Romans 8:1-17 Living in the Spirit - Dre Niehaus

Dre teaches from Romans 8 on the heels of Paul’s very personal struggle testimony of Chapter 7 and how our experience with sin is a daily battle. Rom 8:1 shouts out that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus but that this is only true for those who have put their faith and trust in the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Rom 1:17-18

Dre shares his own testimony of striving to live in the Spirit and not in the flesh and also his observation and experience of tertiary campus ministry. He concludes with the following:

  1. When we struggle with the spirit filled life it is because we do not recognize that Jesus completely dealt with sin through his perfect life death and resurrection, and we fail to rely upon the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to make it possible to walk closely with the Lord to be empowered to serve God and live as he would have us live as a new and empowered life.

  2. There is no bullet point list other than to live by the spirit and not by the flesh and thereby fulfill the whole law.

  3. Its not what we do, its how and why we do things. Are we undertaking life under the power of our own flesh or are we walking in the Spirit to please God?

Romans 7: 13-25 The Purpose of the Law - Roland van N

Introduction

In our Christian life experience it is really hard to overcome sin but we keep on failing. We keep having a cycle of defeat and confession, failure and confession. Chapter 6 tells us that we are no longer slaves to sin but this is not our experience. Roland presents this critical message today on how we can overcome sin by recognising our sin nature.. You will not beat your sin-addiction by becoming stronger, but by admitting you can’t beat it.

Sermon Notes

The early part of Romans talks about sins as transgressions - things we have done wrong, offences against God.  Justification is the word we use to describe how God dealt with sin in this sense.  As a gift of his grace, by the shedding of His blood, he forgave sins (plural).

By the time we reach Romans 5 we are starting to see sin as “the sin” - the principle at work in our hearts that makes us sin - which is different.  This tells us, God wants not only to deal with sin, but with the sinner. 

The question Romans 6 poses is, are we to continue in the sin, now that we are justified and experiencing the grace of God?  The answer is, emphatically, no.

Romans six gives us the good news that God has not only dealt with sin, he has dealt with the sinner.  Through our union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection, we have died to sin, and risen to newness of life, meaning that sin is no longer our master. 

Main point: WE DO NOT HAVE TO SIN.

It seems like a happy picture - but there is trouble ahead.

What is this trouble ahead?  A cycle of defeat followed by trying harder to be good.  This is eventually the experience of every new believer in Jesus.  They have been saved, they realize their sins are taken away.  They are very happy about that.  They are filled with the desire to do what is right, and avoid what is wrong.  But it does not take long before they discover that being good just doesn’t always work out as easily as they thought. 

Do you recognize this?  (I do!)

So, what is the problem?

4 points by way of introduction:

• There is no problem with Romans 6 as such.  Every word it says about our union with Christ and freedom from sin is absolutely true.  But chapter 6 does not go far enough to explain how to live in greater and greater victory as a Christian.  In particular, it does not go on to give one vital bit of information - that is the believer’s deliverance from law.  Until we thoroughly understand this, internalize it, we cannot be free of sin, and the truth of chapter 6 will not manifest itself in us. 

• The burden of chapter 7 will be to say that we have died to the law.  But that does not mean the law serves no purpose in our lives – the opposite is true.  We can outline the purpose of the law in the life of the believer as follows:

1. The law shows us where our sin lies

2. The law makes us sin even more.   

3. The law forces us to admit that in our flesh dwells no good thing

4. Finally, the law drives us to a spiritual walk with God.

• This is an intensely personal chapter for Paul, a psychological exposé.  From verse 7 to the end, the word “I” is used x 30; “me” x 12; “my” x 4; and “myself” x 1.  That is 47 uses of the personal pronoun, and it is very significant that that passage, which shows the most utter human defeat, combines this with massive use of the personal pronoun.

• What the chapter amounts to is a series of personal realizations that Paul comes to by revelation from the Holy Spirit.  They come quite quickly here, but I would what we read is a condensation of many years of internal struggle.[1]  These are tough ideas.  We can expect to wrestle like Paul did.

Exposition

The first 6 verses of chapter 7 tell us about the believer’s relationship to the law.  The metaphor is that of a wife to her husband.  The main point here is that position of the believer has changed: through their union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection they died to the law, and are now joined to Christ.[2]

What does this mean?  Before answering that, we need to clarify - what is law?   Well, if grace is what God does for us, then simply put, law is what we must do for God.  So what does it mean, to “die to the law”?  It means we are dead to any obligation the law might put on us.  Dead, as if we were a corpse!  We are completely without obligation, because we are dead.  Any rule that might dictate to me in that state what I should do to serve God, no longer applies.   This is the big idea of chapter 7, which sets the stage for the rest of the chapter.

