Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Hardened Hearts

Why is it that the Word of God seems totally ineffective in some lives?  Why do so many reject the Gospel?   God’s Word is not powerless and ineffective.  Our witness is not necessarily ineffective.   The fact is that not everyone is going to be saved.

When God made His Covenant or promise with Abraham to bless the world through him and his Seed; not all of Abraham’s descendents inherited the Covenant.  Only the family of Isaac; not the family of Ishmael. When the Covenant passed to the next generation, only the family of Jacob inherited it.  Of Jacob’s twelve sons, only the family of Judah  inherited the Abrahamic Covenant.   Those outside the Abrahamic Covenant  found their hearts hardened by God. Rom.9:17-18

But don’t blame God for hardened hearts.  God only hardens the hearts of those who have already hardened their hearts towards Him.  Note, for example,  Pharaoh of Egypt in the time of Moses.  Pharaoh hardened his own heart towards God before God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.   See Exodus 8:15,32; 9:34-35, 10:1,20; 11:10; 14:4.

 

WHAT DOES THIS TEACH US ABOUT GOD?

 

1, God is faithful.  His Word is true.  He promises to save and not cast out anyone who comes to Christ for salvation.  John 6:37 “All that the Father gives to Me, shall come to Me and Him that comes to me I will in no wise or under no circumstance cast out.”   

Don’t get hung up on the first part of that verse and blame God for not being saved.  Focus on the second half of that verse.  Do you want to be saved?  Then come to Christ and trust His blood sacrifice on your behalf.  Look at the promise.  I will in no wise cast out. 

 

Christ promises to keep us saved all the way to Heaven.  Listen to Jesus praying for His own  in John 17:6 and 11.  If you are a Christian, you cannot lose your salvation.  You security is not in your ability to live the Christian life.  You security is in Christ who has His own in the palm of his hand forever.  Read John 10:27-30  That’s security!!!

2. God is righteous.   Read Romans 9:14.  We must NEVER question God’s righteousness. even when we do not understand His ways. Read the story of Job who faced severe testing, even though he was a righteous man.  How that book has encouraged and comforted me in my tmes of severe testing!

3. God is compassionate and loving.  Read Romans 9:15.  God loves the whole world, according to John 3:16;  but to learn how He loves the world,  read Romans 5:8   and I John 4:9-10

Those who reject His love by turning their backs on His Son, face His fierce wrath.  John 3:36

4. God is merciful.  Romans 9:14-18.  No one deserves God’s mercy.  We never have and never will deserve it.  We only deserve God’s judgment and Hell.  In His mercy He saves some. Others reject Christ as Saviour and remain lost. 

It is not our prerogative to judge whether God is fair or not.  It is none of our business.   God is merciful and long-suffering, not willing that any should perish.  Don’t ever besmirch God’s character by teaching it is God’s will to condemn some to hell.  Will you rest in the truth of  II Peter 3:9 ?   

Our business as Christians is to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, starting with our family and friends and our neighborhood.  God will save some.  Evangelistic effort is our business.  Evangelistic success is God’s business; not ours. 

5.  God is sovereign.   Learn Romans 9:19-29 and rest in it.  What a comfort this truth is in times of crises.  God is God and He is under no obligation to explain His ways to His creatures. Read Romans 9:20-21.  We Gentile Christians and the Jews saved in this present church age are His vessels of mercy.  God has promised that a remnant of Jews will be saved. Read Romans 9:27-29

OUR RESPONSIBILITY  Romans 9:30-33

Let’s leave God’s sovereign ways in His hands. 

Away with all our self-righteousness and pride.

Jesus is the Rock of our Salvation.

Most Jews, as well as gentiles  have stumbled over that  Rock.

Those of us who have received Christ as our Rock of Salvation are not ashamed of Christ. We rejoice what He has done for us. 

Let’s thank Him for His love and mercy in seeking us out, drawing us to Himself and saving us by His grace and mercy.

 

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December 4, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on Hardened Hearts

Privileged People

WITH PRIVILEGE COMES RESPONSIBILITY

Everyone enjoys special privileges.   In this article, you will discover that Israel is a privileged people.  You will also discover that Christians are also a highly privileged people.  When we grasp and understand these privileges, it does not make us proud.  Rather, it humbles us and burdens us with a heavy responsibility to reach the lost  who do not yet know Christ, for with privilege comes responsibility.

 

ISRAEL‘S EIGHT PRIVILEGES  Note them as they are listed in Romans 9:4-5  Note also that through Israel’s privileges the whole world is blessed through Christ.

1. CHOSEN AND ADOPTED

Genesis 12:1-3 records how Abraham was chosen and called out of Ur of the Chaldees to be the father of the Jewish race to bless the world through Christ who would come through his line;  so we who have put our trust in Christ have been chosen and adopted into the Family of God to be a blessing to this lost world.

In Deuteronomy 7:6-8 God reminds Israel  they are a chosen, blessed people above all the nations of the earth in that God chose them to be the channel through whom Christ would come who would bless the world.  He repeats this in Psalm 33:12,  but makes it clear that any nation who honors Him is blessed.

Read Ezekiel 16:3-14 for a very touching story of how God found and chose and blessed Israel  to be a blessing to the world. Then read the rest of that chapter to see how  Israel  forsook her God and brought down God’s judgment on themselves.

In this Church Age we Christians can rest and rejoice in the truth that God chose us in Christ  before the foundation of the world and we are adopted into His family all to the glory of His grace, as taught in Ephesians 1:4-6.

2.  EXPERIENCED THE GLORY OF GOD

Israel  was privileged to sense the presence and glory of God as He led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  When camp was set up, the glory of God dwelt in their midst in the Tabernacle.  

But all of this was but a type of the more wonderful relationship we Christians have with God through Christ, as we experience the constant presence and glory of God through His Holy Spirit residing in our bodies, as explained in  I Corinthians 6:19-20  and II Corinthians 4:6-7.

3. THE COVENANTS

Abrahamic Covenant

The story of Abram begins in Genesis 12 with God’s command to him to leave his home in  Ur of the Chaldees and follow God’s leading to  Canaan  which God gave to him and his  descendants. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and made an eternal covenant with him known as The Abrahamic Covenant. 

This covenant is recorded in Genesis 15 and reconfirmed in Genesis 22 after Abraham showed his willingness to offer his son, Isaac, as an offering to God.  Read the beautiful story in Genesis 22.  It’s a foreshadow of  God’s offering up of His Son, the Lord Jesus, on the cross for our sins.

This covenant is basically God’s promise that through Abraham’s seed would come the  Saviour,  the Lord Jesus.

Davidic Covenant

The Davidic Covenant found in II Samuel 7:12-16 assures David, who is in Abraham’s line through Isaac and Jacob (whose name was changed by God to Israel) and Jacob’s son, Judah,  that through his seed would come Jesus who would be King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

New Covenant

The New Covenant is not limited to the JewsToday we Jews and Gentiles who put our trust in Christ are made beneficiaries of  The New Covenant, promised in  Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:21-38  and  Hebrew 8:6-13. It involves a personal relationship with God through our personal relationship with Jesus, in whom we trust for our salvation. 

Instead of being in bondage to God’s Holy Law; we are freed from condemnation to allow the indwelling Holy Spirit, to live out the righteousness of the Law through our hearts in our daily conduct, as Romans 8:1-4 teaches.   Legalism is foreign to this gracious work of God in our lives. 

4. THE LAW

Israelites were eye-witnesses of Jesus, as well as  writers and custodians of  God’s Law, the written Word of God, the Bible.  The entire Bible, both Old and New Testament  was  written by and given to the Jews.   We Gentiles are blessed by the Bible which we read and internalize, allowing the indwelling Holy Spirit to live out the life of Christ through our lives.  Our carnal natures which are with us until we die, keep us from living Christ’s life perfectly, even though that is our desire.   This truth is taught in Romans 6-8. 

5. SANCTUARY SERVICES

Sanctuary services were performed by the Jewish tribe of Levi only, we read in Exodus 25:8-9.   In this Church Age our bodies, as Christians,  are the temple or sanctuary of  God’s Holy Spirit.   So  instead of going  to Church,  we ARE Christ’s Church or Spiritual Body and we are to gather together regularly each week, to be edified and challenged by God’s Word to live Godly lives and offer faithful service to Him, as Hebrews 10:25 commands us.   As Christians,  our bodies are holy property.  Therefore, as we learn in I Corinthians 6:9-20 and II Corinthians 6:14- 7:1;  it is our solemn responsibility as Christians to live a morally clean life, turning from sin whenever we are faced with temptation.

It’s extremely dangerous for a Christian who is part of Christ’s body, to allow sin, or sinful influences,  to control his body. If you want to live dangerously, go play with electric wires or with lightening; but don’t play with sin.  You may escape getting shocked by electricity, but you will NEVER escape the consequences of sin.  Numbers 32:23  warns us

BE SURE YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT!!!

When you as a Christian sin, deal with it immediately by confessing it directly to God, not to some man.  God will immediately forgive you without any penance on your part.  Jesus paid the full price for all your sins when He shed His blood on the cross for you.  For you to attempt to offer money or anything else as payment for your sins is an insult to God.  

Read I John 1  to fully understand how Christians are to deal with sin in their lives.  You will find I, II and III John, at the end of the Bible, just before Jude and Revelation.

6. GOD’S PROMISES

The Old Testament is filled with God’s promises to Israel.  Here are only a few.  Deuteronomy 28,  Joshua 1:9, Jeremiah 33:3.  By God’s grace,  we Christians are blessed through these promises to Israel  and hundreds of other promises to Israel and to the Church throughout the Bible. 

I challenge you to read through the Bible, underlining every promise.  As a child, we used to sing a little chorus,  “Every promise in the Book is mine. Every chapter, every verse, every line. All are blessings of His love divine. Every promise in the Book is mine.” For example, read through Psalm 37 and underline the promises made to you.  Memorize them and claim them in time of need, as I have repeatedly throughout my life.

7. THE FATHERS

Finally, we are given the Fathers, that is the Patriarchs,  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah  and on down to David, and Solomon and other through whom Jesus came.  You can read the two genealogies of the man, Jesus,  who was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was God come down in human flesh to die and shed His blood for our sins.  You will read His genealogy through Joseph, His adoptive father,  in Matthew 1  and  His genealogy through the virgin Mary in Luke 3.

ISRAEL

Though Israel  as a nation rejected Jesus as their Messiah and Saviour, yet we are indebted to Israel  for giving us Jesus and we have the responsibility at Christians to share the Gospel with them.  That’s why Paul, a Jew and a Pharisee and Jewish leader, after being converted to Christ, had such a heavy burden to reach his nation with the Gospel.  He shares that burden  in Romans  9 and 10 as we’ve already seen.

AS AMERICANS

Surely America  has been blessed over the past two centuries because the founders honored God and His Word, the Bible. Christianity is woven into the fabric of our founding documents, including our Declaration of Independence and  our  Constitution.  

Being an American doesn’t save us, but it certainly is a blessing to us as we live in a nation that was founded by Godly men and women. We have more access and opportunity  to hear the Gospel than almost any nation on the face of the earth.    For much more on this  thought, go to category, AMERICA.

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on Privileged People

Travailing for the Lost

In our study of the first eight chapters of Romans we’ve learned how God takes a lost, unworthy sinner and imputes God’s righteousness to his account through faith in Christ who shed His blood to pay the penalty for our sins.  We’ve also seen in Romans 6-8 how God sanctifies us, enabling us to live holy lives through the power of  His indwelling Holy Spirit.

Now in Romans 9-11 we learn more wonderful truths concerning our salvation and how  Israel  fits into the picture.   In these three chapters we learn of  Israel’s past in chapter 9,  her present in chapter 10 and her future in chapter 11.   We focus our attention now on the first three verses of  Romans 9.

PAUL’S HEART-CRUSHING SORROW

 

Paul, who had been a Jewish Pharisee and a chief enemy of Christ before his conversion,  speaks in Romans 9:1-3  and 10:1-3  of his great heaviness of heart and his crushing sorrow for Israel who rejects Christ as her Messiah and Saviour.

We Christians should all bear that crushing sorrow for our loved ones, both family and friends, as well as our nation, for  Israel  and for a lost world who are still without Christ.

THE SEED SAVES, YOU AND I DO NOT SAVE ANYONE!

Psalm 126:5-6 encourages us to go to those we love with the Gospel.  We can’t save anyone; but the Gospel can.   This passage encourages us with the promise that if we go to those we love,  weeping with a broken heart,  sharing the Gospel; that we will doubtless come with rejoicing bearing our sheaves with us.  That is, we will see success.  We don’t save anyone, but God can save them if we just give them the Good News.  As you grow in your love for God, you will also grow in love for lost sinners.

Sharing a good Gospel tract is one way.  I try to find creative ways to share my Hidden Treasures web site with friends and strangers. If this web site has helped you,  I encourage you to share it also.  When you do, you  offer people the opportunity to read over 600 Bible-teaching articles on a vast array of practical topics, including The Gospel which is woven throughout.  

I keep pouring my time and energy into this web site with the assurance that even though I may never meet nor hear of converts to Christ now,  one day I will have the joy of meeting them in Heaven.  Perhaps you are one of those who have come to faith in Christ.  I look forward to an eternity of getting to know you. 

You may have noticed that I include good jokes under A Merry Heart  and Gems of other writers in this web site.  I trust that those who read the jokes and gems may also read salvation messages and be saved.

The Gospel, (The Good News) clearly presented in II Corinthians 5:21,  is the germinating Seed which  must penetrate the heart of the unbeliever in order for him to have eternal life.

Before a woman can have a baby, she must travail in pain in labor and delivery.  Isaiah 66:8 reminds us that Israel travailed before she  had children. So when we travail in sorrow for the lost and share the Gospel with them, some are going to be saved.

