Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

The Live of Faith: Described (Romans 5:1-5)


Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Give your attention now to God's word in Romans, Chapter Five, Romans Five, verses one through 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 the God blesses word to us. Please be seated. Having proved that Paul's a Paul's thesis, the justification is received by faith alone in Jesus, Paul now tells us that that justification, which he has been talking about for quite some time and will continue to bring up and focus on in various ways. He now tells us that that justification comes with certain particular benefits in the Christian life. One, for example, is that we have peace with God. Another is that we have hope in God. These are things that he brings up and points our attention to here in these verses. Notice the connection. Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God because this has happened. Something else has happened, because X. Therefore, why we have been justified by faith and now, instead of having enmity with God, we have peace with God. It's not so much that we are peaceful, but that we have a state of peace. Of course that peace, that that peaceful state, will produce a sort of peacefulness inwardly, but it's sort of the difference between war and peace. We have peace with God. We're not at war with him any longer. We're not his enemies when we are forgiven of our sins and justified in Christ. But these benefits that he we have peace with God whole open the glory of God. They're not a couple things that sort of sit on the shelf at home, our salvation shelf. People come into our home sometimes and we have little places of things that were proud of, things that we like to show, things that are special to us and we say, Hey, took a look at this, my airplane collection or metals or whatever it may be. These gifts that God has given to us are not like that. They don't sit on our salvation shelf. Know, these gifts are the kinds of things that bring about change life, change inward change. To compare to a worldly thing. Imagine that you have, or imagine that you find out that you have, a rich and doting uncle who comes to you one day and says, I've missed you all these years, this relationship that we could have had, and I want to help you. I simply want the best for you. So here's my bank card. You just take care of whatever you need. With access to these kinds of funds, all of a sudden you can do all kinds of things that you never thought were possible. There's a...

...sense of security that you now have, a kind of peace about the way that you are going to live your life because you have access to these funds. Well, Jesus does something for us like that, only, of course, much, much better. I know you don't believe me about that, but it really is better. That's what God says in his word. Remember this. Instead of giving US access to money, which can be lost, stolen, wastefully spent, he gives us access to the grace of God. Peace with God. You remember what justification is, right. It's this act by God's of God's grace, where he cleanses us from our sin, he declares US righteousness, he pardons us of all the things that we've done, money wise, physical, tangible money, bank account money. When you die, it doesn't go with you, it has zero effect on you anymore. However much you have or don't have, God will not require you to pay back a single dollar. But the debt of sin, however, the debts that you owe to God in that way must be paid back. And the thing is they can't be paid back. He requires to us any any eternal death, a life forever of everlasting punish meant to pay for the debts that are eternally owed when we sin against God. It's not just a little bit in our bank accounts that are owed, a sort of sin or righteousness bank account that just goes a little bit in debt. With every sin, the Bible says we offend our most holy God in such a way that it is that it is eternally damnable. That is, of course, unless you find grace, unless God provides forgiveness, which says I clear these debts, I take away these things from you that you owe. In that case, you stand as one forgiven. You enter into eternal life, not as one who will experience it in all of its pains and wrath and sorrow, but who experience eternal life in blessing and holiness and riches and glory. Life. This is what Jesus gives to us. He doesn't give us a temporary thing for the here and now. He gives us any eternal thing that will last forever and ever. But it's similar. I make the analogy in this way and that it changes your life. To put it another way, being justified by God not only brings you the right to eternal life, it also brings the experience here and now of blessing. He gives us a blessed life here and now because of the forgiveness that we have in Jesus on the Cross. Paul will say at the end of this chapter that we reign in life through Jesus. Reign in life are EI GN like a king, reigning, powerful, strong, glorious, filled with blessing and honor. That's how we live our lives. We Reign in life through Jesus Christ, and that's God's message to us. This morning. Those who have been justified by God in Christ find that not only is there afterlife taken care of, but also their current life... taken care of. They don't just reign in eternity, but they reign here and now. They experience the blessed life of God here and now. Now. I don't know about you, but when I hear about experiencing the blessed life here and now, I can't help but think of certain preachers who have a very earthly kind of blessing in mind. When someone says to me, when I say to myself, when I hear it in the Bible, you will reign in life. It's so easy to think in these kind of temporal terms, partly because there are many people claiming to be preachers of the word of God who speak in these terms, who say that if you come to Jesus, money will pour in, you will have a rich and doting uncle in the kind of way that I've first presented it, that you will have cars of all kinds, wealth and riches beyond your wildest imagination, and if you don't, it's simply because you don't believe enough, you're not trying hard enough, you're not obeying enough, and so, as a preacher myself, I find myself somewhat hesitants sometimes to even say scriptural things like reigning in life. You Reign in life, or you have a blessed life or will have a blessed life here and now if you believe in Jesus, because I feel that you're going to hear me in the way that we so often hear this, but that's not what the Bible says. I want you to know that when God speaks about the blessed life, speaks about US living and reigning in an eternal kind of sense here and now because of our justice sification. He means it in a much better way, in a much better way than prosperity preachers will tell you, these people that try to scam you into thinking that this life that we live is all about money, diamonds, plans and all the rest. Paul does not have these things in mind for two reasons. We can know it for two reasons. First is the kind of life that he's talking about, and the second is the reality of trials that he also talks about. Notice what he talks about, the kind of life that he has in mind. Notice what he says. He says that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He says we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Later on in this chapter he's going to be talked. He's going to talk about the kind of life that we receive through Jesus is not like the death that we receive through Adam. Of course, Adam didn't just die a physical death, but all those who have the sin of Adam I promised an eternals death, a spiritual one as well as a physical one. The life, however, that we receive in Jesus is this kind kind of asclidological life. It's a life connected with the world to come, eternal life, completely blessed life, life without sin, a life that lives past death, the life of Christ, the life of the spirit of God who verse five says has been poured into our hearts, God himself being spread richly in us. The Life Paul is talking about here, that we have in Jesus, is not sitting pretty on a pile of cash.

