Fred R. Coulter—August 22, 2009

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Let's review a little bit where we left off concerning witnesses, and let's look at a couple of other Scriptures concerning witnesses because we are also witnesses, not only the apostles, not only the Word of God, not only Christ Himself, not only the heavens and the earth. As we saw last time, if you ever doubt God, just look at the earth and look at the sky. He has sworn by Himself. He has given the heavens and the earth as a witness that His Word is true and good and right, and to bless those who love Him, to curse those who hate Him. That's just the way that it is.

5. Witnesses

Let's look here just a little bit more concerning witnesses. Let's come to Isaiah 44. This is a prophecy concerning us as the Church, and we ourselves are to be witnesses

  • in our life
  • in our word
  • in our conduct
  • the way we think

—and all of that is part of witnessingfor Christ. We live in the world, but we're not of the world, and so therefore we need to yield to God.

Now here are some more things concerning witness here in Isaiah 44. Israel was to be His witness to the world and God's Word, we have here, that it was to be given to Israel, then to be given to the world. Isaiah 44:6: "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer… [That's concerning Israel.] …even the LORD of hosts, 'I am the First, and I am the Last… [Now you can put in your margin, your notes there, that that also refers to Rev. 1:8, 17 and Rev. 22:13. 'I am the First, the Last, the Beginning, the Ending.' This is also a proof that the Lord God of the Old Testament was the One Who became Jesus Christ of the New.] …I am the First, and I am the Last; and besides Me there is no God.'"

A lot of people say, 'See, there's only one God.' But the Hebrew word for God is 'Elohim.' Now let's come to Matthew 11, hold your place here because we'll come back. Let's see what Jesus said concerning the Father, because a lot of people say, 'It was the Father Who was the God of the Old Testament.' So let's see what Jesus said. And we see another reason why Jesus came. So if the Father was known, you also have the other Scripture in John 3 that says no one has seen God at any time, only the begotten Son. Well, then who did Moses see? So there are a lot of Scriptures like that which back it up, which we have in the series, Who Was Jesus?, Who is Jesus?, and Prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament.

Matthew 11:25: "At that time Jesus answered and said, 'I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to babes. Yes, Father, for it was well pleasing in Your sight to do this. All things were delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; neither does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son personally chooses to reveal Him'" (vs 25-27).

Now some people may have heard of the Father. There are some prophecies in the Old Testament which show that there is the Father, but the Father never dealt with the prophets, it was always Christ. That's why He says, 'I am the only God'—that is to Israel—'you have known'—Israel did not know the Father. Let's come back here to Isaiah 44 again and let's see.

Isaiah 44:7: "'And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it and set in order for Me, since I appointed the ancient people?.… ['Tell Me now'—He's speaking of idols and dumb gods and things like this—'let's see what you can do.' That's a challenge!] …And the things that are coming, and shall come, let them declare it to us…. [Now He's talking to Israel, which is also a prophecy of us as spiritual Israel.] …Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from that time; and have declared it? So you are My witnesses….'" (vs 7-8). Anyone who knows and understands the Word the God is a form of witness of God and for God, though you're not a preacher, you don't have to be a teacher. But if someone asks you a question, then you can, what is called 'witness to them.' Some people misuse this and say, 'Well, we've got to witness to you.' No, you don't have to go force it down their throat, but if they ask a question, we're told what? Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us. So that's what it's talking about here.

"'…Is there a God besides Me? Yea, thereis no other Rock… [Christ is the Rock] …I know not one.'…. [Now here's the whole point of it compared to God.] …Those who make a graven image are all of them vanity; and the things in which they delight shall not help…" (vs 8-9). I saw that as I stopped for a restroom and also pick up the mail. A car pulls up and here's this rosary hanging from the rear view mirror. And they've got a little cross on it and there's a little Christ on it, and this is supposed to help them. But God says we're not to be superstitious, like the heathen. If you trust God and believe in God, what do you need in the way of some kind of image to remind you of God? You don't need anything. So this is what he's saying. And they are their own witnesses. Now compare the two.

The true witnesses of God vs the witnesses of the idols and false gods. "…and they are their own witnesses…. [What do they testify to?] …They do not see nor know, that they [the makers] may be ashamed. Who has formed a god, or melted a graven image that is profitable for anything?.… [None of it. What has it ever done?] …Behold, all his companions shall be ashamed; and the craftsmen… [That is the one who made it.] …they are of men. Let them all come together, let them stand up, they shall dread; they shall be ashamed together" (vs 9-11).