That burden has constantly been on me throughout the years of my ministry. Actually that burden came upon me after I was saved at the age of nine.  My heart constantly aches for the lost.  Now that I am retired, that sorrow for the lost does not let up.  Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, the weight of a lost world is always on my heart and mind.   When I go into a restaurant for a meal, I see people around me, including the waiter/ waitress and think about ways I can reach out to them with the Gospel.  

Recently I was in a grocery store and heard the man in the check-out line ahead of me telling one joke after another to the cashier.  So I suggested to him that he might like to go to my Hidden Treasure’s web site and read over 40 good jokes he might enjoy.  He appeared to appreciate my suggestion and I expect he has already been to this site.

Luke 19:41  tells us that Jesus wept over  Jerusalem.  Are you weeping over your nation and over a lost world?   In  America we are in the most desperate times I have ever seen.  I am tempted to be depressed and angry over the ineptness and stupidity of many of our politicians; but as Christ, I need to have a broken heart and weep over a sin-sick nation. Our disease of sin as a nation is far deeper than the vast chasm between liberal and conservative politics.  

Dear reader, have you received the Good News of the Gospel, as found in II Corinthians 5:21,  John 3:16,  Acts 16:31?   I’m not asking you to change your life.  God will deal with you concerning any change you need to make in your life and He will give you His supernatural power to make the change.  Trust Him now while God is speaking to you through His Word.  See the urgency of getting off the road to Hell and getting on the road to Heaven in  II Corinthians 6:1-2 NOW!  Then get into a serious reading and studying of God’s Word.  Submit yourself to Him and He will make the necessary changes.

 

November 27, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on Travailing for the Lost

Resting in Rom. 8:28

 A World of Trouble

 

Job 5:7 warns us that mankind throughout the world  is born into a life of trouble.  In Galatians 6:5 Paul instructs every man to bear his own burdens.  Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:27 reminds us that it’s normal and good for a young man to bear his own burdens in his youth.  Psalm 55:22 teaches us that when those burdens are too heavy for us to bear, cast them on the Lord and lean on His sustaining power.  That is, stop worrying and fretting and allow Him to help you bear your burdens.

As we attempt to serve the Lord, In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus invites  us to yoke up with Him and let Him help us pull our loads and discover rest for our souls.  This is the #1 rule for avoiding burn-out in the ministry.

I’m thankful I learned this as a child and that when my wife and I were married, though we lived below the poverty level for several years, we never once looked to government nor to relatives to help us in those early lean years, nor did we ever hint to our churches that we were struggling financially.  In fact, my wife and I, looking back, have agreed that those early years taught us lessons about  how to make our money stretch and those early lessons have enabled us to save and invest  money for our retirement years. 

In the first years of my ministry I learned to look to God alone as the source of supply for all our needs. God in Philippians 4:6-7 promised He would provide for all our needs,   Though the churches I pastored paid us a salary, I was careful not to look to the church as the supply of my needs.  If I had done that, I might have trimmed my messages so as not to offend my source of supply.

God’s people who are looking to their Heavenly Father to provide for all their needs, never need to beg others for help, Psalm 37:25 teaches that for Christians to beg is an embarrassment and a shame  to the cause of Christ. 

Though we are each responsible for our own burdens; Galatians 6:2 instructs us as Christians to be aware of the burdens of others and help them as we can.

Resting in Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28  is a favorite verse of mine, as well as to countless others who seek the peace, strength, comfort, assurance, direction and courage it gives to us in our times of decision and in times of trouble.  For others, it seems to mock them and they find no comfort whatsoever.   What’s the difference?

Not addressed to everyone

 

The promise of this verse is not addressed to everyone.  It is only for  those who are trusting in Christ and love the Lord and are seeking to live in accordance with His will. By faith I  put myself in that category many years ago as a child by  trusting Jesus as my Saviour and surrendering to Him as my Lord.  I trust you also have turned to Christ.

For those Christians who are living lives surrendered to Him,  everything God allows to come into our lives is according to His sovereign purpose and plan.   For us, there are no accidents from God’s viewpoint. It’s all part of His will and  purpose for us.

To those living in rebellion to God, life is filled with bad decisions, confusion, disaster, misery and sorrow with no hope in sight. The promise of Romans 8:28 does not apply to them.

Let’s look at that verse, Romans8:28, and emphasize each of the key words one at a time.

I. All things work together for GOOD.

 

What is good? Pleasure, good health, money, nice clothes,  a new car, a great business opportunity or job, and the satisfaction that all our felt needs and desires are met; most call that success.  Is that the good the Apostle Paul is speaking of ?  No it is not.

Rather,  Romans 8:29 identifies what is good.   Good is anything God allows in our life to bring us into conformity with the image or person of Christ. 

Therefore, anything that makes me more like Jesus is good for me.  That can include sickness, pain, financial reverse, loss of a loved one, an insult, a misunderstanding, being overlooked,  any humbling experience and any pressing need that turns my attention to God.  That is Good.   According to James 1:1-3 we are to count these negative experiences in our life as spiritual assets.

 

II.  All things are WORKING together for good.

 

You say that you wish God would DO something.   God DOES do something.  He is always working silently and unseen in the shadows. 

His universe stays on schedule.

Your heart continues to beat.  You keep breathing without even thinking about it. All your organs continue to function normally.

World conditions continue to unfold right on God’s sovereign schedule. Political leaders rise and fall according to God’s plan, as announced in Psalm  75:6-7  “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.  But God is the Judge: He puts down one and sets us another.”

Even the wrath of man which sometimes brings persecution to God’s people, is explained in Psalm 76:10  “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.”   Isn’t that comforting?  God only allows enough persecution of His people to bring glory to Himself.  The remainder of persecution is restrained.  God never wastes anything; not even the wrath of His enemies on His children.

Watch God at work in the life of Joseph in the final chapters of Genesis.  See his doting father show favoritism to Joseph, thereby bringing out the jealousy and rage of his brothers. Observe these brothers selling Joseph into slavery inEgypt.

Take note of how Potiphar’s evil wife tries to seduce Joseph.  Watch how Joseph refuses to fall into sin and thus stirs up the fury of his seductress. As a result, Joseph is sent to prison.  There he chances to meet Pharaoh’s butler and baker.  There they have puzzling, disturbing dreams and Joseph          is given God’s wisdom to interpret their dreams correctly. 

As a result, he gets a reputation as a successful interpreter of dreams. Finally Pharaoh has a disturbing dream and  Joseph is called in to interpret it.  As a result of his wisdom, Joseph is freed from prison and is advanced in power and authority to a position of authority right under the Pharaoh of Egypt.

In retrospect, would you agree with me that every detail in the life of Joseph was working for his good and for God’s glory?   Of course!  The answer is obvious.   

Read the exciting book of Daniel and learn of how God worked in the life of Daniel and his three Hebrew friends, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, to bring great glory to God inBabylonand throughout the rest of world history. 

Read the book of Esther. Not once is the name of God mentioned; and yet in every detail, while Haman was stealthily planning to exterminate the Jews; we see God silently working in the shadows, out-maneuvering Haman, to protect His chosen people,Israel,  from extinction.  Haman was eventually hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai, the Jew whom he hated and had planned to execute.

I can joyfully say with Job in Job 23:8-10  “Behold, I look forward and He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him, On the left hand where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him. He Hideth Himself on the right hand that I cannot see Him; BUT He knoweth the way that I take:  when He hath tried me I shall come forth as gold.” (from the refiner’s furnace)

I can testify to the truth of Romans 8:28.  All things do indeed work together for good to them who love the Lord and are called for His purpose.   Thus, when we worry and fret,  we deny the truth of Romans 8:28 and we are acting as though God has lost control and is a liar.

III. ALL things are working together for good.

 

That means that ALL things, whether seemingly good or bad,

That means that when friends bring you words of encouragement and love or when people are mean and cut you down with cutting, cruel words,  those experiences are working together for your good.

That means when you have a salary raise and your investments are prospering, or when you have a salary reduction and your investments are in the basement, God is in control and working out His good  plan for you.

That means when the political process is falling apart and you feel like fleeing to a desert island, God is still in control and working out what is best for you and me.   As the well known Gospel song goes,  “He’s got the whole world in His hands!”

God has not forgotten you.  He loves you and is interested in every step you take and controlling even the smallest details of your life.  He is overseeing and orchestrating every decision you make.  Yes, YOU make the choices and decisions; but if you are surrendered to God’s will, God’s Spirit is leading you in those decisions.

If you, from the depths of your heart, long for His will for your life;  you can trust Him that the decisions you make are His decisions for you.

IV. All things work TOGETHER for good.

 

 

Just as a musician brings musical notes together to produce beautiful melody and harmony, the essence of beautiful music,  so God is working to produce beautiful  music in your life.

Just as a pharmacist combines elements into a prescription to improve your health, so God combines seemingly bad things to produce spiritual health for us.

Just as a cook combines ingredients, which alone would be repulsive, into a delicious, nutritious loaf of bread; so God combines bitter and sour and tasteless experiences and then allow us to bake in the uncomfortable heat of life’s oven. God combines our bitter and sweet  experiences and then allows us to be placed in sometimes seemingly unbearable, but measured heat to produce good in our lives.

We’re not saying that all the events of life are good; but when we trust God in the difficult experiences of life, He produces good in us and makes us a blessing to others.

Now in old age I have the luxury of looking  back on my seventy-eight years and I can honestly say   that every event of my life, starting with the death of my father when I was four  and being moved into a home and school for missionaries’ children in South Carolina at age 11 while my mother and step-father were ministering in foreign countries,  was good and profitable for me. It has all  been good and beneficial for me as it was working together to make me the man, the husband, the father and  the preacher I am today. Through these difficult experiences God has used me to  bless others and enabled me to  live a  joyful, fulfilled life.  

If Romans8:28is true, what should be my reaction to everything God allows  or brings  into my life?  Surely my response should not be that of:

Epicureans-   “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”

Cynics   “I dare God to do His worst to me.”  nor

Stoics   “Set myself and accept what comes  without flinching. Keep a stiff upper lip.”

Rather I must learn to  Praise God in every situation, knowing that He is in full control.  I Thessalonians 5:18, Philippians 4:4,  Psalm 34:1

How can we be sure of this?  Read Romans 8:28-31

Because of what God has already done for us, we can fully trust Him for our futures.  We don’t know what lies ahead for us  but we know WHO holds our future.

To all those who love the Lord and seek to faithfully serve Him, Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:28-30  to come to Him and He will give us rest. He invites us to take His yoke upon us and He, who is stronger than we are, will help us bear the heavy load and direct us in the way we should go.

I have personally learned that when He helps us pull the load,  it isn’t so heavy after all and  He in His wisdom knows the direction we should take. Only to the stubborn and self-willed will the yoke rub the neck raw and make the work miserable.

Will you join me in trusting and serving Jesus?  I promise that to the yielded neck and to the wiling heart, the way will be easy and you will be blessed beyond measure.  The one who trusts in the promise of Romans 8:28 will find perfect rest of body, mind and heart.

October 27, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on Resting in Rom. 8:28

#21 Why Christians Suffer

As we continue our study of sanctification in Romans 8,  we are confronted with two options: that of being controlled by our selfish fleshly nature, or being controlled by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Remember, our body, as Christians, is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  At the same time, we still dwell in a sin-cursed, self-centered body desiring to have our own way.

Though a true Christian may be carnal, self-centered and selfish at times; his basic orientation and his most innermost concerns and desires are with the things of God and to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

 As born again children of God, we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. The first part of that inheritance, the gift of the Holy Spirit, has already been given to us and we await our bodies’ future glory in Heaven.

In the meantime, dwelling in these  carnal, physical bodies we sometimes experience failure, suffering and sorrow and we will eventually experience death.  Nevertheless, we look by faith to our future glory in Heaven.

GENERAL REASONS FOR SUFFERING 

Let’s look at the reasons for our suffering in this life. 

As children of Adam, though we may have our faith in Christ and be saved and bound for Heaven; our physical bodies still bear the curse of sin with Adam, as taught in Romans 5:12  and  must die. 8:22-23.

Evil doers who break God’s laws suffer the consequence.  I Peter 4:15

What does the Bible say about suffering saints?

We suffer in this present time, according to  Romans 8:18

We suffer for a relatively short season, when contrasted with eternity. 

I Peter 1:6

Those who live godly lives can expect suffering from Satan and his godless world system Read II Timothy 3:12,  Luke 14:25-27  and Hebrews 11:25

GOD’S  PURPOSE FOR OUR SUFFERINGS AS CHRISTIANS

 

We are never more  identified with Christ than in His sufferings  John 15:18-21.  The main reason God permits Christian to suffer is to sanctify us.

I Peter 1:6-8,  and  5:10-11

 

THE WEIGHT OF SUFFERING

 How heavy is our suffering?

It’s  a matter of reckoning or counting our suffering as light  by faith.  Romans 8:18

 

In the light of future glory, our present suffering it’s not so heavy after all

II Corinthians 4:17-18  Paul refers to  it as a “light affliction” 

In the light of eternity our suffering is  “but for a moment”

 

HOW SHALL WE ACCEPT SUFFERING AS CHRISTIANS?

 

First,  see it in its proper perspective. Romans 8:18

Rejoice in the privilege of suffering for Christ.  Matthew 5:10-12, Acts 5:41and  I Peter 1:6

Be patient. I Peter 2:20-23   Wait for God’s timing. Romans 8:19-25

Suffering builds patience. Romans 5:3,

 

Don’t be afraid. I Peter 3:14-17

Don’t think it strange.  I Peter 4:12

Suffering drives us to prayer.  Romans 8:26-27

 

CONSIDER PRAYER, OUR GREATEST NEED

 

We never experience the need for prayer more keenly  than in times of suffering and need.

Prayer is the  key to victory. Ephesians 6:18, II Corinthians10:3-5

Prayer is the key to evangelism & missions. Matthew 9:34-38

Prayer is the key to the supply of every need. Philippians 4:6-7

Prayer is the key to local and national revival and blessing.

