Today: [Romans 5:] The Full Scope of Redemption: In Romans 5 Paul attempts to define in human terms the vast scope and import of what God has done for you in Christ. He declares that the work of Christ on the cross accessed by your faith in a moment of time will one day so impact your life that sin’s traces either n your character or in your personal history will be erased entirely by the power of the resurrection of Christ expressed in your life to its fullest degree.
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[Rom 5:1-11 KJV] 1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
In Romans chapters, 1-3 Paul makes the case that all men are born inherently in need of a savior. He contends that neither religious performance or moral excellence ameliorate the inveterate brokenness in man that expresses itself in sheer evil and wickedness but also in man’s goodness independent of Christ. He insists that man’s sense of his own virtue is a manifestation of deep deception and the only means of addressing this fallen condition is why God sent Jesus into the world. In chapter 4 of Romans, Paul presents Christ and not religion or morality as the only basis on which any man might ever hope to come to terms with his guilty nature before God. Paul also contends that the redemption from condemnation that is in Christ can only be accessed through faith that every man also possesses and that Abraham demonstrated by entering into a covenantal relationship with God on the basis of faith independent of any religious commitment or moral quality first rendering him fit for fellowship with God. In other words, there is no need to clean your life up before approaching God or committing to Christ because it is not possible to do so because man is inherently evil and morally bankrupt even in his most sublime state as long as he is apart from Christ. God’s friendship with Abraham was on one ground and one ground alone, that of faith believing that what God promised him in his lifetime, Abraham would indeed be the inheritor of. Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for right standing with God and thus a basis for being called the friend of God. Chapter four concludes then that Abraham was not unique among men in this regard but that all men including you and I might likewise through faith come into a relationship with God on the basis of like faith that Abraham demonstrated and thereby we then gain access to the favor of God through saving grace that will substantively change our nature from that of guilty offenders to beloved sons and daughters.
Verse 1 of chapter 5 then opens with the statement that we are justified before God by faith and brought from a place of hostility against God to peace with God through the work of Christ upon the cross in our behalf. What does it mean to be “justified” by faith? The word justify contains three levels of meaning. The first means that by faith we are rendered innocent before God. God is not ignoring our ungodlike nature which is exactly what sin is. We are not like God and if you want to test that theory go jump off a building and find out just how godlike you are not. This un-godlikeness is defined in God’s view by the word sin. The word sin is the Greek word “hamartia” which means “to miss the mark” and is expressed in the word picture of an arrow fired at a target which it wholly misses. So, in exercising faith in God it provokes God in that moment to take a measurement of the difference between who you are and who He is and then weigh that contrast against the expression of your faith in Him in a moment of time in which He makes a choice to hold your faith in Him in higher regard than all the things about you that are contrary to His own just and perfect character. This is the first and immediate level of meaning of this word used by Paul to say we are “justified” by faith.
The second level of meaning of this word justified means that we are put in a state of regard before God described as “equitable.” What does it mean for God to see you as being in a state of equity with Him? Paul put it this way in Phil. 2:5-6:
[Phl 2:5-6 KJV] 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Because God sees you as His equal, or as god-kind (in His image) then He wants you to have the same mentality that Christ walked in His humanity saying within yourself “I am equal with God” that is to say you are a part of His family. The part of God that makes God, God is that same part of God that makes you a part of His family and therefore He calls you child and Jesus calls Himself your brother.
The third level of meaning of this word “justified” means that this truth of how God sees you is “self-evident.” In other words, it is not something that God talks Himself into, but rather this is a legal state of actual transformation brought about as Paul says “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words because of what Jesus did for you coupled with your faith in a moment of time you received a miracle of transformation whereby you are openly changed and in a self-evident and provable way that satisfies God if not anyone else that you are exactly who He says you are regardless of any other things that may be true about you based on your past, because of who Jesus is and what He did for you on the cross and not in any way connected with your quality of moral character or religious performance or lack thereof. Halleluia!
Therefore v. 2 tells us because we are justified by faith and rendered into a state whereby we are made god-kind or members of God’s family whereby we have access to grace and glory just as Jesus Himself has access to the merits and favors of the kingdom from His position at the right hand of the Father as our resurrected Lord. Why is it essential that we have access to God’s glory and understand that we have access by faith and faith alone? Because Phil. 4:19 says God meets your needs out of the glory and you access that dispensery of the miraculous not by another other means than simple faith made effective in your behalf because Jesus went to the cross to deliver you from the sin nature that would otherwise render you disqualified to exercise that faith in behalf of any need that you might have. Because of our free access into this glory repository, we then “glory in tribulation…” why? It doesn’t mean we take pleasure in tribulation but that we take the glory with us INTO tribulation whereby the need-meeting miraculous power that is in the glory proceeds to DELIVER us from the tribulation that cannot separate of from the glory wherein those specific needs connected with the tribulation will be acutally met just as Jesus went into the grave and came out by the same faith and the same means that He then made available to you and me.
