Summary: Message 19 in a series in Romans dealing with our identification with Christ.
“The Other Side of the Grave Pt 2”
Many lessons have emerged in our study of Romans thus far. We detected Paul’s passion and persuasion in the opening verses of chapter one. He modeled a passion to pray continually. He conveyed a passion to promote spiritual maturity. He clearly demonstrated a passion to preach the gospel. He felt an obligation to share the gospel. He also felt an eagerness to share the gospel to the Roman people. Paul’s great passion for prayer, promoting spiritual maturity and preaching the gospel stemmed from a deep conviction, a persuasion, a confidence that the gospel, the good news of God, was the power of God for salvation to everyone and anyone who believes. People are saved because in the Gospel message we learn of the possibility for the unrighteous to become sharers of the very righteousness of God through faith. The whole rest of the book then unfolds this great truth and plan of God.
We followed Paul’s argument through the first three chapters leading to the obvious thought bleak conclusion that ALL have sinned and come up short of sufficient goodness or righteousness to restore relationship with a holy God. We learned that there is NONE who sufficiently conform to God’s standard, no not ONE! Paul powerfully presents the hopelessness of ever measuring up to God’s standard. No has ever done it. No one ever will do it. Without some special work of God, all of mankind from Adam to Usama Bin Laden is doomed!
Beginning in chapter 3:21 Paul eagerly unveils the master plan of salvation for all who believe. Since all are guilty and face just condemnation the need is for justification.
Since all have come up short and bankrupt in the righteousness department without means to either get out of this debt or put aside sufficient capital to begin again, we need help. No pulling up by our bootstraps is possible. No vow to do better. No self-help course. No amount of counseling. Only a work of God will rescue us from our woeful condition.
That work was accomplished by Jesus on our behalf. We learned that those who put their trust in Jesus; those who abandon their own efforts to become righteous and believe God’s offer of salvation are, at that moment, justified before God. God rips the pages from the tragedy “Life and times of (fill in your name)” and replaces them with the heroic biography of the “Life and times of Jesus the Messiah.” He became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. That is what the whole book of Romans is about – becoming righteous in Him.
We tracked Paul’s connection to the Old Testament as he illustrated this grand truth in the life of Abraham who God justified by faith not works. It is not the one who works that is justified because man cannot work enough to quality. It is by faith in Christ that we become justified. Paul then introduced us to just some of the benefits of this new standing with God.
• We can enjoy peace with God
• We can exult in hope of reflecting the glory of God in the future.
• We can exult in present tribulations that produce future character
• Our justification guarantees salvation or rescue from the coming wrath
• Our justification guarantees your complete salvation or rescue to eternal life
• We can exult in God through whom we have received the reconciliation
In the later part of chapter five, Paul compared and contrasted the realities associated with those connected to Adam and those connected to Christ.
• Righteousness and life came into the world through Christ 12-14
• Many receive grace through Christ 15
• Righteousness and justification came to those in Christ 16
• Those in Christ rule in life. 17
• Christ’s righteousness brought justification of life to all associated with Him
• Christ’s obedience will result in many becoming righteous 19
• Grace always outdistances sin
• Grace rules to eternal life through Christ’s righteousness 21
In the next three chapters Paul explores more fully the personal implication and ramifications of this wonderful truth of justification by faith. Paul wants us to understand our new identity in Christ. We are no longer in Adam. We belong to Christ. In the long run it is not necessarily what we have done but who we belong to.
Paul raises and answers several issues in these next three chapters. The first issue has to do with the essential nature of our new life in Christ. He anticipates reaction to the bold assertion that where sin increases, grace increases all the more.
Sin can never outdistance grace. In other words, no amount of sin will ever overpower God’s grace. There are six thoughts or instructions in these fourteen verses to consider that serve as a foundation for living above sin in our everyday life. Paul is not just concerned with principles but also with practice. He is not only concerned with the theoretical but the practical. It will hopefully become clear however that these are inseparable linked. You will never gain sufficient progress in the practical until you sufficiently understand the theoretical or the principles.