Friday, September 01, 2006

Death And Life: Romans 5:8-11 Part Three

In the early 1800’s, Robert Haldane, a Scottish preacher, said, “It greatly enhances the love of God that He gave His Son for us while we were yet His enemies. Had we discovered any symptoms of willingness to obey Him, or any degree of love to Him, His love to us would not have been so astonishing.”

Unless God works in us-we don’t think we’re anywhere near as bad as we really are-no matter how bad we think we are. We don’t and can’t see the depth of our sin. Our regret or sorrow over our sin is mostly, if not completely self centered, because we don’t see the true seriousness of our sin. We often downplay the seriousness as well. Our sin is not just disobedience or breaking the rules—our sin is against God-and it is offensive to Him. King David realizes this in Psalm 51, although he had sinned against other people his sense of sin made him declare his sin was against God alone. Remember—sin is offensive to a Holy God.
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.James 2:10 (all Bible quotes in this post are from the ESV.)
Yet despite this God saves people from what we deserve. He does it while we were sinners, and with no interest in salvation or desire to be saved, until He puts it there. Romans 5:10 tells us God makes the first move-He doesn’t wait for us to clean up our act. And even then He doesn’t just make one move and leave the rest up to us—He makes the 2nd , 3rd, 4th move, etc, etc—whatever is necessary to His plans. He may take years or do it in an instant—but He does it-start to finish.

This doesn’t release us from responsibility—The Bible tells us we are responsible, and it also tells us God is the one in Charge-and His plans are accomplished—sometimes we find both in the very same passage.
In Phil 2:12-13 Paul points this out-
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
This doesn’t mean we work for our salvation, but that we do have a responsibility to God. Are we His? Is there any proof?—And what is it that God does? Re-read verse 13.

In Peter’s first recorded sermon in Acts 2, he gives an example in the death of Christ-Acts 2:22-24-
Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
And so we see God is at work. He meant it for good, men meant it for evil. Peter refers to BOTH God’s predeternmined plan and foreknowledge as well as to men—"You crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men." Jesus has brought about reconciliation between God and His people in His death. Notice this is past tense-it is accomplished—not merely made possible-but accomplished.

To reconcile means to change or exchange, especially in order to make something right. Christ’s reconciliation removed God’s enmity and wrath from His people, and again I want to stress the love involved here. We were not lovable, we were not worthy, but He died for us anyway—while we were sinners.
And why did He have to die? Because, as we read in Hebrews 9:22-
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
The death of Christ removed all obstacles to reconciliation & allowed us to be clothed in Christ’s righteousness, and we are more than merely His people-We are His children.

In the conclusion we will look at how we are saved by His life.
(Part one is here.
Part two is

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