Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P30 (01-15-19)
Paul is appealing to men to come to Christ for life. Are you weary or heavy laden? There is good news for you. God is there to give peace and rest to your soul. It is so vitally important to understand the totality of salvation, the gospel, the good news, that you can be made complete in Christ.
There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. God is love, and love keeps no records of wrongs. There is no more record of sins. Why? God sent His Son into this world to die on a cross. The blood of Jesus’ shed blood was of such eternal value that it took away the sins of the entire world. He reconciled the world unto Himself, not counting our sins against Him. God remembers our sins no more because that one offering of Christ Jesus was sufficient to take away the consequence of sin, which is death, for the entire world.
Now, the death of Christ, as great as that is, to take away the consequence of sin, which is death, how much greater is His resurrection from the dead? See, our greater problem is that we are dead, born dead without the Spirit of God living in us, as a result of the fall of Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden. So until we are made a complete person, having the Spirit of God living in us, we remain dead. God wants to make us into a new creation in Him.
So the greatest news of all is that the same life that raised Jesus from the dead can raise you and me from the dead. Jesus, being in God in the flesh is referred to as the second Adam, a man with the Spirit of God living in him. Jesus being God is incapable of sinning. So Jesus is the only one who had a life to lay down, and having no sin of his own, is the only life that can be raised from the dead. He completely fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law for us by living in pure love because God is love.
Now, to become complete in Christ is not about going to a place called heaven. When you are complete in Christ, the life of the Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death. This is a life of grace that does not depend on you or me to carry out the laws of God. For if God did not die to take away my sins first, then the next time I sin, I would die again. So the death, burial and resurrection are so vitally important, but it is the life of God in me that allows me to live in the new way of the Spirit.
The apostle Paul continues in Romans 8, having explained about the former way of life in the flesh, that had no choice but to be controlled by the sinful desires of the flesh. The flesh, weakened as it was, in which the law was powerless to make you whole again, God made us complete in Him. Now, with Christ living in you, you can choose to participate in the divine nature. There is still a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit, while in this body on earth, but you have a choice now to listen to the Spirit of God, who now lives in you. The attitudes of your heart have changed, learning and desiring to be preoccupied with the things of God, those things that you can now discern. You can understand and walk in accordance with the desires of the Spirit.
When you are made complete in Christ, then the original design of God in creation has been restored. When God created man, He created man with mind, will and emotions, and with a Spirit of God living in him, so that he can love and know Him. You are free to love because you are not weighed down by the demands of the law and are free to go boldly to the throne of grace for help in time of need. There is no condemnation for you. You are free to live a life of joy and peace because you know the prince of peace.
With God living in you, you are free to grow and the result is loving God and your neighbor as yourself. That love can be demonstrated through us now because God, who is love, loved us first, and is living in us to produce that love. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love because love is the fulfillment of the law. The righteous requirements of the law are fully met in us through Him who died and rose again and lives forevermore. So we live by faith as Jesus instructs us, internally from within, and as he explained in the parable of the vine and the branches, to abide in him, and He will do for us what we could never do in the flesh. Not only was the flesh weakened, it was never designed to produce such love by its own energy. God in the man is indispensable to the functioning of the man.
So the conflict is in the mind. The mind of sinful man cannot please God. It is hostile to God. That is why so often the lost man wants nothing to do with God. It sounds foolishness to him, and he would rather stomp out any mention of Jesus. But the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. The law of the Spirit sets us from the law of sin and death. The saved person, born again with the Spirit of God living in him, is free to live in peace with God. The God of peace is living in him. Now the Lord instructs us to renew our minds so we may know the good and perfect will of God, a life full of peace and joy. He wants us to experience the life He has given us. We can choose to participate in the divine nature so we can walk in the newness of life.
People come down and say, “Well, can’t you have life?” I do not know. What I do know is that the bible tells me that I am saved by his life. Well, can’t you just say “Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins”, or can’t you say “Please forgive me, my sin?” I do not know. What I do know is the bible says you are saved by His life. I do know that a half gospel does not save anybody. Jesus loves us too much to give us a half gospel. It is the fullness of the gospel that brings people into a full relationship with Christ Jesus. You come to Him for Him. Come to what? For His forgiveness? No. “Come unto me to have life.”
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
God says to us, “All of you who labor and are heavy laden, I will give you rest and peace for your soul.” That is the call of God, “Come unto me”.
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Notice that Jesus did not say “to as many as received his forgiveness”. To as many as received who? Him. He gave the right to what? He gave the right to become a child of God.
So it is vitally important that we understand these things. That is why Paul stressed in Romans 6 and 7, answering all of these questions that come into people’s minds when they hear it has been done. It has been accomplished. Come unto Him by faith.
We are going to pick up today. I will read that last verse in chapter 5 and then continue in chapter 8, for that is the continuation of thought, in regards to the subject of salvation, in chapter 8.