 II Chronicles7:14

 

LACK OF PRAYER OUR GREATEST WEAKNESS

 

 

We don’t know what is good for us, Like a small child begging for a knife or matches, sometimes a young person begs God for the wrong marriage partner or for something we desire which would eventually harm us. Don’t trust your heart and your feelings. Proverbs 28:26

Rather, trust the Lord.  Proverbs  3:5-6

 

We are short-sighted. Two Biblical examples of that are Esau begging  for his favorite stew and being willing to trade off the blessings God had for him for the stew.  Genesis 25:29-34  and  a mother’s selfish desire for her sons. Matthew 20:20

We often pray for  fleshly requests.  James 4:3. The prodigal son’s request of his father “Give me!” was a prayer of immaturity. After God got finished working in him, his prayer was changed to “Make me”, a  prayer evidencing  growing maturity.

 

We often have cold hearts  and wandering thoughts. Matthew 15:8  The devil fights us on our knees harder than at any other time. He wants to keep us from fellowship with God and with  unconcern for others.

We often become  impatient with God, demanding quick answers that please us.  Like Martha in John 11:21 when her brother Lazarus died, we chide God for not doing things our way.

Like that prayer group who prayed for Peter’s deliverance from prison, we have little faith and we tend to be shocked when God answers. The story of   Acts 12:5, 13-16 would be funny if it were not so pathetically a picture of our own lack of faith.

 

GOD GIVES US TWO PRAYER PARTNERS

Jesus intercedes for us in Heaven.  Hebrews 7:22-26.

The Holy Spirit living within us helps us pray. Romans 8:26

How does He help us?

He prays with us; not by Himself.

He prays according to the will of God for we don’t always know God’s will. 

He prays with an intensity we often lack.

He groans.  I have often prayed just groaning to God when words fail.

He searches our hearts and knows our desires and genuine needs.

How terrifying to the sinner!

How comforting to the saints!

You testify to being a child of God.

Are your rejoicing in the hope of glory?

Are you presently suffering for Jesus because of your testimony for Him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 20, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #21 Why Christians Suffer

#20 Sons of God

We’ve come a long way in our study of Romans from our position as lost, helpless sinners in Romans chapter 1, or, in the words of Paul in Ephesians 2:12, aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, to our position as children of God and joint heirs with Christ in Romans 8:16-17.

 

In between these opposite poles we’ve been justified through faith in Christ, as taught in Romans 3:21- 5:21  and we are being sanctified, as taught in Romans 6-8.

 

THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN A CHRISTIAN’S LIFE

 

In Romans 8:1-2 we rejoice in the freedom from condemnation which we have through Christ. This freedom in Christ saves us from a life of legalism, fear and bondage and of struggling to live to please God as we surrender to the indwelling Holy Spirit who empowers us to live the Christian life under His control and by His power.

 

Whereas the Holy Spirit is mentioned but once in Romans 1-7, when we come to chapter 8 He is mentioned about twenty times.  The Spirit of God is the divine agent in our sanctification who empowers Christians to live the Christian life.   It is the God-centered life and a God-powered life, and no one but yielded Christians can live it.

 

The Holy Spirit supernaturally changes our self-centered nature.

 

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (a new creation),  II Corinthians5:17  The Holy Spirit moves into our lives as Christians and changes us fundamentally from the inside out.  It’s not just some superficial change nor some type of religious cloak we wear on Sunday and take it off to live a sensual, selfish, sinful life during the rest of the week.

 

Each of us either lives our daily life according to the flesh or according to the control of the Holy Spirit.  According to Romans 8:5-8  and Philippians 2:5-16 we choose either a fleshly mind-set or spiritual mind-set.

 

The carnal mind does not lead to death.  It is spiritually dead already.  Romans 7:5,  8:6, Ephesians 2:1.   

 

The Spirit-controlled mind is life and peace.  Romans 8:6.

 

Do you battle with sin?

 

A mere professing “Christian”  has no battle with the flesh nor with sin. Sin is a part of him.  He is comfortable, satisfied and at home with sin, thoroughly enjoying it.     

 

Dear reader, if this describes you, don’t deceive yourself.  You are not a Christian; regardless of any profession or an emotional experience of the past. You are still spiritual dead in your sins.

 

The Christian life is a struggle with sin.  Paul, one of the godliest men who ever lived,  describes his struggle vividly in Romans 7:14-25 and Galatians 5:15-16.  If this struggle is foreign to you; it’s because you are still a natural unconverted man or woman totally at home in this anti-God, Satanic world system.

 

Thank God, that as Christians, the moment we die or are caught up to Heaven in the glorious return of Christ, as described in John 14:1-3,  I Thessalonians 4:13-18,  I Corinthians 15:51-58,  Titus 2:11-15,  Hebrew 9:27-28,  our life-time struggle with sin will  be over and our salvation will be completed with our glorification.  I John 3:1-3.

 

Consider our sonship with God.

 

THE REALITY OF OUR SONSHIP

 

Not all church goers are children of God.  Religious liberals have always taught “the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man”.   There is no divine brotherhood of the human race and  God is not the Father of those who reject Christ.  There is no common brotherhood between those who receive the Bible as the inspired, infallible Word of God and those who receive it only as a flawed religious book.   Jesus referred to the religious Pharisees in John 8:44  as being “of their father, the Devil.”

 

Jesus announced to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, in John 3 that to have eternal life “he must be born again”  and that those who reject Christ as Saviour do not have eternal life, but “the wrath of God abides on them”

 

THE ASSURANCE OF OUR SONSHIP

 

Those who put their trust in Christ are not merely  individual Christians with no relationship with one another. Rather we are sons and daughters  of God and thus brothers and sisters in Christ within the Family of God.  The following Scriptures speak of the assurance we have as members of God’s Family.  Romans 8:9-17,  Galatians 4:1-7, Ephesians 1:1-14,

 

THE PRIVILEGES OF OUR SONSHIP

 

Again, looking at the passage we just read in Romans 8:9-17;  we who were slaves to Satan are now adopted into the Family of God.  We enjoy an intimacy with God through prayer and fellowship  and we are given an inheritance as heirs of God.  Unlike in human relationships, we do not need to wait for someone to die to enjoy our inheritance.  Jesus already died for our sins and has risen from the dead.  We can enjoy much of our inheritance now even in the present age.   Read about this relationship with God through Christ and of our privileges as members of the family of God.  I Peter 1:3-8, I Corinthians 3:21-24, 

 

THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF SONSHIP

 

As members of the Family of God,  we are expected to walk (that is, live) as dear children of God. Ephesians 5:1-8,  As members of the Family we are expected to obey God I Peter 1:13-1 and love God and His family, both local and scattered across the face of the earth.  I John 3:7-24

 

Let us live as children of God for our Heavenly Father’s glory.

 

 

 

 

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #20 Sons of God

#19 Freedom in Christ

In our previous message we closed out Romans 7:14-25  contrasting the weakness and failure of our old flesh nature with the strength of our regenerated new nature controlled by the indwelling Holy Spirit; which truth we find in Romans 8.

Romans chapter 8 is perhaps the jewel of this Epistle to the Romans as we consider the freedoms we enjoy because of our position “IN CHRIST”.

FREEDOM FROM CONDEMNATION

 We enter the chapter with no condemnation  because we are in Christ Jesus.  Romans 8:1-4

We end the chapter with no separation  from Christ. Romans 8:35-39

In between we learn that  All things work together for good. Romans 8:28

A translation problem.

In my King James Version I read In Rom. 8:1  That there is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. (So far so good.) Then the translation continues “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”

STOP!  We have a problem here.  Which is it? Is the NO Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, or is it to those who never walk under the control of the flesh, but always under the control of the Spirit? This translation of Romans 8:1 seems to teach that both are necessary if we are going to avoid God’s condemnation.  Certainly it is clearly necessary to be IN CHRIST to avoid condemnation;  but what about the necessity of  walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit? Is that also necessary to avoid condemnation?   If so we have all blown it.  None of us are going to Heaven.

I checked and all my Conservative commentaries on this passage are in agreement: including Griffith Thomas, Vernon McGee and John MacArthur

Vernon McGee writes in his commentary on Romans 8:1 “Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”  does not  really belong in this verse. Apparently some scribe picked it up from vs 4 where it does belong. The literal rendering is  “Therefore now, not one condemnation” to them which are in Christ Jesus.”   Though the phrase about “not walking after the flesh, but after the Spirit”  does not belong in verse one, it is essential in verse 4.

Let’s reason this out for ourselves! 

Consider these three questions and the correct answer.

1, Can the Law save?  NO!  Of course not!

2  Does the way we walk save us? NO  Of course not!

3. Can the Law free us from condemnation? Absolutely not!  Why? Our flesh is weak.  The only truth that saves us and frees us from God’s condemnation is that we are IN CHRIST JESUS, through faith in Christ.

You see, in verse 1 we are looking at the truth of Justification.

In verse 4 we are considering the truth of Sanctification

We must not confuse the two doctrines!

True, they are related truths.  One who is justified is being sanctified and will  one day be glorified.

 Why is that phrase ” who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”  in vs 4?  That’s the way the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us as we walk not after or under the control of the flesh, but after or  under the control of the Spirit.  Yes, it belongs there in verse 4.

THE  CONCLUSION TO THIS DEBATE!

 

The basis of our freedom in Christ is not our walk, but our perfect, eternal standing in  Christ  through justification.

That standing in Christ results in a new walk, as Romans 8:4 teaches. So let this be settled now forever in  your mind and heart. Your perfect, sinless standing before God as one whose trust is in Christ, is that “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!” Exclamation mark! Period!

Let’s move on now to the second great truth in Romans 8.

 

FREEDOM FROM THE POWER OF SIN 8:2-4

Consider Romans 8:3-4  Here’s the question.  What’s wrong with the Law? Go back to Romans  3:19-23  Our sinful flesh can’t keep it.

Picture a great Boeing 747 jet airliner sitting on the runway fully loaded with fuel,  passengers and luggage.  It has a gross weight  367 tons. It is humanly impossible to lift it off the ground.

But when the powerful jet engines work together with the law of aerodynamics, it becomes possible to do the impossible,  to lift that 367 tons over 6 miles high to a speed of  550 miles per hour.

This is a physical Illustration of a spiritual truth. “Greater is He that is within you than he that is in the world.” I John 4:4

Vainly attempting to keep God’s law perfectly can NEVER save us nor give us victory over sin.  But when the Holy Spirit  fills and controls a redeemed sinner, we who  are identified with Christ in his death and bodily resurrection, are given God’s power to live  a godly life.  Read this wonderful truth in  Galatians 2:20.  We can say with the Apostle Paul, ” I have been crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I,  but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

FREEDOM TO FULFILL RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW.  8:4

For those Christian living under the control of the Holy Spirit, the Law is no longer seen as a cruel, heartless husband, as we saw in Romans 7:1-6.

The Law is no longer a schoolmaster. Galatians 3:24-25

We now see the Law as a delight, as David did  in Psalm 1,  40:7-10,   and in 119:16.  The moral Law of God is not disregarded simply because we live in this Age of Grace.  Rather Grace enables us to live it. Christ fulfilled it, we see in  Matthew 5:17-20. Since we are In Christ, He fulfills it in us.

 

FREEDOM FROM FEAR & BONDAGE  8:15-16

Fear and bondage describe the life of the unsaved.  Hebrews 2:14-15

To unsaved, death and fear of meeting God is a dreadful thought.

To saved it is a glorious thought.  Paul testified in Philippians 1:21 “For to

me to live is Christ; to die is gain.” 

We saved are God’s children who cry to our loving father,  “Abba Father!” or “Daddy, Daddy!”

 

BEING IN CHRIST JESUS ASSURES OUR BODILY RESURRECTION.   Romans8:11   I Cor.15:42-49  

How does that happen? Read  I Corinthians 15:50-58 which describes a glorious event every Christian awaits with great joy and anticipation.

CONCLUSION

The true test of salvation is not, do I believe facts about Jesus?

All genuine Christians do believe what the Bible says about Jesus.

 It is not,  Have I made a profession of faith or been baptized?

 BUT  Am I a new creation in Christ?  Rom.8:6

If I have made a genuine profession of faith in Christ, I am a new creation in Christ.

As a result, I am no longer in the first group whose end is death.

Rather, I am in the second  group whose end is  life and peace.

Do you have the Holy Spirit living in you? 

You do if you are saved.  Romans 8:9

You are also normally led by Him.  Romans 8:14

Does the Holy Spirit bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God?   What is your relationship with God? Romans 8:15-16

September 28, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #19 Freedom in Christ

#18 Checkmate!

In the game of chess, the object is to bring your opponent’s king into check.  If he finds himself in a position where he cannot move without being killed, that is check mate and you win the game,

At the same time, in the process of going after your opponent’s king, you have to watch that he does not check your king. If your king is locked into a position where he cannot defend himself or escape, then your king is in check mate and your opponent has won.

Usually your only hope when your king is in check is to have  players who can come to the rescue and save your king. .

In this message I want to show you how your enemy, Satan, works to keep you in check, constantly defeated by sin. and  I want to show you  how  you can get out of check to him.

CONTRASTING THE SINNER WITH THE SAINT

 

The sinner has but one nature and that is sinful. The Bible confirms this in  Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10,23, 7:18,  and  8:5-9.  Therefore, the sinner has no conflict between  right and wrong. He can sin and enjoy it.  Ecclesiastes 11:9

The saint was given a new nature at the time of salvation.  II Corinthians 5:17 teaches old things are passing away and all things are becoming new. The indwelling Holy Spirit is at work in his life. But with this new nature, he is still stuck with his old sinful nature hanging on.

Hence, the struggle between his flesh nature and his new regenerated spirit, as described in  Galatians 5:16-25 and  Romans 7:14-25.

Examples of this ongoing struggle with our sinful flesh nature.

 

While the new nature serves and makes sacrifices for Christ; the old nature tends to make us feel proud and self-righteous and pity ourselves for all  the sacrifices we make for Christ.

 

While the new nature is bold and courageous for Christ; the old nature tends to make us become proud and brazen in our attitude.

