Thu, Sep 13, 2018

Romans 5

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ROMANS

            Please turn in your Bibles this evening to Romans chapter 5 as we continue our study through the Word of God.

            We have covered a lot of ground here in Romans so far. We have seen that the whole world is guilty before God. Or as Paul put it, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.

            So not even one is righteous before God and when God is speaking of righteousness, He is speaking of perfection. Not one person is perfect before God, without sin!

            So man, in trying to fix that problem, tries to work his way in. He tries to keep the Laws of God and in doing so it either makes them self-righteous or miserable because they know they can’t keep it and haven’t kept it!

            The Law can’t make us righteous, it can only show how much we have missed that mark of perfection by. None of man’s efforts can save him, NONE!

            Paul understands that man has to come to that point of helplessness, in knowing that they can’t save themselves before they will look to the Savior, to Jesus.

            And as hopeless as Paul has made it, the whole world condemned before God, then Paul moves into a section on JUSTIFICATION in Romans 3:21 through Romans 5:21.

            In other words, we are declared righteous before God by grace through faith in Jesus and not by the Law through works.

            And please understand that this is not just a New Testament idea. It was spoken of even in the Old Testament and Paul shows us this in Romans chapter 4.

            He looked at Abraham and King David who were both justified by faith and not by works, the two heavy hitters of the Jewish faith! 

            It is as Paul said in Romans 4:23-25, Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. 

            In other words, the righteous demands of the Law have been fulfilled by Jesus and we are declared righteous, not guilty before God!

            Now, as we move into chapter 5 Paul is going to show us that we can be secure in our salvation, that we can’t lose it.

            You see, if you did nothing in the first place to obtain your salvation except believe it by faith, then you can’t do anything to lose it. 

            We cannot make it a salvation by grace through faith and then add works to it so that we might maintain it! 

            That is a salvation by works! This is a wonderful chapter on justification and what the Lord has done for us. Of this chapter Martin Luther said, “In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text.” 

            Now, let me share with you just a little of what this chapter is all about. We are told,

            Justification comes by faith and also brings peace with God. When we were helpless sinners, Christ died for us, justifying us by His blood and saving us from the wrath of God. Reconciliation comes by the death of Jesus; salvation comes by the fact that He is alive today.

            Through Adam sin entered the world of the human race. Death then followed and spread to everyone. Adam was a type of Christ in that their actions affected all humanity. Adam is not merely a type of sin, but actually brought the guilt of sin on those he represented. Likewise, Christ is not merely a type of righteousness, but actually brought the gift of righteousness, whereby those who trust in Him will have salvation and reign through Him. Christ brought the gift of grace and salvation to all who believe. With the Law of Moses the understanding of sin increased, but “grace abounded all the more” (Rom. 5:20).

- Woodrow Kroll, The Book of Romans – Righteousness in Christ, pp. 63, 75

 

            So with that as our introduction, let’s begin reading in Romans chapter 5, beginning in verse 1, and let’s see what the Lord has for us as we study through His Word.

 

ROMANS 5

VERSES 1-2

            Romans 5:1 opens up with the word, Therefore and it links us back to what Paul has said. And that is the foundation that he has laid in regard to our justification by faith in Jesus Christ!

            Yes, sanctification is a process, a lifelong process where God is molding and shaping us into the men and women He wants us to be.

            But justification is not a process. You don’t grow in justification. Justification is instantaneous, and let me say, it is also irreversible the moment you put your faith in Jesus Christ.           That is great news, it shows us our security in Christ!

            Clarke put it like this, “And this access to God, or introduction to the Divine presence, is to be considered a lasting privilege. We are not brought to God for the purpose of an interview, but to remain with him; to be his household; and by faith, to behold his face, and walk in the light of his countenance.”

            Also, keep in mind that up to this point in the Book of Romans, Paul has convinced us all that the only way of salvation is to be justified by grace through faith.

            Now he will tell us what the practical benefits of this are, explaining that it is more than an interesting idea. And here in Romans 5:1-11 there are eight points that Paul brings out and I will share them with you as we go through these verses.

            Now many may not like what I have to say or even agree with it, but you have to understand that every person who has rejected Jesus as their Lord and Savior is at war with God, they are fighting against Him! 

