Where Israel Stands Today

 

The book of Romans is the foundational truth of what God is doing today. It tells us how God is saving us and how he is working in our life. Chapters 9, 10, and 1l of Romans actually explains how God has turned to the Gentiles. Most people don’t realize that up until the book of Romans, God wasn’t dealing with all people from all nations. God was primarily dealing with the nation of Israel. I say “primarily” because from Genesis, Chapter 12, all the way until the middle of the book of Acts, God was dealing with the nation of Israel. Prior to Genesis, Chapter 12, God was dealing with all men of all nations (the definition of Gentiles is nations). But, that goes all the way back to the very beginning with Adam and Eve and the multiplication of people upon the earth. Way back then, you might remember, there was a flood because as a people there was only evil in our hearts continually (Gen. 6:5). God judged this world with a flood.

But God didn’t give up on us. The nations multiplied through the sons of Noah after the ark. After the ark was settled, they repopulated the earth again. But, the next thing you read in the Bible is the Tower of Babel. It is here where man got together and instead of filling the earth and replenishing it as God had said, they decided to build a tower whose top might reach unto heaven to make themselves a name less they be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth (Gen. 11:4). And God came down and saw what the men of the world were doing and how they had become one and united themselves. The thing is, they didn’t unite themselves to glorify God, but to rebel against God. They were going to have their own way to heaven, their own way of worship by worshipping the stars, the created, rather than the creator himself. And this is when God came down and confounded the languages, and the nations were divided up in the earth.

At this point, God reached down and saved Abraham. He told Abraham he was going to make out of him a great nation. And through that nation (the nation of Israel) all the other nations would be blessed.

Well, that takes you from Genesis 12 all the way through the middle of the book of Acts. What you have just prior to the book of Acts is the rejection of Jesus Christ. He came to the nation of Israel and they refused to acknowledge him as their king. They said they would have no king but Caesar. They yelled crucify him, and they crucified Jesus Christ. He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” Then, after he arose from the dead, he poured out his holy spirit upon the believing remnant of Israel and they went out in the power of Jesus Christ and witnessed about Jesus Christ. But the leaders of Israel continually rejected Jesus Christ. Then you come to the book of Romans.

In the book of Romans, God has turned to the Gentiles once again. In Chapters 9, 10, and 11 you learn that he indeed did turn to the Gentiles. Here we also learn what God is accomplishing in turning to us Gentiles. In Chapter 10:21 we read, “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” This is God speaking through the prophets to the nation of Israel and admonishing them for not listening to what the prophets had to say concerning the coming of their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, and for refusing to hear what the prophets said of the one who would come. So, we left off where the nation of Israel was disobedient to the word of God.

The word gainsaying means speaking back; giving excuses; talking back rather than listening and agreeing with what God says. Israel gainsayed. They talked back and wouldn’t listen to God and in our studies, that’s how we left the nation of Israel: God’s arms outstretched, with Israel being disobedient, refusing to hear what we learned over in Chapter 9.

In Chapter 10:4 we read, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Israel refused to recognize Jesus Christ as their king, and they also refused to recognize him as their Savior. They strove to establish their own righteousness. They should have come to realize that Christ, Jesus Christ, is the end of the law for righteousness. Do you want to be found righteous before God? If God, being a holy God, kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden and out of his presence because of their sin of disobedience in eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, how much greater sins have you committed? How are you going to stand before a Holy God and be accepted by him? God cannot dwell in the presence of sin. God is a holy God, cannot dwell in the presence of sin, and he is also judge.

As a judge, he must judge sin and if you have offended God, there is a judgement for your sins. The Bible says the penalty for sin is death (separation from God for all eternity) RO.6:23. God will not dwell in the presence of sin. If you want to be found righteous before God, it is not through the law. Israel tried to establish their own righteousness and stand before God in their own goodness and they failed before God. It says in Chapter 10:4, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.”

The means of standing righteous before God is not the law, but Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ went to the cross. The Bible says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (RO: 3:23). You come short. You know how at the end of the month, when you try to pay your bills, and you come short? You’re in trouble, aren’t you? You have a debt and can’t pay it. Well, this is the same. You’re a sinner, and you can’t stand before God in your own righteousness because you don’t have righteousness, you’re a sinner.