While the new nature makes us frank and honest in our interaction with others; the old nature tends to make us come across as cruel, cutting  and rude

Watchfulness can cause us to become  suspicious about  everything and everyone, even to  judging hearts & motives.

In our desire to have a loving attitude and be admired by others; we can become soft on sin and overlook sin that needs to be dealt with.

LET’S LOOK CLOSELY AT OUR CARNAL AND SPIRITUAL NATURES

 

Carnal Nature

 

Born with it,  we Inherited it from our first father, Adam when he sold the entire human race  into sin. Romans 7:14

There is nothing good about our carnal, fleshly nature ever. Romans 7:18

Our old nature has no spark of deity. It can not be improved, nor do right.

The old nature is like a rotting corpse. The Romans were known to chain two prisoners tightly together.   When one died his decaying corpse was left chained  to the living prisoner until they both died. That’s the picture portrayed in Romans 7:24.  So our carnal nature stays with us until we die or are raptured.  Paul further describes our old nature in Philippians 3:20-21 as “our vile body”.  Let me caution here. Paul is not speaking against our physical bodies.  They are fearfully and wonderfully made. Paul is speaking here of our vile, fleshly, sinful, old nature which we will all have as long as we are on this earth.

Our Spiritual Nature

 

In Romans 7:16 Paul declares that our spiritual nature agrees God’s Law is good and we want to do right; but the old nature puts us into check. Our spiritual nature delights in God’s Law, according to Romans 7:22; but our old nature again puts us in check.

 

We resolve to obey God’s Law. Romans 7:25  reminds us,  but the old nature again puts us in check.

 

Our old nature and our new nature are  chained together throughout our life as Christians as those two condemned prisoners.  We cry to God for deliverance from our old sinful nature and it will come at death or at the rapture when we  leave our old nature forever.

 

HOW CAN I GET OUT OF CHECK AND STAY OUT OF CHECK?

 

First make sure you are convicted of your need for victory over sin.  Don’t call your failure anything but sin. Don’t blame your circumstances or  others for your failures as  Romans 7:24  teaches.

REVIEW THE KEYS TO VICTORY OVER SIN FROM ROMANS 6.

 

1. Know  Romans 6:3

2. Reckon what you know to be true.  Romans  11-12, 

3. Yield to the control of the Holy Spirit who is renewing our minds as we spend time in the Word. Romans 7:13-14. 25,   Rom. 12:2,  Titus 3:5-9

4. Rest and rejoice  in the promises of God  Romans 6:14,  I Corinthians 15:57,  

II Corinthians 2:14,  Hebrews 4:9-16

You and   I  will win the chess game of life and one day put our feet on the neck of Satan and check mate him by mortally wounding him under our feet.  Romans 16:20 

      

September 23, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #18 Checkmate!

#17 Married to Christ

We’ve come to chapter 7:1-11 in our study of Romans. Although this passage is all about marriage; our purpose in this passage is not to discuss the marriage of a husband and wife in its normal sense. That is an important subject, but it is not our topic in this message. 

If you’ve been following along in this series in Romans, you are aware that this epistle is about how God, by His grace, takes a spiritually dead, guilty sinner, deserving of God’s judgment and wrath and  turns him into a saint and a useable servant of God, fit for His use.

He does that by justifying or putting Christ’s righteousness to His account. Having justified him, God continues His work through His process of sanctification in the life of one who is justified.  

In this chapter Paul uses some basic facts of marriage to illustrate and better understanding sanctification.

GENERAL FACTS ABOUT MARRIAGE

1. The marriage law is good and holy for God is the author of marriage.  Genesis 2:18

2. Husband and wives are bound together as one for as long as they both shall live.  Romans 7:2

3. The death of a partner does not nullify the marriage law. It simply ends the marriage of the married couple.  Romans 7:3  The living partner is free to remarry.

4. There is no marriage in Heaven.  Matthew 22:23-30  Luke 20:27-36

5. Though we will know and love one another perfectly in Heaven; our primary relationship will be with the Lord Jesus and with His spiritual Body, His beloved Church, His Bride,  which is inter- generational,  international and inter- racial.

 

THE TOPIC BEFORE US IN ROMANS 7:1-11

 

The primary purpose of this topic of two marriages before us is to illustrate God’s plan of victory over sin for Christians in this life right now.  Remember, the whole theme of Romans 6, 7, and 8 is sanctification. Everything in these three topics is focused on this topic only.  So let’s not get distracted with other topics.  To illustrate sanctification, Paul illustrates it with two marriage examples.  In each marriage we’re going to identify and consider:

1. The husband

2. The wife

3. The quality of the marriage

4. The fruit of that marriage.

THE FIRST MARRIAGE

The husband

In this first marriage the husband is The Law of God.  This first husband is described as holy, just and good. Romans 7:14  describes it as spiritual. because it is spiritual.  It also deals with our spirits; not just the acts of our body.  Because it is spiritual, only those controlled by God’s Holy Spirit can  keep it.   In Romans 8:4  it is also described as righteous.

The Law is good for everyone keeping it.  Breaking it brings heart ache, ruin and death.

The wife

 

The wife in this first marriage is the natural, unconverted child of Adam, also known as “the natural man” or the natural woman as  I Corinthians 2:14  labels him or her.  This is the condition of all  human beings in their unconverted state.  They are spiritually blind according to Ephesians 4:17-19  and dead, according to Ephesians 2:1-6,  to spiritual truth from God’s Word. That’s why they seldom or never darken the door of a church where the Bible is faithfully preached.

The quality of the marriage

 

The marriage of the natural, unconverted man or woman to the Law of God is a fact that no one can escape.  Whether they like it or not, every natural unconverted man or woman is married to the Law of God.  It holds its absolute power over everyone of us in our unconverted state demanding that we obey it or die. There is no love between these two marriage partners.  That does not make for a happy marriage, just as no woman is happy being married to a tyrant. The natural person is totally incompatible to such a husband.  The only way the wife can get out of this marriage is to die, or for the husband to die.  One thing for sure, God’s Law is not going to die.

The fruit of this marriage

 

According to Roman 7:5 the fruit of this marriage is death.  Every human being who has ever been born on the face of this earth finds himself (herself) married to this absolutely unbending, holy Law of God. We are all required to obey it perfectly or we die.  The problem is not with the holy Law of God.  Rather, we as sinners are the problem.  As natural, unconverted men and women, we try to ignore it and hope it will go away, but it stands over us in unbending holiness, requiring absolute, perfect obedience or death and hell.

How can the sinner be freed from this miserable marriage?

 

One party must die,  either the sinner or the Law.

The Law does not die. There is nothing wrong with the Law.  It is holy, just and good.  Rather, the sinner must die to be freed from the power of the Law.  

THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A SINNER  PUTS HIS TRUST IN CHRIST AND IS CONVERTED!

The sinner died for having broken God’s Law,  He died in the person of The Lord Jesus Christ when Jesus died on the cross.  Read what the Scriptures say about this.  Romans 7:4 “Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the Law by the (crucified) body of Christ that ye might be married to another. (We’ll get to this truth as we discuss the Second Marriage in a moment.)  

Note also Galatians 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ”    Read the rest of this wonderful verse and we’ll discuss it in a moment.

The point here is that we can get out from under our awful marriage to The Law of God by dying with Christ when He died on the cross two thousand years ago.    God’s unbending Law is still in force upon all sinners, but I become dead to it when I put my trust in Christ to save me.   In the words of Philip Bliss sing with us as we sing in our church,

 

Once For All

Free from the Law, O happy condition!

Jesus hath bled and there is remission;

Cursed by the Law and bruised by the Fall,

Grace hath redeemed us once for all.

Chorus:

Once for all, O sinner, receive it!

Once for all, O brother believe it!

Cling to the cross, the burden will fall.

Christ hath redeemed us once for all.

Now are we free, there’s no condemnation!

Jesus provides a perfect salvation;

Come unto Me, O hear the sweet call!

Come and He saves us once for all.

Children of God,  O glorious calling!

Surely His grace will keep us from falling;

Passing from death to life at His call!

Blessed salvation once for all.

THE SECOND MARRIAGE

 

The Husband

 

In the second marriage, Romans 7:4 tells us that He who died on the cross and rose again  on the third day, that is,  The Lord Jesus Christ,   is our husband.

 

The Wife

 

Christ’s wife is the redeemed sinner.  In addition to Romans 7:4, read Ephesians 5:22-33 for a clear explanation of  our relationship to Christ as His Church, His spiritual bride.  He is our spiritual husband.

The quality of this marriage

 

What a difference this marriage is from our former marriage to the Law.

In our marriage to Christ

1.  We receive His name, Christian

2.  We partake of His divine nature. II Peter 1:2-4

3.  We share in His glory now and throughout eternity.  John 17:22

4.  This marriage is not characterized by drudgery, misery and failure.

5.  It is based on a love relationship with Christ.

6.  As Christians we have a new spirit.  See Romans 7:5   That new spirit is no less than the Holy Spirit living within our bodies as Christians.  Imagine!  The third person of the Trinity living within our bodies!  I Corinthians 6:19-20

7. No longer are we under a code of laws to keep.  Rather it is a person, the Lord Jesus, our beloved Bridegroom, to please.

The Fruit of this marriage

 

In John 15 Jesus shared with His disciples (and this applies to every Christian) of the new intimate relationship that we enjoy with Christ as Christians  By abiding in Christ as our Heavenly Husband we bear fruit now and throughout eternity, even the Fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5:22-25.

CONSIDER THIS.

 

To whom are you married, the Law of God or The Lord Jesus Christ?

 

Is your religion one of drudgery, misery and failure; or do you have a personal, joyful, living relationship with Christ?

September 16, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #17 Married to Christ

#16 Whose Servant Are You?

In Romans 6  Paul teaches truths of Sanctification  by posing questions we might ask about sin and righteousness, and then answering those questions.

 

The first question in verse 1  is this.  Since we’re saved by grace and not by our works and since sin  gives God greater opportunity to reveal His grace, shall we just go on sinning, since it is so natural to sin and so difficult to do what is right?

 

Paul answers that carnal reasoning in verse 2.  He shouts back, “God forbid! Don’t even think that way. We are dead to sin. 

 

The second question is found in verse 2.  What do you mean, Paul, that we are dead to sin?  How are we dead to sin?

 

With those questions Paul in Romans 6:3-10  launches into an explanation of our relationship with two races of people:   our natural relationship with Adam our first father and our super-natural relationship as Christians  with Christ, the second Adam.

 

 

AS CHILDREN OF ADAM

 

 

Here are some of those facts as recorded in Roman 6 and I Corinthians 12.

 

We all, as children of Adam and Eve,  fell into sin with Adam, who was the federal head of the human race.  In falling we inherited God’s curse on Adam and his descendants.

 

 

CHRIST, THE SECOND ADAM

 

 

By trusting in the efficacy  of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the second Adam, we can be saved from the penalty,  power and ultimately from the presence  of sin.

 

Those who have put their trust in Christ for salvation  have His  resurrection life. Just as a caterpillar has the resurrection life of a butterfly in it, so we have the resurrection life of Christ in us.   That’s Paul’s message to us in Galatians 2:20.   That life is the fruit of Christ’s Spirit being lived out in us, as described in Galatians 5:22-23

 

 

“GOD FORBID!” PAUL CRIES OUT IN HORROR.

 

 

This wonderful truth of Christ living through us makes the thought of living  in known, premeditated, planned sin, repugnant and unthinkable to us as Christians.  That’s why Paul cries out in horror in Romans 6:1-2  “God forbid such thinking!”    If you are a Spirit-led Christian, you don’t plan, prepare and pay to commit sin by visiting prostitutes or by going to  view sin-glorifying movies in theatres or in your living room watching television or porn on the internet.  Nor do you engage in the innumerable other sins Satan offers to satisfy you.

 

Instead, Paul’s desire and our desire as Christians  is described in Philippians 3:10.  ” That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”  

 

 

WE’RE NOT SINLESSLY PERFECT

 

But then he adds quickly in Philippians 3:12-15. (Let me summarize it for you)  It’s not that I have attained the perfection of Christ, but that’s my desire, to be like Jesus.  And so I press on to that goal of perfect Christ-likeness. If we are mature Christians, this is the way we should be thinking.

 

Most Christians are well aware that I John 1 teaches us that no Christian is sinlessly perfect.  It we think we are, “we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

 

 

DOES CHRIST’S  SACRIFICE ON CALVARY MATTER TO YOU?

 

 

I fear many Christians live lives defeated by sin, simply because they are not aware nor do they care about the resources God has given us to live victoriously over sin. Those resources include:

 

1. His shed blood as the sacrifice for our sins,

 

2 His Word and

 

3. His Holy Spirit living within us to empower us to live victoriously over sin.

 

 We live like the  poor beggar who has had  $100,000 deposited in his bank account by a benefactor, but He refuses to  believe it and continues to exist in his poverty.

 

Before we move on to the next step in understanding sanctification, let’s review what we know.

 

 

I  We KNOW the Truth  Romans 6:3-10

 

 

We know the truth of substitution in regards to justification; that Jesus bore the penalty for our sins by shedding His blood on the cross as the full atonement for our sins

 

We know and are beginning to understand the truth of our identification with Christ in regards to our sanctification.

 

Read Romans 6:6  and  Galatians2:20again. In these verses we are reminded that we have been crucified with Christ and raised with Him to walk a new life.  These events have already taken place in our lives as believers. 

 

Now to the second step.

 

 

 

II  We RECKON or count on what we know as true.  Read Romans 6:11.

 

 

 

If a poor, destitute man knows that $100,000 has been deposited into his bank account, it will do him no good until he reckons or counts on this fact as true by going to the bank and drawing on what he needs to live.

 

So when tempted to sin, I must reckon that I was crucified in the person of Christ who died for me.  Furthermore, I must reckon, or count on the truth that I was buried with Christ and that on the third day I rose with Christ to walk in Christ’s resurrection power over sin.

