Romans 11 All Gods People are One

Editor’s Note: This week did not get a chance to get spell checked. WordPress changed some things in regards to how type up your post and I haven’t had time to fool around with it and find the spell check button. Please forgive the spelling errors. Thank you

Romans11:1-32

Good morning! Please turn with me in your bibles to
Romans chapter 11. And this week we return through our series going
through the book of Romans, Pauls letter to the churches in Rome. If
you do not have a Bible, please help yourself to one from our back
table as our gift to you.

As I have been reading through Romans as a whole and
chapter 11 specifically, one of the things that jumps out to me is
the reminder that It is not just the single verses or small passages
of scripture that need to be taken in context. But longer passages
including entire chapters, when we read them, we need to make sure
that we are looking at those passages in the context of what the
author, both human and divine, is writing.

Remember that Paul did not write this letter with verse
numbers or with Chapter breaks. He wrote this as a letter. It is a
flow of thought. Romans especially is systematic and organized and
there are parts where he changes the directions of his thought
process, but he wrote it as a letter and we have to remember that as
we read it.

So, we need to remember that, as we read Romans 11,
that it is not divoreced from what Paul was writing in chapters 9 &
10, and its also not divorced from the previous 8 chapters before
that. And especially the last few chapters, but a main theme
throughout this letter has to have an impact on how we read this
chapter.

Paul
starts off in Romans chapter 1, verse 16 talking about this main
theme, saying: For
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for
salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the
Greek.

The
Gospel and only the Gospel brings salvation. And the Gospel is
available to all, Jews first, but now to the Gentiles as well. Thats
you and me.

And
There is no distinction now between us. We see in Romans 3, verses
22-24:  the
righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who
believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and
fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his
grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

All
have sinned. None are worthy. All who come to Christ and bear His
righteousness thorough the grace of God, given through our faith in
Christ, All who do that are justified, or declare righteous. No
matter who, no matter what, no matter your background, ethnicity,
your sins. All.

Justlast chapter, chapter 10, Paul again, remphasises this, writing inverse 11-13:  Forthe Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be putto shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew andGreek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on allwho call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of theLord will be saved.” Andthen in verse 17, faithcomes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

And
so, it was with that contextual background that Paul dives in and
writes Chapter 11. I wanted to break this chapter chapter up a bit.
Its a long chapter. I even gave Dave the verses and was going to stop
with v 24, but the closer we got to Sunday morning, the more I felt
it needed to be read in its entirety, partly for the reasons I
already mentioned, the need for full context. So, we will see if we
teach through the whole chapter, but I am going to read Romans
Chapter 11, and I am writing out of the English Standard Version.
Please, if you have your Bible follow along in yours, whatever
version that may be.

Paul
writes:

I
ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am
an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham,[
a]
a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his
people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of
Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they
have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I
alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s
reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have
not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time
there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it
is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer
be grace.

7 What
then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained
it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,

God
gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that
would not see
    and ears that would not
hear,
down to this very day.”

9 And
David says,

Let
their table become a snare and a trap,
    a
stumbling block and a retribution for them;
10 let their eyes
be darkened so that they cannot see,
    and
bend their backs forever.”

11 So
I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means!
Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so
as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches
for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles,
how much more will their full inclusion[
b]
mean!

13 Now
I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to
the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make
my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if
their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will
their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough
offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root
is holy, so are the branches.

17 But
if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild
olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the
nourishing root[
c]
of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If
you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root
that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken
off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were
broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through
faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not
spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note
then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who
have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his
kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they,
if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for
God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut
from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to
nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the
natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

25 Lest
you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of
this mystery, brothers:[
d]
a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the
Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be
saved, as it is written,

The
Deliverer will come from Zion,
    he will
banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27 “and this will be my
covenant with them
    when I take away their
sins.”

28 As
regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards
election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For
the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as
you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy
because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been
disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may
now[
e]
receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience,
that he may have mercy on all.

33 Oh,
the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How
unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34 “For
who has known the mind of the Lord,
    or who
has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to
him
    that he might be repaid?”

