We're in Romans; surprise. Romans Chapter 5. And I do want to welcome those who are watching us live stream from around the world. You can go on our website at www.onepassionministries.org and see my travel schedule and you can see where I'll be. If you have any questions during the course of this study, there's something at the bottom of the screen that you can e-mail us and we'd love to hear from you and answer those questions. Even as I've been in Orlando, Louisville, Columbus, DC; every place I go, people are watching and come up to me and say how much they love to be a part of this Bible study.
We're in Romans Chapter 5 and in Verses 6-11, and I'm going to put a title on this before I read this, and the title of this is “The John 3:16 of Romans”. And that's what this is; this is John 3:16 but in a much more definitive, robust, theological presentation of what that most famous verse says. Let me read it and I think you'll see why I call it this.
Verse 6: "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."
I just love these verses. Wherever I go to speak, they always put a microphone on me like this one here and they say, "Let's test your voice." And when I test the microphone no matter where I am, instead of saying, "Testing, one, two, three, four; testing, one, three, four," to get a voice tone, I always say, "For God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Just so that anyone who is in the sanctuary, the auditorium, the worship center, that they'll hear the Gospel, even if they're just walking through the lobby, they're going to hear verse 8.
These verses really mean a great deal to me and I know they mean a great deal to you. And what they are is an extension of what we saw in verse 5. Last time together, we looked at verses 1-5, and he says, "Because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts, through the Holy Spirit, who was given to us." The first mention of the love of God in the Book of Romans, and as Paul mentions that, as you know, Paul can just open up a particular thought and develop it more fully, and that's what he does here. He takes the love of God, and in verses 6-11, he amplifies and extrapolates what this love of God is. And the first word in verse 6 is very important because it's also the first word in verse 7 and it's also the first word in verse 10. It's the word for. And the word for introduces an explanation or the reason for something.
I. FIRST EXPLANTION
What Paul is doing is giving the reason why the love of God is so great and so rich and so unparalleled and so unprecedented. He doesn't want to just say, "The love of God," and move on. When he says, "The love of God," in verse 5, he just has to pull over and park and open that up for us the riches. This is something like Ephesians 3 that we would know the height and the depth and the breadth and the length of the love of God toward us and Christ Jesus," that's what this little section is. Verses 6-11 is what we call a literary unit. It's like a paragraph. It's like a unit of thought. Many of you in your own Bible will have it broken out by the translator into a separate paragraph.
That's what verses 6-11 is. But what I want you to see is that it really is the commentary on verse 5. Tell us about this love of God. As we look at verse 6, it's the first explanation. verse 7 will be the second explanation. And then verse 10 will begin the third. There's a three-fold opening up and explaining, describing, this extraordinary love of God.
He says in verse 6, "For while we were still helpless – " the we refers to all believers. This is obviously true of unbelievers. But Paul is looking back as he addresses the believers in Rome that this is true of us because in Chapter 3, remember he went through this long list of total depravity. "There's none who seeks after God, no, not one. Their throat is an open grave. Their feet run to shed blood," et cetera, et cetera. "There's no fear of God in their eyes."
It would be easy just to look at the unconverted world and go, "Yeah, yeah, they are in sin." Paul here is reminding the Romans that this is true of us as well – once was true of us. He says, "We were – for while we were still helpless –". Now Paul's going to use four words here to describe what we were, the way we were before we were converted. I've drawn a circle around them in my Bible here. In verse 6 are two of these words, helpless and ungodly. Do you see that? And then in verse 8, sinners; and verse 10, enemies. That's pretty potent.
This is what we once were; helpless, ungodly, sinners, and enemies. It's a package deal. All four of these represent what we once were. It's not two of the four, one of the four, three of the four; it's across the board package deal, all four. He says, "While we were still helpless –" this word helpless means to be totally powerless. The idea is to be weak, to be infirmed, to be feeble, to be frail, to be impotent, to be sickly, to be totally unable to do anything to gain or earn acceptance with God. I mean, there is nothing that we had to even contribute. We were completely helpless. If you're helpless, you're helpless. You have no help whatsoever.