            Paul said in Romans 8:7-8, Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 

            You are war with God and you can’t please God in the things you are doing because you are not a child of God. You have not asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior.

            Thus, the war is fought because we want to do our own thing, we think God is some kind of cosmic kill joy who is ruining all our fun, or we can even be neutral about God. But the reality is, if you are not for Him then you are against Him! We tend to enjoy sin not realizing that sin is like a cancer that slowly consumes our bodies!

            The good news is our eyes have been opened and we have received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. And by grace through faith we have been declared justified before God, we are at peace with God, no longer fighting against Him because, as Ephesians 2:14a says, For He Himself is our peace . . . Jesus is our peace! 

            Not let me also say this. I am not saying that we don’t struggle in this life, we do! Spurgeon tells us, “I am delighted to find that sin stings you, and that you hate it. The more hatred of sin the better. A sin-hating soul is a God-loving soul. If sin never distresses you, then God has never favored you.”

            Folks, we are not at peace with sin or the Devil or this world, we are at peace with God which then puts sin, the Devil and this world at war with us! 

            Now let me also say this. You can never experience the peace OF God in your life until you first make peace WITH God, and, as I have said, that is only done through Jesus. 

            Once we make peace WITH God, Paul tells us Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7.

            Or as The Amplified Bible puts it, Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7. 

            What a glorious promise to each of us, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding but is very real in our lives once we make peace WITH God through Jesus Christ! We might not understand it, but when we are going through a difficult time, we can KNOW the peace OF God in our lives!

            How do we know this peace of God? By believing in the promises of God to us in His Word!

            And as we look at Romans 5:2 we see that we have not only been declared justified before God, at peace with God through Jesus, but we also have access into His grace through Jesus, and again this is through faith. Paul says we have access which is in the perfect verb tense indicating this is a permanent possession. 

            Remember what Clarke said, “And this access to God, or introduction to the Divine presence, is to be considered a lasting privilege. We are not brought to God for the purpose of an interview, but to remain with him; to be his household; and by faith, to behold his face, and walk in the light of his countenance.” 

            In other words, we don’t stand by our own strength but in the grace of God as Paul said in Ephesians 2:18, For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 

            And in Ephesians 3:12, Paul says, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 

            It is out of that we should see praise burst forth from our lives as our hope is not in us but in Him, which then brings glory to God and not to us! We stand in Him and not in our own strength, praise the Lord!

            Now here is a problem for some Christians. They begin in grace but then, all of a sudden, they take this departure. They feel that they must go on to perfection and maturity by dealing with God on the principle of the Law. We have seen this with some in the church several months back and it is wrong!

            And what they are now believing is that they are earning and deserving of God’s grace or God’s acceptance. Well, that negates grace then.

            Paul put it like this in Galatians 3:2-3, This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

            I think that is very clear. You were saved by grace and now you want to be made perfect by the keeping of the Law. Are you serious about that? Because, if you are, you are seriously wrong!

            Also, Paul said in Galatians 5:1-4, Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

            Paul spoke very clearly against that point of adding works or the Law to grace, it can’t be done because as soon as you do, then you think God owes you heaven. No, you deserve Hell and God gives you heaven by His grace!

            Remember, we talked about there being eight things that are ours when we have Jesus and have been justified by faith here in Romans 5:1-11. Let me start out with three of them.

            First, we have “peace with God” and the idea here is that He has taken care of the past or that He will no longer hold our sins against us! There is no record of them!

            Secondly, we have “access to God” or this deals with the present. We can now come to God any time of the day or night for help. His arms are always opened wide for us to come to Him!

            Thirdly, Paul spoke of the fact that we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” And think about that. It deals with the future and God has taken care of our future. One day we shall share in His glory. In fact, when Paul will speak on our glorification he does so like we are already glorified, because it is a done deal with God. He has done this!

 

VERSES 3-4

            This is a tough one. You see, I can understand Paul saying that we should rejoice in the fact that we can have peace with God; we can rejoice that we have access into His grace by faith, that we can rejoice in glory.

