By Works of Law Shall No Flesh Be Justified
Fred R. Coulter—February 8, 2020
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Advertisement: Book: The Christian Passover: When Observed 14th or 15th? There is no way you can ever get away from it continually coming around, because that’s just the nature of it.
I got an e-mail from a man in Argentina who is a Seventh Day Adventist and he read the Passover book online. It blew him away, he was so impressed with it that he asked for a copy of it. So, I sent him two and A Harmony of the Gospels. I forwarded that onto Eduardo Elizondo who is going to try and contact him.
It’s interesting in little ole Hollister and we don’t know who is coming online. We know what they’re downloading, because we run monthly statistics on it, and in the Feb. letter we will have the yearly totals of everything. But wee have the time for visits between 12-15 minutes. That’s means they’re on the website for a good deal of time.
The average for websites is if you’re on for over a minute that’s pretty good. If you’re on it two minutes that’s really, really good. If you’re more than that, that’s counted as a great visit. Here we are consistently through the years with all of this.
So, what we do here in Hollister reaches out to many, many more people and we’re very thankful for that and that we have the means to do it today.
We started a short series in the book of Galatians and we got through chapter one. Let’s just review a little bit, and I want to show you what a powerful thing that it actually was to call the Apostle Paul. With the dispute that we have in Gal. 2 between Peter and the Circumcision Party, and the Jews and Gentiles, we can see that God called Paul, and one of the of main reasons was to keep Judaism out of the Church!
The book we have concerning the Passover still comes around, because the Jews do not acknowledge the 14th. This explains, like no other book in the world, why the Jews believe that, and why—because they reject Christ—they are correct when they’re outside the area of the geography of what is called Israel in the Middle East. Jesus kept the 14th Passover. Why does the Church keep the 14th Passover in any land wherever we are in the world? Yet, the Jews understand that the command is that you cannot keep a 14th Passover if you’re in the Diaspora, which is true!
That has been such a longstanding tradition that they don’t believe in the 14th except if there’s going to be something at the temple when it’s built.
· Why does the Church keep the 14th and rejects the Jews’ 15th? Because Christ kept the 14th!
· What did He tell the disciples to do? ‘Go into all the world and teach them everything that I have taught you!’
· What is the most important thing in the whole Gospel? Over one-third of the Gospels is related to the Passover Day and the whole meaning of the Passover Day vs the works of law!
The works of law includes the sacrifices, and of course, the temple is destroyed and you can’t offer those. We will see that those could never take away sin!
That’s one of the main things as far as it relates to us. But back in the time of the apostles, they had to go to the Jews first, and they were always confronted with the traditions of the Jews. It is true that the Passover is the foundation for all of the Holy Days after the Sabbath.
The structure of Lev. 23 starts out with the Sabbath and then the Passover. If you don’t have a proper Passover, then everything else is eschewed.
Galatians 1:13: “For you heard of my former conduct when I was in Judaism…” That’s what it means in the Greek. I think the King James translates ‘religion of the Jews.’ That is not wrong, but Judaism is far better.
“…how I was excessively persecuting the Church of God and was destroying it; and I was advancing in Judaism far beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more abundantly zealous for the traditions of my fathers” (vs 13-14). So, Paul was explaining the basis for God’s calling him!
The Pharisees had a strict religion, absolutely strict! Paul said that he was ‘a Pharisee of a Pharisee’ (Philip. 3). Let’s see what Paul was doing, and let’s see how very important that this is, and why God called Paul and not somebody else!
We will see that if it had been left up to Peter, he would have politically caved into the Circumcision Party from Jerusalem.
Do we, today, still have encroaches of Judaism, Messianic Judaism? Yes! We’ve had people visit us who wear the prayer shawls, and some of them have the blue ribbons on the borders of their clothes, thinking that it makes them more righteous!
What the New Testament is concerned with is not the outward appearance or the physical things, but the inward mind and heart toward God.
After Stephen gave a tremendous witness, that was something! Before we get into it, I just want to rehearse a little bit. Remember that after receiving the Holy Spirit the apostles were preaching in Jerusalem. Peter, James and John were doing miracles. They were called before the Sanhedrin, and the last time they were called before the Sanhedrin was when they healed a man tremendously from being crippled from birth. Then they were teaching in the temple and were arrested and put in prison. Over night an angel came and let them out and told them to go into the temple and start teaching.
So, the Sanhedrin got together to render their judgment on them the next morning and said to bring them in. the officer went down to the jail and said, ‘I went there and the guards were standing outside, but nothing was inside! Then someone came running and said that they were in the temple teaching. So, they went and got them gingerly and brought them in.
