Listen to audio above while reading transcript below (available for download in Word at www.biblestudyminstriesinc.com)
We always begin with an indispensable principle and that is total reliance of God’s Holy Spirit. I want to share a Bible verse and a principle and then we’ll go to prayer. John 5:39&40, “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. It is these that testify about Me. You are unwilling to come to Me, so that you might have life.” One of the great warnings that we need as Christians, the more we get in the word the more we are excited about the word, but I need to warn you, and I think you already know, there is no substitute for Christ. The Bible is not a substitute for Christ. I love Bible Study but there is no life in Bible study. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You search the scriptures because in them you think you have life, but you won’t come to Me that you might have life.” Life is in a Person and His name is the Lord Jesus. We thank God that we can have Bible study, but as an end in itself it’s very dangerous. We need to see the Lord. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your precious word, and I pray that as we look again into Your word, and especially now we meditate on the wonderful gospel that You have provided for us in Jesus, that our hearts would thrill again. Unveil Yourself, meet us where we are, and take us where You would have us. In Jesus precious name. Amen
Let me quickly get us to our new material. We’re in the book of Exodus and that is the book of salvation in picture form. I’ve been introducing the amazing meeting of the Lord at Mt. Sinai when God’s people went up to Mt. Sinai. This period, as we called attention to last time, lasted approximately one year. One year at Mt. Sinai and the Holy Spirit has given us 59 chapters in discussion of that single year, so you know how important it is. The Holy Spirit is jealous of inspired space, and when He gives something that much space in the Bible, you know that it’s very important.
Let me review the scene. It was a dramatic scene, and just the visible side was frightening. Hebrews 12:18, “You’ve not come to a mountain that can be touched, to a blazing fire, to darkness, gloom, whirlwind, to the blast of a trumpet, the sound of words that sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them.” They could not bear the command. If even a beast touches the mountain it will be stoned. So terrible was the sight that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.’” What was supposed to be for them an exciting experience, they were about to meet their benefactor, and about to meet the Lord who had been so kind to them. He protected them and delivered them and guided them and provided for them, and now they are going to have a chance to meet Him. But when that day arrived it was far from inviting.
You know the record. Deuteronomy 5:23 is a summary of it, “When you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness while the mountain was burning with fire, you came near to Me, all the heads of your tribes, your elders and you said, “Behold, the Lord our God has shown us His glory and His greatness. We’ve heard His voice from the mist of the fire. We’ve seen today God speaks with man, and yet He lives. Now then, why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the Lord our God any longer, then we will die. Who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire as we have and lived? Go near and hear all the Lord our God says, and then speak to us. All the Lord our God speaks to you we will hear Him and do it. The Lord heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me and the Lord said to me, ‘I’ve heard the voice of the words of this people which they’ve spoken to you and they have done well in all they’ve spoken.’” When He said they did well, their hearts cried out for a mediator, “We can’t face God face to face. We need a go between.” And when they heard all the civil laws and when they heard about all the ceremonial laws and when they heard the power of the moral law, great fear filled their heart. They couldn’t stand before such a holy God.
In our last session I tried to answer the question, “Why did God give the Law?” I know it’s a lot deeper than this, but we pointed out two reasons. One was to reveal God, and the other was to reveal man, to show his heart. To reveal God, Psalm 19:7, “The Law of the Lord is perfect.” That’s your God. Psalm 119:160, “The sum of Your word is truth; every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” That is a transcript of who God is; that’s His character. The second reason God gave the Law, not only to reveal Himself, how holy and how righteous and how pure He is, but it also shows man and how sinful he is. Romans 7:7, “What shall we say, then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin, except through the Law.” Romans 3:20, “Through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans 5:20, “The Law came in so that the transgression would increase.” What is the result of the Law so perfect, God so holy and me so sinful? I’ll tell you the result; I’m in trouble and you are in trouble. If God is that holy and you are that sinful, what will ever bring them together? Romans 3:19, “We know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those under the Law, so that every mouth might be closed and all the world may become accountable to God.” No excuses; every mouth shut. Romans 4:15, “The Law brings about wrath.”