 

The only time I sin is when my heart grows cold towards God and I choose to sin or when in a spiritually-weakened condition I am deceived by the devil.  No Christian who longs for victory over sin need be denied that victory.  God promises that victory in Romans 6:14.

 

 Now to the third step towards victory over sin.

 

 

 

III. We YIELD  to Christ  Romans 6:13-15

 

 

 

We yield our body, our emotions and our desires to His control and experience victory over sin.   God’s promise of victory in Romans 6:14 is there for you and me to claim. Walking purposely into known sin should be unthinkable.   When we come to Romans 12 we will delve further into this step.

 

 

 

IV. We REST in Him.

 

 

Jesus, in Matthew 11:28-30 invites us to come to Him for rest, even as we serve Him.  He likens our relationship with Him to  two oxen yoked together to work in the field.  Christ is the strong, wise ox.  We are the young, inexperienced, weak ox. 

 

Christ invites us to yoke with Him and He will help us pull our load.  He will guide us as we walk together. we must follow His leadership and not try to go our own way, or we will find the yoke rubbing our necks raw and making life miserable for us.

 

What a joy it has been to me these past 55 years in the ministry to walk along beside Him as I submitted to His Lordship.  How painful it has been for me, when I tried to go my own way and ignore His Lordship.

 

Again I remind you that the victorious Christian life is a life of rest.  Hebrew 4:9-11 speaks to us about this rest of victory over sin.  Yielding to Christ is just the opposite of struggle in our own efforts to conquer sin.  Such struggles end in defeat.  Some Christians go throughout their lives  living in constant defeat to sin.  Hebrews 3:7-19 give sober warning to Christians who settle for that defeat.

 

We dealt with the first two questions concerning our sanctification at the beginning of this message.  Let’s move now to the third question. It is found in Romans 6:15.  Actually, it is a duplication of the first question found in verse 1.

 

 

The third question.   Shall we sin because we are no longer under Law, but under Grace?   Whose slave are you, anyway?   Are you still a slave to sin and Satan  or are you now a bond slave to Christ ?  Read Romans 6:16-23  to determine your answer.  To answer this question consider these Biblical issues and questions.

 

 

1.  Salvation is simple.  Trust Christ’s provision for your sins. He died for you on the cross and rose again for your justification.  John 3:16

 

2.  Does salvation result in a changed life?  II Corinthians5:17clearly answers that question, “If any man, (anyone) be in Christ,  he is a new creation.  Old things are passing away.  Behold, all things are becoming new.”  

 

3.  Whose slave are you?  Christ’s or Satan’s?  It’s one or the other.

 

 

Consider these Biblical facts in review.

 

 

Salvation is by faith and faith alone; but by a faith that does not remain alone, but results in a changed heart and a changed life bringing glory to God.

 

Faith in Christ results in justification.

 

Justification results in sanctification.

 

Sanctification results in a choice to live for Christ and serve Him instead of Satan.

 

We can’t be half saved and half lost.  We can’t serve two Masters.  Matthew 6:24  We love one and hate the other.  Who is your master?  Christ or Satan?   Lordship is  a love and hate matter. We either love ‘Christ and hate sin and Satan; or else we hate and reject Christ’s lordship and love going our own way, which, by the way, is always Satan’s way for us.

 

Loving and living for Christ is the best evidence of genuine salvation.  See the solemn warning in  I Cor.16:22   There we are warned that if we do not love Jesus we will be cursed when Jesus returns for us.  Do you love Him enough to trust Him with your life and follow Him?

 

Jesus in John 10:10 offers abundant, life that overcomes sin.  Do you have that life?   I’m not saying and you had better not boast that you are living in sinless perfection. I  John 1:8-10 warns against that deception. Sinless perfection won’t happen until you are in Heaven.  But in the meantime you can live a life of consistent victory if you are resting in Him.

 

If you fail Him, just get up out of the muck,  confess to Him that you sinned and ask His forgiveness and keep on resting in Him for victory. “He’ll not cast you out” is His promise in John 6:37.

 

 

 

 

 

September 10, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #16 Whose Servant Are You?

#15 Resting In Christ

With this message on the rest we have in Christ, we begin our study of  Sanctification, as found in Romans 6-8.

Life begins with regeneration.

The whole process begins with regeneration, that is, being born again through faith in Christ’s provision for our sins: through His crucifixion, death and bodily resurrection from the dead.  John 3:3-7  and I Peter 1:23 speak of this new birth. 

II Corinthians5:17  speaks of the miraculous change that occurs when we trust Christ as Saviour.  The change is so radical that it is like being born all over again as a new person, even though we are still the same soul and body.  

A good example of this new birth was Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee who hated Christians and devoted his life to persecuting and killing them.  When He met Christ on the road to  Damascus, he was so radically changed that God changed his name from Saul to Paul.  Paul was that fire brand for  Christ  who went throughout the Roman Empire winning people to Christ and building and strengthening churches and writing most of the New Testament. 

It’s not that we become perfect in this life.  I John 1:5-10 warns us that if we think we have arrived at perfection, we are deceiving ourselves; nevertheless, we have a desire to be like Jesus, which desire we will attain the moment we are in Heaven, I John 3:1-3 assures us.  There is a definite, unmistakable change. 

Our intimate relationship with Christ

 

Jesus pictures in John 15 that this new relationship we enjoy with Christ in this world is as intimate as grape branches in union with the grape vine, which union enables us to bear the Fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-25.  Being a Christian is not our struggle to try to be like Jesus.  Rather, it is described as a life of resting in Jesus in Matthew 11:29-30 and Hebrews 4:9-11.

Wade Robinson wrote about it in his song,  “I Am His and He Is Mine”  We often sing it in church.

Loved with everlasting love,

Led by grace that love to know;

Spirit breathing from above,

Thou hast taught me, it is so!

Oh, this full and perfect peace!

Oh, this transport all divine!

In a love which cannot cease,

I am His and He is mine.

Heaven above is softer blue.

Earth around is sweeter green.

Something lives in every hue,

Christless eyes have never seen.

Birds with gladder songs o’er-flow,

Flowers with deeper beauties shine,

Since  I know, as now I know,

I am His and He is mine.

Things that once were wild alarms

Cannot now disturb my rest,

Closed in everlasting arms,

Pillowed on the loving breast.

Oh, to be forever here,

Doubts and care and  self resign,

While He whispers in my ear.

I Am His and He is mine.

His forever, only His;

Who the Lord and me shall part?

Ah with what a rest of bliss,

Christ can fill the loving heart!

Heaven and earth may fade and flee,

First born light in gloom decline;

But while God and I shall be,

I am His and He is mine.

This almost sounds like a love song between a husband and wife, but it beautifully pictures the intimacy between Christ and us. His Church.

Israel’s distant relationship with God

 

 Before Jesus came and died on the cross for our sins, the relationship with God was distant for Israel. Israel could not  approach God directly; only through the temple and the priesthood and animal sacrifices for sin.

When Moses approached God at a burning bush, He was ordered to take off his sandals in Exodus 3:1-6.

Later when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, Israel was ordered in Exodus 19:16-25 to not come near to the mountain. upon pain of death.

Only the priests could enter the temple.  Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies within the temple and that but once a year.  Those who would disobey would be instantly killed.

Israel’s relationship with God was distant, to say the least.  The Gentiles had even less relationship with God. They were strangers to God and to His Covenant with Israel, Ephesians 2:12 reminds us.

When Jesus died on the cross, something huge happened.

 

Ephesians 3:1-11 describes what happened.   Through the shedding of  Christ’s blood on the cross,  a brand new Body was inaugurated.  The spiritual Body of Christ was born, The Church!  It was neither Jew or gentile, but it was a new Body, composed of regenerated Jews and gentiles.

The Sacred and the Secular

 

For the Christian,  life is not divided into the sacred and the secular.  We don’t sing our sacred music with an affected, unnatural pious, holy tone of voice and then throughout the rest of the week sing our secular songs with our normal voices.

Worship of God is not a sacred segment of our life, an emotion we seek to work up. Worship is initiated by our understanding of Biblical Truth concerning Christ.   Worship can result in deep emotion; but more than that, it results in a changed life that brings glory to God.

For the Christian,  all of life is sacred every day of the week, whether we are at church or at school or at work; whether we are  playing a basket ball game or watching it on television, or visiting with friends and neighbors, whether we are eating and drinking or being intimate with our spouse.  

Our life ought to be a constant fragrance of worship, Philippians4:18  tells us. Everything we do is sacred and ought to be done for the glory of God and the furtherance of the Gospel.   That’s the truth of I Corinthians 10:31.  If God is not glorified in our conversation and actions, we ought not do it.

The Doctrine of Sanctification

 

Romans 6:3-10 teaches us a simple three point doctrine of sanctification. It’s summed up in three key words:  Know, Reckon and Yield.  Let’s look at them. 

KNOW

 

What is it that we are to KNOW concerning the truth of our identification with Adam and Christ?

1.  As Adam fell into sin in the Garden of Eden, we, his descendants,  are all identified with Him in that fall.    We inherited a sinful nature from our first father and we sin because we are sinners.  With our sin we have inherited the curse which is death. As Adam died for his sins, so we who have inherited Adam’s sinful nature have inherited death with him. See I Corinthians 15:21-22

2. As Jesus was buried after His death, so we who are in Christ, were buried with Him

3.  As Christ, the Second Adam, rose from the dead; so when we put our trust in Him, we have resurrection power to live victoriously over sin presently and one day we who are in Christ, shall rise from the dead to live with Him free from the presence of sin forever.

We are taught in I Corinthians 12:13 this wonderful truth.  Baptism is primarily a picture of this spiritual truth that we were crucified in the person of Christ, we were buried with Him and we arose from the dead with Him to walk a new life of freedom and victory over sin. Read  Romans 6:3-5 on this.

You and I as believers  in Christ have resurrection life within us just as a caterpillar has the resurrection life of a butterfly within it.   Galatians 2:20 teaches us of this crucified life which we live daily, while at the same time, experiencing His resurrection power over sin.

Paul’s desire, as expressed in his testimony in Philippians 3:10 ought to be our desire and testimony.  Understand that we do not attain it perfectly in this life, but it is our constant desire and longing.

RECKON

 

Knowing these truths about victory over sin, we reckon them or count them to be true.  We live in the light of this truth.

If a poor man knows that $100,000. has been deposited into his bank account by a wealthy  benefactor, he must reckon or count that fact to be true, before he will go to the bank and withdraw what he needs to live. Otherwise, he continues in his life of financial poverty.

When I am tempted to sin, I must remember the truth that I was crucified in the person of Christ.  I was buried with Him and rose again with Him and I must reckon on those facts to be true and count on them to walk in victory over sin. 

YIELD

 

Upon knowing and reckoning these truths of victory to be true,  I can yield to the control of the indwelling Holy Spirit and He will enable me to live a life of victory.  That’s the truth of Romans 6:13.

No Christian who desires victory over sin with all his heart, need be denied victory That’s  the promise of Romans 6:14. 

This three-fold truth of knowing, reckoning and yielding is the opposite of self struggle which can only bring spiritual exhaustion and defeat.

Again,  I remind you that this victorious, Christian life is a life of rest, rather than a life of struggle.  Having said all of this, let me remind you that none of us live a victorious life over sin perfectly.  If we think we do, we are deceiving ourselves 

I John 5:11-13 reminds us.   But that does not give us permission to just give in to our fleshly, sinful natures and willingly choose to sin.

I repeat  that the victorious Christian life is a life of rest. rather than a life of struggle.  Read again the wonderful truths concerning our rest in Christ, as found in Matthew 11:28-30 and  Hebrews 4:9-11.

Though we are confronted with our sinful nature  daily,  by resting in our relationship with Christ,  we can find daily victory.  That rest does not give us permission  to just give in to our fleshly desires and willingly choose to sin.  Hebrews 3:7-19 gives serious warning to such Christians.   To those Christians who willingly choose to live under the control of their sinful, flesh nature,  there are serious consequences.  Not a loss of salvation; but a loss of the presence, power, joy and blessing God has available for you.

 

 

September 5, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #15 Resting In Christ

#14 The Two Adams

The theme of  the Epistle to the Romans is the Righteousness of God. The reason this theme is so important is that it shows us the only way to God and Heaven.

In earlier messages in this series we covered:

Man’s desperate need of God’s righteousness.  Romans 1:18-3:20.  We need that righteousness because we are sinners and God will not allow sin in Heaven.

JUSTIFICATION

God’s method of declaring us righteous and fit for Heaven is called Justification.    Romans 3:21-5:21.  God justifies us by offering us  His righteousness totally by His grace, apart from any works of our own.  God provided it for us by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus, into the world to pay the penalty for our sins by  shedding His innocent blood and dying in our place.  God proved His pleasure and satisfaction in this sacrifice by raising His Son from the dead three days later, as prophesied.

Salvation is available to those, who recognizing their total helplessness to change their lives and make themselves fit for Heaven,  come in humility and receive by faith the saving work of Christ.

Justification includes two concepts we need to understand.

1. Propitiation is mentioned in Romans 3:25.   Unlike the concept of doing penance for our sins, as is taught in false religions;  propitiation is the concept that Jesus has already  borne God’s wrath for our sins.  God’s wrath  for our sins, which should have fallen on us for eternity, has already fallen on Jesus and God is propitiated, fully satisfied by that Sacrifice. This concept of propitiation is also taught in I John 2:1-2  and 4:10.

2. Imputation is the other concept.   Taught in Romans 4:6-9, imputation is God’s transference of our guilt to an innocent sacrifice in our place.  As  the Israelites in  Old Testament times by faith brought innocent animal sacrifices to theTemple to be sacrificed in their place; so we are saved from the penalty of our sins as by faith and gratitude we accept God’s transference of our guilt from us to Christ;  believing that His Sacrifice saves us, making us fit for Heaven.

