Faith & Grace vs Works of Law

Fred R. Coulter02/11/1989

pdfIcon - PDF | Audio | [Up]

Track 1 or Download
Track 2 or Download

I might mention that if you don't have a Greek Interlinear don't make the mistake of buying one with all of the added numbers to look up the Greek words in the Strong's Concordance, because those numbers just confuse everything. In the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by George Ricker Berry, if you can read the English you'll pick up an awful lot with it and learn quite a bit from it.

We did not finish Romans 3. Rather than leave you in suspense. Once we get through this, I plan today to finish through Gal. 2, because those things come along in its continuity.

Romans 3:19 (Moffatt): "Whatever the Law say, we know, it says to those who are inside the Law…" (KJV): "…under the Law…"—but the Greek there is 'en'—which means in, within the Law, not under the Law. Almost every place they use under the Law. "…inside the Law…" Their lives compassed about by the Law.

"…that every mouth may be shut and all the world made answerable to God" (v 19). That shows that the laws apply to everyone—doesn't it? Sure it does!

Verse 20 (Moffatt): "For no person will be acquitted in his sight…"—justified; remember: justification is making a past wrong right; once a person has been justified then they are justified by grace and they stand in that grace.

Verse 20: "For no person will be acquitted in his sight on the score of obedience to law. What the Law imparts is a consciousness of sin." That's what the Law is supposed to do, give the knowledge of sin.

  • The Law was never designed to make right your past sins.
  • The Law was never designed as the sole means of being in right standing with God.

We'll see today what does that.

1-Corinthians 9:20 (KJV): "And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law."

 (FV): "Now to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to those who are under ['hupo'—in this case under; not in—'en'] …law, as under law… [In this particular case 'hupo'—under law—means under the penalty of law. Everyone is under that] …that I might gain those who are under law." He came to them saying, 'I know what it's like to be a sinner.'

Verse 21: "To those who are without law, as without law… ['anomos'—in the absence of the knowledge of law] …(not being without law to God, but within law to Christ) that I might gain those who are without law."

(KJV): "…under the law to Christ…"

In the Greek it is within law; in 'nomos' to Christ. So, he was "(…within the law to Christ)…" The reason that this is a very important statement is because it shows that Christians must be within law to Christ. Jesus said, 'If you love Me, keep My commandments.' However, the Law does not justify. The Law is made to be obeyed. When you transgress the Law—broken the Law—and it must be made right. The way you make it right is through repentance.

This is why when people just follow the King James alone have a hard time understanding some of these things. This is where when they had the different translations of the Bible in English, where they started getting off the beam in keeping the laws and commandments of God by saying, 'It's all grace and no law.' They misunderstood the function of grace, and they misunderstood the function of law.

That's why the Protestants have to say 'we throw out all the Law, we take all the grace, and by the way, we have to take back some of the Law, because we can't live in sin.' It shows that even there they're trying to undo some of their misunderstanding.

Romans 3:20 (Moffatt): "…What the Law imparts is a consciousness of sin. But now we have a righteousness of God disclosed apart from law altogether…" (vs 20-21).

(KJV)—this is where it become really confusing: "Therefore, by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested…" (vs 20-21).

The word without in the English gives the connotation of the absence of. The word here in the Greek for apart from law is not anti-law, or against law, or the absence of law; it means separate, aside from law. That's the way that Moffatt translates it.

Verse 21 (Moffatt): "But now we have a righteousness of God disclosed [revealed; (KJV): manifest] …apart from law altogether…" In other words, the way to be put in right standing with God is not through law-keeping. Law-keeping is required. Law-keeping is a function to tell us what sin is.

Now, there is something that is unusual that happens with the carnal mind. The carnal mind tries to figure away around the letter of the Law so that it can do what it wants to do. The converted mind, with the laws of God in your heart and mind, is not trying to look for a way around the Law to break it; it's looking for how to stay within the Law, how to be pleasing to God. That's a very important thing to understand.

Romans 3:31: "Are we, then, abolishing [make void] law through faith? MAY IT NEVER BE! Rather, we are establishing law"—with grace, with the Spirit of God in your mind, with the laws of God written in your heart and mind, you really establish law. You establish the full effect of the Law, because it's functioning and part of you. No law ever made anyone do anything. That's why there has to be conversion from within.

You see that the next time you drive down the highway. Everyone is clipping along at 75 mph. Does the sign that says 65 or 55 make anyone go that speed? No! But as soon as they see a highway patrolman, guess what?

Now, concerning the laws of God: The carnal mind—using the example of marriage and adultery—when it's under the sway of temptation will figure a way how to commit adultery and justify it mentally—right? A lot of examples concerning this. A converted mind—with the choice—before God, when a person is married, he will say this commitment before God is forever, so therefore, I block out everything that has nothing to do with this marriage.