That’s where we were last week; that awful reality that we’re born condemned under a curse. This week the Lord gave our family and gave us a great grandchild; Leila. They sent us pictures. I haven’t seen her in person. She looks so cute and so innocent. She’s born under a curse, under the Law and she’s going to need to get saved; she’s going to have to be born again.
Although we touched on it last week, let me say it again. How many sins would it take in my life to send me to hell forever, separated from God. One, and not even a whole sin; any violation, any departure, any deviation from perfection, and I’m done. That’s why the Holy Spirit through His servant Paul, Galatians 3:24, “The Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ.” The Law has become our mirror, a teacher. If I don’t know I’m sick, I probably won’t call for a doctor. If I don’t know I’m cold, I’ll probably not put on a jacket or wrap a blanket around me. If I don’t know I’m hungry, I can die from hunger. If I don’t know I’m thirsty I can die from thirst. If I don’t know I’m lost, I’ll never seek a Savior. It’s a mercy that God gave the Law, to show me that I need Jesus. It’s a tutor to drive us to Christ. The Law shows who He is and it shows who I am, and it points to Christ as the only hope. All of this is pictured in Israel’s redemptive history, and their cry that came from their heart, “We need a mediator. We need somebody to stand in between. Isn’t this a great verse, 1 Timothy 2:5, “There is one God and one mediator between God and man; the man Christ Jesus who gave Himself as a ransom for all and a testimony given at the proper time.”
When I closed last week I quoted these two verses and here we’ll begin. Matthew 5:17, “Jesus said, ‘Do not think I came to abolish the Law or the prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.’” Romans 10:4, “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness, to everyone who believes.” I’d like to meditate this morning on how Christ has fulfilled the Law and put an end to the Law for righteousness, to everyone who believes. May God help us. As I go along please pray. I’ve chosen some teaching methods that on once sense is a little silly, I hope it communicates the truth. Romans 3:26, here is the issue, “The demonstration of His righteousness as the present time, that He would be just and justifier, of the one who has faith in Christ.” How can God be just, the holy God, without dumbing down His perfection, and justifier without raising me up? How can God span that mighty gulf? We’re going to return to Exodus, Lord willing, next week, in the history of Mt. Sinai. This is the final introduction to that.
What we’re going to do this morning, and I hope you don’t ever tire of hearing it, because I’ll never tire of saying it, the wonderful gospel, good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m going to show you how a holy God was reconciled through the Lamb, our Lord Jesus. For the sake of communication, and here is the illustration, I know in the Exodus record the Law was engraved on stone. Nothing is better than that, but for this morning I want to personify the Law. In other words, turn it into a living Person. I want to give it a vocabulary. I want it to talk. I want the Law to communicate to me. For the sake of clarity I think in my mind this is the simplest way to communicate the truth.
What is standing between me, and I just represent the world and every sinner? What is standing between me and heaven? The answer is the Law. That’s what is in the way; the holy transcript of God. Unless I can satisfy the Law, nothing but perfection can ever enter heaven, the holy presence of God. I want you to picture the Law as the Law speaks. I’m going to put words in His mouth. Here is what the Law says, “To get to heaven you must go through Me. That’s not that difficult. There’s only two requirements. It’s not complicated. If you do these two things I’ll let you in. I ask Mr. Law, “What are the two requirements?” And Mr. Law answers, “My first requirement is Matthew 5:48, ‘Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’” That’s the first requirement. If you really want to get in you’ve got to be perfect. I say, “Well I might have a little trouble with that first requirement, Mr. Law. What is you second requirement. And the second requirement is, “If you don’t live up to the first requirement, you’ve got to pay the penalty of falling short. That’s it; you either be perfect or you suffer the penalty of imperfection. Satisfy that and I’ll let you in.”