So here's how they do it and they don't even understand what they are doing, because you see:

  • They reject the witness of God, of His Word.
  • They reject the witness of God, of His creation, the heaven and the earth.
  • They reject the witness of God, that He gives them everything that they have.

Because there's nothing that we didn't receive from God and everything that He's created is what keeps us sustained physically—right?

  • we have to breathe
  • we have to eat
  • we have water
  • we have weather
  • we sleep
  • all of these sort of things

Just like kids growing up. God has got it all pre-programmed in the infant at conception and so when it comes time for the baby teeth to start coming through, they come through. When it comes time for the baby teeth to come out, and permanent ones to come in, they come in. When it's time for them to begin developing as adults, and puberty, it happens automatically. It all comes from God! Give you a mind to think and mind that can also change and be reprogrammed. That's why there's repentance.

Now speaking of the mind, just a little aside here, show you how great God has made it. We have two hemispheres in our mind, right and left hemisphere. There have been people who, because of tumors, have had to have half their brain taken out. They are not half-wits, as some people may suppose. But they can take, and with therapy and thought, they can train the left side of the brain, which normally controls the right side of the body and they can take that and train it to also control the left side of the body, because the brain is made to change continually regardless of age. We won't get into Alzheimer's disease, or things like that. However, those are entirely man-made things.

Verse 12: "The blacksmith fashions an axe. He works in the coals, and forms it with hammers, and works it with the strength of his arms. Then, he is hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water, and is weak. The carpenter fashions wood, and stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil; he shapes it with carving tools, and he marks it out with the compass… [In other words, he does everything to design it.] …and makes it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man, to sit in the house. He cuts down cedars, and takes cypress and oak, which he makes of the trees of the forest strong for himself; he plants a tree, and the rain makes it grow. Then it shall be for a man to burn; for he will take some of it and warm himself. Yea, he kindles it and bakes bread; yea, he makes a god and worships it; he makes a graven image and falls down to worship it. He burns part of it in the fire; with part of it he eats flesh; he roasts a roast and is satisfied; yea, he warms himself, and says, 'Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire.' And with the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image; he falls down to it and worships, and prays to it, and says, 'Deliver me! For you are my god!'" (vs 12-17). So this is the witness against them. And what happens when that takes place?

"They know not nor understand; for He has shut their eyes so that they cannot see; and their hearts so that they cannot understand. And none thinks within his heart, nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, 'I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals of it; I have roasted flesh and eaten; and shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?' He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside, so that he cannot deliver his soul. Neither does he say, 'Is this not a falsehood in my right hand?'" (vs 18-20). No, don't do it. So God says, He's the Witness, He made human beings, and God is the One Who has declared it.

Let's come to the book of Acts. We already covered how the apostles were to be the witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, His crucifixion, His death, and His resurrection. They healed a man. They raised him up and then we come to Acts 4:1 (I like this chapter here, this is really good.) "Now as they were speaking to the people… [Calling them to repentance and showing him this man who had been lame all of his life, laying there at the Gate Beautiful. He was healed and was up dancing, and running, and shouting, and praising God, and so forth.] …the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, being dismayed because they were teaching the people, and preaching through Jesus the resurrection from the dead…. [Which they're supposed to do, because they are the witnesses.] …And they arrested them and put them in the hold until the morning; for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the message believed, and the number of men was about five thousand. Now it came to pass in the morning that their rulers and elders and scribes were assembled together in Jerusalem, And Annas, the high priest, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and as many as were of the high priest's lineage. And after placing them in the midst, they inquired, 'By what power or in what name did you do this?' Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, 'Rulers of the people and elders of Israel, If we are examined this day as to a good work done to the infirm man, by what power he has been cured, be it known to all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean, Whom you crucified… [Now this is a pretty stinging witness to them.] …but Whom God has raised from the dead, by Him this man stands before you whole'" (vs 1-10).

Then he really witnessed to them the same words that Jesus gave to them: "'This is the Stone that was set at naught by you, the builders, which has become the Head of the corner. And there is no salvation in any other, for neither is there another name under heaven which has been given among men, by which we must be saved.' Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlettered and uninstructed men… [Not of the elite of their age. That's what they would say of us. 'Well, where did you go to school?' Self-educated. 'You went to this college, where is it now?' Well, it doesn't exist.] …they were amazed; and they took note of them, that they had been with Jesus. Yet seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they said nothing to oppose them" (vs 11-14).

So they decided what they were going to do. "But after commanding them to go outside the Sanhedrin, they conferred with one another, saying… [Now here's the politics. Once a politician, always a politician, things never change.] …What shall we do to these men? For a remarkable miracle has indeed come to pass through them and is manifest to all those living in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it…. [What are you going to do?] …But that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them with a severe threat not to speak any more to anyone in this name'" (vs 15-17).

