Fred R. Coulter—July 10, 2010

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One of the most misunderstood subjects in the Bible is grace and commandment-keeping. The Protestants say it's by faith and grace alone, with no commandment-keeping; therefore, we don't even have to read the Old Testament. Those who do keep the commandments are accused of trying to earn their salvation, but they never stop and think, because they believe that the people under the Old Covenant, or in the Old Testament, also received salvation through the law. Why didn't they receive salvation when they kept the law? They can't answer that question.

The secret to all of this lies in the requirements of the New Testament for salvation and law-keeping, which is an entirely different proposition than most people consider. So let's first of all begin by going to the book of Romans, and we're going to learn some things that are very important for us to realize. What I want you to do is just put in your notes, because I want you to read through Romans and I want you to please start at Rom. 1:16 and read all the way through Rom.8. Because all of this is one continuous explanation of how we receive God's grace and forgiveness and how it affects us.

Let me do just a little review. Rom. 2 is being let to repentance. God has to do it. That ties in with John 6:44 that no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws Him. So God the Father has to be involved. This is far different that what it was under the Old Covenant, because under the Old Covenant God only put His presence in the temple. God did not give His Holy Spirit to everyone. So now everything is changed under the New Covenant in respect to

  • how we approach God
  • how God deals with us
  • how we keep the commandments of God

Everything has been upgraded. That's why in one of the appendices in the Bible we have comparison of Old Covenant and New Covenant. So rather than using the phrase 'done away,' the phrase should be 'raised to a spiritual level.' That's the whole sum of what the New Testament is all about. Raised to a spiritual level.

Come back to Matthew 5:48, and let's see how high that level is to be attained, because it's not a matter, as Protestants believe, that if somehow you get someone to church and they profess Jesus, they're saved. And after they're saved they can no longer sin. So we'll also cover that.

Now notice the end requirement, Matthew 5:48: "Therefore, you shall be perfect, even as your Father Who is in heaven is perfect." Now you don't find anything like that in the Old Testament—do you? As a matter of fact, you find that Jesus said He came to reveal the Father because He wasn't revealed in the Old Testament, just a few prophecies giving indication of God the Father, but He wasn't revealed. So here's the ultimate goal and Rom. 2 is how it starts. God leads you to repentance.

All right, now that you've been brought to repentance, let's ask the question: what are you to repent of? 'Sin is the transgression of the law; sin is lawlessness.' And as Peter said on Pentecost, 'Repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.' Through what operation does God use to do that? We know it involves the sacrifice of Christ, and so when we come to Rom. 3 the first part of it we have:

  • all men are sinners
  • no one can do good
  • there's no way of peace
  • they don't know God
  • they're all guilty before God

—every single human being.

So then he begins to give the solution. So I want to review this again so that we understand it clearly. It has to do with the word 'righteousness' in Rom. 3. I know we've covered this before, but this is one of the most difficult portions of Scripture to understand, so I'm going to try and simplify it a little bit more for us so we can really grasp it.

Righteousness is talking about your standing before God when your sins have been forgiven, because you have been justified through the sacrifice of Christ. Now let's see that right here. Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Now the answer to the problem is, and the problem is this: men by themselves cannot keep the commandments of God in the spirit. They can in the letter, but not in the spirit. And we're talking about a spiritual application all the way through the New Testament which the sum of it is—and I'll just give you the conclusion here so you can see it as we are going along—in the New Testament the commandments of God are kept through the grace of God. It is not separate from the grace of God.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; but are being justified... [Remember the word justified, because the word righteousness here in this chapter could also be substituted with the word justification, meaning forgiveness of sins, to be made righteous before God, having your sins forgiven.] ...but are being justified freely... [You can't pay for it, you can't buy it, you can't bribe God, you can't bribe the priest, you can't give enough tithes and offerings; it is freely by the grace of God.] ...freely by His grace through the redemption... [And that means purchased back from being a slave of sin.] ...that is in Christ Jesus; Whom God has openly manifested to be a propitiation through faith..." (vs 23-25). Now propitiation means a continual source of mercy and forgiveness. Now we'll see this word a little later in 1-John 2. Because once we have been forgiven, that doesn't mean we're made absolutely perfect, we're not. The perfection we are to strive for comes through growing in grace and knowledge and overcoming.

 "...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, in order to demonstrate His righteousness... [or justification] ...in respect to the remission of sins that are past…. [And all sins are past sins, as I have explained.] …Through the forbearance of God; yes, to publicly declare His righteousness in the present time, that He might be just, and the one Who justified the one who is of the faith of Jesus" (vs 25-26).

Now then, he starts getting into law here and this is where we begin to get the understanding, v 27: "Therefore, where is boasting? It is excluded. Through what law? The law of works? By no means! Rather, it is through a law of faith."[Now since faith and law are supposed to be opposed to each other, how can you have a law of faith? It is simply this:

  • first you have to believe
  • then repent
  • be baptized
  • and receive the Holy Spirit
  • believe in Christ

That's the law! "Consequently, we reckon that a man is justified by faith, separate from works of law" (v 28).