We were helpless to escape the wrath of God. We were helpless to escape Hell. We were helpless to escape the Second Death. He says, "For while we were still helpless at the right time –" and at the right time; there's two Greek words that are used for time. One is Kronos, and I'm going to mention it because you'll hear the English chronology like a timepiece. It's not referring to, well, at high noon on December the 3rd. This is a different Greek word that's used for time. It means a strategic opportune moment within time, a time that is ripe at exactly the right moment as it had been designated by God. And in Galatians 4:4, we read that, "In the fullness of time –". God had set the stage, the world stage, the Roman world, the Jewish world, the political realm. It was exactly in the fullness of time.
"At the right time, Christ died for the ungodly." Christ died. He had to die. It wasn't enough that he shed blood in the Garden. There was more going on. His blood was even shed when he was circumcised as a little baby. He had to die because Romans 6:23 says, "The wages of sin is death." He had to die in our place if we were to have the salvation that we so desperately need. Christ died for – and I want to make a big deal out of this word for, this tiny little preposition. But there is a world of theology in this little word for. It means on behalf of, for the sake of, for the benefit of, and in that little preposition is contained the truth of the substitutionary, vicarious death of Christ for us. He died in our place and for our benefit.
The just died for the unjust. The perfectly godly died for the ungodly. The one who was perfectly holy died on behalf of and for the benefit of those who were unholy. Then here's the second descriptive word, "the ungodly." Not only were we helpless and unable to deliver ourselves but we were ungodly. And this word ungodly is not a complimentary term. It means we were irreverent. We were impious. We were without giving the due reverence to God. It's a matter of the heart. It's not just that our actions were lawbreaking. It runs much deeper into the core of our being. It was that our attitudes and our hearts were ungodly.
We'll talk about our actions when we come to the word sinners in verse 8, which carries the idea of breaking God's law. Here, it refers to what was on the inside of us, down in our bones. We were ungodly. We were wicked and we did not revere God and want to give glory to God.
II. SECOND EXPLANTION
Then in verse 7 is the second explanation. It, too, starts with the word for, and it's an intentional kind of staccato fashion; boom, boom, boom; to drive home the point. By the repetition, each – it's like each nail in the board is just driving it deeper and deeper into our minds.
"For one will hardly die for a righteous man –". And Paul is speaking here by way of human analogy. A righteous man does not mean one who has been declared righteous by God. It speaks to on a human level to be righteous means you're a just man. You're an honest man in your business dealings. You treat others fairly. That's Paul's argument here. There are rare occasions – the word hardly – "One will hardly die for a righteous man –" I mean, there are examples of let's say two coal miners in a coal mine and it's collapsed and one man has a family, a wife, and children, and the other man does not, and there's only one gas mask or oxygen mask; and there are occasions and stories.
Even the Titanic, there were men who gave up their place on the lifeboats so that a woman with children could be safe and be delivered. There are some rare examples of a good person dying for another person or someone dying for a righteous man. So Paul is using this by way of argument, and it's going to be an argument – it's a powerful argument from the greater to the lesser. There are examples of someone dying for a very righteous man. Even the Secret Service around the president, I mean they would have to step in and take a bullet in order to protect a righteous man.
Then he adds to it. It's really just an extenuation of the same thought. He's setting up an argument from the greater to the lesser. "Though perhaps" meaning, well, maybe, "for " – the good man someone would dare even to die." And good here is relative from a human perspective. He's already told us that there is none good, no, not one, when we are compared to God. But the analogy here is on a flat plane comparing one person to another. And there are some good people when we measure it that way.
He says, "Well, maybe for the good man someone might die." And the word good here means someone's who's upright; someone who's moral; someone who is excellent by human standards. But verse 8 is the knockout punch. "But God –" and this sounds like Ephesians 2:4; "But God –" and I've told you before, but just to say it again, Lloyd Jones, "Praise God for the buts in the Bible."
