be controlled by the love of God. What is the only thing that counts?
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
What does He want us to be controlled by? The love of God. Is that complicated? Why do we make it complicated? Because we cannot do that in the energy of the flesh. My flesh does not want to love like that. It wants its own way. The flesh wants everybody to accept my opinion, as if that is a sign of intelligence. The flesh always wants to be noticed. It does not want to be questioned. All of this is flesh. We do not want this love stuff. What do we substitute? I go to church every Sunday. I tithe. I sing in the choir. I do this and I do that. So we become a bunch of do-do Christians. Why? Because we cannot love. “Do not tell me that all that counts is faith expressing itself through love. I cannot do that. I can do these other things. I can go to church and give my dollar a week before I was saved.” But you do have to be saved to have faith and to love one another.
So let us get rid of this nonsense that you are born again today and receive the Spirit tomorrow, to make something out of the Spirit that God never intended it to be. First of all, the Spirit of God came to bring glory to Jesus, not to bring glory to the Spirit. So when you have denominations giving attention to the Holy Spirit, then you have people who are not in obedience to the word of God. The Holy Spirit does not bring attention to the Spirit. The Spirit brings attention to Jesus. The Father pointed us toward Jesus. Jesus said “I am He”. The Spirit points us to Jesus. The reason the Spirit of God came is to point us to Christ Jesus, “to make things of mine and make them known to you”.
50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
>When you get tired of Jesus, you start on everything else under the sun. That is what happens in Christianity. When you get bored with Jesus, you have got a bored problem. There is nothing about Jesus to be bored with. There is not anything that you will ever get to point in life to say you got it with Jesus. You will never get it with Jesus. You will continue to grow and learn every day of your life more and more about His love and compassion and goodness to you and me. It is never ending. There is nothing to get bored with.
When you have Jesus, you do not need to seek the Father.
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
When you have seen me you have seen the Father. So you certainly do not have to seek the Father. You do not have to seek the Spirit. The Holy Spirit came to reveal Jesus to you. When you have Jesus, you have everything you need for life and godliness.
2 Peter 1:3
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
You do not have to seek anything else. There is no experience to seek because the greatest experience you will ever experience is the day you are born again. I would say to people, “You can saw my leg off and then get Benny Hinn to grow it back. It would not impress me one iota compared to the day I was born again of the Holy Spirit of God. That is eternal life. This is temporal.”
You have people who have sessions by the thousands and thousands, and you wonder if there are any well Christians. All they talk about is healing. Are there any Christians who are well? You wonder about that. That was not the ministry of Jesus. When they went back to Jesus, Peter said to Jesus, come on back, we have some more people to be healed. Jesus said, “no, I am going to the next town to proclaim the gospel. I did not come to be a faith healer. I came to be a teller of truth that will save people eternally.”
40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.
42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
So we get bored. If you do not have the Spirit of Christ, you do not belong to Christ. That is about as clear as you are going to get it. If you do have the Spirit of God living in you, you belong to Him. You have been called a child of the living God. You have been redeemed. You have been set free from the consequence of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is eternal life. It is so easy. How do we stumble over it?
Is it amazing how we stumble over the simplicity and try to complicate things? It is not the situation. What do you have to give up? Being stupid. I do not know about you, but that is what I gave up. You give that up to get wisdom from God. Wisdom from God, as a child of God, is the first prayer I ever prayed, “Lord Jesus, give me wisdom, because I do not have any.” You get life. You get forgiveness. You get everything. What do you give up? Nothing. Someone says, “I am not going to be able to smoke.” Yes, you will. You will still stink but you will still smoke. But if you give God time, He takes away those things. God does not want your cigarettes or your booze. He wants you. He does not want what is in your hands. He wants your hands. Forget about that stuff. God is saying to you, ”You come unto me, and I will take care of those things.” Some people think it is a sin to chew gum. It is not a sin to chew gum. It is a sin to stick it under the table (laughter).
Man has come up with all kinds of ideas, haven’t we? The simplicity of the gospel is the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Is that not good news? Do we want to love one another? You have to rely on Jesus for that. If we are listening to the desires of the flesh, then we will never experience love for one another. The only way we are going to experience love for one another is when we rely on the source of love to live His life in and through us.
Father, we thank you so much for your goodness to us. We thank you for the love that you not only talked, but you demonstrated. While we were yet sinners you died for us so we could walk free from the law of sin and death by the law of life. I thank you for the people who are here, young people, old people and everyone in between, and all races and colors, who all love you, because of your love for us, to be able to have the privilege to fellowship together without prejudice, without hard feelings, but to be able to love one another as you have loved us. We thank you for that. We thank you for this fellowship. We thank you, Father, that we do not have fancy things here. The reason we come is to study your word. We do not have big choirs. We do not have big problems. We just have a big God. We thank you for that. Keep it simple for us. Do not complicate our Christian life with activities. But keep us focused on the only thing that counts, which is faith expressing itself through love. We pray this in Jesus name and for His sake. Amen.