In verses 7-11, Paul talks about the effect the law had on him.  2 points:

First, the law identified sin in him.  When he was given the commandment not to covet, that brought out all sorts of covetous feelings in him.  That is the first function of the law - to show Paul exactly where his sin lies.

Second, just because the law did that, that doesn’t mean there was a problem with the law.  The problem was what the law had to work with – Paul.  There was sin in Paul.  What the law did was bring to life the sin that was already there in Paul’s carnal being. 

This gives rise to another question:

13  Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me?

Paul is thinking of the many places where the bible says: “These are the commandments of God, by them you will live!”[3]  But now he is asking, if these good commandments are obviously too good to keep, can we blame them for bringing death upon us?  In other words, if the law is too good to keep - does it exist simply as something that condemns us to death?  His answer:

May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.

Paul recognizes something important about the nature of how sin works. 

Sin uses what is good – the commandment - as a base of operations to make sin in Paul’s flesh more sinful.  Again, there is no problem with the commandment not to covet.  It is good.  What sin did though was use the commandment to create more and more coveting in Paul.  The second function of the law is being achieved – sin is increasing in Paul. 

14   For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

1. Realization: there is a gap between what the Law represents and what Paul is able to achieve that cannot be breached, and the gap is a qualitative one.  The law is spiritual, produced by the Holy Spirit, perfect, blameless,[4] but Paul is of flesh, of a kind that is sold into bondage to sin; he is a lifelong slave, inherently sinful.  Whether or not Paul recognizes goodness or not, he cannot produce it in and of himself.  To get Paul’s flesh or carnal man to not covet would be like dressing up a monkey trying to get it to read poetry - it just cannot be done, no matter how much effort you put into the monkey!

2. This is an admission of defeat by Paul.  He accepts, he cannot win.

15  For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

16  But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.

17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

Paul has admitted defeat.  He has given up trying to keep the law.  What this allows him to do is zoom out from himself and see his situation in a new way.  He recognises that there is a horrible part of him that is a law unto itself, doing what he actually hates.  He doesn’t even understand this part.  But at the same time, he realizes that there is another part of him, a part he understands very well, and even agrees with – that is in tune with the perfect law of God.  So what Paul begins to do is make a separation within himself.  There is the “I” who agrees with God, and “sin which dwells in me.”  For the first time, he sees his sin as separate to his core identity.  The pennies are beginning to drop for Paul. 

18  For I know[5] that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

19  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

The third purpose of the law has been achieved - “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.”  This realization is worth a million dollars to Paul, and to us all.  Here is the point where Paul makes a definite separation between “me” and “my flesh.”  His flesh has a will, and it is a will to be good, but the result is constant frustration - an inability to do the good that he wants, and a remarkable ability to do the evil that he doesn’t want.  Paul however doesn’t trust this part of himself – he has pulled out of it, in terms of identity.  He recognizes that sin in his flesh is causing that failure.

21  I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good[6].

 22  For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,

 23 but I see a different law in the members[7] of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

Here we see him explicitly realize, and identify, that there are actually two Pauls working one against each other.  There is the Paul “who wants to do good”, and Paul, who is “the inner man.”  The one who wants to do good is the fleshly Paul who is blind to the fact that whenever he wants to do good, evil is present right there inside him.  The inner man is the label Paul gives to the spiritual Paul who not only joyfully agrees with God’s (spiritual) law, but who now also recognizes the whole picture for what it is.[8]  The sun starts to break onto the horizon for Paul at this point.[9] 

There is a war going on, and Paul recognizes it at last - not with the eyes of flesh, but with the eyes of the Spirit.  The war is between two laws, and the battlefield is Paul’s mind. 

 The great prize of this war is life itself

The war is his struggle to break free of one paradigm or set of principles and take on board a completely new one, one that seems counter-intuitive in every way.  On the one hand there is “the law of sin which is in my members,” which is Paul’s default or fleshly setting, all he has ever known.  Under this law, Paul sees gaining life as trying hard to energize the good part of himself, to beat that bad part of himself.  On the other hand, the new law of Paul’s mind recognizes that he cannot gain life this way.  The war is not the struggle to be good, but the struggle to recognize his new ontology/wineskin and understand how it bears on his current predicament. 

By way of analogy, this battle is not like the American Civil War, the war against slavery, where north fought against south, “good against evil.”  The battle for Paul is a more like the mental conflict of a man who has lived all his life as a slave in the South: the war is over, he is technically free, but is struggling to understand what that looks like.  His default setting is to continue in the role of a slave, but he must learn to live under the new constitution.   

24  Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

25  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! [So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.][10]

First he expresses the conclusion of his previous thoughts.  He is a wretched, or miserable, man!  The law has served its purpose very well. 