"But God –" who is so unlike man, "God demonstrates –" and I want you to note that it's in the present tense. We would've expected past tense to look back to the cross, but it's in the present tense, meaning it continues to be a present reality through the preaching of the word and through the testimony of scripture, it continues to be demonstrated and set before our heart and our eyes, "that God demonstrates –" and that means put it out in the open, publicly, openly; and that's what the cross was; it was a public demonstration before thousands of people as Jesus was crucified on Calvary right next to the main highway leading into the city of Jerusalem during the most popular feast of the year, the Passover.
"But God demonstrates his own love –". Now this is the echo of verse 5, this love of God that has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit God's own love. And when he says "his own love", it's to distinguish it from any love that you and I have ever felt towards another person. It's a higher love. This is God's own love that has come down from the throne of God. You're very aware of this word love. It's agape. It means undeserved, unmerited, unconditional love; a sacrificial love. We could put it this way; that this love sacrificially gives of itself to seek the highest good in the object loved. And the thing about the object that is loved, which makes this so different from our love, is that the object of this love is so wretched and is so defiled.
We have this kind of love for our own wives, but we find them beautiful and we find them attractive and altogether lovely. We are drawn to them. We want to give to them. But there's a lot coming back from them towards us that melts our heart. This love of God is so different. It's a higher love in that God loves the unlovely. God loves those as we will see here who are sinners. "– he demonstrated his own love toward us-", and the us – " and the us here refers to the fallen, wretched, wicked, depraved, corrupt members of the human race, absolutely nothing lovely in us.
We were a train wreck when God looked upon us and saw us fallen in Adam. "God demonstrated his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners –" the word sinners here speaks of falling short of the glory of God, falling short of the divine standard, to be a lawbreaker of God's moral law. God did not love good people. God did not love righteous people. God did not love anyone who brought anything to the table that was in any way attractive to him. God demonstrated his love toward us in that while we were polluted, foul, filthy, rotten sinners, how different is God's love.
And it was " – while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Now think about this. Christ didn't just give us the shirt off his back. Christ didn't just transfer something out of one account into another account. Christ had to die the most horrific, violent, brutal, barbaric death that has ever been conceived in the mind of man; it comes from the Corinthians – not the Corinthians, but those who were a part of that Mediterranean era that Rome took this brutal form and perfected it to an art form; to an art form.
Christ died, and it involved the shedding of his blood as the following verses will tell us. In verse 9, it involved a shedding of his blood onto death and it was gruesome. And you see the preposition for; again, Paul is emphasizing this. He died for us. This preposition, for the sake of, for the benefit of, in the place of sinners. He says then in verse 9: "Much more then –" even more overwhelming, even more astounding. He continues to escalate his elevation of the love of God. "Much more the, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God –". Now the first part of that looks to the past. We have already been justified by his blood. That took place at the moment of our conversion when he declared us to be righteous.
Now, his argument is – this is where he's headed with this; if God loved us and justified us when we were ungodly, helpless, sinful enemies, how much more will he keep us saved now that we are reconciled friends and sons and daughters in his family? This is an argument for the eternal security of the believer. If God did all of this for us when we were ungodly, how much more now will he keep us saved moment-by-movement all the way until we reach eternity now that we're reconciled, which means now we are in right standing with him.
If he went to the ninth degree to pull us out of the pit of our own sin and save us from the wrath to come when we were helpless and when we were enemies, how much more now will he keep us saved? Now that the war is over, we've been justified and we're now reconciled to him. That's the flow of his argument. So much more then –" meaning to add to what he has already done for us when we were justified by his blood, we shall be saved –". Now let's just pause here for a moment.
Salvation is to be understood in three verb tenses. We have been saved. We are being saved. We will be saved. Justification, sanctification, glorification. We have been saved from the penalty of sin. We are being saved from the power of sin and the practice of sin. We will be saved from the presence of sin. It's a comprehensive salvation. It's a packaged deal. It's all one salvation from start to finish. In Philippians 1:6 says: "Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
As Paul says, "We shall be saved from the wrath of God –". It has this futuristic look into the future that God is going to continue to keep us saved. Even through the final judgment when others will be indicted and then sentenced to Hell, God will continue to keep us saved all the way into glory. The word saved, just to make sure we understand what the word saved means. It means to be rescued. It means to be delivered. It means to be delivered from imminent danger. It means to be rescued. And in this case, from the eternal wrath of God in Hell forever.