Now that's pretty arrogant on their part, too—isn't it? Thinking that they had all the authority to do this. "And after summoning them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, 'Whether it is right before God to listen to you rather than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak what we have seen and heard.' And after further threatening them, they let them go, finding no means by which they might punish them, because of the people… [They were checking their polls.] …for all were glorifying God on account of what had been done" (vs 18-21). They were out there preaching

Acts 5:14: "And believers were added all the more to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,) insomuch that the people were bringing out the sick into the streets and putting them on beds and stretchers… [Now you see when God decides He's going to do something and be a witness—the apostles were to be a witness, but God was also being a witness to them because they claimed they knew the true God. Yet they rejected Christ, yet they went against all of the witnesses of the prophets about the coming of Christ. So now he's putting them into a situation that is going to be even more untenable than the first episode.] (So they were): …bringing sick ones and those beset by unclean spirits; and they were all healed…. [You know what's going to happen. People are going to come and all the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and all of the religious leaders are going to be standing there with no one to teach.] …Then the high priest rose up, and all those with him being of the sect of the Sadducees; and they were filled with anger. And they laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the public hold" (vs 14-18).

Now this time God had another miracle up His sleeve. "But during the night an angel of the Lord came and opened the doors of the prison; and after bringing them out, he said, 'Go and stand in the temple, and speak to the people all the words of this life.' And after hearing that, they entered into the temple at dawn and taught. Now when the high priest and those with him came, they called together the Sanhedrin and all the elderhood of the sons of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison; and when they returned, they reported, Saying, 'We indeed found the prison locked with all security, and the keepers standing outside in front of the doors; but after opening them, we did not find anyone inside'" (vs 19-23). Surprise!

"And when they heard these words, both the high priest and the captain of the temple, and the chief priests also, were utterly perplexed as to what this could lead to…. [They didn't get the point, this was a witness and warning from God to them that He was going to change the system and destroy the temple because of their sins. But they wouldn't give up; they wouldn't listen.] …But a certain one came and reported to them, saying, 'Behold, the men whom you put in the prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.' Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, so that they might not be stoned; for they feared the people. And they brought them in and set them before the Sanhedrin. And the high priest asked them, saying, 'Did we not order you by a direct command not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, with the purpose of bringing this man's blood upon us…. [Now notice their answer]: …But Peter and the apostles answered and said, 'We are obligated to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus Whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree. Him has God exalted by His right hand to be a Prince and Savior, to give repentance and remission of sins to Israel. And we are His witnesses of these things…'" (vs 24-32).

So we go back to where we were in Isaiah, that's a prophecy of this. 'You are my witnesses.' "'…as is also the Holy Spirit, which God has given to those who obey Him.' Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and took counsel to put them to death" (vs 32-33). But then the rest of the story, Gamaliel stood up and said, 'Now be careful what you're doing, because if this is of God, you're not going to stop it. If it's not of God, it's not going to succeed, so back off.' That was, I would have to say, inspired of God, so they backed off and let them alone. So they had to release them. They beat them before they released them. They had to have their last little thing to do.

That was number five: witnesses.

6. Sacrifice and Death Walk

Now we covered part of this last time, the death walk. Every covenant has a death pack with it and in some cases a death walk, like we saw in Gen.15 and Jer. 34.

Let's come to Hebrews 10 and let's amplify a little bit about the death walk of Jesus. Remember, in Gen. 15, He passed between the parts of the animals to signify that He was pledging His future death. His future death also released the covenant with Israel. What we're going to find here in Hebrews 10, we are going to find also of the covenant of God, which we covered with the sacrificial animals and so forth, last time. But what we're going to find is this: is that when you analyze the book of Hebrews and other Scriptures and put it together, especially Psa. 40, that there was a covenant between God the Father and Jesus Christ when it was time for Jesus to come to the earth as God manifested in the flesh. We have that in the Hebrews Series (I think #27).

Let's pick it up here in Hebrews 10:4: "Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." Remove them before God. Because at the temple, when they had the sacrifices for sins, they were justified to the temple, so they could live in the community that God had established in Israel. When Christ died, all those sins were put aside, because He was the Lord God of the Old Testament, and His death took care of all of those. He explains the reason why Jesus was resurrected from the dead, the reason why He came, because God was going to bring with His death, which was part of His death walk, it was prophesied in Gen. 15 and then as I mentioned when He was carrying His crossbar for the stake to be crucified, He had His final death walk. And here he explains the whole reason and we see elements of covenant here between God the Father and Jesus Christ.