Then the Law says, “You need to understand, because you are finite, you have sinned against an infinite God, and because a finite person sins against an infinite God, the wages for that is infinite.” In other words, the Law says, “In order to satisfy the debt you owe it will take you all eternity and you will only begin to pay because you are finite. You can’t finally pay. Meet those two requirements; be perfect or pay an everlasting punishment for not being perfect. Meet those requirements and I’ll welcome you into heaven.” That’s why my heart cries out for a mediator. We are in trouble. How impossible to be perfect, and then if I fail, to pay the everlasting consequence for that deviation from perfection!
I was lost representatively, and it didn’t seem fair for many years. Adams sins and I get all messed up and the whole world gets all messed up, and I wasn’t even there. Adam sinned and now I’m in this big trouble and I’m born cursed. But here is the love of God, and God’s provision, and I pray you don’t tire of hearing it. God says, “You were lost representatively because you were in the loins of Adam. When he sinned, you sinned. When he was cursed, you were cursed. As you were lost representatively, I found a way to save you representatively.” So it doesn’t seem so unfair now. If I was lost by a representative, but now I can be saved through a representative. 1 Corinthians 15:45, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life giving spirit.” Who is the last Adam? The answer is that it’s our Lord Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:47, “The first man is from the earth, earthy. The second man is from heaven.”
Did it ever thrill your soul what really took place on Christmas? We look in the manger and see this precious little baby. It’s more than that. John 1:14, “The word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus was sent to be the last Adam. It doesn’tsay the second Adam, because second implies third, and third implies fourth, and there would be no end to it. There was Adam #1 who got me into trouble, and then there is the last Adam who is going to get me out. He’s called “the second man”. There’s only two men who have ever lived, as God intended man to live. One was the first Adam, and he blew it, and the second man that ever lived is the Lord Jesus. When we look in the manger we say, “Look at the little baby.” No, God is starting over and that’s a new race. The last Adam, man #2, and He’s going to start a whole new race. I was born into that first race and I need to be born out into this second race. He came to represent us; me, you and the world.
Things didn’t change. As far as the Law is concerned with its great standards, “be perfect or pay the penalty”, that applied to Jesus when He was born. Galatians 4:4&5, “When the fullness of time came God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law.” Don’t read this “la, la, la.” Jesus, as a man, in His incarnate body, as our representative, the last Adam, the second man, the head of the whole new race, was born under the same Law and had to meet the same requirements that every person has to meet.
At this point I’m going to make an assumption, and I think it’s accurate with this particular group, that you know about the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus. You know about His life, and His healing, and His parables and His teaching. You know about His rejection, His burial, His death, His glorious resurrection, and His ascension. I’m going to continue with my illustration and I invite you into my weird imagination.The Law stands as a block, as a hindrance, it’s perfection and the Lord’s representative. The story I am about to give you is not in the Bible. It didn’t happen this way. It’s my imagination, but the truth being illustrated is Biblical all the way. I pray that God will help you get through my weak illustration. Follow my imagination.
Jesus has lived, died and risen and He’s ascended and He is about to get into heaven. No matter what you’ve heard, Peter is not the gate keeper. The Law is the gate keeper. The Law stands at the door and says, to Jesus, “Nobody can get into the holy presence of God unless he meets the requirements.” I want you to picture the Lord Jesus as He ascends and tries to get into heaven, and tries to get back into union with His Holy Father God. I picture the Law stopping Him at the gate holding up the perfect standard, and I hear the Law say something like this, “I understand you are here representing Yourself, but I also heard You are representing the entire human race. I need to vet You.” So, the Law says to Jesus, “When You were on the earth, every moment of every day did you love the Lord Your God with all of Your heart, with all of Your soul, with all of Your mind, and with all of Your strength?”
