Archive for the ‘sin’ Category

Christ’s Death Effects Our Justification with God

Romans 3:21-26

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Justification is a forgotten, or at least a much neglected, necessity of the gospel.  Many speak of God’s forgiveness as though every human being needs it (after all – no one is perfect, right?) and every human being deserves it and every human being has it as his or her birthright.  I would agree that every human being needs God’s forgiveness (but it would be an understatement to say the issue only goes as deep as our “imperfection” – see this previous post).  However, we have no rights before God upon which we can claim his forgiveness or demand his forgiveness.  The scriptures are clear that we have no merits before God.  We are utterly undeserving of any of God’s gifts much more the free gift of his forgiveness.

This is why we should adore and tremble in the truth of Romans 3:21.  “The righteousness of God” – the standard we all must adhere to if we are to be justified before God.  Don’t be misled – because of God’s justice and holiness he does not just forgive sin.  The penalty for sin must be dealt out.  There must be justice.  And this is what makes v. 21 so sweet – because the righteousness of God came outside of the Old Covenant.  It was the righteousness of God that can be ours – not through works, but through faith in Christ.

The testimony of scripture is that we have all sinned and so there is no one who is righteous according to the law.  The imagery is of a courtroom.  The condemned, having been proven guilty, stand before the judge awaiting sentencing.  Imagine in our day a convicted murderer standing before a judge in one of America’s courtroom’s asking the judge to please forgive his murderous ways.  A judge who simply says, “you’re forgiven”, is no judge at all because, as a judge, his job is to deal justly with those who break the law.  Where is the justice in mere forgiveness?  You and I would not stand for such a thing even with our corrupt human standards.

You and I – we have broken God’s law and we stand before the Judge who is infinitely more righteous than any judge in the courtrooms of this world.  If the judges in this deal justly, how much more will The Judge of all the earth deal justly.  There is no sweeping of transgressions under the rug.  Justice must be executed.

The gospel does NOT mean that God merely forgives.  The gospel says that God justifies sinners – he makes us right with himself by pouring out the penalty for our sins upon the Holy One, Jesus Christ.  Sin’s penalty has been satisfied by a righteous substitute, Jesus Christ.  Therefore, those who will look to Christ’s death in faith as the means by which God’s wrath was absorbed (a propitiation) will not only be forgiven of their sins, but will receive the righteousness of God – 2 Cor. 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  That is justification.  Since God’s wrath is absorbed and the penalty for sins is dealt with in Christ, God is just in forgiving sins.  No one can say that God’s forgiveness granted to sinners is an injustice.  His forgiveness does not contradict his justice.  As Romans 3:26 says, he is both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Christ’s death effects our justification.

Christ’s Death Effects Our Reconciliation to God

Romans 5:6-11

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died 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.

Paul writes in this text about the ungodly…about sinners…about those who need to be saved from the wrath of God…about enemies of God.  He is talking about me and he is talking about you.  Many may say, “But I don’t feel as though I’m ungodly, or a sinner, or under his wrath, or his enemy.”  But the issue is not about how you feel toward God.  The issue is how does God feel toward you.  Now we think naturally that God will love us no matter what because God is love.  However, the fact that God is love is the reason why he hates what is wrong and he hates sin and he judges sinners and pours out his wrath on the ungodly.  But this is completely foreign to our concept of God.  However, our concept of God centers around us and our good and not on God and his glory.  Our concept of God is devoid of God’s revelation and is filled with this world’s philosophy.

We always take pleasure in seeing God as good and that is fine, however, the problem is that we deny reality and also take pleasure in seeing ourselves as good.  If God is good and we are good then who needs reconciliation?  If we don’t need reconciliation then we certainly don’t need God to come in the flesh and die on the cross in our place.  So eat drink and be merry, right?

But consider your heart for a moment…if we brought the evidence of your life into the courtroom would you be proven godly or ungodly?  Would you be proven righteous or a sinner?  Would you be proven justified or guilty?  Would you be under the wrath of God or would you be a friend of God?  The reality is that if you have spent a second of your life as ungodly – then it proves you to be ungodly.  If you have spent a second in disobedience to the Creator God – then it proves you are a sinner, you are guilty, you are under the just wrath of God and you are his enemy.  The Bible says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it (James 2:10).”  The point of the law is not for you to keep it, but to demonstrate to you like a teacher, that you cannot keep it and so need to be reconciled to God.

I am ungodly.  I am guilty.  I spend most of my waking moments actively living with no regard for God and his glory.  And most of the time my life would not be considered “sinful” according to this world’s categories.  This is the essence of ungodliness.  If I drive home and do it in a way that gives no regard to God and his glory, or I watch a football game on TV and do it in a way that gives no regard to God and his glory – then I have been ungodly.  Now you may think – no big deal.  Does God really care about how we drive and how we watch TV?  But consider how many of us have done far worse – intentionally seeking worldly pleasures because it made us feel good and we had absolutely no regard for God and his glory in the process.  Really what is the difference – whether we actively sought base things or not we were still ungodly.  God says it like this in Isaiah 48:10 – “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned?  My glory I will not give to another.”  Sorry, you may think that you don’t need to be reconciled with God – but you would be wrong.  Jesus died for every single one of our ungodly moments – and there are too many for us to count, which makes us guilty before God and deserving of his just wrath.  And if you aren’t reconciled to God then you will stay in that condition for all eternity.  That is why Jesus died on the cross – 1 Peter 3:10, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…”

Be reconciled to God.  Let’s admit our ungodliness…our disobedience to God…our disregard for his glory.  And then let’s turn away from those things to trust in Christ’s death on the cross to bring us, reconciled, to God.

Sermon Jams – Ravi on Sin

31 Sermon Jams