            But I don’t know about rejoicing in tribulation! In fact, the word that Paul uses for tribulation in the Greek is THLIPSIS (thlip’-sis). This word is not speaking of someone making fun of you, mocking you, but it speaks of being under pressure, like the squeezing of olives in the olive press or to press down upon a grape to produce grape juice! Ouch, that would hurt!

            And Paul could say that because Paul lived that kind of life. His life was filled with many tribulations as he served the Lord.

            We are told in II Corinthians 11:22-28 of some of the things he suffered. Paul wrote, Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? - I speak as a fool - I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness - besides the other things . . .

            And yet he was able to say, Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinthians 4:16-18. 

            You see, these things are going to happen as Paul wrote to Timothy, Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. II Timothy 3:12. 

            The important issue is how are we going to respond to these things, these tribulations, these pressures? Are we going to let them make us strong or sour? Are we going to let them make us bold or bitter?  

            You see, Paul is telling us that pressures in our life are working in us for something good, if we allow them to. In a sense, it is a picture of Christian maturity, sanctification or it can be a picture of Christian immaturity and a hardness of heart to what God is doing in our lives!

            Think of it this way. A runner must be stressed to gain endurance. Sailors must go to sea. Soldiers go to battle.

            For the Christian, tribulation is just part of our Christian life. We should not desire or hope for a tribulation-free Christian life because that is where we will grow. Paul put it like this, . . . but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4.

            First of all, we see that tribulation produces perseveranceor patience.” 

            It is the Greek word HUPOMONE (hoop-om-on-ay’) which speaks of cheerful endurance, consistency. 

            It was a term that was used as precious metals were tested for their purity in the fire, such as silver or gold. The heat causes the impurities to rise to the surface and they are then removed to make the metals pure and the Lord uses the heat, the pressure of tribulations to cleanse us of our impurities.  

            As tribulation produces perseverance in our lives, that perseverance is building in us character, experience, we are maturing. And it is out of all this we are learning to trust in the Lord more and more which gives us hope, we know He won’t fail us!

            If you are struggling in this area, always snapping at people, it is your way or the highway, angry, pouting, and mad at God, losing hope; you need to surrender to God’s Spirit and allow Him to work in you and you will produce fruit in your life. 

            I love olive oil, to me bread and olive oil is a meal! 

            But if there was no pressure upon the olives then there would be no olive oil to partake of. If we fight against tribulations, these pressures, there won’t be fruit in our lives for others to partake of and that maturing process will be on hold until we submit and surrender our lives to the Master Potter, to God! 

            Now here’s the thing. I may not always understand the how’s and why’s of God as I am going through tribulations, but this I do know, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.

            Or as The Amplified Bible puts it, We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. Romans 8:28. My hope is in Him!

            So the fourth point that Paul brings out here is that we “glory in tribulations.” Please understand we don’t necessarily glory for them, but in them because God is showing us things, He is growing us, maturing us during these times.

 

VERSE 5

            Hope is something that is so important in our lives. Without hope we would just give up. Think about it. If we were to hope for something but then later find that we were never going to get it, our hope would be put to shame or disappointed.

            Now here is the wonderful news. The hope of our salvation will never be put to shame. Why is that? Because it is based in God. He saved us by His grace that He has extended to us and no one can take our salvation out of His hands. We have that assurance!

            And we have the love of God in our lives, it is demonstrated to us by the Lord coming and paying the debt we owed for our sin.

            And please understand that God’s love is not just trickled into our lives, but the Greek word EKCHEO, (ek-kheh’-o) speaks of gushing out, spilling over and we can know this because the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to this truth of God’s love in us and for us! 

            Jesus said regarding the Holy Spirit in John chapter 7, . . . ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37b-38. 

            For that to take place you must be filled with the Holy Spirit and then He will overflow in your life as you surrender to Him, allow Him to be in control of your life. The Holy Spirit is the Divine agent who exposes to the believer the love of God!

            The fifth point that Paul brings out is that the “love of God has been poured out into our hearts.” How wonderful that is to know His love for us!

 

VERSES 6-8

            Notice the picture that Paul is painting for us. 

            Sinful man, whom he described for us in Romans 1:18 through Romans 3:20 and drove home the point in Romans 3:23 when he said, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God is in trouble!