What was the witness that Peter and the apostle said when the Sanhedrin said, ‘Didn’t we tell you to quit preaching in this name’? The apostles said, ‘You judge! Should we obey man? or God?
That was a tremendous witness to them! After that there were great miracles that were being done by Peter and the apostles: healings and things like this. So, when Stephen came, here is one of the last powerful witnesses to the Sanhedrin and the leader of the Jews before God permanently decided to destroy the temple.
Acts 7:51: “O stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears!…. [this is Stephen telling all the leaders: the chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees] …You do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so also do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of Whom you have become the betrayers and murderers” (vs 51-52).
See what happens? This happens so many, many times. When the establishment religion gets its power, or the establishment government as we’ve seen here in America get their power, they will do anything to hold it, even kill and murder if they can get away with it!
Verse 53: “‘Who received the Law by the disposition of angels, but have not kept it.’ And when they heard these things, they were cut to their hearts, and they gnashed their teeth at him. But he, being filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (vs 53-55).
To them, this was in incredible! What an absolute blaspheme!
Verse 56: “And he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.’ Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and rushed upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man called Saul” (vs 56-58). So, he was right there to kill the Christians!
Verse 59: “And they stoned Stephen, who called upon God, saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And he fell to his knees and cried with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not lay this sin to their charge.’ And after he had said this, he died” (vs 59-60).
That’s quite a thing! You talk about a perfect example of loving your enemies, right when they’re killing you!
Acts 8:1: “Now, Saul had consented to killing him. And that day a great persecution arose against the Church that was in Jerusalem; and all the believers were scattered throughout the countries of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the Church, going from house to house… [talk about a Gestapo] …entering in and dragging out men and women, and delivering them up to prison” (vs 1-3). Then it gets into the thing concerning Simon Magus.
Now it gets into how God called Saul, and Paul refers to that in Gal. 1.
Acts 9:1: “Now Saul, still breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest.”
That tells you how high ranked that he was, that he went to high priest to get the legal orders to arrest the Christians and put them in jail! Not only in the area of Judea, but now he was going to Damascus, several hundred miles north of Judea.
Verse 2: “Asking him for letters to take to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who were of that way… [a way of life, not a religion] …he might bring them bound, both men and women, to Jerusalem.”
And God selected the right moment! Here Saul is going along. I don’t know if he was on a donkey, a horse, or walking, but he had his arrest party with him.
Verse 3: “But it came to pass while he was journeying, as he drew near to Damascus, that suddenly a light from heaven shined round about him. And after falling to the ground, he heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’” (vs 3-4).
Anytime a true Christian is persecuted, they’re persecuting Christ!
Verse 5: “And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the pricks.’ Then, trembling and astonished, he said, ‘Lord, what will You have me to do?’….” (vs 5-6).
Think about the instantaneous repentance! From persecuting to doing the will of Christ!
“…And the Lord said to him, ‘Get up and go into the city, and you shall be told what you must do.’ Now, the men who were traveling with him stood speechless; for they indeed heard the voice, but they saw no one. Then Saul arose from the ground; but when he opened his eyes, he saw no one. And they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. But for three days he was not able to see…” (vs 6-9).
Just kind of put yourself in Saul’s position: blind and persecuting the Church. Jesus Himself knocked Saul to the ground, spoke to him, corrected him and now he is completely humbled! Saul has no power, no authority and has completely lost everything. And he’s blind for three days!
Then the Lord, by vision, told Ananias to go to such and such a house and he would find Saul, and ‘he’s a chosen vessel for Me.’ Ananias said, ‘Lord, he’s persecuting all the Christians.’ Nevertheless, you do what I say! So, Ananias went and:
Verse 17: “Then Ananias went away and came into the house; and after laying his hands on him, he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord has sent me, even Jesus, Who appeared to you on the road in which you came, so that you might receive sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And it was as if scales immediately fell from his eyes, and he instantly received sight; and he arose and was baptized” (vs 17-18).
Verse 20: “And in the synagogues he immediately began to proclaim Christ, that He is the Son of God.” This was absolutely unbelievable!
Why did God choose Paul? Because he knew more about Judaism and the problems of the laws and traditions of Judaism than any other of the apostles! That’s why God called him!
Acts 26 shows the mission that Saul was to have, especially going to the Gentiles. We won’t go through all the things concerning his three years in Arabia where he was taught in dreams and visions; but he was taught of the Lord. That’s why he said that he was ‘taught of no man,’ because he was taught of God.
This had to be so that he could learn all of the spiritual things necessary for the New Covenant, and to understand that you can’t carry over into the Church the traditions of Judaism.
Acts 26:15: “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. Now arise, and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose: to appoint you as a minister and a witness both of what you have seen and what I shall reveal to you. I am personally selecting you from among the people and the Gentiles, to whom I now send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan to God, so that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified through faith in Me’” (vs 15-18).
