Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P42 (02-12-20)
As children of God, we have the privilege to participate in the divine nature. Before, we did not have such a privilege, because you cannot participate in what you do not yet have, the Spirit of God living in you. But, everyone is born with free will. Adam and Eve were born with the choice to love God or to choose for themselves what is right and wrong, and good and evil. When they chose wrong, sin and death entered this world, the Spirit of God left mankind, for all have sinned, and all have died.
So since the fall of Adam, we were all born spiritually dead, without the Spirit of God living in us. Then Jesus took away the cause of death, which is sin, by becoming sin for us, when he shed his blood on a cross. Now, man has a choice to accept the life of Christ. For when Jesus rose from the dead, he now offers eternal life, the same life that raised him from the dead, to all who will come to him to receive that life. Again, man has a choice to reject this life of Christ or to accept it. The only sin attributable to man is the rejection of Christ Jesus, his provision of life for you.
As a child of God, you accepted the very life of Christ Jesus. The Spirit of Christ now lives in you, renewing your mind and teaching you truth, as you let Him. Now, all men have this sin-indwelling flesh that is in conflict with the Spirit so you do not do what you want. But as a child of God, you can choose to listen to the Spirit rather than the desires of your flesh. No matter how you behave, you are always and forever a child of God, in fellowship with God. You are never out of fellowship with God. You learn to walk in accordance with who you are, a child of God, having the righteousness of God imputed to us.
So we are the very righteousness of God. That does not mean we always act righteous. But we are as righteous as Jesus. Why? Because our righteousness does not depend on our behavior. Christ has become for us our righteousness. So the Christian life is learning to rest in Christ, to abide in Him, as Jesus taught us in the parable of the vine and the branches in John 15. It is by resting in Him that we are allowing Him to live His life in us and through us, so that He produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). This is what we could never produce on our own. Apart from Him we can do nothing.
Now, one day, this body of ours, this flesh and blood, which will never enter the kingdom of heaven, is like a seed planted in the ground. Then God raises us up and we are given a new immortal body, and will be forever present with the Lord. We will be in a place where there will be no more sadness, sorrow, sickness, death or pain, or any of the garbage that is here on earth. But meanwhile, while on earth, we are a work in progress, learning to walk by faith in the promises of God, letting Him live His life in us and through us. For God has said that the righteous shall walk by faith. Man does not live by bread alone but by ever word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[Psalm 44:22]
What can separate us from the love of Christ? Trials can’t. Tribulations can’t. Death can’t. Hardships can’t.
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So Paul is saying, “I am convinced that nothing can separate us from the love of God.” What is Paul doing? He is putting his dependency for meaning and purpose to life, and of acceptance and love, on God alone. Once that is done, then, in marriage, you are able to take a deep breath and say that need is met. Now I can start thinking about how to serve one another in love, which is what we ought to be doing in marriage. Do not get married to get. Get married to serve. Here is a woman I want to serve for the rest of my life. Here is a man I want to serve for the rest of my life. Why? My need for unconditional love and acceptance, meaning and purpose in life, has already been met in Jesus. So I do not need to look to her to meet it. So now I can take a deep breath and think about how I can serve someone else in love
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.
1 John 4:19
19 We love because he first loved us.
As an example, you come to me and say, “Bob, I really need counseling. I have not eaten in three weeks.” How interesting do you think I am going to be in your marriage problem. Give him a McDonald’s hamburger and a milk shake. Then we will talk about your marriage. So I meet the physical need then address the spiritual need. Until that need is met spiritually, you are not in a position to serve one another in love. You are just not. You are not ready. That is why it is so important to come to Jesus, not just with verbiage, with words, but to come to Jesus with our whole hearts, and to come to Him to receive what He came to give you.
2 Peter 1:3
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
God is saying, “I have given it all to you. So, now rest in that. Love me back. I loved you perfectly. Love me back.” That is the most natural thing for us to do. “Let that need be met in Me and you will be free to love one another, and to let the love I have given to you spiritually to flow through to the body of Christ, on the level of the soul and body of marriage.”
So, he says you have stumbled over this stumbling stone. You tried to get religion. How many times do you hear people say these things. I am a Lutheran. I am a Baptist. I am a Presbyterian. I am a People to Peopler. I am a whatever. Why do you identify yourself as where you spend an hour on Sunday? Is that who you are? I am not a Lutheran. I am not a Baptist. I am not a Presbyterian. I am not a People to Peopler. That is where I go. I tell people I go to the bathroom too, but I do not want to be called a toilet (laughter). You have to understand that your identity is not based on where you go. Your identity is based on who you are. I am a child of the living God. That is the identity that God gave me. The Presbyterians did not give that to me. The Baptists did not give that to me. Jesus gave it to me.
