Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on January 28, 2018
As always, let us begin this morning with our January memory verse. Join me as I read it, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
This morning we continue to unpack the beauty that is God’s love towards us, and we find ourselves in Romans 6:1-14. Before we read that text, I want to read to you some statistics so as to set the tone for this morning.
In the blog that I wrote this week, that is included in your bulletin, I quoted Galatians 5:19-21, which is a warning to the Church. It says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy,d drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who doe such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Later on in this letter to the Romans Paul writes in Romans 13:13, “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.” These sins, as listed in God’s word, should not exist in the assembly of God's redeemed.
As Peter commands in 1 Peter 1:15, “as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” And as it says in Hebrews 12:14, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Jesus himself in Matthew 7:21-23 says, , “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
Sin in the Church is serious business. It is not something to take lightly, it is something to crucify. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off. But how are we do crucify the sin that shows up so frequently in our lives and the lives of our brothers and sisters?
God has not left us without hope. He has given us the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. He has given us everything we need to overcome. He has given us chapters like Romans 6. So with that said, let us stand as we read our text for this morning.
Two Realm Reality
Chapter 6 begins with a question, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may about?” The reason that Paul poses this question is because of what he just finished unpacking in chapter 5.
If you recall, in chapter 5, Paul narrowed the world down to two groups of people, those who are in Adam and those who are in Jesus. Everyone falls under one of those two men. You are either under the sin of Adam, or you are under the grace of Christ. The verse that best sums this idea up is Romans 5:17, “For if, because of one man’s trespass (Adam), death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” In life there is no third option. Paul is operating in a two realm reality.
And this is how we should think as well. This is what we would call a Biblical world view. This is the lens that we need to see and understand the environment that we live in. That there are those in the realm of Adam and there are those in the realm of Christ.
So the question then becomes, how are we transferred from Adam to Jesus? As we have seen over and over and over again, we are transferred through faith. We saw this in Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” We have peace with God through faith. We are justified, or declared not guilty, through faith. We access to grace by faith. If Romans makes anything clear, it is that we are saved through faith alone.
Faith is the means by which we are transferred from one realm to the next. And this can be true for all man, even for those you have sinned a great deal in their lives. The grace of God in Christ is superior to the sin of any one man. The blood of Jesus is sufficient to pay the penalty of all sins, past, present and future.
Paul speaks of this in Romans 5:20-21, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Therefore as the law is applied to your life, the accounting of your sin goes through the roof. It just goes up and up and up. This is the purpose of the law. However, as sin goes up, so does grace. Sin cannot outrun grace.
Which leads to the logical question that we find in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” If we are under grace, through Christ, then why not just keep sinning and sinning and sinning so that grace keeps abounding and abounding and abounding. If what Paul is saying is true, that we are no longer under the law, but are now under grace, then who cares if we kill the unborn, or use the Lord’s name in vain, or commit adultery in our heart, or create divisions within the Church. Why not continue to sin so that grace can abound?
To that question Paul says, “By no means!” The NASB translates this to “My it never be!” the King James translates this to “God forbid.”
John Gill, and eighteenth century Baptist theologian says this about Paul’s response, “he expresses his abhorrence of such a practice, and that this was a consequence which did not follow from the premises, and was far enough from his thoughts, and which he had in the greatest detestation.” For Paul such a thought was horrendous.
Previously in Romans 3:8 the Apostle Paul said something very similar, “And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.”
Having said that, many people in the Church, unfortunately, adopt this horrendous and detestable theology, maybe not explicitly, but implicitly. Many people presume upon God’s grace. They believe that they are saved and therefore they can do whatever they please in life, because they have faith in Jesus. They can gossip, the can slander, they can watch pornography, they can get a divorce or two or three, because they have Jesus. Is this what it means to be a Christian? Is that what it means to be a child of a Holy God? By no means!
Dead to Sin
One reason that people may have this twisted view of salvation is that they do not understand what it means to be in Christ, what it means to be living in the realm of Jesus where grace reigns, and this is what Paul begins to unpack in verse 2 with the rhetorical question, “How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
For the Apostle Paul, it does not make logical sense for a Christian to continue to sin. For when we are transferred from the realm of Adam to the realm of Jesus, we become dead to sin. Something more than just becoming religious happened. That being a Christian is more than just going to Church and posting Scripture to your facebook account. There was a funeral. So what does it mean to be dead to sin?