            Man is in that condition and impotent to do anything about it, he is sick, he is without strength. 

            Then God steps in at the appointed time or the proper time, the perfect time to pay the penalty for our sins, for the ungodly, you and me! 

            Listen to how Spurgeon put it, “If Christ died for the ungodly, this fact leaves the ungodly no excuse if they do not come to him, and believe in him unto salvation. Had it been otherwise they might have pleaded, ‘We are not fit to come.’ But you are ungodly, and Christ died for the ungodly, why not for you?” You see, there is no excuse! 

            Paul continues on to say that a person may sacrifice his life for the “right kind” of person but God didn’t die for a good person, someone who deserved it, a righteous person, but for sinners. And thus, His death on the cross of Calvary is a demonstration of His rich love for us, it is the ultimate proof because we surely don’t deserve it! 

            And that is the key, we don’t deserve it. You see, the word used here for love is agape. Paul in his writings never uses the word agape to express man’s love for God but always God’s love for man.

            We don’t deserve God’s love for us and yet, He freely extends it to us, it is unconditional love that is given to us. Wow!

            So we have seen faith in Romans 5:1. Then hope in Romans 5:2. And now love here in Romans 5:5 and Romans 5:8. And as you combine those altogether it gives the believer patience in the trials of life. It is where we grow in the faith, become a mature child of God.

            Remember what James wrote in James 1:2-4, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

           

VERSES 9-11

            Think about this for a minute. Paul is saying that if we are justified by the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary, then we can be assured that we will also be saved from the wrath of God because we are in Him!

            This wrath of God Paul spoke of in Romans 1:18 where he said, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

            You see, the wrath that was due us was placed upon Jesus as a substitute for the believer! But for those who are not in Christ, they will face the wrath of God because their righteousness is like filthy rags before a Holy God!

            For us, that means we are not going to see the wrath of God when it is poured out upon unbelievers during the Tribulation Period. Paul said in I Thessalonians 1:9-10, For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

            And in I Thessalonians 5:9-11 we are told, For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

            Therefore, if God has already done the greater work, saved us when we were wretched sinners, will He not do the lesser and keep us saved now that we are His children? Of course He will, and of course He does. I hope that makes sense to you.

            It just makes sense to me. If by His death Jesus could redeem us in the first place, couldn’t He hold on to us by His resurrection life and power? If a dead Savior could save us, certainly a living Savior could keep us saved.

            One writer put it like this,

             The thrust of this truth for believers is that our Savior not only delivered us from sin and its judgment, but also delivers us from uncertainty and doubt about that deliverance. If God has already made sure our rescue from sin, death, and future judgment, how could our present spiritual life possibly be in jeopardy? How can a Christian, whose past and future salvation are secured by God, be insecure during the time between? If sin was no barrier to the beginning of our redemption, how can it become a barrier to its completion? If sin in the greatest degree could not prevent our becoming reconciled, how can sin in lesser degree prevent our staying reconciled? If God’s grace covers the sins even of His enemies, how much more does it cover the sins of His children?  

                                                                                                            - John MacArthur

 

            Therefore, God has declared us justified, He has cleansed us from our sins, we are His, we will always be His, we have escaped His wrath that is to come and will be with Him for eternity because we have been reconciled back to God through Jesus and that should cause us to rejoice!

            Also, in the Old Testament the Hebrew word for atonement is KAPHAR and it speaks of a covering. You see, the sacrificing of bulls and goats could never take away a person’s sins, it only covered them for a time, until they sinned again. 

            Now as we come to the New Testament, the Greek word for atonement is KATALLAGE (kat-al-lag-ay’) and it speaks of “making one” or better put, reconciliation.  Think of it like this, at-one-ment! You see, what the Old Testament sacrificial system couldn’t do, Christ has come and has done for us, paying in full the penalty for our sins and thus, our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west to be remembered no more! We should rejoice over that, as I have said!

            And that is exactly what John Stott says and he summarizes this section for us. He wrote,

            We should be the most positive people in the world. We cannot mooch round the place with dropping, hang-dog expression. We cannot drag our way through life, moaning and groaning. We cannot always be looking on the dark side of everything, as negative prophets of doom. No, ‘we exult in God.’ Then every part of our life becomes suffused with glory. Christian worship becomes a joyful celebration of God and Christian living a joyful service of God. So come, let us exult in God together!

