Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

God's Gift to the Ungodly (Romans 5:6-11)


Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Please remain standing. And let's turn our attention to Romans Chapter Five, verses six through eleven. Actually, I'm going to just start reading at the beginning of that chapter, and but the sermon will be on verses six through eleven in particular. So there's Romans five. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us for while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died from the ungodles for the ungodly, for one will scarcely die for a righteous person, though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood. Much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. You may be seated. So this hymn that we just saying, my faith has found a resting place, has this chorus. I need no other argument, I need no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died, in that he died for me. It's sort of reminds us of the simplicity of the Christian faith. There is the Cross of Christ, and that's it. It's all about that, it all surrounds that. Everything that we believe, everything that we hope for, everything that we are is connected to Jesus dying on the cross, rising from the dead for the forgiveness of our sins. When you consider the Cross, the Empty Cross of the risen Christ, what kinds of things come to your mind? I would say that there's lots of great things that could come to your mind. Given what I've said about how interconnected the theology of the Bible is, given how personally connected we are to the cross, there's lots and lots of things we could think about. There's the historical things as well, the cruelty of the soldiers, the corruption of the leadership, the agony pain of Jesus's death. There are many good ways to consider the cross. In this passage in Romans five, six through eleven, God puts the cross forward and shows it to us in a very particular way as a sign of his love. As a sign of his love. We read that. I'm in Verse Eight, but God shows his love for us in that wall.

We were still sinners. Christ died for us. That's what the Cross is about. Paul says it's a demonstration, it is proof of God's love for us. It's maybe not the first symbol that you would pick if you were picking a symbol for love, a torture device, a cross, but that's what he says. This is how God shows us his love. Remember also that this passage, verses six through eleven, is coming after verse five. Remember that suffering produces endurance and versus endurance produces character. Character produces hope, and hope doesn't put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. That's verse five. We know this because the Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts. We experience God's love. This is what Paul says in Verse Five, and then in verses six through eleven, he steps back from that and explains an aspect of that love, a historical aspect of its that love. In other words, the reason we feel God's love is Christians. The reason we know that closeness and his companionship, his friendship, his desire and care for us, his kindness, is because of what Jesus has done on the cross, because of the cross of love. To say that the cross is a sign of God's love, I think is a real remarkable thing. To say that, in the Great War between good and evil, between a perfectly good God who would send his son into the world, this glorious, holy, perfect king, send this son into the world a champion, a noble one who is perfectly merciful and honorable and loving, and that this one would then be seized in the evil hearts of Men and crucified on a cross, that that would become the symbol of God's love is a testimony to his power, his sovereignty, His grace, his ability to take even the greatest evils of this world, even the crucifixion of the Son of God, and turn it for the greatest good, the greatest act of love. That's why we need no other argument. That's why all we need is the cross of Christ. To understand this better, it's helpful to go back in time, to flash back all the way to the very beginning of the world and remember how God first entered into a relationship with man. At the Cross we see this war breaking out, evil man crucifying the son of God, that war between God and Man, that enmity, enemies on both sides. It didn't start that way. When the world began, man and God, we're friends, not because man had made himself so good, but because God had made him good. God had lovingly, intimately, carefully particularly crafted human beings and placed Adam in particular, the very first human, in this garden, a blessed place full of provision and beauty and care, real intimacy with God. God even provides for Adam and giving him eve and together they have. They share...

