Radio Broadcast Wednesday 11/20/2019

Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P15 (11-20-19)


Have you ever tried to share the gospel with those who have been taught from their traditions hundreds of years? How hard it is to tell someone that everything they have been taught is wrong! So many people today are still approaching righteousness with God based on what they do. This is the same thing Paul faced sharing truth with the Jewish people. They claimed they believed in Moses and have Abraham as their father. The Jews took offense at the fact that the Gentiles, the heathen, idol worshiping Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have received righteousness, and yet they, who work at obeying the law, have not received righteousness from God. Why not? They pursued a righteousness as if by works of the law and not by faith.

So Paul appeals to the Jews, those of his own race and upbringing, to consider what Abraham believed? Abraham believed God and his faith was credited to him as righteousness, and that before the law was given, before he was even circumcised. In those days, circumcision is not unlike baptism of today. It was a sign of someone’s faith. The sign of someone’s faith in God for those in the Old Testament was the sign of circumcision. In the case of baptism today, baptism is an outward expression of an inward change of the heart. Neither circumcision nor baptism saved anyone. So Paul asked probing questions to help the Jews understand a righteousness from God that is by faith alone. He even appealed to them from the the writings of King David from the Psalms. Blessed is the man whose sins the Lord will never count against him.

Paul again and again explains this righteousness that is by faith. Sadly, many Jews could not accept this message, so he then turns to the Gentiles. How hard it is for someone who thinks they are basically good to see truth from God! The Jews did not see themselves as sinners. They did not see their condition of spiritual death. So, therefore, they saw no need to come to Christ for life. But the offer of righteousness from God still stands, both for the Jew and the Gentile, to whosoever will simply put their faith in Christ.

Simply put your faith alone in what Jesus Christ alone did for you. No man ever had righteousness of his own, born dead from the inherited nature and fall of Adam. Sin is what caused your death, so your greater problem is that you are dead, dead to God. After Adam sinned, the entire human race was born without the Spirit of God in him. All men are born alive to the world, but dead to God, dead to what vacated him, the Spirit of God. Recognize your state of death, that Jesus died not just for the sins of the whole world, but he had your sins in mind. He took away your sins. He took the punishment of death for you.

He then rose again so as to offer you eternal life. When Christ died on a cross 2000 years ago, there, he who knew no sin became sin for you. It says that while you were yet enemies, Christ died and took away your sins. You were reconciled to God. Then how much more, that having been accomplished, this reconciliation, shall you be saved by his life? You are not saved by the death of Christ. You are saved by the life of Christ. You are saved from the consequence of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is life. That is the gospel Paul preached. Will you come to Christ Jesus to receive new life? Will you come to Christ for Him, to know Him personally as Lord, Savior and best friend?


We have been studying through the book of Romans. As we concluded last week, and as we were talking about last week, what the apostle Paul is doing is, he is dealing with two categories of people here. You have the Jew and you have the Gentile. From God’s vantage point, you only have three categories of people, the Jew, the Gentile, and the Ecclesia, the church, made up of both born again Jews and born again Gentiles. That is how He looks at the world.

So we understand the truth of that. That is how Christ Jesus came to this earth, in order to bring salvation, not only to the religious Jew but to the heathen Gentile, which was an unthinkable thought to the Jew, that these heathen, idol worshiping Gentiles could come to Christ by faith, and they also would come to Christ by their works. This was a mystery to them. They could not figure this out. So Paul had to spend a great deal of time, in all of these books he wrote, again, reiterating over and over again, that you are saved by faith and faith alone in Christ Jesus.

Last week, we talked about how God neutralized the entire world by abolishing the law in his flesh, so that the Jews could not brag about the law because he abolished it. The Gentiles never had the law. We have to keep that in mind. The Gentiles were never given the law. That was given to the Jew. We just went over and stole it. But it wasn’t given to us by God. So he is saying to us, and he said to us, that here is the Gentile world that did not pursue righteousness and you are saying they, the Gentiles, have obtained it? And here we are, the Jews, working for our righteousness, and we have not obtained it? He said, “You got what I am saying.”, Why? Because you went about it by works and not by faith. No man will ever be declared righteous in the sight of God by obedience to the law. That did not mean some men. It meant no man, no woman, no boy, no girl, absolutely no one will be declared righteous in the sight of God through obedience to the law. The righteousness requirements of the law are 100 percent, not 99.9 percent. It is a hundred percent. That is why James said: “If you kept the whole law and just violated it at just one point, you have violated all of the law”. How much of it? All of it. No man will stand before God in his own righteousness. We do not have any.