Paul then reiterates in v. 6 that our induction into this resource has nothing to do with our own strength or character because this was something Jesus did for us when we were ungodly. If you don’t think you are ungodly then all that accomplishes is excluding you from the merits of the cross because the cross was only made available for those who were, in fact, ungodly and realize it in terms of their guiltiness before the throne of God’s justice. Religious thinking is then wholly excluded because Jesus said in John 10 that anyone who tries to climb up another way is a thief and a robber. Religious character or moral excellence is invalidated. Remember the tree that brought about the fall is the tree of GOOD and EVIL. Therefore your GOOD and whatever good you actually capable of attaining only demonstrates your fallen nature the same as any evil in your character. Your good is as unacceptable to God as your evil because it came from the same place as your evil. How do we get around this problem? We don’t and we can’t but God in sending Jesus to be our means of access to God took our good and our evil out of the way by saying if we will just accept Jesus as the basis of your access to God your good nor your evil can no longer stand in the way and God immerses you in the miraculous transformation of being that is called being born again whereby we are no longer fallen creatures but new creations in Christ, a new species of god-kind on the earth altogether.
[Romans 5:12-21 KJV]
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
In v. 12 Paul attempts to express the scope of what God did for us in Christ by comparing what Jesus did on the cross to what Adam did in the garden of Eden. He says that what Adam did as one man bringing sin upon the entire human race, Jesus as one man reversed by making righteousness available to man on a basis that has nothing to do with man’s fallen nature and acutally cannot even be corrupted by man’s inherently fallen nature because by believing Jesus, the fallen nature is rendered inert, and a new nature is given us whereby we might live above sin and in a state of total entitlement to God just like Jesus Himself.
In verse 15 then Paul says that the magnitude of Adam’s offense to condemn all men is eclipsed in the magnitude of the gift of Christ that delivers every man on the condition of faith. Notice that man is not delivered because of what Jesus did alone, but man is delivered by what Jesus did ON THE CONDITION OF FAITH. Therefore the universalism that currently infects the evangelical community arises from an ignorance of God’s word, and the gospel of Paul plainly expressed in the book of Romans. You are not saved merely because Jesus was and Jesus died. There is a condition of faith in addition to this. Faith gives you access to what Jesus did and who He is. Now, the faith that is involved along with what Jesus did is more than simple belief – it also implies if you look at the word used – it means BELIEF and FIDELITY. As an example, I don’t merely believe my wife is my wife. I believe she is my wife because I believe in what she did for me on Oct 23, 2010 when she said: “I do.” I believe those words she spoke just as I believe what Jesus did 2000 years ago. I also believe and thereby have entered into a commitment of fidelity to my wife because I believed what she said and continue to believe what she said in her vows in 2010. Likewise, I believe what Jesus did, and because of that belief I have entered into a commitment of fidelity to Jesus that dictates certain things that demand and dictate change in my life just like my faithfulness to my wife likewise dictates change and specific demands on my life that I freely render up. I am not trying to be faithful to Kitty – I delight in being faithful to her; likewise I am not trying to be committed to God I delight in being faithful to God and if I do not – then my first belief in what He did is false. If you are trying to be faithful to God stop right there. Because it is a matter of striving then your heart is , and you are in your sins. You have to go back and reconstitute that first commitment. Do you believe in what Jesus did? Do you accept what Jesus did? When you believe and accept the work of God in Christ, then you aren’t trying to be faithful to God you are delighting to be faithful because you are a different person than you were before you believed just as I am a different person because I believed in what my wife Kitty did for me all those years ago.
Because of what Jesus did 2000 years ago v. 18 says that the offense that caused you to be born in sin is REVERSED on the basis of your faith given access to you by what Jesus did in your behalf. Faith doesn’t save alone. Faith saves because it gives us access to who and what Jesus is. Some believe God accepts them because they believe God whether or not they believe in Jesus. This is the “it doesn’t matter what you believe just so you are sincere” crowd. They may have faith. They may have saving faith. They may be experiencing miracles because of their faith but if they come up any other way they are of their father the devil and will share his ultimate fate.
In verse 20 Paul propounds the proliferation of what Jesus did on the cross by saying that there will come a day (v. 21) that what Jesus did on Calvary 2000 years ago will so imprint mankind to a higher degree than the impact of Adam’s sin in the garden millennia before that date. That is true in terms of the scope of human history (every knee will bow, and every tongue confess) but also true in your personal life. God’s plan for your life is that what Jesus did for you 2000 years ago will utterly erase all evidence of the fact that you were born in sin and condemned in sin because of the disobedience of Adam that was expressed in your own sinful life of goodness and/or evil before you gave yourself to Christ in the moment of faith expressed when you declared him and accepted Him as your Lord and savior.
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