Now I want you to notice, and I think in your King James you will see that it says 'from the works of the law.' That becomes very misleading, because in the Greek both the definite articles of 'the works' and 'the law' is not in the Greek. This, because of this bad translation, is where the Protestants go off the deep end. Works of law, as you will find in the coming book of Judaism, means the works of Jewish law and also the works of ritual at the temple. Now remember, what did Jesus say to every one of the churches back in Rev. 2 & 3? What did He say? "I will give to everyone according as his works shall be.' So we have to have works, but not the Jewish works of law and not the sacrificial law. That was the issue when the New Testament was being written. Today that knowledge has been so completely clouded over by the Protestant argument of law and grace, that it's virtually undetectable.

Verse 29: "Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles?…. [Now let me just answer a question here. Many times when people have told Jews that they keep the Sabbath and Holy Days, the Jew hearing that gets really mad because they say, 'That's for us, that's ours.' No, God gave it also to the Church. He's not the God of the Jews only.] …Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? YES! He is also God of the Gentiles." Who made all human beings? God did!

"Since it is indeed one God Who will justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. Are we, then, abolishing law through faith?.... [every Protestant needs to read that.] ...MAY IT NEVER BE!.... [the King James says 'God forbid'] ...Rather, we are establishing law" (vs 30-31). How do you establish law? That's the question, because in answering that question it tells us how we are to keep the law. He said the law is not abolished—correct? Yes! We are establishing law. Well, how is it being established? By conversion of the mind through the Holy Spirit!

That's why Jesus said in Matt. 5, 'If you hate your brother, you've already committed murder.' So how do you establish the law 'You shall not murder'? By teaching people to do what Jesus said:

  • love God
  • love your neighbor
  • love the brethren
  • love your enemy

That's how you establish the law! He said, 'You've heard it said in old time, you shall love your neighbor, but hate your enemy. I say to you love your enemy, pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you.' Now that's a difference!

What is this then? A total changing of standard—is it not?—from the letter of the law to the spirit of the law. Same way with adultery, same way with lust, same way with idolatry, same way with worship of God. Don't you think the temple in heaven above where we have entrance through prayer to God the Father and Jesus Christ is greater than the temple on earth? What did they do when they had the temple on earth, when they apostatized? They put idols of the other gods in there. Are there ever going to be any idols of other gods in the temple in heaven above and the Holy of Holies where God the Father is? No, never be there! So we have a greater and perfect way. The way you establish law is by fulfilling the spiritual requirements of the law. You can't do that without what? What do you need to do it? You can't do it of yourself, you can't do it through law-keeping. How can you establish the law spiritually? What do you need? If it's a spiritual standard—you need what? The Spirit of God! That's what you need. So, if you don't have the Spirit of God, you can't meet the spiritual standard, and that's where the Protestants get all completely off.

What we want to do this time is to see the operation of baptism again, but I want to bring in another very important point concerning baptism. Let's go back to Romans 5:21: "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." So here again, look at what the goal is: 'Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect'—right? We'll see some other standards that we need, too.

Romans 6:1: "What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, so that grace may abound? MAY IT NEVER BE! We who died to sin... [Now I want you to focus in on that statement 'we who died to sin.' How do you die to sin? It's through baptism! That's why he's talking about baptism here in chapter six.] ...how shall we live any longer therein? Or are you ignorant that we... [he's including himself, as well] ...as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?" (vs 1-3).

Now, everyone loves the fact that 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him may not perish but may have everlasting life.' Everyone wants the love of God coming this way, but very few want the love being returned back to God with all your heart, and mind, and soul and being. They want forgiveness of sin, but they don't want to keep the law in the spirit. So you have these great contradictions in Protestantville. Now what does it mean 'baptized into His death'? What was the death of Christ? You have to understand what kind of death it was. It was a covenant death!

Let's come to Hebrews 9. Now I know this will be a just a little technical, but I hope I can make it very clear to you. I want to explain to you, though this is fairly technical in the Greek, I want to explain to you something very important for you to understand concerning it, which is this: There is one word that is used in the New Testament for covenant, which is 'diatheke.'

Unfortunately, and that's what Jesus said on the night that He instituted the Christian Passover. This is the new 'diatheke'—New Covenant. Now everywhere in the New Testament, the King James translators, and remember there were different committees; that's why there are some variations in some of the things. Every place except here in Heb. 9 they translated 'diatheke' as covenant. But here they translated it testament. As we have seen, there is a difference in testamental law and covenant law. Testament law is you write out your last will and testament and you can change any of it at any time right up to the last five minutes before you die. Covenant law is entirely different. It is an agreement that is not binding until the covenant maker has ratified it with the covenant sacrificial animals. We find that back in Gen. 15 when God make the covenant with Abraham.

Let's pick it up here in Hebrews 9:15. I'm going to read from the King James, because at this point the translators did not comprehend the difference between covenantal law and testamental law. So let me read it here. Hebrews 9:15 (KJV): "And for this cause He is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.... [v 16 becomes the real 'bugaboo' in the translation, because this is entirely wrong. They made this translation conform to testamental law and it didn't even mean that.] ...For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead... [That's true, but that's not what it is in the Greek.] ...otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives" (vs 15-17).