Block it out! Never give it thought! Never let any temptation come along to sink in and take root and breed and bring forth sin (James 1). Then when sin has conceived it brings forth death. That's why we establish law through faith, because you believe!

Romans 4—I will summarize so we understand what is going on: Many people will read Rom. 4 and James 2—both talking about Abraham. Rom. 4 talks about Abraham and his faith. James 2 talks about Abraham and his works.

Some people think one contradicts the other. As a matter of fact, the first time I read both, I thought they did contradict each other. The truth is, Rom. 4 is talking about one event: when God took Abraham out and said, 'Look at the stars and if you can number them, so shall your seed be'; and Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.

The other event in James 2 was that God told Abraham, 'Take your only son, and saddle up that jackass over here with wood and you go to a place that I tell you and sacrifice your son.' His faith at that point required obedience, so by his works in that case it was made perfect.

What was he to do when God said to look at the stars? 'That's how your seed is going to be!' He had been trying how long to have his own son? God had promised him for how long? It took 25 years after the promise until Isaac was born! What work could Abraham do? Nothing! It was strictly faith! He believed God, and that was accounted him for righteousness.

It's exactly the same way when we go to God and we ask God to deal with us, to forgive us, to bless us. Does God send you an 'answer-gram' from heaven? And God says do this, and you do it? NO!

By faith! By belief! That's what it's talking about. Same way with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. You must accept that on faith. You have to have faith and you have to have belief, and it has to be educated. It can't be just a dumb simple faith that sooner or later it's going to get led astray and something comes along and you give it up.

Romans 4:19: "And he, not being weak in the faith, considered not his own body, already having become dead, being about one hundred years old, nor did he consider the deadness of Sarah's womb; and he did not doubt the promise of God through unbelief; rather, he was strengthened in the faith, giving glory to God; for he was fully persuaded that what He has promised, He is also able to do. As a result, it was also imputed to him for righteousness. But it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; rather, it was also written for our sakes, to whom it shall be imputed—to those who believe in Him Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead… [here is the key]: …Who was delivered for our offenses and was raised for our justification" (vs 19-25). A key, absolutely important thing. Christianity without the Christ is dead!

A lot of people think that the instant Christ died your sins were forgiven right at that instant. Not quite! He had to also ascend to heaven to be accepted of God the Father. It's the same way with the symbolism of the animal sacrifices. The animal was sacrificed, but that sacrifice was not finished until the blood was taken into the Holy of Holies or the blood was sprinkled on the altar.

1-Corinthians 15 tells us this very clearly. We're going to learn from this that justification to put a person in right standing with God is a three-step process. We know that he [a person] must be resurrected in order to have complete justification. Justification involves the beginning of forgiveness of sin to be put in the right standing with God.

1-Corinthians 15:12[transcriber's correction]: "But if Christ is being preached that He rose from the dead, how is it that some among you are saying that there is no resurrection of the dead?" There are a lot of people who mouth about the resurrection of the dead, but they say right in the funeral that 'so and so is right up in heaven looking down on us right now; they've gone to heaven.' It's amazing what people do!

Verse 13: "For if there is no resurrection from the dead, neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain. And we are also found to be false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise, if indeed the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised. But if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins" (vs 13-17). You have no justification!

So, He was raised for our justification! Had to be! Christ had to go into the Holy of Holies with the sacrifice of Himself.

Verse 18: "And those who have fallen asleep in Christ have then perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most miserable" (vs 18-19). Justification depends upon the resurrection.

Romans 5:8: "But God commends His own love… [This is a very interesting statement in the Greek. It's very powerful! His very own—His own love!] …to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, having been justified now by His blood…" (vs 8-9).

Steps of justification:

  • Sacrifice of Christ—He was delivered for our offenses
  • We are justified by His blood
  • When Christ was raised and went to God the Father in heaven above justification was established for all of those who believe

belief must precipitate:

  • repentance
  • baptism
  • the receiving of the Holy Spirit

Romans 5:1: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand…" (vs 1-2).

It tells us very clearly that once a person has repented, accepted the sacrifice of Christ and the blood of His sacrifice to be applied to you, and the resurrected Christ at the right hand of God, you are justified. Once you are justified God puts you in a condition of standing in grace. That grace covers your entire life. That grace covers your entire relationship with God. This is why we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and being.

With a dedication to God, that's where everything is. When all else falls down all around—which it's going to one of these days—that's where it's got to be! It's a shame that we are so dependent upon our modern conveniences. We're really slaves! We're becoming more and more salves to it. Really is true!