It's amazing how people become so riled up when you even talk about Hell. A week or two ago, I posted on Twitter. I just said, "Hell's a real place populated with real people suffering real pain under real wrath." That's all I said. It was unbelievable; not from Christians but how that just provoked the profanity and the ire of people in total rebellion even against the thought of the reality of Hell. And I'm so glad to provoke them. Seriously. Out of love to cause you to think when you put your head on the pillow, a haunting thought that perhaps there is a real Hell.
Well, this word saved implies there is a real hell. You and I have not been saved from having a meaningless job or being lonely, our singleness or some kind of brokenness because something bad went wrong in your life. There are far more chips on the table than that. It is to be saved from the torment of the damned. It is to be saved from the fury of the wrath of almighty God.
This is the love of God that's done this that has saved you and me from being pounded forever under the fury of his wrath. In Revelation 14:9-10, especially verse 10, indicates it will be Christ himself in Hell inflicting the wrath. It's not going to be a self-inflicted wrath. It's not going to be delegated to the Devil to do it. He will be the recipient of this wrath, not the inflictor. There's only one who can pour out this wrath, and it is God himself.
Let's look back at this again now in verse 9: "Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God –". And we need to talk about what this word wrath means. I mean we think we know. This word wrath carries the idea of passion and excited emotions; indignation; and in God's case, a holy fury. It's not that God is merely stoicly, mechanically, clinically pouring out his wrath but that the holiness inside of God is in such – has been so offended that God is riled up within himself that he has such a holy violent passion against sinners and against their sin that he must inflict this wrath.
The idea of other words that are used for wrath coming out of the Old Testament is the flaring of the nostrils, like a bull or a horse before a horse would stampede into the battle. The horse's emotions are so riled up that the horse is ready to gallop at full speed into the battle in the day of conflict and that the bull being in heat, his nostrils are enlarged as he prepares to charge ahead and to gore its victim. That is the word that is used here. God is not reluctantly inflicting his wrath but that God has been aroused in his passions with explosive anger yet he is controlled. That's the scary part of it. It is controlled, violent, explosive anger that is expressed in severe punishment and torment upon unbelievers. That's where we once stood, under the wrath of God.
Romans 1:18: "For the wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men." This wrath will be poured out upon sinners and God's enemies and those who are helpless and ungodly in the lake of fire that burns with fire and brimstone. There will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. I mean, let us revisit that stark reality. We have been saved.
This is monumental. The word monumental doesn't even begin to communicate the level at which this enormous salvation has been demonstrated toward us. It is all through at the end of verse 9 – " – through him." The him refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. He absorbed out the wrath that was due us, he absorbed it in his own body upon the cross. What must that have been? The physical suffering was nothing compared to the wrath that was unleashed upon him upon the cross. What you and I would experience in an eternity in hell was compressed down to a short period of time but not just for one person but for all who would call upon his name.
R. C. Sproul has said he probably was oblivious to the physical pain of the crucifixion as he staggered under the weight of the heavy hand of the wrath of God that came down and crushed him; to use Isaiah 53:11-12 terms, the heavy blow of the wrath of God came down upon him. There is now, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He took it all to himself such that there is now not one ounce of wrath to be poured out upon us. When he took that cup in the Garden and drank it all the way dry, it was a metaphorical picture. In that cup was the wrath of God upon our sins.
He shrunk back from it, not my will but your will be done. He took that cup and he drank it dry. It was but a picture of what would take place when he hung upon the cross. Hallelujah, what a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is where the word propitiation comes into play. It was used in Chapter 3, verse 25. "We had been propitiated through his blood or God has been propitiated through his blood." The word propitiation means satisfaction or appeasement. Jesus absorbed all the father's wrath as he became sin for us and this satisfied the Father's wrath. It placated the Father's wrath. There is now no further wrath to be poured out upon us because Jesus took care of it all in himself. That is the driving thrust here in verse 9.