The law made him aware of sin, it increased his sin, and it forced him to admit that even in that part of him that wants to do good for God dwells no good thing. 

 He asks, who can set me free from this “body of death”?[11]  Here is Paul’s final realization, the last thing he needs to know before he can embark upon the spiritual life that God has in store for him.  

Paul’s answer reveals his final conclusion.  God, through Jesus Christ has set him free!  He will always live in the covering of flesh.  The nature of his flesh will not change.  Nevertheless, he can serve the law of God. 

This sets the stage for an explanation of the final function of the law, which is next week’s topic, to drive us into a spiritual walk with Christ.

Summary

Romans 6 tells us we are not the slaves of sin but we have all found this to be untrue in our experience.

Romans 7 answers the question of why this is so.

Romans 7 teaches that we have died to law.  Nevertheless, the law still acts in us to identify sin in us, to make us sin more and more, and to destroy any confidence we might have in our flesh to overcome it.

This pushes us to the point where we begin to see our core identity as spiritual, though shackled to a body of flesh.  

As the law does its work in us we come to recognise the difference between flesh and spirit, and this lays a platform for the spirit-led life (chapter 8).

Application

The Romans 7 picture seems uncomfortable - we all want to live in victory, and no one wants to admit defeat - but we need to be honest.  The picture is one of frequent defeat.  We can go through a cycle of defeat and trying harder that just repeats itself.  We can stay in that place for a long time.  I have.  So, this is an extremely important message for our time.  We live in a time where temptation and addiction to sin is off the scale. 

3 points:

• The good news is, believe it or not, that if you are in a painful cycle of defeat and trying harder, you are exactly where God wants you to be.  This scenario, which I have described, is exactly what the scripture anticipates will happen to the new believer.  That may sound wrong, but it is right.  We all start off at 100% flesh; God wants to set you free by helping you recognize the dynamics going on in you, so that you can take on a spiritual mindset.

• God wants to set you free - but he will only set you free His way.  His way is for you to fully understand what it means to be dead to the law.  As long as you see yourself as not so, you will keep banging your head against the brick wall of your own sin.  His way is counter intuitive - to make you more sinful, so you will lose all confidence in your own ability to defeat it.  A word about strength:  you have been asking God to make you stronger, but God’s way is to make you weaker and dependent on him.  In fact, God wants you to be weak to the point of death. That is what the law is trying to achieve in you.  You will not beat your sin-addiction by becoming stronger, but by admitting you can’t beat it.

 • God doesn’t intend to leave you there, admitting defeat.  You’re saying it to your carnal man, not your inner man – but you have to stop fuelling the old before you can fuel the new.  Trust in God to give you his strength to go forward, now that yours has failed.  Then commit yourself to seeking understanding.  Don’t waste time.  Be urgent in seeking to learn and understand the language of the spirit-led life.  Read “The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee.  Read anything by Major Ian Thomas.  Be patient, God will help you get it. 


[1] Possibly his three years in Arabia (Gal 1:17).

[2] “...you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” Ro 7:4

[3] E.g. Lev 18:5; Deut 5:33; 8:1; 16:20; 30:16, 19; Neh 9:29; Ezek 18:9; 20:11.

[4] Psalm 19:11 “Who can understand his errors?  Cleanse thou me from secret faults” - the only response of flesh to a revelation of the spiritual nature of the law.

[5] “Know” here is better understood as recognise or perceive.  In terms of morphology, the verb οἶδα is the perfect of the obsolete εἴδω, which means see.  In terms of meaning, the Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament (2000) includes the definitions “(1) as having come to a perception or realization of something know, understand, comprehend (MK 4.13); (2) as having come to knowledge through experience know (about), recognize, understand (EP 1.18)...” etc.  Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament notes οἶδα in 7:18 as following the pattern of classic Greek usage, “...knowledge, based on observation...”  (2:494).

[6] τὸν νόμον (“the law”) here is used in the sense of “principle.”

[7] What does Paul mean by members?  The word means body parts, think “dismembered.”  In scripture it is used of the parts of a body dismembered for sacrifice.[7]  Paul means here his physical being, the parts of his body. The point is, they are dead in and of themselves, they have no will, but are obedient to whatever law is governing his mind.  When he is thinking carnally, sin will spring to life in his body, and his members will act out that sin.  Where Paul adopts a spiritual mindset, recognizing that he is dead to the law, his members will serve Christ.

[8] Principle: The flesh cannot recognise what is spiritual; only the spirit can recognise what is flesh.  Rom 8:7.