"For this reason, when He comes into the world, He says, 'Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but You have prepared a body for Me. You did not delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. Then I said, I, "Lo, I come (as it is written of Me in the scroll of the book)… [Now you go back to Psa. 40 [transcriber's correction] and you will see that it talks about 'it's written of Me in the scroll of the book.' But the scroll of that book is no where found intact in the Bible. It's referred to. So that scroll of the book has got to have the covenant that God the Father and Jesus Christ agreed to. Because He had to give up His glory as God; He had to be born of the virgin Mary; He had to grow up as a normal human being, yet never sin. God the Father taught Him personally, waking Him up every morning, and so forth. So that was the commandment that was given that if He would lay His life down again, He would receive it back. So that's part of the covenant.] …to do Your will, O God"'" (vs 4-7).

Now let's understand something very important here. To do the will of God is the whole sum of the Bibleobey His voice. God is interested in mercy and not sacrifice. God is not interested in the kind of religious works that people do to make themselves good to an organization, or accepted by a group of people. God expects us to be converted in heart and mind, and our behavior changes because:

  • we love God
  • we love our neighbor
  • we love the brethren
  • and yes, we even love our enemies

—that's hard to do. Because normally enemies you want to get rid of. But God says, 'Vengeance is Mine.' He'll take care of them. So 'to do Your will, O God,' is the important thing. To do all the will that He had to do, was what?

  • always be in contact with the Father
  • always be filled with the Holy Spirit
  • always do the will of the Father
  • always accomplish all those things that were prophesied that He would fulfill

—all of that. So I imagine that the covenant that was between God the Father and the One Who became Jesus Christ, because of Elohim there are two, the One Who became the Father and the One Who became the Son—I imagine that it was laid out in some detail and specificity.

Now here is what the scribes and Pharisees and the ones at the temple delighted in. Verse 8: "In the saying above, He said, 'Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin (which are offered according to the law) You did not desire nor delight in'… [Why? Because God is interested in a change of heart and repentance. So this is why there is the second covenant.] …then He said, 'Lo, I come to do Your will, O God.' He takes away the first covenant in order that He may establish the second covenant… [That required His death, as we covered last time.] …by Whose will… [This is important to understand. Remember where we read that Jesus said He came to personally reveal the Father? That is His will.] …by Whose will we are sanctified… [And sanctified means we are set aside for Holy purpose; calling. Sanctified means we're sanctified

  • by the Word of God
  • by the Truth of God
  • by the Spirit of God
  • by the sacrifice of Christ

…we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (vs 8-10).

And, of course, in God's plan He's going to take care of the things past, present, and future in that, but for all. And the reason that sacrifice was greater and takes care of everything once for all, and really does away with sin was because God came manifested in the flesh. He died for His creation. It was a fitting justice that God the Father executed through Jesus Christ, and a fitting, loving, kind, absolutely marvelous thing that God the Father and Jesus Christ did: that He would come, live a perfect life, and die for the sins of all mankind—also because of this. So the Creator died for His creation, to make a new creation, and fulfill the purpose of why we were born.

"…we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…. [Then he gives a comparison to show the difference.] …Now every high priest stand ministering day by day, offering the same sacrifices repeatedly, which are never able to remove sins; But He, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…. [And that means to carry out the will of God through His Church, which is the spiritual body of Christ.] …Since that time, He is waiting until His enemies are placed as a footstool for His feet…. [Now that will happen on two occasions: the seven last plagues and the second death. The third occasion is going to be the removal of Satan and the blackness of darkness forever. Those are the enemies, that's the goal.] …For by one offering He has obtained eternal perfection for those who are sanctified…. [And we need to understand more about sanctification and I'll bring a sermon on that sometime in the future.] …And the Holy Spirit… [That's what sanctifies us in addition to the other things.] …also bears witness to us; for after He had previously said, '"This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days," says the Lord: "I will give My laws into their hearts, and I will inscribe them in their minds"'" (vs 10-16).

And this is the process of conversion. Another way of explaining this is, as Paul wrote in Eph. 5, is by the washing of the water of the Word:

  • to cleanse the mind
  • to cleanse the spirit
  • to cleanse the soul
  • to cleanse the body, too, when we fully understand it

Here's what happens and because we repent every day, and remember: the model prayer says, 'Forgive us our sins as we forgive others.' That's important. We'll amplify that a little later, too. "'"And their sins and lawlessness I will not remember ever again"'" (v 17). Because Psa. 3 says that 'as far as the east is from the west, so does He remove our transgressions from us.'