  • What would you do without electricity delivered to the home?
  • What would you do without water delivered to the home?
  • What would you do without clothes that you could just go down and buy at the department store?
  • What if you had to grow your own cotton, make your own thread, weave your own clothes, have your own lambs for the wool and use the skin and make your own shoes?
  • Where would you be if you had to save your own seeds so you could have your own garden and you couldn't run down to the handy-dandy garden store and get all of these things?

We are slaves! We are so vulnerable! That's why God is not going to cut us off bit-by-bit. When it happens, it's going to happen all at once! The tragedy is going to be so miserable.

That's why we have to count this grace we're standing in; that is the only permanent thing in our life! That's where the conviction of Christianity has got to fall! That's why there has been so much misplaced Christianity.

I'll tell you why: Because the ministers made the people suffer and the ministers didn't suffer. So, they did not understand what on earth they were doing. What is God going to do? Make the ministers suffer so they're going to learn something!

We stand in this grace, which we have by faith, "…and we ourselves boast in the hope of the glory of God…. [that's the whole goal in life: to become God as God is God] …And not only this, but we also boast in tribulations…" (vs 2-3). That's a switch! Most everybody complains and is miserable. I have to admit that it's awfully hard to stand up and shout for joy, 'Hooray! I'm in the middle of a trial!' I'm not at that point, yet; and I don't think Paul was either. But after it takes place we can look back and see the value of it.

"…realizing that tribulation brings forth endurance" (v 3). That's a key thing! How relentless are you in your belief toward God? That's another way of putting it, if you have that kind of patience.

Verse 4: "And endurance brings forth character…" God has got to know what you're made of. God has got to know that you're going to rely on Him in faith. That's proof!

"…and character brings forth hope" (v 4). That's why a lot of people are going to be converted when all these things are taken away. When they're taken away, God is going to punish and chastise for a while. Do you know what Americans still do this day? They pray! So, when all these physical things are removed, they'll pray in a totally different attitude; they'll have hope in God.

Verse 5: "And the hope of God never makes us ashamed because…" Here's the reason for all of this; this is the heart and core of real Christianity, right here. Law-keeping/commandment-keeping is part of it, but law-keeping/commandment-keeping alone breeds fear, because no one is perfect. If you don't have the love of God, it says here:

"…the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us" (v 5). Then we might add 'and you and me, as individuals, are never ever, ever the same again that we were up to that point. That's the key to remember.

I can look back to this day and I know the day that I was baptized. I know that when I was baptized my life changed. I had a long way to go, but I never have forgotten that. I never will forget it. To me it was a very powerful and moving event. That doesn't make me perfect. That doesn't make me greater than anybody else. But I remember that, and my life has not been the same since then. I'll tell you one thing that difficulties, sufferings and trials really do: It makes you really appreciate the love of God! That's why it's got to be that you love God with all your heart, mind soul and being, and that is where true Christianity is. That's how it's down with the grace of God.

Verse 6: "For even when we were without strength, at the appointed time… [the set time of God, ordained and appointed] …Christ died for the ungodly…. [that's us] …For rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, although perhaps someone might have the courage even to die for a good man. But God commends His own love…" (vs 6-8). In English we make it emphatic by saying, His very own love. Example: that's my car, but if it's a really nice car, and you really want someone to know that it is your car, you say, 'that is my own car.'

Same way in the Greek, but it's done a little different. It's done with a letter instead of a word. Own or self comes from the Greek is 'auto.' If you want to make that emphatic, you put a little 'e' in front of it so it's pronounced 'e auto.' That what it is here in the Greek: 'e auto'—God's very own love. That's something to understand.

When you're in your troubles, trials and difficulties, what is the saying? When all else fails, remember that God still loves you! Think of it even greater than that. God, His very own self, His very own love to you, loves you! That's why you need to be inspired to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and being. That's how God loves you! He didn't send the love by an angel. He didn't send you a heart-shaped box of candy saying 'I love you.' NO!

He sent His very own Spirit; He sent His very own Son to say to you, 'I love you!' That's something to think about!

Tell me, that being the case, what law makes you right before God? No law can, because the function of law does not establish that! Does that make it more abundantly clear why we need grace. It's not a matter of grace vs law; it's matter of grace and everything that that contains within it, which also contains commandment-keeping.

Verse 8: "God commends His own love to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His own Son, much more then, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the reconciliation" (vs 8-11).

I know that some of these words get a little tricky, so let me review it here just for a second: Justification means to be put in right standing with God the Father in heaven above through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. That is called justification, reconciliation—you're reconciled with God. Reconcile means that you've quit your fighting.

  • God is no longer warring against you; you are no longer warring against God.
  • You are not an enemy of God; God is not an enemy of yours.

God loves you! You're reconciled!

