Only those who are called of God are "under grace"; the world cannot be

Fred R. Coulter—April 14, 2017

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Greetings, everyone! Welcome to Sabbath services. One of the most difficult things to understand is why are Christians required to keep the commandments of God—as we find especially all the way through the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Epistle of John, but all the way through the Bible.

Whereas Protestantism says once you accept Jesus, you're released from the Law. Even some say that God's love is so unconditional that it doesn't matter what your behavior is you will be saved.

How does all of that confusion come about? It comes about because of a misunderstanding of a fundamental principle, which even the Churches of God have not fully understood, though it's been in the Bible in plain sight.

What we want to do today is to continue through our short series that we're going through in Galatians about justification. Let's review one of the most important things we need to understand, which is in Rom. 6.

Here is where the Churches of God don't make it over the finish-line in understanding, both of the things that are here. The Protestants don't understand it whatsoever. The Protestants have a false, costless, disobedient rebellious salvation. They say you can't do it by your own works—that is true. But they turn around and do it by their own works:

  • Sunday-keeping
  • holiday keeping
  • simple confession of your sins
  • and everything is set for you to go to heaven

That is absolutely false, because they don't understand this. We're going to review a few things before we get back into Galatians so that we can understand it even more.

Romans 6:14: "For sin shall not rule over you because you are not under law, but under grace."

Let's analyze this verse a little bit more. Sin to rule over you means to lord it over you, which is to the extent that it's impossible to get out from underneath the burden of sin, because every one of us have the 'law of sin and death' within us. It takes the Spirit of God to help us have the strength and power so that sin will not rule over us. But 'under grace.' What does 'under grace' mean? Let's carry it out step-by-step. We've covered this during Unleavened Bread. 'For by grace are you saved, and this is not of your own self. It is the gift of God!' If it's the gift of God

  • you can't buy it
  • you can't purchase it
  • you can't work it

Not our own works, but 'we are the workmanship of God so that we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto the good works that God ordained that we should walk in.' What does that mean?

What we are covering is something that is very difficult to understand until you understand key verses. This is why we are to constantly study and pray, and so forth.

Let's answer the question: who is 'under law,' because the Protestants say if you attempt to keep the commandments of God, you are 'under law,' and you are trying to justify yourself to God through your own works. How can that be?

Romans 7:1: "Are you ignorant, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know law) that the Law… [the entire Law of God] …rules over a man for as long a time as he may live?"

Romans 6:14: "For sin shall not rule over you because you are not under law…"

compare that with

Romans 7:1: "…the Law rules over a man for as long a time as he may live?" That's all men and women, everywhere at all times. We will see that is true.

  • What does it mean to be 'under grace'? It cannot mean you are free to disobey the commandments of God.
  • How can you have your sins forgiven, which are the transgressions of the Law, and come 'under grace', so you can transgress the Law? That doesn't make any sense at all!
  • How can you have your sins forgiven by grace, so that if you're 'under grace' you don't have to keep the commandments of God and sin is the transgression of the commandments of God?

Do you see the circular, crazy thinking of the Protestants? But you know, they believe lies.

Rom. 3 talks about the deep-seated sin within men. There is no man who can be righteous before God in what he does, because sin, through the Law, 'rules over a man or woman as long as they may live, and the wages of sin is death.'

  • How do you reconcile that with people in the world who are good upstanding people?
    • they may be nice and generous
    • they may be helpful to other people
    • they may be a good husband, a good wife, good father, good mother, take care of their children
  • Aren't they supposed to do that?
  • Isn't that what God requires? Yes!
  • What have they done that is so extraordinary that they are not under sin?

Let's look at it again:

  • they profess Jesus
  • they go to church on Sunday
  • they take communion or mass
  • they keep the holidays of this world
  • they break the Sabbath and Holy Days
  • whatever else of the laws of God they breaks

These people are still under the Law. All human beings are under the Law to God! God expects people in the world to be obedient to His laws in the letter of the Law, so that there will be a decent society. That has nothing, nothing, nothing to do with conversion or a calling to eternal life! That just means they follow certain of the Laws of God. Others of the Laws of God they reject, but they are not converted, just because they may be nice people.