To answer that question, let us continue to look at the rest of our verses. Verse 3 says that we are “baptized into his death.” Verse 4 says we were “buried with him by baptism into death.” Verse 5 says “we have been united with him in a death like his.” Verse 6 says our “old self was crucified with him.” It appears that that our death to sin, is somehow connected to the death of Christ. So let us think deeply about what occurred at Calvary when Christ died.
In John 8:34-36 Jesus says, “I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” What is interesting, is that Paul is speaking the same way about sin in Romans 6 that Jesus is speaking about sin in John 8, that we are slaves of sin. Look at Romans 6:6-7. It says, ”We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin. “ So who sets us free from sin? Jesus. When did he set us free? When he was crucified.
So often we think about Jesus' death only as a payment of our sin, we only think about it in the context of our justification. But the death of Christ is more than just a debt payment. The death of Christ is also a ransom to free a people from the chains and power of sin. The death of Jesus is our liberation from the dominion of sin. And this victory happened at Calvary.
Listen to what Jesus says in John 12:31 about his death, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” The death of Jesus was the decisive, complete, final destruction of the power of Satan over God's elect. No longer was Satan their Master, Christ was.
By Baptism into His Death
But how does this victory, this power, this death to sin, transfer to us? What does our text say? Look at verse 3 and 4, “3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death.” So how does Jesus victory over sin through his death transfer to us according to God's Word? Baptism. “We are buried therefore with him by baptism into his death.”
Now let me ask, how does verse 4 square with everything we have read up to this point in Romans? Specifically that baptism is the means by which the power over sin is transferred to us? It doesn't square at all does it? Up until this point there has been absolutely no mention of baptism in regards to our union with Christ. Up to this point all we have heard is faith. Faith this and faith that. The word faith is used 40 times in the book of Romans, and the word baptism is only used here in verses 3 and 4. This is the only place in Romans that Paul even brings up baptism. Remember, we just read in Romans 5:2, “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
So why does Paul say it this way? First, the word baptize is a word that has been transliterated, not translated. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo. Same word. If we actually translated the word, instead of just adopting it into our English language, we would translate baptizo to “immerse.” That is what baptizo means, to immerse. So if we read Romans 6:3-4 with translation it would read, “Do you not know that all of us who have been [immersed] into Christ Jesus were [immersed] into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by [immersion] into death.”
And this picture of immersion seems to work with the flow of the rest of Paul's thinking that we see in verse 5 where it says, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Immersion and united are very similar ideas. In fact, verses 3 and 4 are almost parallels verses to first part of verse 5.
So why use the word baptism? It was because faith cannot be seen, but baptism can be. And for the early Christian, faith followed by immediate baptism were a unified experience at conversion. When someone heard the gospel, repented and placed their faith in Jesus what did they immediately do? They were baptized. The day of Pentecost 3,000 people were baptized. The Ethiopian Eunuch was baptized along the side of the road. Lydia and the Philippian jailer, immediate baptism. Cornelius and his household immediate baptism. To the early church baptism was physical historical marker of their conversion.
So when Paul says that it we were buried with him by baptism, he is saying that at the time of our conversion, something supernatural happens. At that moment of initial salvation, the chains of sin are broken. The power of Satan is cast out, and sin no longer has reign over our mortal bodies. We are at the moment no longer in Adam. We are united in Christ and we have been set free from the power of sin. At that moment of our faith in Christ, our old self dies. We are spiritually dead to sin.
This is not just theology, it is reality. This the truth of what Christ achieved upon your behalf at Calvary. Not only are you justified but you are also liberated. And therefore it makes absolutely no sense that we would continue to sin, just as it would make no sense to return to prison after being released.
Consider Yourself Dead to Sin
And as verse 11 says, this is the way we are to view our relationship with sin. Look at verse 11, “So you also must consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” This must be our attitude towards sin, that we are dead to it and it is dead to us. We are to have absolutely no relationship with sin. You cannot live your life dragging around a corpse. You must attack your sin with a clear understanding that you killed your old self when you first believed in Jesus.
And this is how we defeat the nagging sins that cling to us day after day, and this is how we must speak about sin within this Church. We should not tolerate sin, for it has no place in the living Church of God. Dead men are not welcome, only those who have life abundant.
