Sunday, May 1, 2016

How to be Right With God (Part 13)


SERMON               GM16-082

SERIES:              Renewal Through Romans: The Gospel Defined, Explained, and Applied

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (May 1, 2016)

SUBTITLE:        How to Be Right with God (Part 13)

SCRIPTURE:     Romans 5:2

SUBJECT:          Justification produces benefits for believers        

SUMMARY:       Since the believer has been declared and is treated by God as righteous, Paul now provides some of the obvious consequences or benefits of having been justified by faith. The consequences resulting from justification have been made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and by placing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. These benefits or consequences serve as an anchor giving us security and confidence that the believer is safely secure in Christ.

SCHEME:           To provide confidence that justification safely secures the believer from condemnation

SKETCH:          

3A     The Implication of Righteousness (4:23-5:21)

          1B     …it is procurable by all men who believe (4:23-25)

          2B     …it is productive for all men who believe (5:1-5)

                   1C     Peace with God (1)

                             1D     The Basis for Peace (1a)

                             2D     The Beauty of Peace (1b)

                   2C     Province of Grace (2)

                             1D     Accessibility provided by grace (2a)

                             2D     Dependability proffered by grace (2b)

                              3D     Joviality promoted by grace (2c)

Please open your Bibles to Romans 5:2

[The Title of Today’s Message is]

How to Be Right with God – (Part 13)

Today’s Truth continues to be: 

Justification produces benefits for believers

Prayer for illumination & understanding

Our gracious Father, help us as we hear your holy Word read and taught to truly understand; and with our understanding, that we might believe and believing, we might be in all things faithful and obedient.

So Father we ask you, through your Holy Spirit to open our hearts and our minds for the sake, the honor, and the glory of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that as the Scriptures are read and your Word explained, we may hear with joy what you say to us today. 
We ask you Father to show us all that Christ is and what He has done for us by His atoning work on the cross of Calvary.

Father, will you enable me to clearly communicate the word of God to your people, I ask you for power and unction to preach your word. Amen.

Re-announce and read the text

Our text for today is Romans 5:2 

[Main Introduction]

Shortly after the Civil War ended a soldier sat outside the grounds of the White House. It was obvious to anyone who passed by that he was extremely sad and anxious. At some point a young boy walked up to him, and asked him why he was so sad looking?

The solider told the little boy that several times he had tried to get inside the White House to President Lincoln. The soldier wanted to tell the President that he had been cheated out of a piece of land in the South since the war had ended. But each time he tried to enter the White House the guards stopped him with their rifles and bayonets.

The little boy took the soldier by the hand and said, “Come with me.” When the soldier and little boy walked up to the front door, the soldiers snapped to attention and opened the door for them.

The little boy took the soldier into the library where President Lincoln was sitting and reading a book. The little boy introduced the soldier to the president.

The little boy was the president’s son, Tad Lincoln. The solider had access into an audience with the president of the United States through the president’s own son.

Justification produces benefits for believers

This morning I want to continue to speak to you about the consequences or the benefits that each believer has as a result of being justified by faith. Each and every believer has a number of privileges because of Jesus Christ. The Phillips translations of Ephesians 1:3 reads like this:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of heaven!” (Ephesians 1:3, Phillips)

Through Christ, because of Christ, due to Christ the genuine believer has every possible spiritual consequence, benefit or privilege that is needed in order to live faithfully, obediently, and even confidently in the face of trials or tribulations because the genuine believer has been justified by God through faith in Christ. Jesus secures privileges, consequences, and benefits for the believer.

There are times and events that occur in a believer’s life which shatters their confidence. There are those times when a believer is tempted to think that they cannot be a Christian. At times many believers have doubted that God would really want to save them.

Also there are times when unbelievers are on the cusp of trusting Jesus Christ and they pull back. Doubt rears its ugly head and says, “Hey you, yeah you, you will not be accepted by God.

There is no doubt that life in general can be very difficult, traumatic, and painful. Many people, regardless of their religious persuasion and knowledge live in doubt of whether they were really ever accepted by God.

So, we have to ask ourselves, what are the specific benefits of being justified by God through faith? In daily life and in service to God believers need confidence, especially in this day and age. I maintain that…

Justification produces benefits for the believer

My purpose today is prove that your justification has tremendous benefits that when realized gives to each genuine believer great confidence which serves as an anchor for your faith particularly when the storms of life blow on our lives. Blow they will!