Leviticus 1:1-5 describes this.   When a sinner brought a lamb or bullock to the temple to be sacrificed in his place, in faith in God’s provision,  he placed his hand  on the head of the animal sacrifice as a symbol of transferring his guilt to the animal sacrifice. Then the priest carried out the slaying of the animal, as proscribed in Leviticus. With the death of the animal sacrifice, the Israelite was forgiven of his sin.

Of  course, the problem with this plan was that Israelites had to repeat the sacrifice constantly as they continued to sin.  Hebrews 10:1-10 deals with this problem, showing that Christ is the permanent sacrifice and solution. to the sin problem.  Hebrews 10 is well worth reading and rereading until you understand it.

This sacrificial animal was a type of Christ,  foreshadowing what Christ Himself, in the fullness of time,  would accomplish on the cross. 

Now let’s get into the matter of the first and second Adam, taught in Romans 5:12-21,  as we conclude our study of the doctrine of Justification.

To help us better understand and appreciate this topic, take time to consider this thought-provoking question.

IN WHAT THREE WAYS MIGHT GOD HAVE CHOSEN TO SAVE US?

 

1.  God might have overlooked our sins and allowed us to enter Heaven simply because He loves us.   But that would be impossible!   That solution would have been contrary to God’s holiness. God’s love and holiness never contradict one another. Heaven would become like Hell.

2. God could have planned to allow only those measuring up to His holy standards to go to Heaven.  But that also is impossible!  That would rule out the entire human race, for all of us are sinners, having inherited that sinful nature from our first father, Adam.

3. That leaves only one other option.  God Himself could   become a man and come down to earth  to be sentenced to death in our place,  the death that we deserved as sinners.   That’s exactly what God did.  He, who knew no sin, became sin for us. God poured out His wrath, which we deserved, on Christ as He  became the sacrifice for our sins that we might have imputed to our account, His righteousness.  Read II Corinthians 5:21  repeatedly until you understand it.

Now, let’s get back to Romans 5:12-21 as we consider the two  Adams.

THE FIRST ADAM

 

God in His wisdom and foreknowledge, knowing the end from the beginning, created Adam, the first man, from the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into him; and man became a living soul.  Later, when Adam was emotionally prepared for a wife,  God created Eve from Adam’s rib and brought him to Adam to love and to cherish for as long as they lived. 

He placed them in the Garden of Eden, a perfect place He had prepared for them with no sin nor the curse of sin to spoil their perfect life together. You are  no doubt familiar with the story of their perfect life until Satan, as a beautiful serpent, came to Eve to tempt her and spoil their perfect life, free of sin and its curse.  The full account of their temptation and sin is found in Genesis 3.

Eve listened to the serpent and we learn in I Timothy 2:11-14 that she was deceived.  She ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to her husband who also ate.  There is no indication that Adam was deceived; but he walked into this sin of disobedience with his eyes wide open. 

Up until this time, both were naked and not ashamed.  Now they both recognized their nakedness and guilt and  tried to hide themselves from God  among the trees of the Garden.  Of course, no one can hide from God and it didn’t take God long to find them and confront them about what they had done. 

They both attempted to make excuses to God; but God was not impressed with their excuses.   They made excuses and played the blame game; but God cut through to their disobedience and pronounced a curse on them  and on the Serpent, Satan.

Then in Genesis3:15,  God announced the future course of history and the basic plot of the Bible. 

1.  Enmity between God and His family   vs.  Satan and his family.

2.  God’s SEED (eventually Jesus) would mortally wound and permanently destroy Satan

3.  In the meantime, Satan would do some relatively temporary, minor damage to God’s family.

This thumbnail sketch of history has been and will ultimately conclude the history of mankind and the struggle between  God and Satan and the  ultimate destruction of Satan. That is the story line of the Bible.

Some of you are thinking, “But this plan is not fair.  Why should God condemn me a sinner for what Adam and Eve did  years ago?  Let me finish the story and then you can decide how fair God is.

THE SECOND ADAM

God, knowing that Adam would sin and plunge the entire human race into sin  and death, in His great wisdom and love devised a plan of salvation even before He created the world. Jesus is seen in Revelation 13:8 as the “Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.”

Read Romans 5:15-21 and I Corinthians 15:21-22.  Note, as you read these passages  the words ONE and MANY.  God has two federal heads of the human race.  Adam is the head of the human race that sinned and died.  Jesus is the Head of  the redeemed human race who by faith in Him is given eternal life.

THE ESSENCE OF SALVATION

 

Through faith in Christ we leave the doomed family of the first Adam and are placed supernaturally into the redeemed family of the Second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.  

In the Second Adam

1. We are justified and have a perfect legal standing with God.

2. We have a regenerated and recreated soul that loves righteousness and hates sin.

3. We experience the grace and love of God.

4. We have Peace with God.  Romans 5:1

5. Not only are we counted righteous, but we are being made righteous, as we will see  in our study of Romans 6  through 8.  

What about the Law of God?  We can’t just ignore  it.  Romans 5:20.  explains that though we fall far short of it;  thank God, where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.  Grace is more than a match for it.

IN CHRIST

 

The New Testament epistles use the phrase IN CHRISTII Corinthians 5:17 teaches that salvation is the state of being In Christ. We were all born in Adam.  Are you still IN ADAM  or are you now IN CHRIST?  If you are IN CHRIST the old life you lived before salvation is passing away and your new life as a Christian is becoming more evident as you seek to allow Christ to control your thinking, your desires and  your actions.

IN WHICH ADAM ARE YOU?

 

The first Adam who sinned and brought the curse of sin on all of us?

 Or, the second Adam, Christ Himself, who took the curse of sin for us by shedding His blood for us on the cross?

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #14 The Two Adams

#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.

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #13 Before and After

#12 Peace With God

I liken our study of Romans to taking a road trip into a majestic mountain,

the mountain of our salvation.

As we come to Romans 5, we come to a rest stop.  It’s time to get out of the car and see from where we’ve come and  then look ahead to where we’re going.

As we look back to the earlier chapters of Romans we’re reminded of the bondage and misery of life before Christ.  We learned that all are sinners facing God’s judgment.  We stand in our sins, both public and secret sins, inexcusable,  and we face the inescapable judgment of God.

We had been aliens, outsiders and strangers to God, spiritually dead and  with no hope.   

It’s in this state God found  us and came to our rescue. We learned in  Romans 3:21 continuing through chapter 4, that God reveals His amazing love and grace in justifying us as we come to Him in faith.  all based on the finished work of Jesus on the cross where He shed His blood for our sins and then rose again bodily and returned to Heaven. 

Now in Romans chapter 5 we learn the wonderful results of God’s act of justification. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Paul also writes about this in Ephesians 2:12-16.

FALSE PEACE

The world vainly seeks for peace and offers a psychologically-based  empty peace.  Jeremiah, centuries before Christ,  wrote in Jeremiah 6:14-18 and 8:11-13  about those false prophets who offer this false peace when there is no peace.

There is nothing wrong with counseling if it is Biblically based.  Such counseling lifts up Christ as the only Saviour and the only true source of peace for those with troubled hearts over the consequences of sin.  But don’t waste your time and money sitting under the teaching and counseling of ungodly men and women, Psalm 1:1-2 warns us.

TRUE PEACE

True, lasting peace comes to those who simply trust the shed blood of Christ who shed His blood on  Calvary’s cross for cleansing and forgiveness of sin. Read Philippians 4:6-9  and Colossians 3:15-17.

ACCESS TO GOD

Not only do we have cleansing, peace and forgiveness of sin from a guilty conscience;  but we experience and enjoy access into the very presence of our Heavenly Father into the grace wherein we stand.   What does that mean?  Those of us who trust Christ as Saviour; not only have peace, but according to Romans 5:2 we  move into a new realm of grace, access to our Heavenly Father.  Ephesians 2:13-22 says more about this.

In Old Testament times Leviticus 16:2 informs us that Israel  and others had no opportunity to know and experience this access to God.   Now that Jesus has risen from the dead and returned back to Heaven in His glorified body; we, by virtue of our relationship with Him through His blood sacrifice, have the opportunity of living in the realm of His grace.  Be blessed as you read in Hebrew 9 and 10 of the access to God that each of us Christians have through the shed blood of Jesus.   This access requires no priest or  any other mediator.

Through this direct access to God we are filled with joy and peace, as Romans 5:3-5 testifies. 

ASSURANCE OF OUR HOME IN HEAVEN

Through faith in the shed blood of Christ, we also rejoice in the hope and blessed assurance of the glory of God and  of our eternal Home in Heaven.  In stark contrast, the lost face death and eternity in Hell.

A promise is only as good as the one who makes it.  God made the promise to us and it is  as sure as already accomplished.

SLAVES FOREVER

Have you experienced that peace with God, that assurance of Heaven and that freedom in Christ from the bondage of dead religion?  If so what should your response be? 

For the answer to that question, read the story of the freed slave in Exodus 21:1-6 who was so grateful to his master that he went through a procedure of having a hole bored in his ear lobe as a sign that he was fully devoted to his master for the rest of his life; so every Christian who has experienced salvation from the penalty and power or sin, ought to make that same commitment to Christ to love and serve Him willingly forever.

Freedom in Christ is not an opportunity to live your life as you desire, giving in to the temptations of sin and living as though you were independent from God.  Rather, freedom  in Christ gives you and me the opportunity to surrender our lives to the control of the indwelling Holy Spirit,  allowing Him to direct us and use us as He sees fit for the rest of our lives.  Read the 5th chapter of Galatians concerning this new life and make that surrender today.

 

 

August 7, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #12 Peace With God

#11 Justified

If you’ve been following this series in Romans, you are aware that the theme of this Epistle is The Righteousness of God.  You are aware of the fact that it takes God’s perfect righteousness to make us fit to dwell in Heaven with Him for eternity.

Jesus unequivocally demanded in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” That is a human impossibility. Thank God, He has seen fit to justify us to meet His humanly impossible requirement of perfection. 

How did He accomplish this? He came down to earth in the person of His Son, Jesus, to live the perfect life He required of us, die on a cross in payment of our sins and then rise from the dead three days later, proving that The Father was pleased and satisfied with His sacrifice for our sins.  Because none of us can attain that perfection through our own efforts,  He provided it for us through God’s legal act and declaration known as  Justification.

Justification is not an emotional feeling nor an experience that we seek.  As sinners, we simply recognize our need of His righteousness. We hear and believe the Gospel. When we believe and personally receive this Gospel through simple faith in Him, He imputes to us; that is,  He puts to our account Jesus’ perfect righteousness.  That’s the message of II Corinthians 5:21.

When we put our faith in Christ,  God no longer sees us in our sins.  Rather, He sees us in the perfect righteousness of Jesus.

 JUSTIFICATION, A DOCTRINE ROOTED  IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

We’ve come to chapter 4 in our study of Romans where we learn that justification is not just a New Testament, Pauline doctrine. Two thousand years before Christ; Abraham, the father of the Jews,  became the father  (the prototype)  of all who are justified by faith.

 David and Justification

 

 But before we examine Abraham and justification by faith, Paul calls our attention to David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, in Romans 4:6-7 by quoting Psalm 32.  What did David say about justification? There in Psalm 32:1-2 David, without using the word justification, describes the blessedness of this wonderful truth.

“Blessed is he

1. whose transgression is forgiven,

2. whose sin is covered. 

3. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputes not iniquity,  

4, and in whose spirit there is no guile or sense of deceit or guilt.”

Throughout the Old Testament  God required the shedding of the blood of innocent animal sacrifices for sin.  All those animals pointed to the one perfect, final sacrifice for sin forever, the blood of our holy, perfect Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist introduced Him to the world as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29   

Hebrews 10 goes into great detail explaining how the Lord Jesus Christ is the final, ultimate sacrifice for sin.  No longer are animal sacrifices needed nor required.

Think about this!  When God lifts the load and guilt of sin from our conscience, that is HUGE!   I remember so well as a nine year old, the night I understood the Gospel for the first time and invited Jesus to be my Saviour.  I went home with the huge load of sin lifted from my conscience and the fear of going to Hell gone forever. Though I have never been perfect since and never will be perfect until I am in Heaven,  I have never in the almost seventy years since, felt that load of the guilt of sin again.

Now, as a Christian, when I find myself guilty of sin, I immediately confess it to God as sin and immediately sense the cleansing of Christ’s blood and the removal of guilt.  I John 1:7-10  explains this so well for us as Christians. Memorize it and live by it.  

 Abraham and Justification

 

1. Abraham, though a man of good works for the most part; was not justified by his good works, according to Romans 4:1-8. 

Some of Abraham’s  good works include:

a. When called by God, he left Ur of the Chaldees to follow God’s leading to a land God had given him, though he had never seen it.  Hebrews 11:8

b. In that land God had promised him, He lived as a nomad in tents.   Why?  Because according to Hebrews 11:9-11  he looked for a permanent city, a permanent land, a permanent Heavenly Home built by God Himself. True, he possibly understood that the land, which would one day be known as Israel, would eventually  be ruled by His Seed, the Lord Jesus.  That will take place in the Millennium when Christ will rule from Jerusalem  over the  whole world for one thousand years.  See my series on PROPHESY for more on this.

c. God promised him an innumerable seed.  All through the years Abraham and Sarah had no children.  Finally in their late nineties, he and his wife, Sarah, had their miracle son, Isaac; long after her normal child bearing age.

d. When his nephew, Lot’s, herdsmen were quarreling with his  herdsmen, Abraham gave Lot first choice of the disputed land which was his.  Lot selfishly chose the best land for himself.  Read the story for yourself in Genesis 13:1 & 5-13. 

e. Abraham generously entertained angels Genesis 18:5-8   He generously prepared a feast for them, referring to it as “a morsel of bread”. Later,  in contrast, we read in Genesis 19:3 that  Lot  prepared what he called a feast for those angels.  Actually it was just some unleavened bread.

f. Abraham prayed, pleading for the sinful city of Sodom when it was facing God’s judgment.  Genesis 18:23-33.

However, Abraham was not perfect before God.