Therefore, the next time sin is crouching at your door, think to your baptism, which is the outward mark, or display, of your union with Jesus. Remind yourself that at the moment you placed your faith in Christ, you died to sin. Remind yourself that you live in the realm of Jesus, not the realm of Satan. That you have been transferred from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of the Beloved Son. Recognize that sin in your life no longer makes sense. That it is spiritually inconsistent to those who know Jesus Christ.
Do not look to your flesh, or to self-help books to live a holy life. Look to the cross and understand the power of Christ that set you free! As Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Let this be the sword of the Spirit that cuts off the head of sin in your life.
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on January 21, 2018
Let us begin this morning with our January Memory Verse, Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This morning, we are will be continuing to examine Romans 5:12-21. Last week I spent a significant amount of time talking about one side of the equation found in Romans 5, and very little time on the other side of the equation. This morning I would like to flip that balance. So let us begin by reading our text again. Please stand with me in the reading of God’s Word.
The Supremacy in Christ
I am concerned that many of us do not embrace the supremacy of Jesus Christ in the world and in our lives. As I look at my own life and at your lives, I see a disconnect in how we live and what the Bible says. Let me read a few verses to expand upon this:
So the question is, when people look at your life, can they see the supremacy of Jesus Christ? Do people see that you value Jesus more than you value everything that this world has to offer? Do you display the ultimate treasure that is your King? Why not? Why is there a disconnect between Colossians 1 and your life? The answer I believe is found in Romans 5.
Origin of Sin
Last week I spent a significant time unpacking what is called Hamartiology, which is the theology of sin, where it came from and how it spread, and what are the consequences. And as we saw, sin did not originate in God, for Jesus tells us that Satan is the Father of lies. Unrighteousness was first found in Satan, when he was a guardian Cherub upon the Mountain of God. Satan, desiring to be like God, was the first rebel.
Even though sin first originated in Satan, it does not mean that God was not sovereign over that event. God is all knowing and all powerful, therefore, when God created Satan through Jesus Christ and for Jesus, God knew that Satan would manifest passions and desires in his angelic soul that would be against the will of God. Sin began in Satan, and Satan is accountable for that sin, however, God in ways that are perhaps beyond understanding, ordained it.
However, we must tread lightly and not credit God with sin, for God is without sin. As it says in Isaiah 6:3, God is “Holy, Holy, Holy.” As it says in 1 John 1:5, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” As Jesus says in Matthew 5:48, “your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
So God is sovereign over all things, including evil, but he did not create it, however, he did ordain it. This is how Pastor John MacArthur states it, “God was not caught off guard. In fact, God decreed that evil would be part of His plan. He is not the creator of evil and He is not the cause of evil. He did not bring evil into existence in a cosmic sense, and He did not and does not bring evil into existence in a personal sense. He is not the cause of sin, nor is He the cause of sins in the lives of people. But He does use it for His purposes.”
As we stated, this sin did not remain in the Angelic realm. Through Satan’s deception and lies, Adam and Eve also succumbed to the desires witch gave birth to sin. And at that moment, when the broke God's law, Adam and Eve became sinners by nature. Sin was not just something they did, it was something they became. And because Adam is the Father of all living, the sin nature that was in him was passed on to his children, and his children’s children, and so on and so forth. Therefore, every person who has ever existed is a natural born sinner. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians says that we are “by nature children of wrath.”
Now, just as God was not caught off guard by Satan’s sin, God was also not caught off guard by Adam’s sin. Just as Satan’s sin was a part of God’s eternal purposes, so was Adam’s. How do we know this? Two places in Scripture make this very clear.
Now the second verse that shows that God was not caught off guard by Adam's sin is Revelation 13:8. In this verse, the Apostle John is talking about those who worship the antichrist, which I believe to be the things of this world.
Therefore we can clearly see that God was not surprised by sin entering into the world through Adam. It was always a part of the purpose of God's will. And what is the preeminent, or supreme, purpose of God’s will? That in everything, His Son would be glorified.
Adam, a Type of Christ
With all of this being said look at verse 14. It says, “Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.” What does Paul mean when he says that Adam was a type of the one who was to come? Who is the one who was to come? The One? It is Jesus, of course. Jesus is the one who the sin saturated world had been waiting for. Jesus is the one who was the Lamb who was slain. Jesus is the one who is the Christ who would provide a path for us to be made holy and blameless before God.
