Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P17 (12-03-19)
God has always wanted man to live by faith, to trust Him. The root of all sin is that man chose not to trust God, to believe what God has said. Man has chosen for himself what is right and wrong, independent of God. That is how sin entered the world. Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that affected the entire human race. Now every person is born in the likeness of Adam in his sinful, broken state. All have sinned and all have died.
That is why Jesus came to this world, to save us from the condition of death, death to God, a separation from God in what was once a trusting and loving relationship between God and man. So God came to first take away the cause of death, which is sin, in order to offer new life to man. Salvation is new life in Christ, the Spirit of God to be placed back into man, to restore what was lost in the garden of Eden. This new life is received by faith, trust in God’s provision of his death, burial and resurrection, so that man is justified before God, given the right to become a child of God.
In this fallen world we live in, God never promised us a perfect rose garden as long as sin is still in the world, and we remain in this flesh with indwelling sin, and in a world that is still groaning for its redemption. We have this faith, this hope and this love from God that God will cause all things to happen for the good for those who love him and are called according to his good purposes. We will have glorified bodies some day. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. God will once again dwell with man. But now we see dimly as in a mirror and our minds are being renewed as we look intently into His word to get to know Him, to know peace that surpasses understanding. We have precious promises that if we choose to believe those promises, we can live above our circumstances with the joy of the Lord. This is trusting in what God has promised and in what God has said.
We are told to overcome this world by our faith. Jesus even told us that in this world we will have trials and tribulations, heartache and pain, all of which are consequences of the fall of man in the garden of Eden, and also by our own choices and of man today. We are to hold onto faith, hope and love. We are reminded to look at life from God’s perspective. All of this requires trust in God. As a child of God, Christ really is our life. The righteous shall live by faith, a dependency on God. God created mankind to live in dependency on Him. That was His original design for man, for man, created with free will, to choose to love Him because he wants to.
We have been studying through the book of Romans. We come into chapter 5 to a “therefore”, and as we talked about so many times, what is a “therefore” there for. It is a conclusion. It is where the apostle Paul has made statements that we are in Christ. We are justified by faith and by faith alone. It says that is why it was credited to Abraham as righteousness. It say the words “it was credited to him” was not written to him alone, but also for us, you and me today, whom God will credit righteousness for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
We have talked about before that the cross was what cleared the deck for the divine action of bringing life to the dead. You are not saved by getting your sins forgiven. You are saved by receiving life from the dead. Before we could receive eternal life, he had to eternally deal with what caused death. What caused death was sin. That was the purpose of the cross, to reconcile, an accounting term, to reconcile all things unto himself through the death of his son so he could save us by his resurrected life.
This is precisely why the apostle Paul was writing that he was delivered over to death for our sins but was raised to life for our justification. Justification includes what he did at the cross, reconciliation. But reconciliation and justification are two different things. Justification is the cross. The cross was included in the justification. That is why we say we stream people down the aisles to get their sins forgiven instead of bringing them down an aisle to receive life. So we go back to our pews just as empty as we went to the altar.
When we wonder why we do not have a changed life, all we have is a half gospel. We came to Christ for what he did for us but not come to Christ for who he is in us and that is God. We came to a savior but not as who he is, God. And so the resurrection is the centrality of the teaching of the New Testament. All though the New Testament is the resurrection that saves lives. We are told that over and over. Without the resurrection we are to be most pitied of all people and still in our sins.
1 Corinthians 15:19-20
19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Did Paul not understand that a cross had occurred? He absolutely understood that. He also recognized that it is only in the resurrection of Christ Jesus that that forgiveness, that was provided for the whole world, was received. He went to the cross to die for the sins of the whole world, not as a select bunch, but for the whole world. He died and took away the sins of the whole world. If salvation is getting your sins forgiven then that would be universal salvation. But that provision is what cleared the deck for the divine action of him, through his resurrected life, of bringing life to the dead. So we come to life for him, his life. In that life, we receive forgiveness of sins. What was provided for us then is only received in the resurrected life of Christ Jesus. That is what he has attempted to get across to us in these first chapters of Romans. Now coming with the “therefore”.
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Again, we have just been told that you are justified by his death or his life? His life. We have come to him for life. Why do we need life? Because we were born dead. The only man who was ever born alive spiritually is Jesus Christ. That is why the only man who is ever able to lay his life down for you is the only one who had a life to lay down for you. That is why the virgin birth is not up for grabs. The first Adam was created alive. The second Adam was born alive. Therefore, the only man who had life at birth was Christ. We are born dead. When you were dead in sins and in the circumcision of nature, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all your sins. How many? All.
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
Therefore, since we have now been justified through faith in his life, we have peace with God. In other words, until you come to be justified in Christ, until you come to know Christ, you will never have peace. We know that, don’t we? We are always looking, that is the condition of the lost world, always seeking and looking for something new, a new place to go and be entertained, a new place to look better. We are always in this age of uncertainty, always looking for something, because we have never found. Jesus says once you drunk of my water you will never thirst again. So I wonder why people who claim to be Christians are so thirsty when scripture says when you have drunk from me, you will never be thirsty again. When you have Jesus, you have everything you need for life and godliness. You have been given it all in Christ Jesus. You have been given peace, or rest. That is what God had given us, rest. There is now a Sabbath rest from God, to rest from our works, just as he did from his.