36 For
from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory
forever. Amen.

So
there are a few things that Paul touches on in here but there is one
main, unifying theme in what Paul writes here, in language that lends
itself to confusion and is often misunderstood, he says in verse 26,
In
this way, All Israel will be saved.”

And
that right there is why we need to take things in the whole of
context. The context of the chapter, the context of the letter, the
context of the other letters of Paul, the entire Bible.

In
this way, All Israel will be saved. Which begs the question, who is
Israel that Paul is referring to here? And essentially, historically,
there have been three main opinions on this.

Before
sharing what these three options are, I want to reitterate something
I said at the beginning of us going through Romans chapter 9.

This
is a chapter that many people see different sides of various
theological fences and dont often see how the other sides can come to
their conclusion. In that regard, this is a worrisome chapter to
preach through. I may, as we go through this chapter, I may upset
some of you. I may teach or preach what I see as the plain meaning of
the text and it may go against what you see and believe as the plain
meaning to the text. Here’s the thing, that’s ok.

I’m
not going to not preach and teach what the Bible says in fear of
upsetting some of you. And I hope you aren’t going to just take what
I say from up here as Gospel without pouring over the scriptures
yourself. There are things in the Bible that we can disagree on.

Wherever
you end up after going through Romans11, the one thing I ask is that
you read in context. Remember the context and recognize your own
presuppositions, which we all have. Thats all I ask.

So,
Who is Israel that Paul refers to here? Who is Israel, whom all will
be saved? The three historic options boil down to this. First, Paul
is referring to all ethnic Jews, all the physical seed of Jacob, also
known as Israel. And yet, just a few chapters previously, in Romans
9:6-8: For
not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,

7 and
not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but
“Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”

8 This
means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children
of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

This
shows that the term Israel can mean something other than the Ethnic,
physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Option Number 2 is
that Israel refers to the physical nation or country-state of Israel.
This is the nation of Israel of the Old Testament. This is Israel who
conquered and was conquered. This is the nation of Israel, made up of
the 12 tribes that fractured into Judah and Israel, both of whom were
conquered, captured and exiled. This is the current nation of Israel
that was created in the aftermath of World War 2.

However,
much of the nation of Israel is largely secular. They are not, as a
nation, observing the Jewish religion. They are not walking with God,
instead they are, if not functional atheists, then placing there
future on their ethnic identity, much like option number 1.

The
third option, the one that I see in the Bible is that in verse 26
here, All of Israel referes to All believers, both Jewish and
Gentiles. Again, starting from Pauls own writings, in Romans 9, that
the children of the promise are Abrahams offspring, to whom the
promises of Israel are made. Paul says it as well in Galatians 3,
verses 7-9: Know
then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

8 And
the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify[
c]
the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham,
saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

9 So
then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man
of faith.

The
Bible makes it clear that the Old Testament, that Jesus is the
fulfillment of the Old Testament, meaning that all of the Old
Testament is shadows, types and foreshadowings of Jesus. This
includes Israel. Galatians 6:16 refers to Jesus as the Israel of God.
The promises made to Israel in the Old Testament were fulfilled in
Christ and the punishment and curses on Israel were poured out on
Christ. As one Pastor explained, The Church has not replaced Israel,
the church is the expansion of Israel. Since Jesus is the true
Israel, all who belong to Christ, and ONLY those who belong to
Christ, belong to Israel.

Now,
lets stop for a moment and ask, why am I spending time on this? Why
is this important. Again, this is not something that you all may
agree on. For me, this gets at the very heart who God is. And it is
consistant with who God is and what he has revealed to us.

We
see here in chapter 11, the idea of the olive tree, representing the
Jewish people and the wild trees being grafted in, representing the
gentiles. We, you and I are here because God choose to unite Jews and
gentiles, to make us all one in Christ. Again, all those who are in
Christ and Only those who are in Christ. There is no difference in
our standing, in our rightousness, in our salvation. There is no Jew
nor greek.

