Baptism Series #5

Fred R. Coulter

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Let me read the statement we have in the Belief's booklet—let me just mention also, the reason we have the Beliefs of the Christian Biblical Church of God booklet is because if someone says, 'What do you believe?' We can say, 'Well, if you'd like to read it, here it is.' We can say, 'If you'd like to have some sermons with it, you can receive them.


Repentance is complete remorse and sorrow for one's sins….

All sin is evil—you need to understand that. But not all sins are apparently evil to the person, until the conviction of God's Spirit.

…Sin is the transgression of the laws and commandments of God. Repentance is the first step in the sinner's reconciliation with God the Father and Jesus Christ. True repentance begins when God the Father opens a person's mind to understand that he or she is a sinner against God the Father [and also Jesus Christ], and that his or her own sins had a part in killing Jesus Christ.

That's important to understand. Since He died for sins (which He did)—He died for your sins. Then your sins had a part in the crucifixion of Christ, though you weren't there, because it covers all of mankind for all time.

The graciousness of God the Father leads each sinner to repentance. Repentance moves each one to confess his or her sins to God the Father and to ask forgiveness, remission and pardon for those sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. True, deep, godly repentance will produce a profound change in a person's mind and attitude, this is called conversion, which will result in a continuous desire to live by every word of God."

It can be put very simply: everyone who has the Spirit of God will desire to live by every Word of God, keep His commandments and do the things that please Him. Everyone who does not have the Spirit of God will seek every way possible not to obey. That's found in the statements of religion that Jesus did away with the law.

The truly repentant person will turn from evil thoughts and ungodly practices and will seek to conform his or her life to the will of God as revealed in the Holy Bible and as led by the Holy Spirit. Repentance and confession of sins is an ongoing process in a Christian's spiritual growth toward the perfection of Jesus Christ" (Beliefs of the Christian Biblical Church of God, pp 14-15).

And we could add to that through the grace of God. Because all of that is done by the grace of God.

Let's look at some Scriptures concerning this. Let's first of all let's come to Hebrews, the fourth chapter, and let's see what the Word of God does. For some people it's very difficult to see their sins. And part of the reason is that the goodness that they have which they see does not come from God but comes from the 'tree of the knowledge of good and evil.' There are a lot of 'do-gooders' out there. All that goodness comes from the 'tree of the knowledge of good and evil.' True goodness from God comes through His Holy Spirit and His Word.

Hebrews 4:12: "For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword… [I remember a movie—and I don't know how they did it, but however they did it, it was something. This soldier had a sword that was so sharp that he whacked the neck of this other soldier and all it did was just show the bloodline where it had cut. You could hardly tell that it went through, it was so sharp. Then his head fell off. And every time I read this I think of it.] …piercing even to the dividing asunder of both soul and spirit, and of both the joints and the marrow, and is able to discern [judge] the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there not a created thing that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and laid bear before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account" (vs 12-13).

That's what the Word of God does. Then, this brings us the conviction of sin. What do we do when we do that? We have to go to Christ, as he finishes here in v 14: "Having therefore a great High Priest…Who can empathize with our weaknesses…" In other words, He is there to help us. He does feel it. And Wayne gave a sermon on Does God Have Feelings? He's going to send it to me.

  • Yes, God grieves.
  • Yes, God has joy.
  • Yes, God has feelings.
  • He is touched with our feelings.

"…but one Who was tempted in all things according to the likeness of our own temptations; yet He was without sin…." [There's every temptation every man has gone through. Every woman has gone through. God knows!] … Therefore, we should come with boldness to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (vs 15-16). That's the way out of the dilemma of human nature.

Remember the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. The Pharisee couldn't understand his own nature. Because he came to God and he said, 'God,'—as he prayed to himself, you know, he wasn't praying to God; he said—'I thank you I'm not like other men. I'm not an adulterer, an extortioner,' add anything you want in there. Oh, of course, none of those things God wants you to be—right? I mean, He expects you not to do those things—correct?

Then he went on to say: 'I tithe of everything I possess. Thank You that I'm not like this publican down here.' The publican was a tax-collector. Today they work for Uncle Iris [IRS]. And the publican down there, beating on his chest, crying out to God, saying, 'Be merciful to me, a sinner.' And Jesus said, 'I tell you, that man went down to his house justified rather than the other.'