Let me read you the proper translation of it. Verse 16 (FV): "Now where there is a covenant, it is obligatory to bring forth a symbolic sacrifice to represent the death of the one who personally ratifies the covenant." That's what happened in Gen. 15. What did God say to Abraham? 'You bring Me a heifer, you bring Me a ram, you bring Me a she goat and two turtledoves.' Those were sacrificed first and the halves laid in part and when God walked through those parts He was ratifying the covenant at that point. And those animals were consumed. Now when you come to the New Covenant there is no longer a symbolic death. It's the actual death of Christ—what? First, not like a testament at the end.

Verse 17 is the one that really had to be translated this way. "Because a covenant is ratified only over the dead sacrificial animals... [The Greek reads 'a covenant is ratified over the dead ones.' They couldn't figure that out, because they didn't understand Gen. 15. So they made a testamental law, which changed the whole meaning of it.] ...Because a covenant is ratified only over the dead sacrificial animals, since there is no way that it is legally in force until the living ratifier has symbolically represented his death." Or in the case of Christ, literally died when He was supposed to. When did He give the symbolic death? Back in Gen. 15, to guarantee that He would die in the future. That was irrevocable from that point.
How does that apply to us? And how does covenant law apply to us? In the Bible in Its Original Order on pg 1211, I've got a footnote that explains all of it. So please read that. This will open your mind to the understanding of what baptism really means. Christ literally died—correct? Everyone wants the sacrifice and death of Christ to remove their sins, but how do we enter into covenant with Christ? Christ died, so what is our portion of the New Covenant? We have to bring a representation of our death; otherwise, we have no part in the New Covenant. It cannot be ratified to people who have never been baptized. It cannot be ratified to people who do not understand it. Remember, the covenant must be ratified first before it becomes in effect. Just like we saw back in Exo. 24—remember?

Moses came, he had all the law written, he read it in the ears of all the people, and he says, 'Here's what God said.' And the people said, 'All that God has said we will do.' So what did he do? Before it was binding they sacrificed the animals and what did Moses do with the blood? He sprinkled half on the book of the law and half on the people and said, 'Behold, the blood of the covenant.' So there must be that sacrifice. Christ has given His body in sacrifice. This helps answer the question: Why baptism by immersion?

Let's come back to Romans 6 and once you understand this, this will open your mind to understanding the real meaning of baptism. That's why there have been a lot of people who have been dunked. If you've been dunked and you're baptized properly, it's not a re-baptism, it's a valid baptism. All the other ones are getting wet.

Romans 6:3: "Or you ignorant that we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus... [that's quite a statement in the Greek.] ...into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?" What did He die for? The sins of the world—correct? Our sins individually! He never knew sin, though He was tempted He never sinned. And because He never sinned He was a perfect sacrifice and became voluntarily the sin offering for us to ratify His portion of the New Covenant. So He's done His part. Now how do we do our part?

  • First belief
  • Then repentance
  • Then baptism

So, let's follow this through a little more.

Therefore, we were buried with Him through the baptism... [there's only one.] ...into the death... [His 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. For if we have been conjoined together in the likeness of His death..." (vs 4-5).

Now let's stop there. How are you conjoined in the likeness of His death? Your symbolic death of baptism—that's how! You are joined in that death. You are ratifying your part with Christ Who has already ratified His part and is now applying it to you as you enter the New Covenant through baptism. Therefore, you have pledged by immersion in water, which is the closest way you can come to death and yet still live. You are just starting. Christ finished! So in just starting, we've got to come out of the watery grave and walk in newness of life. What is the newness of life?

  • receiving the Spirit of God
  • being led of the Spirit

...etc. "...so also shall we be in the likeness of His resurrection" (v 5).

What have we actually done here in this symbolic pledge of our death?—which it is—it's done what? In the name of the Father and of the Holy Spirit for the remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ. So it's done in the name of Jesus Christ. When you are baptized and then have hands laid on you, this is an individual ratification of the New Covenant for you. The New Covenant requires the Spirit of God to keep. Without the Spirit of God there is no way you have any part of the New Covenant. And without your repentance and ratification by your symbolic death, you have not entered into a covenant with Jesus Christ and God the Father.

Then he goes on showing, as we covered last time, "…that the body of sin might be destroyed…" (v 6) and so forth. You can go back and review those.

Let's just review the first part of Romans 7 and again, please understand, and I ask you please study Appendix Z, Understanding Paul's Difficult Scriptures Concerning the Law and Commandments of God. Nearly everyone of the false doctrines in Protestantism is based on upon a bad or poor or wrong translation, as we just covered here, in the King James Version of the Bible.