And I know you’re a sinner because the Bible tells me so. It says, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (RO: 3:23). That’s you and me. Yet, God loves the sinner; however, he hates the sin. God cannot dwell in the presence of sin. It’s sin that separates us from God. God himself came in the person of a man, Jesus Christ. Lived an absolutely perfect life and then went to a cross. On the cross, the Bible tells us so clearly, he died for our sins. It says, God laid on Christ the iniquity of us all (ISA.53:6) and that God made Christ to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (RO.10:4). What God wants you to believe is that when Jesus Christ went to the cross, he paid for your sins; he was buried; and he rose again to be your savior. You are to believe what Jesus Christ did, not trusting in yourself, your works, and especially not your religion: walking pews, quoting verses, wearing garments, being water baptised. None of that takes away your sins.

The Bible says that if salvation could have come any other way, then Christ died in vain. (GAL.2:21). It tells you salvation couldn’t come any other way than through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died for your sins so you can be found righteous in God. God doesn’t have to see you in sin. If you trust the fact that Jesus died for you, God imputes to you the righteousness of Jesus Christ as a free gift.

So, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. But Israel failed to believe that. And the Bible leaves us in Chapter 10 with God outstretching his hands saying, “All day long have I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people.” How many times does God have to tell you that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins? That God would save you as a free gift, from himself, because Jesus Christ already paid the price? That he paid it all when he died? And if you believe, he’ll give you everlasting life? That he’ll declare you righteous on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ? How many times does God have to say that to you before you’ll quit gainsaying?

You know what I mean, because somewhere along the line you probably gainsayed, that is, someone told you that salvation is a free gift and told you that you just need to believe in Jesus Christ as the one who died for you, and you said, “Why, that can’t be all there is.” That’s gainsaying. You’re disagreeing with what God said.

God said, “…the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (RO. 6:23). The Bible says, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works; lest any man should boast.” (EPH. 2:9). The Bible says, therefore, we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ. That’s what the Bible says. You need to stop gainsaying; that is, disagreeing or talking back to God and just receive the truth. God stretched out his hands all day long to Israel, and they never received his truth.

We pick up in Chapter 11 in the book of Romans and it says in verse 1. “I say then, hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” At the start of Chapter 11 it looks like there is hope for the nation of Israel. But, I want you to see that when you begin Chapter 11, there is already a fact that has been established. It’s not just implied. It’s been stated and I’ll show you the verses shortly, but the fact is that Israel has been cast away. Now look at that verse again, because it says God has not cast away his people. “I say then, hast God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” Israel as a nation has been cast away, but there still is a hope, although it’s not like the hope they used to have.

The reason I know they have been cast away is in Romans 11:12: “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the richest of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?” So it implies in verse 12 that Israel has fallen. Not just implies, it states it. Look RO.11:15: “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” So you see there’s a hope of their being received again. But the fact is, Israel is cast away. What we’re going to learn in Chapter 11 is that there are some in Israel who didn’t get cast away. But the implication that most people seem to miss when they come to the book of Romans is that, yes, Israel has been cast away. In fact, this was previously taught in Chapter 9:1, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscious also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Now what Paul is implying in that statement, is that he has been accepted by God, but his kinsmen have been accursed and he could wish that it was the other way around. Israel has fallen. It says in RO.9: 4, “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” He is telling us clearly that Israel has been accursed, but God never looked at all the people in Israel as his people. There are some in Israel who have not been cut off from God, but others who have been cut off from God. This is what is being implied.

Look at RO:9:30, “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.” That is, the Gentiles heard how God would justify them and declare them righteous through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ if they would just believe on him and so the Gentiles did. But, verse 31 says, “But Israel, which followeth after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone, a rock of offense: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” Notice that stumbling- stone is a him. The one that Israel stumbled upon was Jesus Christ. They’re walking around trying to keep the law, and Jesus shows up to be the Savior for their breaking the law. They stumbled over him. They didn’t recognize who he was. They went on trying to keep the law and bypassed him. They stumbled at the stumblingstone. So, in Romans Chapter 9, you learn how they stumbled.