The Pharisee couldn't see that the goodness he was doing was required of God. But in the attitude that he had, it was really a sinful attitude. John wrote that if you 'hate your brother whom you can see how can you love God Whom you cannot see.' That's exactly what he was doing. Where was he doing it? Right in the temple of God! It's amazing what human beings do—isn't it?

Jeremiah 17:5: "Thus says the LORD, 'Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD." That's why Christ is the Head of the Church. We're to follow no man! God provides teachers and elders, but He also wants all the disciples—all the brethren—to become 'as the teacher.' And the ultimate Teacher is Christ—isn't it? So, we have a long way to go.

Verse 6: "For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes. But he shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land that is not inhabited…. [on the other hand]: …Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD" (vs 6-7). Now, lo and behold, that's New Testament doctrine—isn't it? What do suppose New Testament doctrine is doing in the Old Testament? It's all the Word of God, that's what it is.

Verse 8: "For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters; it sends out its roots by the river, and it shall not fear when the heat comes, but its foliage shall be green; and he is not worried [careful] in the year of drought, nor will it cease from yielding fruit." Always growing, always bearing fruit.
Here's the way every human heart is, and this is the point we all have to come to in repentance—it's a progressive thing. After we're baptized and receive the Holy Spirit of God, then we progressively see how despicable our own human nature truly is. And I say 'ours,' because I'm including mine. My human nature is no different than your human nature. I have to war and struggle to overcome like you have to war and struggle and overcome. Christ knows that, but His grace is sufficient

  • to help us
  • to teach us
  • to lead us
  • to forgive us

—and all of that's part of the process of repentance.

But notice, v 9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings" (vs 9-10). God is there!

That's all a part of repentance. This you do to God personally. It's not a public thing that you do. You do this personally. As Jesus said, you 'go into your closet'—that means a quiet, private place. I know when I first read that I went into my closet and about suffocated. I soon figured out that if I was in a quiet, private place I could kneel down and pray to God. This is between you and God. You're not to confess your sins to any man. And besides, God knows this. That's why He doesn't require you to confess sins to a priest; that I doubt that there is anyone who confesses sins to the priest that really tells all the truth! They want to admit only as much as they need to admit so they will feel good and then they can do their laps on the beads. But, when you come before God alone in repentance, it's between you and God. You can bear your soul to God. You can be truthful to Him. After all He knows—doesn't He? If He knows all the hair on your head then He knows every thought that you have. That's why we need repentance.

Let's look and see what we are to do after, when we come to this point of repentance. Let's see who is responsible for that, and this is what's so important. John 6:44: "No one can come to Me unless the Father, Who sent Me, draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." God the Father has to deal in your life to draw you. Stop and think about it for a minute: what a fantastic, absolute blessing that is, that God the Father, Who is the Sovereign of heaven and earth sends His Spirit to be with you to deal in your life, to draw Him to you. You have to be willing! He brings you to Christ.

Verse 45: "It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God'…. [That's what God is doing by leading you to repentance, He is teaching you. That's what God is doing when you study His Word, He's teaching you. If you're reading the Bible now with different eyes than you had in the past—because God is opening your mind to understanding—it is God the Father Who is doing it.] …Therefore, everyone who has heard… [and that also implies responds] …from the Father, and has learned, comes to Me."

In John 14 Jesus makes another statement, because now is not the time that God is saving the world. God is not using George W. Bush to save the world. He's going to use Christ. He is using Christ now for the firstfruits, John 14:6: "Jesus said to him, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me." So, both of Them agree; but what do They look for? They look for someone who is willing to repent! You can seek after God, but you have to seek Him in Spirit and in Truth. Which means: if you don't seek God in Truth, you're not going to find the true God. That's why there's so many varieties of religions which God never originated.

