Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

#10 Shadow of the Rock

Do you recall that the theme of our study of Romans is the Righteousness of God?  Do you recall that the first major section of  Romans is Man’s Desperate Need of God’s Righteousness?  Romans 1:21-3:31 That was covered in our previous studies in Romans 1:18  through 3:20

Now we come to the second major section of Romans found in 3:21 through 3:31 and that is God’s Method of counting us perfectly righteous by justifying us. 

Perhaps the clearest verse in the Bible for explaining justification is II Corinthians 5:21  Look at it there.  “For HE (God)  has made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us (Jesus bore the full punishment for our sins in His body as He suffered on the cross.) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”  When God looks at us sinners who have put our trust in Jesus, He no longer sees our sins. They have been blotted from our record. He sees only the perfect righteousness of Christ.   Have you grasped this by faith?  If not, read this paragraph repeatedly until the truth soaks in.  This is the Gospel.  The Gospel has nothing to do with your ability to live the Christian life.  The Gospel is that  Jesus died and rose again to give you His righteousness as a GIFT.  He has put His righteousness  to your account, just as though YOU lived it.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is more to being a Christian than just being saved from the penalty of sin; but we will get to that when we come to Romans 6.

Let’s take a closer look at this wonderful salvation by justification.

I. NOTE SOME FACTS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF SALVATION

A. God’s Righteousness is manifested.  Rom.3:21

It is public and available for all to clearly see.  As Israel, while wandering through the wilderness, was healed from venomous snake bites by looking at the serpent of brass Moses, in obedience to God’s direction,  had fashioned and put high upon a pole for all to see;  so God’s righteousness is imputed to anyone who will look in faith to Jesus who was hung on a cross for our sins. Read Jesus explanation of this to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, as it is found in John 3:1-21.   You can find this story of Moses putting the brass serpent on a high pole in Numbers 21:4-9

So when Romans 3:21 says that God’s righteousness is manifested, He is saying that His plan of salvation is public and available for all to see.  Even a little child can understand it.  In fact, it was this story of  the brass serpent in the wilderness which was explained to me the night I put my trust in Christ when I was nine years old. It made salvation so clear to me.

If you cannot grasp this simple but profound truth, it is because Satan has blinded your spiritual eyesight.  That’s what II Corinthians 4:4 teaches. That’s why when we preach or explain the Gospel to the lost, we need to pray that God will deliver them from spiritual blindness.  We cannot save anyone.  All we can do it present the Gospel to them and pray  that God would deliver them from their spiritual blindness.

B. Salvation flows from the fountain of God’s love

 

John 3:16  begins with  “For God so loved the world”  and then it explains the plan of salvation. 

How do we know that God loves us?  Romans 5:8 says that “God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”   God reached down in the muck and stench of sin and took us by the hand and pulled us out. He did that by sending Jesus to die for our sins before we were even born.

Jump ahead to Romans 8:28-39 and read the long chain of events that began in eternity past, long before you were ever born.  Note, that ALL of these acts were by God and they all prove God’s love for you.   Lord willing, we will get into this passage in more detail at a later date.  But for now, read them and relish them.  It all goes to prove God’s love for you from before you were born.  Salvation has nothing to do with your ability. All we do is receive salvation from God’s hand as an appreciative beggar receives kindness from the hands of  his benefactor.  

C. Salvation is given to us totally apart from our ability to keep  God’s Law.

 

Read Romans 3:20-28.   Salvation is given as a gift of God’s grace apart from any good works on our part.  Read and keep reading  Titus 3:5-6 until this is settled in your mind and heart.

D. This salvation by the grace of God is not some new idea of God, revealed only in the New Testament. It was witnessed throughout the Old Testament. 

 

Romans 3:21 tells us it was witnessed by the Law and the prophets.  That is, it was illustrated in types and shadows throughout the Pentateuch, (the first five books of the Bible, known as The Law)   and it was witnessed by the Old Testament prophets.  For an excellent example of that, read Isaiah 53.  Then read in Acts 8:26-39;  the account of Philip leading a man to Christ as he unfolds the Gospel from Isaiah 53.