Now Paul makes the point here, compared to Judaism and the religion of Judaism and the temple sacrifices, and so forth, he says, v 18: "Now where remission of these is,it is no longer necessary to offer sacrifices for sin. Therefore, brethren, having confidence to enter into the true Holiest by the blood of Jesus… [Because the next one will be the blood of the covenant, which will be number seven. So we're beginning to enter into that now.] …by a new and living way… [Not like we read at the beginning where those bow down to statues and idols of gold and wood, and silver, and so forth, which are dead. But a new a living way, and it is new because we're able to constantly have our minds renewed. We are constantly able to have our sins forgiven, and that is a living way.] …which He consecrated for us through the veil (that is, His flesh)… [That's how important His sacrifice is.] …and having a great High Priest over the house of God, let us approach God with a true heart, with full conviction of faith, our hearts having been purified from a wicked conscience, and our bodies having been washed with pure water. Let us hold fast without wavering to the hope that we profess, for He Who promised is faithful" (vs 18-23).

That takes care of the walk of death, the purpose of the death, and the relationship to the covenant.

7. The Blood of the Covenant

Now let's go to Romans 3 and let's see how Paul explained it. And also in the King James Version of the Bible, now we have an appendices in the back concerning that in the second edition of the Bible, explaining the problems that you have in Romans 3. When I first read that, it threw me for a loop, because I had been learning all along—you have to keep the laws of God, the commandments of God, you have to obey God, and all of this sort of thing and that the commandments were righteous and good and fine, and all of that. And when I read this in Romans 3 it threw me for a loop because as it's translated in the King James, it leaves a lot to be desired because it's really not translated properly according to the Greek.

Now let me read Romans 3:20 (KJV). And this is what threw me for a loop: "Therefore, by thedeeds of thelaw… [Now I emphasize that for a particular reason because when I learned the Greek and was really studying in this, guess what I discovered in the Greek? There is no definite article 'the' in the Greek, which is very important. So he's not talking about keeping the commandments of God. If you keep the commandments of God, whose works are you doing? God's works! Those are the good works we are to walk in, coupled with faith and love and hope and all of those things.] (This also threw me): …therefore by the deeds of thelaw there shall no flesh be justified in His sight."

And so the Protestants say, 'Well, you don't have to keep the law, because if you keep the law you're seeking to be justified by the law.' Well, no, we're not. Jesus said, 'If you love Me, keep My commandments.' So this presented a real conflict. I said, 'What is this telling us?' It took me quite awhile to really learn. I didn't learn right away what it really meant. "For by the law is the knowledge of sin" (v 20). So that was hard to do.

Then you come over here to Romans 2:13: "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." And I thought: What a contradiction! How can that be? So when I discovered what it really meant, I'll explain something else to you here in just a minute.

Romans 3:20 (FV): "Therefore, by works of law..." Why is that expression important? Because that refers to works of law of sacrifice, and of Judaism. The Jews have what is called, The Code of Jewish Law. We're almost out of those and it's out of print, so I don't know what we're going to do with it. [transcriber's note: can be found on Amazon.com] But let me just say this: no one, no preacher, no minister, no student of the Bible can understand the phrase 'works of law.' Now that's why we have an appendices in the back of the Bible explaining it. Because it means those works of men defined by law. Now, if you want to know the truth about the laws and commandments of God read and study all of Psa. 119.

  • O, how love I Your law
  • Your commandments are true
  • Your law is true
  • Your Word is true from the beginning

Just the total opposite of what it appears to be from the King James, and this is one of the lynchpin Scriptures that they use for doing away with the law.

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Come over here to Romans 2:14 and let's read another one. Now this is very interesting here as you will see in the appendix: What Is Meant By Works of Law? "For when the Gentiles, which do not have the law… [or law. I have that in italics because I inserted the 'the'there, because this is referring to the law of God, we will see here in the next part of the sentence. So that's why I did it.] …For when the Gentiles, which do not have the law, practice by nature the things contained in the law, these who do not have the law are a law unto themselves." In other words, just like we've explained in the book of Proverbs, all of these laws and precepts of God are universal and apply to everyone, everywhere in the world. If you do good things according to what is there, God will bless you. That has nothing to do with salvation. Salvation is a special operation through the sacrifice, the death, and the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So this is what he's leading up to as compared to just doing commandment-keeping or offering sacrifices or keeping the laws of Judaism.