So what does Paul mean when he says that Adam was a type of Christ? The Greek word is typos (tü'-pos), but is spelled t-y-p-o-s. And this word means a die as struck, or a stamp, or a model, or impression. Therefore to say that Adam was a type is to say that Adam was a model of Jesus. I think the best way is to think about this modeling is in regards to the singularity of Adam and the singularity of Jesus.
Remember Adam is the first of the human race, and therefore in the Garden of Eden he represented all of mankind. All of humanity was in his loins, so to speak, when he sinned. And because Adam sinned, we all sinned. Likewise, Jesus is the first born of creation, the head of the Church. Jesus is the representative of God’s elect, those who were chosen by God to be holy and blameless. So just as sin came into the world through one man, Adam. Salvation came into the world through one man, Jesus. This is how Adam is a type of Christ. Adam model's or is a pattern pointing to Jesus.
The purpose of Romans 5 is to show the singularity of salvation through Jesus Christ. Sin came in through the single doorway of Adam, and salvation comes through the single doorway of Jesus. There was a single way you become a sinner, through being a descendant of Adam, and there is a single way that you become saved, through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Gift is not Like the Trespass
Therefore Adam is a type of Christ as a God ordained covenant head of the human race, but as it says in verse 15, “But the free gift is not like the trespass.” Jesus stands in stark contrast to Adam.
First of all, Adam transgressed the law of God. Christ did not. Look at verses 18 and 19 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Adam rebelled against God, Christ submitted to God. His one act of righteousness, was the one act of his entire life. Where Adam failed, Christ overcame. Philippians 2:8 says, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Jesus did all that the Father commanded, including dieing in our place upon the cross.
And through His life of obedience, including the cross, we who are unrighteous are made righteous. Our righteousness is not through our own works, but through the work of Jesus. Look at verse 19 again, “by the one man's obedience” Who is that one man? Jesus. “the many will be made righteous.” Who are the many? Those who are descendants of Adam and receive the gift of Christ. It does not say, buy our obedience we will be made righteous, it says by Jesus's obedience will will be made righteous. Righteousness is not something we earn, it is only something we can receive. If you notice, in our text for today it says the phrase “free gift” five separate times. The free gift is Jesus, the Son of God, and all that flows from faith in him.
And it says in verse 16 says, “And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.” In the Jones County Courthouse in the District Courtroom, high above the judge's bench there is a plaster molding that says, “Justice for all man.” This is exactly what is happening in verse 16. God as a righteous judge must bring justice to all man, and because all man have sinned, the judgment of God is that we are all guilty. Everyone stands condemned, or guilty, under the law of a Holy God,in the Courtroom of His Universe, and this condemnation is brought upon us by Adam, the original sin.
Jesus, who is the free gift of God, does not bring judgment, he does not bring condemnation. Jesus brings justification, this is the exact opposite of condemnation. Christ stands in the Courtroom of God and takes upon himself the judgment that we deserve, and he does this on the cross of Calvary. Isaiah 53:5, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Our healing is our justification. Through Christ we who are sinners have become holy and blameless before our Maker. God, through Christ, sees those who receive the gift of Jesus by faith, are perfect in God's eyes. The blood of Jesus has washed us as white as snow.
And this is true for all men who chose to receive the gift of Christ. No matter how wretched you have been in your life. No matter what sins you have committed. The free gift of Jesus Christ has more power than the curse of Adam. Look at verse 20, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” If anyone tells you that they have done too many bad things to be forgiven, you set them straight. For the blood of Jesus Christ can pay any man's debt. In the Kingdom of God, grace reigns. As we have said, to reign means to have ultimate authority. The grace of God in Christ is greater than the sins of man. By the blood of the lam we have overcome.
And all of this leads us to the final reality and that is life. Though the sin of Adam, came death to all, for all sinned, but through Christ everything is reversed. No longer is death our master, Christ is, and in Christ there is life.
Verse 17, “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” Jesus reversed the curse. Only though faith in Jesus Christ can we overcome our two greatest enemies, sin and death. John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Jesus is not just some teacher. He is not just some prophet. He is not just a revolutionary. He is not just an example for social change. Jesus is the Son of God, everything was created through him and for him. He is the center of all reality, and He is this world's only hope.
