Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P53 (08-18-20)
Let us focus on this aspect of faith, this access to this grace in which we, who are in Christ, now stand. We know that anything which is not of faith is sin. Sin is what caused our death, but through faith in Christ Jesus, we were born again. The message of the gospel is life in Christ Jesus. It encompasses the totality of what Christ Jesus accomplished for us through His death, burial and resurrection, ultimately leading us to place our faith in His provision and receive eternal life, the life of Christ living in you.
Many of you have heard justification expressed as meaning just as if you had never sinned. That is part of justification, but there is more to justification than dealing with sin. The removal of sin did not save us. That is what prepared us for life to be given and for life to be received.
Dealing with sin is really what reconciliation is, which is what God did for us by sending His Son to shed His blood on a cross to take away the sins of the world. I am prepared to say what about the wages of sins, which is death? I recognize in me a greater need than sin, that I am dead and in need of life. Now, I have a deep desire to receive life.
So now, having been reconciled, we are saved through His life. Justification moves on to the resurrection of Christ Jesus, without which we would all remain dead in our sins. Justification includes this being made complete in Christ, having the life of Christ living in you.
Forgiveness cannot give life. Only life can give life, and the one who has the kind of life we need, eternal life, is the life in Christ Jesus. This is the faith we stand in, that Christ Jesus is our life. Every moment of every day, we trust the Spirit of God to live His life in and through us. God is love and God is Spirit. That God is living in us means that we have access to all that God is.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, here is the by-product of that. We have peace with God. The totality of the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection is what God has provided for us, life in Christ Jesus. It is not that we loved God but that He loved us first. We respond to that which God initiated and by faith receive all that He has provided for us. It is not that we get forgiven, but that we become a forgiven person. We enter into, by faith, what He has already provided. It is not that we get love or joy. We have access to what He has already deposited in us, by faith, the person of Christ Jesus living in us. By faith, we have access to all that God is. We live by the same faith that allowed Christ Jesus to come live inside of us. We continue to walk in that same faith, allowing Him to produce the fruit of the Spirit in and through us.
The fruit of the Spirit is all that God is, that He produces through us, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. In Christ you are going to have all of the fruit of the Spirit. So, by faith, we have gained access to Him, the Spirit of God. Faith is what enables us to walk in the newness of life in Christ Jesus, where these characteristics of God are manifested in our daily lives. How? By abiding in Him. We do not get love, as like in a vending machine. Love is already there. Peace is already there. The fruit is already there. We just access that by faith so it spills out into our daily lives.
As we go about living by faith, our minds need renewing. Many times we have believed error, believing something that is simply not true. Many times people think that if Christ is in you then you will not be experiencing suffering or trials or hardship. But that is simply not true. Jesus even told that in this world you will have tribulation, but to be of good cheer for He has overcome the world. He is living in you. He wants us to allow whatever trials and tribulations that may come our way to produce in us perseverance, and with perseverance character, and character, hope and that hope does not put us to shame. Why? God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
So faith, hope and love are all working together. Consider the perseverance of Job, and what character was produced in Him. We hold onto truth, and put faith in what God has said. He said that anyone who desires to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. It is not faith to believe contrary to what God has said. He wants to entrust ourselves to Him who said that He will cause all things to happen for our good, for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose. What is His purpose for us? Is it not to be conformed to the image of His Son? Pure gold is produced by the fires of life. He will complete the work He began in us. Let us just rest in Him and allow Him to direct our paths, no matter what trials and tribulations may come.
Ponder over 2 Corinthians 4, the spiritual truths God wants to reveal to you, in what attitudes of heart we should have when facing all kinds of things down here in this present world. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Let us keep our eyes on things above, not on earthly things. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
In this world, we have observed all kinds of consequences of sin. God hates sin because of the destruction it brings in our lives. Sin can grow like cancer, if it ever takes root to the point where a person exchanges the truth of God for a lie. When that happens, and remains unchecked, it leads to the flaunting of sin, where homosexuality is lauded as an alternative lifestyle. That kind of perversion, accompanied with the flaunting of it, ultimately brings destruction of the individual but also to others and ultimately to a country. That is the fallen world we live in that breaks the heart of God.
But we must understand that there is no sin that is a greater sin than another. Anything that is not of faith is sin. God loves the sinner, He hates what sin has caused in his life, and wants him to receive the life He offers by faith. He has already made every provision for life to be received. This life received transforms the hearts of men. That is the hope held out in the gospel.