That is why, at the cross, we had to be cleansed of everything we are, unrighteous. We were cleansed of all of our own unrighteousness so that, not so that we can go build our own righteousness, but so we would be filled by Him and His righteousness. There is no righteousness in us. Our righteousness is Him. So it is because we are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us our righteousness. He is our righteousness. We stand in His righteousness, not in ours. Do we understand that?

Now we approach chapter 4 as he continues this argument, this explanation that he wants people to see. He is talking to the Gentile world and also talking to the Jewish world.

Romans 4:1
1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?

In other words, you say you are a follower of Abraham. What did he have to say in regard to this?

Romans 4:2
2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about – but not before God.

Remember in the passage where it said that the purpose of the law is to shut the mouths of all people because there is nothing to brag about. So he is saying if Abraham was justified by works, then he had something to boast about, but not before God. You can boast before man, and think you are doing okay, but not before God.

Romans 4:3
3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God,

In other words, he trusted what God said for him to do.

Romans 4:3
and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[Genesis 15:6,22]

Now, if I put a million dollars into your bank account, that million dollars would be credited to your account, would it not? Are we together? It would be credited to your account. If you have a million dollars in your bank account and that bank account is in a bank, then where do you go to get the money? To the bank. You say, “I want to go to the store.” “Sorry, you get food there, but you are not going to get your money there. The money is in the bank.”

Your righteousness is in Jesus. You cannot go to Buddha. You cannot go to Mohammed, you cannot go to the pope, you cannot go to Martin Luther and get righteousness. There is only one place for righteousness to be found. That is in the righteousness one, who is Christ Jesus. Abraham could have boasted if his righteousness was due to works, but he said not before God. Abraham believed God. That is all he did. He trusted God in what God said. It was put into his bank account, the righteousness of God. It was credited to him as righteousness.

Romans 4:4
4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.

In other words, if you had an automatic withdrawal on your account. Out of your work, they automatically put it into your bank account. It would not be put in there as a gift. “This is your gift for the month.” A gift? No, I worked for it. A man who works his wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. If you come to work for me for a week, and I agreed to pay you what I agreed to pay you. At the end of the week I do not give you a gift. I have an obligation to pay you what I said I would pay you. So when a man works his wages, they are not credited to him as a gift but as an obligation.

Law Was Given to The Jews

Romans 4:4
5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

Again, why does he say that God justifies the ungodly, or the wicked? Did the Jews think they were wicked? No. Did the Gentiles know they were wicked? Yes. He is saying that for us to say that God does not justify the good because there aren’t any. Remember when they came to Jesus, saying “good teacher”. What did he say? “Why do you call me good? Only God is good. If you want to call me good, call me God. If you do not want to call me God, then do not call me good”. A little paraphrase there, but that is what he was getting at. ”Don’t call me good unless you call me God because only God is good”. So he is saying that all of us have fallen in this category. We have come into the world under this designation of having a heart that is wicked and deceitful above all things and who can know it. So he says to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

Mark 10:17-18
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone.

Some say that is simple faith. Some will say that is cheap grace. Listen, Fred, if grace cost a penny it would be too much. It would cease to be grace. Grace is free. It cost Jesus his life but please do not call it cheap grace because it cost Jesus his life to pull this off. But when he pulled it off, by the giving of his own life for you and me, and was raised from the dead, so that you and I could have life from the dead, do not call that cheap grace. That cost him his life! So you are dealing here with the fact that he justified the wicked and his faith he credited as righteousness.

People will say: “You mean that is all you have to do? It is not the case that is all you have to do. It is recognizing the fact of all that he did. It is coming to the point of getting out of the realm of this just being a historical event that took place 2000 years ago and realize Jesus went to a cross for you. He went to the cross for you and me. He went to a cross to take upon himself the sins of the entire world, going back to Adam and forward to all eternity.

Now today, we say: “Oh, I believe that.” No we do not. We still have confession booths. To do what? To get forgiveness. If Titus had not destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., we would still be killing bulls and goats. If that is not good enough, we have every week, altar calls, streaming people forward to get people’s sins forgiven, over and over again. So we say out of one side of our mouth, “I believe this” but out of the other side of the mouth we talk as if we do not believe it. He says: “I want to tell you something. I justified the wicked, and you are wicked. I justified the wicked. When you come to me by faith in recognizing the truth of something: “I have sinned. I am a sinner. I have sinned but those sins were placed upon Jesus 2000 years ago at the cross and there he who knew no sin became sin for me so that I could become the righteousness of God in Him. He did that for me.”

