Justification Benefits, Part I - Romans 5:1

We're in Romans 5. We are just plowing through this book of Romans at a record pace. We've come to chapter 5. We'll see how many verses we work our way through but we're going to be in verses 1-5 today. I think it would be good if I just read these verses, just kind of set them out in front of you. Romans 5 beginning in verse 1 this is where we're plunging in, "Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand and we exalt in hope of the glory of God. And not only this but we also exalt in our tribulations. Knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance proven character and proven character hope and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

 

These are great verses. Just reading these verses is an encouragement to our hearts. What these verses are all about are the benefits of justification. Every salesman knows that you bring out the benefits to the buyer if you want to close the deal. Paul is bringing out the benefits to us of our buying in to the gospel and to justification by faith. In these verses, verses 1-5 we have five benefits of justification. This is what has come to us as a result of justification. Now in chapters 3 and 4 where we have been Paul has made his case for justification. What it is and how we come by it. Now in chapter 5 he wants to talk about the package. What all comes with justification by faith? You go buy a car and the salesmen tells you the package, well you get this and you get that, you get this, you get that, that comes along. You get all the bells and whistles with it.

 

Paul wants to give us now the package the benefits that come with justification by faith. Just to remind us all here, justification is when God declares us to be righteous in his sight. When God imputes to us the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ to our account in heaven. Now he does not make us righteous he declares us to be righteous and there's a difference. If he were to make us righteous then we would be sinlessly perfect right now. He has not made us fully, completely righteous in the practical sense. And starting in chapter 6 we'll get into sanctification and God's working out now this salvation. But he has declared us to be righteous. Like a judge would declare a guilty man to be innocent based upon the righteousness of another which is Jesus Christ.

 

As we look at this now and I want you to think about your own relationship with the Lord. I want you to think about your own walk with the Lord what all has come to you. The first is in verse 1 and it is peace with God.

 

PEACE WITH GOD

 

In fact, let me just walk you through this real quick. In verse 1 it's peace with God you see that. We have peace with God. In verse 2 we have access to God. It says, "We have obtained our introduction into this grace." And we'll unpack this a little bit more. Your translation may even actually have the word access but that's the idea. I'll bring that out as we're there. We have access to God, peace with God, access to God. And then third at the end of verse 2, hope in God. And that extends all the way down to the first part of verse 5. The end of verse 2 to the beginning of verse 5 is hope in God.

 

Just to remind you this hope is not wishful thinking. It is a guaranteed certainty about your future. Then fourth as we're in verse 5 the love of God. Verse 5, this has been poured out in our hearts and it's an experiential love of God that we experience inside of us. The smile of God upon us. Then finally we have his spirit within us at the end of verse 5. Those are five incredible benefits that have come to us as a result of justification. Let's just enjoy walking our way through this. I don't know if we'll be able to cover all five or just the first couple it will depend on how fast you listen. The first is peace with God. So look at it there in verse 1, "Therefore," and when he says therefore he's connecting it to everything that has preceded. Specifically justification which he began in chapter 3 verse 21 and has extended now to the end of chapter 4.

 

On the basis of having built his case for justification. I mean he laid a foundation a skyscraper could easily rest on. It was an extraordinary case for justification. He says having been justified by faith. Now let's just pause there for a moment. Please note the verb tense that you have there in your bibles. Translate it as a past tense it's actually what we call and aorist tense that in context is translated as a past tense. I just want you to note when it was we were justified. We were justified the moment by faith we laid whole to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some bad teachers out there who have a strange gospel that say we're not justified till the last day. In fact our works will have to be examined on the last day and if the scales tilt in the positive direction then you will be justified. Well that's just a cruel message. That's a cruel gospel and it's not gospel at all because the bible teaches as you can well see in your bible that we've already been justified and that happened at the moment of saving faith.