[9] But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day. Pr 4:18

[10] […] Belong to chapter 8

[11] This probably recalls Virgil’s reference to King Mezentius in the Aeneid Book 8, written within a century of Romans, and probably known to them.  To torture his condemned prisoners:

“He even tied corpses to living bodies, as a means of torture, placing hand on hand and face against face, so killing by a lingering death, in that wretched embrace, that ooze of disease and decomposition.”

Romans 7:1-12 Free from the Law - Ross P

Ross reads to us from Romans 7:1-12 and considers three aspects of the law and the differences between its implications for a believer and for an unbeliever.

Its Authority v1

Its Arousal of passions v5

Its Actuality v 6. We are now free/released from the law. It has no grip on us.

‘In Christ Alone’
As He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

Keith Getty/Stuart Townend

Romans 6:15-23 Know Consider Present - Jeff Coleman

Jeff addresses the problem of overcoming sin in our daily walk and the remedy provided in Romans Ch 6. We have to deal everyday with the temptation of whether to put the interest of ourselves before others. Now that we are saved from the penalty of sin, what do we do about the nagging problem of daily temptation and sin in our Christian life?

Rom 6:15-23 What God says to us about overcoming the temptation to sin in our daily Christian life.

Are we to sin? Sin leading to death or obedience leading to righteousness.

We have capacity of Knowing, Considering, and Presenting in battle of daily death to sin

Knowing is the first step in overcoming sin in our daily battle. Know about our identity in Christ

Know with our head.

Consider with your heart

Present with your hand.

Positionally, we have been set free from the old sin master. We have already won in Christ. Positionally, the sin master no longer has a rightful claim on your service.

1.       Know about your position in Christ when we believe. Knowing and counting it to be true is part of the victory we have in Christ.

2.       Consider, calculate, contemplate your identity and come to the right answer of who we really are in Christ. We are new creations in Christ. Considering our identity is the second step in overcoming sin.

3.       Stop presenting yourselves to sin but cut it off. Stop presenting your members to sin as tools for unrighteousness but present yourselves to God as one who has been brought from death to life.

It is still possible for a believer to present members of our body, our thoughts, our tongue, to sin. We struggle with this daily Instead, present ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness.

All people are slaves to whom they obey. We have a choice to make on a daily basis who we are going to serve. Practically we can serve the old master even though positionally we are slaves to righteousness.

We must bring our practice in line with our position.

There is no neutral position. "It may be the Devil or it may be the Lord but you are going to have to serve somebody" Dylan

If you think you are just on neutral ground then you are in practice serving Satan. You are just not aware of it. Matt 12:30

Standard/(form, pattern) of teaching, v 17. The doctrine of grace that Paul and the Apostles taught from. When we hear the gospel we are delivered over to grace and it frees us from the god of this age and gives us a firm foundation. It instructs us how to live, and shapes and mould who we are. Not moulded to the world but shaped by good doctrine and teaching.

Romans 6:1-14 Head Heart Hands - Dre Niehaus

Jandre considers the need to link head knowledge, v3, ‘ do you not know?’ about the righteousness and forgiveness in Christ with a heart change and death to the old ways and habits, hands, Rom 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 5:12-21 Whats under the cover - Ross P

Ross teaches through the Gospel and how sin entered the world through one man, Adam, but justification, free gift of righteousness comes through faith in the one Son of Man, Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is the righteousness of God revealed in Jesus.

The Gospel is the Good News about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Messiah.

Romans 5:1-11 The bad, the good and really good - John W

John reads to us Romans 5:1-11 and asks three questions:

  • Does our faith measure up under oppression and persecution? Rom 5: 1-5

  • How do we know God loves us? evidence Rom 5: 6-8

  • Can we be sure we are saved from Gods wrath. Rom 5:9-11 Can we rely upon Jesus?

In considering this passage he also reflects upon the recent controversy generated by Israel Folau.
Is it hateful to give someone a warning? The truth is that it is hateful to be indifferent and to say nothing. The opposite of love is not hate but indifference. What John concludes though is that the message in Folau’s tweet wasn’t untrue but rather it is incomplete. The remedy needs to be given as well. He suggests the followup Tweet needs to be ‘For all have sinned including me, and fallen but the gift of god is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord’

Vs 1 says ‘Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’'

The benefits of the righteousness we have in Christ when we believe is very good news.

  • We have peace with God; we have been reconciled.

  • We stand in Grace through whom we have access by faith

  • We can rejoice or boast in the hope of the glory of God

  • God has poured his love into our hearts; we are not separate or independent from God, He indwells us with His Holy Spirit.

  • We have been reconciled with God.

Romans 3:21-31 The best news ever - Simon

The book of Romans is Paul carefully laying out his case (or his defence or apology) for his controversial ‘law-free’ gospel, a new way of understanding God and relating to Him.