Let's come to Romans the second chapter and let's see what else God does for us. God the Father is the One Who intervenes in your life. He's intervened in all of our lives. I can look back and I can remember the time—hindsight is better than foresight; it's always 20/20—when God began dealing with me and it had nothing to do with religion, but it had to do with a challenge of the professor who said, 'If you believe the Bible and believe in God there's the door you can get out of this classroom.' That just really upset me; not that I was a church-goer or believer. I wasn't a non-believer, I wasn't a believer, but that really set me off and I can look back at that time. I also remember when God did lead me to repentance and I was driving down to Pasadena to be baptized. I remember the exact place on Highway 99 that I was crying and weeping and repenting as I was driving. All of you can look back and see and remember that point.

Since it's God the Father that is dealing in your life,  this will help you understand Romans 2:4: "Or do you despise the riches of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the graciousness of God leads you to repentance?" That's how we come to repentance. We see ourselves for what we are. We realize we're helpless. We realize that we need God's help. Of course, the truth is, we remain helpless even after that, because now we are going to depend upon God.

Let's come to 1-John 1:7, and let's see the process of repentance: "However, if we walk in the Light… [and Christ is the light, and He gives us that light] …as He is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His own Son, cleanses us from all sin." This is talking about those who have already repented and have been baptized and received the Holy Spirit of God—they need ongoing cleansing of sin every day. That's why the model prayer is: 'Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us.' And that's a daily prayer.

Verse 8: "If we say that we do not have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the Truth is not in us. If we confess our own sins… [we confess them to Christ] …He is faithful and righteous, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (vs 8-9). That's the operation of grace continually in our lives. That's how we confess our sins in repentance.

Let's see the next step. Let's come to Acts 2—there are other Scriptures that you can read in the Belief's booklet that are there, and we'll end this review of repentance and then we'll get into baptism, because they go together just like a hand-in-glove and nut and bolt. That is why it is so deceitful of the religionists who say: 'Put your hand on the radio or television and receive the Lord.' There are many sincere people who do that; especially if they're convicted of sin, they do that. But you must be baptized—by full water immersion—because it is a burial into the death of Christ.

Let's come here to Acts 2:36—after they heard the sermon, here's the conclusion of the sermon: "Therefore, let all the house of Israel know with full assurance that God has made this same Jesus, Whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ…. [This is the Scripture which tells us that we have had our part in crucifying Christ.] …Now after hearing this, they were cut to the heart… [Who led them to that repentance? God the Father did! On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was sent. The Holy Spirit, being the power of God, worked in their lives.] …Then Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you yourselves shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (vs 36-38). When we get to the section on justification you will understand even a little more about that.

Water Baptism:

Upon genuine, Godly repentance…

There is a sorrow of the world. And the sorrow of the world is not repentance to God. That's why it's upon true,Godly repentance!

…and acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior, the believer must be baptized by complete immersion in water for the remission of his or her sins. Water baptism symbolizes the death and burial of each repentant believer—[which is] a spiritual conjoining into the death of Jesus Christ….

Remember: the death of Jesus Christ was a covenant death. When you are baptized and put into that watery grave, you have joined in the covenant death with Christ.

…Through this baptismal death, the believer becomes a partaker of the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, and His blood is applied as full payment for his or her sins….

Then from that time forward is available through grace as a propitiation for our sins.

…Rising up out of the water is symbolic of being conjoined into the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When the believer comes up out of the watery grave of baptism, he or she rises to [walk in] newness of life [which is the way of the Lord]. In order to become a new person, each baptized believer must be begotten with the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. The believer is then led by the Holy Spirit to walk in loving obedience to God the Father and faith in Jesus Christ.

Let's, look at the meaning of baptism. This baptism does something for us, which is very powerful, which nothing else can do. It doesn't remove entirely the carnal nature that we have, but it does something to our minds. This is by the operation of baptism.

Colossians 2:10: "And you are complete in Him, Who is the Head of all principality and power In Whom you have also been circumcised with the circumcision not made by hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (vs 10-11). The circumcision of Christ is the receiving of the Holy Spirit. And the receiving of the Holy Spirit is the earnest or God's pledge or down payment until the time of the purchase of the redemption which then is at the resurrection. That is the circumcision of the heart.