Then Paul explains, beginning in v 12, concerning how that human beings inherently have sin in them. I know from a human point of view—looking at it myself, to me, and then back to God—that is something I didn't ask for, but it came along with the package.

We all wished we were perfect. There's still enough of the spark of God in us by creation—before conversion—that we would that we would be perfect but still be able to sin and get away with it. But God won't let us do that.

Paul explains about the nature of human beings and how it came about. And when you think about it, that's why he says, 'I want you think about the death of Christ.' Who would you die for? We hear some accounts of people who have fallen on hand-grenades and saved their buddies and let themselves be blown apart. But I want to ask you: Who are you willing to march out and be slain for? No one!

Picture this: God created and made all of humankind. God even put into them 'the law of sin and death. The righteous God said, 'I am going to die for all humankind! That's something! That is amazing!

In that you need to realize that even though some people will not repent—because their sins are so bad—You still have to die for their sins because You (God talking to Himself—Christ) put the law of sin and death in them, therefore You must die for every sin of all human beings. If You repent and accept Your death then their sins can be forgiven. But if they don't repent, You still die for their sins. The only condition that God the Father and Christ will have is perfect righteousness and you must then die even for those sins that they don't repent of.

Those sins are not forgiven then, and they are cast into the Lake of Fire, and that ends the matter; but Christ still must die for them. Now, how would like to have the sentence upon you? That's what he's saying here. Then Paul goes on to explain how this all came about with us as human beings:

Verse 12: "Therefore… [on this account] …as by one man sin entered into the world, and by means of sin came death; and in this way, death passed into all mankind; and it is for this reason that all have sinned."

It's confusing in the King James: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." When I first read that, and the implication that was given with our previous teaching was that children are born perfect. That's an erroneous statement. They're not born perfect. Are they subject to death at anytime? Yes! That means they have the law of death in them. Do they have human nature? Yes! That means they also have the law of sin. So, they have the 'law of sin and death' in them.

But we were told, and one of the reason they had such problems with childrearing in the church that we were associated with was because we were told that 'children are born perfect' and all you have to do is raise them up in the right way and the implication is that they won't be sinners. So, they were taught to 'beat the sin out of them'—which you can never do because it's part of them.

When you read this, it's an erroneous assumption with not a clear translation. It doesn't say that people die because people have sinned. NO! Because there was sin originally, death passed to all and for this very reason we're subject to death. All sin! That's what it's saying.

This appears to be an inherited thing; yes, human nature is inherited; death is inherited. What about Christ who was conceived with the Holy Spirit? He got his human nature from the genes of Mary! Did Jesus die? Yes! So, He had the law of death in Him. He had to have, otherwise He couldn't have died. If you don't have the law of death in you, you can't die. That's why God in spirit lives forever. What Christ had to do was fantastic. To become a human being and take on a nature like unto the sons of Adam (Heb. 2)—not the nature of angels. So, He had human nature, and all the pulls of the flesh. If He would have died for His own sin, that would have been it!

I mean, when we stop and realize that God actually gave up His Divinity to be human and was subject to death, and if He would have sinned, that would have been it for that God, because He gave up His Divinity. He gave up being God!

Example: As a human being, if you gave yourself up to be your friendly pooch, saying 'I want to be a dog for a day.' There you are, you're transformed into a dog and you do something so stupid as to run out and get run over by a car and you die as a dog, you're dead. You're no more human; you are dead!

That's kind of a rough example, but very easily understood of what would have happened if Christ would have sinned. That's why, even though right before He was going to be crucified and He was sweating these great drops of blood, He said, 'Father, if You be willing, let this cup pass from Me; but nevertheless, Your will be done'—because anything contrary to the will of God would have been sin.

  • That gives us a greater appreciation of Christ.
  • That gives us a greater appreciation of God.

You talk about a love! In order to do that for all the human race, that's a fantastic love!

(go to the next track)

That is a tremendous love that God has given us. He's done everything to ensure that we're going to be in the Kingdom of God, to be the very sons of God. That's a fantastic thing! That's why you ask: What can I do in the way of a law or work to deserve that? Nothing! You must believe that's what God has done! That's where the belief comes in. That even though you were sinners, even though you have 'the law of sin and death' within you, Christ came and He died!

Now, I'll just summarize the rest of Rom. 5: From Adam until Moses everyone sinned, though it wasn't the same kind of sin, or the same similitude as Adam's sin—sin directly to God's face. I mean, Adam was the only one that sinned directly to God's face! That's quite a sin. All died! Everyone was subject to sin; sin abounded, sin everywhere.

Now Christ comes, and by the one man—Christ—grace abounds even more, because the grace of God is able to cover all the sins of all human beings, but it's not automatically applied until God calls a person and gives that person an opportunity to repent. That's why the sacrifice of Christ and the grace of God is so absolutely fantastic.