Paul’s whole message is not about doing for or giving to God the right or righteous things, so that God will accept you, but it is about receiving the right things or righteousness from God. It is no longer about us being accepted by God because of what we do, but it is about being accepted by God because of what God does!

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.”
What is it?

Righteousness – defined as “the quality of being morally right or justifiable”. It means exactly what it sounds like: it is being right, or ‘right-being’, and making things right, as good as they can be, or ‘right-making’. It’s a word of status or position: that you are in the right, you’re in right and good standing with others. Another helpful way that I’ve heard it described is right-relatedness in all your relationships, with each other, with society, with God.

The Bad News: Up until this point, the way that God related to people was through the Law – the expression of who God is – through the Law, God shows his love, faithfulness, justice, to human beings. The Law showed human beings how to be God’s people, how to be righteous (in right relationship with God) and enters into a covenant-relationship with Israel. And Israel was then given the mission to show the rest of the world (the Gentile world) what God is like, who He is, and through the way they lived and followed God’s law. They were called to be a blessing to the nations, to point people back to their Creator.

But because of our sinfulness and brokenness, our rebellious hearts are unable to keep God’s laws faithfully. All through the story of the Bible, God’s people fail in their mission to be a light to the nations; they fail (as do we) to love God and to love neighbour. And the very law that was given to show us what God is like, also uncovers what we are like – it shows us the righteousness of God, but it also shows us our righteousness (or lack thereof). That why Paul says in v.

“For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Based on our record of righteousness, what hope do we have of being in relationship with God in the way that we were meant for? How can we live faithfully as His people, and show the world what He is like? 



The Good News: “But now”, God has revealed to us a new way of relating to Him, something that the entire Story has anticipated and waited for… God’s righteousness is being made known to us, put on full display for us to see, in a completely new and entirely unheard of way! God has intervened and revealed who He is, and has made Himself known to us. And this has always been part of the plan – all through the Story there have been signs, whispers and pointers preparing us for the this revelation, this unveiling of God, the curtain is about to rise.

“But now” – there are no more wonderful words in the whole of Scripture than just these two words. – Martin Lloyd-Jones (Examples: Romans 6:21-22; 7:5-6; 16:25-27; Eph 5:8; Col 1:21-22; 1 Peter 2:10; 2:25)

What is it? Who is it?

It’s Jesus – God’s righteousness revealed. God coming into our world to act in bringing people back into right relationship with Him, is done through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

God’s Righteousness Given “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew or Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified (declared righteous) freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

How we receive it: Through faith The news gets even better. Paul goes on to say that this righteousness of God that has now been revealed to us in Christ is given to us. Given to us.

God’s righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ. To all who believe. We receive God’s gracious gift of God’s righteousness with the hands of faith and hearts that believe.

It means that Jesus Christ is the object of our faith and belief. We place the full weight of our trust, hope and belief in Him, and what He has done.

“The man who has faith is the man who is no longer looking at himself, and no longer looking to himself. He no longer looks at anything he once was. He does not look at what he is now. He does not look at what he hopes to be … He looks entirely to the Lord Jesus Christ and his finished work, and he rests on that alone.” (Romans Chapters 3:20 – 4:25, page 45) – Martin Lloyd-Jones

The Bad News: We have all of us, fallen short of the glory of God, no matter who you are. On the basis of our own records of righteousness, none of us have a case. Because we are all of us under the power of sin, and we have all missed the mark, we cannot share in the glory of God, to be in right relationship with him, in the unrighteous state that you and I are in.

The Good News: But now, all, anyone, everyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ, can receive God’s righteousness; it is given to you, God’s righteousness in place of yours! V. 24 says that we are justified and redeemed, freely by the work of Jesus.

1) We are justified – the word used is the same word for ‘righteousness’, and so when we are justified by God, it means that God declares us ‘righteous’! Justification is a word used in the courtroom. When two parties come for a trial, what they are there to do is to make their case before the court, and the judge decides who is right. Who is righteous, who is justified. And so when we are justified, it means that God looks at us and declares us righteous. Why? More on that later.


2) We are redeemed – the word ‘redemption’ means “to liberate by paying a price”. Our freedom has been “bought back”. We are now free from our bondage to sin and death because we have been freed by the work of Christ on the cross.

The Problem: How can God remain righteous—maintain a perfect record of being just and always doing what is right—and make sinners, who deserve justice, righteous? Or to put it differently, how can there be a righteousness of God and a righteousness from God?

How can a just God justify justifying sinners like you and me?

We long for a world free of sin, brokenness, and evil, and long for a world of love, freedom and peace. We live in a world where so much has gone wrong, and we keep trying to find a way to fix it. But we are all contributors to the evil and sin and brokenness that we see in the world – we are both victims and perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

So how does God deal with the sin and brokenness of this world, as he should in his justice, while showing his love, grace and mercy to justify and redeem humanity? How can a just God justify justifying sinners like you and me? How does God remain righteous – true to His characteristic of justice and love, without compromising on either?