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
How did sin reign? Because the wages of sin is death.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
What is the “therefore” there for. Because of what he just got through saying.
Do you believe that? How much condemnation is left for you and me from God? None. You mean He is not going to get you? Is He or not? Is He going to get you? Is He going to put you into the woodshed? What did He say? There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. There is nothing left that God is going to condemn you for. What if you keep sinning after you are saved? There is no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. What if I keep repeating it? What if I do it twice? There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Do you believe that? How many of you said to God, “Oh God, I did it again”. Do you know what God said? Did what again? I took that away at the cross. Do we believe that?
Now, are we that way with each other? No, we got record books. We have an accounting list. We keep records. What does He say about love?
1 Corinthians 13:4-6
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
In this list of characteristics of God, what does He say about love? Among other things, He says love keeps no record of wrongs. We walk around thinking we are doing so well in our Christian experience, and we are violating everything He says in the love chapter.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
We think we are doing good. The issue is I do not think any of us are doing good. I do not say that I did not think you are doing good. I said that all of us are not doing good. I do not think any of us are doing that good. I think we are all in the process of learning what it is to know Jesus.
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone.”
I was telling some people the other day, “If you talked to me ten years ago, my knowledge of scripture was way out here. Today it is down here. It is getting narrower and narrower. It is focusing more and more on just Jesus. Up here you got this theology and everything else, but it comes down to nothingness when you are left with Jesus and Jesus alone”. When you and I leave this body and go into the presence of God, we are not going into theology, we are going to the presence of Jesus. Now we need the theology to get to know who that Jesus is, that we are going into His presence, and who He is that lives in us today. But in the final analysis, the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love. Do you believe that? Then all this other stuff is just superfluous, isn’t it? If that is true, how important is the rest of the stuff, that we get so hung up on? The only thing that matters is faith that expresses itself through love for Him and one another. How are we doing in the love department?
2 Corinthians 10:12
12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
If we are going to sit around and compare ourselves, how wise is that? If you compare yourself by yourself, you are a fool. If I compare myself by me, then only two things can happen. One, I think I am better than you, and that is pride. The other is to think I am worse than you, and that is self condemnation. Both of those are out of the pit of hell. I am not there to compare and neither are you. The issue is he teaching us is that the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love.
1 Corinthians 13:1
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
The whole goal of this bible is to bring you down to that logical conclusion that the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love. If that is not evident then you do not have anything. We put emphasis on babbling in tongues. If you could speak in the language of men and angels, and do not have love, then you are nothing but a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. People say that is a sign you are Spirit-filled. Can you imagine calling yourself a Spirit-filled noisy gong?
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Then we get hung up on healing, church attendance, or something else. We get hung up on everything except what the bible says. The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love. That is all that matters. The world will know you are my disciples by your love for one another, not your tithing records. If you do not have it, they will not know you are My disciples. That is very clear, isn’t it?
So there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. What should that do for us? In our own experience, what should that do for us? If I am going to walk by faith in that truth, then I am going to be thanking God when I blow it, that there is no condemnation for me. That is one of my prayers, “Lord, thank you for what you did for me at the cross. Thank you that there is no condemnation for me for what I just did”. Is that right or wrong? If I walk by faith, then that is what we are going to have to do.
1 Peter 1:22
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.
We get so hung up on the dirty dozen, the nasty nine, and the terrible twelve, and we forget about these attitudes of the heart, don’t we? We forget about how unloving we can be sometimes. The thing that gets to me more than anything else is the unloving attitude that comes out of me. Sometimes I have them, and when I have them, it hurts inside. Yet it feels good in the flesh at the time, when you have just ripped somebody off and you just told him what you thought about him. The flesh feels so good but that is not love. Those are the things that disturb you the most, the attitudes you fail to exemplify when you go through life.
The only thing you can do if you are going to walk by faith is to be able to say “Lord Jesus, thank you for what you did for me at the cross”. I am not going to ask Him for forgiveness unless I want to hang Him on a cross again.
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. He is not coming back to shed His blood and He is not shedding it now. He did it once. He did it for all. He did it forever.
10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
If I am going to walk by faith, and I do not have to, but if I am going to walk by faith, then I am going to have to walk by faith in what is true from God’s vantage point. I do not walk by faith from what the church teaches me, or not from what makes me feel good, but what is true from God’s vantage point. What is true is that my sins have been placed on the cross and taken away. That is what truth is.
So when you sin, that is when you turn to God and say, “thank you”. “Thank you for taking away my sin at the cross. Thank you that you do not see that. I thank you that there is no condemnation awaiting me, who belongs to you. Thank you for that.” That is a prayer based upon truth. Truth from what? From what we think? No. It is truth from what God did. That is walking by faith.