Here's a key one in the Greek, v 15: "Who show the work of the law… [Now this is the only place in the New Testament where work of law has the definite article the work of the law showing the laws of God as differentiated from the laws of men and the ritual sacrifices.] …Who show the work of the law written in their own hearts, their consciences bearing witness, and their reasonings also, as they accuse or defend one another)." All the rest of the places in the New Testament where Paul wrote in Romans and Galatians where it's translated in the King James Version of the Bible, the works of the law, they inserted the definite article to impugn the law of God. That was a key to help me to understand that.

When I first got a copy of the Code of Jewish Law, and the man who gave it me was Bob Ellsworth. (He's the one who's selling the Bibles now; doing a good job with it.) So let's come back here to Romans 3. Let's understand something. Law of any kind can never justify someone to God, because law was never designed to do that. Law does not forgive sin, God personally does. Law, any law, even the Ten Commandments, cannot justify you, but you cannot be justified unless you're keeping the laws of God to show a change of heart and mind from living in sin. But you shall be justified not by the law-keeping, which God requires, but through the sacrifice and shed blood of Jesus Christ. That's the blood of the covenant.

Romans 3:20 reads, and should read (so please read the two appendices that we have there on pgs 1,343 and 1,288). "Therefore, by works of law there shall no flesh be justified before Him; for through law… [or the law] …is the knowledge of sin." That's what law tells you. It can have no other function. The function of justification is an operation from God through the sacrifice and shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Verse 21 is also a difficult Scripture in the King James. So let me read it. "But now the righteousness of God without law is manifested…" And I said, when I first read that, Psa. 119:172 says 'all your commandments are righteousness,' so how can you have righteousness without law, when law tells you what sin is, and the laws of God of are righteous? That threw me for a loop. I said: How can that be? How can you have righteousness without law? Without the law, and the definite article again is not there; separate from law. So I thought: How do we solve this problem? So it comes down to this: Is there more than one expression of God's righteousness that this is talking about rather than just righteousness referring to commandment-keeping or laws? The answer is, yes!

This righteousness, as we will see when we go through the rest of the chapter so we can understand the effect of the shed blood of Jesus Christ being imputed to us, this righteousness is what refers to the justification from past sins. Because notice v 20, it starts out that "…no flesh shall be justified before Him…" by works of law. That starts the subject for the rest of it here.

Now the righteousness of God, in this case, being justification. So I'm going to read it justification all the way through, and you will find that it makes perfect sense. "But now the justification of God that is separate from law has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets" (v 21). And I couldn't understand it when I read it and I saw that it said: Now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested being witnesses by the Law and the Prophets. Where in the Old Testament did it say that God was going to do away with His law? No, it's referring to mercy, forgiveness, and justification.

So let me read it with justification here. "Now the justificationof God that is separate from law has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even thejustification of God that is through the faith of Jesus Christ, toward all and upon all those who believe… [That is in the sacrifice and shed blood of Jesus Christ.] …for there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; but are being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…" (vs 21-24). So there it is justified freely. We're talking about justification and justification means that when you have had your sins forgiven, you're put in right standing with God. That's why every day we are to ask God to forgive us our sins, and we are to forgive others every day. Why? So that we will have our minds, so that we're not all cluttered with carnal thinking and carnal revenge and carnal attitudes, that the Spirit of God can work with us and that then in turn will give us a converted mind-approach to everything that we do.

"But are being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; Whom God has openly manifested to be a propitiation through faith in His blood… [Because you are justified by the shed blood of Jesus.] …to demonstrate His justification, in respect to the remission of sins that are past…" (vs 24-25).

Now we could also read it righteousness. "…in order to demonstrate His righteousness… [That God will forgive sin.] …in respect to the remission of sins that are past…" (vs 24-25).

Now let's talk a little bit about sin here. In our lives, as we live, there is no such thing as future sin, though you may sin in the future; which is not a contradictory statement. Now the Catholics can buy indulgences for future sin, in other words, forgiveness before you sin. If you haven't sinned, you don't need forgiveness—right? Very simple. So there's no such thing as future sin that you can be forgiven for. And this is where the Protestants again go off the deep end. 'Once you've been justified, doesn't make any difference what you do after that, you're accepted of God. Once you have repented one time, you don't have to repent again.' And they deny the model prayer that Jesus gave, we ask daily for the forgiveness of our sins. I do; I'm a sinner just like anyone else—overcoming. In an instance of time, and we saw the steps of sin in James 1 here several weeks ago. In an instance of time when you sin, it is immediately a past sin—right? Because you've done it. Or if you don't repent right away, it becomes a further past sin. "…in respect to the remission of sins that are past…" (v 25). That's why daily we repent.

"Through the forbearance of God… [Which then is an expression of His mercy.] …yes, to publicly declare His justification in the present time, that He might be just, and the one Who justifies the one who is of the faith of Jesus" (v 26). That's the blood of the New Covenant, the blood of Jesus Christ.