...this humanity the image of God, and are called to worship God and serve him and obey him as his servants, as his creatures, and they do until man chooses an act of treason, of rebellion. Adam and Eve sin against God by doing the thing that we confessed earlier, by doing the one thing that God had commanded them not to do, despite the fact that God had made them good, the fact that they were in a good and wonderful case place, that they had the protection and care of God, that he promised them eternal life if they would obey it, chose not to. They chose a an act of rebellion, even a Satanic Act. They chose the side of the evil one. They chose to listen to lies, they chose to go against the one who would make them, made them. They chose to become enemies of God. And they are, as we say, theologically or they they fell. They fell. When we say they fell, we don't mean that they stumbled. This is the kind of I fallen and I can't get up kind of fall, the kind of fall that sometimes people have that ends their lives. You break a bone so bad that infections sets in that you cannot recover. That's what happened to Adam and Eve. They became weak, they became sinful, corrupt, they they were broken, and we know very well all about that because we experience it every day. We know the flesh and the corruption in our own lives. We know about illness, we know about disease and grief and sorrow. We know about slavery, to sin, the demands of the law, fear of the wrath of God. We know about death. We know what it means to be scared of hell. We know about lies, murder, adultery. We know about stealing and idolatry. We know what it means to have broken families and broken friendships, to have divisions in the church, in the country. We know about strife. We know who we are in our flesh and our sinfulness, and that fall, that disease, that grief, that sorrow, was not contained to Adam and Eve, is now connected intimately to their humanity, so that as they are fruitful and multiply, they multiply like an infestation of Scorpions or mosquitoes, the kind of thing that you if it was in your home, in your house you would eradicate. You would say this is a problem, this is not good, and God, who is perfectly good, would not tolerate it. He told them before they sinned that in all his goodness, the wages of sin were deaf and wrath and curse. And that's exactly what happened. But God, after their fall, did the most amazing thing. He made a promise to his enemies. He went to his enemies, to Adam...

...and Eve, these people that had just broken everything, destroyed everything, and he said, I'm going to save you, and I'm going to save you through the birth of a son whom you will bear, who will crush the head of this evil one who has deceived you and whose side you have joined. That promise is fulfilled in Jesus. That's why, when the Bible talks about Jesus coming to deliver us from wrath, like in First Tet Thessalonians one hundred and ten, that Jesus delivers us from wrath, it's a very real kind of situation. In Our fallenness and in our sin, this promised one is born and he comes in and he rescues us. Now this is all hard for us to understand because of what Paul says in verses seven and eight. He says we all know, he sort of gives this argument that we're all very familiar with. One will scarcely die for a righteous person. This is the sort of you know. Imagine there's someone and this person has not really done anything bad. Will You die for them? Will you give your life for this person who hasn't done anything bad? Well, most people won't scarcely die for that person. But what if that person is good? It's not just someone who hasn't done anything bad, but this is a good person, someone who's really done great and honorable things. Paul says. Well, maybe in that case people would be willing to give their lives for someone, a hero, a saint, someone who is really exemplified themselves in the world and among men as as someone worthy and good. Well, maybe for that person we would be willing to give our lives. But Jesus does something really different. He doesn't give his life for good people. He doesn't even give his life for just righteous people. He gives his life for ungodly people, for enemies. There was a story that I saw reported a few days ago of a man who, during the Paris attacks a few weeks ago. Was it one of the venues? Working at one of the venues there, and as the terrorists came in and were shooting people and firing rounds all over the place, he, who worked at this venue, went in and was showing people where the exits were, there were backdoors and secret sorts of things, as stages and places tend to have, and he was getting people out, took them to safety and other buildings and then would come back into the building and take them out again, and back and forth and back and forth, and many people he's I guess he was remaining somewhat anonymous, but people have been trying to find him and they found him and people are saying I am so thankful, I owe my life to this good man. Look at what he has done. Well, this man, he didn't know anything about the people there in that venue. He just knew that these were innocent people. They needed to be saved and he he took care of it. Jesus didn't do that. Jesus came to save the terrorists. Jesus came to save the...

...ungodly, the enemies. He didn't come to save the people that were doing all right and just caught caught up in something. He came to save the people on the other side. He came to save us in our sins, and Paul tells us how he does and it's so important because when we look at the cross, we don't just see a fallen soldier, the great champion of God on the battle field and look to him and say now there was a brave man, there is someone who went out and fought for what was good. That's not how we see Jesus. He wasn't just a brave man who fell in the battle and fell for the right side. God says that he was a sacrifice, like the Old Testament sacrifices, one who was offered up to God, who was bled so that that blood would atone for our sins, so that's God's wrath would be propitiated so that he would stand in our place. He wasn't just an example, he was a substitute, a sacrificial substitute for our sins. That's what the Cross is. It's an altar with the lamb of God on it, dying and bleeding for the very people who are crucifying him. And that's what he does and in that very effective sacrifice, in that death, in dying for the ungodly, in that sacrificial way, our INS are cleansed because it's not just a lamb or a dove or a bowl that's on that altar. It's the son of God, it's the Lord. God, in his humanity and his divinity, sacrificed for us so that all of his perfect righteousness would be imputed to us and that all of our sins, all of them, all of that ungodliness, all of that rebellion, all of the treason and sedition, would be forgiven. But Jesus doesn't just wipe the slate clean and make us innocent. He reconciles with us with God, and he does it not just and not primarily in this passage, in changing our hearts, but in changing God's heart. It's not that God makes us good people and then God then turns to us and says, all right now that you're no longer my enemy. is we can be friends again. You stopped fighting against me, so we can have peace. No, God makes peace with us while we are still enemies, while we are still God ungodly, while we're still sinners. He totally satisfies that and that's why, when we say I need no other argument, I need no other plea, we don't look inside ourselves and we say, wow, I'm so glad I've deeply and truly repented, or I'm so glad that I've cried enough tears or felt enough sorrow or born enough grief. No, we say I'm so glad Jesus is born my sorrows, Jesus is born the grief that Jesus has taken, the sins that God made the move, and God did it perfectly, because it wasn't depend on us any longer, only on Jesus, and that's why we only need him. And in that peace that we...

...are given, we now have reconciliation with God. Instead of being his enemies, where his friends, where his beloved, even his pride? Paul goes on to say that not only he keeps piling this on, not only do we have all of this justification and reconciliation, but we can know that the coming wrath of God, on the day of the Lord, we don't even need to fear that the justification that begins on the cross is completed, even to that end, that there's power not only in his death but also in his life. You remember what Jesus says, for example in Matthew and eighteen, when he gives the Great Commission because of his resurrection, because of his life, he says, all authority in Heaven on earth has been given to me. Go there for and baptize and teach. Or you can think of the power of his life in terms of Hebrews seven hundred and twenty five, because Jesus lives now, because he resurrected from the dead and didn't remain dead on the cross but conquered it overcame our sin. Hebrews seven hundred and twenty five says he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Or consider Jesus his life. In Romans Eight and eleven. There's this pledge that's given. If the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, if the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Jesus Christ from the dead will also give you life to your mortal bodies through his spirit, who dwells in you. You See, not only was Jesus a sacrifice for our sins, but his resurrection from the dead and the outpouring of the spirit in love guarantee he's for us that when the day of the Lord comes and when God comes to finally judge all of his enemies and send them to hell forever and ever, we, who have been bought for and redeemed by the blood of Christ, will live, will live forever and ever even as our Lord lives. That is the love of God. That is the love of God, and that is why, when we look on the Cross of Christ, we see love, lots and lots of love, because there I am, a sinner, corrupt, fighting and enemies with God, reconciled to him through this gift of Christ, in Jesus's death, you have been given what Charles Hodge calls the highest possible or conceivable proof of God's love for sinners. And you are a sinner, I'm a sinner, we all are sinners. Were all born of that same corrupted flesh of Adam and eve. So let us turn to Jesus Christ, in the faith that say yeves. We turn to Jesus and receive him as he is offered to us. We don't look anywhere else, we don't look for other arguments, we don't try to find things in...

...ourselves to rescue us and save us from this corruption. We look at the Cross of Christ, we look at the son of God, whom God has given to save us from our sins, and we say that that's enough. God has said that it is God has given it to us. What else do we need? Nothing, nothing else. We don't need anything else, and so we receive it gratefully and with joy and with the rejoicing that is described here in verse eleven. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord, Jesus Christ. We don't have to wait till the end of time to know that we have joy and cheer and hope. We have it right now, because we are those who have been forgiven. So, beloved of the Lord, put your faith in Jesus and you will enjoy justification and rejoicing and sanctification and reconciliation and peace with God and joy in him now and forever. Let us pray.

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