Verse 12: "Having been buried with him in baptism… [that's how it's accomplished] …Having been buried with Him in baptism, by which you have also been raised with Him through the inner working of God, Who raised Him from the dead. For you, who were once dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has now made alive with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses" (vs 12-13). We have other sermons to get into the detail things of the technicalities of Colossians, the second chapter, which we won't get into today, because we're talking about water baptism.

Let's come to Romans, the second chapter, and let's see what this circumcision is. Under the Old Covenant only the males were circumcisized. In the New Covenant the circumcision of Christ, with the heart and the mind, is for both men and women. Paul explains that it has to be in the Spirit.

Romans 2:28: "For he is not a Jew who isone outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is external in the flesh; Rather, he is a Jew who is one inwardly… [This refers to Jesus, not that you become a Jew, as Jews are today, because Christ is to dwell in you and Christ was a Jew, and so this has to refer to Christ in you.] …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). This is what baptism does for you.

We'll see the whole operation put together. This is what becomes very important. Romans 6:1: "What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, so that grace may abound?" Remember the quote that I put in A Harmony of the Gospels in the section on the Sermon on the Mount from Martin Luther? Who said, 'Though your sins be strong, let the grace be stronger. Though you murder a thousand times a day, or commit adultery a thousand times, God's grace is stronger.' That's a false grace, brethren. And unfortunately, that's one of the foundations of Protestantism.

Paul says, v 1: "What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, so that grace may abound? [God forbid] MAY IT NEVER BE! We who died to sin, how shall we live any longer therein?…. [because when you are baptized, you die to sin] …Or are you ignorant that we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him… [the Greek means: co-buried] …though the baptism into the death; so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in the same way, we also should walk in newness of life…. [meaning we don't walk as the world walks; we don't talk as the world talks] …For if we have been conjoined together in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the likeness of His resurrection…" (vs 1-5).

In reading that, how could anyone believe that people go to heaven when they die? And yet, you can go to funerals and hear ministers say, 'Well, you know, Aunt Mary's looking down on us right now from heaven.' I remember the two Protestant ministers that were on Larry King Live after the 9/11 event, and Larry King said, 'What about the young children that died in that?' The Protestant said, 'Instant heaven, instant heaven!'

Well, we know the Truth of what is called and shown in the book of Revelation, which is the second resurrection. It is the resurrection! Christ made it very clear: 'No one has ascended unto heaven except the Son of man who came down from heaven.' But when they reject the resurrection, they have to substitute going to heaven, which is a lie, in order to justify what they're teaching.

"…be in the likeness of His resurrection… [That's a promise! That's our hope!] …Knowing this, that our old man was co-crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed… [showing that it's a process] …so that we might no longer be enslaved to sin… [not serve sin] …because the one who has died to sin… [through baptism] …has been justified from sin" (vs 5-7). You are justified from sin. Being freed from sin gives the connotation that you shall never sin again after that—which is not true. You're justified from sins, being past sins.

Verse 8: "Now, if we died together with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has any dominion over Him. For when He died, He died unto sin once for all; but in that He lives, He lives unto God. In the same way also… [exactly in the same manner] …you should indeed reckon… [figure, calculate, base your life on this]…reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God through Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body…" (vs 8-12). It's going to be there to pull you down. It's going to be there to tempt you because you still have human nature. But don't let it rule! Don't let it reign!

"…by obeying it in the lusts thereof. Likewise, do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin; rather, yield yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead…" (vs 12-13).

  • showing a process
  • showing time
  • showing overcoming
  • showing growing in grace and knowledge

"…and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not rule over you because you are not under law, but under grace" (vs 13-14). If you have the Spirit of God, sin will not have dominion over you.

You can just give yourself over to it, that is true. And if you reject God and sin willfully, then you have allowed it to have dominion over you. But it will not have dominion over you if you continually yield to God. That's what it's talking about here. If you are yielding to God and striving for the righteousness; if you're going to God and drinking in of His Spirit, of His love, of His grace and all of those things, which build spiritual character, then sin will not have dominion over you.

"…you are not under law, but under grace" (v 14). That is true! You receive the Spirit of God; you are under His grace. And as we saw, as we started out the chapter: "…Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound" (v 1). NO! He explains the process here. We are under grace. Grace does not give license to sin.