Paul tells us exactly how God does this.

We get now to the heart of the Christian faith – the deeper you go, the more beautiful it becomes, and I hope you see it too. Right at the heart of the Christian faith, is Christ himself.

“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood…”

Atonement – what does that mean? A clue is in the word itself – it is the act of “at-one-ment” – to reunite, to repair, to recompense, to repay, to reconcile, to make right what was wrong, to bring back together (into one) what had been split apart. Atonement is what it takes to make things whole again, to make things right again.

Demonstration of God’s Righteousness – How is the work of Christ demonstration of God’s righteousness?

On the cross, God’s glory and righteousness are displayed in their clearest definition. 4K HD, it does not get much clearer than that.

It is the place where God’s justice and love meet. At the cross, God Himself, shows us the full extent of His righteousness – divine justice and divine love shown completely in the cross of Christ.

“If God forgave us by becoming indifferent to sin—if the only way he could justify his people was to give up his role as Judge—then that would hardly be loving to the victims of sin, it would give us no assurance for the future, and would make God deeply compromised within his character. No, God should, must, and will judge us. The wonder is that he judged us in the person of his own Son; that, as John Murray writes:

“God loved the objects of his wrath so much that he gave his own Son to the end that he by his blood should make provision for the removal of his wrath.” (The Atonement, page 15)

God does not set his justice aside; he turns it onto himself. The cross does not represent a compromise between God’s wrath and his love; it does not satisfy each halfway. Rather, it satisfies each fully and in the very same action. On the cross, the wrath and love of God were both vindicated, both demonstrated, and both expressed perfectly. They both shine out, and are utterly fulfilled. The cross is a demonstration both of God’s justice, and of his justifying love.”

This is why Paul says that God is both just and justifier of those who have faith and who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

The heart of the gospel is this: That you and I are so flawed, so unrighteous, so sinful, rebellious and broken before God, that it took nothing less that the death of Jesus Christ to atone for my sins to save me, but you and I are so loved and valued and cherished by God that Jesus did it. He did it! He was glad to do it. Justice and love.

If you’ve never heard the gospel before perhaps this is all new to you, and you’ve never heard about God like this before. Maybe you feel far away or distant from him. God and me? Nah, it can’t be. The news may sound good, but maybe it’s just a little too good. Too good to be true.

Which do you struggle with? God’s justice? Maybe you think, ‘why should God have to judge’? Why does he have to punish sin? Why can’t God just forgive us without punishing sin? Why can’t God just be loving?

I could love a God of love and grace and compassion, but when I think about the anger and the wrath of God, and how he has to deal with sin, that doesn’t make me want to love him at all!

Well, dear brother or sister, there is good news for you. Do you know what the opposite of love is? The opposite of love isn’t hate. The opposite of love is indifference.

“If God was indifferent to sin, we would actually feel no real love at all. We (rightly) hear a lot about abusive, overbearing parents who do not show love to their children. But completely permissive parents who set no limits, give no guidance, and never confront their children are also unloving, and also destructive. The world is full of people raised with a supposedly enlightened view of a “loving,” “anything-goes” God, so they feel spiritually like orphans with no certainty or real love, because they are. They have ended up with a God who is uncaring and indifferent; and, of course, non-existent.”

God is concerned about justice because he cares about this world. He is not indifferent, he is not unloving. He is deeply concerned about sin, because in his holiness and perfect righteousness, he is deeply concerned about us, about this world. And it is His justice and righteousness that makes him a God we can depend on, a God that is worthy of our devotion and worship.

Maybe you struggle with God’s love? Maybe you are aware of your record. No one knows the things you have done, how broken you really are. If God knew what was on my record – He would want nothing to do with me, let alone be in relationship with me?

Maybe all you feel is that weight of God’s judgement, and you know that’s all that could be waiting for you. God is going to judge me, just like everyone else has. A holy and righteous God could never love me.

There is very good news for you. God knows exactly what you’ve done, he knows you, better than you know yourself. He knows everything about you – and you know what? He loves you anyway. He knows you’re deserving of judgement – we all are. That why Jesus came, to live the life you should have lived, and dies the death you should have died. He bears the full weight of God’s judgement so that you and I don’t have to.

If you put your trust, your hope, your faith in Jesus Christ and what he has done for you, God looks at you, standing on the dock, and he declares you “righteous”. He looks at you, and he sees the righteousness of his beloved Son, Jesus, that you have received through faith in Jesus. He looks at you, with the eyes of a loving Father looking at His beloved child.

