Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saturday Sermon: The Righteousness of God

Romans 3:21-24

But now – here is where Paul makes his turn. Now that he has shown us all to be guilty of sin and in need of salvation, what he began back in 1:16-17 he begins to unpack, explain and apply more fully, this gospel of the righteousness of God.

The righteousness of GodIt has been manifested; the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel, and Jesus Himself is the righteousness of God, He is the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4 / Romans 1:1-4), and He shows the righteousness of God’s plan to bring a people to Himself by saving them. He was prophesied of old and now He has been revealed (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Is apart from the law, Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. Apart from the law – not a lift up, it doesn’t come by the law but the law actually witnesses to it, amazingly. It isn’t that the righteousness of God is revealed apart from the Old Testament, but that it is revealed apart from the principle of law. It is not given to supplement our own righteousness; it is given completely apart from our own attempted righteousness. It is about believing.

The law and prophets bear witness to it; Jesus Himself said as much, there is some continuity. As we saw in 1:1-2 – the gospel of God was promised in the OT – Genesis 3:15 / Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 / Acts 3:22 / Acts 13:32-33 / Acts 26:6 / Luke 24:24-27 / John 4:25-26 / John 5:39.

It can be obtained through faith in Jesus Christ – when we receive Him we receive the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Not easy believism, only believism. Trust in Truth.

That is the only way to get it – no other way is mentioned here or anywhere else in the Bible and Jesus and the Apostles declare that fact (John 14:6 / Acts 4:12 / 1 Timothy 2:5)

It is the same and enough for all who believe – whosoever believes will receive (John 3:16).

There is no distinction, it is not about being a Jew or Gentile, because all mankind is under the same guilt of sin, and all are saved the same way. Jesus has paid for all who believe (1 John 2:2).

It is needed because no one is as glorious as God (Galatians 3:22 – all people of all time are sinners / Romans 11:22 – both Jew and Gentile).

It is a gift, free to us (Ephesians 2:8-9)

It is a free gift to us because it was paid for by Christ, He bought it for us and bought us (1 Corinthians 6:20). Based on the gospel indicatives we can perform the gospel imperatives.

Jesus came down, as the OT bore witness to, and we can have His righteousness, we can have Him, whether we be Jew or Gentile, no matter who we are, and we must all come to Him because we cannot save ourselves, we cannot ascend the heights of God’s holiness, and this is the only way we can be justified by God, by receiving His own righteousness, which we can receive as a free gift, because of the life of Christ, and the payment Christ made on the Cross.

Having considered just how incredible God is to us for our justification, now we should look at our own growth in that grace, and see it from a perspective that keeps us grounded in the notion that we haven't yet arrived, but we are on the way.

The Majesty of the MasterEnter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the LORD, and from the splendor of his majesty (Isaiah 2:10 – ESV).

As human beings we stink, and in saying that it is not self loathing but realizing that the higher we get up into God the further we have to go. We don’t preach and teach the depravity of man so as to keep men down, but so as to show them the only way up. That way is Christ, but even when we have been redeemed, in our flesh we are still low down dirty rotten scoundrels compared to God. It is only that now He has condescended to us in the person of Jesus, and having come down to save us and to bring us to God we are positioned with Him in the heavenlies. In His grace we are already arrived at our destination, we simply await glorification.

Now then, in this life we can because of His grace become more and more sanctified, we can scale the heights of God holiness. On this side of eternity we can get a small glimpse of the reality of God, because we now climb up to God on the back of our beloved Savior. And this we do by God’s grace. We are still imperfect, and as Paul said we haven’t arrived in fullness, but we can be filled to fullness, we can press on toward the upward call, we don’t have to stay in our sin.

We are not just sinners saved by grace, but saints growing in grace. So realize that when we say we stink, we stink less than we did before, but the more we see of God the more we realize our stink. No I am not worse than I was before, by the grace of God I am more holy than I have ever been, and by the grace of God I am becoming more holy every second of every day, all praise to His name. But the more light that we have the more dust that we see. We do go up into the heights, but then we see just how much higher the Lord is than we had thought.

It is all about holiness with humility. The more holy I become, the more holy I realize He is, and how much further from Him I am than I ever could have imagined had He not graciously allowed me to ascend to the heights I now scale. The higher I get the more beautiful He appears, even as the more awful my sin appears.

I am sick of the false humility that says we cannot dare ascend higher up in the mountain of God’s majesty. Having said that, I want to go higher up into God, not so as to glory in my climb, or in its own heights, or to look down on others, but so as to revel in the majesty of my Master (Jeremiah 9:23-24). Oh, just how lofty are you, my Lord? Only heaven will begin to reveal it, and even then, it will take forever to explore it.


Anonymous said...

good stuff, looking forward to hearing it preached live.

Even So... said...

Thanks, Steve, me too, those points listed will obviously be developed during the message...may God be glorified...

Micky said...

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You

Even So... said...

Thank you and God bless you for your testimony...