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on January 14, 2018
Let us begin this morning with our January Memory Verse, Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This morning, we are going to continue to unpack this glorious love of God and its benefits as we continue to walk through Romans 5. Today we will be studying Romans 5:12-21. Let us all stand in honor of the reading of God’s Word.
This morning we will be unpacking massive, fundamental truths about human existence. There comes a point in all child's life when they ask their parents, why do people die. And it is a fair question, for death is sometimes immediately thrown at the feet of children.
On Average 55 million people die each year. That equates to 151,600 people every day; which equates to 6,316 people dyeing every hour; which equates to 105 people dyeing every minute; which equates to a little less than two people dying every single second. Of course with each death comes the issue of their burial. There was an news story put out by the BBC in 2015 regarding the increasing problem that large cities are having with finding places to bury people. Too many people are dying that there is not enough ground to put them in. As I have said in the past, planet earth could easily be described as one large cemetery.
And burial space is not the only issue we have when it comes to death. Whether you realize it or not, your life operates in the shadow of death. The looming risk of death follows you wherever you go. In fact, your life could be described as your battle against your greatest foe, death. Americans are perhaps more consumed by avoiding death than any other people who have ever lived. We count our calories, we take our vitamins, we go to the gym, we have regular medical checkups, we purchase cars with airbags that will pop out in every direction. The list could go on an on. As it says in our text today, death truly reigns in our lives.
Now what is interesting is when children ask the question, why do people die, it points to a greater reality. And that reality is that death feels wrong. When the simple mind of a child ponders the concept of death, it doesn’t add up to them; they have this sense that something is not right.
And to be honest, it is not just children. We all feel it. As natural and as regular as death is, it always feels wrong. There is something intrinsic in us that reject death, despite it being every man’s destiny. Why is this? The answer is because mankind was originally made to live, not die. So let us now look at our text.
The Origin of Sin
Look at verse 12. There we are told, “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” What is Paul talking about? First let us answer the question, who is the “one man” Paul is referring to? As we can see in verse 14, this one man is Adam, the very first man to ever exist. In fact, the word for man in Hebrew is Adam. In our English translation, some times it is translated to Adam and sometimes it is translated “the man.”
Now, we should first acknowledge something very important here. And that is the Apostle Paul believed that Adam was a real life person. A person who historically existed in the very beginning. I say this is important because there are some people who want to argue that Adam, as describe in Genesis 2, 3, 4 and 5 is not a real person but is symbolic. Well if that is so, someone forgot to tell the Apostle Paul when he wrote Romans 5 because his entire argument in verse 12-21 is built upon the foundation that Adam is a historical person and Jesus is a historical person.
And if Adam is symbolic and not a real person, than not only did someone forget to tell Paul but they forgot to tell the Ezra, Hosea, Luke, and Jude, for each of them refer to Adam as a historical figure in their inspired writings. And if that isn’t enough, someone forgot to tell Jesus, for Jesus says in Matthew 19:4, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female.” Therefore, if you take the position that Adam and Eve are not real people than you entire view of the Scriptures starts to come unraveled.
We are told that sin came into the world through Adam. What does this mean? To start, it means that sin did not originate in the world. That sin existed outside of the world before it came into the world. Which leads to the question if sin did not originate with Adam, where did it originate? To answer that question we can look to a couple of passages.
First let us consider John 8:44. Here Jesus says to the Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” When Jesus describes the devil as the Father of lies he is giving the devil credit for its origin. We do this all the time when we call someone the Father of Modern Medicine, or the Father of Astrophysics. When we say these people are the father of something we are crediting them with playing the foundational role in its beginning. Therefore, when we see Jesus say that the Devil is the Father of Lies, he is saying that he played the foundation role in its existence.
Another interesting text regarding this question is found in Ezekiel 28:13-15. If you would like to turn to this text, it can be found on page 850 in the Church Bible. Now this text is contextually regarding the King of Tyre, but as sometimes Scripture does, it looks past the person and speaks about the dominion behind the person. Listen to what it says starting in verse 13, “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 15You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.”
Who does this sound like God is describing? Satan. Satan was a beautiful guardian cherub, created by God, perfect in every way, until unrighteousness was found in him.
