Summary: Part 20 of the Romans Series dealing with our freedom in Christ.
Chico Alliance Church
October 28, 2001
Pastor David Welch
In our study of John’s gospel I compared his writing to a marvelous musical or symphony of vital truths with the first chapter serving as an overture introducing the numerous themes developed throughout the book. As I laid in bed unable to sleep one morning this week I passed the time by reviewing Paul’s letter to the Romans. I have come to see Paul’s letter as a remarkable piece of art, a portrait painting depicting the unmistakable difference between those in Christ and those outside of Christ. Through the first eight chapters, Paul skillfully brings the contrasting details into focus. As I contemplated the contrasting portraits emerging on the canvas of Paul’s writing, I came to a deeper appreciation of God’s unspeakable gift of grace to all who will believe. Paul adeptly alternates between his two portraits through out his book. One moment he paints with dark bleak colors to portray those without Christ. The next moment he switches to bright confident colors to depict our new life in Christ. He continues alternating back and forth through the letter between the two images. If you have not yet made a decision to identify with Christ, please give attention to God’s estimation of your condition.
• Those outside of Christ are described as godless and unrighteous.
• They have exchanged the glory of the Creator for images derived only from the creatures.
• They travel on a path to eliminate any responsibility to a supreme being.
• God has turned them over to the destructive devices of their own unbridled passions.
• They are filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; gossip, slander, hate for God, insolence, arrogance, boasting, disobedience to parents and every conceivable form of evil.
• They live life without true understanding.
• They are untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Most of the time they don’t realize it.
• In fact, they think they have it together and condemn others while in their heart they violate the very principles they arrogantly apply to others.
• Their unrepentant heart toward God continually accumulates wrath and indignation waiting to be eventually poured out on the day of wrath.
• Even those who claim special privilege by being a Jew will not escape judgment.
• Paul in broad strokes of dark colors paints a dismal pretty picture. Only the first 2 chapters.
• There is none righteous, no not one.
• By their sin, they have hopelessly fallen far short of the divinely dictated criterion.
• Those outside of Christ remain God’s enemy.
• They have no hope of ever becoming what God designed them to be.
• The trials of life continue to reinforce hopelessness and despair without any sense of a redeeming purpose or sense of a loving God to bring them through.
• There is no hope of escaping the coming wrath.
• There is no hope of deliverance from the curse of death and decay.
• There is no joy in reconciliation with God.
• Their association with Adam brings death, condemnation, domination by death and continuous sin.
• A self-centered nature controls everything.
• Sin dominates every aspect of their life.
• They are slaves to sin.
This is the portrait up through our current study. Paul will add further dark colors to this portrait on through chapter 8.
• They continually serve sin as their master who pays wages of death and destruction.
• They are married to the law that pronounces condemnation and judgment and results in death and arouses continual sin and condemnation.
• They are bound to the law of sin and death.
• Their life is driven by their fleshly nature that controls their thinking.
• This fleshy nature is hostile toward God - unwilling and unable to subject themselves to Him.
• In fact nothing they do can please God.
• They are orphans dominated by an evil master.
• There is no hope of an eternal inheritance.
• There is no hope of renewing of the spirit, soul or body.
• There is no “wonderful plan for their life”.
• God cannot be on their side.
• They have no defense against he charges brought against them by the law.
• They are doomed to condemnation.
• There is no victory over the struggles of life.
• There are doomed to eternity separated from God and His love.
You say, that is not my portrait. You are looking in the wrong mirror. When we look in the mirror of God’s word, that is the image that appears. When we see ourselves as God sees.
Fortunately Paul adds another portrait along side this hopeless. He also describes the pathway to transformation. The other portrait looks strangely similar to Jesus. This is not just a face-lift but a whole life-lift.