Let us turn to Romans 5. In these verses, we are going to see the triplicate of faith, hope and love. The subject of our chapter 11 in A Closer Look at Faith, Hope and Love is abiding in Christ’s love. What I want us to see is the fact that when you are abiding in Christ’s love, you are abiding in Christ. In Christ you are going to have all of the fruit of the Spirit.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Those are not a vending machine type of deal, that you put your quarter of faith in and pull the knob and get out a little bit of kindness. No, it is the fact that when you have Christ, all of these characteristics of Christ are living in you. They are there. They are not something you go get. It is something that is there. You need to understand it is there. So, therefore, walk by faith and access that by faith in your daily routine of life.
I want to read this passage, in regard to this access by faith, when justified through faith.
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
(When you have been justified by faith, what do you have? Peace. Peace with God. What have you gained access to? God. What do you now stand in, having been justified? Grace.)
Let us take a moment to talk about faith. Faith is what enables us to walk in the newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is what enables us to enter this salvation in which we stand. What Paul is saying here is that everything that has been discussed in the first four chapters in the book of Romans, he puts a “therefore” to it. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, here is the by-product of that. We have peace with God.
What we have to ask ourselves is this. Can you have peace with God without understanding that you have been justified by faith? The answer to that, of course, is “no.— You cannot experience the peace of God until you have peace with God. Now, you will hear people who will say, “I love God, but boy, I have got this anxiety and I do not know whether I am going to heaven or if I am going to go to hell. I just don’t know. And I have got these sins, I have this and I have that.” Well, I want to tell you something my friend. You cannot love God and not have peace with God. That is an impossibility because peace and love are all a part of the fruit of the Spirit. You can have peace apart from joy. You cannot have patience apart from peace, joy and love. The issue is this. It is not that we loved God but that He loved us first.
1 John 4:9-11 (KJV)
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
It is not that I have peace with God. It is the fact that He justified me, which gives me peace with God. I just do not just sit there and say “I have peace with God but I am not sure I am justified by faith.” That is impossible. It is like a person saying “I have peace with God but I am still under law.” That is impossible. There is no peace under law for law is demanding perfection and there is no perfection in us. How can I have peace with God when I am imperfect.
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[Deuteronomy. 27:26] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[Habbakuk 2:4] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[Leviticus 18:5] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[Deuteronomy 21:23] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
All of this ties in together into one great big package. It all starts with recognizing my justification by faith. This is why this caught the attention of Martin Luther. That is why he nailed his 99 theses on the wall. He understood at last, that “wait a minute, my salvation is Christ. I am justified, not by my works, but I am justified by faith in Jesus Christ.” This is not faith in faith, not faith in hope or Baptist or Presbyterian, but faith in Jesus, and not a Jesus of my own making. There is no Jesus in the bible that gave us temporal life. There is no Jesus in the bible that gave us temporal life, only eternal life. There is no Jesus of the bible that died for some of my sins. Only Jesus of the bible is the one who died for all my sins.
So whether we are a layman, a priest or a pastor, what sense does it make for them to forgive someone of sins when Jesus said He already did? So these heretical teachings and doctrines of men came from not understanding that premise that you are saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone. What it means to be saved is that you have been justified by faith. Justified is far more than “just as if I have never sinned.”, (as you may have heard many pastors say, and others repeat). That is not what saved you, “just as I never sinned.”
If you came into this world, never sinning, does that mean a baby out of a mother’s womb is saved? I hardly think so. You are saved by life, and you are saved from death by life. It is far more to being justified than just as if I have never sinned. If I came out of my mother’;s womb, just as I never sinned, would I be justified? No, I am not.
1 Corinthians 15:1-7
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[or Peter] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
We have to understand that justification is wrapped in the totality of the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus. We are reconciled to go through the death of His Son. That is reconciliation, dealing with the death on the cross for the sins of the world, just as if I have never sinned. Reconciliation did that for me. But it is contained in justification. Justification is reconciliation but reconciliation is not justification. I have to understand that I have been reconciled to God through the death of His Son, by His shed blood on a cross, then how much more shall I be saved by His life (that is justification). Justification includes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which is called the gospel that saved.
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Now that we are justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,
That is like rejoicing in our weakness. That is not exactly modern day thought. That is not the teaching the world would teach you. That is spiritual truth taught in spiritual words that are not understood by unspiritual people. To the lost, they would say that is insanity. But natural man cannot discern spiritual things, for that sounds foolish to him. But we are assuming we are talking to born again people so we know what He is talking about.