Another text that many people turn to as well is Isaiah 14:12-14. If you would like to turn there, it is found on page 686 of he Church Bible. This is God’s Word against the great nation of Babylon, yet once again, it seems to look past Babylon to the principality and spiritual dominion behind Babylon “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
Once again, who does this sound like? It sounds like God is describing Satan. So if we pull all of this together, it appears that Satan was originally a created being of God, a guardian cherub, and he was perfect in every way, but as he looked upon the glory of God, he wanted more, and inside of the soul of this beautiful creature sin was born. And upon the presence of unrighteousness that was found within Satan he was cast out of Heaven and thrown to the ground. Satan the Father of lies now walked upon the Earth.
The Arrival of Sin
Which brings us to Genesis 3. Please turn there with me, so we can see how the events unfold.
But all of that changes when the villain of the story arrives, Satan and his demons. Satan, who is consumed by his lust for power goes on the offensive in the world that God had created. He is seeking a Kingdom of his own. He knows who Adam is and he knows God plan for Adam to be the father of all living, so what does he do? He attacks. And how does he attack? By twisting God's Word and lying, for remember the devil is the Father of lies.
God had previously told Adam that he could eat of any tree in the garden except for one, the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That was the one and only prohibition for Adam. Now it should be noted that the rule that God gave was originally given to Adam prior to Eve's creation. We know this from Genesis 2:16-17 where it says, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17but 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.” This command came before Eve was created out of the rib of Adam.
It doesn't say, but I think it is fair to assume that it was Adam's responsibility as husband too teach his wife about the command of the Lord. And we can see hints of this in Genesis 3 that some where along the way, things got a little fuzzy, for Eve declared the command of God slightly different that God stated it. She says in Genesis 3:3, “but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
God did not saying anything about touching the tree, only about eating its fruit. Satan then seizes on this subtle change to God's Word to make some changes of his own by saying that they will not surely die, but they will become like God. Eve then falls for the deception and eats of the fruit and gives some to Adam who appears to be standing right next to her during this entire ordeal and everything changes. Verse 7 says, “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” And through the single transgression of Adam, sin entered the world. The unrighteousness that began in Satan was now passed on to man.
And what God said would happen did happen. At this moment, Adam and Eve became spiritually dead, and would eventually die physically. The wages of their sin was in fact death.
The Spread of Sin
And this sin that now dwelt inside of Adam was like a disease, or perhaps a better way to describe it, it was like a trait. A trait of sin, or a trait of unrighteousness that was passed down from one generation to the next.
Adam and Eve's commission was to be fruitful and multiple, and they did. After sin entered the world they conceived and bore a child in the likeness of man. A what did they have? They gave birth to a bouncing baby sinner. Eve gave birth to Cain who eventually became the first murder, just like his spiritual father, Satan. The sin that had now taken up residence in the soul of Adam, was passed down to his child through the act of procreation.
But once again, it did not stop there, sin continued to spread. The trait of sin that resided in Adam was passed on to all of his children, and to his children's children, and so on and so forth. From Adam to Noah man continued to multiply, and as man multiplied so also did sin. At the point of Noah, God saw the wickedness of man was great upon the earth and flooded the earth in his wrath. After the flood, Noah and his son's picked up where Adam left off, they were commission to be fruitful and multiplying. And they did, more children, and therefore more sinners, because the sin that was in Adam, was also in them as descendants of Adam.
This is the story of humanity, the spread of sin entering into the world through one man, Adam. And because Adam is the first man, we have all inherited his sinful trait, his unrighteousness, his spiritual deadness. This is the fundamental reason why it says in Romans 3:10, “there is no on righteous, no not one.” It is because we are descendants of Adam and Adam was a sinner and a sinner can only produce a sinner.
Every child born on this planet, who has been born from the seed of Eve, which is all humanity, minus Christ, was born with a sin nature. Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” And as Jesus says in John 3:6. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” The flesh of Adam was cursed, therefore, as all mankind is a descendant of one man, Adam, therefore we are also cursed.
And the consequence of sin is death. The world is a full of graves because the world is full of sinners. This is why people die. This is why you will die, sin. As Paul says, “just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”
Life Through Christ
However, this is not the end of the story. The spread of sin and and spread of death is why God sent his Son. Jesus is the second Adam, conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the one and only one who has the power to overcome the curse, to overcome sin and therefore overcome death. Through one man, Adam, came condemnation, and now through one man, Jesus, comes justification.