2 Peter 1:3
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
He is saying to you and me, if you are truly justified in Christ, you can live in peace. You do not have to worry where you are going when you die. We know that in Christ, you are absent from the body and present with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
If I do not have to worry where I am going when I die, then I certainly do not have to worry what I am doing while I am here. That is what he wants to get across to us. We have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. We were born into this world alienated from God. Not dead to your knowledge of God. Not even dead that you would like to know God. You are dead to really knowing Him. When you, in an act of faith in what Jesus did for you at the cross, and what he has offered you in his resurrected life, you came to him by faith. That is the only time in your life that you will ever experience peace, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
God wanted you to enter into his grace, the grace of God. Enter into his grace. That means you stand in his grace. You cannot stand in his grace and stand in his law at the same time. There is no grace in the law. Under the law, the wages of sin is death.
23 For the wages of sin is death
That is not exactly what you call grace. That is called law. We dealt with that already and will continue to deal with it. At some point, you have to die to what killed you so you can come alive to what saved you. He wants you to stand in his grace. How do you enter into this grace he provided for us? He provided all of us at the cross, his death, burial and resurrection. He left that in order to send the Holy Spirit into you so you can be his boy.
That in many times, the missing link in Christianity or Christian teaching, and that is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We have taken the ministry of the Holy Spirit and made it wild and wooly. In others, it is absolutely ignored. There is the entire world that has grabbed a hold of people, who think of themselves as intellectual, yet have no clue what it means to walk in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. God says I am going away. It is good for you I am going away. For when I go away, I am going to send my Spirit to live in you and you are going to be my body here on this earth.
Over 2000 years ago, if you were to look for the body of Christ, you would go to Israel to find the body of Jesus. There you would find the body of Christ. He says he is going away and it is good for you I am going away for when I do you are going to be my body on this earth.
7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
That is exactly who you are, born again members of the body of Christ. The Spirit of God came to live in us, and baptized us into the body of Christ. He placed us into the body. We are told that the body has many parts, and though the parts are many, forms one body.
1 Corinthians 12:12
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.
And you only have one head and we are not it. We are not the head. We are the body. This body responds to the head. Everything these fingers are doing is the result of the head telling him to do it. That is the way we are supposed to live on this earth, in dependency on the head, and we are not it. Jesus is the head of the church, his body. We do not gain instructions from one another. We gain it from the head. We teach what the head has told us. That is why we have the bible in our hands, to teach the body what the head has told us.
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
So we have gained access to this faith, in which we now stand, and we are part of the body of Christ. The Spirit of God lives in us. Jesus says that when the Spirit of God comes to live in us, then the Spirit of God is responsible to lead us into all truth. Who did he say is truth? Himself.
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
When you pick up this bible, it is the only book, we study and the only reason we should study it, is to get to know the author. There is no book I studied in any intellectual pursuits to get to know the author. I do not know who wrote my history book and math book. I do not know who the author was. I do not care. I never studied a book to get to know the author. I only studied enough to get it into a blue book. And you do that enough to get a degree. You just memorize long enough, and you do not even need to know it much beyond the test. You do enough of that and you get a degree. When you study the bible, you study it to get to know the author. God is saying, “I will lead you into all truth. My word is truth. I will lead you into My word and My word will lead you to Me and I will set you free and when the Son has set you free you shall be free indeed.” Is that true or not?
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
That is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our guide. The Holy Spirit lives in you. The Holy Spirit lives in you so that he can guide you into all truth, to lead you into the paths of righteousness. You are not guided by the law written on stone that kills. You are guided by the Spirit, alive living in you, that gave you life.
2 Corinthians 3:6
6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
The law did its work. What was the purpose of the law? To show your sinfulness in order to lead you to Christ. The law is a mirror. What is the purpose of a mirror? To wash your face? No, to show you it is dirty. But a mirror does not wash your face. Is a mirror necessary? If you want to see if dirt is on your face it is. But if you do not care, it has no meaning to it. But if you suddenly come to the point wondering if your face is dirty or not, you look in the mirror and see that it is. But the mirror cannot wash your face. So that is when you hear a tap on your shoulder and turn around and see Jesus. “Did you see what was revealed in the mirror?” “Yes.” “Do you want me to cleanse you?” “Yes, I do.” So we turn and are saved, cleansed of all unrighteousness and indwelt by the Spirit of God. That is salvation. We enter into that by faith and faith alone. You do not enter that by an ounce of works. You enter into that by faith and faith alone.
What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
You are going to see the triplicate of faith, hope and love. I once thought a teaching on love would be easy to write. I could not write it. God would not let me complete the book on love. I finally realized that you cannot take love by itself. It is a triplicate, faith hope and love. Paul always commended you on faith, hope and love. You really cannot have one without the other. You can separate one from the other but you cannot have one without the other. They are different but they form one thing.