2 Corinthians 2:12-14
12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance,
Perseverance is the ability to hang in there. What else does it produce? Character. What else does character produce? Hope. So we have this triplicate of faith, hope and love. We have faith in Christ Jesus, in the fact we have been justified by faith in Him. Because of this, we can have peace with God, as a result of recognizing, of walking in faith in the fact that I have been justified by faith. If I have been justified by faith, there is nothing else to do except say “thank you.” Realize that if you are in this world, contrary to much Christian teaching, who say “come to Jesus and everything is going to be rosy from this day forth”, scripture does not say that. God is very interested in producing Christian character in you, in producing a hope in you, a love in you and certainly faith in you. There is only one way for that to occur and that is through suffering.
The people with the most lack of character that I have ever met or seen in my many years of experience have been those who have been protected all of their lives from any kind of suffering. They have no character. They have been born with a silver spoon in their mouth. We have never known what suffering is.
An old expression that Amy’s mom brought over from Russia, that is involved in the fact that fat dogs go crazy. I think, many times, in this country, we are a bunch of fat dogs who have gone crazy. I see that going crazy going on more and more. I see people glorying in their perversion. I cannot imagine seeing films being made today and advertised on television, of Sharon Stone and Ellen Degenerate. Here they are walking hand in hand, sleeping in the same bed together, promoting homosexual lifestyle on film as if this is the best lifestyle in the world. God says that underneath the skin of all of that is that you are getting eaten alive. Your whole character, your whole internal being, is being destroyed, yet people make all of that look like a glamorous lifestyle. I do not know how much perverted people in this country will get. People in this country are probably nothing to other countries.
How much more perverted can people get than flaunting what the bible calls sin. That does not mean God does not love that person. It certainly does not mean I do not love that person. What it means is what the person is doing is perversion and will ultimately destroy their lives. It is not a glamorous lifestyle. All you have to do is engage someone who has been in that lifestyle for a period of time. That has been documented. Yet, that is taking place today. How come? It is too much luxury.
You go into countries like Russia where people are living to survive. You find almost none in regard to that lifestyle. When you have people living to survive, they do not have time for all of this nonsensical thinking that goes on today, with new experimentation. They do not even have time for natural things, let alone unnatural things.
What happened to Rome in their day? That is what happened to the Roman empire. Homosexuality was so rampant in that period of history that the population decreased substantially. Whenever you see a nation go downhill, every single time you will see the ultimate of perversion, not just engaged in, but flaunted in front of people, and even young people. I am not here bearing down on the specific sin because all sin is sin. But what I am bearing down on is why are people flaunting any kind of sin. Why do people go out and make stealing look glamorous? Why do people go out and make murder glamorous? In some instances people have done that as well.
(Romans 1 goes into details describing this perversion, and how this flaunting of sin comes about, originating from exchanging the truth of God for a lie.)
In the final analysis, when you have people totally engaged in all of these types of things, it is people who have so much time on their hands. They are so spoiled in character that they have none. They not only have no character, they have no perseverance. They are unable to hang in there when there are trials and tribulations. Therefore, they have no character. In my life, I have not known too many people like Amy and her family that went through trials and suffering beyond recognition. They have more character than anybody that I know. They have a lot of character. I am not saying they do not have faults, for we all do. I am not saying we do not have weak points, for we all do. But there is a character there that I do not personally possess. It is a character that you seldom see in this country. It is because very few people have gone through that suffering that produces that kind of thing.
Are you born again Christian? Do you want Christian character? Yes. Do you want hope? Yes. Good. Prepare for suffering. It does not say there is any other way to receive that except by going through trials and tribulations of life. You do not produce character and hope when you have no hope and you have no character. What produces character is getting through those things. The person who falls to them and gives in to them and perceives themselves as this poor victim who is never going to get out of this situation, that is not going to produce character nor is it going to produce hope. You have suffering and you have hard times and tribulation and suffering alright, but you are turning to natural means instead of to God to deal with those issues. That does not produce character nor does it produce hope. It produces despair and a mindset that I will go to anything the world has to offer to try to get out of this situation and to get out from under this situation.