                                                                                                                        - John Stott

 

            Exactly. I am not saying we don’t mourn over what is going on this world, we do. But we also rejoice in all that God has done and that joy that is in our hearts should overflow in our lives, so people can see who is in us, JESUS!

            Now the last three points we find in this section and they are as follows.

            The sixth point is that we are, “saved from wrath.”

            And the seventh point that flows from this is that we are, “eternally secure.”

            The eighth point is that we “rejoice in God.”

            Now, as we move on we are now going to see Paul show us the ruin of mankind in Romans 5:12-14; the rescue of mankind in Romans 5:15-19; and finally, the reign of mankind in Romans 5:20-21.

 

VERSE 12

            Beginning here in Romans 5:12, and through verse 14 Paul shows us the ruin of mankind. And look at how he does it.

            First of all, we see that Paul believed that Adam was a historical figure and not just a story to promote a spiritual truth.

            Again, when you come to a Therefore you need to ask yourself what it is there for!  Obviously, it speaks of all that Paul has spoken of so far, but I also believe it takes us back to Romans 3:23 where Paul said, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 

            Now he is going to explain how we have sinned, where it came from.

            He tells us that through Adam’s sin, all have inherited Adam’s genetic makeup, not only his physical nature, but also his spiritual nature by birth. 

            It is as David said in Psalm 51:5, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. That is true of all mankind! 

            Bruce summed it up like this as he wrote, “To Paul, Adam was more than a historical individual, the first man; he was also what his name means in Hebrew – ‘humanity.’ The whole of humanity is viewed as having existed at first in Adam.”

            Now some would like to deny this fact but every grave is evidence pointing to the spread and the reign of sin since the time of Adam for as the Lord said, And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’ Genesis 2:16-17. 

            Thus, sin is universal, affecting all of mankind and thus, death is also universal! The death rate is still one per person! 

            And not only does sin affect our physical bodies but also our spirits, as we have been separated from God by sin and the spirit nature is dead, allowing the body to be controlled by its fleshly appetites. 

            The only solution is to be born again, and then the spirit is alive, and it is in control of our body! 

            If you still are having a hard time with this, think of it this way. 

            You don’t become a horse thief when you steal a horse; you steal a horse because you are a horse thief! You see, it just shows what you are! 

            Applying this spiritually speaking, a person doesn’t become a sinner when he sins; he sins because he is a sinner! 

            In fact, the verb sinned is in the aorist tense which tells us that it is a completed action in the past - no exceptions – we all have inherited sin from Adam, our spiritual nature just as we have inherited Adam’s physical nature! And we have plenty of our own sins!

            As we continue on looking at verses 13 and 14 of Romans chapter 5 we will continue with this thought of the ruin of mankind. Listen to what Paul says here.

 

VERSES 13-14

            What does the Law do? One of the things the Law does is it just makes clear what God desires, what He demands but that does not negate man’s responsibilities before the Law was written. 

            And that is the question for some. What about the time when God’s Law was not written, what happened then?

            Please understand that God has placed in the heart of man what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil. Thus, as we do wrong, as we do evil we are guilty before God and the Law, as it was written, just shows us how guilty! 

            Thus, before the Law man still died because of the effects of sin upon the human race ever since Adam sinned and it continues on today! 

            Let me explain it like this. Chuck Swindoll tells the story about his days as a paperboy that drives home this point.

            As many boys who had a paper route, Chuck did not enjoy it. On his route he rode his bike on the sidewalk and whenever he would come to a sharp corner, he would just ride on the grass so he wouldn’t tip over trying to make the turn. He had done this so many times on one particular corner that he had actually made a dirt path in the grass.

            One day he noticed a new sign planted on the corner that read, “KEEP OFF THE GRASS. NO BIKES.”

            As Swindoll put it, “The man shared with me a few things from his heart.” 

            I bet he did! You see, whereas before Swindoll’s transgression was not fully seen (and in a sense not reckoned), now it was sharply defined and accounted.

            That is what the Law does, but we are not innocent before the Law. God has placed in our hearts what is right and what is wrong as I have said! 