Justification produces benefits for the believer

[Sub Introduction]

Paul speaks about the magnificent benefits that are the results or consequences, the benefits of being justified by faith by God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in Romans 5:1-5. So, join me as we continue to answer the question, How to be right with God?


Review current sermon series

We are in a series that is currently examining The Provision of Righteousness. We have looked at the Introduction of Righteousness, we have looked at the Illustration of Righteousness. Today we are continuing to looking at or examining the Implication of Righteousness as we consider Romans 5:2.

Background to the text

Historical Background –Paul purposed to give this church a complete understanding of salvation, particularly the doctrine of justification by faith through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Textual Background

Let me remind you of a few things that we took note of last week:

·        First of all – chapter five is a very key chapter in Paul’s argument. This chapter is pivotal. It cannot be lightly passed over. It must be studied in detail.

·        Second – understanding this chapter is essential to understanding chapters 6-8. This chapter is crucial in order to understand all that Paul will lay out for this church in Rome and for you and me today.

·        Third – most scholars and theologians admit that it is a very difficult chapter to understand, especially vss. 12-21. Paul delves deep into great mysteries of God.

·        Fourth – Paul is enlarging on the intense happiness or joy of the person who has been justified, especially when they understand the assurance of God’s love for them and their future blessedness.

Since the genuine believer has been declared and treated by God as righteous, Paul provides for the believer some of the most obvious of blessings or benefits of having been justified by faith. All of these benefits or blessings have been made possible by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This causes the believer to rejoice and experience great joy.

There is nothing more sad and tragic than to see believers live miserably just inches away from a life of great joy. Justification is the grounds, the basis, and the means of great joy for the believer!

Sermon series background

Last week we studied the second implication of having been made righteous and that was the fact that it is productive for all men who believe by examining the peace that God has made with sinners through Jesus Christ. God had been hostile toward the sinner but now peace has been made by the blood of His Son.

This week we are continuing our studies on the implication of righteousness –we will continue to study on the fact that it is productive for all men who believe because of the access that was granted to us by faith into the grace of justification.

Our text, Romans 5:2 divides itself into two statements. The first statement, which is found in the first part of verse 2 is a statement and the latter part of verse two is also a statement that provides the second benefit for the genuine believer.

[And so we now continue to take a close look at the second implication of justification which is that…]

2B     …it is productive for all men who believe (Vss. 1-5)

Our theme today continues to be - Justification produces benefits for the believer

It is produces the types or kinds of benefits that enable genuine believers to live in the face of the world today.

Interrogatory Sentence:  Last week asked ourselves, what are the benefits provided for genuine believers by justification through faith in Jesus Christ which inspires the confidence that is needed in order to live faithfully and obediently in this world today?

Transitional Statement:  The passage of scripture before us reveals at least four (4) benefits produced by justification by faith, peace with God, access into grace, hope of future glory, and the strength to face the trials of life.

[And so we continue with the second benefit that justification produces which is …]

                   2C     Province of Grace (2) (By province I mean state or realm)
                            
We have seen the believer has peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. War, hostility, and God’s wrath have been removed from the believer at the very moment they believed. God has reconciled the sinner to himself and the hostilities have ended.

In the same manner, or by the same means the believer has access into the grace in which we stand.

[First of all, in order to see this, we need to examine the believer’s…]

1D     Accessibility into Grace (Vs. 1a)

          [We see this accessibility in the first part of verse two…]
                            
                                      di ou kai thn prosagwghn eschkamen thn pistei
                                      eis thn carin tauta en h esthkamen...

“…through whom also the access we have by faith into the grace…”

[Kenneth Wuest translates this first like this in his Greek translation of Romans]
                                      
“…through whom also our entrĂ©e we have as a permanent possession into this unmerited favor in which we have been permanently place…” (Kenneth Wuest translation)

Access – access would have been an unimaginable concept for the Jews. They believed that God was absolutely unapproachable. The believed that God was holy and any man who approached God would be instantly killed.

What is this grace?

First of all it has reference to the believer’s continuing ability to enjoy the presence of God. We now have the means to approach God, to stand before God. We have that which has the authority and privilege of granting for us an audience with God.