Romans 5:19: "For even as by the disobedience of the one man [Adam] many were made sinners, in the same way also, by the obedience of the one [righteous] Man [Christ] shall many be made righteous." That's why it's with the righteousness of Christ, not our own.

Verse 20: "Moreover, the law entered, so that transgression might abound… [We see that today—don't we? Sin everywhere.] …but where sin abounded, the grace of God did super-abound." Grace is able to take care of any sin that a person will truly repent of, providing they have not hardened their heart to the point that they have committed the unpardonable sin.

Verse 21: "So that even as sin has reigned unto death, so also might the grace of God reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

  • Is death still reigning in this world through the sin of Adam and all human beings? Yes!
  • Have we received grace as part of the firstfruits of good things to come? Yes!
  • When is the grace—talked about here—going to super over-abound in the entire world? When Christ returns!
  • Can you imagine what this world is going to be like with nothing but grace everywhere? It's going to be absolutely fantastic!

It says in Isa. 2 and 11 that 'the knowledge of God is going to cover the earth like the seas cover the earth.' That is fantastic! It is going to be so utterly different for human beings then; so utterly different for us as spirit beings.

God says that those whom He calls of the firstfruits, if they endure, are worthy of greater honor and a better resurrection than the rest of the people.

Let's not get uptight and pull our suspenders out and say we're greater. That's not true. So, the suffering and difficulties that we go through are going to pay off—not in this life; don't look for it in this life—at the resurrection, and that's going to be fantastic, and have that opportunity to bring that grace to the whole world. That is marvelous!

Verse 21: "So that even as sin has reigned unto death, so also might the grace of God reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 6:1: "What then shall we say?…. [What are we going to do?] …Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? MAY IT NEVER BE!…." (vs 1-2). That's not the purpose of grace. Grace is not license to sin. Grace is to put you in right standing with God! Woe be to the person who takes grace and makes it license to sin. Your comeuppance is going to come from God! Don't worry; God's going to work it all out.

  • Should we live in sin? No!
  • What do we do with grace? We establish law, because it's in our heart and mind!
  • Shall we continue in sin? Absolutely not, because our lives are dedicated—completely and totally—a different way!

Let's establish something concerning the Gospel. I think you'll find the first two chapters of Galatians after what we've covered so easy to understand. It will be so easy to understand you're going to wonder why you ever had difficulty understanding it.

Acts 20:24: "But I myself do not take any of these things into account… [all the warnings that Paul is going to be taken off in chains and taken to Rome] …nor do I hold my life dear to myself…" That's quite a statement—isn't it? Look at Paul's attitude. You talk about converted! You talk about looking at every rotten miserable trial in the flesh, looking it square in the face and saying, 'I don't count my life dear to myself.' That's pretty strong language—isn't it?

"…so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to fully testify the Gospel of the grace of God" (v 24). That is part of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Verse 25: "And now behold, I know that you all, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the Kingdom of God, will see my face no more." So, the grace of God and the Kingdom of God should be preached together. Can you really have a Gospel without the grace of God through Christ. What is the good news? Tell me what the good news is without that? No such thing!

Galatians 1:1: "Paul, an apostle, not sent from men nor made by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, Who raised Him from the dead." Why must Christ be raised? For our justification! Now you begin to put all of this together.

Verse 2: "And all the brethren who are with me, to the Churches of Galatia: Grace and peace be to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ" (vs 2-3). Fantastic when you understand about what grace is going to do and that you have peace with God.

Verse 4: "Who gave Himself… [in the Greek it is 'e auto' that Jesus gave His very own self, emphatically gave Himself] …for our sins, in order that He might deliver us from the present evil [age] world, according to the will of our God and Father; to Whom be the glory into the ages of eternity. Amen." (vs 4-5). Some people may say that that's a contradictory statement.

But if eternity is eternity, and it's still ongoing forever and ever, are there ages or epics within that eternity? Yes! Obviously, there are! I mean, we are part of this age now, which is part of the eternity of God—right? Yes! So, into the ages of the ages is just a wide opened statement what is God's plan for all eternity? It's going to be fantastic!

I just heard on the radio the other day that astronomers are all excited; they are seeing a star born, and they are going absolutely bananas viewing this, because the same power and density of our sun has been contracted down into an area smaller than five miles across, and it is spinning 2,000 times per second, which is three times faster than they ever figured something could happen out there.

Are there signs in the heavens that God is giving to men? Yes! The reason that I mention that is because that is fantastic just to think on. Now you take the statement into the ages of eternity with God the Father and Jesus Christ and the plan that God has for us, makes shivers go up and down my spine and hair stand up on the back of my neck. I don't know about you, but I get really excited with that; that's fantastic!