            Also, Swindoll says that the next day he was back to tracking across the path. The sign, representing the Law, did not change his behavior. But it did identify the offense and gave the owner a clear basis for judging his deeds. 

            That is what the Law does! You see, the Law makes sin apparent even though it still reigned before the Law and the reason we know that is because death reigned before the Law and it still reigns today!

            Paul is now making a transition into the next section, the rescue of mankind in Romans 5:15-19 as he tells us that Adam is a type, a resemblance of the One who is to come, and that is Jesus! 

            Think about it, both were sinless men from the beginning and by their actions it affected all of mankind. One in a bad way and the other in a good way! Look at what Paul says next.

 

VERSES 15-17

            Again, we are looking at the rescue of mankind in Romans 5:15-19. And this is a tough one for many. That the sin of Adam was transferred to every person born into this world! We covered that a little already, but some like to argue that because they were not in the garden when Adam sinned, in fact they were not even born yet, so how could the sin of Adam affect them? 

            Think of it like this. You were not there when Jesus was placed on the cross of Calvary as He died for our sins, but by faith we have been crucified with Him. 

            You were not there when He was placed in the garden tomb and rose from the dead on the third day. And yet, by faith we believe we were not only buried with Him but were also raised with Him. 

            Thus, if this principle were not true, that in Adam all died in sin, then it would also not be true that in Christ all are made alive. 

            We have not only received the sin of Adam into our lives, but we can receive the gift of life that is found in Jesus, the forgiveness of our sins!

            Paul said in I Corinthians 15:21-22, For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 

            Thus, Adam’s sin has brought condemnation to all of mankind, and we have also seen the sacrifice of Christ has brought to us justification to all who believe!

            And did you ever think how much God hates sin? One sin damned Adam, that is how much He hates sin! Even one!

            But think about this. His love for the sinner is even greater! Jesus Christ, God incarnate, took upon Himself the sins of the world and whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life with Him. Paul put it like this in II Corinthians 5:19, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

            And this is wonderful news that God has given to us. Yes, the power of sin, which is death, not only physical death but also spiritual death, is upon us all.

            But the power of that sin can be broken by the free gift of God, by Jesus! 

            On the other hand, the power of Christ, our salvation which is a free gift, cannot be broken – we are secure in Him and thus sin has no power over our lives, we are set free from its power.

            It is as Paul said in II Timothy 1:10, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. What assurance we have in Christ, we can rest in that!

            David Guzik summed it up like this for us. He wrote,

            It is staggering to think how completely death has reigned under Adam. Everyone who is born dies – the mortality rate is 100%. No one survives. When a baby is born, it isn’t a question of whether the baby will live or die – it will most certainly die; the only question is when. We think of this world as the land of the living, but it is really the land of the dying, and the billions of human bodies cast into the earth over the centuries proves this. But Paul says that the reign of life through Jesus is much more certain. The believer’s reign in life through Jesus is more certain than death or taxes!

- David Guzik, Romans 5:15-17

 

VERSES 18-19

            God placed Adam into the Garden of Eden with all its beauty and gave him only one rule, one law to follow, don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 

            And what did Adam do? He ate of that tree, he disobeyed God, and through his disobedience the judgment of God came upon all of mankind, all were born sinners.

            But, on the other end of the spectrum we have God sending His only begotten Son into the world to pay in full the penalty for our sins and the Son obeyed, and through His obedience He brought to us life. 

            It is as Jesus said in John 17:4, I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. Yes, death reigned through Adam’s sin but life reigns through Christ! 

            Now let me bring this out because there are some who believe in what is called universalism or that all people will be saved. None will go to Hell!

            And their rational goes like this. If all people automatically receive the curses of Adam’s offense, then that means all automatically receive the benefits of Christ’s obedience. That is just plain foolishness and it goes against what the Scriptures teach!

            Harrison put it like this, “But if the doctrine of universalism is being taught here, Paul would be contradicting himself, for he has already pictured men as perishing because of sin.”

            And think about it. In Romans 5:15-19, in five verses we see the words, free gift or gift used six times!

