Summary: God has made it possible for us to find genuine peace with Him...only and exclusively through Jesus Christ.

Sermon for CATM – Thanksgiving Service and Banquet – October 10, 2010 – Made Just Right

Today is Thanksgiving. A time to pause and, if we’re not in the habit of doing so regularly, reflect with gratitude upon all God’s good gifts.

Now one of the keys to living a joyful life is indeed to live thankfully. When we live with gratitude to God in our hearts we remain a God-focussed people, never forgetting that despite all life might throw at us, despite the ups and downs of daily living, the most important reality is that God is with us.

When life gets me down, when people close to me are suffering, when my own weaknesses get the better of me, I remember this central truth: Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father. Always, always, for 30 years now and counting, this confession of faith has buoyed me, has lifted me, has restored perspective at those times when I’ve lost perspective.

We’ve been on quite the journey so far through the Book of Romans. For those of you taking the course based on this sermon series, and who are submitting papers weekly, you’ve more than likely been ‘living in’ the book.

We’ve heard a lot over the past number of weeks about what faith is. We’ve learned that this journey we’re on in the book of Romans looks pretty closely at the darkness in the human heart, everything in us that would rebel against God, that would seek to compromise true faith, that would seek to exchange the grace of God, freely given to us in Jesus, for our works – as if there’s the tiniest chance that our good works can save us.

Of course, there isn’t. We’ve learned that we’re justified by faith in Jesus. That means that when we believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and we receive Him truly as our Lord and Saviour, committing our whole lives to Him, Jesus makes it so that it is just as though we never sinned. His blood covers our sins.

Today we look at chapter 5 of the book of Romans. Since we haven’t time in this series to look in-depth at chapter 4, I thought to lay the groundwork for today I’d do a real quick summary of chapter 4. Rom 4:1-5 Talks about how Abraham was justified by faith, and not by the works of the law; for his faith was imputed to him for righteousness.

In Rom 4:6-8 David also bears testimony to the same doctrine.

Rom 4:9-12 Talks about how Abraham, the father of the Jewish race, was justified by faith, even before he was circumcised; therefore salvation must be of the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

Rom 4:13-17 Continues, revealing that the promise that all the nations of the earth should be blessed in him, was made to him while he was in an uncircumcised state; and, therefore, if salvation were of the Jews alone, the law, that was given after the promise, would make the promise of no effect.

Rom 4:18-22 Describes Abraham’s faith, and its effects.

Rom 4:23-25 Tells how this account is left on record for our salvation, that we might believe on Christ, who was delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification. That’s a real quick look through Romans chapter 4. I really hope you are reading through the entire book of Romans. It is such an amazing and challenging book You will be enriched and blessed as your read it.

Today, because our time is shorter than usual due to the Thanksgiving Banquet following the service, we’re going to focus on the first verse of chapter 5 and how this verse is unpacked or explained by the rest of today’s verses.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

It is ALL about peace with God. Everything that the book of Romans has been talking about so far points to this verse. The darkness of human sin and rebellion separates us from God.

We all share in common both our sin nature, our innate inclination to sin, and we share in common that those inclinations to sin often enough show up in the sins we DO commit.

We try to do some good to compensate and try to earn God’s favour, but the weight and depth of our sin is too intense. It doesn’t work. In the light of God’s absolute holiness, our best efforts at good works are like filthy, stinking rags.

We see in Abraham a person who was made right with God not first through his actions, but rather first through believing. Abraham is the father of all who believe. He found peace with God not through works, but through faith.

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