  • Do they lie?
  • Do they steal?
  • Do they commit adultery?

Some of them do. When they do and get caught, it's a shock. 'Oh, well, they were such a nice family.'

Romans 3:19: "Now then, we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law… [read this carefully. All are 'under law'; the law rules over them as long a time as they may live] … so that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

  • How do you come out from underneath the Law that rules over you, and yet, keep the commandments of God?
  • Do any of these people in the world know that the Law is ruling over them? No, they don't!

First, they have to answer the call of God. Next they have to repent. Repentance means turning from your way to God's way. What does that involve?

Romans 2:11: "Because there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law…"—without even the knowledge of God. They're going to live, they're going to die, whatever their lives are: good, bad indifferent, whatever it is.

"…and as many as have sinned within the Law shall be judged by the Law" (vs 11-12). "The Law rules over a man for as long a time as he may live."

Here's the key, v 13: "Because the hearers of the Law are not just before God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified."

  • What does just and justification mean? That means to be in right standing with God!
  • How is that accomplished?
  • Through what you do?


  • What God has done?
  • Through your works?


  • The sacrifice of Jesus Christ?
  • Through animal sacrifices?
  • Other religious works?
  • Can that reconcile you or put you in just standing with God? No!
  • It has to be through the sacrifice and shed blood of Jesus Christ!

And then followed up with after you repent. Repentance shows that you understand transgression is breaking the laws and commandments of God, so you stop that in the letter. Then you repent and you are baptized.

The whole operation of God through repentance and baptism and receiving of the Holy Spirit of God comes from God only to those who repent. The only work we have to do at this point is to repent and start keeping the Laws of God, so that we can be justified through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ by baptism!

Verse 13: "Because the hearers of the Law are not just before God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified."

  • How come these people are not 'under law'?
  • What is their standing with God?
  • What does it mean to be 'under grace'?

The Protestants never go far enough to understand what that truly means.

"…but the doers of the Law shall be justified" (v 13). Let's analyze this again. You hear the Law and you start doing it. You know God says that you're sinning and you don't want to sin, so you repent. What happens?

Verse 14: "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, the Law of God, if you keep it in the letter or if you transgress it, is still the Law of God. If you keep it, whether you even know about the Bible or God, that brings a blessing because blessings and cursings come automatically to anyone who will do it. But that doesn't mean they are justified before God.

Verse 15: "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." Then it shows these people will be in the second resurrection, when you understand the rest of it.

Let's see what else this tells us, and understand a very profound important thing. No sacrifice or work by men can forgive sin before God in heaven! It only comes through the mercy and forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ and His shed blood! Can't come any other way. That's important for us to really understand and grasp.

Because the whole world is guilty before God… Romans 3:20: "Therefore, by works of law…"—'ergon nomu'—that includes: sacrifices, teachings of men, everything that you would do yourself.

Verse 19: "Now then, we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore, by works of law there shall no flesh be justified before Him…" (vs 19-20). Justification means put in right standing with God.

"…for through the Law is the knowledge of sin. But now, the righteousness of God… [the righteousness of God to bring justification to those who repent] …that is separate from law has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even the righteousness of God that is through the faith of Jesus Christ, toward all and upon all those who believe; 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 20-24).

It has to come through Jesus Christ, no other way. It can't come by Sunday-keeping. It even cannot come by Sabbath-keeping. Forgiveness of sin is an act of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Therefore, unless we believe in God the Father and Jesus Christ, and accept His sacrifice as payment for our sins, and His shed blood as the perfection of that sacrifice, and then we are to come and walk in newness of life after that, this puts us in right standing with God through His grace.