The only thing that counts is what? Faith expressing itself through what? Love. How much more could you be exercising faith itself through love than to show your love to God for what He did for you two thousand years ago at a cross. So now there is no condemnation. Why is there no condemnation?
2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
You and I were born under the law of sin and death, were we not? What is the wages of sin? Death. How many of us have sinned? All of us. How many of us are under the death penalty? All of us. All of us were born under the death penalty. We had no choice. Adam sinned volitionally. We are born in Adam as dead as he became. So we are born into this world with no choice. You did not choose life. You did not choose death. You were just born dead spiritually.
7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 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.”
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
Let us get into our minds what spiritual death is. Who are you dead to when you are born into the world? You are dead to God. God left Adam. You and I are born without God living in us, just like a light bulb would be if it is put in there with no electricity in it. It had no choice. It is a light bulb. It is finely and wonderfully made. It is plugged in, but there is no electricity in there. So it cannot function. So it must have to function somehow on its own. It has to do something else other than bear light.
We are the same way. We are born into this world dead to God but very much alive to the world. Your human spirit separates you from the animal kingdom. If your human spirit was dead dead, you would be animal. An animal has a soul. A soul is composed of a mind, emotion and a will. Does a dog have a mind? Debatable, but yes. Does he have a will? Yes. Does he have emotion? Absolutely. You can tell by how he wags his tail. But does he have a human spirit? Does a dog sit around able to plan his day? I do not think so. He just sees a car go by and goes out and tries to eat it. So he goes out to chase it. He is not planning his day. Does a dog contemplate God? Not that we know about. The human aspect of man is what separates us from the animal kingdom.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
So a man, although he is dead to what vacated him, that is the Spirit of God living in him, he is still aware of his emptiness. That is why there truly is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man that can only be filled by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. That is why the world is incurably religious.
26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
That is why you can go into the most remote areas of the world and people are seeking to know God. Why? They are empty. What are they empty of? What they are supposed to be filled with. What is that? The Spirit of God living in you. God in the man is indispensable to the humanity of the man. You take God out of the man, and you got a man on your hands, but he cannot behave like one. He is not an animal so he cannot behave like an animal. He is not a true man from God’s vantage point, so he cannot behave like a true man. So he behaves like an idiot. That is how we behave apart from God.
So what we are dead to is the life of God, who is to be living in us. What is the solution to that? God looks down on man and says, “Satan came in and messed up my creation. Satan entered into the picture and got Adam to sin. I told Adam the day he should eat thereof he will die, die spiritually. He did and he died.” Now all of us are born in Adam, not in the image of God, but in the image of Adam. We are told that in Genesis 5.
1 This is the written account of Adam’s family line.
When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created.
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
When Adam and Eve were created by God, He created them in the image of God, but when Adam and Eve had Seth, Seth was born in the image of Adam. So we are not born in the image of God. We are born in the image of Adam, dead. We have a body and a soul that is alive, but a spirit that is dead to God. God looks down on that whole situation and says, “these people need help”.
So in order to give them life, which Adam had, there is a plan. Adam had eternal life. He had God’s life living in him. But he was born under the law that the wages of sin is death, whom God had said, “on the day you eat thereof, you will die”. What caused Adam’s death? Sin. How much sense would it be for God to say, “I am going to give these people life, but I am going to give the same kind of life condition that I gave to Adam. I am going to give them life under the same deal, that under the wages of sin is death.” What would happen to you the next moment you got life and you sinned? You would die again. We do not want that. We had that. It didn’t work. So, God in essence says, “I am going to develop a plan whereby I am going to give them eternal life. But in order to do that I have to take away the cause of death eternally. That is what I am going to do at the cross. It is not going to be the blood of a bull and a goat that can only cover sin. It is going to be the blood of the Lamb of God who will take away the sin of the world. Because sin has been taken away, I can now offer them life eternal. I can give them life that can never be destroyed. I can give them a life where there will never enter a condemnation awaiting them who belong to Christ Jesus.” Why?
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.
The law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. What were you and I saved from? We were saved from the law of sin and death. How were we saved from that? We were saved by the life of Christ Jesus.
We think we were just saved from our sins. No, we were saved from the consequences of sins. The law of sin and death is consequence. You got sin and you got a consequence. What were you saved from? You were saved from the consequence. How were you saved from the consequence? You were saved by the thing that caused it. So He took away the cause of death in order to give you life eternal.
3 For what the law was powerless to do
What was the law powerless to do?
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.
11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”
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.”
13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 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.
It was powerless to make anyone righteous. No one will be declared righteous by works of the law (Romans 3:20). No one will ever be justified through the law (Galatians 3:11). The law cannot give you life (Galatians 3:21). If the law could, then Jesus should have stayed home. The law cannot do anything except condemn you (Galatians 3:10). That is what the law is for, to condemn you (Romans 7:13). The law was powerless to do anything good for you. All it could do was to reveal that you were bad (Galatians 3:21), what you are, so you could turn to Christ for salvation (Galatians 3:22). The law was powerless to bring righteousness to a man. So why was the law powerless?
because it was weakened by the flesh,
There is nothing wrong with the law. It is holy, just and good, but when it flows through me, it kills me (Romans 7:11-13).