It's being seated with Jesus in the Throne Room of God, in the heavenly places where we have been raised. You See, when Jesus says that he will bless us in our justification, in this grace that we have received. He's not talking about something that's less than what the prosperity preachers promise. He's talking about something that's much more. They are taking away from you. They promise something less than what God has given. You see this particularly in the second thing that Paul has in mind. In our reigning in this life, it includes suffering. It's very clear about this. He says through him we have also obtained access through faith or by faith, into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Verse Three. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings. Paul doesn't say that sufferings are going to go away, that you could skirt around them or move around them or don't have them. He says in them you find hope. In your sufferings you find blessing and glory, and that's why you rejoice. The Prosperity Gospel, as it is sometimes called, completely disregards the reality of trials in the Christian life and even more, we can say it stronger, it takes away the blessing of trials that God has promised to us. This is why I say this sort of earthly view of reigning in life, a kind of temporary financial view, very limited, takes away a blessing that God has promised. Notice what he says. We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame. Sometimes we hope in things that don't work out and it does put us to shame. Going back to the money example, maybe you've invested in something or in someone or a business or something that you thought this is going to be good, this is going to make things right, this is going to improve things, and your hope ended up embarrassing you. You lost money, you got connected with a scam, all kinds of things. God here promises the opposite. He says the hope that you're hoping in will not put you to shame. It does not put us to shame. Here's something for us to remember about this chain that he lays out here, this kind of circular progression of suffering leading back around to hope in which we rejoice. It's that the sanctification that accompanies our justification. It's a blessing to be enjoyed. We forget this, don't we? It's easy to sort of think about sanctification is something that we merely endure and have to get it over with. Sanctification is something that we you know, sometimes I hear us saying, well, I guess God is sanctifying me, I guess this is sanctifying. But where's the joy in that? Isn't there a sense? Isn't God saying that there's a sense, a real sense, a true sense, in which the Christian life has lived out in rejoicing in our sanctification, that when we receive the sufferings of God, it's not merely something we endure and maybe there's a blessing attached to it somewhere, but that it... entirely meant for blessing, that that in itself is the gift that has been given. The Prosperity Gospel, of course, ignores all this and it takes it away from us. It takes away the sanctifying work that God promises to do in our lives. We don't in merely endure suffering. We rejoice in our suffering, we rejoice in it because it produces endurance and endurance produces a character, which it means to say it sort of shows that it's genuine. You you, you, you test, let's say, an object to make sure it's strong and at the end of that testing period, if it's endured, if it's done, it's proven itself is genuine, it has good character. There's a an elder at the church the OPC in Phoenix, at Calvin OPC, who makes bolow ties. Takes these, you know, pretty rocks and will shape them and do various things and then turn them into well, our state Necktie, I guess. But before he does that process, but the first thing he does is he chooses the kind of rock he wants, the the really pretty one, the one that's going to look nice and do well for him, and he drops it on his work bench and it shatters into a bunch of pieces and he says, Nope, not going to use that one. And they'll keep doing that with beautiful rock after beautiful rock until he finds one that has character, one that endures the test, one that has proven itself as genuine, and that one gets turned into a tie. This is something of what God does with us. He gives us tests, he takes our sufferings and makes and and endures us so that at the end of it we say, look at what God is doing. He's testing me, he caused me to endure and here I am not shattered in a thousand pieces. It was hard, maybe something, maybe the weak spots, got chipped off, and it didn't feel good as it was happening. But God has been good, God has been faithful, and I can have hope, hope that God will use me for his purposes, that he is making me into the thing that he wants to make, something beautiful and purposeful and glorifying to him. The prosperity preachers want to take all that away from you, your sinful hearts that want to attach the glory of God to earthly things. Wants to take all that away from you. God says there is real blessing, so much blessing that you can approach your sufferings with rejoicing, with real rejoicing. Now those sufferings may be very, very hard. There are Christians in this world who faced crucifixion, burning, imprisonment, beheading, rape, slavery for the name of Jesus. Paul experienced these kind of sufferings himself. He had skin in the game on this one. He's not merely talking as an outsiderer, saying yeah, you guys, this is a good thing, it'll work out for you. No, he knew it, he was a experiencing it, he believed it. Of course there's other kinds of sufferings.

Long term illnesses, broken relationships, lawsuits that won't end, rebellious children, abusive parents, job situations. The list goes on and on and on. There's even the little things that we deal with. There's so that Pale really in comparison to these things, and yet we still getting anxious over them and frustrated and angry and don't deal with them very well. I forgot to turn the Crock pot on before I went to church, locked the keys in the car, didn't buy enough bread the neighbors, leaves are falling in our yard, and yet we get all bent out of shape and all frustrated and angry at God for the things that he has the things that he has brought into our lives. These sufferings, whether they be tiny, insignificant ones or great, big life shattering ones, God says that he will use them to produce endurance and character and hope in our lives. But I have to remind you that this only happens, this sort of blessed circle, only happens when it's by faith. It only happens when we're trusting and believing that God will do these things. It's not automatic. You don't experience suffering and automatically endure endurance. Depends on the thing that you're trusting in, on the one that you're trusting in. We will go to great lengths and do amazing things when we trust that something, when we trust in something, whether that's a doctor who will take care of us, or a broker who's managing our finances, or or a promise that's been given. I'm over the past few days and my house we've been listening to see US Louis has the silver chair. My favorite character, and probably everyone's favorite character, is puddle Glam. In that story. PUDDLE Glam is this down or sour faced guy who always is seeing the worst in everything, but he has this sort of amazing faith, this trust that the word that he has been given from the great line as land is true. There's this amazing scene. Why, one of my favorite scenes in the story at the end where there everything's about to go wrong and everything's about to fall apart and his human companions, Pudal GLUMB is not human. His human companions say, but what if this doesn't work out? What if this what if we die? And PUDAL Glum says, well, we probably will, it probably will work out poorly, but it doesn't matter. We have to trust in the sign, the word that we have been given. That is the only thing that we have. Are Now I'm putting words and Pudal GLUM's mouth. Our lives are not about making a kind of calculus about will I get this job, or will this relationship work out, or can I align x, Y and Z in order to get this thing that I want? Our lives are about trusting in the Lord, and that produces an amazing amount of Durance, endurance even through death. He was willing to face death because he knew of the truthfulness of the one who had spoken to him. And it's just like that for us with God. We believe what the Lord has done. He has done, that he has overcome death, that...

...he has overcome suffering and wrath and curse, to such an extent that we can endure through it and say I will be okay, the Lord will use this, the Lord will bless me. I may not be able to see it, I may not be able to work at all out in my head, but I know that God is true. I know that God is true and he is true. Paul says at the end of this section that it's something that we experience. If you've been forgiven, if you know what it means to be justified by Christ, if you've put your faith in him, then the love of God, he says, has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who's been given to us. It's sort of an argument from experience. You know the love of God, you know the ways in which he watches over you and takes care of you, the ways in which he has done that over and over again, even now, assuring you, and that is coming by the Holy Spirit. Your pain may be very difficult, and that, I think, is a wonderful thing in the Bible. Many philosophies of this world overlook that, downplay it. The Bible never downplay suffering. It never says, well, that's not really true, it doesn't really exist it. It looks at it very openly and very honestly and says it's there and God knows about it. But he says there is something more powerful than the suffering that we face, and it is God himself, who has lived and died on our behalf, and that is why we believe in him. We trust in him, and when we do, we reign in life, even as he has reigned in life through suffering and through death. We will have to suffer now, we will face trials, but God is using it for good and because of that, as a Christian, you can rejoice, you can live your life with an attitude and a disposition of thankfulness and praise, even in the darkest times. This is not easy, because we do doubt and we do lack faith, but remember what God has done and remember who is in your heart, the Holy Spirit himself. So trust on him, lean on him, put your faith in God and he will not let you down. Let us pray.

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