In Chapter 10, they were disobedient in gainsaying. In Chapter 11, they have fallen and are cast away. So as you come to Romans, Chapter 11, there are some who are not cast away. However, the overall understanding is that Israel has indeed been cast away from God and God is doing something different today.

This “doing something different today” involves you and me and involves our salvation and how we fit into God’s eternal plan. So, even though Romans 11 starts out with a positive, understand that there is a casting away here that he’s talking about. Again, Chapter 11, verse 1, “I say then, hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” The question that he’s dealing with here is, did God cast away all Jewish people wherein no Jewish person has a chance to have any relationship with God today? Well, Paul says, no. That can’t be, and the reason it can’t be is, he, himself, is a Jewish person. Look at his heritage. His heritage is that he is Jewish and he hasn’t been cast away from God. So when God has cast away his people, it doesn’t mean that every last Jewish person has been cast away and has no hope. Paul is a testimony that Jews, even today, have a hope. We’ve already read that God has turned to the Gentiles so we know that the Gentiles have a hope. God, today, is offering to Jew and Gentiles, an opportunity to be saved.

Look back again to Chapter 10:11, “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the lord shall be saved.” So, in this age of Grace, there’s no difference between the Jew and the Gentiles. They’re not God’s special people today, but they’re also not cut off to the point where they don’t have any chance of coming to God. Paul had an opportunity to come to God. And he is a testimony that God will still save a Jewish person as much as he’ll save a Gentile.

But, you know, Paul’s not talking about being saved as a Jewish person who was, therefore, automatically one of God’s people. Paul got saved by the grace of God. Look at 1 Timothy, Chapter 1:11, “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” You need to realize that when God saved the apostle Paul, it wasn’t to fulfill what he was doing in the old testament with the nation of Israel. It’s apparently to do something new and different. Notice again, in 1 Timothy, Chapter 11, where Paul wrote this book to Timothy and he talks about the glorious gospel of the blessed god that was committed to MY trust. God put in Paul’s possession the gospel that he was to share with us Gentiles. It was committed to him to share with us. And it started with him. Verse 12, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before…” (that is before Paul was put into the ministry) “…a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” The apostle Paul was ignorant to the fact that Jesus Christ was the true savior until he met the Lord Jesus Christ himself on the road to Damascus. And then it says in verse 14, “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”

Now the grace that was given to the apostle Paul, he says, was exceeding. In other words, God has always been gracious. You’ll see that in our study today, that God was gracious in the Old Testament. But the conversion of the Apostle Paul is God exceeding his graciousness. That’s why he talks about the riches and abundance of his grace. God was over-abounding, more than has ever been told in order to save the apostle Paul (who was, remember, a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious). He testified against people and had them killed for believing in Jesus Christ when Paul didn’t believe in Jesus Christ. It says in 1 TIM.1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Chief in the sense he was leading all the rebellion against Jesus Christ. He was the leader. Jesus Christ came to save sinners and Paul is the chief of them. “Howbeit for this cause obtained I mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1TIM.1:16).

We looked at this passage so you could clearly see that when Paul was converted to faith in Christ, he was the first of something new that God was going to be doing that is associated with God’s longsuffering. That something new being: God suffering with this world a lot longer rather than judging and ending the world. The Gentiles rebelled long ago against God, and he cut them off and he turned to the nation of Israel. And now we’re reading in Romans, Chapter 11, that God has cast away the nation of Israel. Well, if the Gentiles and the Jews have all been cast away from God, it’s time for God to judge the world, put an end to it, and start a new world with righteousness. But no, God didn’t do that. He saved the Apostle Paul and has been longsuffering with the world much longer than the world ever expected or ever knew. And that is what Paul is saying: “Howbeit for this cause I obtained I mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Now there were some people who believed on Jesus Christ before Paul, and they were saved by their faith in Christ based on what God had said he was going to do; the prophetic program. But those who were saved after the Apostle Paul is part of this longsuffering of God. Paul is the first of something that happens after him. And this is what Romans 11 is teaching us. Israel is cast away, but not every Jewish person. Paul, a Jew, was saved. He has not been cast away because God had a purpose in Paul to save not just the Jews, but Gentiles, too, for a purpose that will be explained as we go through the book.