Colossians 2:13-14
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

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.

When you get it out of the realm that he did it for the world and bring it down to you and me, you are ready for salvation. You are recognizing something about yourself. “I am a sinner and those sins had to be paid for and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Jesus shed his blood.

Hebrews 9:22
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Hebrews 9:11-12
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

Therefore, at the cross, he made me a forgiven person. Now we are told in scripture that while we were yet enemies we were reconciled.

Romans 5:10
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

That is what the cross did – reconciliation. When did that reconciliation occur in your life? Before you were born. When Christ died on a cross 2000 years ago there he who knew no sin became sin for you. It says that while you were yet enemies, Christ died and took away your sins. Then how much more, that having been accomplished, this reconciliation, shall you be saved by his life? You are not saved by the death of Christ. You are saved by the life of Christ. You are saved from the consequence of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is life.

1 Corinthians 15:17-22
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

That is why Paul says that without the resurrection we are to be pitied of all people and are still dead in our sins. Did he know a cross occurred? Of course he knew the cross occurred. He also knew that the forgiveness that was provided at the cross is only received in Christ. It is just like money put in a bank is only received in the bank.

What do you come to Jesus for? Himself. You come to Him for Him. You do not come to Him just necessarily for what He did for you but for Him. You cannot have one without the other, the resurrection without the cross or the cross without the resurrection but do not mistake one for the other. The cross is what cleared the deck for the divine action for bringing life to you and me through his resurrection.

Colossians 1:20
20 It was through what his Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to him – all things in heaven and on earth – for Christ’s death on the cross has made peace with God for all by his blood.

Colossians 2:13-14
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

When we were dead in our sins and in the uncircumcision of our sinful nature, God made you alive. With who? Christ. He forgave how many of our sins? All of it.

What does faith do? You just heard the gospel. What does faith do? Does it say “thank you” or does it keep begging for what you already have? Which is it? It says “thank you”. What else can you say when someone has done something for you? What else do you say? When a million dollars is in your bank, do you go to the teller and say, “Please give me my money.” Would you do that? Why? It is your money. The teller would say you are an idiot. Write a check. We do not sit there and beg for what you have. It is yours. You just go claim it by faith. That is what faith is, folks.

There is a difference between belief and faith. A person says: “I believe in Jesus“. Good, so does Satan. But have you put your faith in Him? I believe that chair would hold me. I have looked at it and I analyzed it. I can see it can hold me. But I am not going to sit in it. Why? I do not think it will hold me. Faith puts it into action. My belief system says: “I believe it is true”. Faith says: “I am going to test it and prove it is true.”

He is saying this to us. Our faith in Christ Jesus is credited to us as righteousness.

Romans 4:6
6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Guys, again, this is a totally foreign teaching to the Jew, who all of his experience has been: “I am working. I am trying to obey the law. I am obeying the dietary laws in order that I might be righteous in the sight of God. And here these guys are saying that everything that I was taught is wrong.” Don’t you love it when someone points out to you that you are wrong. “Oh good. Thank you for pointing that out to me.” No, we do not like to be told we are wrong. How do you like someone saying to you: “Guys, everything you have been taught is wrong. You have put the emphasis in the wrong place. You have misused the law just like a person would take a hammer that was developed to build a house and put it into the hands of a murderer and hits somebody in the head with it. You misused it. You are wrong. Righteousness is by faith and faith alone.” Paul had to stand up in the face of people who hated his guts for what he was saying. He was saying to take David as an example. The same thing he speaks about. Blessed is the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from work. And he quotes the scripture.

Romans 4:7-8
“Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”[Psalm 32:1-2]

That was David’s belief, that God would, in due time, provide a way whereby our sins would be taken away.

Romans 4:9
9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?

Who was the circumcised? The Jews. Who was the uncircumcised? The Gentiles. Is this blessedness, is it only for the Jews, or is it also for the Gentiles?

Romans 4:9-10
We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!

It was before he was circumcised. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness before the act of circumcision ever took place.

Romans 4:11
11 And he received circumcision as a sign,

What was the purpose of the sign of circumcision?

Romans 4:11
a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.

Folks, we do not have a big deal going on with circumcision. That is not a big teaching in Christendom today, is it? If it does, it only applies to half the population. It is not one of those things that is really emphasized. So we have a little difficulty grabbing a hold of what is the importance here. But to the Jew, that was a sign, that was a seal of righteousness.