I hear the Lord Jesus saying, “I lived on the earth for 33 ½ years, and every moment of every day I loved the Lord with all My heart and with all of My soul and all My mind and all My strength.” John 8:29, “He who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone. I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” And then I hear the Law say, “Have You ever sinned with Your eyes or with Your ears when You were on the earth? Have you ever looked with desire on something that was not perfect, or have you ever heard with pleasure anything contrary to perfection?” And I hear Jesus respond, “I lived on the earth for 33 ½ years and never once have I ever looked at anything with desire which was displeasing to My Father, and never once have I heard anything that would be contrary to Your holy standard.” “Have you ever sinned with Your mouth while You were on the earth? Have You ever taken anything into Your mouth that would be displeasing, or has anything come out of Your mouth that would be against the holy character of God?” And I hear Jesus saying, “I lived on the earth for 33 ½ years and not one time has anything entered my mouth or proceeded from my mouth that would be contrary to a holy God.”
The Law continues the exam. “What about Your hands, did You ever sin with Your hands and do anything to come short of the glory of God?” Jesus would answer, “I lived on the earth for 33 ½ years and I always lifted up holy hands to Him. Never once did my hands do anything that would be displeasing to My Father. I never acted on My own initiative. I only did what He initiated, and pleased Him. “What about Your feet? Have You ever gone anywhere You shouldn’t have gone? Did You ever wander? Did You ever stray? Did You ever get off the path in any way?” “I lived on the earth for 33 ½ years and never once have my feet gone in any way contrary to the glory of God. I never sinned with My heart, with My mind, with My ears, with My mouth, with My hands, with My feet.” May I please pass and enter the presence of My Father. And thus we see the testimony of scripture, 1 Peter 2:22, “Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.” Hebrews 4:15, “We do not have a high priest who can not sympathize with our weaknesses; One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” 1 John 3:5, “You know that He appeared in order to take away sin, and in Him there is no sin.” 1 Peter 1:18&19, describes Him as the precious blood of a lamb unblemished and spotless.
“May I pass,” says Jesus. The Law says, “Not so fast. There are two requirements. You passed the first and You lived a perfect life, but you are not only representing Yourself, You are representing a whole world of sinners. As their representative I can’t allow You in until every farthing, every cent of what they owed has been paid. What about that? How do You plead? Eternal damnation for every one.” 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The Law says, “You are not allowed in until I’m satisfied, perfectly satisfied, that every debt has been paid. Remember that those who You represent are finite sinners and they’ve sinned against an infinite God. The penalty against them is everlasting separation from God. How can you possibly pay that?
Jesus answered, “I am the Son of God; I am God the Son; I’m the God-man. I hung when I was on the earth for six hours on the cross. In the final three hours, because I’m God infinite, and because I’m man, to take on the problem, in those three dark hours I crushed eternity into those three hours. I have suffered everything in three hours that they would have suffered if the whole world had gone to hell forever. I completed it in three hours. As an infinite God I’m of more value just in My Person than all of mankind put together that have ever lived and will ever live. That enough should atone. In addition to that, I have personally taken every penalty for every person who has ever lived in every age and in every generation, and I paid their debt. 1 Peter 2:24, “He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the cross, that we might die to sin to live to righteousness. By His wounds You are healed. Therefore, when Jesus had finished the sour wine He said, “It is finished,” and He bowed His head and gave up the spirit.” “Tetelestai”; one word in the Greek. That word is a business word. We say, “It is finished.” The word actually means, “Paid in full.” When He was on the cross everything was paid in full.
The Law says, “How do I know that You didn’t forget one little sin? Jesus said, “You yourself have said in Romans 6:23, ‘The wages of sin is death.’ If every sin was not atoned for, since I took their sin, I’d still be dead and be in the grave.” Romans 1:4, “Who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:17, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless. You are still in your sin.” “Mr. Law, may I pass?” I picture Psalm 24, the Psalm of ascension, verse 7, “Lift up your heads oh ye gates, and be ye lifted up the everlasting doors, the King of glory shall come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, oh gates, be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors, the King of glory will come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord of hosts. He is the King of glory.” And the Law says, “I’m satisfied.” Jesus went in.