I want you to see that Paul was not saved as a Jewish person under the Jewish program, but saved as a beginning of something new that God was going to do now that Israel had been cast away. So, look again to Romans, Chapter 11. Now not only was Paul a Jewish person who could get saved (so God has not cast everyone away), but you also learn in verse 2 through 6 that God has always had a remnant of believers. Even when it looked like there was no faith in Israel, God always had a remnant of believers. Romans 11:2, “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scriptures say of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” So there was a time in Elias’ life where he thought he was the only one left who believed in God. Elias thought everyone else had forsaken God and bowed their knee to Baal, but, unbeknownst to him, God stated that 7,000 never bowed to Baal. And so, there has always been a remnant.

Back in RO.11:2, “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew”. There’s two things I want you to catch in that. There are some that did get cast away, right? That’s why I think most people forget that there is a casting away of the nation of Israel. But within the nation of Israel was a believing remnant (we’ve been learning about them since Chapter 9). There was in Israel some who believed and when God did cast away the nation of Israel, he did not cast away the believing remnant. He didn’t cast away the ones he knew as his own; he cast away the unbelieving part of the nation. “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew”.

Now, that word foreknew needs to be given some thought. We’ve studied already in the Book of Romans how God thinks ahead of time. Here “foreknew” is in the sense of a personal relationship. That God did not cast away his people, which he foreknew, indicates that not only did he know something about these people, but implies that he knew these people, knew them intimately, as his own. That word foreknew tells us a couple of things.

When Jesus Christ came in this world and Israel rejected Jesus Christ, God knew that would happen because he foreknows everything, right? He knows the end from the beginning the Bible says. So, when Jesus Christ came into this world and was rejected by the nation of Israel, that was not outside of God’s knowledge. That was no surprise to God. And neither was it a surprise that within the nation of Israel that there were some who would believe. God knew that as well. And those God knew would believe, God calls as his own.

There’s a term in the Book of John where Jesus Christ calls them his own. In fact, we’re studying the Book of John in bible study, and one of the things I’ve learned while going through this book is seeing words that I’ve seen all along but never thought fit together in a certain way. That is, as you go through the Book of John you always hear Jesus Christ saying that all that belong to the Father has been given to him. And I think, now who belongs to the Father? And how are they given to Jesus Christ? Well, before Jesus Christ ever showed up on the scene, there were some people who studied their Bible and believed the Word of God. John 5:39 says, “Search the scriptures … they are they which testify of me.” So, anybody who believed the scriptures about God’s promise to send a Savior into this world; who was going to born of a virgin; born in Bethlehem and that he would flee Egypt (all these things were listed out in scripture), these people belonged to the Father. They believed God’s word as they studied the scriptures and when they saw these things happening and when Jesus Christ showed up on the scene, they, too, believed in Jesus Christ. They believed God, the Father. And now, all that belongs to the Father are now given to Christ. And those who come to Christ, he calls them his own (John 10:3,4).

This is all within the nation of Israel. God did not cast away those he foreknew and this implies “to know them” in a different way than the others; to know them as his own. John 10:1, “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and his sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again; Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal , and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

He came and the sheep heard his voice. They wouldn’t hear a stranger. Others that came before him, claiming to be Messiah, those who studied the scriptures recognized them as strangers, not having the right voice. And Jesus knew them, didn’t he? Before he showed up, he knew there was a remnant there that was going to believe him because these people were studying God’s word and looking for Messiah to come. Jesus Christ shows up and they are God’s people because they’re believers. And when Jesus Christ shows up, they belong to Jesus Christ as his. By the way, John 10 is going to be real important when an anti-Christ shows up someday and pronounces that he’s Jesus Christ. God’s people, who believe God’s book, will say that man is a stranger. That man is not the shepherd of the sheep. He’s someone who’s trying to come in another way. And he is not the one God has sent. But, those who do not know God’s word are going to follow that man and be destroyed. And that’s what he’s coming to do: to try to rob God of people.