Verse 6: "I am astonished that you are so quickly being turned away… [so quickly being changed; the root being metamorphosed, slightly changed] …from Him Who called you into the grace of Christ, to a different… ['another' (KJV)] …gospel"—which there's not another, because there can't really be such thing as another gospel. You can call it another gospel, but there's only one Gospel, and if there's only one Gospel that is it! You can't change it! You can't modify it! You can't add to it! Isn't that what we found with the covenants.

Man can't do that. Oh, he can, but of what effect is it? None! It may be to the people suffering it; it may be to the people who are living in it, but it's of none effect to God. God is not going to change because man has changed. Man is going to change because God demands it. That's the way it ought to be.

Verse 7: "Which in reality is not another gospel; but there are some who are troubling you and are desiring to pervert the Gospel of Christ." In this case we're talking about perverting the Gospel of Christ through Judaism.

Verse 8: "But if we, or even an angel from heaven, should preach a gospel to you that is contrary to what we have preached, LET HIM BE ACCURSED!" That's pretty heady stuff—isn't it? Paul is pronouncing a curse on an angel! Think on that for a minute; that's pretty powerful! If anyone should preach unto you contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed!

Verse 9: "As we have said before, I also now say again. If anyone is preaching a gospel contrary to what you have received, LET HIM BE ACCURSED! Now then, am I striving to please men, or God?…." (vs 9-10). You talk about independent! Paul turned out to be the most anti-political person in the world! You talk about having to have a conversion that is absolutely headstrong, Paul had to have it.

"…Or am I motivated to please men? For if I am yet pleasing men, I would not be a servant… ['doulos' or bondsman or slave] …of Christ.  But I certify to you, brethren, that the Gospel that was preached by me is not according to man; because neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it by man; rather, it was by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For you heard of my former conduct when I was in Judaism…" (vs 10-13). The King James  says 'the Jews' religion'; what did we learn about Judaism? About all the rules, regulations, traditions and so forth?

"…how I was excessively persecuting the Church of God and was destroying [ravaging] it; and I was advancing in Judaism… [a political thing] …far beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more abundantly zealous for the traditions of my fathers" (vs 13-14).

(KJV): "For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion… [When you read it in the King James you don't get the meaning of it, because it is Judaism.] …how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers" (vs 13-14).

  • Did Paul have a 'bone to pick' then? Yes!
  • Did he know what he was talking about when it came down to Judaism? Yes!

Remember what was one of the main constituent functioning parts of Judaism: you worked a work of law for justification, and that made you better than others. Judaism grew out of what should have been the religion of Moses. So, therefore, they still retain circumcision. That was part of a problem that we find in Gal. 2.

Galatians 2:4: "Now this meeting was private because of false brethren brought in secretly, who came in by stealth to spy out our freedom, which we have in Christ Jesus, in order that they might bring us into bondage." That is to force circumcision upon the church members. That was a problem.

After Paul said that was resolved, and they said, 'All right you're preaching to the uncircumcision.' This becomes the heart and core of the problem. Unfortunately, the King James Version of the Bible adds to the problem of understanding it, because of the simple three-letter word the.

Verse 11: "But when Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to his face because he was to be condemned… [we'll see he did it publicly] …for before certain ones came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles. However, when they came, he drew back and separated himself from the Gentiles, being afraid of those of the circumcision party" (vs 11-12).

Why did we have the problem of circumcision? Because of an outgrowth of those who were first called into the Church being all Jews.  And as an outgrowth of the problem of the converted Pharisees that they were saying every new convert to Christianity must be like every new proselyte to Judaism; you must be circumcised. They resolved that by saying, 'No, they don't have to be circumcised.'

One of the other problems of Judaism was habits that are there, they're hard to change—don't eat with anyone who is not a Jew. That was a Judaism law. That was a work that they did. 'Oh, we will be accepted by God over here if we separate and eat over here by ourselves. And the Gentiles, you eat over here by yourselves.'

Paul is saying, 'Wait a minute, Peter! You're creating a problem.' Why did he withstand him publicly? Simply because what they were doing was public!

Verse 13: "And the rest of the Jews joined him in this hypocritical act, insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they did not walk uprightly according to the Truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter in the presence of them all, 'If you, being a Jew…'" (vs 13-14). Either Christ did something to change things, or Christ didn't do something and things aren't changed. But He did do something! He died!

"…'If you, being a Jew, are living like the Gentiles… [not reckoning or abiding by all the laws and rules of Judaism] …and not according to Judaism, why do you compel the Gentiles to Judaize?'" (v 14). Stop and think about it! If one of the rules of Judaism was to separate the Jews from the Gentiles when they were eating, so that the Jews would remain clean and uncontaminated, were they not also causing the Gentiles to Judaize by saying, 'You go over here, because we're going over there.' Is that not correct? Yes!