Where Adam transgressed God's law, Christ fulfilled it in perfect obedience. Where Adam harbored unrighteousness and passed it on to his offspring, Christ harbors righteousness and passes it upon those who are born again and place their faith in him.
Humanity falls into two camps, those who are born of Adam, and those who are born of Christ. One leads to the second death, and the other to eternal life.
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on January 7, 2018
Today is the first Sunday in January, which means a new memory verse for our congregation. In the bulletins you should have a half-sheet of paper that has this months, along with the previous verses we have memorized, so that you can hang it on your fridge.
This month, we have a short memory verse, but I massively important verse, Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” So let us all recite it together, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”- Romans 5:8.
This mornings we are going to be unpacking that specific verse and the verses around it. Our focus will be on Romans 5:5-11, however, to bring the whole thing into focus, I want us to read Romans 5:1-11 in its entirety. Please stand for the reading of God’s Word:
Hey there, Mr. Tin Man
You don't know how lucky you are
You shouldn't spend your whole life wishin'
For something bound to fall apart
Everytime you're feeling empty
Better thank your lucky stars
If you ever felt one breakin'
You'd never want a heart
The song “Tin Man” is a love song for all humanity. God has created us to love and be loved, yet when left to our own passions and desires, all we do is break things. Because we are sinners, mankind has made a mess out of this thing we call love.
Everyone in this room has, or will have, a broken heart story. Maybe it was when you were younger, or maybe it just passed, or maybe you are in the midst of it right now. The nature of humanity is the longing to be loved, which I would love atheists to try to boil down to Darwinian evolution.
The word English word for love is used 684 times in the Bible. Interestingly, love is mentioned twice as much in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament. In the book of Romans it is used 16 times. The first time we saw it was in Paul’s opening remarks, Romans 1:7, “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.”
It isn’t used again until our text today, chapter 5, verse 5 where it says, “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
To Know God is to Know God's Love
Jesus in John 17:3 prays these words to His Father in Heaven, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” This idea of knowing God, is not in the sense of academic information. It is not the knowing in the trivial. It is the knowing in the intimate. The idea of knowing, as prayed for by Jesus, is the knowing that we would equate spousal intimacy. It is the knowing that we see in Genesis 4:1 when it says, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain,” Adam knowing Eve was a subjective physical union. The same is true for the “knowing God” that leads to eternal life. To know God is to have a subjective spiritual union with him.
We also understand that to know God is to know Him as a God of love. 1 John 4:16, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” So to know God is to know the love of God, for God is love. Love is an attribute that he has. It is not something he does, as much as it is something he is. Love for God is not only a choice, it is His essence.
The question we will address today is how can man come to know God’s love? How can God, the Creator of all things, omnipotent and omniscient, display to humanity His love. It begins with a proper understanding of ourselves.
Weak, Ungodly, Sinners, Enemies
Look at verses 6-10. How does God describe humanity? Weak, ungodly, sinners and enemies. I think everyone would agree that those words are not very encouraging. That description is not going to puff up our self-esteem. Imagine looking at your children and telling them that they are weak, ungodly, sinners, and your enemy. If you do that in public, you will get some angry looks, and rightfully so. Having said that, we are reading those exact words in our text to describe the nature of humanity.
And this is not the first time in the book of Romans that we have read about how bad we are. Remember Romans 1:18 through Romans 3:20. We were told that no one is righteous, no one is good, that we don’t understand, and that we are worthless. Why does God say such things?
For one, because they are true. It says in Psalm 139:1-4, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.” Everything you have ever done from the moment of your conception until now, God has seen. And not only has he seen it, but he knew it before it existed, before the event even occurred.
Later on in verse 16 of Psalm 139 it says, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Ponder that for a moment. Before you were formed, God saw the days of your life. This is what it means to be all knowing. God doesn’t receive knowledge, God is the reservoir of knowledge. And what God sees in the life and hearts of humanity is weakness, ungodliness, sin, and hostility. And God, who we have already established is love, loves us enough to tell us the truth about who we really are.
And this is not the only place in Scripture that God spends time reminding us of our total depravity.
Christ Died for the Ungodly
So that is the first reason God tells us how bad we are, because it is true. The second reason is found in verse 6, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” What does Paul mean by this? He means that God, who is perfectly aware of your ungodliness, who knows all of the skeletons in your closet, sent His Son to die an excruciating death upon a cross so that you can be reconciled to Him. Let that sink in. Christ knows how bad you are, but still dies for you.