Now then, what has to happen in order for this to be applied? We have to repent and be baptized to receive the Holy Spirit of God! You are not fully 'under grace' until you have repented and been baptized and receive the Holy Spirit of God united with the spirit of your mind. That's what's so important to understand.

Let's see something here. I've covered this before, but we'll cover it again because this is essential to understand what it means to be under law, and what it means to be under grace? Paul answers the question. Since you are 'under grace,' do you have license to do anything you want? Paul answers the questions:

Romans 6:1: "What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound?" Continue living the way we have been living, breaking the commandments of God, because we're under grace? Or that grace may abound even more?

Paul says, v 2: "MAY IT NEVER BE!…." Meaning don't even let this thought come into your mind. How is it that the Protestants do exactly what God says not to do? Because it goes right back to:

Romans 2:13: "Because the hearers of the Law are not just before God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified." If you're doing the Law, you are not sinning. Then comes repentance; then comes baptism.

If you come to a point you know that you need to quit sinning, but you don't repent and you're not baptized—which is the state of most Protestants—they're not 'under grace.' They are still 'under law.' Grace is a special covenant relationship with God, special.

  • How important is God to you in your life?
  • How important are you to God?

You need to understand all of this. I'll just give you a little hint on it. How do we come to God? He sends the information and we are convicted! He begins to draw us (John 6:44)—because no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him!

To be under grace is a special relationship with God that the world cannot have. Why? Because they are not in covenant with God! You have to be obedient and in covenant with God!

Romans 6:2: "MAY IT NEVER BE! We who died to sin…" How do you die to sin? That's what water baptism is all about! That is a watery grave. I have always raised everybody out of the water.

You died to sin. In other words, you are not to live the way you used to live and you're going to count it as death because Christ died for you. Now then, let's look at the operation of God in relationship to you and Christ in order to put you under grace.

"…how shall we live any longer therein? Or are you ignorant that we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?" (vs 2-3).

A covenant relationship between the individual and God requires the sacrifice of both. Whenever a covenant is made, there has to be a showing forth of a symbolic death by the presentation of sacrificial animals that are split down the middle and a path made between. The one who is making the covenant passes through it. God did that! Christ did that—Who was the God of the Old Testament—pledging His death (Gen. 15).

To finish that covenant sacrifice, thirty years later Abraham was commanded to take his beloved son Isaac, and offer him for a sacrifice and burnt offering. That was done to show the coming sacrifice of Jesus Christ, because the ram was substituted for Isaac, but Abraham was willing and he obeyed. God made the covenant with Abraham by swearing by His very existence. This means that it is sure as the existence of God that the covenant with Abraham will come to pass and God will do it through the sacrifice of His only begotten beloved Son. Isaac was a type of that.

"…as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?" (v 3). The sacrifice of Christ is God's sacrifice for the forgiveness of human sin, because Jesus Christ is Lord God of the Old Testament, made Adam and Eve and put in them the 'law of sin and death.' Therefore, the only sacrifice, the only work, the only thing that can forgive sin before God the Father in heaven above is the sacrifice of Christ as His part of the New Covenant.

Our part of the sacrifice is baptism by full immersion in water. What does that do? Let's look at it here.

Verse 4: "Therefore, we were buried with Him… [like He was put in the grave for three days and three nights] …through the baptism into the death..."—His very death. In order to have sin forgiven, in order to be justified, in order to be under grace the sacrifice of Jesus Christ must be individually applied to every one through baptism and conjoined into the death of Christ. This is our death to living in sin. There are the two parts of the sacrifice:

  • by God
  • by you

Sacrifices in the book of Leviticus for the forgiveness of sin to the temple did not put them in a standing of grace with God the Father. They were never offered eternal life, only certain of the patriarchs, kings and prophets. That was it (1-Pet. 1:10).

Notice what we are to do because we're to keep the Law in the Spirit of the Law (Rom. 7).

  • How do we keep it in the Spirit of the Law?
  • What do you need to keep the Laws of God in the Spirit of the Law?