Remember, prior to Christ we did not have this right, privilege, or the opportunity to come near to God, to approach God or to even have an audience with Him.

Eph. 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

Eph. 2:17 “So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near…”
  
Second – remember that no one prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ had complete and unfettered access to God. Even with the existence of…

·        The tabernacle –

o   The Gentiles were restricted to the outer courts

o   The Women were restricted to the inner courts

o   The priests could come closer but not into God’s presence

o   The High Priest could only come into the Holy of Holies, where God tabernacle or dwelt once a year

·        Christ’s death ended that separation. The curtain was ripped into symbolizing entrance into the presence of God by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • Therefore, brothers, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies having been washed with clean water. (Hebrews 10:19-20, EMT)


 Christ’s death changed this! The moment Jesus gave His spirit into the hands of the Father, the Temple curtain was torn in two signifying access. The way to God was open!

[Let’s look at little closer at this accessibility that is now ours.]

First of all – our word for “access” prosagwghn is only used 3 times in the NT. It is only used by the Apostle Paul. It is used 2 times in Ephesians (2:18; 3:12) and once here in chapter five and verse 2.

Second, when we read this first phrase we need to take note of at least four (4) important principles:

·        There is an emphasis in this verse on something that has happened to believers that is once and for all. This something, which we know as justification is a onetime deal. Because of its nature and its purpose, justification only occurs one in the life of a believer. It is never repeated.

·        There is inherent in justification that it is not a process. It is instantaneous and complete. It does not continue to develop or progress in the life of a believer.

·        It is a declaration where God through the instrumentality of faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ declares a sinner to be just or to be righteous.

God declares judicially or forensically a sinner to be righteous. This declaration is not because the believer has never sinned, but because the believer’s sin has been imputed to and punished in Jesus Christ.

God forgives or pardons the sinner based on the fact that a satisfactory sacrifice was offered, which of course is Jesus Christ.

·        Sinners prior to justification were “outside” with no access through their own abilities or efforts to justification, but now, through Jesus Christ are “inside” having had access to justification through Christ.

What Does Access Mean?

The focus is on the believer’s continuing ability to enjoy the presence of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If you look closely you will see a dreaded English grammar lesson play out right before our eyes.

·        Paul does not make God “the object” of the noun access. This would have been the natural and even the expected thing to do.

·        Paul makes “grace” the “direct object of the noun access.

You would think that Paul emphasize the fact that the believer now has access to God. Paul is not talking about the believer having access to God. This is not his purpose at this point. Paul is talking about justification. He is talking about what granted us access to justification. Paul is emphasizing the fact that we have had access into the grace in which we stand. 

Or IOW, we have had or been granted access at a certain point and we are continuing in the benefit of that access which is found in the grace of justification.

BTW, this verb is in the present tense. The present tense describes an action which is complete in the past that is done once and for all never to be completed again.

For example, when Christ cried out, “It is finished!” that was in the perfect tense. The work of atonement was finished and would never be accomplished or finished again.

Paul has stressed several key points thus far in his letter and you cannot miss them. Remember back through some of these passages, Paul has stressed that…

·        All believers have come to God by faith (3:24; 4:10). Chores (works), circumcision, or commandments (Law) cannot grant access to God. These things cannot save or redeem a sinner.

·        Grace is used to describe the free & unrestricted manner in which God acts towards His creatures. Grace is the unmerited, unearned, and undeserved favor that God extends to a sinner in order to forgive the sinner and to declare the sinner just or justified.

·        Grace centers the acts of God toward His creatures in Christ. What I mean is that the only way God relates to His creatures is through grace. There is no other means by which God relates to or deals with any of His creatures.

If you get a chance take the time some time and study the general grace of God and the specific grace of God.

Now Paul is going to change his thought process just a bit and we can’t miss his adjustment. He is going to tweak things just a tad.

·        This is not just referring to the manner in which that God acts. God is gracious. God always acts gracious, even in his hostility to the sinner. God is never vindictive or capricious.

·        This grace does not refer to the gifts that God freely gives. God gives gifts. You can also say that God gives grace. It is actually the same word. You just have to let the context determine exactly what is meant. God gives speaking gifts to the church and God gives service gifts to the church. But Paul is not talking about gifts at this time.

So what is it? What is Paul speaking of here? He is speaking of the state or the realm into which God’s redeeming work transfers believers. We are transferred by Christ’s death and resurrection into a state or realm of grace.

