This Week's Gospel Sermons
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August 11, 2013
Were, Are, and Will Be
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while 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 this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:1-12)
Paul, opening his letter to the Christians in Rome,stresses the Son, His gospel, and the obedience to it as a result believing it, i.e., having faith. He describes these things in this way: “… the gospel of God … promised beforehand … in the holy Scripture … concerning His Son … who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead … through whom we have received grace … to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:1-6). He continues through chapter 4 showing that all, no matter if Jew or gentile, have sinned and so need the gift of the Son, His sacrifice, to obtain forgiveness. Next, he reminds the Christians of how the gospel has worked in their lives. In chapter 5 much is said about what the Roman Christians once were, what they are at the time the letter was written, and what they would be in the future. Look at the many things which are stated. Let us make the application to ourselves. From this understanding of the text, even the non-Christian can see the value of serving the Lord.
They once were without strength. (Romans 5:6) This, no doubt, refers to the helplessness of man without Christ just as Paul mentions in other letters. “Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, … were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:11-13).
These had been sinners—people who were aliens from God (Romans 5:8). These had been enemies of God (Romans 5:10). Hear what the Lord said about those who were friends or enemies: “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30). “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14).
They were once dead (Romans 5:12). This has reference to their having been separated from God. This was brought about by their sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) What a dreadful condition! Still, are not some of us here today in the same condition?
They are justified (Romans 5:1). According to Thayer’s lexicon, “having been justified” means “shown to be righteous.” because of this righteousness, they have peace with God (Romans 5:1). They are not enemies—instead, friends doing the righteousness of God.
They have introduction to His grace by faith (Romans 5:2). This is where they stand. Because they had this “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5), they exult (boast) of hope (Romans 5:2,4). This is an exultation based on the glory of God, not of man.
They also exult in the fact that they have tribulations, too (Romans 5:3). They know that as they suffer for doing right, their character is proven. This further solidifies their hope. They know that God loves them and had given His Son. Even though men were sinners, God provided the blood of the Son to pay the price due. They have the blood of Jesus (Romans 5:9).
They are reconciled and a people of atonement (Romans 5:10,11). To be reconciled means to be in a changed state. They had been enemies, but are now changed to friends “doing” what He commands (John 15:14), the change being having been made possible through the Son and not through their own will. They are a people of joy (Romans 5:11). Their exultation is “in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What Christians were at Rome is what Christians are now who believe and do the same things they believed and did.
We see the change that had taken place, but is there more to come? What about the future? They will be developed more fully in the future if they persevere (Romans 5:3-5). Hope will increase and hope that is based on the love of God does not disappoint.
They will be saved from the wrath of God, which is to come upon many (Romans 5:9). Earlier, Paul established that there will be a day in which all will be judged according to what he has done (Romans 2:6). Those who “do good” can expect “honor, immortality, and eternal life” (Romans 2:7,10). Those who do not obey the truth will receive “wrath, tribulation, and distress” (Romans 2:8-9). This is of great significance since the wrath of God will be revealed from heaven (Romans 1:18; Hebrews 10:26-31).
They will be have eternal life through Jesus (Romans 5:10). They will be saved through His life. He lives now and “He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25).
What Christ will be for those at Rome, he will be for all Christians today who will faithfully follow him.
Are you a Christian persevering and exulting in hope? If you are not a Christian, why not gain that hope by becoming His slave of righteousness—doing the right thing? “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart …and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17,18).
— S. Scott Richardson Sr.