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
A child of the living God is who I am. I am a child of the living God that happens to be in the ministry. I would be a child of the living God if I was a garbage collector. I would be a child of the living God if I was an attorney. (Well, I am not sure about that. Laughter.) I would be a child of the living God if I was in the medical profession. Those are things that I would just be doing. I say this to people sometimes. “Who are you? He answers, ‘I am a surgeon.’ Who would you be if your hands were cut off?” You cannot answer that. Those are temporary things. But I am going to be a child of the living God throughout eternity. Each one of you, who are in Christ Jesus, you have a destiny. You will enter into the presence of God one day. “Come unto me” is the good news of the gospel.
So he said to the Jews, that you are stumbling over things. They were trying to get their acceptance through their religion, their acts of righteousness, their good deeds, their tithing records, just like us today. So you stumble. You missed the point.
33 As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[Isaiah 8:14; 28:16]
1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
Now Paul is saying that even though it is God’s will that none should perish, and all to come to repentance. Is that God’s will? Yes, we are told that (2 Peter 3:9). That is God’s will. Yet, are all going to? No. Even though that is God’s will, not all will. Some people put this sovereignty stuff in there. “See, if that isn’t God’s will, that is it.” That would be it if we were all made robots. Were you made a robot? Were you given a free choice and a free will to choose right from wrong, good from evil? Didn’t Adam choose? Did he have the right to choose right from wrong, good from evil? What did he choose? He chose the wrong way (Genesis 3).
So we were given a choice. Because of God’s sovereignty, He gave His creation a choice. That is a part of His sovereignty, of God, in essence, saying, “I gave you the ability to choose, just as I, God can choose. That means that even though it is my will, that you would not perish, and all of you would come to repentance, that does not mean all of you are going to choose to come to repentance. That does not mean that.”
2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
That means some are going to say, “I am not going to do that. I do not want to do that. I do not need Jesus.” Even though it is God’s will, and God is sovereign, but part of His sovereignty was giving man a choice. All of you have choices. All of us have choices. So because we have the ability to choose, even though it is God’s will that none should perish and all come to repentance, He knows full well that all are not going to. So does Paul. Unfortunately, there are people today that do not know that. So they go out and teach that everyone will be saved because that is God’s will. That is the most nonsensical teaching you can come up with.
1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
I pray that they would be saved. Recall earlier where Paul said he would give up his own salvation for the sake of his own people of Israel.
2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.
You have two camps of people. You have those who have a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge. Then you have those who are constantly studying but never coming to the truth. You have those two extremes.
39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
The peril of the pendulum. There are those people who are constantly studying but never coming to the truth. Then there are those others having a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge.
You can see that in denominations. I can name denominations, but I am not going to. They have a zeal for God, but do not have an ounce of knowledge. Everything is experience. They say, “It does not matter whether it is true or not, but it is all experience.” Then there are those people where it is all tradition. They say, “I do not know if it is true or not, and do not care. It is tradition. That is our tradition.” Jesus spoke to that issue, saying “You follow tradition, but you do not come to the truth.” These types of things Paul talked about here, as it related to the Jew and the Gentile, is still relevant in our society today.
3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
You got two kinds of righteousness, self righteousness and God’s righteousness. Self righteousness makes God sick at his stomach. People walking around thinking they are so righteous. I do not know, but maybe it is just me, but I have difficulty getting my arms around anybody thinking that we are so good, that God would accept us because of our goodness. I would have trouble with that. If you knew me, you would know I would have trouble with that. How could anybody be deceived to think of the purity of God and that I could walk in His presence with His purity, to walk in there with no thought at all that I ever did anything wrong, that I have been good as gold all my life. There is nothing wrong in being good, but if you think you are good then there is something wrong with you. If you lived a life where you have been sheltered from all of the things of the world, then praise God for that. But do not sit around thinking, “look at me and see how wonderful I am.”
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Recall the parable Jesus told. “Thank God, I am not a sinner like him.” That is one attitude. Then the other guy said, ”Have mercy on me, a sinner.” Which one is going to get into heaven? The one who said, “Have mercy”, and not the one who said, ”Thank God, I am not a sinner like him.”