Many people can keep parts of it in the letter of the Law, but:

  • What does it mean the Spirit of the Law?
  • What does that require?

"…baptism into the death; so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in the same way, we also should walk in newness of life" (v 4)—a new way of living, conforming to:

  • the Word of God
  • the commandments of God
  • the love of God
  • the faith of God
  • the Truth of God

Verse 5: "For if we have been conjoined together in the likeness of His death…" We're counted crucified. That's what Paul wrote: 'I am crucified with Christ' (Gal. 2). How is that done? Baptism! Everyone of us were crucified with Christ, conjoined to His death. How is that done? Baptism!

Think about this: The Creator God, the Lord God of the Old Testament Who became Jesus Christ, came to this earth, born of the virgin Mary, grew up just like any other man, carried the 'law of sin and death' within His being, never sinned once, willingly laid down His life as a sacrifice for the sins of all of mankind because He created them.

What work of any man or religion can substitute for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ? Nothing! Not a thing! The greatness of Who He was and what He did as a human being, so that sin could be condemned in His flesh as the perfect sacrifice for sin, which then God applies to each one of those who repent and are baptized individually, personally, conjoined and part of the death of Christ. That's something. That's the first step in being 'under grace.' That was by an act of God and your act of baptism. Notice how God made it so plain and simple.

"…we have been conjoined together in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the likeness of His resurrection" (v 5). That's the end result of grace, the likeness of His resurrection.

If you come to a temple and offer an animal sacrifice, and you're justified to the temple, or as a Catholic or Protestant would do, they would take the Eucharist or they would take the Lord's Supper, whatever it may be, that can never substitute for the sacrifice of Christ. That's why the Passover is so important. We have to do it God's way. Who gave the instructions for it? Jesus Christ Who was God manifested in the flesh, actually the Lord God of the Old Testament! Think on why it's so important that we do it the way God wants it done.

"…be in the likeness of His resurrection" (v 5). We'll see about that on Pentecost.

  • What is it going to be like to have glory?
  • What is going to be like to live forever?
  • What did you of yourself do, or I of myself do, that is worthy of living forever?

The only way it can be is through Jesus Christ!

Verse 6: "Knowing this, that our old man was co-crucified with Him… [that's why you're conjoined to His death in baptism] …in order that the body of sin might be destroyed…"

As we've explained, this shows that overcoming sin is a process. The body of sin is not destroyed until death. We must be faithful to the end.

"…so that we might no longer be enslaved to sin; because the one who has died to sin has been justified from sin"(vs 6-7)—by God the Father through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. All forgiven, all forgotten, and the same way daily.

That's why we now have the daily prayer. 'Forgive us our sins.' Why? Because we are 'under grace' and God wants us to be perfected, and that the body of sin might be destroyed! It is a process of overcoming.

Verse 7: "Because the one who has died to sin… [through baptism] …has been justified from sin. Now, if we died together with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has any dominion over Him. For when He died, He died unto sin once for all… [because He was the Creator of all human beings] …but in that He lives He lives unto God. In the same way also, you should indeed reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God through Christ Jesus our Lord" (vs 7-11)—because of the Holy Spirit of God within us.

That begettal of God the Father and the Spirit of Christ in us is the greatest grace we can receive in this life. They are in us; They dwell in us! This can't be read enough, spoke about enough, repeated enough, until we're raised from the dead. Think of this! You've repented, you've been baptized, received the Spirit of God. We'll see what the Spirit of God is able to do for us.

(go to the next track)

The verses we're going to read are the most important verses for us at this time in the world.

John 14:20: "In that day… [the day that you receive the Holy Spirit] …you shall know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.'"

This relationship is a spiritual relationship. Those who are 'under law' cannot have this relationship.