 

1. He lied to Pharaoh about his wife not being his wife.

2. He took his wife’s maid,  Hagar, and had a son, Ishmael, by her in order to try to help God fulfill his promise of innumerable seed like the sands of the sea.  That got Abraham  into trouble.  Worse than that, it has gotten the Jews, the descendants of Isaac into trouble with Ishmael’s seed, the Palestinians 

Running ahead of God and doing things our way, instead of seeking God’s will always gets us and those we love into trouble.

The reason we are not justified by our own works is because if we offend in one point we are guilty of all.  James 2:10

Furthermore,  Isaiah 64:6 tells us that all our works of righteousness to try to attain God’s favor are as filthy rags in God’s sight.  

Though he lived a life of good works and though people today live lives of good works to attempt to gain favor with God; we all fall short of God’s perfect standards. God demands nothing short of perfection.  None of us have it, according to Romans 4:2  Therefore we need to cast ourselves on God’s mercy and accept His gift of Jesus who alone is our perfect righteousness.

2. Abraham was not justified by circumcision Rom. 4:9, 12-27

 

Abraham was not circumcised until he was 99 years old.  And yet Abraham’s righteousness was reckoned to him long before his circumcision. See Romans 4:3-12  This makes him the spiritual father of us all who trust in Christ, his promised Seed, whether we are Jews or Gentiles.  Read carefully Galatians 3:1-6 to understand that circumcision does not even enter into the picture as far as our standing before God is concerned.

3. Finally, Abraham was not justified by his attempt to keep God’s Law.   Romans 4:13-16

 

This is obvious.   Abraham was born in 2000 BC.   God’s Law given by Moses came 600 years later in 1400 BC. So Abraham could not possibly have been justified by the Law when there was no Law.

Furthermore, the Law justifies no one.  It only condemn us because we’ve all broken it.  See Romans 4:15.

When a criminal stands before a judge for breaking the Law, what good doers it do to recite all the other laws he has kept?  If a man is guilt of breaking the Law, the Law will not save him.  It only condemns him.

Here’s the conclusion of the matter.  Abraham and his children, the Jews; as well as we gentiles can only be justified before God by our faith in Christ, God’s provision for our sins.  He alone lived the perfect life and then shed His blood and died to pay for our sins. Such a salvation calls for humility before God as God’s grace is magnified in our lives.

 

 

 

July 28, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #11 Justified

#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.

July 14, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #10 Shadow of the Rock

# 9 Total Depravity

If you’ve been following along in this series in Romans from the beginning, you are aware that the theme of this epistle is The Righteousness of God.  The first division of this epistle is Man’s Desperate Need of God’s Righteousness revealed in Romans 1:18-3:20.

 

Those in desperate need of God’s righteousness include:

1.The heathen described in Romans 1:18-32.  Though they’ve never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ,  this passage argues that they are without excuse.

2. The moralist are just as lost in their sins. we see from Romans 2:1-16.

3. The religious Jews are just as lost as the gentiles, we learn in Romans 2:17 – 3:9.

SIN DEFINED

 

In the previous message  we noted that sin is defined as:

1.  being ignorant instead of knowing God’s revealed will and standard.

2.  missing the mark or bull’s eye of His perfection.

3.  overstepping the boundaries God has set for us  and

4.  falling short  instead of standing fully in the will of God

THE TESTIMONY OF GOD’S WORD

 

I encourage you to read Romans 3:10-18 as we examine the testimony of God’s Word on this essential life and death issue of total depravity.

1. There is none righteous.

Paul quotes Psalm 14:1-3,  53:1-3  and Ecclesiastes 7:20 to show us that what he preaches is in harmony with the Old Testament. .

In this section of Romans we learn of the total depravity of the human race and that there is no exception.  Compared with Jesus, the perfect standard; there is none righteous, no not one.  Contrary to the teachings of some well known liberal preachers of the past, no one has even a spark of goodness in him which simply needs to be fanned into a flame of a righteous life.   Jumping ahead to Romans 10:1-4 we learn in this section of Romans that Christ is our only righteousness.  In Christ, God sees us perfectly righteous and fit for Heaven.

2. There is none that understands.

The major problem with sinners is not so much their sin as it is their self-righteousness which blinds them and makes them oblivious  to their sin.

Not only are we not righteous,  but Romans 3:11 teaches us that there is none who understands in his unregenerate state.  Paul writes in I Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.”

3. There is none that seeks after God.

 

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned in the Garden of Eden, the first thing they did was to try to hide from God.  The prodigal son whom Jesus talked about in Luke 15 went into a far country to get just as far as possible from his father.  Sinners avoid preachers and churches and Gospel web sites such as this one.

They flock to preachers and churches where sin and the Gospel are watered down and where psycho-babble is spouted, such as, “sin is an illness which  requires counseling and treatment.”   Sin may  result in problems that require counseling and treatment, but sin itself is easily dealt with by simply confessing it to God. Read I John 1.   He alone forgives, cleanses and enables us  to overcome sin.  But I John 1:8-10 warns us to never deceive ourselves into thinking we have become sinlessly perfect.

 

Are you grasping this?  As a sinner we are not righteous.  We don’t have any  idea what salvation is all about and we don’t even seek to know God.  At best, we have some foggy idea that salvation has to do with trying to live a good life so we can be deserving of Heaven.   That is totally a lie from the devil.

I Corinthians1:18  states “That the preaching of the cross is to them who are perishing foolishness;  but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.”

Remember, man does not initiate seeking God.  Rather, God seeks after man Luke 19:10   Therefore, seek Him while He may be found, we are warned  in  Isaiah 55:6-7.

It’s only when we have come to the end of ourselves and admit we are hopeless, helpless, lost sinners, unable to do anything to save ourselves;  it’s only as we cry HELP to God, that He will come to our rescue and save us from our sins.

FAITH AND REASON

 

Salvation begins with faith and not with reason. There is no intellectual approach to God.  Only when you are able and willing to admit you are a helpless, condemned lost sinner and that your Creator offers you salvation  through the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross; only then does God enlighten your mind to understand salvation.  Hebrews 11:3  says, “Through faith we understand.”

The Gospel is foolishness to the natural mind.  We read in  Proverbs 1:7 that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”

A CLOSE UP SHOT OF MAN

 

Before we leave this theme of man’s total depravity, let’s bring the TV cameras in for a close-up shot of man.  See Romans 3:13-18 and Mark 7:21  for that close up shot.  It’s not a nice sight.  This is not the way our family, friends and neighbors see us.  This is the way God sees us for God alone looks on the heart.

WHAT THEN IS THE PURPOSE OF GOD’S LAW?  Romans 3:19-20

 

God’s Law is given; not to save us, but to show us our guilt and stop our boasting of our own failed righteousness.   The Law alone convinced Saul of Tarsus he was a lost sinner.  See Romans 7:12-13

Galatians 3:24-26 teaches us that  God’s Law was given as our school master  to bring us to our need of Christ.  Read Galatians 3:24-26 until you see your need of Christ.

 

JESUS PAID IT ALL

In our fallen state, we are utterly bankrupt, unable to lift a finger to save our lost soul.  If you are, becoming aware of your sinful state and inability to save your soul; cast yourself on Jesus who has paid the full penalty for our sins through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.  Appropriate by faith that blood sacrifice for sin, trusting that Jesus blood alone is sufficient to pay the penalty for all your sins.

When you take that step, God will instantly forgive all your sins and make you His child and deposit to your account  His righteousness;  just as surely as if a millionaire transferred a million dollars to your account and made you an instant milionaire.  You receive that salvation by faith in the same way that you board a plane, sit down and enjoy the flight to your destination.  Your ticket to Heaven and the gift of eternal life has been purchased for  you by the blood of Christ.  Will your receive His free gift  by faith right now and instantly be given eternal life and begin your journey as a Christian?

You may ask,  “What feelings must I have to know I am saved?”  Feelings don’t save you, but I assure you that you will be filled with humility, gratefulness and joy and peace with God when by faith you grasp this wonderful salvation.  Those are the feelings I had over seventy years ago when, as a nine year old boy,  after receiving Christ as my Saviour, I went to bed that night with  peace and joy that my sins were all forgiven and under the shed blood of Jesus.   I assure you that if you are truly saved, you will not feel proud or self-righteous about yourself.

Have you seen yourself as God sees you? Have you come to the end of yourself, no longer trying to  make yourself presentable to God?  Do you see yourself utterly bankrupt of righteousness in the eyes of our righteous, holy God? Then there is hope for you.  Jesus said in Matthew 9:13, “I am not come to call the righteous;  but sinners to repentance.”

The story is told of Harry Ironside, a well known preacher of the past century.  He had been preaching in a city.  As he was boarding a train, somone on the station platform called out to him, “How can I be saved?”  Ironside called back, “Go to Isaiah 53:6.  Go in at the first ALL and come out at the last ALL.”

Let me quote the verse for you, and as you read it,  subsitute your name for the ALL’s.    “ALL we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him, JESUS, the iniquity of us ALL.” 

 

 

July 8, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on # 9 Total Depravity

# 8 Bankrupt

Paul has argued in Romans 2 that salvation does not come by attempting to keep moral or ceremonial Jewish Laws. The circumcision of Jewish or gentile  baby boys does not save them from sin;  rather it  was the sign of God’s covenant relationship with Israel, as taught in Genesis 17:9-14.  If salvation depends on our abililty to keep God’s Law perfectly, then there is no hope of salvation, whether we are Jews or Gentiles.  The outward surgery of circumcision is not the issue. Instead, it is the spiritual circumcision of the heart which causes us to deal with sin and bring us into right relationship with God. The Lord Jesus Christ applies  this circumcision to our hearts, both male and female, when He saves us.

WHAT THEN IS THE ADVANTAGE OF BEING A JEW?

 Paul asks that question in Romans 3:1.  Considering the history of the Jews, it is certain that they have had no advantage being Jews.  Their history is one of being  hated, abused and enslaved by the nations of the world: including Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.  In this past century they have endured great suffering at the hands of the Nazis and by the Muslims.

On the other hand down through the years the Jews have enjoyed some great advantages.   To them were given the privilege of writing the Word of God by inspiration of God.   The King James Version translates Romans 3:2   Because that unto them, the Jews, were committed the oracles of God.”    That would include, The Holy Scriptures.

Furthermore, God gave the Abrahamic Covenant to Abraham, the father of the Jewish race.  Through that covenant was promised the coming of the Messiah who would save His people from their sins.   In the fullness of time, Jesus was the fulfillment of that covenant.

A list of advantages to the Jews is found in Romans 9:1-5.  It includes the truth that the Jews were adopted by God. 

It includes the Shekinah glory of the presence of God in their portable tabernacle through their wilderness journeys; and later, their temple in Jerusalem.  That bright cloud by day and pillar of fire by night led them on their journey.  

It includes God’s covenants with both Abraham in Genesis 12 & 17, and with David in II Samuel 7.

Moses also received the Law of God written by His hands on Mt. Sinai.

They also received many promises of their coming Messiah throughout the Old Testament.  All of these were fulfilled in detail by the coming  of the Lord Jesus Christ,  the Messiah,  promised to Israel.  That Messiah is the Saviour to the world.

THE JEW’S REJECTION OF CHRIST

We see the Jew’s rejecton of Christ throughout the New Testament Gospels, culminating in their demand for Jesus’ crucifixion.  As Gentiles who have come to Christ for salvation, we do not blame the Jews for Jesus’ crucifixion.  God was ultimately responsible, for John 3:16 states that He gave His Son, the Lamb of God,  as a blood sacrifice for the sins of the world.  Those who receive Christ as their sacrifice for sin are saved from their sins and given the Gift of Eternal Life. 

Throughout the Book of Acts we have the history of the early years of the Church.  Throughout we see the Jews opposing and persecuting and even killing the early preachers of the Gospel, including Stephen, the first Deacon. 

When Paul preached the Gospel to the Jews in Asia, we learn in  Acts 21:28 that the Jews charged the Apostle Paul with preaching against the Jews, against their Law, and against their temple.  None of that was true.  Paul was not against the Jews, nor against the Law of Moses nor aganst the temple. That’s the way enemies of Christ see Gospel preachers. 

Being a Jew does not save from sin any more than being a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran,  Roman Catholic, Mormon or Jehovah Witness or any other religious denomination or group or being non-denominational.   What matters is not the religious label, but the faithful proclamation of the Gospel.

WHERE DID THE JEWS GET THE IDEA THAT THEY WERE A SPECIAL PEOPLE?

They got it from the Bible, the inspired Word of God.  Read the following passages and it becomes very evident how special the Jews were and are today  to God.  Deuteronomy 10:14-15,  14:2,  Isaiah 5:1-7,  43:21,  and  Ezekiel 16:1-28.

ARE THE JEWS BETTER THAN THE GENTILES?

Romans 3:9-10 teaches that they are not;  nor are the Gentiles better than the Jews.  None of us are righteous.  We are all sinners, regardless of our religious labels.

THE DEFINITION OF SIN

Romans 3:9 mentions sin for the first time in this Epistle.  Sin is mentioned about fifty times in Romans. It is a major theme and it ought to be a major theme in our preaching as we warn of sin and its consequences.  About twelve different Hebrew and Greek words are used to refer to sin to help us gain a more complete understanding of it.  Here are four of them.

1. MISSING THE MARK

For example it means missing the mark, as an archer seeking to hit the bull’s eye.  That usage is found in Romans 3:23  “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  I often explain this “coming short” in my illustration of attempting to jump the Grand Canyon from the south rim to the north rim, a distsance of eighteen miles.  If you had to jump that distance, you know you would fall 5,000 feet  to your death. Such a jump is totally impossible, just at it is utterly impossible for any of us to jump from our sinful state to God’s perfect, sinless state by our own effort. 

It takes faith in Jesus’ blood sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from the dead three days later, to accomplish our salvation, which He does totally apart from any works of righteousness on our part. 

2. OVERSTEPPING THE BOUNDARY

Adam and Eve did that in the Garden of Eden when they ate fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a tree from which  God had forbidden them to eat.  They listened to the temptation of Satan, clothed in a talking serpent,  and ate the forbidden fruit, bringing the curse of sin on the entire world, including the entire human race which was to come.