III. THIRD EXPLANTION
There is one more; there's one more sentence that begins with for and it's in verse 10, and it's a three-fold; it's just boom, boom, boom; to drive even more deeply into our hearts this reality of the love of God toward us in Christ. Now, in verse 10, he says: "For if while we were enemies –" there is a dissent in going from being helpless to ungodly to sinners now enemies. This isn't backing off. This is ramping it up even more. This is what we were. Even if you grew up in a Bible-believing church and had Christian parents, before you were born again, you were an enemy of God. That's just the fact. That's the reality. Even if you were sprinkled as a baby, even if you were put in the nursery as a baby, whatever your background, you were a card-carrying enemy of God.
You lived in defiance of God until the moment you finally bowed the knee and humbled yourself and denied yourself and took up a cross and became a follower of Jesus Christ. I mean there it is in verse 10. It couldn't be any more clear. It's black print on white paper. "We – ". Who's the we? Those who are now believers, every single one of us. "We were enemies of God." We lived in rebellion. We lived in cosmic treason against God. And it's true now of the whole world. "If while we were enemies –" and this word enemies means a hated foe. It means an odious opponent.
I dug into this word yesterday just to get down to the root word of this. It means you are hostile against God. You had declared war against God by your disobedience, by your selfishness, by your self-centeredness, by your self-righteousness, by your self-pity, by your being self-absorbed. It was just all about you. It was all about me. "If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God – ". God was the offended party. We had to be reconciled to God. You'll note that we were reconciled – not to get too technical here, but it's a passive verb meaning we were not actively doing this. We couldn't reconcile our self. We didn't want to be reconciled.
We were wanting to run away from God with a clenched fist. It was God who had to take the initiative. It was God who had to reconcile. It was God who reconciled us to himself. To be reconciled means that you are no longer at war with God. Let me tell you something else. God is no longer at war with us because God has indignation towards the wicked every day. This is incredible.
That is why verse 1 says: "We have peace with God – " not the peace of God, " – peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." So verse 10: "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his son – ." God couldn't just snap his fingers and it's all taken care of. God is too holy, too righteous, too just. The demands of his holy character and the demands of his righteousness had to be met and had to be satisfied, and we could not do that. Someone else had to do this in our place. And it was the Lord Jesus Christ. That's why he had to come to earth. He had to get into our skin. He had to become a man in order to do this.
He couldn't stay in Heaven and take care of it. He had to come down and enter the human race, yet be born of a virgin to be without sin yet live under the law and go to the cross and die. God cannot die. He had to become a man in order to die, all of this to reconcile us to God. These verses are so profound. He goes on to say here in verse 10: "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his son – ". It demanded his death. Again, it wasn't enough that he just go to the Garden and shed blood. He had to go to the cross and die. "Much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." parallels and repeats verse 9 where it says: "We shall be saved from the wrath of God –". This says: "We shall be saved by his life."
Now his life refers to his post-crucifixion life. it refers to his resurrection, his ascension, his coronation. But most specifically, it refers right now to his present intercession at the right hand of God, the Father. He ever lives now to make intercession for us to keep us saved. Now over in Romans 8; turn over to Romans 8. This is a cross reference wroth turning to. In Romans 8, verse – let's just start in verse 33; Romans 8:33, but verse 34 is where we're headed. We just need to get the running start.
"Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies – ". In other words, it doesn't matter anything what anyone else says. If God justifies, that's all that matters. It doesn't matter what the Pope says. Doesn't matter what the pastor says. Doesn't matter what your mom says. Doesn't matter what your conscious says. You or they are not the judge. All that matters is what does God's gavel come down and say. If God – "God is the one who justifies, who is the one who condemns?" Who can reverse God's verdict?