  • they don't know God
  • they don't understand God
  • they don't have the Spirit of God

The Spirit of God is to enable us to love God, to keep His commandments in the spirit of the Law, not the letter of the Law, and to have the laws and commandments of God written in our heart and in our mind. That is an operation of grace to receive the Spirit of God and have all of the things that I just said happen to each one of us.

Verse 21: "The one who has My commandments and is keeping them, that is the one who loves Me…"—because now we're to love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul, and all our being. Not just have a knowledge of God, not just have an opinion of God, but to have the Spirit of God.

"…and is keeping them…" (v 21). That is on an ongoing basis. You can't keep the commandments of God the way they should be kept unless you have the Spirit of God within you and that is directing you to obey in the Spirit of the Law, based upon loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and being. This is what it means to be 'under grace.'

We can ask the question then. How many people are actually under grace? Let's see it further defined here.

"…and the one who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him" (v 21).

To be under grace means you know that God the Father and Jesus Christ love you, love me, love all of those who are called to the first resurrection. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love the world, because He loves the world. Yes, He does. It's just like you and your family. You love your family more than other people in the world. Same way with God! We've been called through the grace of God for a special purpose to become like Christ, spirit beings, as we will see on Pentecost, and to rule the world with Christ. What thing in the world could you do to accomplish that? Can't! What organization can you belong to, to cause that to happen? You can't! You must be in the spiritual Body of Christ, which is His Church.

Verse 22: "Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, 'Lord, what has happened that You are about to manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?'" How can God do that? Through His Spirit! Actually through the seven spirits of God and then His Spirit.

Verse 23: "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me…"—conditional. That's why we have to love God the Father and Christ with all our heart, mind, soul and being.

"…he will keep My word; and My Father will love him…" (v 23). Is that your desire? to love God and keep His commandments? Is that your desire? to do so in the Spirit? led by the Spirit of God? Let's define the Spirit of God that we have.

"'…he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We…" (v 23)—together: the Father and the Son. Not only are you loved by Jesus Christ, but you are loved by God the Father in a special family way that the world cannot receive, because they haven't done the things to answer God's call:

  • to repent
  • to be baptized
  • to receive the Spirit of God
  • to walk in newness of life

This is what it means to be 'under grace.' If you are under grace

"…We will come to him and make Our abode… [dwelling place] …with him" (v 23).

There's an absolute line that has been drawn—an invisible, impenetrable barrier that the world can never get through—that is listed here:

Verse 24: "The one who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the Word that you hear is not Mine, but the Father's, Who sent Me."

That's how God does it. The world cannot know. The world cannot do, because they have not been reconciled to God, or justified through the operation of repentance and baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit of God.

This is to be the inner motivation with this, within us, to let the Spirit of God lead us. 'As many as are the sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit of God.' That's what it means to be 'under grace.' That's by God's:

  • grace
  • mercy
  • love
  • favor
  • goodness
  • kindness
  • blessing

That can't come any other way than what the Bible teaches us and what Jesus said.

Now you see why it cannot be by any other way than by grace coming from God to us, and us back to God. We will see that we are to develop the mind of Christ through the Spirit of God and we are to become a son or daughter of God at the resurrection, because of the Spirit that is within us.

God is doing the work in us. During Unleavened Bread we saw that it is the Spirit of God within us that points out all the sins that are still in our minds, so we can with 'the washing of the water by the Word' have our minds cleansed. God is doing a work in us, a perfect work.

Ephesians 2:8: "For by grace you have been saved through faith… [you believe] …and this especially is not of your own selves; it is the gift of God."

  • the calling
  • the desire
  • the repentance

God grants repentance

  • our yielding to God
  • our wanting to love Him
  • our wanting to serve Him

All of that comes from God.

The reason is, v 10: "For we are His workmanship, being created…" There is a creation going on in your mind through the power of the Holy Spirit by the Father and the Son, both being in our mind. The earnest of the Spirit then becomes a dwelling place of God the Father and Christ within us. That is the grace of God. We'll see a little bit more about it, because it is fantastic and broad as well as deep and detailed.