I continue the story. The scene changes and this time it’s not the Lord Jesus standing before the Law seeking entrance to heaven. I tried in 2,000 and it didn’t work, but now in this picture it’s me who died. It’s me seeking entrance to heaven and standing before the Law. I want you to try to picture me or yourself standing before the Law. The standards are the same; be perfect or pay the debt. That’s it! The Law reminds me that a record book has been kept from the moment I was born, every moment of every day of every week of every month of every year that I lived. A record book has been kept. God has written it down and he says that no lying and no exaggeration; every mouth is shut. Now you must be examined. I picture that law, that person looking around and he says, “Just a moment, please, I can’t seem to find your book, your record book.” I help him along and I say, “The book of the life of Ed Miller doesn’t exist anymore. You’ll find my name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
So, the Law picks up the Lamb’s Book and looks for my name. The examination begins. Only perfection can enter. “Ed Miller, have you ever not loved the Lord with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength and with all your mind?” I will answer, “I lived on the earth for 33 ½ years in the Person of Jesus, my substitute. Never once have I ceased to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength, and all my mind.” The exam continues, “Have you ever sinned with your eyes and your ears while you were on the earth?” “Mr. Law, I lived on the earth for 33 ½ years in the Person of Jesus, my substitute. Never once did I look at anything with pleasure that did not honor the Lord. Never once have I ever heard anything that would be against your perfection.” So, the Law continues, “Have you ever in your time on the earth sinned with your mouth, and taken anything into your mouth, anything proceed from your mouth?” I would say, “I’ve lived on the earth for 33 ½ years in the Person of Jesus, my substitute. Not one time have I taken anything into my mouth, or anything proceed from my mouth, and from the heart the mouth speaks, all my motives and intentions were absolutely pure.” “What about your hands? Did you ever sin with your hands, and do anything you shouldn’t have done?” “I lived on the earth for 33 ½ years in the Person of Jesus, my substitute, and never once have I sinned with my hands. I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” “What about your feet? Did you ever depart from the Lord? Did you ever wander away? Did you ever stray? Did you ever get off the path?” I lived on the earth for 33 ½ years in the Person of Jesus, my substitute, and never once did I stray, or go anywhere that I shouldn’t have gone. The Law says, “You aren’t quite ready. What about the penalty for your sin?” I say, “Mr. Law, I’ve lived on the earth for 33 ½ years in the Person of Jesus, my substitute, and I also was co-crucified with Him, and when He hung for six hours on that cross, I also hung for six hours on that cross. In those last three hours when He suffered eternity in three hours, I suffered eternity in the Person of Jesus, my substitute, and I was separated from God forever in the Person of Christ. As He rose from the dead to prove every sin was gone, I rose with Him, proving that every sin has been atoned. The Law will say, ‘I’m satisfied. Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”
That’s our gospel; that’s our hope. That’s what is meant in Galatians 4:4&5, “When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, that He might redeem those who are under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us. It’s written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on the tree.’” Romans 8:1, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
What did the apostle mean in Romans 6:14, “Sin shall not be master over you. You are not under the Law, but under grace?” In what way has Christ become the end of the Law for righteousness for everyone that believes? The Law stood there barring my way, and would not let me in until I met those two requirements. That is what Jesus took out of the way, that obligation to be perfect and pay a penalty. When He said, “I’m not under the Law,” He’s saying, “You are no longer under the obligation that the Law requires. Jesus was perfect in your place, and Jesus has paid the penalty. You are no longer under that requirement. Christ has satisfied that requirement.” The Law only had one word. It’s a simple vocabulary, “Guilty.” That’s all the law knows how to say, “Guilty.” Day by day, hour by hour, it looks at me and says, “Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty,” until I almost go into despair. But now in Romans 8:1, “There is now, therefore, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” In that sense we’re free from the Law.
I mentioned this before, but let me mention it again. Romans 2:15, “These not having a law are a law to themselves in that they show the work of the law written in their heart, their conscience bearing witness, their thoughts alternating, accusing or defending them.” The Law has one word; guilty. The conscience is the Law written in the heart. Since you have been saved, since Christ has come in, God is asking you to do this, “Block your ears because the Law written in your heart also has a vocabulary of one word; guilty. You conscience keeps saying, ‘Guilty, guilty, guilty.” The Christian is no longer under conscience. God has kicked conscience out and put the Holy Spirit in. You are now under the obligation to listen to the Holy Spirit. Don’t let conscience lie to you and let him say, “Guilty, guilty, guilty,” when the Holy Spirit says, “You’ve been accepted in the Beloved, and you are free and you are seated with Him in the heavenly places.”