How can you come to the knowledge of the Truth when critical Scriptures concerning the New Covenant, concerning how we are to keep the laws and commandments of God—how can you come to understand it without that? It's like this. I still believe in keys, so I have keys. Now the new cars you just put your foot on the brake, and push the button, and it starts. Other cars you get in and say, 'Start.' But just like a key, notice all these little teeth here. They're little plungers inside a lock, so when you turn this it hits the plungers just right and allows it to open. Now I have two—I carry two sets of keys—we never have enough keys today. I have two post office keys. You can see this one is almost smooth. This one has some teeth on it, one big tooth, buck-toothed. There are times when I open up one post office box, this is 1038, and I get the mail and pull it out and I go around to 1442 and I stick the same one in 1442 and it doesn't open. So I have to go back and what do I have to do? Get the right key. So it's the same thing in understanding this. The key to understanding the New Covenant is to understand Christ's sacrifice and your literal and your symbolic death in the watery grave of baptism. Once you understand that and receive the Spirit, then you have entered the start of the New Covenant.

Now then Romans 7 explains something a little technical but true. And it is so badly translated in the King James that it's almost hopeless to try and understand it by reading it. So I will summarize it since I did it on the last sermon. First of all, he starts off and says, 'I'm talking to those of you who know law.' Then he brings in the marriage law. The marriage law is a covenant. Now when we, in our wedding ceremony, when we get to the 'I do' part—now, the 'I dos' are very simple. It's what follows after that that becomes difficult.

'Do you promise in covenant before God....' I do. 'Do you promise in covenant before God....' I do. So then the placing of both hands together and kneeling before God and asking His blessing on this covenant agreement. That's why it's until death do you part, except for certain circumstances that are defined in the Bible.

So he says, 'You know that a woman who is married to a man, if she goes out and commits adultery while he's still living, she shall be called an adulteress, and if she marries another she'll be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is no longer an adulteress.' (Rom. 7:2-3 paraphrased). What was the covenant with Israel between God and Israel? It was a marriage—was it not? Yes! God lives by His own laws. A marriage is binding until death. The Old Covenant was binding until Christ died. Now He could have solved the problem another way, execute all the Israelites, but that would be difficult—wouldn't it? A lot of them are already dead and in the grave. So He died to release Israel from the marriage law of the Old Covenant.

Romans 7:4: "In the same way, my brethren, you also were made dead to the marriage law of the Old Covenant... [Because he's speaking to those who know law. We're talking about covenant over here in Rom. 6.] ...by the body of Christ in order for you to be married to another, Who was raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God." Back then the problem was this: Those who under the Old Covenant, and it was verified in every generation by what means? By circumcision! Every generation was verified by circumcision. And they were the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and God promised He would work with them.

Christ died so that they—we don't have the same exact problem today—do we? We don't have a lot of people who lived under the Old Covenant, the temple was still going at this time, and for them to forsake the God of Israel and follow Jesus Christ, a man, without knowing that He was God manifested in the flesh, they had to understand legally what had to be done. So he's explaining Christ died to release you from that, so now you can marry Him. So the Lord God of the Old Testament, who became Jesus Christ, was God manifested in the flesh for the purpose of dying for three things:

  • to release Israel from the marriage covenant
  • to die for the sins of the world
  • to have His sacrificial body be the sacrifice on His part for the ratification of the New Covenant by God

It's important to understand this, because that's where so much confusion comes. And the Protestants don't have a clue. How can they possibly preach about real salvation if they don't have a clue as to the commitment that Christ made and God made, and the commitment that we need to make?  Actually it is a pledge. It is a covenant pledge, not a commitment. Commitment is not as strong as a covenant pledge.

What then is our covenant pledge? A symbolic death, that yes, because You died for us, we will live through Your mercy and forgiveness, receive Your Spirit, and grow in grace and knowledge.

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Romans 7:6—let me read it in the KJV. And the Protestants read this without understanding that the previous verses have to do with the marriage law. And so what they think when they read Rom. 7:6, we have been released from any obligation to keep the laws and commandments of God. Hallelujah!

Romans 7:6 (KJV): "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead in which we were held... [If you keep the law, you're dead. No, it's talking about loosing the marriage law by the death of Christ.] (they don't know how to explain this): ...that we should serve in newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." What does that mean? All right, we'll find out.

Let's read it here as we have it translated. It talks about what? The marriage law and the death of the husband—correct? What does that do? That releases you from the law of marriage—correct? If the wife dies, the husband's free to marry another wife. Likewise, if the husband dies, then the wife is free to marry. This is what it's talking about. At death you're released from the marriage law. Romans 7:6 (FV): "But now we have been released from the law... [And that's the Old Covenant law there.] ...because we have died to that in which we were held so that we might serve in newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."

Then he asked the question and this becomes very important. "What then shall we say? Is the law sin?.... [What does he say? And this is what it means in the Greek.] ...MAY IT NEVER BE!.... [Comes from the Greek 'me ginoito'—which means never let this even come into existence. The King James says 'God forbid,' and it would have to be entirely different if the name God were there, it would have to be 'theo' something.] ...MAY IT NEVER BE! But I had not known sin, except through the law. Furthermore, I would not have been conscious of lust, except that the law said, 'You shall not covet.'…. [Now let's find out when that happened.]: …But sin, having grasped an opportunity by the commandment, worked out within me every kind of lust because apart from law, sin was dead. For I was once alive without law; but after the commandment came, sin revived, and I died" (vs 7-9). Now what does that mean?

Come over here to Philippians 3 where he talks about law; because we are also looking at the problem of Judaism. Was Paul completely without law before he was called? Philippians 3:4: "Though I might also have reason to trust in the flesh. If any other thinks he has cause to trust in the flesh, I have much more: Circumcised on the eighth day... [That was a continuation of the Old Covenant.] ... of the race of Israel... [promised people] ...from the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; with respect to law, a Pharisee… [Now what does that mean? That means what? All the Pharisaic or traditional Jewish laws.] …With respect to zeal, persecuting the church; with respect to righteousness that is in law, blameless" (vs 4-6). So was he without law? No, he was blameless—right? In the letter!

Now come back here to Romans 7:9: "For I was once alive without law... [And that means what? Without the understanding of the spirit of the law! Because he says over here just a few verses up, 'We are to serve in newness of spirit, not in oldness of letter' (v 6). What was he in oldness of letter? A Pharisee who was blameless! So this means without the understanding of law, God's law, the spiritual application.] ...but after the commandment came... [What do you mean the commandment came? Wasn't the act of receiving the commandments given by God to Moses some 1500 years prior to this? So what does he mean the commandment came? He means understanding of the commandments spiritually.] ...sin revived... [How is sin revived? He understood that hate was murder. He understood that lust toward a woman was adultery. He understood that lying in your mind is sin. Because where does all sin begin? In the mind! Question: if you are totally inept with no mental abilities you would have no concept of sin, no concept of law, no concept of righteousness—right?] ...after the commandment came, sin revived... [What do you mean sin revived? He understood it in the spirit!] ...and I died" (v 9). How did he die? Was Paul the second man resurrected from the dead? No! He died how? In the watery grave of baptism! Was Paul baptized? Yes, he was! 'I died.'

Then he understood this, v 10: "And the commandment, which was meant to result in life, was found to be unto death for me; because sin, having taken opportunity by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me" (vs 10-11). Now that's spiritually speaking—correct? Yes! Do we have a deceitful nature? 'The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.' How are you going to change that? You can have all the external laws out here to do this and do that and do the other thing.

Let's just test everybody a little bit here. In driving to church did you go over the speed limit and know that you were going over the speed limit? And you can say, 'Well, everybody else is driving at 75, so I drive at 75.' Which is true. Now that is not a spiritual law, but being we're talking about the spiritual laws of God, now we begin to understand them in the spirit. And we begin to have our minds changed. 'Killed me!' 'The wages of sin is death.' He understood death and he was buried in watery baptism.

Verse 12: "Therefore, the law is indeed Holy, and the commandment Holy and righteous and good." What is this telling us? What is required for the New Covenant? Of course the law was not done away. How do we establish the law? By understanding that it is Holy, that it is righteous, and that it is good. Verse 14: "For we know that the law is spiritual..." That's what the New Covenant teaches. Spiritual.

Now how is the carnal mind going to be changed? By the circumcision of the heart! Come to Colossians 2. And there again Col. 2 is a complete mess in the King James, but nevertheless we won't get into that. Colossians 2:10: "And you are complete in Him... [Isn't that interesting?] ...Who is the Head of all principality and power In Whom you have also been circumcised with the circumcision not made by hands... [circumcision of the heart] ...in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ…. [How is that done?] …Having been buried with Him in baptism... [Because it's a baptismal death. So you bury the old man.] ...by which you have also been raised with Him through the inner working of God, Who raised Him from the dead" (vs 10-12).

Now, what are you to have when you come out of the watery grave? Laying on hands, receipt of the Holy Spirit—correct? Now, since the law is spiritual, something can happen which could not happen before.

We'll see when we get to Hebrews 8 that if the Spirit of God is in you, you are walking in the spirit. Hebrews 10:16—here it's talking about the covenant—'diatheke'—that we talked about earlier. "'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.'" That is the New Covenant. That is the change that is necessary. You can't receive the laws of God into your mind unless:

  • you've repented
  • you've been baptized
  • you've received the Holy Spirit for the circumcision of the heart

Then the Holy Spirit comes into you

Now what happens? It's like Paul said, 'I died.' But the commandment is Holy and righteous and good. The commandment is spiritual—right? The law is spiritual, so it is a spiritual operation in the New Covenant to keep the commandments of God. And how does God do it? Through His Holy Spirit He writes and inscribes it in our minds and in our hearts. There we go. God made our minds to do that. Our minds are what are called—they are very plastic, means that they are moldable. And your minds are molded by what you think and how you think and it locks in your brain and makes connections with the synapse between different of the brain cells so that you are able to think. Now you see, that's why with the Holy Spirit we have also what is called 'the washing of the water by the Word'—putting God's laws in our hearts and in our minds.

Now what does this do? It didn't happen before. It makes you conscious of sin in the thought, rather than the outward action. If you hate, you know that's the first step to murder, so you get rid of hate. You repent of that. If you're lusting and coveting, God's Spirit reveals to you that it's lust and coveting and you repent of that. And coupled with writing the laws and commandments in our hearts and in our minds, we also have something that Paul describes back here in Rom.7, which helps us understand what sin is.

So let's go back there and see this. Now before you received the Holy Spirit, you knew certain things were right and wrong, but

  • Did that keep you from lying?
  • Did that keep you from stealing?
  • Did that keep you from swearing and cursing?
  • Did that keep people from committing adultery and homosexuality?
  • Did that keep people from idolatry?

No! The knowledge of the law without the Spirit of God to give you the inward obedience is not going to be that effective. Now you understand why the children of Israel apostatized all the time, over and over and over and over. They didn't have the Spirit of God.

Romans 7:12: "Therefore, the law is indeed Holy... [because it comes from the Holy God Who made it] ...and the commandment Holy and righteous and good."

Romans 6:1: "What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, so that grace may abound? MAY IT NEVER BE!" (vs 1-2).

Romans 3:31: "Are we, then, abolishing law through faith? MAY IT NEVER BE! Rather, we are establishing law." And where are we establishing law? At the lowest level possible, the individual, in your mind and in your heart. Is that not the perfect place to establish the law? Let me give you an example.

Remember when Judge Roy Moore put up the monument of the Ten Commandments in his courthouse? And he steadfastly refused to take them down, get rid of them. So what finally happened? Another judge said it's unconstitutional, and they moved it out—separation of church and state. All those people that came out and were for keeping them there, were they keeping the Sabbath? Right there in the Ten Commandments, hewn in stone, right there it was. 'Remember the Sabbath to keep it Holy.' No! They're all staunch Sunday-keepers. So was Judge Roy Moore. What was the lesson from God in all of this? That you can claim the Ten Commandments all you want, but unless you keep them internally within, the Ten Commandments in stone do you little or no good, because it doesn't change the mind. Did people walking through the courthouse and seeing it there say, 'Oh, I'm going to fall down and worship God, because these laws are so great.' No! They looked and they said, 'Oh, look, there's the Ten Commandments. Yeah, come on we gotta get off here so we can get ready for church tomorrow on Sunday.'

Romans 7:13: "Now then, did that which is good become death to me? MAY IT NEVER BE!.... [But why now with the conviction of sin through repentance and receiving of the Holy Spirit, now what happens that didn't happen before? Remember, Paul was blameless. Paul was a Pharisee. He knew the commandments of God] ...But sin, in order that it might truly be exposed as sin in me... [within me; the sin within] ...by that which is good... [The law is good, the law is righteous, it's Holy, and so forth.] ...was working out death... [Because he understood the wages of sin within causes death, not the letter of the law obedience out here equals righteousness.] ...so that, by means of the commandment... [spiritually written in your heart and in your mind] ...sin might become exceedingly sinful."

How can someone understand the real depths of hatred? There are some people who hate, just hate all the time. Didn't we see that? If you have Fox News you saw this one black man there, 'I hate all whites. I hate crackers. We've gotta kill them, we've gotta kill their babies.' Yet they can't do anything to him. He doesn't recognize the hate within. Did you see the vicious look on his face, because of the hate that's within? Yes! Would he kill white babies? Don't know, probably would, he hasn't yet. But the fact that he hasn't in the letter, does that change what already has happened in his mind by having the hate? No! But you see, without the Spirit of God you can't comprehend hate as murder, lust as idolatry. Becomes exceeding sinful. In other words, you understand the full magnitude of the spiritual consequences of sin.

And now they know, a lot of people are sick, because they've got a lot of pent-up sin that they've never repented of. They have hatred and resentment and bitterness and all of that, all bound up in them and makes them absolutely just sick because of all the toxic things that those emotions create, just like you're taking toxins. They don't realize it. You need to be convicted of sin within. Repent of that.

Verse 14: "For we know that the law is spiritual... [That's the whole reason for the law. It comes from God and it is spiritual!] ...but I am carnal, having been sold as a slave under sin." Showing that without the Spirit of God, being carnal you cannot keep the commandments of God in the spirit. Never happen!

Romans 8:5: "For those who walk according to the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but those who walk according to the Spirit mind the things of the Spirit.... [And mind the spiritual application of the laws and commandments of God based on loving God with all your heart, mind, and soul and being; loving your neighbor as yourself; loving the brethren and loving your enemy.] ...For to be carnally minded is death... [Without the Spirit of God in you to comprehend the spiritual application of sin, you don't comprehend sin.] ...to be carnally minded is death…" (vs 5-6). You can apply that in a broad way. A lot of people are all upset what's happening with the government here in America today—right? Why are they all upset? They have enough understanding to see how bad it really is, but they don't realize that everything that they have done, and the laws that they have done for 200 years, this is the fruit of it—corrupted.

 "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace… [That's what God wants us to have.] …because the carnal mind is enmity... [or an enemy] ...against God, for it is not subject to the law of God; neither indeed can it be. But those who are in the flesh cannot please God.... [Why?] ...However, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God is indeed dwelling within you" (vs 6-9). That is the key. The Spirit of God dwelling in you. That's why with the Spirit of God dwelling in you, as we're to keep the commandment over here in chapter seven, you recognize carnality. You recognize thoughts of sin as they come. Now sometimes you don't recognize them right away, but after awhile you do, especially if you get really miserable, then you begin to see.

Now come back here to Romans 7:14: "For we know that the law is spiritual... [And if it's spiritual, you need the Spirit of God to keep it. There you go.] ...but I am carnal... [That is of myself without the Spirit of God, as I was as a Pharisee, as Phil. 3 shows.] ...having been sold as a slave under sin; Because what I am working out myself, I do not know.... [In other words, he doesn't comprehend why he does the things that he does as a carnal human being without God's Spirit. That's what he's confessing to.] ...For what I do not desire to do, this I do... [Have you ever done something, said, 'Why did I do that?' You didn't desire to do it, but you did it.] ...moreover, what I hate, this is what I do. But if I am doing what I do not desire to do, I agree with the law that it is good…. [Isn't that something? The sin is what is evil. The law is exposing the sin.] …So then, I am no longer working it out myself; rather, it is sin that is dwelling within me" (vs 14-17).

And here is another profound key that most people miss. Human nature is evil, because it has within it the law of sin and death. That cannot be removed unless first there is conversion, the receiving of the Holy Spirit, growing and overcoming through a continual life of repentance and yielding to God, and finally the resurrection. Then the perfection comes. Remember where we first started? 'Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.' We'll build a little bit more toward that.

So 'sin is dwelling within me.' That's why even when you're converted, you're going to sin. And you think, 'How could that be?' How about King David and his sin with Bathsheba, and all of the things that he did and planned and plotted and schemed and thought he could away with, until Nathan came and said, 'You're the man.'

Come back to 1-John 1:3: "That which we have seen... [as apostles] ...and have heard... [the Gospel of Christ] ...we are reporting to you in order that you also may have fellowship with us; for the fellowship... [That's the way it is in the Greek, 'the fellowship.'] ...indeed, our fellowship—is with the Father and with His own Son, Jesus Christ." God wants us to have a spiritual, personal relationship with Him. It's not belonging to a church. Church is the assembly of those who have God's Spirit. That's why in the book, Quitting Church, there's the churched and the unchurched and they're all carnal.

Verse 4: "These things we... [He's including himself and perhaps there's Phillip and Andrew with him, maybe even Mark.] ...we are also writing to you, so that your joy may be completely full. And this is the message that we have heard from Him and are declaring to you: that God is light, and there is no darkness at all in Him. If we... [including himself] ...proclaim that we have fellowship with Him, but we are walking in the darkness, we are lying to ourselves, and we are not practicing the Truth" (vs 4-6). The Spirit of God is to give us the ability to practice the Truth. And Jesus said, 'Don't call me Lord, Lord, because unless you're practicing the will of the Father in heaven above, I don't know you.'

Verse 7: "However, if... [I wonder what the Bible would like if every 'if' were capitalized.] ...if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His own Son, cleanses... [you. No!] ...cleanses us from all sin…. [John knew he had to repent as well.] …If we say that we do not have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the Truth is not in us. If we confess our own sins, He is faithful and righteous, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us" (vs 7-10). And God does not lie and cannot lie. This will help us understand when we get back to Rom. 7.

1-John 2:1. He says: "My little children, I am writing... [Now he gets to I.] ...these things to you so that you may not sin.... [Why would he have to warn them about sin if they could not sin?] ...And yet, if anyone does sin... [So he's admitting that they do sin.] ...we have an Advocate with the Father; Jesus Christ the Righteous; And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (vs 1-2).

Now then, let's apply the spiritual meaning of keeping the commandments of God spiritually beginning with the heart and mind as they're written and inscribed in our hearts and in our minds. Let's read it. Verse 3: "And by this standard we know that we know Him: if we keep His commandments. The one who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.... [Very profound! And it's very interesting in talking to some who recently have come out of Protestantism. You know what one of the comments was by one of the men? He said, 'You know in the Protestant church they rarely read anything from the Gospel of John and they rarely read 1-John, except about the love of God.'] ...On the other hand, if anyone is keeping His Word... [Now it expands out beyond just commandments—right? To His whole Word, His whole message.] ...truly in this one the love of God is being perfected. By this means we know that we are in Him" (vs 3-5).

Notice, we know that we are in Him. And that ties right in with Rom. 8, too. Verse 6 ties in with Matt. 5:48: "Anyone who claims to dwell in Him is obligating himself also to walk even as He Himself walked." And how did Jesus walk? Without sin!—right? And 'sin is the transgression of the law.' A worse thing to do is say, 'The law has been abolished.' And that's only pronounced by carnal minds because they don't know the Scriptures, and they don't want to keep the law. So it's a carnal-minded Christianity of this world.

