18 Jun 2006

The Salvation in Jesus Christ

By Scripture, Chapter 5, Resources, Romans No Comments

This is an exegetical sermon on Romans 5:8-10 titled, The Salvation in Jesus Christ looks at how we are changed from enemies of God to objects of his grace through Jesus. This sermon was originally preached by Pastor Duane Smets in June of 2006 in San Diego, CA. Audio unavailable.


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“The Salvation in Jesus Christ”
Romans 5:8-10

Duane Matthew Smets (elder)

Introduction

It is my intention this morning to explain in the clearest possible way, what i understand the core of Christianity to be all about. it is my hope that as i preach about the salvation in Jesus Christ that God would grant us an ability to grasp the monumental significance of what He has done and provided for us. And not only to grasp it with our minds but be moved deep within our hearts so that a sense and vision of His greatness and His glory would flood over our souls and we might have no other response but to cry out to Him for our salvation.
Some here began crying out to God many years ago. It is my prayer that today as you hear the Christian message that you would again feel the weight and problem of our human condition and be overwhelmed anew by the compassion and love of God to do something about it by providing salvation in Jesus Christ. i fear that too easily we become numb and hardened to our salvation as something solely fixed in the past so that we cease to presently feel our guilt and fail to marvel and weep at the mercy and future of our salvation. May God grant us spirits to recognize how amazing it is that He saves wretches like us.
Others here today may have yet to call upon Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. It is my prayer that if you are here and you are one of those people, that you would open up yourself for these few moments to hear these words and too seriously consider them. It is my deepest hope that your heart might find the joy of knowing Jesus Christ and that at the end of this sermon you might respond by calling upon Him today.
May God convince all of us today our need for Him and convince us of His sufficiency to meet our need.

Body:
The main part of the Bible I am going to preach from this morning is Romans 5:8-10. You can turn there with me if you like or I have the words here on the screen.

Romans 5:8-9 NASB (read)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

Many here have heard me share before that the book of Romans contains the most systematic, comprehensive, and complete explanation of Christianity in all the Bible. These three verses of Romans explain and answer a major problem that Paul, the human author of Romans, has created in the previous 4 chapters. The problem is that up until chapter 5 Paul does not mention the word “love” once. Not once. It does not occur in any form. So the question is why? If you were going to write a book about God and about salvation and about Jesus Christ and Christianity why would you wait until the 5th chapter to mention love? Isn’t love important? Especially the love of God? Doesn’t it matter? What is the reason for not talking about love until nearly a third of the way through the book? Surely Paul knew he was doing this and if he didn’t surely the Holy Spirit of God who was directing him of what to write knew he was doing this?
I believe both Paul and the Holy Spirit did know what they doing this because verse 5 of this chapter says we will not be disappointed because “the love of God has been poured out” and then verses 8-10 begin to describe how God’s love has been poured out. I believe the answer or the reason why love is not mentioned until this chapter can be found by knowing something about four key interrelated words that appear here in verses 8-10. In the previous four chapters Paul has gone to great lengths to explain much of the message and meaning of these four words so that now when chapter 5 comes, the full extent and marvelous wonder of God’s love might be magnified and seen in all its grandeur and glory.
so, for the next few minutes I want to set the stage for understanding the love of God by illustrating the depth and significance of these four words so that when we come back and read these verses again the great magnitude of God’s love might shine in all its brilliance and might burn a blessed brand of desire for Him into our souls.