The reason I’m bringing that up is that some don’t understand. They say, “I’m no longer under the Law. That means I can speed. I’m no longer under the Law. That means I am free to do my own thing.” You are not free to do your own thing. You are free to let Him do His thing. I’m free to let Him do His thing. Some people have the idea that, “Now I’m not under the Law, I don’t have to gather together with believers, and I don’t have to obey the Law, and I don’t have to keep following rules and regulations.” God addresses that in Romans 6:1&2, “What shall we say, then? Are we to continue in sin, so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:15, “What shall we say? Shall we sin because we are not under Law, but under grace? May it never be!” As Christ died in my place as my substitute He now lives in my place as my substitute. On Mt. Sinai He was the Law Giver, and on Calvary He was the Law satisfied, and now He is the Law Keeper in my heart. He is the Law Keeper in your heart. You are not under the Law as a principle of life. You are under grace as a principle of life. The Law is what I do, and grace is what He does. Some say, “I’m not under the Law.” Here’s the right way to say it; “I’m not under the Law to keep the Law. I’m under grace to keep the Law. It’s now Christ in me obeying.” That’s what New Covenant obedience is, and we need to understand that.
Before I leave this session, I want to return Exodus once more, to Sinai, to the Law, to Moses. They had the Everlasting Covenant, but they didn’t get it and didn’t see it. I’m hoping that this introduction to Sinai would give you a sense of what happens. That’s why they ended up with the Golden Calf, because they didn’t get this. I wanted you to approach it from the standpoint of seeing grace. But it was there. Don’t forget who Moses is. He’s God’s instrument. He’s the one that gave them the Law. Listen to what Moses said, Deuteronomy 30:11-14, “This commandment,” and he’s talking about the Law, “I command you today is not too difficult for you.” You say, “What? Just be perfect or pay the penalty? That isn’t difficult?” “Nor is it out of reach. It’s not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who should go up in heaven for us and get it for us, and make us hear it, that we may observe it. Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who would cross the sea for us, and get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’”
Moses said, “The word is very near you; in your mouth, in your heart, that you may observe it.” What is he saying? They were saying, “It’s impossible.” Moses said, “No, no, no. Don’t say that. It’s easy.” They said, “You might as well have me jump to heaven.” He said, “Don’t say that. It’s not difficult.” “It’s like going across the sea. Do you want me to swim across the ocean? I can’t do it.” And Moses said, “No, no, no; it’s easy and it’s close and it’s in your mouth, closer than your teeth, closer than your gums, closer than your palate. It’s in your heart.” Then he stopped, until God in fully developed form, the Apostle, having the revelation of God quotes that very passage, and he adds something. Listen to what he adds, Romans 10:6-8, “The righteousness based on faith speaks as follows; do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend to heaven; that is, to bring Christ down, or who will descend into the abyss; that’s to bring Christ up from the dead?’ But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth, in your heart,” and then he adds this, “That is, the word of faith that we are preaching.” Faith makes obedience possible. If fact, and we’ll look at this when we get to Sinai, faith not only makes it possible, it makes obedience a delight, “I delight to do Thy will.” You can fake the obedience, but you can’t fake the delight. God in His New Covenant says, “By faith.” That’s what makes it possible. Romans 10:8, “What does it say? The word is near, in your mouth, and in your heart. That is, the word of faith,” because faith claims what Christ has done; His righteousness, not my own.
Paul’s testimony, Philippians 3:9, “That I might be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” That was Paul’s problem and that’s everybody’s problem. They just think they can do it, and they try hard, and they are going to obey God. You can’t. He did. That’s Israel’s problem, was and still is. Romans 10:3, “Not knowing about God’s righteousness, seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God, for Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 7:4, “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another; to Him raised from the dead, in order that you might bear fruit for God.” We died to the Law, we were married to Him who rose from the dead, so that we can bear fruit.