 

Now there are also on the other end of the spectrum some hyper, hyper, hyper Calvinists who say we were justified in eternity past. No we were not justified in eternity past. We were for known and chosen in eternity past but even the elect are under the wrath of God until the moment they believe in Jesus Christ. We want to be very clear that we are justified in the moment, it's an immediate transaction that occurs between God and the sinner. The moment we by faith believe in Jesus Christ we are instantly, immediately declared to be the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. It won't take place on the last day and it didn't take place in eternity future. It takes place at the moment of our conversion. This text screams this. And also please not we're justified by faith. The next word is not and. By faith and good works. By faith and water baptism, church membership, tithing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We are justified by faith alone. There are no good works before faith and there's no works attached to faith and there's no good works after faith it's just faith alone. Sola Fide by faith alone. And we understand that faith is the commitment of our life to Jesus Christ. It is trusting in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. In order to trust Jesus you have to turn away from the world, you have to turn away from your life pursuit of sin. You have to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and you have to believe in him.

 

This is a finished transaction and it's an irrevocable transaction. Once justified always justified okay. Having been justified, now what comes with this. Well number one he says, "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." The we refers to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. This isn't an upper tier, executive platinum level for certain Christians to get into once you have obtained whatever, whatever. No if you have believed in Jesus Christ the we refers to every genuine true believer. He says, "We have," please note the verb tense here. This very moment, present tense, now, "You have been justified therefore you now have peace with God." Now there are two kinds of peace and we need to make this clear distinction. There is subjective peace and there is objective peace. And we've talked about this before but it's worth noting again. Subjective peace is a feeling. It's the peace of God. Not peace with God but the peace of God. And it's the inner calm within the heart and soul because our faith is in the Lord and the midst of the storms of life and the tribulations that we face and the difficulties we still have peace, the peace of God.

 

Now there are other verses that teach that. John 14:27 Jesus said, "My peace I give onto you. Peace not as the world gives. My peace I give onto you." And in Philippians 4:6-7, "Be anxious for nothing but in everything through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made done into God and the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Now that would be a benefit but that's not the benefit Paul's talking about here. He's talking about peace with God. And this is a bigger deal than the peace of God. This is objective peace. This is not a feeling. This is a fact and to have peace with God means the war is over. To have peace with God presupposes that we were at war with God.

 

Now you may not have realized it when your mom was taking you to church and you're a little kid but you were unsaved and unconverted you were at war with God. Or it may have been that you never went to church as a kid and you just sowed your wild oats and were praying for crop failure and you just lived a wild life and I don't have to convince you that you were at war with God. Now what is worse than us being at war with God is the fact that God was at was us. And there's more to the story than smile God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. God did demonstrate his love toward us and that's why we as sinners Christ died for us but the fact is as Romans 1:18 says we were under the wrath of God.

 

Let me just remind us back in Romans 1:18 you remember the last decade when we looked at this, Romans 1:18, "For the wrath of God is," present tense, "is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men." So even the elect were under the wrath of God before they believed in Jesus Christ. And the unbeliever this very moment still has the tip of God's arrow pointed at his chest cavity ready for the arrow of his wrath to be unleashed. Now we're in Romans 5 just peak ahead for a moment at verses 9 and 10 because I want to convince you of this. Verse 9, "Much more than having now been justified," that sounds familiar doesn't it, "by his blood we shall be saved from the wrath of God." Even we who are believers, we've been saved from the wrath of God. That means the wrath of God was threatening us. Verse 10 says, "For if while we were enemies," we were enemies. The we refers to believers. We had declared cosmic treason against God.

 

Whether it is active rebellion or passive indifference or somewhere in the spectrum in between however it was played out in our life we were enemies of God. We were on the other team, on the other side. John 8:44 says that we were sons of Satan, children of the devil. "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of son, much more having been reconciled we shall be saved by his life." The fact that we now have peace with God that is enormous. That God is no longer angry at us. That God is no longer full of vengeance towards us. I want you to turn back to Psalms just for a moment and I want to just draw your attention to a few cross references because I don't want this to pass over us lightly. I think sometimes we are just so lulled to sleep with the love of God and we're going to get to that in verse 5 but this needs to sink in. This is a big deal that we have peace with God.

