In Rom. 4, we have met the concept of assurance connected to faith. Today, I hope you know that assurance, but we expand our study to Rom. 5.
Review: we experience great things in the kingdom of God. From the very beginning of time, God had the intention of saving his people out of this world. God made it essential to be part of a people, part of his church. God never intended to have only a removing of sin to make us right with him, but also desires to work in our relationships with one another. We cannot belong to Christ in isolation, but must also be part of his people. Such is the beautiful reflection of Ruth 1.
Today we share some of the special blessings that come in the family of God, to families in the family of God. If you are a visitor, if you are not a Christian, I want you to be part of this glorious people, to have these blessings. We are not going to talk today about what one must do to be saved, we will compress that all to a reference to Jesus' words in Mark 16:15-16. Jesus speaks, his disciples listen. But supporting these words is a wonderful story.
God became flesh, died on a cross to deal with our sin problem, arose from the grave to let us know that the grave cannot hold our body, went to heaven as a man, but as more than a man, to intercede for us if we are his, and we now await the sweet event of his return, so our departed loved ones can be raised, we can be changed, and all go to our great eternity. We look forward to his return. We live in that expectation. It permeates our families, our worship, our life as a church, our efforts to reach out with the precious message of Jesus. This is the essence of the gospel. We are striving to preach that to every creature. We urge that all obey, understand, submit, repent, be baptized. Those are the people of God. This is the only way to Jesus, to be united with family, and therein are wonderful responsibilities and privileges. We walk with Christ, we walk with his people. And we want all to have the blessings therein.
Want you to know that this is for persons with personal faith, not for those who have inherited their religion. This is for those who love and obey Jesus Christ, and not for the disobedient. This is for those who desire to be like Jesus, and not for the worldly. This is the glorious message of assurance from Rom. 5. Five promises in the first 11 verses. We do not have time for all, but can highlight. The blessings of salvation flow from assured faith that renews in a rebirth, and now these blessings are ours, by inheritance and by faith.
I. We have peace with God, AMNESTY
Therefore--this urges me to retrace the book of Romans. I want you to know that you who have salvation have something very special. Because you have believed what God has done, is doing, and will do, you have peace. This peace is not described as the peace 'of God' but as peace with God. We have escaped the wrath (1:18). The enmity is gone (5:8). You and I no longer exist in hostility with God, despite our sin (Rom. 3:9,10,23). Something has changed. We do not pillow our heads in the fear of God. Although we are weak, struggling, every day people, because we have come to Christ, we can see God smiling at us. Phil. 4:7 describes a peace, and this is the most important peace in the world. This is not subjective depending on us, but objective depending on God. This peace excites us, encourages us.
II. We have ACCESS
Our faith provides access. What is the difference between peace and access? Perhaps is illustrated best in the OT story of Esther. The king and Esther were at peace, but Esther did not have access. We have open access to the very throne of God. The only disadvantage is that we are not equipped with senses to perceive as we can the physical world. We need better spiritual sensitivity. But regardless, the reality of it is undeniable, Heb. 4:16. We have a great privilege, exciting opportunity. Would it not be great to have this in sensory reality. Such a wonderful concept, and perhaps some are saying, that is enough for me. But there is so much more.
III. We share a wonderful ANTICIPATION
I may not understand all of this, but I understand anticipation. What have you genuinely anticipated? Good food, good fellowship? Prayer, worship, family, home. Here is a spiritual blessing that is ours in Jesus Christ by faith. "The hope of the glory of God."
We anticipate that some day we shall have the privilege of seeing with our very own eyes the being of God himself. Now we have not seen God. In the OT, there were only manifestations, theophanies. But no one could look on the very essence of God and live. We have the Moses account in Gen. 32-34. But Moses was not privileged to see God face to face. Yet someday, we shall have that privilege. Mt. 5:8, Rev. 4, Jude 24. Rev. 1:7. With a lump in our glorified throats, walking by the 24 thrones, perhaps walking across the glassy sea, you can walk up the throne of God and look the Father in the face. How inspirational. To see his love, to hear his "welcome home." This is the glory of God.