"…in Christ Jesus unto the good works that God ordained beforehand in order that we might walk in them" (v 10).

Verse 13: "But now in Christ Jesus, you who were once far off are made near by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, Who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition" (vs 13-14).

What was that? That was the Jewish traditions and the pagan traditions—both! When we go back and review Gal. 2 we're going to see why Peter's act of separating himself from the Gentiles, when the ones from James came down to Antioch, why that was so egregious. Paul had to condemn Peter. Look at what God has done to bring people to Himself.

Verse 15: "Having annulled in His flesh the enmity, the law of commandments contained in the decrees of men…"—the religious laws of men: Jewish and Gentile, Protestant and Catholic, and Orthodox, Hindu, Buddhist, whatever.

"…so that in Himself… [by Himself through the power of His Holy Spirit] …He might create… [His workmanship, ongoing] …both into one new man, making peace; and that He might reconcile both to God… [the Father] …in one body through the cross… [the Body of Christ, also the Church] …having slain the enmity by it. Now when He came, He preached the Gospel—peace to you who were far off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have direct access by one Spirit to the Father" (vs 15-18).

That is the grace of God that we can pray anytime asking God for help. That's why daily prayer on our knees is so important. That's why daily study is so important. Both are working together. Jesus said that the words that He speaks to us, 'they are Spirit and they are Life.' They contain layers and layers of meaning. Every time we study, we learn something new.

Listen, brethren, I'm still learning because there's so much here. This is all inspired by the mind of God. So, can any one person in this life ever come to the full spiritual understanding of it? No, but God can lead us and bring us many things in depth of the spiritual understanding of the Word of God. That's how it's done.

Verse 18: "For through Him we both… [Jews and Gentiles, no difference]…have direct access by one Spirit to the Father. So then, you are no longer aliens and foreigners; but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of the household of God. You are being built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Cornerstone in Whom all the building, being conjointly fitted together, is increasing into a Holy temple in the Lord; in Whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit" (vs 18-22). That is the grace of God.

The only way that comes, as this is defined here in the Bible. This is why we keep the commandments of God and keep them in the Spirit of God.

Let's come back here to the book of Galatians. Galatians is by far—especially with the King James Version… If you're still using the King James Version, you get The Holy Bible in its Original Order, A Faithful Version with Commentary. In doing the New Testament, and in doing the Old Testament, the one single purpose, foundational thing that was considered in the translation:

  • it is the Truth of God
  • God cannot lie
  • it must be faithfully reflecting, by translation, the original Greek and Hebrew so that we understand what God wants us to have

You don't have that in the King James Version, or the NIV, or the ESV, or any other Bible.

Let's see what happened. We're going to review this and then we'll get into Gal. 3. I hope in the next one or two to finish the rest of the book of Galatians. We will add all of this to our transcript study book in Galatians, verse-by-verse.

Galatians 2:11: "But when Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to his face because he was to be condemned."

Think about what we've already covered. Think about why this is in the Bible, so that we will not have traditions and works of men and add-ons and take-away from the Bible, so that we can have a pleasing religion for people of like minds to gather together. No, that's not how it works.

One of the worst things of the Jewish commandments and traditional laws, if you read Code of Jewish Law, you will see how absolutely in finite detail that their lives are controlled by their traditions. It also reflects their hatred of other people.

Remember Acts 10? Cornelius in Caesarea and Peter was sent down there. What did Peter say? He said, 'I perceive that God is no respecter of persons and those who do righteousness are accepted by Him!' First time to any Gentile without circumcision. Then he preached to them, stayed there several days., Peter knew better.

Verse 12: "For before certain ones came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles…." That was a no-no. You could not get in the same room with a Gentile. That's what Peter told Cornelius. That a Jew who follows Judaism cannot be in company with Gentiles, nor come into their houses. You read Code of Jewish Law. That's the sorriest thing you ever want to read.