This,
again, can be misubderstood. In this world, in our workd and our
society, there are jews and greeks, there are males and females,
there are rich and poor, there are distinctions. We are all
individuals and God has created us this way. He determined your
ethnicity. He determined your sex, whether you are male or female. He
determined where and when you were born and all those things. But
none of those things can affect our salvation. None of those things
can affect whether we are saved.

I
referenced Romans 1:16 earlier. For
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for
salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the
Greek.
Paul
has alternately spent his time writing both to the Jews that, Yes,
the Gentiles are included in the Kingdom of Heaven. He calls it the
mystery of the Gospel on numerous occasions, because to the Jewish
people at the time, it would not make any sense to them that God
would choose to include the gentiles, especially when there were
plenty of Jewish people still around. But Paul alternates that with
his words to the Gentiles that No, the church has not replaced
Israel. Both are called by God. There are the elect in both, there
are believers predestined and foreknown by God in both groups and
more accurately and to the point, there are not two groups. There is
only one, those who are in Christ.

To
me, this is a call, an appeal and an example of the kind of unity
that God wants from us. When one tree gets grafted in another, they
are not two trees, but they are now one tree. Yes, one was fisrt then
the other, but they are one tree. In a marriage, a husband and wife
come togethere and the bible says they are now One Flesh. If you are
married you are not two individuals living life along side each
other, you are united, you are one. When we are brought in the
Christ and receive from him our salvation, He is inseperable from us.

And
ths how he calls us to be. Insepperable. United. Not uniform, not
Stepford, but united. There is no super Christians. There are no
varsity or JV christians. There are only Christians, Christ
followers.

The
other part of this, for me, is that God knows all things, from before
he created time. There are no surprises. He didnt just happen to be
surprised that the Old Testament Nation of Israel rejected him over
and over. He didnt then come up with a plan B. There was no spite and
thought process that, If they are going to reject me then I have to
come up with a plan B. This was Gods plan from the beginning. God is
unchanging. The theological term is immutable.

His
plan from the beginning of time was to save you and I from our sins.
We are not replacing anyone, nor are we second best. We are a part of
Gods redemptive plan. That should be both an encouragment and a
comfort to us. And especially as we get close to Christmas, when Gods
redemptive plan got put into affect. Jesus, the Son of God, being
born, still God, but now, also, man, a little baby boy. Before this
plan was put into action, before the beginning of time, when this
plan was initially hatched, by God the Father, God the Son and God
the Holy Spirit, at that point in time. Gos picked you and I to be a
part of his people. He picked you and I to be a part of his
redemptive plan and he picked you and I to be with him in perfect
eternity future.

What
A God. What Love. What foreknowledge. What foreplanning,
predetination. What a blessing he is. What a gift he is.

And
this is all the sulmination of these first 11 chapters of Romans. I
said earlier that Pual didnt write these letters with chapter breaks,
and thats true. But there are points in his letters where there is a
clear and purposeful shift. This could be in theme, or in subject or
as some have broken up Pauls letters, first half is theology, second
half is application. And we see one of those shifts between Chapters
11 and 12. So the end of chapter 11 here really is the climax of what
Paul has been writing.

And
what that means is that these last few verses, verses 33-36, which we
are going to look at next week, instead of division or confusion or
anything along those lines, the first 11 chapters of Romans should
bring us to worship and awe of God. He is good, He is just. He is
Love. He is holy. And while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Worship, praise, glory and Honor to God.

And
unity and grace to each other. Again, we can disagree on what certain
parts of what Paul writes means, including who ALL Israel is as we
looked at today. We can disagree on that and still be fellow brithers
and sisters in Christ. We can disagree and still show each other love
and mercy and grace. We can disagree on this and still be united
under the cross and the death and resurrection of our saviour Jesus
Christ.

If
Pauls writings do not lead us to this, then we are reading them wrong
and we need to repent and search our hearts for the love and
forgiveness for each other that Christ first showed us.

Lets
Pray.

Sources:





https://twitter.com/NewGeneva/status/1071426758820290561)

Romans 8:31-39 Nothing Separates us from God

 

Romans 8:31-39

Nothing Separates us from God

Good Morning! Please go ahead and open up your Bibles to Romans chapter 8. If you do not own a Bible, we do a have a pile on the back table that you are free to help your self to, as our gift to you.
So, this week we come to the end of our sub series through Romans Chapter 8. We have spent the last month and a half in this chapter, since before VBS, in fact. Not only is this the last section in Chapter 8, but what we are looking at today is the very wrap up of what Paul has expressed, argued and taught up until this point.
In these final verse if chapter 8, Paul puts the final nail in the point that he has been building to. Paul puts the complete and total emphasis on the faithfulness and promises of God. He started the chapter reassuring us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
And one way to describe the one of the main points he makes through chapter 8, culminating in the emphasis today, is that if you are in Christ Jesus, there will never be any condemnation because once you are in Christ, you will never be out of Christ.
Last week, Paul showed that all things work together for those that love God. That the Holy spirit works inside of us and through us as we continue progress in our walk and our growth. And Paul showed that God knows and determined all things before the beginning of time, so we can have a peace and rest that, pulling from Philippians 1, what God has stated and what he has started will, fully, completely, and without exception, come to perfect fulfillment. If he started saving you, you will be saved. In fact, because of who God is, in his time, in his eyes, its already done. It is finished.
With that in mind, lets go ahead and read the last section of Romans 8, this weeks passage, Romans chapter 8, verses 31-39. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version. In Romans 8:31-39, Paul writes:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[j] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Bad things happen to us. There is spiritual warfare going on all around us. This world is fallen and broken and we are fallen and broken. Sin is our first and only response with out Christ. Suffering and pain are a part of this life. But God has a promise for us.
As he says in verse 18, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. God promised those of us that are in Christ Jesus eternity future in perfect paradise. And not only that, It will be so much better there & then than it is here & now, that we wont even think about or remember or pains and struggles from now.
Thats the hope and the promise that gets us through now and gets us til then, but that doesn’t lessen the pain and suffering from now, and so Paul last week and this week helps us remember things that can get us through the stuff of today. Last weeks point was that God works all things together for good and what he has planned, what he has promised, what he planned, not only will happen, but has happened. We can have trust that he fulfills his promises.
What then shall we say? That spiritual warfare going on all around us, the pain and suffering that is the result of the enemy, his demons and sins that are perpetrated against us are designed to cast doubt and fear in us. Designed to make us forget Gods promises, his goodness, his power and control over all things. It is designed to cause us to neglect to give Glory and honor to God the Father.
One of the biggest doubts and fears that can pop up in a Christians mind, as it did for me, is, “Am I really saved? Am I really a Christian?” And that can be a valid question in certain circumstances. Im thinking especially in light of Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23, where he says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
And Paul, tells us that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. But we also see in the Gospels that, when Jesus was in the desert and Satan came to tempt him that the devil knows his scriptures. He knows them, I guarantee, better than you and I, and so he twists them. He knows how to use them to try and make them say things that they don’t say. He pulls out of context. He can use these scriptures to make it seem like God is saying he can never be sure about our salvation, when God makes it clear in numerous places that this is just not true.
Just a quick list, you can write these down and look at them later, a quick list Of scriptures that show that we can indeed be assured that we are saved. Romans 10:9 & 13, John 5:24, John 3:36, John 10:28, 1 John 5:10-13, Acts 2:38-39, Titus 3:5, & John 20:31. And the best of all, in my opinion, this passage right here that we are looking at.
If God says something, who can say differently? If God says that we are his children, that we are free from his wrath, than we can take that fact to the bank. If God is for us, then who can be against us? The love of God for us is shown, that he did not even spare his own son from His wrath, the wrath that we deserved but his son didnt. Paul says three chapter s previously, Romans 5:8, but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
What does he save us for, or maybe what does he save us towards? He saves us for his glory. He saves us for the aforementioned glory that is to be revealed to us. And he saves us from his wrath. He saves us from condemnation. He saves us from fear and doubt and sin and death.
The LORD God created all of creation. Everything, every single thing, from the biggest galaxies, universes, down to the tiniest things, smaller than atoms. All of it created by God. Included me and you. Including the perfect and holy standard of which he has the right to judge us. With God being the only one who can judge, he is the only one who can declare us guilty. Where God has forgiven, there is only forgiveness.
If God has declared us innocent, if he has justified us, what else can anyone, ourselves included say to that? If Christ died for us, if we have been given His righteousness, if He is interceding for us, who can say anything? We can’t, Satan cant, society certainly cant. We have been tried and judged and if we are in Christ, than we have been declared innocent and have been welcomed in to Gods family as his children and into his loving arms.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Nothing that we go through in this life and in this world has the power to separate us from the love & goodness of God. All the things that the enemy throws at us, that are legitimately painful and meant to destroy us, our relationship with God and the good works that Christ prepared for us. These things that are meant to foster fear and doubt and worry. These things, as bad as they are and as real as the fear and worry feel, it can  do nothing to separate us from God and his love.
In dealing with these things, Paul says that we are more than conquerors, though it is not us who are good enough or powerful enough or anything of the like, but we are more than conquerors THROUGH him who loved us.
It is the power and the blood and the person and the work of Christ who brings us through these things. It is through him that we are able to come out the other side. It is through him, that we not only have our eternal security, but we also have kids of victories today. We have the choice about weather we let the enemy steal our joy about what Christ has done for us, whether we let him steal our peace about who we are in Christ.
Paul tells us some of the things that we have received here and now, to help us in this world, to fight these trials and suffering in the well known passage in Galatians 5 about the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; All things that the enemy tries to steal from us, if we let him, but Christ has already given us victory, we are more than conquerors through Him.
But when we forget these things, when allow the worries of today, how are we going to get through this month, where are we going to sleep, will we have enough gas, our food or whatever. Those very real and very scary worries that affect how we live and what actions we take. We let those fears cloud our thoughts about who God is. We let those doubts make us forget the goodness, the faithfulness and the holiness of God. And we forget the promises that he has made that not only has he already fulfilled but that he will fulfill in the future as well.
We forget what Paul says in the last 2 verses here, For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gods Word is truth. Gods Word is fact. We dont always feel the truth of these words that Paul writes to us. We dont always feel the truth of Romans 8. Within that reality, that we dont always feel the truth of Gods Word, we can rest on the bedrock, on the foundation that Gods Word is truth no matter what we are feeling at that moment.
This is a mistake that we often make, we filter the scriptures, and what they mean, what the truth is, we filter them through our feelings and our emotions. Instead what we are supposed to do, what we need to do is filter and adjust our emotions and feelings through the truth of the Scriptures.
The World is telling us that we should follow our hearts we should be true to ourselves. As Paul has been showing us throughout Romans especially that our hearts are not to be trusted, Isaiah says that the heart is deceitful above all things. So the Bible tells us , when our heart and our feelings dont believe it or dont remember it, that we can still know it and be assured of the truth of this fact, nothing in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ill give you one of my other favorite quotes, not the Jonathon Edwards one, but one from RC Sproul, who says, When there is something in the Word of God that I Dont like, the problem is not with the Word of God, its with me.
No matter what we want, what we think, what we feel, the Word of God is truth and nothing surpasses that. Now, for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to the importance of putting scripture in context and how long we have been in Romans 8 and broken it down in to so many separate passages, I want to finish up today by reading through the whole chapter. I think its important, especially in a chapter like this that we dont end up losing the forest for the trees. We have gone through 39 verses, taking over a month and Paul had a theme here. He had a cohesive message that he was writing to the churches in Rome and I think that it sometimes does us good to read out loud, as it was written, the whole passage so that we can see the bigger themes that the Holy Spirit has inspired the writers of the Bible to put down in paper and pass down to us.
So Im going to read Romans chapter 8 and then I will close us in prayer.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[d] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
12 So then, brothers,[e] we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[f] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[g] the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[j] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Lets Pray.

Romans 7:7-12 The Law is Good

Romans 7:7-12

The Law is Good

Good Morning! Please grab your Bibles and turn with me to Romans, chapter 7. If you do not own a Bible, we do have a stack of Bibles on the back table that you are free to take as our gift to you. As we continue through Paul’s letter to the churches in Rome, we need to remember a few things. First, context matters. If we looked at last weeks passage and didn’t look at this weeks passage, or this weeks scripture reading (Psalm 19:7-11) or the rest of scripture, then we could make the false assumption that Paul will address here in a moment.

Second, Paul’s analogies, his illustrations are inspired by the Holy Spirit. They are written in the Bible and therefore are inerrant. The illustrations that I am going to share this morning, I believe are helpful and, for the point I’m trying to make, accurate, they are far from inerrant.

Paul is dealing with some very real, very practical, internal struggles within us as human beings and our permanent struggle between our sinful, human nature and our justified, regenerated, redeemed, heavenly spiritual nature.

Again, last week we saw that Paul was telling us that we need to die to the law, just like we need to die to sin. What that was, in essence, is telling us what the law is not. It was kind of like a part 1, to this weeks part 2. Paul showed us that if we are trusting or depending on the law to get into Gods good graces, than we don’t have a saving faith in Christ. We either have faith in our selves and our ability to keep the law, or we have faith in Christ and HIS ability to keep the law. Our lack of righteousness or his perfect righteousness.

This week, Paul shows us what the law is for. He shows us that, despite what we saw last week, the law is indeed good. Lets go ahead and read the text for this week, Romans, chapter 7, verses 7-12. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version.

Paul writes:

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

So, again, if we take Romans chapter 7, verses 1-6, and we just leave them as is, we could come to the conclusion that the law is bad, that is causing us to sin, maybe even that the law is sin. So Paul puts that to bed immediately. Not So! He says. The law is not the cause of our sin, but instead, the law shows us our sin.

In my studying over the years, in my reading there have been two analogies that I have heard that I think best describe what Paul is saying here about sin. The first is from renowned Bible Scholar, Warren Weirsbe. He likens the law to a mirror.

So think about it like this. You look in the mirror and you see things you don’t like. You may see some gray hair, some wrinkles, some pimples, a spot you missed shaving, whatever it is for you specifically. You look in the mirror and it will point out your blemishes.

Now, are those blemished there BECAUSE of the mirror? Of course not. The blemishes are there, whether you look in the mirror or not. They are there, whether you know they are there or not. Such is sin.

We look at the law, and in that, we see the sin in our lives that are reflected back at us through the law. Is our sin there BECAUSE of the law? Of Course Not! The sin is in our lives regardless. The sin is in our lives whether we see it or not and whether we know it or not. The law is there to reflect back to us that we are sinners. We would have no way of knowing what the sin is in our lives if we did not have the law to reflect back our sin to us.

If you don’t own a mirror, or don’t ever look in it, you may leave the house without coming your hair, without cleaning your face, with out straightening your clothes. And you wont even know it. You might even know that something is wrong, You might have a sense of being disheveled or unkempt, but without a mirror to look in, you wouldn’t know what you have to fix.

But if you own a mirror and look in it, you can then see what’s wrong and then you know what you have to fix. You would see that your hair wasn’t combed, or your face wasn’t cleaned, or as is often the case with me, you would see the coffee stain on your shirt.

Our sins work the same way. The law is the mirror in our life that points out the disheveled sin in our lives. Now, our conscience will also help us to discern when something is wrong, but often, that will only give us more of a general sense, at least without pairing it with the knowledge of the law.

But to see the specific sins, to know why we are sinners, to know how we are failing to live up to Gods standards, we need to see what sin really is. To see what sin is, we need to see what God has set up as his standard of righteousness and holiness. The mirror of the law shows us what we are supposed to be. The mirror of the law shows us what we are not doing, where we are falling short. The mirror of the law shows us our every blemish and failing. The mirror of the law shows us how we cannot depend on our righteousness and holiness because we fall short. And Because Christ fulfilled the law perfectly, when it reflected back at him, it showed no blemish, no failing and the mirror of the law shows us that we need to depend on his righteousness and holiness.