This is the best news you will ever hear.

Romans 3:5-20 The effects of sin - John W

Rom 1-3, how God deals with the question of sin.

How has it affected NZ?

March 15, 2019, the Christchurch mosque killing was probably the most violent act ever experienced in NZ. Why did it happen. Why did the gunman hate the victims so much? Where is the justice?

Why are there so many reports of sexual abuse and unreported cases of violence on young men and women in hostel care at university when they should expect to be safe?

Why do people have no respect for the goods of others and steal the goods of others meant to bring wellness and happiness. 

This post Christian NZ, 2019. Have you ever felt angry because of someone else’s sin? Have you felt bullied or threatened? Do you feel safe? If someone in your family was innocently killed would you be angry? But John asks whether we have ever been burdened or upset at our own sin. About habits you cannot break. Lying, stealing, ignoring the needs of others. Have you ever wanted a second chance to put things right? Have you ever sought forgiveness or wept over your sin?

Would the world be a better place if you could put right the things that are wrong?

How do we deal with sin? Intellectually we try and deny it exists but practically we spend vast sums of money to counter its effects with police, defence, secret service, and hospitals because we have to live a world that is safe.

How does God deal with sin? In the first three chapters of Romans, God gives the treatment that all have sinned and the next 5 chapters He gives the treatment. Eternal life in Christ Jesus. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ.

Romans 1 tells us that the natural man is controlled by sin. Chapter 2, the moral person fails to meet their own standards. You have no excuse you who pass judgement on someone else. The speck on in your brother’s eye is not as severe as the plank in your own eye. Both you and your brother have a problem, but we tend to look past our own failings and amplify the failures of others.

By taking reflection on our own failings we learn to be more understanding and sensitive to the needs of others.

Rom 3:5 tells us that sin effects the whole person, even our reasoning ability. If our falsehood enhances God's glory, then why don’t we just sin more to make God look even better. An illogical argument because it favours us. We want to replace truth with clever arguments and finish up arguing that the exact opposite true. God shouldn’t be angry with us because we somehow make God look better. But God will judge the world.

Rom 3:8 let us just do evil that good may result? Illogical. But we also argue that we don’t have to do demonstrate our faith by good works, or we can continue to live in sin so that grace may increase. Flawed, self-interested arguments. We have died to sin so how can we continue to live in it?

A principle of living a righteous living is deciding to die to sin. When we accepted Jesus, we made a decision to die to sin. When we think and talk about our sin, we are not neutral parties. We distort the facts. We need to listen to what God says and understand his righteousness is that we have a correct view of our sin.

All Jews and Gentiles are under the power of sin because no one can keep God's standards. There is no one righteous. No one who understands. No one with a character of moral excellence. No one who completely desires to search out God. No one who never sins.

We are all created in the image of God and can do good things but no one is immune from the stain of sin and our heart motivation is short of God's holiness.

The sin impacts all aspects of our life. The way of peace we do not know. What we say, what we do, what we think. It leads to speech that destroys others, the poison of a viper, cursing and bitterness. Destructive speech is quick to become destructive actions. Sin makes false promises of peace and never delivers. War and conflict continue dominate the world. We have no fear of God before our eyes and the mindset of sin is to remove God from our thought, thinking we can live independent of Him.

The solution for sin does not come from within but only by an intervention from God to provide a different type of righteousness, the righteousness of God.

The good news of Romans is that God will share His righteousness with us.

Romans 2:17-3:4 The position of the Jew

Our speaker explains the unique position of the Jew before God and the mistakes that are made regarding assumptions of privilege for having God's word and rituals such as circumcision. He explains that nobody is without sin before God and it is only the shed blood of the Lord Jesus who opens the way for our adoption, and inheritance of spiritual blessing and eternal life.

He also explains that all the promises to Israel will be fulfilled because when God makes a promise he is faithful. To be otherwise denies His nature. Our disobedience and sin do not undermine the faithfulness of God.

Romans 2:1-17 Works and Conscience Adrian M

Romans is the first place a person needs to look for doctrine on salvation. The full doctrine of the true Christian faith. What we believe and why we believe. Rom 1:18-32 gives us the true nature of sin. No one has an excuse.

The sinner from birth is spiritually dead, self-destructive and divine justice is certain. Spiritual death leads to physical death and finally eternal condemnation.

Romans is a call for all believers to spread the gospel, pray earnestly for our city, country and our families to escape the wrath that is to come. Last week was depressing but it is only going to get worse. The truth hurts.

2: 1-4, we have no excuse. A promise that God will repay each person to the deeds we have done. The state of all unbelievers.