 

In Psalm 5 - I didn't tell you which Psalm, it's a big book. Psalm 5:4-6 - it's right after Psalm 4 - verse 5:4, "For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness." Well if he doesn't take pleasure in wickedness he takes the opposite. "No evil dwells with you," now that's because God is so Holy, "the boastful shall not stand before your eyes, you hate all who do inequity." Now please note it's not just that God hates their inequity but he hates the person who does, who commits inequity. Verse 6, "You destroy those who speak falsehood. The Lord abhors the man of blood shed and deceit." I'll tell you what it's a big deal for that to be over. "God abhorred and hated us in our sin." Look at Psalm 7:11, turn to the right to Psalms, "God is a righteous judge and a God who has indignation every day."

 

Please note it's not just on the last day that God will have indignation it's every moment of every day God has indignation. Now verse 12 pictures God as the divine warrior, verses 12 and 13 and verse 14 will be the target of his wrath. Note verse 12, "If a man does not repent," well that's every unbeliever right, "he God has sharpened his sword. He has bent his bow and made it ready." Meaning it's already locked and loaded. Verse 13, "He has also prepared for himself deadly weapons." Not a flesh wound but to take down the object of his wrath. "He makes his arrows fiery shafts." This is God. As Spurgeon said God never misses the mark. He never misses the target. The next verse, verse 14 is the human target that the divine warrior is ready to sink his arrows into their soul. Verse 14, "Behold he travails with wickedness," the he refers not to God but to the sinner, "and he conceives mischief", that's obviously not God, "and brings forth falsehood", that is obviously not God but the object of his wrath.

 

Let me just give you a couple more very quick, Psalm 9:7-8, "For the Lord abides forever he has established his throne for judgement." God is a God of judgement and he will judge the world in righteousness. He will execute judgement for the peoples with equity. Now look at Psalm 11 beginning in verse 4, "The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lords throne is in heaven. His eyes behold." In other words, he sees it all. His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked. And the one who loves violence his soul hates. Upon the wicked he will rain snares, fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. This is the God of the bible. He is a holy God and because he is holy he hates all that is unholy. Not only in the sin but also the sinner as well. Now I know what some people are thinking, "Well that's Old Testament Dr. Lawson. We're in the New Testament." And right you are.

 

So let's come to the New Testament and see its second verse same as the first. John 3:36 and what I want you to see is every unbeliever, every unbeliever is under the wrath of God. In John 3:36, this is the same chapter as John 3:16. John 3:36, I did all the talking I need to get to it now, "He who believes in the son has eternal life. But he who does not obey the son will not see life but the wrath of God abides," please note the verb tense. Present tense abides on him. You're either under the wrath of God or you're a believer. It's one of the two and nothing in between and the unbeliever, even the elect unbeliever before he comes to faith in Christ is under the wrath of God. The wrath of God is his smoldering fury and his vengeance and his indignation and his fierce anger towards all that is contrary to his holy nature.

 

Now let me just give you a few more verses. Come to Ephesians 2. And I just really want to anchor this in our understanding that there's more to the story then smile God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. No God is angry with the wicked every day. Now in Ephesians 2 you're very familiar with this passage beginning in verse 1, "You were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you formally walked." Now the you refers to the elect. In chapter 1, "He chose you in Christ for the foundation of the world and love he predestined us to the adoption of sons." Just so that we're clear on this the you is referring to believers. This is our autopsy. This is the report of what we were when we were dead in trespasses and sin. He says, "You formally," so these are our BC days, Before Christ, "You formally walked according to the course of this world." That means you were just going with the crowd. You were just going with the flow. You just fit into the world so nicely because you were a part of the evil world system that was anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-truth. Then he says, "According to the Prince of the Power of the air." We know who that is that's Satan and we were held captive be a personal devil who was the God of this age and the prince of this world that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Every unbeliever is a son of disobedience and every true believer is a son of obedience or you're not a son of God. I mean it's so simple.

 

Now look at verse 3, "Among them we too all," so it's true of every believer whether you grew up in church, didn't grow up in the church, whether you grew up in a pagan temple. Whoever you are whatever your background, "We to all formally lived in the lust of our flesh indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind and we're by nature children of wrath." That is a Hebraism for children deserving wrath, children under wrath, children who are the object of wrath, "even as the rest." We were in that same stream going according to the course of this world under the wrath of God. When Paul says we have peace with God. Mercy. There's nothing bigger that's happened in your life then for you to go from being under the wrath of God to now having peace with God. As long as we're in Ephesians, look at chapter 5 verse 6. I just want to firmly establish this in our thinking, "Let no one deceive you with empty words," okay so don't let some slick talking television preacher come along and tell you otherwise. "Let no one deceive you with empty words for because of these things the wrath of God comes," present tense, "upon the sons of disobedience."