"…However, when they came… [political Peter] …he drew back and separated himself from the Gentiles, being afraid of those of the circumcision party" (v 12).

'Oh, what would they tell James when they get back up to Jerusalem?' That Peter was eating with Gentiles!

Verse 13: "And the rest of the Jews joined him in this hypocritical act, insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy."

That's put there for us to know that no 'works of law' can make us right with God. If we love God with all our heart, mind, soul and being and our neighbor as ourselves, and the brethren in the Church as Christ loved us, this is not to happen. This would have opened the door for Judaism to invade the Church, and Paul knew that.

Verse 14: "But when I saw that they did not walk uprightly according to the Truth of the Gospel…" God is no respecter of persons. Peter said to Cornelius., 'I see that God is no respecter of persons.'

"…I said to Peter in the presence of them all, 'If you, being a Jew, are living like the Gentiles…" (v 14)—converted Gentiles, associating with them, eating with them, teaching them, having friends with them, etc.

"…and not according to Judaism, why do you compel the Gentiles to Judaize?"—by making them separate from the Jews that came down from James, the half brother of Jesus. Apparently in Jerusalem they were still doing that; awfully hard to break away. For a Jew the hardest thing in the world to do is admit:

  • we're not the chosen people today; we're in exile.
  • the Jew has no advantage in true Christianity

That was lost long ago.

  • yes, they did preserve the Old Testament
  • yes, they did preserve the Calculated Hebrew Calendar
  • yes, they retained the knowledge of the Sabbath
  • yes, they did retain most of the Holy Days, but not all

That doesn't make them special. Paul said there's no Jew, there's no Gentile.

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). Nothing you can do in any sacrifice or any traditional law of Judaism, or separating yourself from them, trying to make yourself more clean to God, while you look down on others and condemn them.

No, God says no! God says, 'If I call them, they're My children just like you're My children. If I give them My Spirit the same way I gave you the Spirit, we are together. It is the Church, it is the Body of Christ.

"…but through the faith of Jesus Christ…" (v 16). Why did he say 'the faith of Jesus Christ'? Because it was the faith of Christ that He was able to live in the flesh without sinning, the faith of Christ that He was able to lay down His life the way He did at the Passover and crucifixion and death, that He chose to do so and was given commandment by the Father to receive His life back again.

"…through the faith of Christ…" That faith that comes from God is from Christ, from the Father to us so that we may believe.

"…we also have believed in Christ Jesus in order that we might be justified by the faith of Christ…" (v 16).

  • because of what He did
  • because of His sacrifice
  • because of His commandments and laws that He has given us to do
  • by His love
  • by His service
  • by His goodness

"…and not by works of law…" (v 16). Originating from us. 'I'm going to do a very nice thing today. I'm going to do this'—whatever it may be. That's meaningless unless it's motivated by the Spirit of God and the love of God. That is vanity, that is human, that is a 'work of law,' a work of the carnal mind and not of God.

"…because by works of law shall no flesh be justified" (v 16). No work that any man can do can make you right with God! You must come to God, led by the Spirit of God, to repent, to be baptized, to then have your sins washed away through the sacrifice of our Creator.

Verse 17: "Now then, if we are seeking to be justified in Christ, and we ourselves are found to be sinners… [which Peter was] …is Christ then the minister of sin?.… [Is He going to accept that? If He does, then He's a minister of sin!] …MAY IT NEVER BE!" That means do not let this thought ever enter into your mind!

Verse 18: "For if I build again those things that I destroyed, I am making myself a transgressor… [going to have to repent] …For I through law…" (vs 18-19). Not 'the law,' but law, referring back to the 'works of law' of Judaism and possibly the sacrifices at the temple.

"…died to works of law, in order that I may live to God" (v 19). How do you live to God?