            If it is a gift, then it must be received and that is exactly what the Scriptures teach. Jesus died for all of mankind, but if you don’t repent of your sins and ask Him to be Lord and Savior of your life, you don’t get the free gift!

            Paul put it like this in Romans 6:23, for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

            Therefore, as we have seen, through Jesus mankind has been rescued. 

            Now, in Romans 5:20-21 we see the reign of mankind.

 

VERSES 20-21

            As we have seen in our study, the Law doesn’t save us, it doesn’t justify us, Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20. 

            Now Paul tells us that the Law shows us how our sin abounds. It makes our sin clear as we contrast it with the holiness of God and what His Law requires of us, something that we can’t keep. 

            And think about it. Paul said that with the Law sin abounds or it increases. How can that be? It is because of the sinfulness of our hearts.

            The Law shows us what is right and what is wrong and my sinful heart, your sinful heart wants to break it!

            Think about it. The sign that says, “Don’t step on the grass!” What do you want to do? You want to step on the grass!

            Therefore, the Law makes me sin more – but not because there is anything wrong in the Law, only because something is deeply wrong in the human condition.

            And there is wonderful news. You see, if sin abounded under the Law, which it does, then grace abounds even more under Jesus. 

            That phrase abound much more in the Greek is HUPERPERISSEUO (hoop-er-per-ispsyoo’-o) and it speaks of super-abounding, more than you can imagine, more than you could ever think. 

            Talk about your amazing grace, for when we would expect God’s anger or judgment we see His grace super-abound to us!

            Listen to the words of John’s Newtons song, Amazing Grace. They go like this,

             Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
            That saved a wretch; like me!
            I once was lost, but now am found,
            Was blind, but now I see.

             ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
            And grace my fears relieved;
            How precious did that grace appear
            The hour I first believed!

             The Lord hath promised good to me,
            His word my hope secures;
            He will my shield and portion be
            As long as life endures.

             When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
            Bright shining as the sun,
            We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
            Than when we first begun.

- John Newton, Amazing Grace

 

            Look at how some other Bible translations put this verse of God’s grace super abounding!

            The New English Bible - “Where sin was thus multiplied, grace immeasurably exceeded it.”

            J. B. Phillips paraphrases it - “Though sin is shown to be wide and deep, thank God His grace is wider and deeper still.”

            Another translates it - “Where sin reached a high-water mark, grace completely flooded the world.”

            It all boils down to this. God’s grace to forgive our sins is always greater than the sin you have committed no matter how terrible it is. You see, God’s grace in infinite, it is inexhaustible. Praise God for His AMAZING GRACE!

            As I close this evening let me leave you with these words from John Bunyan’s book, Pilgrim’s Progress.

            One of the characters in the story, who is on his way to the Celestial City, was Mr. Honesty.

            In his life, Mr. honesty saw many things, growing up in the town of Stupidity. He saw people start out strong in the faith and then get distracted, discouraged by all kinds of obstacles that got in their way. He also saw some start out weak in the faith but in the end, finished strong. He saw it all and at the end of his life he said the following:

            Then Mr. Honesty sent for his friends and said to them, “I am going to die, but I shall make no will. As for my honesty, it shall go with me. Let those who come after me be told of this.” 

            When the day came for him to go, the river overflowed its banks in places. But Mr. Honesty, in his lifetime, had asked one Good Conscience to meet him at the river and help him through the deep waters, which he did. And the last words of Mr. Honesty were, “Grace reigns!”  So he left the world.

                                    - John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress in Today’s English, p. 253 

 

            As we have seen the greatness of our ruin, sinners separated from God, born in sin, we then moved to the greatness of our rescue, which is given to us by grace through faith in Jesus, not by the Law or good works. 

            While we were still sinners, Christ died for us! And lastly, the reign of God’s grace in our life, making us into men and women He wants us to be. We not only stand by Grace, but we also walk by Grace! 

            It is as Paul said, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6. 

            May we leave here tonight rejoicing in all that God has done for us, not what we have done for Him! 

            Yes, sin entered the world through one man, and death spread to all because of sin, but the God-Man, Jesus, came with grace in His hand and stretched out His arms to all! For all who receive it, they will be free from sin and death and enter into life with Him. Praise God for His AMAZING GRACE!   

 

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