Now here's what I want you to see. "Christ Jesus is he who died, yes, rather who was raised,. Who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us." Paul wants to make that clear to us that he is presently interceding at the right hand of God, the Father. Why? In order to continue to keep us saved, that no accusation can ever be brought against us before the Father that will have any validity whatsoever. You're going to have to come to a couple more cross-references very quickly. 1 John 2:1-2: "My children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins –" and, of course, we will, right? " – we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he himself is the propitiation for our sins – ". That he is our advocate means he is our defense attorney. Whoever wants to bring a prosecuting charge or indictment against us, Jesus is at the right hand of the Father and he is our advocate and he is representing us ad he is our advocate, our defense attorney, and no charge will ever be brought against us as he is living at the right hand of God, the Father.
That is what these verses mean. The son continues to represent us at the right hand of the Father. He first made intercession for us at the cross. He now makes intercession for us at the right hand of the Father. His intercession at the cross was him giving himself for us onto death his intercession now at the right hand of the Father is to continue to plead the merit of his death with the Father against any charge that would be brought against us.
Now come to Hebrews 7. I just want you to see one more verse; Hebrews 7. And this is just a whole other dimension of the saving ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 7:25 says: "He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." Right now this very moment, Jesus is making intercession for you and for me to keep us saved and secured for how long? This says forever. He always lives to save forever.
We are doubly saved, triply- saved, I mean exponentially saved. We can never lose our salvation. It is a full salvation. It is a comprehensive, eternal salvation. Come back to Romans 5, and I just want to wrap this up; Romans 5. So finally now in verse 11 – and I love Paul because Paul is like an ascending rocket that's just going up. I mean he's just going higher and higher and higher with his – with the case that he's presenting. And he goes: "And not only this – " and we go like, "Well, what more could be added [laughs] to this?" Well, "And not only this, " he says, "but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ –".
In other words, this isn't just a fact that we contemplate and meditate upon and check a box and go, "Yeah, I believe this." No. Paul says, "Not only this. We exult in this." The word exult means to exceedingly rejoice. There should be no stoic believers anywhere. We should all be exulting, rejoicing. This word means to celebrate. It means to glory in. I mean it's an intensive word that we have deep feelings of high emotion toward God for this.
"So not only this, but we also exult – " and he just used that word in verses 2 and 3. I would just refer you back to that. He says, "We exult in the hope of the glory of God. We also exult in our tribulations," et cetera, et cetera. Listen. We should be singing the Hallelujah chorus and walking on the sunny side of Hallelujah Avenue about this. We exult in God. There's some things that just quite frankly are not worth our emotions, that we get all excited about. This is worth being excited about.
"We exult in God –" and then Paul wants to have again, "through our Lord Jesus Christ." It's all through the work of Christ on our behalf. " – through whom –" and the whom refers to Christ " – we have now received the reconciliation." This word received is an important word. That means we've received it as a gift. We didn't earn it. We didn't buy it. We don't deserve it. It was just handed to us. It was purchased by someone else. It was accomplished by someone else. All we did was hold out an empty hand and we received the reconciliation. We received it by faith, by repentance and faith, and I want to say again, it's not a reward for the righteous. It's a gift for the guilty.
To receive this gift, you just have to confess how unworthy you are of this and what a helpless, ungodly sinner and enemy you have been. He will freely bestow this gift on us. This word reconciliation literally means an exchange. The idea is you completely exchange your status before God. You were previously an enemy. Now you're a friend. You were previously ungodly. He has now declared you to be righteous. You previously were helpless, and he has now come and moved into your life and brought the power of the Holy Spirit to enable you to live a Christian life.
I mean it's just the exchange of everything. You previously were under the wrath of God, and now there is no condemnation. What an exchange. I mean you gave up the worst about you and received the worst about him. It's the great exchange; all your sins taken from you and laid upon Christ; all his righteousness now granted to you that clothed you. It's the great exchange. That is at the heart of this word reconciliation.
Now when I normally think of the Book of Romans and we normally think of the Book of Romans, we usually think of – and for what it is; it is Paul's magnum opus. It is his theological masterpiece. It has so many profound theological and doctrinal words and terms that sometimes I think we become bogged down in just a cold study of these truths. It's good for us to see this word exult in verse 11, verse 2, and in verse 3. These truths should, must ignite our soul with holy passion and love and excitement and enthusiasm for God.