  • Grace gives us access to God.
  • Grace gives us the Spirit of God as a gift.
  • Grace gives salvation to us as a gift.
  • Grace gives us repentance, which comes from God—which is a gift.
  • And grace means gift.

So there we have it. We are under grace.

Under the Old Covenant, when they sinned what did they have to do? They had to offer an offering—correct? They were under law; we are not under law, though we don't reject the commandments and laws of God. That's the hardest ones for the Protestants to figure out.

Verse 15: "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? MAY IT NEVER BE!…. [He answers the question again. Then he explains it very clearly, and this is the whole process of growing and overcoming:] …Don't you realize that to whom you yield yourselves as servants to obey, you are servants of the one you obey…" (vs 15-16). The Greek there is 'doulos' which means slave. Ever have a bad habit you've had to overcome. How about smoking? Chewing? Drinking? Gambling? Lottos? They can get a hold of people and just make them slaves. They're slaves to it. Well, we're not to be slaves to sin that we should obey it!

"…you are servants of the one you obey… [very interesting—isn't it?] …whether it is of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?… [If you obey sin unto death, who are you following? Satan the devil!] …or of obedience unto righteousness?…. [Whom are you serving? God the Father and Jesus Christ!] …But thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you; and having been delivered from sin, you became the servants of righteousness" (vs 16-18). And becoming the servants of righteousness, your whole life then becomes one of:

  • loving God
  • serving God
  • growing in grace and knowledge
  • understanding His Word
  • and living His way

That's why we are peculiar people on this earth. Those who don't like what God has, calls us the followers of a cult. But the real truth is: a cult is any substitution for God's way. So, what they label us, or others who keep the Sabbath, that's exactly what they are because they don't believe God! Maybe you've never thought of it that way, but that's just the way it works out.

Verse 19: "I speak from a human point of view because of the weakness of your flesh… [You know, 'the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.'] …for just as you once yielded your members in bondage to uncleanness, and to lawlessness unto lawlessness, so now yield your members in bondage to righteousness unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. Therefore, what fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end result of those things is death. But now that you have been delivered from sin and have become servants of God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." (vs 19-23).

That's the whole process. There it gives the whole meaning of repentance and baptism and the operation of the Holy Spirit of God in your life after baptism. It's a completely different understanding than most people who profess Christianity in the world. When you truly understand the Scriptures, for what the Scriptures say, it gives you a far different story than picking and choosing different Scriptures and giving personal interpretations upon it, and then claiming that Christ has done away with the Law so you have liberty and grace to do anything you want to. That's the meaning of baptism!

Track 2 or Download


Now we come to the section in the Belief's booklet on justification. Right next to the word justification put an equal sign (=)—equals 'right standing with God through Jesus Christ.' As the Bible defines it—we need to understand this: 'every way of a man is right in his own eyes'—or just in his own eyes. Even some of the most despicable crimes committed, even the 9/11 crimes, were justified by what? In the name of Allah! Human beings cannot operate unless they justify. And that's what the deceptiveness of human nature does. God also has a justification, which is profound and very important because it puts you in right standing with God. Notice the sequence of how these have come: you have

  • repentance
  • water baptism
  • justification

—because those are the steps of the operation that God has. Now, I'll read from the Belief's booklet here:

Justification: Justification is freely granted to the called and repentant believer by God the Father through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Justification takes place when the believer's sins are removed by the blood of Jesus Christ and he or she is put into right standing with God the Father. In order to receive God's gift of justification, a person must repent toward God, believe in the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and be baptized by [water] immersion. The believer is then cleansed from sin and is without condemnation, placing him or her in right standing with God the Father. This state of justification is called the 'gift of righteousness' because God the Father freely imputes the righteousness of Jesus Christ to the believer. (Beliefs of the Christian Biblical Church of God, p16).

Why is this so confusing in religious circles in the world? Because it is! They like to be justified for their past sins so they can continue in their sins. They don't exactly put it that way, but that's the sum of it. Let's look at a couple of Scriptures here and see if we can untangle it. And most of these will be in the book of Romans.