John 2:23: “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” See, God knows before you believe, who is going to believe and who isn’t. Why? It’s the foreknowledge of God. But those who were going to believe on him, he understood would believe on him and finally did believe on him and it is these, he called his own. Those are the people he foreknew. Look at John 6:64: “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.” So not only does he know who’s going to believe, he knew who wasn’t going to believe. And no matter what they said, he knew because he knows what’s in man. Here is Jesus Christ, knowing within the nation of Israel that there’s an unbelieving remnant there and that there’s a believing remnant there. And when he cast Israel away, he didn’t cast away those he foreknew: those he knew as his own; those he knew as believers. He didn’t cast them away and, by the way, we know some of them, don’t we? Peter, Andrew, Phillip, and Bartholomew, the apostles that we know, and some of the women, and the others that followed the Lord Jesus Christ. They were believers in the nation of Israel.

He didn’t cast the believers away when he cast away the nation. These people remained his own. In fact, there’s something scary. Look at Matthew, Chapter 7. This is the end of the Sermon on the Mount, and it talks about when Jesus Christ is going to come back. It says in verse 21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Have you learned the will of God yet? It is God’s will that you believe on his Son. It’s God’s will today that you believe Jesus Christ died on the cross and paid for your sins. It’s God’s will that you don’t come to him in your righteousness, but you receive the righteousness as a gift from Jesus Christ by believing on him. That’s God’s will for you. But in this instance, people are going to say they know God’s will. The verse says, “Not every one saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many shall say to me, in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” And I tell you there are many who are trying to profess they’re doing these things today and have no understanding of the gospel.

One of my first experiences with a group of charismatics was a group of people who did all the tongue speaking, hand raising, and all the other things they believe in and they cornered me as I was leaving their meeting. They stopped to ask me if I received the holy Ghost. I said I didn’t know what they were talking about. I didn’t know what was going on in that meeting. I had never seen things like that before (I grew up in a church like this.) But that doesn’t mean that they’re wrong and I’m right. So I didn’t know what I had just seen; whether all that commotion, screaming, and all that miracle stuff was of God or not, but you know what I said to them? (I was a babe in Christ). “Tell me, I don’t know about the Holy Ghost, but tell me how are you saved?” You know what they told me to do? (By the way, at that time I had long hair and they had followed me to my motorcycle as I was trying to leave the meeting so I didn’t “look like” a Christian back then. I lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when I moved from home and all, but I didn’t live in sin because I went to bible study. My friends were going the other way. But, that’s what I looked like). And so, I asked them how to be saved. You know what they told me to do? Repent of my sins, clean up my life, make myself acceptable to God. You know what that is? That’s your own righteousness. That’s what Israel was trying to do. And your righteousness before God, the Bible says is filthy rags.

(ISA.64:6). I just told them (I didn’t know what else to say), that I don’t know what this Holy Ghost stuff is that you’re talking about, but if you can’t tell me how to be saved, you can’t tell me how to get something else from God. I knew that it starts with the Gospel. And if you don’t have the Gospel right, you can’t talk about something else. There are all kinds of organizations, ministries, preaching going on right now in different parts of our city and all over our country, whooping and hollering and claiming to raise the dead and heal people and all the rest and when they give a gospel message it’s not the gospel of the grace of God. It’s not a preaching of the cross.

There’s going to be a time when Jesus Christ comes back and people are going to say, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? and then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Iniquity. You know why? It wasn’t of God. It was of man. It was all a lie of the devil. And the Lord Jesus Christ calls it iniquity. But notice what he said in there, “I never knew you.” See, he doesn’t cast away those he foreknew, that is those he knows as his own, because they believe on him. But with Israel, he did cast away all that did not believe on him. Israel has been cast away. But in the casting away he did not cast away those he foreknew.

By the way, let me show you two other things as we close. Romans, Chapter 8: Do you know that in this age of grace wherein God has given us the Gospel of grace and the opportunity to believe on Jesus Christ, that when we do, we are not only saved, but as it says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, and to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren .” You know what, I’ve been foreknown, too. When I put my faith in the gospel that was no surprise to God. God knew I would and when I did, he determined, pre-determined, my destination to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. God had it all worked out . God knows everything and had it all planned out. Not only did he foreknow who would believe in Israel, he knew among the Gentiles who would believe on him. And, those he knew who would believe on him, he has predestined to be conformed to the image of his son. We’re going to be glorified and seated with Christ in heavenly places.

Now here’s one thing I want to close with. Galatians 4. Now this is important. God foreknew. That is, he knows ahead of time. He knows all things. You can’t fool God. But you know, you can come here and do a good bluff job with me. You can act like a Christian, look like a Christian. You can talk about believing; being saved; and use all the right terms. You can convince me that you’re saved. You know, the only two people who really know if you’re saved or not is you and God. Because you have to know (Paul says, “I know in whom I have believed” 2TI.1:12 (apparently, Paul made a decision and because he made a decision for Jesus Christ, he knew he had made that decision.) If you would say here today, “ Well, I don’t know if I’d ever actually decided to trust in the blood of Christ alone for salvation,” let me tell you that you probably never did, and you’re lost and on your way to hell. And you will someday be a castaway when God calls his people home. Because you have to make a decision. Paul knows that he made a decision , he says “I know in whom I have believed.” I know, myself, in whom I have believed.

Songia and I were talking one time about a minister, who after ministering for several years, started to wonder if he was saved. He thought maybe he wasn’t. He got so troubled, he couldn’t preach anymore. And when he asked other ministers, they would try to convince him he was saved. But he was convinced that if he couldn’t be convinced that he was saved, then maybe he never really trusted Christ. The reason why he questioned his salvation is, because he was “saved” in a movement where he saw this wonderful light, and because he saw this light, he thought he was saved. But then he saw in the Bible where Satan appears as an angel of light. Gee, he thought, that was the day I thought I got saved, but that’s not how God saves you. God saves you when you believe the Gospel. So that minister decided, that he would trust Jesus Christ as his Savior that day and never questioned his salvation again after that. That was the wisest thing to do.

During the conversation Songia and I were having as we were thinking back, she said, “You know, after I trusted Christ as my Savior, I never doubted whether I was saved.” And I thought back and I can’t remember in life thinking, gee, I might not be saved. Why? I know in whom I have believed. I’ve made the decision. And if you don’t know that you’ve made the decision, you didn’t. This is were you’re at in Galatians, Chapter 4:8, “Howbeit then, when you knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods?” That is, when you didn’t know God, you’re serving idols. And, they were serving those idols. He continues, “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggerly elements whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I’m afraid of you, lest I’ve bestowed upon you labour in vain.” You see that phrase in there, “After you have known God” and then he stops and says “or rather are know of God” Paul says, I’m in doubt of you. You guys are going back to law trying to be righteous before God and keeping the law; I’m not sure about you guys. So it’s not a matter of saying, “I know God” but it’s if God knows you whether you are actually trusting the Gospel or not. I’d ask you this question, If you were to stand before God right now, could you convince him that you’re already saved? He knows. The reason I’m saying that is because you’re known of God if you are saved. He knows whether you are or not. If you don’t know if you are, then you’ll never convince him that you are. So is it possible that you’re here sitting here today, having just heard the Gospel clearly for the first time (or maybe you’ve heard it several times clearly), but today you’re confronted with your mortality, your lost condition, and today, if you have a doubt, as we bow our head and pray, you in the quietness of your own mind and heart, acknowledge to God that today (whether or not you have before), that today I am believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the total payment of my sins and my acceptance before you is the fact that Christ died for me and I’ll trust nothing else. And if you’ve never made that decision, you’ll be making it right there. And then you won’t have to convince God. Because God knows what’s happening today, right now.

Let’s pray. God knows what’s in the heart. He’s the only one. Even the devil doesn’t know what’s in your heart. So you don’t have to pray out loud, and it’s not the prayer that saves you , but it’s certainly that decision of faith that does. So I’m just going to pause for a moment and then I’m going to close in prayer and we’ll be dismissed. Take advantage of this opportunity to talk to God yourself.

Our God, and our Father, we do pray that every one here has made a decision in what they’re going to trust to give them eternal life. I pray they’re not trusting in themselves but in the finished work of the Lord Jesus, who already paid it all, and all that’s left is for us to receive him by faith and to trust that his blood was the payment of our sins and he is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. Father we pray that decision has been made by everyone. (End of Tape)

 

Transcribed and edited , Tape #28

ROMANS 1/7/01