Now then he goes on to say here, let's finish the chapter so we get the full picture. "Therefore, where is boasting?... [Not anything to brag about.] …It is excluded. Through what law? The law of works? By no means! Rather, it is through a law of faith…."  (v 27). And in this case, law means the operation of faith. You believe in God, you believe His Word, when He says repent, confess your sins, you believe that, you do that, He forgives your sins. That's the law of faith. That's how you're justified.

You don't have to offer sacrifice. You don't have to do 'hail Marys' or 'our fathers,' you don't have to walk so many miles like the Buddhists do. The greatest thing that they do is when they are going to the Shangri La city where the main Buddha temple is, they have a ritual. I've explained this before, but it's a good place to add it here.

A work, that if you do this work, you become very righteous and you become very justified to all of the multiple gods up there in the Tibetan temple. You dress a certain way and what you do, you recite a certain prayer over and over and over again. You take so many steps and then you do something with your hands, and then you fall down on your knees and your hands, and lay prostrate on the ground. Then you get up and you repeat it again. Whatever the prayer is, you take so many steps again, and you fall down on your knees and go prostrate, and you do this for tens of miles. The further away that you are and you can do this, the more righteous you are when you arrive at the temple.

Now the Catholics have something similar to this especially in the Latino countries. Men and women get on their knees, and in order to show that they are willing to suffer with Christ, they even spread small shards of glass for them to walk on their knees to the temple. In Mexico City it is the temple of the virgin of Guadeloupe. These works they think put them in right standing with God. In the Philippines, what do they do? There are some who actually have themselves crucified, put up on crosses. 'Oh, we're more righteous than anybody else because we're suffering with Jesus.' What did we read? Jesus suffered and died once for all—right?

What do the Muslims do? They've got chains, so do some of the Catholics, where they flagellate themselves, break open the skin on their back. And that shows how righteous they are. Muslims show their righteousness by, 'Let's get a suicide bomb here and we'll go blow ourselves up.' It shows you the twisted thinking of their way of thinking for the extremist's who do this. They think that if they kill people that they are righteous. God says if you kill people, you're a murderer. The insanity of what they do is shown in some of the tactics that they're doing now where they take little three and four year old kids, put bombs on them, and send them into the market place and then by remote control, blow them up. And, oh, everybody is so elated, because they're going to heaven. That's why you have to:

  • know the Word of God is true
  • prove the Word of God is true
  • live by the Word of God

There is no other God. That's where we started out—right? Yes!

Look what happens when people have works of law to justify themselves to think that they are righteous, they go to the extreme of killing three and four year old children, going into the market place. And who do they kill mostly? They kill other Muslims. You would think they would have enough sense to say, 'This is insanity. We're killing our own.'

And then when one girl finally had enough of it, she was the only one in a hundred-fifty generations. Left her home up in, I think it is Ohio, and went down to Florida because she converted. Went down there and when she was down there she was converted to at least a worldly form of Christianity. And like one Muslim man over in Palestine, he read one part of the Bible, which it says, 'Love one another.' And he said to himself, 'We don't have this.' So he converted and he's with a fundamentalist evangelical group down in San Diego. But this girl is afraid that her father's going to hunt her out and kill her, because that would be great honor for him to kill his daughter who went turncoat and believed in Christ.

That's why God has it the sacrifice of Christ. You believe in Him, His sacrifice, and His shed blood, that is the blood of the New Covenant. Now let's continue on here.

Not the law of works, but through a law or the means or principle of faith. Verse 28: "Consequently, we reckon that a man is justified by faith, separate from works of law." All right, let's carry this to the full extent here. You keep the commandments of God. Ooop! You find you sinned. Now if you go to the Catholic priest and confess your sin to him, he will say, 'You do a work of law. The law of the Catholic Church is that according to the severity of your sin, you will do 'hail Marys,' 'our fathers,' and works of charity. They assign as many as 400-500 'hail Marys' and our fathers,' and so they get the beads, and they get on their knees, and they get down before the altar where there's a big statue of Jesus and Mary, and all of that there. And they do their works and they get up and think that they're forgiven. They're not forgiven because they haven't had faith in the blood in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and they haven't confessed directly to God the Father. That's the only way you're going to get your sins forgiven. You're never going to get your sins forgiven by going to a priest. Besides, most Catholics who have been converted, I asked them, 'Did you ever really tell the truth?' No, I didn't want to do so many of the 'hail Marys' and 'our fathers.' I told him just enough so he could say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' my son or my daughter, whatever it is. With their celibacy, it makes you wonder how they think that way.