Just like we currently live in the state or the realm of Washington, through faith in Christ we live in the state or the realm of grace. God’s grace. This is in direct contrast to the state or realm of in which Law ruled.

Remember the illustration I opened with? I used that for a good reason. It illustrates perfectly the point that Paul is driving home in our text.

The soldier did not move about or through the White House in his own authority or power. Had he attempted to move through the door or through the house in his own person, he would have been arrested at best or shot dead at worst. That soldier moved in the authority, the state or the realm of the boy.

What realm or state was the boy? The boy was the president’s son and could move freely in the realm of his father’s residency.

We cannot move into the realm of God’s presence on or by our own authority or power. We must move in or by something else. Remember, God always deals with or relates to man by or through or because of Grace. Grace moves us into justification.

God does not deal with man or relate to man by any other means. So grace moves us in God’s presence. We stand in grace and grace moves us along in God’s presence.

BTW, this is why I believe that God rejected Cain’s sacrifice. There is no doubt in my mind that it was a good sacrifice. I am sure the crops that Cain offered were good crops they were top notch, the best. I am certain that they were wholesome and that the presentation of Cain’s sacrifice was fantastic. I don’t even doubt that it was offered respectfully and reverentially.

 But God rejected his sacrifice. God rejected those crops, because Cain tried to move in a realm that was unacceptable to God. God never deals with His creatures accept by grace – absolute unmerited favor. He does not deal with His creatures by works or self-effort.

The believer moves in God’s presence through grace, the believer exists by grace in God’s presence.

[Let’s look even more closely at this word access.]

The word “access” in our text is a compound word. It is a word that has been made from two Greek words.

          First word is pros - which means “to or towards”

          Second word is ago - which means “to lead”

The idea then is “to lead towards or to lead to.”

In our text the idea is “to have the freedom to enter through the assistance or the favor someone or something else. It means to be brought near, or to have the right to an audience, the right to approach.

So, it is easy to see the accessibility to justification, or that which grants the introduction or the entrance to justification. It is that which is the realm or the state of grace.

[Now let’s see why this is so…]

Why is it important?

[Let’s answer this question by looking at the…

                             2D     Dependability upon Grace (2b)

                                      “…in which we stand…” 

In Job chapter 38, God finally chooses to reveal himself to Job. For almost 38 chapters Job has been asking God, begging God, and even challenging God to meet with him, to respond to him, and even to answer his questions about this tremendous trial that has fallen upon him. Remember, Job believed he was innocent and should not have been treated with such severity.

We know from reading Job that God did not respond to Job’s demands and desires. But in Chapter 38 God begins to reveal His omnipotence to Job. At one point in verse ten of chapter 41, God asks Job this question:

          “Who then is able to stand against me?” (Job 41:10, NKJV)

At one point in his life Asaph asked a similar question in Psalms 76:

“You, yourself are to be feared, and who may stand in your presence when once you are angry?” (Ps 76:7, NKJV)

The Psalmist in Psalm 130 when deeply concerned about his sin, asks this question:

          “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3, NKJV)

[We also read in…]

Ps 1:5 “Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous…” (Psalm 51:5)

[And in…]

Ps 5:5 “The boastful will not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.” (Psalm 5:5)

No man can while still in his sin stand before God. No one can face God apart from God’s appointed mediator. The Scripture makes it clear that no man can see God and live and no man can come into the presence of God.

Not even Moses. When Moses wanted to see God and he meant face to face, God said no. And we know what God did in order to show himself to Moses.
He put Moses in a hole in a rock, had him cover his eyes, and then passed Moses by with His backside. Even Moses could not come into God’s presence.

So what makes this grace so dependable is that it grants us access into justification so that we are not instantly incinerated.

Our text tells us that we, and all genuine believers have access by faith into this grace in which we stand. The word stand is very important. It ensures us that we will stand in the final judgment.

Paul will refer to this very fact in Romans 14:4 when he writes:

          “…for God is able to make him stand.”  (Romans 14:4, NKJV)

We stand because we have access by Christ’s blood which represents his substitutionary death. Stand carries the idea of permanence, standing firm and immovable. Remember that even though faith is necessary for salvation, it is grace, God’s grace not your faith that has the power to save you and to keep you saved.