Let me close with this story. Did you ever hear the name William Newell? He wrote a couple of hymns. Let me tell you the Newell story. He was a mixed up kid, and he was an intellectual, but trying to understand things. His family, mom and dad, were saved, but he was getting into more and more trouble, and he was putting off the Lord, because he didn’t understand it. The father happened to be friends with Dr. R. A. Torrey who was then the president of Moody Bible Institute. Because they were friends the father wrote to R. A. Torrey and said, “Could you please accept my son into your school because he’s going to end up in jail. He’s a bad kid.” Even though they were friends, R. A. Torrey wrote back this letter and said, “We are running a Bible school, not a reform school. I’m sorry we cannot accept your son, but he was persistent. Finally, R. A. Torrey gave in with this condition; if he comes he must meet personally with me every week. If he doesn’t, he’s immediately expelled. He kept that, and so William Newell went to Moody Bible Institute and every week he met with R. A. Torrey and Torrey tried to explain salvation. He didn’t get it. He had so many questions. He was so wise. Later he got a doctorate from Princeton. This kid was so smart. He just couldn’t put it together. Every week, a week turned to a month, and a month turned to two, and two turned to three, and he still doesn’t know the Lord; a student at Moody Bible Institute.
And one day, by the grace of God, he was awakened, and he saw the whole thing, and his heart was thrilled. Later on he actually became a teacher, a professor at Moody Bible Institute. He wrote many books. I have several. He wrote Romans verse by verse, and Hebrews verse by verse, and a book on Revelation. Just a wonderful Godly man. One day as he was going to teach his class, now a teacher at Moody, and was meditating, “How did this happen? I was such a mixed up kid. I ended up coming to Bible school. I didn’t want to come to Bible school. My Dad forced me here. He began to think about his salvation and on the way to class he reaches in his pocket looking for a pad and pencil. He had an envelope that he had received a letter, and on the back of the envelope he jotted down a poem that gave his testimony. Because Dr. Towner was in charge of the music department, before he went to class, Dr. Towner came walking by, he hands him the envelope and says, “The Lord just gave me this. It’s my testimony.” Dr. Towner, during the time he was in class, went to the music room, piano room, and wrote the tune for this. Later he came back and said to Newell, “This is probably the greatest thing I’ll ever write, and the greatest thing you will ever write.” It’s the song, “At Calvary”. Listen, this is his testimony…
Years I spent in vanity and pride
Caring not my Lord was crucified.
Knowing not it was for me He died
Mercy there was great, grace was free,
Pardon there was multiplied to me.
There my burdened soul found liberty
By God’s word, at last my sin I learned
Then I trembled at the Law I spurned.
Then my guilty soul imploring turned,
Mercy, there was great, grace was free
Pardon there was multiplied to me
There my burdened heart found liberty
Now I’ve given to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly owned Him as my King.
Now my raptured soul can only sing,
Oh, the love that drew Salvation’s plan,
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man,
Oh, the mighty gulf His love did spare
Mercy there was great, grace was free.
Pardon there was multiplied to me.
There my burdened soul found liberty
Knowing how perfect God is, knowing how sinful we are,
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan,
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man,
Oh the mighty gulf that God did spare,
Next week, Lord willing, we’ll return to the redemptive history of Israel. We’re going back to Sinai, I hope with more understanding of what was going on and why, not knowing the New Covenant, the Everlasting Covenant, why they went the way they went.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gospel. Thank You for being our substitute. Thank You that You put an end to that terrible requirement of the Law, and You’ve given us Your righteousness, and our name is in Your Book of Life. Lord, this is a wonderful gospel, and we praise You, and can’t stop praising You, that we are now clothed in Christ and in the righteousness of Christ. Make these things so real to us, and we pray that you would stir up our hearts to worship you more and more. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen