Summary: This morning we are continuing on with Paul’s introduction to the Romans. We’ve covered Paul as the Preacher of the Good News of God (1), the Promise of the Good News (2), and the Person of the Good News (3-4). This morning we will consider the Provi
The Provision of the Good News
This morning we are continuing on with Paul’s introduction to the Romans. We’ve covered Paul as the Preacher of the Good News of God (1), the Promise of the Good News (2), and the Person of the Good News (3-4). This morning we will consider the Provision of the Good News of God (5a).
The story is told of a very wealthy man who had many valuable art treasures. His only son was quite ordinary but was dearly loved. When the son died unexpectedly as a young man, the father was so deeply grieved that he died a few months later. The father’s will stipulated that, at his death, all his art works were to be publicly auctioned and that a painting of his son was to be auctioned first. On the day of the auction the specified painting was displayed and the bidding was opened. Because neither the boy nor the artist were well known, a long time passed without a bid being offered. Finally, a long-time servant of the father and friend of the boy timidly bid seventy-five cents, all the money he had. When there were no other bids, the painting was given to the servant. At that point the sale was stopped and an official read the remainder of the will, which specified that whoever cared enough for his son to buy the painting of him would receive all the rest of the estate.
That touching story illustrates God’s provision for fallen mankind. Anyone who loves and receives His Son, Jesus Christ, will inherit the heavenly Father’s estate, as it were. The good news of God is that everyone who receives His Son by faith is blessed "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). That is why Paul could exult, "You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich" (2 Cor. 8:9). Quoting Isaiah, the apostle declared that the Christian’s riches include "things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9; cf. Isa. 64:4; 65:17).
I. The Provision of the Good News (5a)
Paul here mentions two very important provisions of the Good News of God: conversion, which is by God’s Grace, and vocation, which in Paul’s case was apostleship. In our case it is service.
A. Thank God for grace. (Eph. 2:8-9)
1. Human achievement has no place in the divine working of God’s saving grace. (Rom. 3:24, 27-28)
2. Not by baptism, confirmation, communion, church membership, church attendance keeping the Ten Commandments, by trying to live up to the Sermon on the Mount, by serving other people, or even by serving God. Nor does it come by simply believing that Jesus is His Son. Even the demons recognize this (Mk. 5:7; James 2:19). It comes only when a person repenting of sin receives by faith the gracious provision of forgiveness offered by God through the atoning work of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The dying words of one ancient saint were, "Grace is the only thing that can make us like God. I might be dragged through heaven, earth, and hell and I would still be the same sinful, polluted wretch unless God Himself should cleanse me by His grace."