This is the same sin we see in our chldren when they do that which we have forbidden them to do.  It continues throughout our lives as we over-step boundaries.

3. FALLING INSTEAD OF STANDING

Righteousness and  upright come from the same root word.  Man is born crooked morally and needs straightening, which God does when He saves us.  

4. BEING IGNORANT INSTEAD OF KNOWING

Ignorance is no excuse with God.  Read and think about Romans 1:20.  Ignorance is a matter of the will; not a lack of intelligence.  Sinners are ignorant of God’s standards and God’s way of salvation because they choose to be ignorant. It has nothing to do with a lack of intelligence.

TRUST CHRIST NOW

Jesus died  to pay the penalty for your sins and rose again for your justification. Trust Him now and receive God’s Gift of eternal life. Read John 3:16  and John 1:12 and claim those promises today.

June 24, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on # 8 Bankrupt

#7 Fig Leaf Religion

The theme of Romans is The Righteousness of God, the only righteousness that qualifies us for Heaven.

The first division of Romans is  1:16-3:20. It deals with man’s desperate need of God’s righteousness.  Under this division in earlier articles  we’ve already dealt with sinful, fallen man’s  degeneracy in Romans 1:18-32 and the certainty of his judgment under God in Romans 2:1-16

Within this division we are examining in this message a major group who need God’s Righteousness; the religious, but lost.  This group is described in Romans 2:17-29.

What is religion?  It is that upon which we rely to give us a favorable standing in the sight of God, save us from His judgment and punishment for sin, give us eternal life and make us fit to dwell with Him in  Heaven.

THE VAIN HOPE AND  BOAST OF FALSE RELIGION Romans 2:17-20

 

All the false religions of man are Satanic-inspired and all boast that their’s is the way to God.  Religion is associated with pride and self righteousness.  False religion leads man to be proud and feel good about himself.  

 

All those trapped in false religion are “of their father, the devil.”    That’s what Jesus told the Pharisees of his day in John 8:44 as He exposed the religious leaders who were holding the Jews in religious bondage.  It was this public exposure by Jesus that drove the Jewish leaders mad to the point of turning the crowds against Jesus and ultimately seeking His crucifixion.

THE SOURCE OF FALSE RELIGION

 

God created Adam and Eve and placed them in The Garden of Eden to have sweet fellowship with Him daily.  According to Genesis 2:15-17 His one and only prohibition was to avoid eating fruit from a certain tree in the midst of the Garden, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. 

Earlier, Lucifer had rebelled against God in Heaven.   That rebellion and its consequences are recorded in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. There we will find; not all we would like to know, but all we need to know about Satan’s origin and fall.  In Genesis 3 we have the story of how Lucifer, (whose name was changed to Satan after His rebellion against God) appeared to Eve as a beautiful talking serpent. There in Genesis 3:1-6  Satan beguiled her to listen to him and disobey God. She ate of the forbidden tree and gave some also to her husband who joined her in her rebellion towards God.  

Incidentally, but importantly, Eve was deceived by Satan.  Adam was not deceived, but walked into his sins with his eyes wide open, knowing he was deliberately disobeying God.

It is for this reason Paul instructs in I Timothy 2:9-14 that women should not preach to and pastor men.  That does not make women second-rate Christians. Women have a huge role in the church teaching both women and children, as well as in the home. I’ve repeated in several articles on this web site that women; both single and married have probably had a greater influence on my life growing up than men.  Mothers and single women can have a huge influence on the direction of the next generation as mothers, teachers and baby-sitters. How does that saying go?  “The hand that rocks the cradle,  moves the nation.”

Through  our early years as a family, we could have used more money just meeting the bare essentials of life; but never for one moment would we have considered my wife giving up her responsibilities of raising our children at home in order to get a job and make more money so we could have more than the essentials. My wife loved her responsibilities as a wife and mother and did an excellent job of raising our children. But you can read more about this under the categories VIRTUOUS WOMAN and FAMILY.   Now back to the story of the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden.

Immediately Adam and Eve  recognized that they had sinned against God and devised the first religion. They now recognized they were naked; not just physically naked, but morally naked and bankrupt before God.  That first religion was to make aprons of fig leaves to cover their nakedness.  Covered with those fig leaves,  they sought to hide themselves from the presence of God. That,  in essence, is the vanity of man-made religion.

Sinful man, knowing he is guilty of sin and deserving of death, vainly attempts to  rid himself of guilt and make himself presentable to God.  False religion comes in a vast variety of ways, but it’s all based on man attempting to atone for his sins and making himself presentable to God.  That, in essence, is a description of all false religion.

Throughout the Bible false religion is nearly always associated with empty formalism, ceremonialism and works of self-righteousness.  Satan, the source of all false religion, leads men and women to  take pride in their self-righteousness and uses religion to keep us from recognizing our need of Christ as our Saviour from sin.

THE BOAST OF FALSE RELIGION

 

BOASTS IN A NAME

 

False religion boasts, not in Christ; but in a name or label. That name may be Jew, Muslim or Roman Catholic. Or you may boast that you are Protestant and a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Pentecostal, or some other denomination. Or you may be a member of a cult, such as Jehovah Witness, Mormon, Seventh Day Adventist, Christian Science or Scientology. Cults are religious groups of people who believe that they are the only true Church. Or you may be as I am: independent and non-denominational.  Or you may be associated with some oriental Eastern religion.

Peter, preaching Jesus  to the Jews in Acts 4 announced in verse 12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved.”  

Throughout the world, man is incurably religious.  Only a fool  living on this earth in this amazing universe filled with evidence of intelligent design would claim to be an atheist, according to Psalm 14:1.

Christ died on the cross to save man from sin and religion. The most difficult condition from which to save a man is not his blatant sin; but from a false religious system.  The devil will do all in his power to keep a man trapped in a religion- anything to keep him from Christ.  It’s only by the grace, love and sovereignty of God that anyone of us can be delivered from our sins and from a false religious system.

BOASTS IN A KNOWLEDGE OF OLD TESTAMENT CEREMONIAL LAW AS A MEANS OF ATTAINING RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HEAVEN

 

That was the boast of the Pharisees whom Jesus confronted during His earthly ministry.  In Matthew 23 Jesus scathingly exposed their wicked hearts. In Romans 2:17-24, Paul, who had been a chief Pharisee before his conversion, exposed their wicked hypocrisy.

THE BLASPHEMY OF RELIGION WITHOUT CHRIST.

 

Religion that rejects salvation by the grace of God through faith in the blood sacrifice of Christ alone for our sins is blasphemous and leading people to Hell.  

Cain practiced such a religion, trying to impress God with the works of his own hands. Read about it in Genesis 4.  God rejected his bloodless sacrifice and accepted his younger brother, Abel’s blood sacrifice, which pictured the ultimate and final blood sacrifice of Christ on the cross.   Cain became jealous and furious over this and killed his brother Abel.  Down through the centuries this enmity has continued as God’s enemies have persecuted and killed Christians.

THE SIGN AND EVIDENCE OF TRUE CHRISTIANITY 

 

In Romans 2:15-29 Paul  concludes this matter of false religion with the issue of circumcision.  Circumcision of Jewish baby boys was the sign of God’s covenant relationship with Israel, as taught in Genesis 17:9-14.

But beyond the physical circumcision of baby boys, God has a much greater concern, the spiritual circumcision of hearts from the sin and defilement of this world.  See that concern in Deuteronomy 10:16,  30:6,  Jeremiah 6:10 and Colossians 2:8-11, 3:10-16.

After Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead, fulfilling all righteousness, Galatians 5:1-6 teaches us that circumcision was abolished as a spiritual requirement and evidence of true Christianity. Today circumcision of  baby boys is no longer a requirement to bring us into a relationship with God; nor is it the evidence of a genuine relationship with God.  Today, circumcision  of baby boys is simply a health decision for parents and their doctors; that and nothing more.

The true evidence of Christianity is a circumcised heart, a heart from which Christ is cutting away and decreasing  the evil influence of this sin-cursed world  and the influences of our carnal flesh nature and a heart that is increasingly growing in godliness as it is  being influenced by God’s Word.  

 

June 10, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #7 Fig Leaf Religion

# 6 No Excuses

The Bible speaks of three divine judgments yet to come.

1. The Bema Judgment Seat of Christ

2. The Judgment of Nations

3. The Great White Throne Judgment.

 THE BEMA JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

This is a judgment only for Christians and it takes place immediately following the Rapture. Read II Timothy 4:7-8.   A major passage on this topic is II Corinthians 5:9-10. The good and bad spoken of here has nothing to do with morality or sin. The sins of Christians are under the shed blood of Christ. They will never be held against us. The good or bad spoken of here refer to whether our works are worthwhile or worthless.  It has to do with Christ’s evaluation and reward for our testimony,  service and suffering for Him during our life as a Christian and according to II Timothy 2:12-13  it will determine our positions of authority in the Millennial Kingdom when Christ is King over all the earth.   The following Scriptures give us more information on this judgment.  I Corinthians 3:9-15,  I Corinthians 4:2-5,  Romans 14:10-12,   Colossians 3:23-24,  and  Revelation  22:12. 

THE JUDGMENT OF NATIONS

After Christ’s glorified Church has been caught up to meet Christ, this judgment takes place at the end of the Great Tribulation and determines who, among those left on earth, enters the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.    Matthew 25:31-46  reveals  the criteria by which people outside  Christ’s glorified Church  will be permitted to enter the Kingdom and those who  will not be permitted to enter.  This passage could be referring to how people outside Christ’s glorified Church cared for and treated God’s chosen people, the Jews,  or it could be referring to their treatment of the needy in general.

THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT

This judgment takes place at the end of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.  It is a judgment only for the lost.  Christians will never face it. It is terrifying beyond description and information about it is found in Revelation 20:11-15  and 21:8

This judgment is for all the lost of all ages who have rejected Christ as Saviour.  Someday, perhaps soon, all Christians living or dead will instantly be resurrected in glorified bodies when Christ returns in what is known as The Rapture at a time no one but God knows.  Those left behind will eventually die and join the rest of unsaved dead in their graves. 

After the Millennial reign of Christ, all the unsaved dead of all time will be raised from the dust of the earth or from the depths of the sea.  They will be brought before a great white throne out in the heavens upon which Jesus, the Judge of mankind will sit.  There will be only one issue for these sinners.   Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?   Because they had rejected Christ during their lifetime, they forfeited eternal life and  are condemned to eternity in the Lake of Fire, prepared for the devil and his demons.  Read again from Revelation 20:11-15 and  21:8 and consider the stark horror of facing Christ on His Great White Throne.  Listen to Him describe this terrifying event. 

“And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

And I saw the dead, small and great,  stand before God and the Books were open and another Book was opened, which is The Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:  and they were judged every man according to their works.

And death and hell were cast into  theLakeofFire. This is the Second Death.  AND WHOSOEVER  WAS NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE.

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable and murderers and whoremongers,  and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in theLakewhich burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” 

The issue for you is not how great a sinner or how good you are.  The only issue for you is, IS YOUR NAME WRITTEN IN THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE?

The judgment of Romans 2  is the Great White Throne Judgment which condemns the lost to the eternal Lake of Fire  Romans 2:5 identifies this judgment as  “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”  

We are warned of this day of judgment throughout the Bible.  Here are just a few examples.

“He hath prepared His throne for judgment.”  Psalm 9:7

In Psalm 96  the Psalmist is singing the praises of our righteous  Lord, “for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with His Truth.”

Read the entire 2nd chapter of II Peter.  It  warns of His coming judgment.

II Thessalonians 1:7-9 warns, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire  taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey  not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ who shall be punished with                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

FIVE PRINCIPLES OF HIS JUDGMENT AS LISTED IN ROMANS 2

1. Christ’s judgment will be according to Truth  Romans 2:1-2.

2. Christ’s judgment is inescapable. Romans 2:3

In my first pastorate among the cattle ranchers of Nebraska  I observed one day as the cattle truck had backed up to a corral where the steers headed for market were corralled. The cattlemen on their horses and with their prods and whips were  directing the cattle up the shoot into the truck. Though some cattle attempted to jump the fence and get away; not one of them escaped the rancher’s  sovereignty. They all ended up in the truck and on their way to market. 

So those who think they can escape God’s judgment are only fooling themselves.  Everyone not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will eventually reach his eternal destination in Hell.  God will see to that.

3.  Romans 2:6 tells us that those at the Great White Throne will be judged according to their deeds.  They will be judged for the way they lived while other sinners, as bad or worse than them will escape judgment to be with Christ in Heaven for eternity.  Why?  They had put their trust in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for their sins and God had written their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

4. Romans 2:11-12 assures us that there is no class system with God.  All races and classes of society without Christ will stand before God without excuse and without any privileges because of class. The high class, well educated socialite sinner will be classed with the drunken bum on the street.  There is no class system with God.  All stand before Him without excuse or privilege.

5. Romans 2:16shows us that sinners will be judged for their motives as well as for their actions.

NO EXCUSES THAT DAY

On that judgment day there will be no plea bargaining nor bribing the Judge. There will be no one too big or too famous to meet their Maker.

I remind you again that you are not judged because you are a sinner.   We are all sinners.  Some of us have been forgiven by the blood of Christ.  Others have rejected that blood sacrifice, too proud to receive it.

No, we are not judged because we are sinners.  Rather, we are judged because we reject the gift of God’s grace.  The shed blood of Christ for our sins.  That’s why some face God’s judgment and eternal damnation in Hell.

Acts 17:31-34 tells us of how The Apostle Paul preached this same message to the intellectuals of  Athens.  Some received the Good News of salvation.  Most rejected it and continued on their way to Hell.

What will you do with Jesus?  You cannot be neutral.  You either receive Him and His Gift of Eternal Life in Heaven or reject Him and face the eternal consequences in the Lake of  Fire.

 

 

 

June 3, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on # 6 No Excuses