Sunday, May 15, 2016

How to be Right With God (Part 15)

SERMON               GM16-084

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

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (May 15, 2016)

SUBTITLE:        How to Be Right with God (Part 15)

SCRIPTURE:     Romans 5:6-8

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 proof that justification by faith is secured by the absolute & abundant love of God for sinners confirmed by the death of Christ.


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)
                   2C     Province of Grace (2)
                   3C     Process of Growth (3-5)   

[Announce the Text]

Please open your Bibles to Romans 5:6-8

 [The Title of Today’s Message is]

How to Be Right with God – (Part 15)

Today’s Truth continues to be: 

Justification produces benefits for believers –

God’s abundant and absolute love for us

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 5:6-8 

[Main Introduction]

Attention Getter
C.S. Lewis once wrote – “On the whole, God's love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him.” (C.S. Lewis)
Orient the Text:   (CPT) Justification produces benefits for believers

This morning I want to continue to speak to you about the consequences or the benefits that are our as a result of justification by faith. The consequence or the benefit that is in our text and in front of us today is the absolute and abundant love that God has for each of His children that He has declared to be just.

We finished a rather lengthy message on the fact that trials, troubles, and tribulations are the means by which God matures or develops genuine believers. We cannot escape them. Our passage todays reminds us and teaches us that our hope of future salvation and glorification is based on this absolute and abundant love that God has for us.

Genuine believers experience God’s love in their hearts. God not only says that He loves us and has poured out His love extravagantly in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, but He offers up prove of His love. In our passage today we will see the grounds for this extravagant love that God has poured out in our hearts. God’s love is not just words, it isn’t just theory. God’s love doesn’t just float free from any type of anchor.

Raise a Need: (POS)

As I said last week, God tries and tests, He refines and restores His genuine children. No one would deny that some trials or tribulations hurt far more than others. At times the pain is deep, so deep that we wonder if God really does love us at all.

It is so easy to ask the question, “Does God really love us?” in the middle of severe trials or tribulations. After all, if God really did love me couldn’t he have stopped this horrible trial before it even started?

In the middle of our trials and tribulations we need a reminder that God really does love us. This knowledge enables us to remain faithful and to endure the trial or tribulation that has engulfed us.

There were times as we raised our four (4) daughters that I wondered if they really did love me. Sometimes it seemed I was just an ATM or some type of means to an end. But there were those special moments and times when I was convinced by their actions and attitudes that they really did love me.

Trials and tribulations can be extremely difficult and painful. They can be overwhelming to the point where the flickering light of hope appears to be on the brink of being snuffed out.

We need this reminder that God really does love us with an absolute and abundant love!

State the Purpose

My purpose today provide the evidence supplied by God that having been justified by faith that God loves us.

[Sub Introduction]

Announce the text under consideration

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 5:6-8. 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. God, because of Christ’s death on the cross, and through His Holy Spirit has imputed the righteousness of Jesus Christ to all those who believe the gospel. We have looked at the Introduction of Righteousness, we have looked at the Illustration of Righteousness. 

Today we are continuing to look at or to examine the Implication of Righteousness as we consider Romans 5:6-8. So far we have seen those implications are:

·        Righteousness is procurable by all who believe
·        Righteousness is productive for all who believe

…produces peace with God
…produces province of Grace
…produces process of Growth

Background to the text

Preview the body structure

Our text, Romans 5:6-8 divides itself into three propositions. The first proposition, which is found in verse 6 gives the fact that Christ died for sinners; the second proposition is found in verse 7 which proposes a contrast between human love with God’s love, and then the third proposition is found in verse 8 which emphasizes the uniqueness of God’s love for sinners.

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

Interrogatory Sentence:  Therefore, I think it is important that we ask ourselves, how do we know that God really loves us? Or, maybe, a better question might be, what token or demonstration does God provide to proof that he has an abundant and absolute love for his genuine children?

Transitional Statement:  The passage of scripture before us describes at least three (3) features of God’s love, and they are - the purchase of sinners; the proof of sacrifice; and the promise of salvation.

[And so we now continue to examine the third implication of justification which is that…]

3B     …it is propitious for all men who believe (Vss. 6-8)

Paul has just explained how genuine believers are enable to endure tribulation. They are enabled by the knowledge that God loves them and that the tribulations are not indicative of His anger towards them. God has abundantly poured out His love for the genuine believer by the HS. Here we find that God is not merely saying, “I love you.”