Romans 2:13: "(Because the hearers of the law are not just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." Showing that upon repentance you have to keep the laws and commandments of God. In other words, if a person is not willing to obey God, he is not going to be justified—it's that simple. Cannot be put in right standing with God.

Now, let's look at another Scripture which has thrown Protestantism into a complete utter disaster—and that's why it's going to die. You know Protestantism is dying, you know that—don't you?

We come to a very tricky verse, and I think we can unlock the trickiness of this verse, Romans 10:4. In one of my travels I turned on the TV and I saw Copeland's son preaching—first time I ever saw him preach. He started right out there in Romans 10:4[transcriber's correction]: "For Christ isthe end of works of law for righteousness to everyone who believes" BAM! All the Law of God is done away. Christ ended the law, there's nothing more to be kept. Do you think it's possible to take that one verse and throw out all the rest of the Bible? Do you think it's possible to end law? Try ending the law of gravity. Can't do it! Would Christ, Who is the Lawgiver, be the end of all law? That's what they assume. Let's find out what it's talking about because this has great deal to do with justification.

Remember, men made the chapter breaks; it flows right through otherwise. Romans 9:30: "What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not follow after righteousness, have attained righteousness, even the righteousness that is by faith."

  • by believing in God
  • by being baptized
  • by receiving the Holy Spirit
  • by walking in newness of life

Verse 31: "But Israel, although they followed after a law of righteousness, did not attain to a law of righteousness. Why?.… [How did that happen? Just like the Pharisee and the publican.] …Because they did not seek it by faith, but by works of law…. [In every case in the book of Romans—with the exception of Rom. 2:14, 'the works of the law'—should read: 'works of law.' In the Greek the definite article is not there, and with the definite article not being there it has a different meaning altogether. By works of law.] …for they stumbled at the Stone of stumbling, exactly as it is written: 'Behold, I place in Sion a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense, but everyone who believes in Him shall not be ashamed'" (vs 31-33).

Romans 10:1: "Brethren, the earnest desire of my heart and my supplication to God for Israel is for salvation. For I testify of them that they have a zeal for God… [There are a lot of people that have zeal for God—a lot of people.] …but not according to knowledge" (vs 1-2). That's why I recommended that you read the book, The Code of Jewish Law. Because, if you haven't read The Code of Jewish Law you do not understand what he's talking about. The Jews have laws for everything to justify them to Judaism. That does not justify them to God! And they are all 'works of law.' So they have a "…zeal for God, but not according to knowledge."

Verse 3: "For they, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God."

Now then, how do people today establish their own righteousness if they're not a Jew? Well, the Catholics have established theirs haven't they—eliminated the Sabbath and proclaimed Sunday as the day of worship. Confess your sins to the priest, partake of the seven sacraments, obey the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. That's their own righteousness. It's not the righteousness of God! Protestants, likewise following in their footsteps, do the same thing. They're not submitting to the righteousness of God. They have a 'zeal' for God, but 'not according to knowledge.' And being ignorant of God's way, they go about to establish their own righteousness.

Whenever you find any time anyone does away with any of the laws and commandments of God—which we are to keep—they always come up with their own devices, which is their own righteousness. It always happens! Some people don't like the Sabbath so they keep Sunday. They don't like the Holy Days, so they have Christmas, Easter, New Years, etc. That's their own righteousness. Some people don't believe in tithes and offerings so they have pledges. Well, that's a substitute system. That's their own righteousness. God has the best way through tithes and offerings. Same way with clean and unclean foods. 'Oh, well, that's not for us today.' Listen, don't you think they could cook pork well done way back when? Yes! The truth is you can cook pork well done and you look under a microscope and you still see the trichinosis in it. God had a reason for that.

Now we're ready for v 3: "…have not submitted to the righteousness of God…. [What were they seeking? Their own righteousness! How were they doing it? By works of law! We can understand v 4 very clearly, because v 4 cannot be taken out of context with what is there]: …For Christ isthe end of works of law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (vs 3-4). It's talking about works of law. It's not talking about all the laws of God. As Paul said, 'God forbid.' Shall you murder and say 'God, I have license.' So, you bow down to an idol and say, 'This is my god, like the Dalai Lama. I like to call him the 'deli-lama.' He points to this little statue in an interview and says, 'That's my boss.' No! Christ is 'the end of the works of law for righteousness to everyone that believes'—and that is the context. That's what it means.