In this passage, he will be talking about faith. Then you will be talking about hope and then love. So, he is saying here that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have gained access by our faith into this grace we stand. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. But we rejoice in our sufferings.
Now, I want to deal with this for just a moment, in regard to rejoicing in our sufferings. How many of you have ever had sufferings, of any kind? If you escaped it, just give it time. Jesus said that in this world you are going to have tribulation.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Now that is a promise if you have not had it yet, you just wait. You will have it. In this world you will have suffering. You may lose a loved one. You may lose a romance. You may lose the love of your husband or of your wife. You may have a child that rejects you and goes off in a wrong direction. You may lose your job or work. You may lose your health. You may lose your mobility, as some people do. You may lose your voice, your eyesight or your hearing. There are all kinds of things in this world where we have tribulation. I have told people if you are married in this room, look at your mate. Unless you die together in an accident, you will be looking at one or the other in a casket some day. It is just that simple. One of you is going to look at the other one in a casket, that will be killed in tribulation, trials or hardships. Jesus said in this world you will have them.
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
When sin entered this world, death entered this world. Trials entered. Tribulation entered. Even all of nature groans for its redemption. The whole world is fallen and we are a part of that fallen race into which we are born again into the newness of life. Living in that fallen race but as a light to the fallen race. So you will have suffering.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
I came to Christ in the 60s and thinking everything is going to be wonderful. That does not last long, does it? But he said something about suffering. When I enter into something that causes me to suffer, if I begin to look at that circumstance from God’s perspective, I begin to think in my own life to say, “Why am I going through this suffering? Is there a purpose for this?” So we grab a hold of scripture that says this.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Do you see, friends? It is only when we look back, after we have watched God’s faithfulness, do we look back and say, “I now see why I went through that. I now see it. I did not see it when I was going through it, but I see it now.” You will never see that when you are not looking at things from God’s perspective. If you will hang in there, trusting God and trusting the Lord Jesus Christ to do precisely what he would do in your life: “I will cause all things to work together for your good if you love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.”
We have attitudes that we can approach suffering. I can approach suffering with an attitude of God and His promises and God in his faithfulness. I can approach this regardless of what I am going through. I know because of what God promised. In His time, He will cause this to work together for my good. Or we can say “woe is me”.
I have had people who are Christians who say, “How could God allow this to happen to me?” In essence he is saying, “How could God allow this to happen to wonderful me? I know God loves me. I love me too. How can this happen?” What is wrong with you? Did you see what happened to His Son, to the apostle Paul, and to the apostles, who were the ones who carried this gospel to you and me? All of them died a horrible death except John, who died in exile. Why would we think that we are going to escape trials and tribulations when Jesus did not? Nor did his early church or early apostles?
That is a mindset that escapes me sometimes. Why do people want to blame God mainly for our own stupid decisions we have made? Yet we blame God. How can God do that? Very easy. He gave man a free will. How could God allow all the Jews to be killed? Because He gave free will to man. God is so deserving. Yes, and in his sovereignty, he gave free will to man. So a part of sovereignty is that He is not going to make a robot out of you.
I want to create a man who can choose. I want a man who chooses to love me. I do not want to marry a woman who has to love me. I want to marry a woman who chooses to love me. Didn’t you? God, in His sovereignty created a man with a choice. Man has been making choices ever since. Adam and Eve made a choice in the garden of Eden.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
God did not force them to do that. If He did, He would be a sadistic God, forcing them to choose for them to fall so this world gets messed up for over a thousand years. He created them to live in dependency on God, which they did until the day they decided to add to what God told them. Eve decided to believe what Satan said instead of God. Adam chose to disobey and man fell. So we have been in that fallen state ever since.
You can read the account of the fall of man in Genesis 3.
So we have to understand the truth that God gave us a choice. The problems in the world today are a result of choices that man makes. I decide I do not need God to determine right from wrong. The one single choice, the one tree in the garden of Eden, was this tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve, do not even try to eat from that one, for the day you do you are going to die. The day you decide you do not need God to determine right from wrong, good from evil, you will die. Any other choice you want to make, go ahead. But if you eat of that one, you have had it.
2 Timothy 3:1
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days
The condition of this world is getting worse and worse. This country is going down faster than you can imagine as people bring in tolerance of everything. You have the homosexual community, as an example, with inserts into the Dallas Times. Did you see that? Pages of it to get people to have an acceptance of perverted behavior. What is that? That is man standing at the tree saying, “God you do not know what is right and wrong. You just do not understand?” The issue is this. God is saying, “Yes, I do understand. I understand that when I say something is sin that means it is sin. If I call something sin, do not call it something to be tolerated.” That is man standing at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Man is saying, “I do not need you, God. I have situational ethics. If you will just get it accepted. If we just get everybody accepting then nobody will be criticizing me.” The last place of a movement, regardless of the movement, a movement to discredit what God is calling sin, is the church of Jesus Christ, and that is the next battleground. It is taking place in history right now, where bring in ministers and leaders and everything who are out of a background of sin.
2 Timothy 3:10-17
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings – what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.