God proves that He is favorably disposed towards all genuine believers, which include you and me. God is propitious towards us because of the death of Christ.

When we think on these terms that God is propitious or favorably disposed towards us, we are able to see this three (3) ways. The first way we see the propitiousness of God toward us is in:

1C     The Purchase of Sinners (6)

In verse six (6) Paul makes it crystal clear that God through the death of Jesus Christ, His Son purchases sinners for Himself. We see at least three (3) facts that amplify this purchase of sinners. Never forget that God did not come to “call the righteous to repentance, but sinners.”

[First we see…]

1D     The Problem that Motivated the Purchase

          eti gar cristos ontwn hmwn asqenwn
          “For when we were weak…”

Paul states that sinners are weak. This word conveys the meaning of “the total incapacity for good.” This is the accurate description of those who are designated as sinners before they are brought to the saving knowledge and grace of salvation.

This word is also translated as “powerless, without physical ability.” In the spiritual sense it is translated as wretched, diseased, in a state of sin.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne once said, “The seed of every sin known to man is in my heart” 

This idea of total moral inability or incapability of any good is also known as depravity.

What does depravity mean?

The word comes from a Latin word “de” and “pravus.” “Pravus” means “crooked.”  The prefix “de” is intensive. The complete word “depravo” means “very crooked.” 

 It does not really imply constitutional crookedness but the sense of having become crooked.  The term does not imply original structural corruption but that which has departed from right or straight more with the feeling of deterioration or fall from a former state of moral or physical perfection. 

Remember when God finished creating man, he said it is good.

Depravity always means a departure from a state of original integrity.  It means departure from conformity to the laws of being for the one who is the subject of depravity.  We don’t call a person depraved who still conforms to the laws of his being, physical and moral, only to the one that has departed from those laws, whether they are physical or moral.

The Bible tells us that the wicked possess a common wicked heart or character.

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  (Genesis 6:5) 

 “This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.”  (Ecclesiastes 9:3) 

 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  (Jeremiah 17:9) 

 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”  (Romans 8:7)

The Bible declares it a universal necessity that men be regenerated, saved because of this utter depravity or total weakness:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  (John 3:3)

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”

"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries…”

“…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light”

"The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.”

“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

“What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD…”

“…whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.”

"Yet they did not listen or incline their ears, but stiffened their necks in order not to listen or take correction.”

“…having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children…”

"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”

“To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”

So, Paul is stressing that God’s love came upon us or to us when we were utterly helpless to do anything about our condition as sinners.

As sinners, we were completely unable to rescue ourselves or to remedy our situation. There is an utter inability for any man to improve this status, change his condition, or make a move toward God and salvation. 

This word helpless is a serious and sobering word and condition. Apart from God doing anything for us through Christ sinners would be absolutely, totally, and completely unable to save or secure salvation for ourselves.

So, we have seen why God poured his love into the hearts of sinners. While we were sinners and weak, that is helpless and totally unable to rescue ourselves, God provided a way for us to be helped.

Mind you God was motivated by His sovereign love and not by human merit. Christ died for the weak and helpless sinner. Christ did not die for the righteous or for the good, but for helpless sinners.

[So, as we look at the purchase of sinners, it is clear that the problem that motivated the purchase was the utter helplessness of mankind.]

[Secondly, we see…]

                             2D     The Period that Managed the Purchase

                                      kata kairon uper
                                      “…in due time…”

This phrase is a bit difficult to determine what Paul actually meant. Remember, when interpreting Scripture, we are always trying to determine what the author actually meant and what his readers would have understood.

The word itself, kairon, can be translated as season, opportune time, at the set time, or particular time being spoken of.

Acts 19:23 says, “Now there arose during that time a serious disturbance concerning the way.” What time? During the time that Paul had dispatched Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia and he stayed by himself in Asia.

So what time is Paul talking about? Paul could have speaking about one or more of the following times:

·        A particular time or point in world history

·        During the time that God would have poured out His wrath if Christ had not prevented it by His death

·        The appointed time in God’s eternal plan & calendar

·        When at the specific time when sinners were weak

This seems to be easy enough for us don’t you think? I think Paul is referring to the specific moment in God’s eternal timetable. Christ died right when God ordained or appointed Him to die.

[So, as we look at the purchase of sinners, it is clear that the problem that motivated the purchase was the utter helplessness of mankind and the period or time of the purchase of sinners was right on schedule with God’s timetable.]

[Thirdly, we see…]

3D     The People that Mandated the Purchase

          uper asebwn apeqane
          “…Christ died for the ungodly.”

Christ died for us! Christ died for sinners. Christ died for the ungodly. Paul is emphasizing or stressing that God’s love is seen in the fact that Christ died on our behalf. This fact proves God’s love for us. There should be no reason to doubt God’s love for us.

Paul never thinks of God’s love apart from the cross. God’s love is always attached to or a part of the cross.

Paul never thinks of Christ’s death on that cross apart from the fact that God gave up His Son to die on that cross.

It is here that we see the priority of God’s love for sinners. You see God’s love when you examine the fact that:

·        Christ died for God’s enemies

·        Christ died before we made any move toward God

·        Christ died to overcome the enmity, the hostility, and the anger that God had and has towards sinners

·        Christ died to fulfill the promise longstanding in the Scripture

·        Christ death had been planned in eternity

·        Christ died as our substitute and as our representative

·        Christ’s death accomplished atonement for sinners. Jesus took the punishment that was intended for sinners.

Paul’s intention here is to underscore or highlight the greatness and distinctiveness of God’s great love by sending Jesus Christ to die for those who are wicked and rebellious and who actually hate Him.

God’s love is unparalleled and unprecedented. Christ died for us who as sinners was bad, bad, bad, - bad to the bone. Christ died for those who had no reason to be loved.

Listen, when we love someone it is almost, not always, but almost always based on some form of attractiveness in the object of our love. We usually love people who:

·        Love us
·        Are physically attractive
·        Are talented
·        Have money
·        Can benefit us in someway
·        Are the same as us in values, interests,

Remember Jesus said, “For is you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”  Even tax collectors love other tax collectors.

But God loves us when we:

·        Were ungodly. – godless, without any fear of God, without any reverence for God. We were ones who practiced the exact opposite of what God required or deserved. Before Christ we had no fear of God or of what God wanted. Sinners are the exact opposite of what is righteous.

·        When we were ugly or unattractive

·        When we had nothing of value in and of ourselves
·        God loves us when we could offer no benefit to God whatsoever.

And this is good, because listen carefully to what Charles Hodge stated in his commentary:

“If God loves us because we3 loved him, he would love us only so long as we love him, and on that condition; and then our salvation would depend on the constancy of our treacherous hearts. But as God loved us as sinner, as Christ died for us as ungodly, our salvation depends, as the apostle argues, not on our loveliness, but on the constancy of the love of God.” [1]

Remember our context! Here is the foundational truths that support the promises that:

·        Our hope of future glorification will not cause us to be ashamed
·        Our future and complete salvation is guaranteed

And so, we see another benefit of having been justified by faith. Justification is propitious for all men who believe. It is so because we have been purchased by God because of his great love for us. God purchased us when we were utterly and totally helpless or depraved. God purchased us by the death of Christ on the cross at the exact time that God had appointed or ordained Chris to die. Christ purchased the ungodly, the unrighteous.

Let’s turn our attention to the second that we see the propitiousness of God toward us is in:

2C     The Peculiarity of the Sacrifice (7)

                             Moles gar uper diakaiou tis apoqanetai uper gar tou
                             agaqou taca tis kai talma apoqanein

“For scarcely on behalf of a righteous man will anyone die; yet on behalf of the good, perhaps someone might even dare to die.”

The main point of verse seven is very clear. Paul is emphasizing the love of God that is shown in the cross of Christ by reminding us that the height of human love is the giving of one’s life on behalf of someone else. Such as:

·        Our spouse
·        Our child or children
·        A buddy in combat, or law enforcement

We are all aware of the stories where a soldier or marine fell on top of a grenade taking the blast to save the lives of those near him.

But of course God’s demonstration or proof of love is different. Christ died for His enemies, He died for those who hated him. So verse seven serves as a contrast of human sacrificial love that might motivate you to give your life for someone else and with God’s love which sacrificed for evil and wicked men.