Verse 5: "For Moses wrote concerning the righteousness that comesthrough the law, 'The man who has practiced those things shall live by them.'" That is true, but there's another profound thing which you can read in The ChristianPassover book, that under Moses they were justified in the flesh, to the temple, because they did not have the Holy Spirit of God. God does not give salvation to some people one way and salvation to other people another way. He gives it to all people the same way. That's why when you understand about the second resurrection; those who have not been called now will have the second physical life for a first opportunity because they never had it while they lived, because God didn't call them. God is fair! You've got to have fairness—God is fair! Better way of putting it: God is righteous and God is just!
Rom. 10:4 has absolutely nothing to do with the termination of the laws and commandments of God. It terminates the works of law of sacrifices and rituals—that's what it terminates.

Let's come back to Romans 3 and let's look at another difficult verse—and this really blew me away when I first read it; I couldn't understand it. This is where they get all confused. Let's see if we can eliminate some of that confusion today.

Romans 3:20: "Therefore, by works of law there shall no flesh be justified before Him…. [When I first read that I said, 'What am I doing keeping the commandments of God?' That was a stumper for me. Then I went on]: …for through the law isthe knowledge of sin…. [I understood that 'sin is the transgression of the law.' I understood that. This next verse I didn't understand either]: …But now, the righteousness of God that is separate from law has been revealed… [I thought: How can you have righteousness without the law? Because you read that and you think that is the absence of law. Does it mean the absence of law? or Does the Greek mean something else?] …being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets" (vs 20-21).

Those two verses seem, in the King James, very contradictory and reasoning in a circle and hard to understand. However, if you understand concerning works of law, v 20 "Therefore by works of law… [Ah-ha, that is the sacrifices and rituals] …there shall no flesh be justified before Him... [Why? Because there's no repentance, there is no baptism!] …for through the law isthe knowledge of sin." All the laws and commandments of God tell us what is righteous, and breaking that is sin. All of the rituals and animal sacrifices was a reminder of sin, year-by-year, as the Apostle Paul says

Verse 21: "But now, the righteousness of God… [which is right standing with God in heaven above—separate, not 'without'; not the absence of, but separate from the law] …that is separate from law has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets."

How did the sacrifice of Christ come? By law or by grace? By grace! Is that separate from the Law and the Prophets? Yes! Even though they witness to it. It is a separate operation. It is a special, separate, spiritual operation that God does.

For example: If a person commits murder and then escapes. You can probably see some of these documentaries on television. There was an account of one man who escaped, wasn't arrested. He went to Colorado and he lived an exemplary life. And lo and behold, twenty years later when they had the Most Wanted on television; had his picture, someone recognized him and turned him in. Now then, just suppose he came before the judge and said, 'Judge, look, I want you to overlook this murder, because after all I've lived a good life for twenty years.' Did his living a good life for twenty years make right the murder that he committed? NO! The truth is, no law justifies you—period! And in keeping the laws and commandments of God you are not seeking justification; you are living in obedience, and that is a different operation.

That's why it says, Romans 2:13: "(Because the hearers of the law are not just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." You can't be living in a state of sin when you're justified, you must repent and change your ways, then you are not living in a state of sin. Then the blood of Christ is applied to your life and you are justified. Law cannot justify you.

Let's use another example: Suppose you didn't keep any day Holy or suppose you are a Sunday-keeper for years and years, and all of a sudden you find out about the Sabbath. So, you start keeping the Sabbath. That's a good step. Now, suppose you never go any further, you never repent, you're never baptized, you never follow through on it and it comes time for the resurrection and God says you're still a sinner. But he says, 'Well, I've been keeping the Sabbath. When I found out about it, I kept it.' And God says, 'All your Sabbath-keeping previously, when you were breaking it, was required and all your Sabbath-keeping that you've been doing since then does not undo the sin which happened previously.'