11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
So the problem is not with the law but with us. So what did God do for man of weakened flesh that the law could not do?
God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.
Jesus became the sin offering for the entire world. That one offering was of such a consequence, and of such value, that it took away the sins of the entire world. So did He condemn sinners? No, that is not what He said.
And so he condemned sin in the flesh,
He condemned the sin of ours.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
That is what the law could not do. It could not give us the righteousness of God.
The sin issue, the sin that is within us, has been condemned in us. He did not condemn the sinner because we were already under the law of sin and death. He condemned the sin that brought about that death. He condemned it. Why?
4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Is that good news? Yes!
5 Those who live
He is talking about people who are not saved.
5 Those who live according to the flesh
Why do they live that way?
have their minds set on what the flesh desires;
Their mind is set on fleshly desires. How many of you have fleshly desires? Do I see some hands not raised up? Are you paralyzed? How many of you have sinned? I see more hands raised now. How many of you have sinned because you have sinful desires? I see more hands go up. So what causes the sin? The desires of the flesh, the sinful desires, causes the sin. Does that mean because you have sinned, that you have your mind totally set and occupied on what your flesh desires? Does that mean that? Is that where your preoccupation as a child of God is? Where is your preoccupation? On the flesh or the Lord? It is on the Lord.
Let us look at the contrast between the mind of the lost and the saved. When you were lost, where was your preoccupation? On the flesh. You live to fulfill the flesh, did you not? Why get up in the morning unless it is to fulfill the flesh? Now, you are born again. Where is your preoccupation? Is there a change in attitude that takes place in your heart? Yes. You start thinking about the Lord now. Your mind starts thinking about the Lord. Your mind is on the Lord. You want to be the Lord’s person and all this.
1 Peter 1:13-14
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children [children of God, with Spirit living in you], do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
Who conflicts with that preoccupation with the Spirit? This dumb, stupid flesh of ours is in conflict with the Spirit. If you were living with your whole being centered on the desires of your flesh, it tells you something. You are lost. You cannot live that way as a saved man because you have got God living in you.
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Now that you are saved, does that mean you cannot have desires of the flesh. Do any of you have desires of the flesh again? Are you saved? Well, then that shows that you can have desires of the flesh and be saved. So we do not have to go around and say, “I do not understand anybody who does that?” All you have to do is take a look at yourself. We become so self righteous and say, “Oh, I will never do that”. Look at what the Lord said. This is what He said. You see someone caught in a sin, go to them to restore them, but do not go to condemn them because you will fall in the same trap they are in if you do not watch yourself.
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
So he is getting at this totality of salvation that God brought to us. He is giving a contrast to a person who has their total mindset on the flesh, with the saved, who lives according with the Spirit, and has their mind set on what the Spirit desires.
but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Your number one goal is to have the desires of the Spirit. But you have a conflict.
6 The mind [of sinful man] governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Look at the emphasis that the apostle Paul is placing on our mind. He is saying that your mind is the seed bed of your soul. It is your heart. Our mind is preoccupied with the things of God or it is preoccupied with the things of the flesh. The mind of a sinful man is preoccupied with the flesh. The reason he is a sinful man is because of his mind. With your mind, until you have chosen to come to Christ by faith, you remain dead, do you not? What is the determining factor? What you think with your mind is the determining factor. When I came to Christ, with my mind, I chose to come to Christ. I recognized that I was dead in my mind. I recognized that I did not want to remain a sinner. I did not want to remain dead, so I chose life. The man who has not chosen that is dead. The mind that is under the control of the Spirit is life and peace. A man is going to experience peace in his heart when he keeps his mind focused on the prince of peace.
7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God;
That is why you have people who are at enmity to Christians, or against believers. They are people who do not like these things of God. What is that? A sinful mind. We call them intellectuals. The bible says a sinful mind. They are against God. They do not like God. They do not like people talking about God. They stand up arrogant. “We do not want a nativity scene. We do not want prayer in the school. We do not like God.” They are like a pea ant on a rail train, sitting down shaking their fist at the engine coming down the tracks. We do not understand the fact how small we are. It is like these sign posts. “God is dead”, signed Nietzsche. “Nietzsche is dead”, signed God. A mind hostile to God is a sinful mind. There is our problem. What is the matter with a person? They have got a sinful mind.
Consider what the Lord Jesus said.
17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”
It is not what a man puts in his mouth that defiles him but what proceeds out of his heart, what proceeds out of his mind, his emotion, his will, that is what defiles a man.