Paul’s point is that it is common for a person to make a sacrifice, even with his life in order to save someone who is “good” or “deserving”. Few people might die for a bad person but most likely not.

John Calvin wrote: “Most rare, indeed, is such an example to be found among men, that one dies for a just man, though this may sometimes happen: but let this be granted, yet for an ungodly man none will be found willing to die: this is what Christ has done. Thus it is an illustration, derived from a comparison: for such an example of kindness, as Christ has exhibited towards us, does not exist among men.” [2]

This is why I called this point the problem of sacrifice. Almost no man would ever do what God did. He gave His Son, His precious Son to die for bad men, men who were enemies, and men who were wicked.

And so, we see another benefit of having been justified by faith. Justification is propitious for all men who believe. It is so because we have been purchased by God because of his great love for us. God purchased us when we were utterly and totally helpless or depraved. God purchased us by the death of Christ on the cross at the exact time that God had appointed or ordained Chris to die. Christ purchased the ungodly, the unrighteous.

God purchased us at a great sacrifice.

Let’s turn our attention to the third and final example that shows the propitiousness of God toward us is in:

                   3C     The Promise of Salvation (8)

                             Eunisthsi de thn eauton agaphn eis hmas o qeos, oti epi
                             amartwlwn ontwn hmwn, cristos uper hmwn apeqane
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 

This is very simple! In contrast to the very best of human love is God’s love. God demonstrates or proves his love for us by the fact that when we were sinners, wicked, vile, at enmity with God, His enemies He gave His Son to be sacrificed for our salvation.

And so we see God’s love in the death of Christ on our behalf. This is actually a cold and sobering historical proof of God’s love. This love of God for us as seen in the sacrificial death of Christ is the reason that we are confident that our future salvation and glorification will take place and that we will not be put to shame because of our confident hope.

This love of God is almost beyond our very comprehension! God hates every sinful attitude and action and is actually actively hostile against the sinner and yet gave His only Son to die as a proof of his love for His elect. God’s love is absolute grace.

So the word “sunistnsi” means proof, establishes, confirms, manifests, gives proof or demonstrates. So, confirms or demonstrates is a far better translation than commends. God has confirmed his love for us or demonstrated His love for us by the death of Jesus Christ.

It is through or by Christ’s death that we have proof that God will never abandon us! He saved us while we were enemies by this supreme example of love. Now that we are His, He will keep us and take us to the very end or to our glorification.

I think William Barclay said it very well when he said, “Sometimes the thing is stated as if on the one side there was a gentle and loving Christ, and on the other an angry and vengeful God; and as if Christ had done something which changed God’s attitude to men. Nothing could be further from the truth. The whole matter springs from the love of God. Jesus did not come to change God’s attitude to men; he came to show what it is and always was. He came to prove unanswerably that God is love.” [3]

Justification by faith is beneficial to the genuine believer. One of those wonderful benefits is that …it is propitious for all men who believe. (Vss. 6-8)

 [What do you say we wrap this up?]


Paul has just explained how genuine believers are enable to endure tribulation. They are enabled by the knowledge that God loves them and that the tribulations are not indicative of His anger towards them. God has abundantly poured out His love for the genuine believer by the HS. Here we find that God is not merely saying, “I love you.”

God proves that He is favorably disposed towards all genuine believers, which include you and me. God is propitious towards us because of the death of Christ.

When we think on these terms that God is propitious or favorably disposed towards us, we are able to see this three favorable disposition in three (3) ways.

·        In the purchase of sinners
·        In the peculiarity of the sacrifice
·        In the promise of salvation


Let’s pray! J

[1] Charles Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974 reprint), pp. 136-137
[2] John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentary on Romans, Vol. Second (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, reprint, 2009). Pp.195,196
[3] William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans, Revised, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1975), p. 77


nashvillecats2 said...

Great reading Gregg, Very thought provoking.

Gregg Metcalf said...

Thanks Yvonne. It is both sobering and thought provoking to think that Christ would die for the enemies of God who could not help themselves. This is the path to salvation and heaven, acknowledging that sin and guilt and helplessness and turning to Jesus Christ as the only sacrifice acceptable to God to appease Him and for the forgiveness of our sins.