If you want to get pure gold, you will have to go through a lot of fire. The outcome of that is it produces character and it produces hope. When you give into the flesh saying “I am not supposed to have any problems. I am a Christian. I am not supposed to have any suffering because I am a Christian. Woe is me. How could these things be happening to me? How come people are not treating me in the way that I want them to treat me? Nobody particularly likes me and I am lonely and I never get any attention and I never get any pats on my head. Woe is me. I will just go sit and pout and possibly pray the prayer of Job’s good wife, who said ‘Why do you not just curse God and commit suicide?’” That does not produce character. Job had character. What his character was, the tenacity he had, is the fact that I am going to hang onto the Lord despite whatever I am going through. That is what brought hope to him.
because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Here is the triplicate of faith, hope and love.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Do we realize that every person, including ourselves, that we are talking about, what God for us. He also reconciled them unto God through the death of his Son. That does not mean you are saved yet, for you are saved through His life, but as far as God is concerned, the forgiveness for sins for that person has already taken place. We are not talking about an unforgiving God. We are not talking about a God of condemnation for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Without Christ Jesus you are alive in the condemnation of the wages of sin is death.
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.
What we need to understand is that God has given us His Spirit and while we were yet powerless God died for the ungodly. Think about that for a moment.
7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, (life is in the blood) how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! <sup11< sup=””> Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. </sup11<>
So is that a marvelous thing? Yes! We received the reconciliation. We recognize something. I have been reconciled to God. That is the beginning of salvation. I have been reconciled to God through the cross. Now I am prepared to say what about the wages of sins, which is death? Anyone who has truly claimed his reconciliation through the death of Christ is ready to also believe what God says about you, that you are dead and with a deep desire to receive life.
We all must understand that there is no sin that is a greater sin than another. Anything that is not of faith is sin. When God said you are born a man and you try to act like a woman, you are not acting in faith. When God says you are born a woman with natural woman instincts and you say that is not true, then that is not walking by faith in truth that has been revealed to you, not by man and not by numbers and not by everybody getting together so we can find acceptance, but by God.
everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Worry is sin. That which is not of faith is sin. So you do not call it a healthy concern. You do not sit around and say “I was just human” or say “I was born that way.” For you could literally justify it that way if you wanted to. No, worry is not of faith. Worry shows me that I am not exercising faith. That should be the incentive for us to exercise the faith that we need in Christ Jesus. When I see ungodly desires come out of my flesh, which they do, that should show me my need for dependency upon Jesus. It is not to say I am born that way, to rationalize all of that, and then to flaunt it. It is the flaunting of sin that destroys, ultimately, not only you who are doing the flaunting, but to those who are watching you doing the flaunting. So, it destroys your environment. It destroys your sphere of influence and if that continues on on a massive basis, it will destroy a country.
Did Jesus forgive those sins? Yes, every one of them. There is not a sin that you and I have ever committed that Jesus did not forgive at the cross.
2 Corinthians 5:19
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.
God has forgiven you. He has taken away your sins. He does not call sin a healthy concern. He does not call sin natural, although it is natural. He says it is sin. The reason He is against sin is because of what it does to you. When you come to faith and recognize you are justified by faith, something has been done to you. It gives you peace. That is what people are looking for in this world, peace, but people are looking for it in all the wrong places. People just like us are looking for love in all the wrong places.
I am not being hard on specific people in society. But in the world we are living in today, for some reason, people have decided to flaunt, advertize and glorify sinful behavior. Maybe next year it will be glorifying some other kind of sinful behavior. You are not going to stop sinful behavior through advertising but you can certainly promote it through advertising. Why would people advertise the very things that are going to destroy our lives?
On television, in Vancouver, the police department decided that putting drug addicts in jail is not helping them to keep them off of drugs. So they decided to see if they could do something that will help. So they went out on the streets with a video camera. The video recorded them in the horrible conditions they were in. They began to show them those things and then began to help them where they became their friend rather than their enemy. It showed a number of people who were off of drugs for a period of time. They videotaped them and it was like they were not the same person. So here is someone going after something with a positive attitude. Drugs are not glamorous. Movies try to make it look like it is. Every one of them said they would do anything to get off of this. Do not let people get started on this. Yet, it is being advertised as fun, and everyone is sitting around saying “it won’t hurt you.” Yet that is often a gateway drug to something else that is stronger and more addictive and deadly. It is advertised as fun, yet it is destructive to humanity.It truly is something that disturbs me when you hear and when I see what is going on in the world and see how this kind of sin is being flaunted all over the world.
It is only when we approach the teaching of the New Testament, of realizing what we are talking about, when you go through life, you will go through sufferings that will produce character in you. So do not have unrealistic expectations about life. Only when we see that will we see Christianity begin to fall in place.
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