Verse 29. Now this a tough one for the Jews. "Is He the God of the Jews only?... [Because they say, 'Oh, yes, He's only for us, not the Gentiles.' So that's why God called Paul.] …Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? YES! He is also God of the Gentiles, Since it is indeed one God Who will justify… [See the whole thing—justify all the way through? That's what that righteousness means.] …justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. Are we, then, abolishing law through faith?... [When you read that, and you come back here to v 21 where the King James says without law, now you're confronted with law again. No, you're not abolishing it, but they said, 'Well, it does abolish it.' Rather than separate from. Because law has a function, faith and forgiveness through grace and the shed blood of Jesus Christ is another function. And the truth is you can never be justified from past sin except through the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ. So he's saying here then:] …Are we, then, abolishing law through faith? MAY IT NEVER BE! Rather, we are establishing law" (vs 29-31).

Why? Because with repentance comes a desire to keep the laws and commandments of God, so you don't continue in sin. We don't continue living in sin! That's the whole thing. And God gives us the strength and understanding with His Holy Spirit to be able to do that. Yes, we're always going to have a fight to overcome. Yes, we're always going to have things we repent of because of the nature of human beings, and we will until the day that we be put into the place of safety called the grave. That's where most of us will meet our place of safety. Some younger ones, we'll have to wait and see.

Let's see what Paul wrote concerning this in Ephesians 1. If you have a religion like Judaism or Catholicism, and so forth—Catholicism is kind of a step away from Judaism. Judaism is just strictly law: do this, do that, do the other thing. They even have a law that if you see some deformed human being, or some giant, or whatever it is, you have a certain prayer that you have to give. You have a certain prayer when you eat beef. You have a certain prayer when you eat dairy products, and you can't eat the two together, though Gen. 19 shows that God ate them together, beef and dairy products, etc.

They have the phylacteries that they have to put on their right hand and on their forehead. And they have the coats that they have to wear, and the shawls that they have to wear, and the prayer aprons that they have to wear, and the tassels that have to wear. And all of these things are works of law so that they can come to God and be accepted by God, yet they reject Jesus Christ. In America there are a lot of Messianic Jews, which believe in Christ, so we exempt them—they believe in Christ. But the other ones, the Orthodox, they have all of these things and it is so burdensome, so hard to do. This is why you have so many Jews who are atheists. They look at all of this silly nonsense and say, 'This can't be of God.' But yet they've been made afraid of Jesus Christ and won't believe in that, because when they look at the Catholic Church and see all the idols and statues, and all the stupid things that they do, they say, 'That can't be of God.' The only way is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Let's see what he says here. Ephesians 1:6: "To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us objects of His grace in the Beloved Son…. [God does not give His grace to the world. God gives His judgment to the world. God gives His grace to those who are His, those who have been justified by the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ, and continuing as the atonement as the propitiation of our sins, we come to Him continually.] …in Whom we have redemption through His blood… [The blood of the covenant.] …even the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace…" (vs 6-7). So that's the blood of the covenant that we are justified with. That's number seven. Let's go one step further.

We are also sealed and sanctified with the Spirit of God, v 12: "That we might be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in the Christ; in Whom you also trusted after hearing the Word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation; in Whom also, after believing… [And repenting and being baptized, as the rest of the New Testament shows.] …you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise" (vs 12-13).

Now let me just say this, and we'll finish here. The object of the New Testament is

  • to receive the Holy Spirit of God
  • so that you can grow in grace and knowledge
  • develop the mind of Christ
  • that you can be resurrected in the first resurrection
  • become thespirit-born sons and daughters of God.

That's the whole purpose of it.


Scriptural References:

  • Isaiah 44:6
  • Matthew 11:25-27
  • Isaiah 44:7-20
  • Acts 4:1-21
  • Acts 5:14-33
  • Hebrews 10:4-23
  • Romans 3:20
  • Romans 2:13-15
  • Romans 3:20-31
  • Ephesians 1:6-7, 12-13

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Revelation 1:8, 17; 22:13
  • John 3
  • Genesis 15
  • Jeremiah 34
  • Genesis 15
  • Psalm 40
  • Ephesians 5
  • Psalm 3; Psalm 119:172
  • James 1
  • Genesis 19

Also referenced:

Sermon Series:

  • Hebrews
  • Who was Jesus?
  • Who is Jesus?
  • Prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament

Books: The Code of Jewish Law by Solomon Ganzfried & Hyman E. Goldin

FRC:lp
Transcribed: 09-04-09
Formatted: 9-8-09

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