So we have these attitudes. We get our standards: “I have never done this or this so I am better than you because you have done this, this and this.” Now, if you have not done this, this, and this, then praise God. You have been saved from some garbage in your life. If you have been saved from anything, then praise God for it. I never used drugs. I do not think you could tempt me with drugs. You could put me in a room full of drugs, and it would not tempt me at all. I have never used them and never had a desire to. That is the only thing I can think of that I would never be tempted about. I thought about that too. I have given some thought about that. That is the only thing I can think of. It is not a temptation.
So what if I sit around someone who had taken drugs, thinking “Oh. I am much better than you are. I do not take drugs. But you do.” What kind of attitude would that be? Yet, there are people who carry those kinds of attitudes. Those are the kind of attitudes that God wants to get underneath the skin and to show us they are not attitudes of God. If you had not done something, if you have not been tempted to do something, if you have not fallen into temptation to do something, then praise Jesus for it. But do not look down on others who have, because they are going to look down on our weaknesses as well. And we all have them, don’t we? So, instead of establishing a righteousness that comes from God, they sought to establish their own.
4 Christ is the end of the law
How much clearer does this statement need to be? Do we need the Greek on this? Christ is the end of the law. How come Christ is the end of the law? What does it say?
so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
For everyone who does what? Believe. Will anyone ever be declared righteous in the sight of God by observing the law? No. So, that is why Christ is the end of the law.
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.
Then what was the purpose of the law? To show us we do not have any righteousness.
Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come
7 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.”
The purpose of the law is to show a man his sin so he may turn to Christ for salvation. The law is like a mirror. You look into the mirror and it says your face is dirty. Have you ever tried to wash your face in the mirror? You cannot wash your face in the mirror. You hear a tapping on your shoulder, and you turn around, and there is Jesus, who says, “Bob, what did the mirror show you?” I said, “My face is dirty.” He said, “Do you want it cleansed?” “I sure do.” “Then turn to me, and I will cleanse you of all unrighteousness, and give you life.” The mirror has done it’s work. Now, He is going to do His.
Christ, the law, showed me I am a sinner. The law said that as a sinner, the wages of sin is death. We say, “Oh no. It is out of fellowship.” There is no in and out of fellowship in the bible. You are either in fellowship, saved, or out of fellowship, lost. Fellowship is two fellows in a ship. You are either lost or saved. The law did it’s work. The law showed me I am a sinner The law showed me that under the law, the wages of sin is death. That means that I am dead. If that is all there was, that would be pretty grim news. Again, you hear the tapping, and hear Jesus saying, “Come unto me. Come unto me, Bob, and I will give you life.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Yes, I do. So He says, “Come and be my son.” The law did its work and Jesus did His. Christ is the end of the law.
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.
21 “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
A law cannot justify you. There is only one thing a law can do and that is kill you. It came to be your instrument of death so that you would turn to Him for life. The law did not cause you to die. It showed you that you were dead. Once I see that I am dead, I either can remain there, or I can turn to Him for life. That is your choice, remain dead or turn to Him for life.
People say, “What do you have to give up?” Nothing. You give up being dead. You give up thinking stupid. You give up a lot of wonderful things. It is not what you give up. It is what you get. God is not interested in what you have in your hands. He is interested in your hands. Do I have to give up smoking? No. God is not interested in your cigarettes. He is interested in you. Now, when you come to Him, He might want you to smell a little better than when you were smoking. The issue is God wants your hands. He does not want what is in your hands. He says, “Come to me. I will teach you. Come to me. I will take care of these things. You do not have to leave them behind.”
That is why I did not come to Christ ten years earlier. I went to a Billy Graham crusade, and I heard Billy Graham say, “Repent of all your sins and come to Me.” Well, I had about that time, about 30 years of broken new year resolutions to prove to me I could not give up my sins. I did not want to be a phony. I can go to that baseball and I can go back to the bars with my drinking buddies tomorrow. But that is what I heard, “repent of all your sins.”