The second description or analogy I’ve come to love about the law is from Pastor Matt Chandler down in Texas. Now, he describes the law as a diagnostic tool. (Sermon on 02/26/2012, The Diagnostic and the Cure) He described this in a fantastic sermon on Galatians 2, and ill try to summarize, and condense it, but it might be important to know some things about him. 2 & ½ years before delivering this sermon, this healthy, young, I think early 30’s, father of three and husband blackout and collapsed on Thanksgiving morning. He woke up and, long story short, he had stage 3 brain cancer. He was told there that he had two to three years to live. Just as a side note, praise God, that was almost 10 years ago and he is still going strong and preaching the Word boldly.

He tells this story about the MRI and looking at it with the brain surgeon. And here is what he had to say, I want to get this right so its a bit of a longer quote.

Pastor Matt says:

The MRI showed I had a problem, but the MRI was powerless to cure me. No matter how many times I got in that machine, no matter how many times I got scans, it wasn’t going to cure anything. It was simply going to diagnose something was wrong. Now the Law is holy and it is divine in that it is the holy, divine diagnostic tool that lets us know something is wrong, but the law will never heal you.

Skipping ahead briefly, he continues:

Jesus is the cure. The Law is diagnostic but Jesus is the cure…

When we become aware of the kindness of God, our healing made available to us in Christ, it leads us to repentance. We want to line ourselves up with God, the Law, and how God created us to function, because that is all the law is. The law is this diagnostics tool that shows you your need for a savior, and then once you have that savior, once you have that healing, the diagnostic switches and becomes a path for the fullness of life.

Now, I want to come back to that last point in just a few moments. But first, do you see what happens here? What happens when we look in the mirror and see all the sin covering us? When we look at the MRI of the law and we are diagnosed as sinful and broken, what does the scripture continually show us when we are looking to the law?

We cant keep it. That’s first, but there would be no good news if it just ended there. That’s legalism. We think of legalism as strictly acting or thinking that we need to keep the law in order to be saved. But there is another flip side to that. Its that condemnation, that thought in our brain that says, I cant keep the law so I might as well not try, I might as well give up. There is no point in following Jesus because even he cant forgive me of my sins and my brokenness. Its a diagnosis with no cure.

So the mirror and the diagnostic of the law show us that we cant keep it, but it also points us to the one who did. It gives us good news. When the law is given to Israel in the Old testament, it is all pointing towards the one who would fulfill it. Jesus claims in the Sermon on the Mount, that he IS the fulfillment of the law.

And so the laws design, its purpose is to point towards Jesus Christ, so that we may have faith in him who could keep the law, and we could then repent of our own sins. Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “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.”

So, our sinful flesh, our sin nature, who is now seen in the mirror, who has now been diagnosed, is not ready to just give up yet. So it tries to manipulate, tries to justify us to ourselves. It makes us think that we are really not that bad. Any chance I get to bring my favorite quote back up, Jonathon Edwards, “The only thing you contribute to your salvation is the sin that made it necessary.”

Its like an arrow in the heart every time.

But we look at the law and we think, well at least I haven’t broken this law or that law. At least I haven’t broken as many laws as the person sitting next to me. At least I hide my sins better than everyone else.

Ray Comfort is a street Evangelist who uses the 10 commandments, the law summed up in 10 points, to point out to atheists and non believers that the cannot and have not been good enough.

The exchange usually goes something like this.

Have you ever told a lie? Yes.

Have you ever stolen anything, or taken something that does not belong to you? Sure.

Have you ever hated any one? Yes. Jesus says that hating someone is murdering them in your mind.

Have you ever looked at another person lustfully? Of Course. Jesus says if you have lusted in your heart, you have already committed adultery.

So, you have just admitted to being a lying, stealing, murdering adulterer.

In that exchange, a person is confronted with the holy standard that God has set. They are confronted with their sinfulness, their inability to keep the law or to be good enough. And then they are pointed to the cure, to the solution, to the Good News, the complete and saving work of Jesus Christ.

There is another way that our sinful nature works to fight back against the goodness of the law. Remember back in Romans 1, Paul show sus that we know the truth but we suppress it and in his list of sins at the end of the chapter, one of the things he lists is that we are inventors of evil. Paul says here in Romans 7 that he would not even know what covetous was if not for the law telling him not to covet.