 

This is the state in which we were once in. If you're taking notes I'll just give you a couple more verses. We won't turn to them. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and Revelation 14:9-10. Revelation 20:10 and 15. It's just an irrefutable case that the scripture makes that we were once under the wrath of God in this world and the moment we believed in Jesus Christ we went from being an enemy of God to being a friend of God and being a child of God. The change in status was monumental. We went from God having the arrows of his wrath pointed and aimed at us to now his arms are open and he's drawn us in and we are in his bosom as his children the object of his affection and love. Now all of this, come back to Romans 5, I know I've been taking you around the block but come back to Romans 5:1, I know we've kind of pulled over and parked here but every so often you just need to pull the car over to the side of the road and look out and look at the Grand Canyon and see what it is we're passing by.

 

In verse 1 we have peace with God, pause and meditate on that, the warfare is over. I was reading a sermon by RC Sproul a couple days ago and he was talking about when he was a little kid. I can't remember if he was like six or seven years old. I know he was born in 1939 so maybe we'll say six and he's out in the street playing stick ball and the man hole cover is home plate and he's out there with his buddies and he said he's up to bat and everyone just comes running out of their houses and apartments and his mother comes out just her arms above her head and just all but dancing. And it was the announcement that the war was over. World War II was over. And they went from being in a state of dread to now the war is over and father can come home and we're no longer in this stressful situation. That's what it is to be justified. It's that the war is over permanently with God.

 

Now at the end of verse 1 he tells us how this has come about. It's another prepositional phrase. In fact it's the third prepositional phrase in this one verse and Christianity has been called a religion of prepositional phrases. You see by faith with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The value of the prepositional phrase is you can have so much truth just condensely packed into just a couple of words. He says through our Lord Jesus Christ. Please note he doesn't just say Jesus and he doesn't just say Christ nor Jesus Christ this is such a major point. I mean he throws out all three names, "Our Lord Jesus Christ." I mean I knew whenever my father said, "Steven James Lawson." Whatever is following is a big deal. Usually I'm in big trouble. Well Paul wants to underscore this, "Through our Lord Jesus Christ." The entire mediation of this piece has been accomplished through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

 

And let me just tell you this there's not one drop of peace with God outside of the Lord Jesus Christ. It's all through the Lord Jesus Christ or we'll never have peace with God. Now just to remind you Lord is his sovereign name, it's Kurios in the Greek K-U-R-I-O-S. Kurios it just means sovereign, despite, king, supreme being, the one who's in control of everything in the entire universe. He is the sovereign one whose will is supreme. That's what Lord means. The moment that you are saved you submit and surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Can you imagine some enemy crossing sides and just saying well I believe you as savior but I'm still going to be your enemy and I'm not going to surrender to you? I'm still going to be against you. No saving faith has in it the recognition of the lordship of Jesus Christ.

 

You've been on the other side. Satan has been your master, sin has been your master and when you now enter into the kingdom of God there is a recognition, you have a new Lord, you have a new master, you're under new management, you're under new ownership. Everything is new on this okay so you can't come up with some crazy message that you can come into the Kingdom of Heaven but you're still going to have your old loyalties and your old allegiances and your old master you just want fire insurance. It doesn't work that way. It's a packaged deal. Our Lord Jesus Christ. It's all or nothing. Can you imagine if I came to your house, knocks and you go, "Who is there?" "Steven James Lawson." "Well Steve come in James Lawson you stay out." "Well I can't come in what do you want me to cut off my arm and slide it under the door and you get a part of me? No I can't come in until you say, "Steven James Lawson come in." Okay now the whole of me can come in." Well you don't get a part of Jesus. It's our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