Let’s see how that operated in Acts 13, right after he was ordained as an apostle, sent on a mission, which was to go to the Jews first, and then to the Gentiles.
In every synagogue there were proselytes. Those were the first believing Gentiles when they came out of the synagogue.
Acts 13:38: “Therefore, be it known to you, men and brethren, that through this Man [Christ] the remission of sins is preached to you.”
The remission of sins by repentance and baptism vs the works of law! There are two kinds of ‘works of law’:
1. the sacrifices at the temple
2. the works of Judaism
All of those laws could not forgive sin in heaven above! The key is:
· repentance of heart
· faith in Christ
· belief in God
That’s entirely different than Judaism!
Verse 39: “And in Him [Christ] everyone who believes is justified from all things…”
Under the Old Covenant and under the works of law with Judaism, people were justified to the temple. Everything came to the temple and was left there. For those who were converted—repentant and received the Holy Spirit—you’re justified before God the Father in heaven above through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ by repentance and faith!
Those are the spiritual works that we are to do! The physical works are much like the Catholics have today. If they sin then the priest says to go do 200 ‘our fathers’ and 200 ‘hail Marys.’ The Jews would have: separate yourself, take so many hand-washings, burn so many candles and then you’re okay. Completely different!
“…from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses” (v 39). Remember, the Law of Moses included all of their traditions as well!
Verse 40: “Take heed, therefore, lest that which is spoken in the Prophets come upon you: ‘Behold, you despisers, and wonder and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work that you will in no way believe, even if one declares it to you.’” (vs 40-41).
Notice what happened. Almost every time that Paul went into a synagogue it split! When he came to Corinth there was a riot.
Verse 42: “And when the Jews had gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles entreated him that these words might be spoken to them on the next Sabbath.”
Notice this very carefully and use this with anyone who is a Sunday-keeper, who says that Paul changed the Law. What are we talking about here? Gentiles! If Paul changed the Law why didn’t he tell them not to wait for Sabbath, but come tomorrow, because the next day was Sunday. He didn’t!
Verse 43: “Now, after the synagogue had been dismissed, many of the Jews and the proselytes who worshiped there followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And on the coming Sabbath, almost the whole city was gathered together to hear the Word of God” (vs 43-44). That’s astonishing!
Then the Jews were losing everything so they setup people to persecute Paul, and even stoned him.
Note our Church At Home (churchathome.org) series: Was Peter Ever in Rome? and Was Peter the First Pope? You will find, historically speaking, the Truth! Peter never went to Rome!
After James was beheaded, Peter was put in prison and an angel let him out. He came to Mark’s house. Mark was the nephew of Barnabas, who was a Levite before he became an apostle. So, when Peter was let out and Came to mark’s house, it says ‘he went to another place.’
· Where would Peter go? His mission was to the circumcision!
· Where was the greatest number of Jews at that time? In Babylon!
· Where did Peter write his first epistle? From Babylon!
That tells that the other place he went to was Babylon, because there were the Jews there, the circumcision people.
Let’s see what Paul teaches in Rom. 2. This is important because lawlessness is not Christianity. Everyone who deals with God has laws and commandments to keep. Isn’t that what we find with Abraham? When the covenant was passed on to Isaac, it was because ‘Abraham kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My Law. and obeyed My voice!’
It’s not a matter of commandments or no commandments, it’s a matter of commandments and how you keep them! Under the covenant with Israel, the commandments of God were in the letter of the Law. Just stop and think, in this nation today look at the great divide that we have between those who want to have law and order and those who want no laws at all. Look at what it causes without laws. Look at all the crime and sin.
So, keeping the commandments in the letter of the Law for the general society is a good thing! But that does not mean they’re converted. Look at how many Christians in Sunday-keeping Christianity keep some of the commandments of God. Even our Constitution is based upon many of the principles that are in the Bible, which work good for the society as they keep them.
But that does not convert you! Even if you keep them in the letter of the Law, that does not convert the mind. But keeping the commandments of God and the laws of God are paramount to begin with when you come to God.
Romans 2:13: “Because the hearers of the Law are not just… [justified] …before God…” Justification in one short sentence is this: right standing with God:
· because you have had you have had your sins forgiven
· because you have believed in Jesus Christ as the ultimate sacrifice of His shed blood for the forgiveness of your sins
That’s not based on a temple in Jerusalem, but is based on the Holy of Holies in heaven above. It’s not just keeping it in the letter of Law. God wants the conversion of the mind; that’s the whole thing with Christianity!