And so, he have the promise of forgiveness and everlasting life through Jesus Christ. And that, so crystal clearly, through no effort or work of our own, but only through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

But Jesus tells us, after he has saved us that we are to follow his commandments. Our sanctification, the progression of our sinful nature being transformed in the image of Christ, this process is not a passive process. We have to be very active and intentional about it. And it wont always be easy.

One of the things we don’t always think about, or remember or know, is what purpose the law has AFTER we have been cured, to continue with Matt Chandlers illustration. We have a tendency to look at the law, to look at Gods commands as a sacrifice. We look at them as if God is trying to keep us from enjoying life or from having fun when the truth is, nothing could be further from the truth.

Think back to Genesis 2. God told Adam that he had free reign in the Garden of Eden with one exception. He was not to eat of the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam was then supposed to tell Eve. The serpent came and tempted her with a two fold attack. The first and most famous was question Gods Word. Did God really say?

But he also questioned why God said it. God was obviously trying to keep Adam and Eve from becoming like him. He was keeping the good stuff from them.

And yet, we see that God was keeping them from that tree for their good. He set up his laws and his commands for a reason. There is a reason that sin, which is failing to keep the law, is a bad thing. God really does have our best interests in mind. It wuld be pretty cruel of him not to. But we know that God is a good God. Paul also writes in 1 Timothy 1:8 that “we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully,”

James Boice says, “True Christianity does not lead the believer away from the law into nothingness. It leads him to Jesus Christ, who, in the person of the Holy Spirit, comes to dwell within him and furnishes him with a new nature that alone is capable of doing what God desires.”

Matt Chandler continues with what we heard earlier, saying, “When the says this is how marriage should work, he is not trying to take from you. He’s trying to give to you. This is how he created it to be. Walk in this. There is more joy walking in it this way than your way.”

That’s why Paul says in verse 12 here, So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. The enemy and our sin nature is trying to turn all that is good and all that is of God, against him, and against what is right and is twisting it, into sin and knocking it of course. Asking, Did God really say? And getting us to wonder what good God is keeping from us.

There is a real battle going on right now, a spiritual battle. Not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities, against spiritual darkness. The world is fighting God and his Word on every front imaginable.

In the most obvious ways, Gods Word is being just blatantly ignored and suppressed. People are not willing to acknowledge that God exists, let alone that he would have revealed himself in the way that he has.

Others believe that a god, some sort of higher being exists, but what does that really matter to us? Those are the easy to spot battles. But the more cunning, more dangerous and more insidious attacks on God and his word come fom within “Christendom.”

So called Pastors, so called, churches, so called Christians that teach, preach and believe a different Gospel. Whether its denying the sufficiency of scripture, coming up with ideas that only the letters in Red matter, or that the Bible is a good idea, full of myths and legends and parables, that the book was put together by power hungry men looking to subjugate women and minorities. Theses are all very real ideas and beliefs and teachings that are our there.

There are any number of different gospels and different Jesus being preached. Teaching legalism or licentiousness. Teaching that Jesus is not man or that he is not the one true God. Teaching that we have to do something or keep from doing something in order to earn salvation. Teaching that there is no such thing as sin or that everyone goes to heaven or that we have no reason or need ot repent. These battles are going on in our families and in our churches in even inside of ourselves.

And that’s why we need right understanding of the law, right understanding of salvation and sanctification, why we need right understanding of God and his goodness and holiness. This is why its so important to utilize discernment in who we let influence us with their teaching and their views. This is why its so important to come under biblical teaching, to have fellowship with fellow believers and, most importantly to read, study and know your Bible.

When we talk about this spiritual warfare, these battles going on, God tells us many defenses that we can equip ourselves with. Paul writes about it in Ephesians 6, talking about putting on the armor of God. But what is the one piece of offense that is mentioned? The sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God.

The Word, the whole Word and nothing but the Word. Knowing and believing and trusting in Gods Word, his law and his commandments, Knowing that the law is holy and righteous and good.

Ill leave you with one more scripture, 1 John 5:3, John writes, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 

Lets Pray