And Lord means something and it means that he is the sovereign one who now you have a new loyalty and a new allegiance to him as king over your life. And you now are a son of obedience. You're no longer a son of disobedience. You spent your whole life a son of disobedience. You now are a son of obedience to a new Lord. Now Jesus is his saving name. Lord is his sovereign name, Jesus is his saving name and it means the name Jesus means Jehovah saves and that's exactly who he is and why he came. He is God Jehovah in human flesh who has come on a mission of salvation to save sinners. Jesus. Mathew 1:21, "You shall call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins." And then finally Christ is his strong name and that means the anointed one. In the Old Testament it's Messiah, Mashiach in the New Testament it's Christ. And both Messiah and Christ mean the same thing just two different languages, Hebrew and Greek. And Christ means the anointed one. And you anointed with what? Anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit. The person in power of the Holy Spirit which at his baptism the spirit came upon him to empower him in his enterprise of salvation.

 

Jesus in his humanity was empowered by the spirit to triumph in his sinless life and in his substitutionary death. Now through our Lord Jesus Christ. It's all three. Now how did Jesus provide what we need to remove us from being under the wrath of God. Two things, his sinless life and his substitutionary death. In his sinless life Jesus obtained and secured a perfect righteousness under the law of God. He obeyed for the sons of the disobedience. He obeyed on our behalf that he could secure the righteousness that we need because we have broken the law of God again and again and again. And it's that righteousness through his active obedience to the law of God that's what deposited into your account as if you have perfectly obeyed the law of God every moment of your life.

 

In this sense not only did Jesus die for you Jesus also lived for you. It's the whole package. Then not only a sinless life but his substitutionary death and by his death Jesus shed his blood. I'm going to give you two theological words here that were found back and one of them in chapter 3 and one of them here in chapter 5 and I want to just dwell on these two words for a moment, propitiation and reconciliation. Those are two gigantic realities that Jesus accomplished for us. In Romans 3:25 it says, "That we have propitiation in his blood." Propitiation it means the satisfaction of the wrath of God. That the wrath of God towards believers was fully, freely, finally appeased by the death of Christ on our behalf. When Jesus was hanging upon the cross he bore our sins and the father unleashed all of his wrath upon his son Jesus Christ.

 

There is not one drop of wrath left for you and me. Jesus was crushed under this tsunami of wrath that the father unleashed oceans of wrath upon his son that was deserving you and me. What you and I the wrath we would experience in a million, trillion eternities in hell it was all dumped upon the Lord Jesus Christ. The physical suffering was nothing. We talked about that last week. The spiritual suffering was everything as the father crushed the son. He came down hard upon the son. By his death he has now, let me give you the synonyms, satisfied, appeased, placated, propitiated. Pick your word. The wrath of God toward us. When he took the cup in the garden and drank it there was not one drop left.

 

That is why Romans 8:1 says, "There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Jesus took it all to himself. I mean God didn't just dump it in the ocean, all of his wrath. God didn't just snap his fingers and extinguish all his wrath the father dealt with what is due us in a real way by transferring it to his son. Jesus suffered the wrath of God in our place. Listen, we can never come to the Lord's table the same again. Our hand ought to shake when we hold the cup and when we hold the bread that he was crushed under the fierce vengeance and fury, the smoldering wrath of God that was due us Jesus suffered it upon the cross.

 

The second key word is in chapter 5 and it found in verse 10, it is the word reconciliation. First there had to be the propitiation then there was the reconciliation. And reconciliation means you stand in the middle between two parties who are in conflict with one another and who cannot get together. The one who stands in the middle is often called a mediator. It's two parties who are at odds with each other and the mediators brings about terms of reconciliation where he takes both parties, one in one hand, one in the other and brings them in essence to the table and removes the enmity that was between then and reconciles them together. The bible says that Jesus has reconciled us through the blood of his cross, Colossians 1:21-22. It was the high price of the reconciliation. He took Holy God in one hand - I know I'm raising my voice but this is good stuff - he took Holy God in one hand and sinful man in the other hand and brought the two together and there's no way they could have ever been brought together except the mediator in the middle bring them together.

