Sermons

Summary: Explains holiness as seen in Romans

A CALL TO HOLINESS

Romans 5-8

Two preachers were carrying a conversation. One said to the other, “Currently, we are having a problem at our meeting place with the mice. It looks like everywhere you step; you will be greeted by a mouse.”

“Well,” said the other preacher, “we solve that problem long ago. We baptized them all, and they left.”

This is a sad story that illustrates a familiar reality. Many individuals believe that once they are baptized, all they need to do is done. The truth of the matter is that it does not end there. In reality, the contrary is true. Romans 5-8 illustrate our call to holiness. This process of sanctification has its epilogue in the justification; it is presented into three images; and is fueled in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I. THE REALITY OF HOLINESS: ALIVE IN CHRIST (Romans 5)

A. We are justified – “declared not guilty” (1-11). As a result of this justification, the Christian has…

1. Peace with God (1)

2. Access to grace (2a)

3. Joy in hope, even in tribulations (2b-4)

4. God’s love in his/her heart (5-8)

5. Salvation from God’s wrath (9-11)

B. Under the principle of “representative headship” two opposing realities exist in Adam and Christ (12-21)

1. Adam’s contribution as the representative is that he brings sin, condemnation, the reign of sin and unrighteousness.

2. Christ’s contribution as the representative head is that he brings grace, justification, the reign of life and righteousness.

C. The believer’s new position now is that of justification, being made right with God through Christ.

II. THE ILLUSTRATION OF HOLINESS: THREE IMAGES (Romans 6-7)

A. What is now the new step to take? Is the grace we have been given in Christ a license to do what we want? Paul will answer this question by using three familiar images. Each one illustrates one aspect of this truth.

B. The first image is “The Image of Baptism” (6:1-14). What does the example illustrate? It illustrates that the believer is identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. Therefore, the believer is to live the life of Christ in his/her body.

C. The second image is “The Image of Slavery” (6:15-23). Slavery was not the dream of one’s life. To be a slave was a detestable thing. Yet, Paul tells them that one is slave to whoever the yields his life to. Now the question is do you want righteousness or unrighteousness? Paul teaches that if one gives the body parts to righteousness then he will reap sanctification.

D. The third image is “The Image of Marriage” (7:1-6). Marriage is life commitment of two persons. The death of one terminates the commitment for the other. The Law of Moses, though a good Law, did not award people with righteousness. It pointed then one can actually not keep it. Paul says that since you have died to the Law, you are free to marry Christ. You are free to have Him as your husband.

III. THE POWER OF HOLINESS: THE HOLY SPIRIT (Romans 8)

A. No one in his own effort can produce his or her sanctification. Trying to do it, it will only result in further agony. So, how can one live the life of Christ? How can I die to righteousness and Law and be identified with Christ?

B. The answer is, “You can’t!” No human on his own efforts can do it. That is why we need help and power to sanctify ourselves. This power and help is the Holy Spirit.

C. The Spirit is the fuel we need for sanctification because it is…

1. The Spirit of Life and Liberty (8:1-11). The life and freedom that we cannot have in and of ourselves the Spirit provides for us.

2. The Spirit of Adoption (8:12-17). The Spirit calls inside us, “Abba.” It gives us assurance that we are children of God and that He is continuing the work in us to transform into the image of His Son.

3. The Spirit of Hope (8:18-25). We need hope beyond the troubles of this world. A harbor where we can use the anchor. Hope is such an anchor and the Spirit is the harbor.

4. The Spirit of Help (8:26-27). We need help. We cannot do it on our own. The Spirit is a reliable helper for us.

Conclusion

A. “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." (1 Peter 1:14-16).

B. The holy God has given us life in Christ (Romans 5) and has empowered us with His Holy Spirit (Romans 8). Therefore, he calls us to consider ourselves dead to Mosaic Law or any other human law that is opposed to Him. With the power of His Spirit, He calls us to offer our body parts “as weapons of righteousness.” This is the call we have, a call to reflect the holiness of God!

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