When people say that we are seeking to be justified by Sabbath-keeping, they are incorrect; because we are only justified by the sacrifice of Christ. And nothing, brethren, can replace the sacrifice of Christ to forgive your sins—period!

  • No law!
  • No person!
  • No sacrifice!

can do that whatsoever. And I say sacrifice, I mean animal sacrifice.

How is it done? Romans 3:22: "Even the righteousness… [which then is justificationbeing put in right standing with God] …of God thatis through the faith of Jesus Christ…" You believe what God has said. You believe in the sacrifice of Christ and you believe in the blood of Christ, and that justifies you. Nothing else does!

"…toward all and upon all those who believe; for there is no difference" (v 22). Because even to this day, the Jews say they have the corner on the God-market. 'We're the chosen people,' they say. Well, if you're the chosen people, thank you, I don't want any of that because I don't think you're too chosen being over there in Israel, called today. You just think about all they've gone through, through the years. They are not the chosen people because they rejected Christ, then God rejected them, and that's just the long and the short of it. They have to repent like everybody else, and they have to accept Jesus Christ.

Verse 23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God… [everyone has] …but are being justified freely by His grace…" (vs 23-24). Not through law-keeping; commandment and law-keeping is required. That's why the 'doers of the law' shall be justified. The 'hearers' won't. But they do not have the blood of Jesus Christ applied to them because they're not willing to quit sinning.

"…being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus …['For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God'] …Whom God has openly manifested to be a propitiation… [which is continually atoning, cleansing sacrifice] …through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, in respect to the remission of sins that are past, Through the forbearance of God…" (vs 24-26).

Let me just clarify one thing here: All sin is past sin! What do I mean by that? Today, sitting here today, have you sinned tomorrow? No! Tomorrow hasn't come—has it? How could you sin tomorrow, here today? It's an incongruous statement. When you sin in a moment of time, as soon as you have sinned, it is past—is it not? Yes! That's why it says 'of past sins'—so that you cannot have something like the Catholic Church that has the selling of indulgence for future sin. That's in the very Bible they have, which they read out of occasionally.

"…of sins that are past, Through the forbearance of God; yes, to publicly declare His righteousness in the present time, that He might be just, and the one Who justifies the one who is of the faith of Jesus. Therefore, where is boasting? It is excluded. Through what law? The law of works? By no means! Rather, it is through a law of faith" (vs 25-27) How about that. There's law and faith put together. The 'law of faith,' which means: this is the rule of belief in God and the law by which now through faith you have your sins forgiven through Christ, rather than works of law of ritual and sacrifices.

Verse 28: "Consequently, we reckon that a man is justified by faith separate from works of law…. [It's a separate operation. The way you can always remember it is this: Nothing can forgive your sins but the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ—period!] …Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? YES! He is also God of the Gentiles, Since it is indeed one God Who will justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. Are we, then, abolishing law through faith? MAY IT NEVER BE! Rather, we are establishing law" (vs 28-31).

How is that established? So that you may love God with all your heart and mind and soul and being, and that you do it from the heart and not do it exteriorly just because it is there in the letter. That is how you are justified to God—put in right standing with Him, which is a great blessing and privilege that God has done because He's called you by grace.

The Great Sovereign of the universe has made you—upon baptism and receipt of the Holy Spirit—one of His begotten children, and you await the resurrection and the return of Jesus Christ! That's how you're justified.

Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scripture References

  • Hebrews 4:12-16
  • Jeremiah 17:5-10
  • John 6:44-45
  • John 14:6
  • Romans 2:4
  • 1 John 1:7-9
  • Acts 2:36-38
  • Colossians 2:10-13
  • Romans 2:28-29
  • Romans 6:1-14, 1, 15-23
  • Romans 2:13
  • Romans 10:4
  • Romans 9:30-33
  • Romans 3:20-21
  • Romans 10:1-5
  • Romans 2-13
  • Romans 3:20-31

Also referenced:


    • Beliefs of the Christian Biblical Church of God by Fred R. Coulter


    • A Harmony of the Gospels by Fred R. Coulter
    • The Code of Jewish Law by Solomon Ganzfried, Hyman E. Goldin
    • The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter

Transcribed: 5-15-07
Reformatted: 9/18/11