In John 17:24, the followers had only seen the weak and human Jesus, but here is visible the glory of Christ, as with the father before the world, John 1:18.
Then there is Col. 3:1-4. We think, live, seek heaven. We shall be manifested with him in glory. This is a promise to the children of God. Peace/acceptance, Access, Anticipation of receiving incredible things from him, even as described in 1 Cor. 2:9.
IV. God's love provides ASSURANCE
This is so important. We are assured of our salvation by God. There are three approaches to assurance or security.
Vv. 3-10 tell us what God will do in our lives so we can have security. We know something. We know where it is all headed. Despite pressures, we find steadfastness, stability, approvedness, character, hope. When God has tested us, stabilized us, approved us, he assures us with hope.
V. 5--this hope does not shame us. There is no doubt. Heb. 6 refers to a faith sure and steadfast. Why? Because the grounds for that hope does not let us down, it is based on God's love. This is the extent of God's love for us. Paul will develop this in chapter 8, but he just mentions it here. God has blessed us with his spirit and with his love.
V. 6--this love is demonstrated in Jesus Christ. When we were weak, ungodly, unrighteous, and sinners, Christ died for us then. 2 Cor. 5:20-21. Cross was made reality when we were totally unlike him in every way. How can God illustrate such love? There is no illustration available among men, v. 7. But v. 8 declares the demonstration of such love. Man will not die for the wicked and undeserving. There is no such love among men as God's love. We were enemies, vs. 10. This defines us. I do not care about your good feelings toward God, your pleasant thoughts, or even if you acknowledge God's existence. People in our world think to acknowledge God makes it all right, a mere tip of the hat. All humanity was God's enemy, you, me, all. But God still sent his Son to die for us. Now we see the marvel of the cross, the difference of his love, and this is his powerful message to sinners.
But this is only a description of what we were. Look at the present tense in v. 9. Much more.... We can trace this "much more" theme through the remainder of chapter 5. It is a comparison. Then vs. Now. We are saved. Saved from wrath. This is vv. 6-10. May I summarize? If God invested his son when we were evil, much more. Why do we think God will give up on us now? Now that we are trying, now that we are committed. What is wrong with us? Where did we get the idea that he would cast us off because we stumble, struggle, get frustrated, disappoint even ourselves. How dare we call in question the love of God. Then in v. 10, there is another "much more." God hates sin, he doesn't want us to sin because he knows what it does to us. But he also knows our weakness. He is not asking from us perfection, but dedication. He is asking commitment, direction, a walk, trust, Mic. 6:8. It is time we understand and quit telling God he cannot love us. Believe him when he says he loves you. We are trying now, and he must love us more than when we weren't trying.
V. Finally, we have ACCEPTANCE, atonement (KJV), or more properly, reconciliation
We rejoice, because of the reconciliation, through Jesus Christ, now. We are sons and daughters of Almighty God, we rejoice in the glory of God. We are his chosen people, his possession, his uniqueness, his image, the apply of his eye, chosen people, royal priesthood, holy nation, declaration of his excellence. He wants to love us forever.
We have set our sights on the Lord Jesus Christ. We walk by faith toward him. We stumble, we fall, we get up. One day he will call us. He will reach out and welcome us. These are just some of the blessings of the Christian, some of our heritage.
So with urgency we appeal to men to turn from sin before they are dragged to eternal loss. Come to God for the great blessings in Jesus Christ. We must get off the thrones in our lives, let him rule our life. Put faith in Jesus Christ, surrender faith in self, find his way, live life by his will. Spend life pleasing him, enjoy blessings in him. Believe in him, make the good confession. This is so exciting. Render obedience, restore from alienation, be part of a family on its way to heaven.
To the brothers, this is no melancholy pessimism, but glory. The word is joy. Tell of his goodness, get excited about church. Making his people a live, viable, united body. I know my blessings, and therein I find my motivation to serve him, love him, worship, him, and fellowship with his people. This is my motivation to help others come to Jesus.
So if you have been out of step, come back. Come into the family, come home.
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