Let us apply something else that some people say today. Any time you add to Jesus, you subtracted from Jesus. We wouldn’t say circumcision but there would be a group that would say baptism? Well, could you not then put the substitute and apply the same principle? After he had received the sign of baptism, which was an indicator of the righteousness that you had by faith while you were still unbaptized. Would that also be true?

You see, what we have here is, again, was your faith credited to you as righteousness before you were baptized, or after you were baptized? Well, before. So what you are dealing with here is the same choice and the same principle that people use today, who claim that you are saved by baptism, which would be the same as saying you are saved by circumcision. No difference. It is just a sign. So he is saying, under what circumstances? Was it before being baptized or after being baptized? Did you receive the sign of baptism, which he received by faith while he was still unbaptized.

Romans 4:11
So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.

The same argument is taking place here, guys. The same thing you are dealing with today with people who say that you are not saved unless you speak in tongues, you are not saved unless you are baptized, you are not saved unless you do this, and there is no difference. It is the same principle of saying that you are not saved unless you are circumcised. The same principle applies here. What he is trying to express here is that you are saved by faith and faith alone! What you do after that could be multi-fold. If you were saved back then you would probably get circumcised. Today, you would go get baptized.

Does baptism have anything to do with your salvation? Not a thing. If it did, then Paul could not have said that he did not come to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, because if baptism was in the gospel, he could not make that kind of statement, could he? Some people would say that he did not come to baptize, he just came to preach. No, he did not come to preach. He came to preach the gospel. There is no baptism in the gospel. It is merely a fact of saying that you come to Him by faith and faith alone.

This argument today, as it relates to circumcision, is as strong today as it was back then, because of all the other things we have added to what salvation is. The so-called Christian world has added to salvation, such as church membership. Other things people have said that add to salvation. “You cannot be saved unless you are a Catholic.” “You cannot be saved unless you are a Protestant.” “You cannot be saved unless you belong to our assembly.” “You cannot be saved unless you are dunked in our waters.” “You cannot be saved unless babble in tongues.” We can go on and on and on and every year the Christian world comes up with a new hula hoop to tell you what you have to do to get saved. Paul is stringently saying to us. There is only one way to salvation and that is through a simple faith in Christ Jesus. Period, period, period. He is strong in what he is saying.

Romans 4:12-13
12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. 13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

John 1:17
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

The law came through Moses. How is Abraham saved? Through faith. Faith in who? Faith in God. Faith in the same God that David said: “Blessed are those whose sins have been taken away”. He had faith in this. God credited that to their account. That is how the Old Testament people were saved. We know the object of our faith on this side of the cross. I am glad I live on this side of the cross, don’t you?

When I was in Israel at the sea of Galilee, and I was looking at those guys in those boats, the same kind of boats that the disciples were in when they met Jesus. I thought to myself. There is somebody standing on that sea saying “I am God”. I am glad I am on this side of the cross. That would be a hard one to believe? We almost make fun of the doubting Thomas. If you had been there you would have been doubting too. How can this be? This is a fisherman. This is a carpenter going fishing with us, eating with us. How can he be God? But he is.

He proved his deity, through not only the miracles that he did, but through ultimate miracle, the resurrection of Christ Jesus. There is also a brilliant proof of the deity of Christ and salvation by faith. Do you realize that after 2000 years, people just like you and me, have been testifying. All over the world people are listening to our voice on the internet. All over the world people are saved the same way as you and I were. In a point in time in history we recognized something about ourselves, not that we have not been to church lately, or haven’t done this or that, but we recognized what the bible said about us. Bob recognized he was dead.

Colossians 2:13
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins

Galatians 2:20
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

John 11:25-26
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

You see, you can go to people and say: “Do you know you are a sinner?” I know many, many people. There are so many people who took objection to that, saying: “I am not that bad. Basically I am a nice person. I just killed my mom and dad, but basically I am a nice person.” You hear that all the time. On death row, someone says: “I am basically a good person. Yes, I made a mistake but basically I am okay.” God says that is not true. It does not matter how nice you are. It does not even matter how bad you are. The issue is how dead you are. How dead is dead? If you ever looked at a dead dog or a dead person, they are dead. You can tickle their feet. You can tell them a funny story. They are not going to laugh. They are dead. When you and I are called dead spiritually, it means you are dead spiritually. You are dead to the life that vacated us when Adam sinned. Your human spirit is not dead. It is dead to what vacated it. What vacated it is the life of God living in us. My human spirit is alive to the world, dead to God. That is why I used to bounce prayers off the ceiling until I was saved.

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