Sinners

- The first word we need to see and understand in this passage is “sinners.”
- sinners are all unrighteous human beings who have failed to give God the glory and gratitude that He deserves for being the creator and giver of life and all things.
Romans 1:20-21 says “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; “
God, the maker of all things, the most beautiful, the loveliest, and the most excellent being has permanently put His worth and value on display throughout the whole earth so that human beings might enjoy Him and His infinite glory. Yet, rather than continually thanking and praising and loving Him, we have sought things of far less pleasure and have made ourselves the center of our lives and our world pretending that we are god when we are NOT.
> There is evidence for this in our own heart and life right now. Let me illustrate.
- Why is it that our heart automatically passes judgment on a person who fails to acknowledge us when we have done them a favor? Suppose one of my kidneys was failing and if I did not get a kidney transplant I would die. But, suppose my friend Jay here, who happens to have the same blood type as me, came and said that he would go through the medical operation to donate his kidney to me so that I could live. Now say the operation went perfect and I was all healthy and well again, but never said a word to Jay about it. Never said thanks even once. Would not Jay or anyone else in this room rightfully feel that he had somehow been wronged? You see, we automatically hold a person guilty who falls short of expressing gratitude when we have shown great kindness. Our hearts know that one who is ungrateful is guilty of wrongdoing.
The reason our hearts react in this way is because we were created by God and made in His image. God is a perfect being, the ultimate moral standard and source who in creating humans, wove into the very fabric of our souls an inner sense of right and wrong, an inner moral law that cries out for justice. Man has been made with the image of God’s justice. You see, there is not a single person here who would say that stealing is okay. Or you might say it is until I come to your house in the middle of the night and steal something from you, and then you would cry out for justice. we know right and wrong because God has permanently fixed His voice inside of us telling us so, and we therefore know that not giving thanks when thanks is due is wrong, and sinful.
- Everyone in this place, everyone in the whole world throughout all of time has failed to give God thanks as their Creator. It’s clear that He is the Creator. Just this last weekend I made a trip to Arizona for a wedding. In 72 hours I experienced some of the most amazing demonstrations of God’s beauty and power. In the six hour drive there I looked out the window as we passed over miles and miles of hot dry scorching desert. With the sun blazing down upon the open plain covered in cactuses and small brush, you could see these sorts of heat waves rising up from the ground. Then we passed through these mountains. These great formations of rocks and trees that swelled up from the ground hundreds of feet up into the sky. Light clouds just sort of hovered around their peaks. At the sight of these monstrous creations you couldn’t help but feel small and insignificant and wonder at what sort of power could make such things. One of the days I took a swim in the pool at our hotel to cool off in the hundred degree whether. For about 5 or 6 minutes I stuck my almost all the way under water leaving only my mouth above the surface for air. I was struck by how quiet everything suddenly becomes underwater. So still and so silent. My mind drifted to the ocean and I started to think about all the thousands of creatures that constantly live underwater throughout all the sea. At night I expected to get the pleasure of looking at the full moon I had seen the night before but instead it started to rain. Hot rain. Heavy rain. Big drops. It started to pour and pour. Then came the lightning. Streaks of electricity shooting across the sky. It would reflect of the clouds light up everything in this white bright blue flash for just a moment. Then a few seconds later came this loud, booming thunder, that made it feel like the building might just fall apart. Such power. Such intensity. Such beauty. Such an amazing God.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; “
Psalm 19:1 says “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” As loud as nature shouts and as clear as it is that beautiful paintings could not have been made without a painter and that buildings could not be built without architects, it is clear that God is the Creator and designer of all of the earth and of the universe and of our very bodies. And we have failed to give him the thanks He deserves. Every single pleasure and good and beautiful thing we have experienced in this life is because of Him and we have failed to thank Him for it. We know that not giving due thanks is wrong and thus we know that we are all sinners. Sinners, unrighteous human beings who have failed to give God the glory and gratitude that He deserves for being the creator and giver of life and all things.

Justified
- So the first thing I believe God wanted us to know about in order to comprehend the depth of this passage is that we are sinners. The next thing, the next word related to the word sinners in our passage that we need to understand is the word “justified.” The word “justified” has to do with one’s standing before God. To be “justified” means to be just or right before God. What this word is communicating is that every person has a standing or a state before God. He is the eternal judge to whom all must stand and answer: Rom 14:10 says “we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” Every single person in this room will die. It could be today, it could be tomorrow, nobody knows when. But we will all die one day and when we die, though our physical body dies, our spirit, that is our mind or our soul, it will live on. and on the day we die we will stand before God and what the question the word “justified” asks is what will God see when He sees us stand before Him. Will He see us as justified, as right and just? Or as something else.
This word “justified” is a very important word in the book of Romans. In fact it is the key word of the entire book. A form of it appears 55 different times and 32 of them occur in the first four chapters. In those first four chapters it is said again and again and again that no one can make themselves “justified” before God. Listen to the words of Romans 3:20 …by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight;”
> when we stand before God; the only infinitely glorious, majestic, righteous, perfect, and beautiful being who would be able to say that they had done enough to thank Him. Who would have the courage to say that they had done enough good works or that the quality of their works were sufficient to honor His greatness. Surely no one.
> And even more than our lack of thanks, devotion, and praise to Him is our intentional disregard of His goodness. Earlier I mentioned that we have God’s eternal moral law written upon our heart. He has made His beauty plain throughout the whole creation but even more than that He constantly whispers His voice inside our heart telling us what is right and what we ought to do and how to please and glorify Him. But we fail at following His tender instruction and instead continually heap up for ourselves an enormous debt of sin and rebellion. And thus no matter how much or how many works we do we fall short of being justified.
> “by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight.” We will all die, and when we die we shall we stand before God, the eternal judge, and He will see us as we are, as sinners, and if we hope to be justified, to be right or just by our good works we will fail.

Wrath
- we have seen that in order to know about God’s love that we first needed to understand that we are sinners and that we cannot be justified in God’s sight by our works. The next thing, the next word related to both the word “sinners” and the word “justified” is the word “wrath.” There are two things that I believe will help us know what is meant in this word “wrath.”
First, “wrath” is God’s good justice.
> What I mean by this is that God would not be good if He did not exercise justice in wrath. He would not be a just judge if He did not punish and condemn wrongdoing. God cannot just sweep sin under the rug and forget about it. His glory and His honor are at stake. God is a completely just God and His righteousness is perfect. If He did not respond to our ingratitude, our unbelief, or our disobedience He could not be called good. He MUST preserve His worth and His glory by unleashing His wrath. When we die and we stand before God, all who stand in their works to be justified will rightly receive God’s wrath.
Second “wrath” is eternal.
> What I mean by this is that God’s response to sin must be equal to its offense
And sin is an infinite offense. By not giving God thanks and glory, by rebelling against His goodness, and by not believing in Him we offend and dishonor an infinitely holy God and deserve an infinite response. You see doing wrong is not just an abstract distant and remote offense but is rather a personal attack against the greatest being in the entire universe. Wrath is eternal because it must be infinite.
> One of the clearest descriptions of God’s righteous wrath is in Revelation 14:10-11. speaking of the one who will receive God’s wrath it says, “he shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment goeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night,”
> You see God’s righteous wrath is an infinite experience of death. It is eternal.

