Summary: In this sermon we look at a fifth blessing of justification, a fifth possession in Christ, which is God’s love demonstrated.
"1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 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. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 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.
"6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For 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. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:1-11)
Paul wrote the fifth chapter of Romans to teach those who have been justified by God through faith in Jesus Christ that they also have the blessings of justification.
We have already examined four blessings. They are peace with God, standing in grace, rejoicing in hope, and rejoicing in suffering. Today, we examine a fifth blessing, which is God’s love demonstrated.
The Ultimate Gift is a sweetly sentimental movie (released a year ago today) about an arrogant, spoiled young man named Jason Stevens. Jason expects a huge inheritance when he hears that his grandfather has died. What he gets instead is a crash course in life. Jason is required to do twelve tasks—what his grandfather calls “gifts”—designed to challenge him in improbable ways. Among Jason’s tasks is the challenge to make one true friend within a month. He soon befriends Emily, a little girl battling leukemia.
In one scene, Jason finds Emily sitting alone in a hospital chapel. She is staring at a statue of Jesus with his arms outstretched.
“I wonder if he takes advance orders,” she says.
“For what?” Jason asks.
“For my place. You know—up there,” Emily answers as she points upward.
“What do you think it’s going be like?” Jason asks.
“Butterflies—lots of butterflies. Do you know God paints every color on a butterfly with his finger?” asks Emily.
“I didn’t know you thought about stuff like that,” Jason replies.
“I think about dying,” Emily says, as she begins to cry. “There’s something basically unfair about a person dying. I even hate the idea.”
“You know,” Jason says softly, “I don’t know much about God or Jesus, but I can promise you that those arms are meant for you.”