 

God's too holy and we're too wretched for us to ever be able to meet in the middle. Only through the blood of Christ and his death upon the cross can the two be brought together. To be a mediator you have to be impartial to both sides. To be a mediator you have to be equal to both sides. That is why Jesus had to become a man. He had to become a man yet remain fully God. He was the God man. Truly God, truly man. Therefore, being truly God he could represent God with man and being now truly man he became one of us. He got into our skin. He entered the human race. He was actually born of a virgin. He can now represent us before God. There is no one else who could have been this mediator, Moses, Abraham, David, Paul, Peter, none of them could have been the mediator between us and God. It had to be someone who was fully God, truly God and someone truly man who could stand in the middle and bring the two together and he did that through the blood of his cross through his substitutionary death.

 

In Romans 5:1 there is a library of theology in this one verse. I had a feeling you weren’t going to listen fast enough. I had a feeling that we weren't going to be able to press beyond this but this is one of the mountain peak verses in the entire bible. This is a towering Mount Everest. This is a verse you need to memorize. This is a verse you need to tell others about, "Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." In other words Jesus went to war on our behalf and he entered into the conflict on our behalf. That we could be released from the war with God. I can't imagine a more terrifying state to be in than to be at war with God and have God at war with you but Jesus through his sinless life and his substitutionary death which accomplished propitiation and reconciliation. There's more that he accomplished but those are the two biggies as it relates to having peace with God.

 

I'll just throw out one more word while we're on it, redemption, which means he bought us out of the slave market of sin. And if the son shall set you free you shall be free indeed. He paid the price with the silver and the gold of his precious blood. He ransomed us. He bought us. So now get this we now belong to him. We are his possession. He paid the price he bought us. That's why none of us are free to do our own thing just live however we want to live. That's theological insanity. He paid the price by the shedding of his blood. He purchased us from under the curse of the law and we now belong to him and we now go where he sends us. We do what he requires we are under his lordship and his mastery and his authority because we're his possession. It's a big deal to be justified. It's a really big deal. This is only one of the five benefits that Paul mentions, peace with God. There's a reason why it's number one on the list because the rest of it just kind of falls in line. He leads with the biggest benefit.

 

When we leave here in just a little bit, when you get in your car and you drive to work or you walk down the hall and sit down at the desk you need to just really exhale and breathe a sigh of relief with thankfulness and gratitude to God that you once were an enemy of God. You once were under the wrath of God. You once were dead in your trespasses and sin. He had his arrows pointed at his chest cavity and the arrow of his wrath was in the bow and he was ready to unleash it and Christ stepped in between you and God. The father unleashed that arrow and it hit Christ instead and he suffered on our behalf and none of us can even begin to comprehend what that staggering blow must have been for him at the cross to bear the sins of all of his people but to suffer the wrath of God upon the sins of all of his people at one moment. Basically from high noon when God snuffed out the sun and it became pitch dark black as he hung upon the cross at 12:00 noon until 3:00 when he cried out, "It is finished." It's been paid in full. There's not a drop of wrath of left for anyone of us who are in Christ.

 

Now there are oceans still reserved for unbelievers. There is going to be a dam break at the end of the age like we have no comprehension. And right now the dam of his mercy is holding back this building river of wrath and it's just building and building and building and the pressure is mounting and mounting and mounting and at the end of the age when God pulls back his hand of mercy that wrath will be unleashed and it's been building since Cane and Able. It's been building and building. And it will sweep sinners into the bowels of hell forever and rightly so. That we have escaped all of that and have been rescued out of that is ginormous. And we need to come back to verses like this again and again and again as we kind of skip our way to work and whistle that this reality has come to pass in our lives and everything else is dwarfed in comparison to this. I mean whatever fingernail problem you've got going on is nothing compared to the fact that your soul has been spared the wrath of God which it justly deserves. I need to land the plane, park it in the hanger here for a moment. Let you breath. I need to let you talk. As you're hearing this verse, these texts, expounded, opened up what comes to your mind? What strikes you? What do you think? What do you feel? What do you do?