Peter preaching the Gospel, reminds the people in Acts 10:43 that what he is preaching is witnessed by the Old Testament Law and Prophets

E. The Gift of God’s Righteousness is only for believing sinners. Only believing sinners qualify for salvation.

 

Romans 3:21-22 clearly limits salvation to only those who admit they are helpless, hopeless sinners who believe the Gospel.  “But now the righteousness of God without the Law. In manifested,  being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.”   Read it again and note that this Gift of salvation, this gift of receiving Christ’s righteousness, is only upon sinners who believe, or trust Christ for their salvation.  There is no other  way to receive it other than by simple faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross and in His bodily resurrection from the dead.  One MUST admit he is a sinner before he is a candidate for salvation.   Note how Paul declares this in Romans 5:12-19.

F. Salvation is freely offered. It costs us nothing.

 

Though it costs us nothing, it cost Jesus everything as He hung on the cross  dying for our sins.  Romans3:24 teaches that we are justified FREELY by His grace.   Isaiah prophesied 700 years earlier in Isaiah 55:1

That salvation is offered to anyone who thirsts for it and it  does not cost a cent.  It is a free gift of God’s grace.   To try to offer our pittance of good works, to try to help earn our salvation would be as insulting to God as it would insult a doctor who performed  a $50,000 surgery on a needy person at no charge and that person tried to clear his debt with the doctor with his gift of $2.00.

G. Salvation is received by simply trusting in Jesus’ blood sacrifice on the cross. 

 

Read very carefully the importance of Jesus blood sacrifice in Romans 3:22-25  and I Peter 1:18-19.  The theme of Jesus’ shed blood is found throughout the Bible from Genesis through Revelation.   It is, no doubt, the major theme of the Bible.  In fact, if you were to read very far in this web site you would find that it is a major theme of my preaching when I am dealing with the topic of salvation.  False preachers hate this doctrine as they promote their works salvation.

H. Finally, God’s Salvation through the shed blood of Jesus is sufficient for all the sins of the whole world. 

 

Christ is all we need.  I John 2:1-2 shows us that His blood sacrifice is sufficient to save the whole world; but of course, it only saves  those who appropriate that sacrifice by faith.  I Timothy4:10  teaches that Christ is the Saviour of the whole world, but specifically it is only for those who believe and receive that Gift of salvation.   John 1:12 announces that God’s salvation is only for those who believe on His Name.   If you have Jesus you have salvation.  If you do not have Jesus, you do not have salvation. 

II. WHAT DOES JUSTIFICATION TEACH US ABOUT THE CHARACTER AND RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD?

 

A.  It reveals God’s grace.  See Romans 3:24  As God is the source of love, so He is the source of grace.  We Christians can show grace in our lives  as we reflect God’s grace. Think of the most despicable, hateful person you know.  God’s grace can reach down  and save that person.  After all, He reached down into the cesspool of sin to save you and me.

B. It reveals God justice.  Romans 3:26

God is not some weak, soft, sentimentalist who overlooks sin.  His holiness and wrath and truth demand death for sin.  See Genesis 2:17, Ezekiel 18:4, Romans1:18, 32,  2:2-3, 2:11-12, 6:23

His love and grace provided for our salvation in Christ.

His justice was satisfied through Christ’s shed blood.

Because Jesus took our punishment, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.  I John 1:9.

C. The cross then reveals God’s glory.  Romans 3:27.

There is no room for man’s glory.  Ephesians 2:8-9  

All the glory goes only to Jesus.  Galatians 6:14, Ephesians 1:6, 12,  2:7,  3:8-11.

A PICTURE OF SALVATION

 

Dr. Lambie a missionary in North Africa back in the 1930’s  was traveling with his party  across the hot desert.  In the late afternoon they set up camp for the night.  After pitching his tent, he laid down on his mat to try to sleep; but tossed restlessly in the heat of the scorching hot late afternoon sun.

Suddenly he became cool and soon fell asleep.

Next morning as he went out of his tent,  he learned what had happened the previous afternoon.   A great rock in the West had taken the brunt of the heat as the sun had set.

What is the lesson for us in this story?  The heat is God’s wrath on sin.  The great rock which bore the heat of God’s wrath was Christ who bore God’s wrath as He hung on the cross in our place.

By trusting in Him we can rest in the shadow of this Great Rock, Christ.

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July 14, 2011 - Posted by | Romans

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