I heard Sean Hannity saying ‘I believe in the Bible, I believe in God, I believe etc.’ But he is a ‘merry Christmas’ man and an Easter man gung-ho! So, even if they keep part of the things that are in the Law, they have a ‘certain amount’ of blessings and understanding, but that has nothing to do with true Christianity!
“…but the doers of the Law shall be justified” (v 13). What does this mean? You first have to be convicted of sin and you repent, and you start keeping the Laws of God because you repent! Then you have to follow-through with baptism!
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”--but it’s not unto conversion!
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.”
Verse 17—Paul is talking to the Jews: “Behold, you are called a Jew, and you yourself rest in the law, and boast in God… [which they do, but do they keep it?] …and know His will, and approve of the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the Law; and are persuaded that you yourself are a guide of the blind, a light for those in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of the knowledge and of the Truth contained in the Law” (vs 17-20). Typically true with the Jews today:
· they claim the Law
· they claim their traditions
· they claim special status with God
But they have none as far as God in heaven above is concerned! They may have high positions in the world, they may have a lot of money in the world, they may be very smart and understanding and doing a lot of different things, that is true. But in talking to Michael Heiss, he was telling me that how his family business would make certain things for the Gentiles for Christmas, and they made a lot of money doing it.
I asked him, ‘Does this prove that the Jews like the Gentiles to have Christmas so they can make money.’ He said, ‘Yes, they even promote it for them!’
They don’t keep the Law. They keep some of the things of the Law in the synagogue, but how many go to synagogue or temple? Very few! Those who are the ultra, ultra orthodox are the most ridiculous of all.
Verse 20: “An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of the knowledge and of the Truth contained in the Law. You, then, who are teaching another, do you not teach yourself also?….” (vs 20-21). A great principle for anyone, but especially for elders and teachers!
· How is that you teach yourself? By prayer and study, study the Word of God!
· Will God give you understanding of His Word as you study it through His Spirit? Yes!
· Will you learn things from the Word of God that you didn’t know before? Yes!
That’s happened time and time again down through history! But the important thing is that this is a main focus so that the teacher does not become a hypocrite. That’s what we’re dealing with in Gal. 2.
“…do you not teach yourself…”
· If you read that you should have no other gods before you, do you examine your life to see if you have any?
· If you read that you shall not make any graven image of any likeness, or bow down to it, do you have things that are idols before God?
· If you read that you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, do you do it?
· Do you say God says thus when He didn’t say it? If you do, that’s taking His name in vain!
· Isn’t that what the preachers do on TBN, every program you watch?
They say the Lord says, they read some Scriptures.
Randy has put on one of our Church At Home segments a preacher speaking about the Law as been done away, and he has a picture of the Ten Commandments, the tablets, and it just disappears.
They preach love. But what did John write? This is the love of God that we just be nice! NO! John wrote, That we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome! This is a tremendous thing, teach yourself!
“…You who preach, ‘Do not steal,’ are you stealing? You who say, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ are you committing adultery? You who abhor idols, are you committing sacrilege? You who boast in law, are you dishonoring God through your transgression of the Law?” (vs 21-23).
Think about that! If you’re breaking the Laws of God while you’re professing to know God, you’re dishonoring God! Most people never look at that way.
Verse 24: “For through you the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles, exactly as it is written. For on the one hand, circumcision profits if you are observing the Law; on the other hand, if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision” (vs 24-25).
There’s nothing more dastardly to tell the Jews than to say that! Think of how powerful that this is. But that’s exactly how God sees it.
Verse 26: “Therefore, if the uncircumcised is keeping the requirements of the Law, shall not his uncircumcision be reckoned for circumcision?”
How can that be? In the New Testament the circumcision is still required! That’s the circumcision of the heart! That’s greater than the circumcision of the flesh! This means that the carnality of the mind has been changed through the receiving of the Spirit of God, that you’re no longer hostile against the laws and commandments of God, and against the ways of God. But you are eager to do them and want to do them. Entirely different! This is telling the Jews that they’re no better than all of those Gentiles that they denounce all the time.
Verse 27: “And shall not the uncircumcised, who by nature is fulfilling the Law, judge you, who, with the letter and circumcision, are a transgressor of the Law?” Paul knew this!
What was he doing before he was converted? He was high in Judaism, keeping the traditions of the fathers and more zealous for them than anything else! He was going out killing, arresting, and dragging into prison those who were Christians, thinking he was doing service to God.
When Paul writes this, he’s writing from his own experience that he learned after he was converted. Then he gives the summation of it:
Verse 28: “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is external in the flesh; rather, he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (vs 28-29). A whole different approach!
I want you to see how important that it is and what happened when Peter kowtowed to the Circumcision Part from Jerusalem. *(second half)*