 

Audience Member:      So you could teach on this several weeks because it is so deep. One of the applications is that God as one of the puritans says God justifies a man through the conduit of faith. The means by which - how is this appropriated to an individual? By faith. The way that God credits, reckons, imputes this righteousness is by faith. And so then you Paul will write in chapter 10 verse 17, "So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ." So the application is that we have to tell others about Christ because that's the means by which God will use to impute righteousness to his people. The second part is -

 

Can I add a footnote to that? Not just tell them but persuade them. Like if your house is on fire and you're asleep I'm going to do more than just tell you, send you a text. I'm going to come shake you. You got to get up. You've got to get out of here. This thing is going up in flames. All right go ahead.

 

Audience Member:      And yeah I mean it's eternal consequence. The second part is that the mediator is the object of our faith. The mediator is the Lord Jesus Christ. I had to look it up. It's Job 9:33 where Job says there's no umpire between us. There's no one who can lay his hand on God's shoulder and my shoulder. Well there is and it's the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Yeah he's the only one that can be equal to both sides. Fully God, fully man and stand in the middle.

 

Audience Member:      In all this you said earlier, we concentrate on love and I was listening to actually S Lewis Johnson and he made the comment that we don't focus enough on God's holiness.

 

Oh yeah.

 

Audience Member:      Which is all this context.

 

That's the one attribute that's raised to the third power in the scripture.

 

Audience Member:      I know this could be another whole hour but to those who are non-believers you said it was an irrevocable transaction. So going back to like some religions or denominations that believe in the age of accountability and some like as Methodists they believe in prevenient grace when they baptize or as an infant. God can't be where there's not grace that proceeds him. And so how do you like what about a child that hasn't had the chance to make the knowledge to make that transaction. And what about the child who as a really young child made a profession of faith as they thought maybe they did and then now they call themselves an agnostic. I know John 28 says I am the sheep and no one can snatch them out of my hands.

 

Well to start at the very beginning I think a baby that dies goes to be with the Lord. I think that's one of the Lord's. There are many verses that we could pull together to build a case for that. I would start there. The second thing I would say is we don't know what this age of accountability is. In the book of Jonah it's knowing the difference between your right hand and your left hand whatever that signifies that there is some sense of moral discernment. I think what about a child who says they believe in the Lord and then they go live like the devil?

 

Audience Member:      Maybe or maybe not but then later on in life they say that made a profession of faith they were baptized but then later on I've known people that say, "Well yeah I was baptized as a child and I don't know why I did that because I don't believe that now.

 

Well then, they never truly believed. They were just going through the external motions. They're one of those that say Lord, Lord but don't know the Lord. It becomes real - it is real when your life changes. You can't hop on board without you going in a new direction now. And it starts with the heart and works its way out to the actions. Listen there are so many people who just parrot a prayer as a kid and it's never real and they continue to just live like the world and run with the devil's crowd and there's no life change. Well Jesus said you'll know them by their fruit and if it's bad fruit that means there's a bad root. And you're not rooted and grounded in Christ. Now there's a lot more that can be said as far as variations and shades on this. I'm speaking in black and white terms but you will know them by their fruit. You tell me what the fruit is and I'll tell you where the root is. There is an inseparable connection between the root and the fruit.

 

There will be a life change. There will be a change of affections, there will be a change of mindset, there will be a change of direction, there will be a change of priorities, there will be a change of choices that a person makes when they are genuinely born again. And the book of 1 John gives depending upon how you slice it either eight or nine evidences of the new birth and it's not you get to pick three out of the eight. It's across the board. All eight of these will be present, this fruit will be present in a person's life when the root is in Christ. Jesus said you'll know them by their fruit and not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. That's one of the eight evidences is now a heart of obedience to keep the word of God. That's why unbelievers are called sons of disobedience.

 

Shall we not say in them that day Lord, Lord did we not prophesize in your name? Did we not cast out demons in your name? Did we not perform many wonderous works in your name? And I will say into them in that day depart from me you who work inequity I never knew you. You were just living a charade. You were living in a masquerade world. You have so convinced yourself that you were saved that you actually thought you were casting out demons, you actually thought you were serving me when in reality the whole thing was just a charade it was just a game. You were self-deceived about your relationship to the Lord. Depart from me I never knew you it's not that I once knew you and then didn't know you. No I never knew you from the beginning. That's why Jesus says enter through the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way is board that leads to destruction.