So, we're not talking about to keep the commandments of God or not, we're talking about the application of Judaism.

(KJV): "…'If thou, being a Jew, live after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compel you the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?' (v 14). That's an incorrect translation. It should be "'…why do you compel the Gentiles to Judaize?'"

Verse 15. We who are Jews by nature—and not sinners of the Gentiles—knowing that a man is not justified by works of law…" (vs 15-16).

(KJV): 'the works of the law'—the is not in either place. No work of any law can bring the justification of Christ because Christ is the means of justification, not the separation of people, which is awork of alaw.

By the way it is in the King James you think it is talking about commandment-keeping. But it is not talking about commandment-keeping at all. It's talking about a work of a law, which is, in fact, commandment-breaking, because you are not loving your neighbor as yourself, you're kicking them out into the other room out of your presence.

Let me emphasize that again. What was being done was a work of a law of Judaism. It had nothing to do with the commandments or the laws of God. If you don't believe me, you show me any place in the Old Testament where it says what to do with Gentiles other than there shall be one law—and under the Old Covenant they did have to be circumcised, that was true. How many times did God say, 'You shall not oppress the stranger'?

Judaism at this point, especially in combat against Christ and Christianity, turned more and more inward, and more and more evil, and more and more anti-Christ. So, in effect, Paul is saying to Peter, 'You and the rest of the Jews are going against Christ and following Judaism and that, my friend, is perverting the Gospel; because in effect you are saying that God loves the Jew more than God loves the Gentile, and God justifies the Jew greater than God justifies the Gentile—which is wrong! And you can't say that we will do this work of a law to separate following the traditions of Judaism and we are more righteous.'

Verse 16: "'Knowing… [we understand] …that a man is not justified by works of law but through the faith of Jesus Christ…'" It's very interesting in the Greek, because this means Jesus' very own faith—His faith! It is in the possessive tense of Jesus' faith given to us.

  • Who is the One Who really justifies us? God justifies us through Christ and the operation of faith that Christ had!
  • Did not Christ have to have faith? Absolutely!
  • How could he have lived as a human being?
  • Does God have faith? Yes, God has faith!
  • Don't you think that God has faith that His plan is going to be carried out? Certainly!
  • What is it that we as human beings can do?
  • What can we do to indebt God to us as an obligation to do something for us?
  • Can we do something and hand it to God as an IOU and say, 'God, You pay us'? NO!

That becomes ridiculous when you think about that!

…we also have believed in Christ Jesus in order that we might be justified by the faith of Christ… [by Christ's own faith] …and not by works of law…'" (v 16). When I first read that [in the King James—'the works of the law'] I could not understand why I had to keep the commandments. It is by works of law.

"…because by works of law shall no flesh be justified" (v 16). Why? Because the sacrifice of Christ is the only vehicle that justifies you! Law was not made to justify.

Verse 17: "Now then, if we are seeking to be justified in Christ… [which is what we need to be doing] …and we ourselves are found to be sinners… [because we still have the law of sin and death in us, and working in us] …is Christ then the minister of sin?…." He's saying, 'Peter, what you're doing is sin. Are you telling me that you're doing this in the name of Jesus Christ, and you bring Christ into it and now Christ is a minister of sin?

"…MAY IT NEVER BE! For if I build again those things that I destroyed, I am making myself a transgressor" (vs 17-18). Hence, Christ had nothing to do with my sin. Could Paul go back and rebuild Judaism again? Yes, he was an expert in it! Absolutely!

Verse 19: "For I, through law, died to law… ['the' is not there in either case. He's talking about the principle of it: The wages of sin is death! The law wrought upon me! I died! (Rom. 7)] …in order that I may live to God." So, he's talking about a figurative death, but it's really a powerful death when we understand it.

Verse 20: "I have been crucified with Christ…" Was Paul ever crucified on the cross with Christ? No! How was he crucified with Christ? Through the operation of baptism—conjoined to His death!

"…yet, I live. Indeed, it is no longer I… [I'm not living for me.] …but Christ lives in me…." (v 20). You talk about complete, totally dedication to God—right?

 (KJV): "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I ['ego'—myself] …but Christ lives in me… [Christ is living in me. How? Through the power of God's Holy Spirit!] …and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

"…For the life that I am now living in the flesh, I live by faith—that very faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness is through… [established or accomplished] …works of law, then Christ died in vain" (vs 20-21).

Do you understand what that is saying? Again, the word the law is just law. If through law, righteousness—right standing with God the Father in heaven above—if that came through law why did Christ die? There was no reason for it!