There is only one sin attributable to man. What did you do with My Son? There is only one question God will ever ask you, “What did you do with My Son? I sent Him to you to die for you. I sent Him to you to be raised from the dead to give you life? What did you do with Him?” I accepted Him to be my Lord and Savior. You are in. One question. Why will He not question you about yours sins? Where are your sins? Behind the back of God never to see them again. How many of them? All of them. How many people did that cover? Everyone from Adam forward to eternity. The sins of the entire world were placed upon Jesus. Does that mean universal salvation? No, because salvation is not getting your sins forgiven. Salvation is receiving life.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Where is the forgiveness that was provided received? In Him. Where is the money that was put in your bank account received? In the bank. Do you see how simple it is? That is why you come to Christ for life. When you come to Him for life, you receive everything He provided for you, all in Him. And so Christ is the end of the law. We are not under the law. You are led today by the grace of God and by the Spirit of God who lives in you. Why do we think God gave you His Spirit? He gave His life for you to give His life to you to live His life through you. Why did He give His life for you? So he could give His life to you. Why did He give His life to you? So He could live His life through you.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
He said you are a branch. I am the vine. Can a branch produce fruit? The only thing that a branch can do is nothing. The work of a branch is to abide in the vine, period. That is why Jesus said the work of ministry is to abide in Me, period. The work of the branch, and you and I are a branch, is to abide in Him and to let Him produce His life in and through you.
If you are truly in Christ, and you are truly abiding in the vine, is that vine going to produce His life in and through you? If you do not see fruit, then something is wrong. You are either not connected or you are not abiding. You think you are connected and you are not. Or, you are not abiding. You are not trusting Him to do what He alone can do. What is fruit?
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.
Such fruit has to be produced by God in and through to you and me. It is not fruits. It is fruit. When you are abiding in Him, all those things will become more and more evident in your life. Again, when those things are not evident in your and my life, there is only one sign. You are either not connected to Him or you are not abiding. All of you know who is connected. You know whether you are connected or not, don’t you. I do too. I know when I am connected and I know I am connected forever. Am I always abiding? Some of you are real anxious to say, “no, no”. In your life, are you always abiding, always trusting? When you don’t trust, does any of that fruit come out? No. What does come out? Anger, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, and I could go on. Where did it come from? My flesh. My flesh. It is not complicated at all. I am not abiding in the love of God. I am abiding in the desires of my old flesh. There is your conflict between flesh and spirit.
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.
Again, this is not something we have to sit around and analyze. It is simple. I am refusing to abide in the love of God and to allow God to live His life in and through you. There is the Christian life. Christ is the end of the law so there will be righteousness for everyone who believes. How many? Everyone. How many of you believe that in the sight of God, you are as a righteous as the apostle Paul? How many of you, right now, would you say that in the sight of God you are as righteous as Jesus Christ? Here is what you see. You see, looking around, whistling, and you hear someone say, “What is that idiot saying? He is saying we are as righteous as Jesus?” Now again, who is your righteousness?
1 Corinthians 1:30
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
So who is your righteousness? Christ Jesus. How righteous is He? He is completely righteous. How many of you, that if you are in Christ Jesus, that in the sight of God you are as righteous as Jesus? Good, so we eliminated the whistling. So do you have to take that by faith?
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God
Does God want you to walk by faith in that truth? Yes. Someone says, “You are just being hypocritical the way you just acted.” No, I am walking by faith in that, regardless of how I act. My righteousness in the sight of God is not dependent on who I act. My righteousness is dependent on who I am. I have been given that righteousness. I may not act like it but I have been given it. So I am going to walk in it. Aren’t you?
That is the joy of the Christian life to be able to walk in that assurance, to realize that while I am here on this earth. I got a big sign under me that says “under construction”. We are still in the process, are we not, of being developed and refined and molded into the image of God, are we not? When will that end? The day that we die and are absent from the body and present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). The day that occurs in any one of our lives, we go into the presence of Jesus, seeing Him as He is and becoming exactly like Him (1 John 3:2-3).
1 John 3:2-3
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
2 Corinthians 5:8
8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:51-53
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
Is that something to look forward to or something to remorse over? It is something to look forward to. That is why, in Christ, we can say that for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
That is the attitude we should have and accept on this earth. To those left behind, it is sad to lose a loved one, until you realize where they are. I would not bring my mom and dad back, for they are in the presence of Jesus. They are without illness, sickness, pain, and no longer see all this garbage that is going on in the world, including the super bowl at half time, not having to see that garbage. It is gone. It is over. They are living in the presence of Christ. Do you want to bring them back? Not for a minute. That is why we, as children of God, are able to walk on this earth, not fearing life, because we do not fear death. What a wonderful thing to know. So, folks, this is what the Christian life is about. We are here for a short while and then we go. The issue is where are we going to go?