 

In other words you can just weave all over the highway. You can just live however you want to live. I mean nothing is out of bounds. It's just wide open but it's headed for destruction. It says the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and few are those who find it. And the gate and the way match up. You can't go through a narrow gate and then go down a board path. It's a narrow gate, narrow path. Broad gate, broad path. You can't mix and match. The narrow gate means you have to leave your baggage on the outside. That's called repentance. You turn away from the idols and the worldliness and you enter through the narrow gate and it's so narrow you can only enter one at a time. And it only leads down a narrow path which is a path that is lived and 1 John gives you the eight characteristics. You now are one who confess sin, you are now one who obeys the word of God as a lifestyle. It's not the perfection of your life it's the direction of your life. You now practice righteousness, etc, etc.  

 

I wish I had time to go through 1 John. That's why he then says, "Truly, truly I say to you he who hears these words of mine and acts upon them." It's like a wise man who built his house upon the rock. And when the rains came and the winds blew and beat against the house it did not fall because it was built upon the rock. He who hears these words of mine and does not act upon them is like a very foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the rains came and the winds blew and beat against the house great was its fall because it was built upon the sand. Now they both went through the motions of building a house.

 

If you just stood there that day and you saw them both in church. You saw them both in bible study. You saw them both helping old ladies across the street but one built upon the rock and the other built upon the sand and the sand is a false conversion. The sand is just an emotional feeling that you had or some head knowledge that you had. But there was never the submission of your will to the Lord. You stayed behind the steering wheel and you kept the Lord in the trunk. Well you're one of those who will be saying Lord, Lord you know me don't you? Remember me? No I never knew you. Depart from me. You who work inequity.

 

I know I'm kind of half way answering your question and more than answering your question at the same time but that's why Jesus said you will know them by their fruit. The fruit will tell you what the root is. The root and fruit are inseparably connected. Good root produces good fruit. Bad root produces bad fruit. You want to know what your root is look at your fruit. The fruit will tell you what the root is. And the fruit is the lifestyle the root is either a genuine or a false confession in a faith in Christ. He's the one saying Lord, Lord, you know me. You remember me. Lord, Lord. I mean it's repeated twice like a sense of like hey, hey you know me and Jesus said no I never knew you. Not that I once knew you. I never knew you from the beginning. Your whole supposed Christian life was just a charade it was just a game. There was no reality in the heart because if there had been the reality in the heart there would have been the fruit that would have accompanied it.

 

You can know what the root is just by looking at the fruit. The root is under the surface the fruit is wide open and it's an inseparable connection between the fruit and the root. Well I've run 12 stop signs. I'm looking at the clock there but thank you for the question and he who has ears to hear let him hear. Because it's like the old spiritual song not everyone talking about heaven is going there. Guys we need to wrap it up. Next week we're going to be right here on Wednesday and it's going to be verse 2. But verse 1 we just had to pull over and park and get out of the car and walk around a little bit. We'll look at verses 2-5 next time.

 

Let me just end by saying this, this is why 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Examine yourself whether you be in the faith." Just because you prayed a prayer, walked an isle, signed a card, joined a church, sing in the choir whatever that doesn't mean you're in. You need to examine yourself whether you be in the faith. There's an inseparable connection between the root and the fruit. If you want to know what your root is look at the fruit. All right let me just close, Father thank you for this study. Seal it to our hearts, use this around the world as people watch. In Christ’s name, Amen. 

Dr. Steven J. Lawson

Dr. Steven J. Lawson is President and founder of OnePassion Ministries, a ministry designed to equip biblical expositors to bring about a new reformation in the church. Dr. Lawson hosts The Institute for Expository Preaching in cities around the world. Dr. Lawson is also a Teaching Fellow for Ligonier Ministries, where he serves on its board. Moreover, he is Professor of Preaching and oversees the Doctor of Ministry program at The Master’s Seminary, where he also serves on its board. Dr. Lawson is also Professor in Residence for Truth Remains, a work designed to promote and proclaim God’s written Word. Further, Dr. Lawson serves as the Executive Editor for Expositor Magazine published by OnePassion Ministries.