  • loving the Father
  • loving Jesus Christ
  • keeping Their commandments
  • loving the brethren
  • loving our neighbors
  • loving our enemies
  • in order to live to God
  • to keep His Sabbath
  • to keep His Holy Days
  • to grow in grace and knowledge
  • to live unto God in everything

Verse 20: "I have been crucified with Christ… [through baptism] …yet, I live… [came up out of the watery grave] …Indeed, it is no longer I; but Christ lives in me…." That Christ is doing the leading, the Father is giving us the strength and power. We are being converted. We are living by grace, direct access to God the Father. That's what's important.

"…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" (v 20). See how that works? That's what's so important.

Verse 21: "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness is through works of law, then Christ died in vain."

In other words, if you could be made right before God by something you did independent from the Law of God and the Truth of God and the Spirit of God, then Christ died in vain. You would no longer need that sacrifice, because you could do it. But no man or woman can do it perfectly. Spiritually it's impossible because we have the 'law of sin and death' in us.

Sidebar: Remember when the rich man came to Jesus and said, 'Lord, Good Master, what should I do that I may inherit eternal life?' What did Jesus say to him? 'Why do you call Me good? There's only one good and that is God.' Why did Jesus say it that way? Because He was God manifested in the flesh, true, but He was not 100% God! Anyone who says that Jesus was 100% God, 100% man doesn't even know the Bible. If He divested Himself of being God to become a man, how can He be 100% God? No man can be in the presence of God spiritually and live and see His face! Isn't that what God told Moses? 'No one can see My face and live.' Yes, indeed!

"…for if righteousness is through works of law, then Christ died in vain" (v 21). Very important to understand.

I hope this helps you to understand what a great and fantastic thing it is. This is why only those who have been called and chosen and faithful are 'under grace.' The world cannot be. There are nice people in the world, but that doesn't mean that they're called to salvation. That doesn't mean that they're going to be in the first resurrection.

Let's stop and think here for just a minute: The Church of God has been scattered because of sin. Different ones want to jockey for position to proclaim themselves to be more right than that Church, more right than that preacher, more right than this group over here. You have people with calendar propositions, with their Holy Day propositions, with their own little traditions and rules that they have, fighting among one another.

Listen, brethren, we all better repent and get on our knees and ask God to help us and forgive us. God is the One Who judges every one of us. Are we going to nullify the grace of God in our lives by trying to exalt ourselves and tell everyone 'this is the greatest Church of God'? No!

Those Churches of God and ministers who do so, you know for sure that God's judgment is going to be upon them for that. Just like you can't be reconciled to God or justified to God through human works and human actions. It must be by God. Same way with doing the work of God. If you're going to do the work of God, it's got to be God in you! Does it not? Yes, indeed.

So this is why, yes, we need to point out sins of individuals who are in the Church. But that is in the same Spirit as the Apostle Paul did here to Peter, in hopes that they repent, in hopes that they quit being carnal and serving themselves, likewise with us.

  • we need to love one another
  • we need to love God
  • we need to live in the grace of God

We need to understand that God has given us the greatest grace possible that we have direct access to Him! And through the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of Son within us, They dwell in us and we then become a mini-temple of God!

  • How great is that?
  • How gracious is that?
  • How wonderful is that?

Actually, beyond words! So that's what it means to be justified by faith and grace and we are to walk in it!

  • we stand in the grace of God
  • we walk by the faith of Jesus Christ
  • we believe in the hope of the resurrection
  • we live in love

Scriptural references:

  • Romans 6:14
  • Romans 7:1
  • Romans 3:19
  • Romans 2:11-15
  • Romans 3:20, 19-24
  • Romans 6:1-2
  • Romans 2:13
  • Romans 6:2-11
  • John 14:20-24
  • Ephesians 2:8, 10, 13-22
  • Galatians 2:11-21

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Epistles of John
  • John 6:44
  • Genesis 15
  • 1-Peter 1:10
  • Acts 10

Also referenced: Book: Code of Jewish Law by Ganzfried and Goldin

Transcribed: 5-8-17
Formatted: bo—5/9/17

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