Thanksgiving Law & Grace P1 – Bob George (11-25-20)
When we think of what Jesus did for us at the cross, we have much to be thankful for. We were born spiritually dead, born under the law of sin and death in weakened flesh. Unless we are out from under that law of sin that caused our death, then we will remain in a state of eternal death, forever separated from the Lord, miserable, wretched and without hope. But God in the person of Jesus Christ rescued us, reconciled us to Himself, having paid the just requirements of the law for us. Our sins were judged. The verdict was guilty. The punishment was death and Jesus took it all.
Jesus’ shed blood on a cross is what prepared the way for life to be given. Now that sin and death is out of the way, and He has risen from the dead. He offers the same life that raised Him from the dead to you and me. As great as it is for our sins to be forgiven, how much greater is being made alive in Christ Jesus. For if Jesus was not raised from the dead then I would still be dead in my trespasses and sins, and so would you. So the issue of salvation is this. Did you come to Jesus Christ by faith alone and receive the eternal life, His life, to come alive in you? Did you invite Him in to be your Lord, master and best friend?
So we are studying the book of Romans on this topic of law and grace. The Jews in the days of the apostles thought they could be made right before God by the deeds of the law. So too do people still today. The apostle Paul made it very clear that no one will be justified before God by observing the law. The purpose of the law was never to make anyone perfect. It could not do so because of our weakened nature. We could not pull it off. For even as James said, if you stumble at one point, you are guilty of breaking all of the law.
So what then is the purpose of the law? It was there so you could recognize your wretched state, of your sinfulness and unrighteousness, that you might recognize your need, that you are spiritually dead and in need of new spiritual life. The law was there to lead you to Christ, to faith alone in His provision for you, that you might have life in His name. That is the mercy and grace of God, that I do not receive what I deserve, which is death for sin, and I receive what I do not deserve, the very righteousness of God in Christ, for I never had any of my own.
So listen now as Bob highlights the major concepts of law and grace from the book of Romans, and elaborates on its meaning. He shares from Romans 2, of this improper attitude of boasting in the law, thinking you can obey the law, with this prideful attitude that keeps you from seeing your real need that the law was there to show you. The attitude of heart God wants us to have is to recognize our need and go to Him to supply your every need. So listen now as Bob explains select passages from Romans 5, 6 and 7, on these concepts of the grace of God, of being transferred from out of this law of sin and death and into the new law of liberty in Christ Jesus.
Bob elaborates with an illustration with a map of the United States, representing graceland. For illustration purposes, you were rescued and were transported and became a citizen of the United States. The United States represents the land of grace, of a new master over you, who is always there to serve you for your good, and the other lands you came from, whom you once were a citizen of, under a tyrannical leader, represent the land of sin and death, with Satan as your master. You no longer have to submit to your old master any more. You are not under the law of that land any more. When you are born again, you have become citizens of heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ as your master, whom you are free to serve, and are no longer under condemnation, under the law of sin and death, but are set free to serve in the new way of the Spirit, under the law of liberty in Christ Jesus.
You serve not by the old way of the written code, with its rules and regulations, that only serve to condemn you, but in the way of the Spirit, which only encourages you and trains you in the new mind of Christ He has given you, with new attitudes of heart. The love of God was poured into your heart, in whom you responded to and so you freely want to respond back to Him in all gratitude. So as born believers, knowing our actions will not be perfect, but as a child of God, the expressed goal of our hearts is for these new attitudes of heart to show forth in action, that comes not by observing the law, but by allowing the life of Christ to be lived in you and through you, allowing Him to renew your mind and abiding in Him.
I wonder what would happen if we treated our bible like we treated our cell phone. What if we carry around in our purse or pocket? What if I flipped through it several times a day? What if we turned around to go get it when we forgot it? What if we use it to receive messages from the text? What if we treated it like we could not live without it? What if we gave it to our children as it fits? What if we used it when we traveled? What if we used it in case of emergency? And one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we do not have to worry about if the bible is disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill. This makes you say “Hmm. Where is my bible?”
Let us turn back again to the book of Romans, and guys, think that where the difficulty comes in, many times in biblical understanding, is we forget that, as an example, this whole book of Romans is dealing with the contrast between law and grace and showing us the purpose of the law and how we have misused its purpose and made it a means of righteousness instead of a means of showing you your sinfulness.
All through scripture, I circle things when I read. Turn to chapter 2, starting in verse 12. I just circle the word “law”.
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
So he is talking about the law. But he said, “you call yourself a Jew, if you rely upon the law.” Here is the definition of people who have never escaped from the law. Whether you are in graceland over here or law land over there, if you are truly born again, as we described last week, you have been taken out of this realm over here altogether. You have been transferred over here into the kingdom of His Son that we love and whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. You have been removed from the demands of the law.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Folks, if you are in law land, you are miserable. The things you want to do you do not do. The things you do not want to do you do them anyway. It is a miserable existence. You are in slavery. You are absolutely enslaved by the demands of the law. Because if you are under the law, then you are under the penalty of the law, which is spiritual death. It is not a desirable condition to be in. Yet people will hang on to what kills them tenaciously. Just like our cell phone. Hang on tenaciously to what kills you, and come over here in graceland and say, “you people are nuts. Too good to be true.” The issue is you are in bondage. You are miserable. You make people around you miserable because you are in bondage. That is what it says about law.
