By Rev Bill Woods
Last week I announced that I’d preach about Romans 7 and 8 this week.
We will eventually get there but first I want to look at some preliminary information to help us understand the truth presented by the Apostle Paul.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
What does it mean to be justified?
- Theology definition: “declared or made righteous in the sight of God.”
How can we claim to be justified or righteous in light of Romans 3:10-12?
– “As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”
We’re also told: Romans 3:23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
If this is the case then how can we read in Romans 5 that we are justified by faith?
IT’S A GOD THING!
- It’s impossible for us to ever do enough to merit righteousness, but it isn’t you or me that brings it about! It was earned for us when Jesus, God’s Perfect and Sinless Son, shed His Blood on the Cross in our behalf.
Imagine I get a traffic ticket on I-40 for driving 110 miles per hour when the speed limit is 75 mph.
- There is no doubt that I’m guilty and in big trouble!
– I’m told by the arresting officer to appear in court in 30 days.
– I spend those days worrying about that court date. Will I go to jail, pay a huge fine, lose my driving privileges and my car insurance, or what?
Finally the dreaded day arrives. I reluctantly go to court to meet my future!
- I sit there in court waiting for my turn before the judge!
- One after another people are called to face the judge and learn the consequences of their actions.
I sit there for hours (most of the afternoon) and never hear my name called.
- Finally, after what seems like an agonizing eternity I approach the bailiff and ask when I will be called to face the judge.
- He looks at his docket and says, you don’t have to appear before the judge, your fine has already been paid by another and you’re justified before the law. The law is satisfied and you’re free to go!
This is rough picture of what happens when we put our faith in Jesus Christ! He’s paid our fine and we are JUSTIFIED! JUST AS IF I HADN’T SINNED!
Now I have a choice to make.
- I’m a “Free-moral Agent” meaning I have the power to choose if I want to accept what Jesus has done for me by dying in my place or if I want to pay my own penalty!
- After all, accepting what Jesus has done for me can be restrictive! I’ll have to change and give up the sinful living that I think I enjoy!
- I’ll have to start living a life that will please God!
In Numbers 21 there’s a story of the Israelites getting discouraged in the wilderness and complaining to God and to Moses about the lack of water and the lack of food, and how tired they were of manna. They accuse God and Moses of bringing them out of Egypt just to let them die in the wilderness!
This angered God and He sent poisonous serpents into the camp.
- People were being bitten by these vipers and dying!
- They cried to Moses how sorry they were for their sinful attitude.
- They asked Moses to ask God for relief.
God told Moses to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole in the middle of the camp.
- When someone was bitten if they looked at that bronze snake they’d be healed.
- They had the choice: Look at the snake and be healed or don’t look and die.
That whole passage represented what Jesus was going to do for us!
- John 12:32 — “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
- He was lifted on the Cross to die for our sin.
- Just like the people in Moses’ time we can accept His sacrifice or pay our own debt for sin which will be an Eternity in Hell!
How do I receive the remedy Jesus provides for my pardon through His Atoning death on the Cross?
First, I must recognize I’m a sinner and an enemy in rebellion against God.
- The Holy Spirit is working on me revealing my sinful condition.
It’s because of God’s Love that I’m invited to be cured of the penalty of sin.
Romans 5:5-11 — Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Now that I’ve recognized I’m a sinner I must REPENT OF MY SINS!
- Repentance is being sorry for my sins and confessing them to Jesus.
- This is a sincere and thorough change of my mind in regard to sin.
- Because I feel a personal guilt I voluntarily turn away from sin changing my life style and personal interests and begin living to please God.
When I do three things happen: I’ve been JUSTIFIED.
- I am REGENERATED: I become a new Creation.
- – It’s like taking an old car and rebuilding the motor and adding new
- upholstery, new paint and making it like new again.
- That old wreck of a car is regenerated. The car has new life!
- Then, I am ADOPTED into the Family of God! I’m no longer on the outside at odds with God, now I’m part of the Family — Joint Heir with Jesus Christ!
- I have a place in My Father’s House that Jesus has prepared for those who Love Him! YOU WOULD BE A FOOL TO TURN DOWN THAT DEAL!
Paul sums it up for us:
Romans 5:12-21 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–
13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.
16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.
17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I found an article by CBMC INTERNATIONAL that I feel sums up what I want to express today:
Imagine being convicted of a crime you deeply regretted – intentional or unintentional – and being offered a pardon to absolve you of any penalty. Would you accept it? Let me tell you about a man who did not.
In 1829 two men, George Wilson and James Porter, robbed a United States mail carrier. Both were subsequently captured and tried in a court of law. In May 1830 both men were found guilty of six charges, including robbery of the mail “and putting the life of the driver in jeopardy.” Both Wilson and Porter received their sentences: Execution by hanging, to be carried out on July 2.
Porter was executed on schedule, but Wilson was not. Influential friends pleaded for mercy to the President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, on his behalf. President Jackson issued a formal pardon, dropping all charges. Wilson would have to serve only a prison term of 20 years for his other crimes. Incredibly, George Wilson refused the pardon!
An official report stated Wilson chose to “waive and decline any advantage or protection which might be supposed to arise from the pardon….” Wilson also stated he “…had nothing to say, and did not wish in any manner to avail himself in order to avoid sentence….” The U.S. Supreme Court determined, “The court cannot give the prisoner the benefit of the pardon, unless he claims the benefit of it…. It is a grant to him: it is his property; and he may accept it or not as he pleases.” Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, “A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws…. (But) delivery is not completed without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered, and…we have no power in a court to force it on him.”
George Wilson committed a crime, was tried and found guilty. He was sentenced for execution, but a presidential decree granted him a full pardon. When he chose to refuse that pardon, he chose to die. Reading this amazing story, we might wonder, “How could anyone refuse a pardon for the death sentence? The man was a fool!” But what if you also are refusing a pardon, one enabling you to spend eternity in the presence of God rather than eternal separation from Him in a place the Bible calls Hell?
GOD IS OFFERING YOU A PARDON TODAY THAT WILL ABSOLVE YOU FROM THE PENALTY OF SIN WHICH IS ETERNAL DEATH. HE IS OFFERING YOU FORGIVENESS AND ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN AS PART OF HIS FAMIY! DOES IT MAKE SENSE TO REFUSE HIS PARDON?
JESUS WAS LIFTED UP ON A CROSS FOR YOU!
LOOK AND LIVE!
PODCAST LOOK AND LIVE
The updated version of Rev Bill Woods’ book “There Is Still Power In The Blood” will be available soon.