It doesn't come that way; it comes through Christ. Righteousness is the result of being justified; justified by His blood, through His resurrection. So, the righteousness, the justification comes through Jesus Christ and the operation of the death, the sacrifice, the blood and the resurrection of Christ, and that is how grace is given to you.

  • you cannot earn it
  • you cannot create it
  • you cannot have God indebted to you, to force Him to give it to you

It comes through Christ.

We're going to be tackling every difficult Scriptures from now on, so you've got to stay on your toes. You've got to stay sharp and I think you understand it.


  • Why did God say He created evil?

Isaiah 45:5: "I am the LORD, and there is none else. There is no God besides Me; I clothed you, though you have not known Me; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is none else; I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil. I the LORD do all these things" (vs 5-7).

You're going to find that the answer is much more simple than they appear. When you read that, you read it with the connotation that if God is God—which He is; and if God is righteous—which He is; and if God does not sin—which He doesn't; why is it that God creates evil? That's basically the question.

You have the thought that if God creates evil then God Himself is evil. If God Himself is evil, then how can God be righteous? That's the thought process that we go through.

Let's approach this from a different point of view: How can a righteous God Who has never sinned create evil and, yet, not be evil? That's really the question. The answer is this—and we'll use an analogy: If you have your own children and you tell them, 'Don't you do that or you're going to get a paddling' If you always threaten and you do nothing to correct, you are not in control—you are not God—you are not a parent. Who then rules? The child does!

Is a spanking—compared to non-spanking—evil? Yes! Spanking is evil, but necessary. It is to correct a greater wrong or sin. I have never felt good spanking my kids. They never felt good being spanked. It was necessary so that we would not have greater evil ruling. So, if God makes and creates laws—which He has and He does—and if He says, 'If you break these laws I myself will judge you.' Then He must create evil to enforce His Sovereignty of being God, while He Himself is not evil.

I hope that is clear. All you have to do is read Deut. 28 where God says, 'If you don't keep My commandments, I will send this curse upon you.' I've heard this answered from the point of view that God really doesn't create evil, but He allows it. NO! He creates it! But He Himself is not evil.

If God is love, why does He allow these things to happen? Because people don't love God! They're reaping the results of their lack of love to God, so don't come and blame God when these things happen. God set it in motion because of sin. So, the root cause of the necessity of creating evil results to correct people is their own sin. If God didn't create evil, what is He going to correct people with? It's the same way if you don't ever teach and train your kids and discipline them! They will hate you! They will absolutely be against you!

They have found by tests that people who make less money, have to work together and suffer together, have greater love and respect for each other than those who are rich and wealthy and have everything brought to them. Does that tell you something?

  • Think what the human race would be like if they were blessed for all their evil?
  • Think what the homosexual population would be doing if they did not have things come upon them?

Deuteronomy 28:16: "Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your store. Cursed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your land, the increase of your livestock, and the flocks of your sheep. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. The LORD shall send on you cursing, vexation, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do until you are destroyed, and until you perish quickly because of the wickedness of your doings by which you have forsaken Me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from off the land where you go to possess it. The LORD shall strike you with lung disease and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew. And they shall pursue you until you perish" (vs 16-22).

God is the One Who is doing it! God creates evil! I've heard ministers say that God allows it. NO! Nothing is done by allowance; it is all done by determination! God doesn't allow it; He says it's going to happen, He's caused it; it's going to happen. Thankfully, to God, in the end run He's going to justify it all and make it right, but not until we have learned something. Unfortunately, that's the way that it is. That's the choice that has been made from Adam until Christ returns. We can't change it.

You hear people all the time: If God is a God of love, why did He allow this crash to happen. Well, God was not the pilot. He didn't wire the plane. He didn't put the bomb on it.

If God were down here trying to straighten things out, everyone would get mad and chase Him off. 'God, how dare You close down all of these dens of iniquity. How dare You close down all of the gambling, prostitution, and You're stopping the lottery! We're going to riot! Closing all the stores on the Sabbath. Get Him out of here, we don't want God.'

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter (except where noted).

Scriptural References:

    • Romans 3:19-20
    • 1 Corinthians 9:20-21
    • Romans 3:20-21, 31
    • Romans 4:19-25
    • 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
    • Romans 5:8-9, 1-12, 19-21
    • Romans 6:1-2
    • Acts 20:24-25
    • Galatians 1:1-14
    • Galatians 2:4, 11-21
    • Isaiah 45:5-7
    • Deuteronomy 28:16-22

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • James 1; 2
  • Hebrews 2
  • Isaiah 2; 11
  • Romans 7

Also referenced: Books:

  • The Greek-English New Testament by George Ricker Berry
  • Moffatt Bible Translation

Transcribed: 12-27-12