It says these kinds of people that they like to make people think they are under the law and doing good under it. Why would you hear people on the air say, “You mean to tell me you are not under law?” I say to them, “You must believe you are doing good under it. Why would you be calling to defend the law unless you thought you were doing good under it? You are dead. You are lost. If you are saved, you would not be under that law. This is how people act.
17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God;
People who rely on law, they boast. That is what people do, brag about their relationship with God. “I am one holy dude. I love me too. I am so good.” I say, “let me interview your wife.”
18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark,
We are going to tell everybody what to do. We will tell everybody how to obey the law because we are law-abiding. Anybody here law-abiding? Anybody here want to stand before God absolutely without any sin in your life? For that is what it takes. If you are under the law, Paul said, you are under all of it. James says if you kept the whole law and violated one point of it, you violated all of it. You want to stand before God like that? That is His requirements, not yours. For you have got self righteous requirements, not His, bragging of how good you are.
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself?
What is he doing there, guys? He is burying you, if you are able to be buried.
You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Do you ever steal time? Do you ever lust? No need to raise hands, but if you have you committed adultery in God’s sight. This is how God looks at you, not how we watered it down. This is how God looks at it. Are you free from guilt?
23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
If you are going to uphold something and brag on it, you better keep it. Otherwise, what do you call that? Hypocrites. That is what most Christians are called. Do you know why they are hypocrites? They are saying they are under the law and I am obeying the law when they are not and people see that. If teaching the grace of God, then nobody will call you a hypocrite because you are not saying that you are good. You are teaching He is good. It could be church attendance, tithing records, circumcision. It could be anything.
25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised.
You have not been baptized or not been a church goer or whatever it might be.
26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
That is just one passage in there about the law. We go over into chapter 5. We talk about the peace of God that surpasses understanding. It talks about how we have been justified when we were God’s enemies, lost. It talks about being saved by His life.
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned – 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given,
Again guys, that all through this book of Romans, it is the law, the law, the law. And we ignore that.
but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
In other words, the wages of sin is death whether you are under the law or not under the law. Before the law came, even before there was a law, still the wages of sin was death. And so, what he is saying here, is we have all died. All of us are born into this world dead spiritually. What keeps us dead? The law. And again, we have to see, if you will, go back over to verse 14 in chapter 6.
14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
So as long as you are under the law, sin is your master. Again, guys, we are over here in law land. And sin is your master, why? Because you are under the law. If you are under the law, what is the wages of sin, under the law? Death. Now, that is a problem isn’t it? God had to free these people, as an example, to free them from the consequence of sin, which is death, spiritual death. You have natural man and you have spiritual man. You have natural birth and you have spiritual birth. We are talking about spiritual things. They had to be saved from the consequence of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is life eternal. They are under the reign of sin and death. They have no choice. The things they want to do they do not do. The things they do not want to do they do them anyway.
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
You look into the mirror, as I did for 36 years, and say, “Bob George, what is this thing looking back at you? Who are you? What is wrong with you? Why can ’ t you do and be the kind of person that God wants you to be?” Because I was under the law. Did I know I was under the law? I did not know it. I did not pay any attention to it. But it was still true. I was under the death penalty. I was still empty inside. I did not know I was dead spiritually. But I sure knew I was empty spiritually even though I went to church on Sunday and gave my dollar a week, if I felt generous that week.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So you can play church over here. And you can be aware of your emptiness over here. Why? Because scripture tells us that the purpose of the law is to manifest your sinfulness and to show you that you are sinful and to show you that there is a consequence to sin called death and you are dead spiritually and in need of spiritual life. That is the purpose of the law. Not to use it as a standard of holiness because you cannot keep it. But to show you your death. Death is final, bad.
There is no spiritual life over here. You can play church. You can dress up and go to church every Sunday. You can give tithes and offerings. You can play religion. In fact that is what Satan gets you to do. Satan says “I am sure not going to teach that you are dead and there is spiritual life available to you. So I will teach you how to be religious, teach you how to dress up and look good, teach you how to lie spiritually and teach you how to evangelize. I can teach you anything.” You can be taught anything but you are dead. It is not the case of how bad you are or how good you are but how dead you are. All through scriptures, the wages of sin is what? Death.
Sin shall not be your master. When you are under law, sin is your master. He is your owner. You are just like a slave with an owner, a mean one that takes you, manipulates us, coerces in every way, shape and form. He came to steal kill and destroy.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
That is Satan. That is your landlord.