The world objects to being judged. Who are we to pass judgement on someone else? But God continually judges the evil deeds of the self-righteous and proud. The world thinks everyone is basically good but are we really a good person. Have we ever stolen something....have you ever taken a sick day without genuine need. That makes us a thief. Are you a liar....?

People are not good. We are thieving lying blasphemers. Everyone.

2: 7-11. There is a false conception of what justice really is. People think that justice is modelled by Lady Justice where the good endeavours of life tip the balance in a person’s favour. Reward from works. Do more good than bad, but most believe they just have to do enough to keep the balance level but this is not God's justice. Religious adherence and practices are also thought to accumulate life, good character credits.

Persistence by doing good. Seeking glory, eternal life. What is God's thought on the matter of doing good.

Ps 53:3  Everyone has turned away, there is no one who does good, not even one.  The natural position of humanity.

We turn away from God. You can only do good if you are a true believer. Everything else is piety and self-deceit.

John 5:23  We must honour the Lord Jesus Christ if we are to get honour, as God will not those who do not honour Jesus.

2 Tim 1:10 Only Jesus brings eternal life, not our goodness or self-promotion and works.

Rom 6:21 Benefits we reap lead to holiness and the result is eternal life. Works cannot reap eternal and holiness because it is only Jesus who can set us free.

Col 2:18 Worship of angels anything other than Christ disqualifies us. False religion. So many cults and religious groups worship things other than Christ.

Rom 2:7 Is not about what the individual brings. We cannot earn our way into heaven. Only those who love the Lord Jesus Christ.

The unbelieving Gentile has a God given conscience. People seek justice because it is in-built to give witness of God's law along with the witness of Creation. The world is full of people seeking justice who

The Jew has the Law and will have to give an account for their keeping and honouring of God's law. The Gentile will be shown to be a law unto themselves.

The Jew has a greater obligation to God because they have the Law but no one is without an excuse. But the believer, when we are the before the Lord, our sin is forgiven. We will be accountable for our performance, how we used the gifts and talents that God has given to us. Fire will tell the quality of each person's work and yet we will be still be saved.

Rom 2 v 17 God will judge rightly.

Our only hope is the Lord Jesus Christ, a body given, blood-shed, a price paid, a rescue offered, a deliverance assured, a redemption gained. We were the living dead without hope but if we are true believers then we await his return and justice from the Throne.

 

 

 

Romans 1:18-32 Jeff Coleman

Jeff outlines this section of Romans with 12 points:

1. Overview of Romans.

2. The Biblical worldview is logical and just. Faith is based on reason and logic.

3. General revelation declares that God exists.

4. We suppress the truth of God. If we let the knowledge of God expand and fill our world we are accountable so man does everything to keep truth constrained. Our reason has been corrupted. Our ability to reason about God correctly is corrupted.

5. Out of our emptiness we create idols to worship because we have to have something to worship. We exchange the truth about God for a lie. We worship the creation rather than the Creator. The most fundamental sin is our refusal to worship the one true creator God who made us; idolatry.

6. We are without excuse. In a courtroom we are unable to speak in our legal defense. We will have nothing to say. Creation puts us on notice, declaring that God exists and we refused to worship God. Through creation God has provided sufficient evidence of Himself to hold us accountable.

7. God's wrath is justified on account of our idol worship and our suppressing the truth. God's holy anger and firm resolve to destroy evil. The exercise of His righteousness and holiness. Always appropriate, measured and proportional because He is righteous and good and just.

8. God actively hands us over to sexual perversion to the dishonoring of our bodies. The just exercise of His wrath. The bad news before the good news of Jesus in Ch 3. The wrath is the handing over to practice of sexual impurity, not the cause of God's wrath.

9. God further hands us over to dishonorable same sex passions. The second 'handing over'. Men and women are inflamed with strong passion and desire but how we carry out these passions can lead to disgrace and dishonor of our bodies.

10. God hands us over to a worthless mind, 3rd handing over’’, to fulfill what ought not to be done. Twenty one different measures of becoming rebellious and evil minded.

Romans 1:29–31

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (ESV)

11. All we can humanly do is to live for today, eat and be merry and hope that God does not exist because we are without excuse or defense. We call evil to be good and good to be evil. We celebrate and approve things that are wrong to avoid being out of step with the decay in society. We want to be seen to be progressive when actually we are approving the regressive.

12. God has provided a way for us to reverse the exchange. Turn from worship of idols to worship the true and living God through faith in Jesus Christ. 1 Thess 1:9-10. We can turn back to worshiping the creator through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:1. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans Introduction - Ross

The first of our new series for 2019 reading through Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Editors note that the sound quality here is not high as the recording accidentally came in via a laptop pinhole mic rather than the PA system, so my apologies. It comes with back of church infant noises and door squeaks.