We are not saved by faith and then preserved by any human strength or effort. Paul made this clear when he wrote to the Ephesians when he said:

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6, NASB)

Jesus’ half-brother Jude, said something very similar:

“…Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.” (Jude 24, NASB)

Believers do and will fall into sin, but their sin is not more powerful than God’s grace. Believer are enabled to stand in the grace of justification. 

Listen to Arthur W Pink:

“It is utterly and absolutely impossible that the sentence of the divine Judge should ever be revoked or reversed. Sooner shall the lightnings of omnipotence shiver the Rock of Ages than those sheltering in Him again be brought under condemnation?” [1]

Remember what Paul wrote Timothy in order to encourage him as he was preparing to die?

“I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted Him until that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12, NASB)

And so grace gives us access and grace causes us to stand firm. And if all that is not enough, take a look at the final phrase in verse two (2).

[Here we see the…]

                             3D     Joviality of Grace (2c)

                                      “…and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

Paul states that genuine believers rejoice in their future hope of the glory of God. Eventually the end result of our salvation, which:

·        Began in election and predestination prior to the creation of the world

·        And was carried through the incarnation and the life of Christ

·        Then made possible by the death of Christ at Calvary

·        And made possible and effective by the HS at the moment of our regeneration

Will ultimately culminate in our total glorification.

Paul will write eventually in Romans 8 these words:

“Those whom God foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified, and whom H justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30, NASB)

Do you remember what this passage is called? You should and you should never forget. It is called The Golden Chain of Salvation! You could spend a year studying these two (2) verses and never fully get to their bottom.

Listen, your salvation is anchored in the past because God determined to save you by the blood of His Son.

Your salvation is anchored in the present because you stand firmly in the grace of Christ who both advocates for you and makes intercession for you.

Your salvation is anchored in the future because God gives the promise that you will one day be with him and be glorified.

So Paul says that believers rejoice in this knowledge. Believers have no reason to fear the future or to fear death. Why? Because every believer has the divinely inspired and backed hope that they will ultimately be glorified in the presence of God for all of eternity.

Jesus guarantees our hope not us by any of our works, efforts, or strength. The life of a believer is victory, confidence, and joy.

But make no mistake. This golden chain that is unbreakable and binds you to Christ is for those who have been brought to the full weight of their sin by the HS, who have been driven to cry out what must I do to be saved, and for those whom the HS has given spiritual life through the sovereign act of regeneration, who have been given faith by the HS who are rendered able and willing to turn from their sin and to turn to the living God.

This golden chain will not bind nor help anyone who in a moment of emotional guilt or fear prays a prayer to go to heaven and exhibits no remorse for sin, no evidence of turning from sin to God, and then does not persevere in the love of God, the love of His Word and the love of His people.

It is by faith that we have access or movement in the grace of justification. We stand firm and immovable in this justification. As a result we are full of joy because we know this standing firm will result in our future and final glorification.

[And so we see the implications of the righteousness of God:]

Our theme today was - Justification produces benefits for the believer

First – the righteousness of God is procurable by all types and kinds of men who believe, both Jews and Gentiles

Second – the righteousness of God is productive for all types and kinds of men who believe, both Jews and Gentiles (Vss. 1-5)

The Righteousness of God is productive for all men, both Jews and Gentiles who believe.

It is produces the types or kinds of benefits that enable genuine believers to live in the face of the world today. It produces:

·        Accessibility to the grace of justification
·        Dependability on the grace of justification
·        Joviality in the grace of justification.

 [What do you say we wrap this up?] 

[CONCLUSION]

Let me close with this great hymn from Horatius Bonar called “The Sin-Bearer.”

Thy bonds, not mine, O Christ,
Unbind me of my chain,
And break my prison-doors,
Ne’er to be barred again.

Thy righteousness, O Christ,
Alone can cover me;
No righteousness avails
Save that which is of thee.

Thy righteousness alone
Can clothe and beautify;
I wrap it round my soul;
In this I’ll live and die. [2]

Amen.
Let’s pray! J




[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Doctrines of Election and Justification, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1974), pp. 247-248
[2] Horatio Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hop, ,( London: James Nisbett, 1872), pp. 100-102

2 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

A wonderful hymn to compliament a wonderful post,
After my evening meal I will ponder what you have written.
Yvonne.

shortybear said...

great post