As Paul says in verse 7, it is within the realm of possibility that someone might die for a righteous person, or a good person. But Paul wants to make it abundantly clear that this is not the case when it comes to Christ, for we are not righteous and we are not good. We are weak, ungodly, sinners, who are enemies of God. Yet Jesus is still willing to lay down his life so that we can be forgiven.
Approximately two years ago, there was a video going around via Facebook that was well produced, inspiring, relevant, you name it. And it had this hip looking young man speaing with hi energy stating that the reason that God sent His Son to die for you was because of how awesome you are. That God wanted because you are smart and you are funny and you are just a wonderful person, and because of that, you were worth Christ dying for. I had multiple “Christians” send me that video thinking that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and they were shocked when I responded with a rebuke, because that is not what the Bible teaches.
The reason that Jesus died on the cross is not because you are awesome. The reason that Jesus died on the cross is because He is awesome. That is the preeminent purpose of the cross, to display that awesomeness of Jesus. For in the cross we see the display of the essence of God, His love.
Look at verse 8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The purpose of the cross, the purpose of the death of the Son of God, is to put on display for all time the glorious beauty of God’s love. And this love
God's love is not like the love of the world. God's love is not based on anything of value or worth in us. God's love is not quid pro quo. God does not love because you are beautiful. He does not love you because you are smart. He does not love you because you are awesome. God's love is not based upon a condition. God loves the weak. God loves the ungodly. God loves his enemies. God loves sinners who have failed to love him.
1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” They key word is because. The reason we love God is because he first loved us. God's love is the cause of our love. If God does not love us first, we do not love Him. God's love in the ignition of our hearts.
God's Love Poured into our Hearts
So how does this happen? How does God ignite our hearts for him? Look at the second half of verse 5, “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” God's love is poured into our hearts by the third person of the trinity. The Holy Spirit, takes the love of God as displayed in the objective event of Christ on the cross, and subjectively applies it to individual hearts. The Holy Spirit takes the gospel of Jesus Christ and pours it over our souls.
What do we call this? We call this being born again. This is what happens at the moment of our conversion, the Holy Spirit subjectively applying God's love to our individual hearts. This is the intimate union that occurs that causes us to know God, not just academically, like we know algebra, but intimately, like we know our spouse. It is an internal transformation, not an external work.
And it is important to know that the Greek Word for poured is ekcheō which means an abundance, an extravagant amount. Interestingly, it is the exact same word that Jesus used in Matthew 9:17 when he says, “Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed.” This is the picture of God's love being lavished upon you, whereby you have to become a new creation to contain this overwhelming love of God that has been poured into your life. And once again, this love that the Spirit pours into your life is done when you are a wretched sinner, not when you cleaned yourself up.
The Security of God's Love
Which leads us to our final point, and really the main purpose of our text this morning. Look at verse 9-10, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” What is Paul's point?
Paul is saying that Jesus died for us while we were sinners, and when the Holy Spirit pours the love of God into our hearts and we respond by placing our faith in Jesus Christ, at that moment we are justified before God, “we have now been justified” is past tense. Meaning we are completely not guilty before God. All our sins are forgiven at the first moment of authentic faith in Christ.
And at that particular moment of our justification it says that we are reconciled to God. Look at verse 10. It says, “now that we are reconciled.” This means, as we see in verse 1, we are no longer enemies, but have peace with God. Right now in this moment, through faith in Christ you are reconciled with God. Therefore, if God loved you while you were an enemy, he will continue to love you as a child. Meaning, that you cannot lose your salvation. Christ will keep you.
In John 13:1, right before Jesus went to the cross it says, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” Jesus loves his disciples to the end. He did not stop loving them, and he will not stop loving you. The love of God is not like the love of this world. God's love is not like Blake Shelton's. He does not get bored with you and move on. He does not divorce you when you sin against him. Once he sets his love upon you through eh Holy Spirit, it is finished. God's love is enduring, it is steadfast, it is eternal.
As it says in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Did you hear what he said, things present or things to come will not separate you from God's love. You don't have to worry about God's love growing cold towards you. It will always burn for you. And as Paul says in Romans 5:11, in this we rejoice.