Summary: The overall theme of the message this evening is that Jesus offers you His gift of a right relationship with God.
Tonight’s session is pretty short. Does that upset anyone?
What is the best gift you have ever unwrapped? In tonight’s session, we are going to talk about the gift you can’t give yourself. And the overall theme of the message this evening is that Jesus offers you His gift of a right relationship with God.
Every social circle, business group, and committee seems to have one: that guy with the incessant need to sour the mood of the party. That lady who destroys the positive atmosphere with a dire pronouncement. The deflating neighbor who points out the one crooked board in your new deck.
We all know a person who makes a beeline to the bad stuff; but if we are honest with ourselves, we have also played this role a time or two. This planet is full of depressing news, negative stories, and disappointing headlines. Things haven’t gone well on earth. We can’t run from this reality, but we can choose to focus on wonderful things God is doing in the mist of all this. The Lord is up to something.
The Book of Romans isn’t uplifting in its start. Paul began with the grim depiction of sin and God’s soon to arrive wrath. But Paul didn’t stop there. As we move into Romans 3, we discover that God hasn’t left us in this state. Thanks be to God: relief has arrived.
READ 3:21. Paul begins verse 21 with “But now. Those two words signaled a sudden change. What happened? What happened was GRACE. The rule-keeping Pharisee could now shed his old uniform. A new game had begun. (Paul was a Pharisee)
To fully grasp Paul’s relief at the sight of grace, you have to know his backstory. This man, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, was an arch enemy of the Christian church, traveling tirelessly to stomp out every last spark of the fire. Sadly, he believed this cruel campaign pleased God. Then one day, on a road to Damascus, Paul encountered the risen Lord Jesus. His eyes were opened.
Paul became one of the most passionate preachers in world history Those words “but now” are significant. A righteousness apart from the law is now available.
Have you ever waited impatiently for the release of the next book in a sizzling series? Have you stood in line for tickets? This hints at the nervous excitement we call anticipation. Paul was anticipating righteousness.
READ 3: 22-26. In elementary school, you probably studied the rules of mathematics. You were called “right” when you got it right. You were “wrong” when you got it wrong. And the proper way to respond when you got your test back was to go back and correct them and make the wrongs right.
And it is here that we have a problem. No human has the power to put things right again, at least by God’s standards. God’s way is to move beyond a repair: He provides a new birth. This new birth comes by faith, by throwing yourself solely on the grace and mercy of God. How would you best explain God’s grace to someone?
We are justified freely, but our deliverance didn’t come cheap. Three words describe the price for freedom and you have heard them before:
1. Propitiation. The word carries the idea of appeasing God. Propitiation means a covering over of something. Because of our sin, we fully deserve to experience God’s wrath and anger. Propitiation is satisfying the righteous demands of the law, and removing the wrath of God.