Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

#13 Before and After

Weight loss and exercises programs have advertised with before and after pictures for as long as I can remember. In the 1940’s when I was a kid, the Charles Atlas ad for a strong, muscular body was in all the comic books.

Romans 5 describes for us the before and after truths of Justification by Faith.

I. BEFORE JUSTIFICATION

Before Justification we were ungodly, not at all God-like, Romans 5:6 declares.

Before Justification we were without strength to live a godly life.  Like the impotent man of John 5 who sat by the pool for 38 years waiting for someone to help him into the healing waters of Bethesda, we were helpless to even lift a finger to help ourselves become godly.  So today the unconverted are helpless to save themselves and live a godly life.   

God alone is our strength to live a godly life, we learn in Psalm 19:14, Phil. 4:13 and II Corinthians 12:9

Before Justification we were sinners, Romans 5:8 declares.   We commit acts of sin because we are sinners. That’s the theme of Romans 1-3. Listen to Romans 3:23  “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Before Justifications we were enemies of God, Romans5:10 declares.  Sinners are not neutral nor passive about God, but active enemies of God and all those who belong to God.  At the same time sinners enjoy an active friendship with this sinful, God-hating, Bible-hating, Christian-hating world system. 

By world system, we’re not referring to God’s wonderful creation.  Every Christian rightfully loves and appreciates God’s wonderful creation and it is not  out of place for us to be concerned environmentalists.

On the other hand, the God-hating atheist actually worships the creation, rather than the Creator. They are the extreme environmentalists who make life miserable for the rest of us.   Romans 1:18-25 describes these enemies of God who, in their rebellion, hold down or suppress God’s Truth  and  end up worshipping the creation, rather than the Creator.  As you are well aware, these enemies of God are not Creationists, but evolutionists.

Before Justification, we were dead in our sins,  Ephesians 2:4-5 teaches.

Before Justification we were facing God’s eternal wrath. Romans 1:18

So with whom is God angry, according to Romans 1:18?

Not only is He angry with out-and-out atheists; but He is also angry with those who claim to be Christians who claim to hold the Truth of God’s Word, but are actually suppressing the Truth by claiming to be Christians, but having absolutely no love for God, for His holiness, or for His Word.

There has been absolutely no change in their lives. They are much more at home in this sinful world system than they are sitting under the teaching of God’s Word.  Basically there his been no change in their lives since they claimed to be Christians.  Their’s is a dead, hypocritical faith according to James 2:17-20.  making their claim to Christianity null and void.

The message of II Corinthians 5:17 is just as much a part of the Gospel as John 3:16.   That message is that those who put their trust in Christ for salvation are born again as a new creation.  The old life with it lusts and pleasures is passing away and the new life of love for Christ and His holiness is progressing in us as Christians.

Yes, we are saved by a simple faith in Christ. apart from any works on our part. See Ephesians 2:8-9    But Galatians 5:6  adds that it is a faith that works by love.  The Book of James concentrates on this truth, as does II Corinthians 5:17and many other Scriptures.

The point that is clear in Scriptures is that salvation is given as a free gift by faith apart from any works.   But once one has been born again, he begins to grow and by the power of God’s indwelling Spirit, he begins to live a new life of good works.    As Justification is the doctrine that teaches how we are saved by faith apart from works,  so Sanctification is the doctrine that teaches how the Christian begins to grow in godliness.  The doctrine of Glorification continues with the ultimate result of perfection in Heaven.  For much more on this go to my series on SALVATION on this web site. 

Well, we’ve dealt with life BEFORE JUSTIFICATION.

Let’s move briefly to the next division,

 

II  JUSTIFIED BY CHRIST’S SHED BLOOD

 

Romans 5:8-9 teaches us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God did not save us after we decided to clean up and make ourselves worthy of salvation.  He did not save us after we proved to Him by our works that we really wanted to be saved.  He did not justify us after some religious ceremony, such as baptism or communion.   Rather, He justified us “while we were yet sinners”.  Romans 5:8

People don’t normally sacrifice or die for undeserving enemies.   But Jesus did.  He died for us while we were yet sinners and His enemies. That’s the message of Romans 5:7-8

 

III. AFTER JUSTIFICATION

 

After we have put our trust in Christ, the war is over.  

The war that God declared on Satan in Genesis 3:15 is not over.  Satan is His sworn enemy and will spend eternity in Hell fire one day. His eternal future is described in Revelation 20:7-10 

The war that God declared in Genesis 3:15 is not over for Satan’s seed, that is all who follow him in rebellion against God.  Their future is described in Revelation 20:11-15.  It is one of the most  chilling, horrible scenes in all the Bible.

But for those who have been justified and reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus; that war is over and we have peace with God. See Romans 5:1  

To those who are now in Christ Jesus through faith in Him, we are reconciled to God.  Read II Corinthians 5:18-20.  Those of us who have been reconciled to God are given the responsibility of sharing this good news with the world.  Our message is “Be reconciled to God!”   Paul concludes this message of reconciliation with that wonderful, favorite verse of mine.  II Corinthians 5:21, the verse that explains the wonderful trade God has made with us.   He took our sins in His body on the cross and died, paying the penalty we deserved to pay.   And He has given us  His righteousness as a totally free Gift.  He has put His righteousness to our account, thus making us fit to dwell with God in Heaven for eternity.

It takes two to be reconciled.  God has taken the initiative and done His part.  He suffered the pain and agony onCalvaryfor our sins.  Will you simply accept His Gift of Grace to you by receiving His sacrifice for your sins?

Those who reject Christ, go to Hell with their sins fully paid for by Christ.  The reason they go to Hell is because in their pride and self righteousness, they stubbornly refused His Gift.   If a prisoner on death row is pardoned by the Governor, the pardon is worthless if the prisoner refuses to accept it and walk free.  Everyone who goes to Hell goes there with the peace-treaty half signed.  God signed it, but the sinner refused to sign it.  Can you see the insanity of the unbeliever?    Jeremiah 51:7  describes the Christ-rejecters as mad.

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August 13, 2011 - Posted by | Romans

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