Now, what is salvation? Oh, you sinned! You need your sins forgiven. No! You know we never went beyond that. “Oh, you sinned and you need your sins forgiven.” To this day that is the major teaching in Christendom. “All you need is sins forgiven because basically you are a good person?” No! You are dead. You are a stinking corpse. Dead. I do not care how nice you look. I do not care how much spiritual perfume and deodorant you put on. You are dead. “You have to be politically correct.” “That is not nice to say that about those sweet people.” Those are nice people over there. Yes. But they are dead. Obviously nice corpses around but they are dead.
We have to understand this is what God had to come to do, not just to take away your sins. Your sins are what caused your death. “So if I did not take away what caused it, why would I give you life? If I did not take away what caused it and gave you life, the next time you sinned, you would be dead again. I had to free you from that whole realm that you live in, the whole realm of it, under control as a prisoner, locked up until faith in Christ should be revealed.
22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.
Who in the world is going to be capable of taking you out of that state of death into life? Is Buddha going to do it? Is Mohammad going to do it? Is any man you know going to do it? These people that get up and say this is what religion is. They are bull. All religion is junk. All of it, including the Christian religion if that is all you have is religion. It is all dung compared to that of knowing the only one whose life was capable of being laid down, totally taking away the sins of the whole world, not covering them, but taking them away and was raised from the dead so that you and I could be raised from the dead.
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
New citizenship. As an example, you have let us say, we have a map of the United States and at the lower end of that map. Do we have that map on the computer? On the southern end is Mexico, and on the northern end is Canada. Let us say you were born in Mexico, and in Mexico. These are just examples. In Mexico, it is a tough life. You have a tyrant as your master, and he reigns does he not? As long as you are there, he reigns. One day somebody comes and gets you, as we showed you last week with James and his wife, and picked you up and moved you over to graceland. Now no longer over here. And that is why it says you used to live here. We died to sin, shall we live in it any more? You do not live here anymore. You do not live understanding in principle that God is not dealing with you as a born again believer. James, I wish you guys get up and move again. Let us all of you move out of here. All of you who are born again, move out of here. What I am saying is you are all under the law. So when you move, you are moving out of the law. So get out of there. Empty that place out. You are over here now in graceland. I can see you better too. Now you got one couple back there that wants to stay dead. If they want to stay dead that is their choice. But you are dead under the law and if you stay there you are going to go where you want to go because you do not want to go to graceland. You want to stay under law, dead. And you have the right to do that. You have a choice to do that. But to those who said “no, I do not want to live under that law. It kills me. I want to live under grace. I want to be led internally by the Spirit of God. Now they are here, a brand new place. They moved out of Mexico and now they live in the United States. In the United States, you can choose many places to live. That is why it is called the United States because they are states united to one another. Even though different states can have different laws but all under one law called America, the United States of what? America. You are children now of the living God. You are now not a Baptist or a Presbyterian or a Methodist. Your identity is not where you park your car on Sundays or Saturdays. Your identity is who you are. You have been made into a new creation. You are over here now. You are no longer over here.
You say, “Can I go back?” No, you absolutely cannot go back any more than a butterfly can go back to being a caterpillar. He is a new creation but you can visit close by. That is what a lot of Christians do. I know I cannot go back but I will sit on this aisle over here, close enough under law. No, I am not under it but close to it for it was my friend. Heaven forbid.
Let us read this.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin;
You are over here. Where you lived, sin and death, you died to that. Guys, do you realize that God is no longer dealing with you on the basis of sin and death. Do you realize that? He is not dealing with you on the basis of sin. Not if you are over here. You say, “I did it again. ” “What again?” “The sin I committed yesterday.” “It is taken away.” “Well, the sin I am going to do tomorrow.” “It has been taken away. What are you doing with me on the sin issue? I dealt with it 2000 years ago. I dealt with it at the cross. Your sins were judged. The verdict was guilty. The punishment was death and I took it all.” That is why there is none left for you. That is why it says in the bible.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Why is there no condemnation awaiting you. I deserve some condemnation. He says that is not the issue. “The issue is I dealt with it. I dealt with it in the most harsh way I knew. I crucified My Son on that cross where His blood was shed for you so that blood could be put on you and you could be identified with Him and through that identification be freed from sin. So I am not dealing with you on the basis of sin today.”
That is a far cry from that continual teaching that says, “Joe, you keep on sinning brother and God is going to get you. You keep on sinning, Jim, and God could take your business away from you. If you keep on sinning and I will take your cowboy tickets from you.” That is a far cry. That is not true. Do we deserve punishment? Yes. Do we get it? No. No condemnation.
Why? Because that was God’s plan. “I am not going to be drinking around with you for thousands of years. I am going to deal with it one time and judge it and eliminate it. To all of those who come to Christ by faith, you are under a different realm. You live in a different country. You no longer live in Mexico. You live in the United States, no longer live in Canada. You are under the rule and reign of the United States, a different ruler. Our ruler is Jesus. The ruler was Satan. Which do you want to live in, Satan’s world or God’s world? You have a choice. Over there, what does this world bring you? Misery, doesn’t it? It sounds so good. It sounds so tempting but the end of it is death.
How can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.