Enemies
- so far we have searched and uncovered the meanings of three of the words in our passage today in order to understand God’s love: sinners, justified, and wrath. Yet there is one last word that must briefly be mentioned that the full extent of God’s boundless love might be seen and known. This last word is the word “enemies.”
- what the word “enemies” point out to us is that as sinners, unjustified, headed for wrath, we are enemies with God. As an enemy relationship it is one of hostility and war towards Him. It is a rebellion and a resentment of His authority and loveliness. It is a strong term. More than just the opposite of friendship, and instead a term where God describes our actions and our nature as treacherous and defiant. He has done nearly everything possible in the universe to show us His immeasurable kindness, goodness, utter beauty, and unequaled worth. And yet despite His continual calling into our hearts we reject Him and defame Him and make ourselves His enemies. It is as if we have declared war on the very source of all that is good and quenched ourselves of the only satisfying joy available. We have all made ourselves enemies with God.

Enemies, wrath, justified, and sinners. Today we have spent a significant amount of time discussing their biblical meanings. Yet I believe since we have immersed ourselves in these words that we can now know with a deep sense of understanding why the word “love” does not appear until the 5th chapter of Romans. So let’s go back and read our passage and now see how the love of God comes down out of heaven like a wind of hope gladness and joy for enemy sinners who are unjustified and awaiting wrath.

Romans 5:8-9 NASB (read)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

The love of God is shown to be so great in this passage because it is a love that loves sinners, a love that makes sinners justified, a love that saves sinners from wrath and a love that reconciles enemies into everlasting life. A great and marvelous love.
> That God loves sinners is so great because there is nothing in us ungrateful and unrighteous sinners that God should love and yet He chose to demonstrate His love to us through the death of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross.
- 1 John 3:16 says, “this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ
Laid down his life for us. (The greatest definition of love mankind will ever
Know is the act of Christ death on the cross.)
> God’s love on the cross is so great because it is able to make sinners, us, justified before God. In Jesus Christ death, God took our place, so that when we die and stand before God, God will only see perfect life, work, and infinite worth of His divine son Jesus Christ. If he were to see us He would see the inadequacy of our works but because of Jesus Christ all He will see is the cross.
– The Bible says in 2 Cor 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” and Isa 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
> God’s love on the cross is so great because it saves us from wrath and still preserves God’s righteousness. Jesus Christ, being God Himself suffered a judgment of infinite value in our place and therefore saves us from the wrath of an eternal experience of death. But not only that but by suffering on the cross Jesus Christ preserved proved God to be utterly righteous, and holy, and perfect by being the object of God’s just and necessary punishment for sin. If sin was not punished God could not be called righteous, holy, or just.
> God’s love demonstrated in the death of Jesus on the cross is so great because it reconciles enemies to God. To be reconciled is to be brought near. It is a change of relationship. A turning from a relationship of enemies to a relationship of close friendship. Through Jesus Christ mankind can become a friend of God’s.
- 1 Peter 3:18 says “died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous,
To bring you to God.”
> Lastly, God’s love is so great because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Notice the words “we shall be saved by His life.” Christ died and three days later rose again and He lives today. Eternal life and unending joy in God is the great gift that Christ has secured for all His salvation has provided for.

Today I close with a question: have you come to know the enormous joy and benefit of knowing Jesus Christ? Has your heart reached a point in your life where it knows that everything else other than Him will leave you empty and dry? Does your soul know salvation in Jesus Christ?

Our greatest need as sinners is to be justified in His sight so that we might be saved from God’s wrath and no longer be His enemies. And God met our need by showing us the greatest of all possible love in Jesus Christ. This is the core of the Christian message. I have tried to make it as clear as I possibly know how. The message of Christianity is a message of salvation, it is the message that Jesus Christ can save us from sin and eternal death simply through faith in Him. Faith is simple trust and belief in Christ, like that of a child. It is a humbling expression, a cry of the heart for help and a surrendering of one’s life. It is the embracing of an everlasting and ever-increasing joy in God. It is an entering into a relationship with the all satisfying, magnificently beautiful, all powerful, majestically amazing God of the universe. You can enter into that relationship by expressing faith in Christ this morning. Philip is going to come now and lead us in a song in just a minute. As he comes I’m going to ask that everyone would bow their head with me as I begin to pray.

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