Summary: How do we reconcile the gulf between where God is demanding we be, and how far our own ability will get us. The answer for this is found in God’s word!
“Heavenly Provision to meet High Expectations,”
Text: Romans 1:16-17
Tonight I would like to bring you a message entitled “Heavenly Provision To Meet High Expectations.” I started out with a title simple called “Expectations,” but the more I worked on it, the more I realized that there is no way that we can live up to God’s expectations in and of ourselves.
We have God’s expectations…it is found in the Ten Commandments, and anything short of the Law is sin.
Sorry but there is no way that we can live up verses such as…:
"I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy."
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV)
"Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."
As sinners how in the world are we to perfect Holiness, when by our very nature we simply cannot.
That is like asking an orange to be an apple…it just does not work. And that is just in area of Holiness.
What about His expectations for us in…love, forgiveness, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, and self control.
Quite frankly we could not possibly live up to His expectations and demands of Holiness let alone all of these other areas as well.
A little boy was heard talking to himself as he walked across the backyard, baseball cap in place, ball and bat in his hands. "I am the greatest hitter in the world," he said. He threw the ball up, swung and missed. "Strike one," he said. But again, he told himself, "I am the greatest hitter ever." He threw the ball up again, swung and missed. He looked at the ball, and at the bat, and said, "I’m the greatest hitter that ever lived." He threw the ball up again and swung and missed a third time.
This time he said, "Wow! Strike three! What a pitcher! I’m the greatest pitcher
in the world!...
So how do we reconcile this gulf between where God is demanding we be, and how far our own ability will get us. I believe there is an answer, and that answer is found in the area of Righteousness found in our text.
Paul notes several things here
1) I am not Ashamed of the Gospel
When I was a kid you would not have caught me dead wearing anything that had ear flappers attached to it. Now that I am becoming more and more follicley in impaired I welcome something furry with ear flappers.
Paul has found something that works…Never be ashamed of something that has transformed your life.
2) The Gospel brings salvation
3) Salvation is a product of the power of God
This deals with authority.
Jesus holds this authority by virtue of His work on the Cross.
4) Salvation comes because God gives us His righteousness.
Now here is the heart of the matter.
?Does anybody want to take a stab at how this might work?
?By God declaring us holy is He untruthful about who we really are?
?How can someone else’s virtue be passed onto us? Is not virtue kept or earned?
The Righteousness of God is not something to be feared.
One of the by products we have created within the church world is a fear of the righteousness of God.
A fear that there is no way that we can ever live up to the standard so we begin to despise it.
Isaiah 64:6 says “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;” in comparison to God’s righteousness”
We begin to chaff against our inability to live up to God’s standard. Understand that the Righteousness of God is our friend. Does God have High Expectations of us in this area?,…Yes, but he also has provided his righteousness to span the gap.
Martin Luter had this same experience…let me read you his words on this subject.
“The words of Romans 1:18 "…the righteousness of God is revealed," …stood in my way. For I hated that word "righteousness of God," which, according to the use and custom of all the teachers, I had been taught to understand philosophically regarding the formal or active righteousness, as they call it, with which God is righteous and punishes the unrighteous sinner. Though I lived as a monk without reproach, I felt that I was a sinner before God with an extremely disturbed conscience. I could not believe that he was placated by my satisfaction. I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God, and said, "As if, indeed, it is not enough, that miserable sinners, eternally lost through original sin, are crushed by every kind of calamity by the law of the decalogue, without having God add pain to pain by the gospel and also by the gospel threatening us with his righteousness and wrath!" Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience. Nevertheless, I beat importunately upon Paul at that place, most ardently desiring to know what St. Paul wanted.