Now let's come back to Romans 7:18; yes, there is the sin within: "Because I fully understand that there is not dwelling within me... [And it's not. That why God has to give His Spirit to you.] ...that is, within my fleshly being—any good. For the desire to do good is present within me... [And most people intend to do good—don't they? Yes! Except those who are devoted to crime, hardened criminals.] ...but how to work out that which is good, I do not find.... [That is of myself.] ...For the good that I desire to do, I am not doing; but the evil that I do not desire to do, this I am doing" (vs 18-19). You could say to David, 'Why did you commit adultery?' Well, I got carried away. I got wrapped up in myself, and before the incident occurred I really didn't want to. 'But why did you do it? Why did Bathsheba agree?' The sin dwelling within! That's why we have to overcome sin from within. Fight the sin out here is not the battle. The sin is in here [within]. That's why the conversion needs to take place.

Verse 20: "But if I do what I do not desire to do, I am no longer working it out myself, but sin that is dwelling within me.... [And is called lust.] ...Consequently, I find this law... [There is a law within us that makes us carnal, that we have to overcome] (which is this): ...I find this law in my members, that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me" (vs 20-21).

I don't know about you, but I've experienced this. When I've done something that is really nice and good, and if I get to thinking, 'Oh, how good this really is,' you know what happens? Bang! An evil thought comes crashing through my mind. And you all have evil thoughts come into your mind—don't you? If you say you don't, then you're not human, because they're there. And you don't watch television, you don't listen to the radio, you don't read the newspaper.

"...sin that is dwelling within me. Consequently, I find this law in my members, that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man... [Yes, that's good, right, yes.] ...But I see another law within my own members, warring against the law of my mind..." (vs 20-23)—the struggle, the torture, the temptation. What should I do? I think just in an innocent way the pull of the flesh is revealed this way. How many here have a hard time exercising? Everybody!

Well, I exercise quite a bit, but you know when I get down on that ab-board and I start doing some sit-ups, what does my mind tell me? 'Well, you don't need to do so many.' Or if I'm on the treadmill going, 'A quarter of a mile would be pretty good, for you at your age, really don't need to do more than that.' Or how about if you're eating, and oh, you know that you shouldn't eat that dessert, especially if you're watching your weight, and it's not going down. And here is this wonderful dessert and you say to yourself, 'Just one bite.' And you eat the whole thing. Well, we also have this in the things that we do. 'I'm not going to watch that program, there's too much occult in there. Oh, that's interesting.'

I remember the first time when the kids were there, 'Oh, let's go to Star Wars.' So we all got in the car and went up to San Jose to see Star Wars and I'm sitting there watching this whole thing, and I'm thinking, 'This is satanic, this is occult, this is evil, this is terrible.' And even down in Pasadena after the movie came out, there were those going around in the auditorium saying, 'Let the force be with you.' Well the force comes from Satan the devil. I don't want that. So the movie got all done and Jonathan and David and Steven were all excited, 'Boy, that was a great movie, oh, that's a great movie.' And I said, 'It's all satanic.' Dad! You don't know it is unless you understand the Word of God.

So what happens? "But I see another law within my own members, warring against the law of my mind, and leading me captive to the law of sin that is within my own members. O what a wretched man I am! Who shall save me from the body of this death?.... [How are you going to overcome sin and human nature and having this pull? Gives a solution:] ...I thank God for His salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this, on the one hand, I myself serve the law of God with my mind... [Because the laws of God are being written in his mind.] ...but on the other hand, with the flesh, I serve the law of sin" (vs 23-25).

In other words, he still has that law of sin and death he has to overcome. So in order to complete the covenant death that you had with baptism you have to be faithful unto death. There you go. That sets the stage for chapter eight. Then we will continue on with some other things. I will give one more sermon on this, so I will make number ten the last one, maybe, I won't promise. I'll try. I did the Scripturalism vs Judaism and I did that one and you know, I broke it off and I went four years before I picked it up again. Read the appendix with the Code of Jewish Law, that we've included in the Judaism book.

Scriptural References:

  • Matthew 5:48
  • Romans 3:23-31
  • Romans 5:21
  • Romans 6:1-3
  • Hebrews 9:15-17
  • Romans 6:3-6
  • Romans 7:4, 6-9
  • Philippians 3:4-6
  • Romans 7:9-12, 14
  • Colossians 2:10-12
  • Hebrews 10:16
  • Romans 7:12
  • Romans 6:1-2
  • Romans 3:31
  • Romans 7:13-14
  • Romans 8:5-9
  • Romans 7:14-17
  • 1-John 1:3-10
  • 1-John 2:1-6
  • Romans 7:18-25

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Romans 1:16-chapter 8
  • John 6:44
  • Revelation 2, 3
  • Genesis 15
  • Exodus 24
  • Romans 7:2-3

Also referenced:

  • Sermon Series: Scripturalism vs Judaism
  • Books:
  • Judaism: A Revelation of Moses or Religion of Men? (coming soon)
  • Quitting Church by Julia Duin
  • Code of Jewish Law by Solomon Ganzfried & Hyman Goldin

FRC:lp    Transcribed: 7-21-10   Formatted: bo—7/23/10

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