There should be no bored believers in this room, no bored believers in the boardroom, okay. This is a boardroom of a different kind. We are not bored. We are fired up about our God and what he has done for us, and we're fired up about the Lord Jesus Christ and how he has rescued us from the wrath to come. This is, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that who so ever believers in him might not perish, but have everlasting life." That is – this is John 3:16 just pushing out the fence posts to enlarge this truth that we can have a richer, fuller understanding of this love.
This love is an eternal love for he foreknew us before the foundation of the world. He loved us in eternity past. It's an eternal love. It is a divine love. It is God's love for us. It is an initiating love. He loved us when we did not love him. It is a sacrificial love. It wasn't just a feeling in God but it led to the actions of God giving his son to die for us upon the cross. It is an irrevocable love. It can never be broken. It can never be rescinded. It can never be reversed. He will never stop loving us. There is no love like this. It is an unexpected love. We basically spend our life loving people who are easy to love. There are exceptions, and we do help people at times when they're down and out, but we certainly don't give our son to die for them and we certainly – we ourselves don't die for our enemies.
But God gave his son to die for us. There is no parallel to this love. There is no precedence for love like this. I need to stop, land the plane, wind down, pull the ripcord, let the parachute – let me just kind of float back down to the earth. Tell me what goes through your mind. What's in your heart as you hear this? I wish I had a better vocabulary. I wish I had better powers of articulation and communication to more open this up in a richer fashion.
Response: What a great deal.
Yeah, what a great deal. I mean this is the ultimate buy low, sell high deal.
Response: Well, what's more important? What's more important in our lives? Nothing. Nothing. I mean this is everything.
Response: Yeah, I like the way you focused on exulting. And we obviously don't get enough of that.
Response: Yeah, I do, too. That's good.
Yeah, that is so true.
Response: That's good.
Yeah. I forgot you were back there. It's great to see. This is my old buddy from college right here.
Response: Quite frankly, you were not enthusiastic enough in your presentation.
Well, we go to these extremes, and one extreme is it becomes a mindless pep rally. People are raising their hands and saying, "Amen" before the preacher even finishes the sentence, and he's only making the announcements at that point. [Laughs] I mean, that's one crazy extreme. The other extreme, though, is that the worship service is like a funeral dirge. It's like a wax museum and you want to put a mirror under someone's nostrils to see if there's any condensation that's forming. And that's the other crazy extreme. I mean you are wonderfully masquerading any drop of exulting. Blink your eyes, you know. Give us some response. So I mean that's just the other crazy extreme. And there's all kinds of spectrums in between. But this ought to put excitement into our soul. Yeah, Phil, thank you for saying that. I should've been looking at you more during this study. Someone else; what else?
Response: Well, I think it's good that you kind of frame this back within John 3:16 because it kind of gives you a way to tell an unbeliever, "From this verse, try these verses."
Yeah. This kind of opens up the offense a little bit more.
Response: It gives you another play.
It does give you another play. And I think John 3:16, which is a phenomenal verse, but it's like we've heard it so many times, sometimes there's a certain lulling to sleep like you're singing Amazing Grace and you know the words so well you don't even think about them. This gives you something to really think about, you know, put your teeth into this bone. Yeah, no, thank you for that, Bill. Someone else; we still have a couple more minutes.
Response: I think _____ ensuring your faith and the fact that unbelievers are enemies, we ought to be diligent in making sure we're sharing our faith and not stepping on our heels.
Response: Because until they are saved, they're an enemy of God.
Yeah. Yeah, they are.
Response: Time is a-wasting.
Exactly. And there's coming a final judgment in which there's going to be some carnage. Yeah. So I mean we've got to tell people. What's going on in the rest of your minds? I mean just give me 15 seconds. What are you thinking?
Response: Give us some verbiage on like what's happening, like this San Antonio. I mean people are just in such pain. They want to run right to God and say it's his fault. And I always just say – well, Pastor Graham said a couple of years ago, he said – when someone asked him, "Where was God when my son died?" He goes, "The same place where he was when his son died."
Yeah. And God was in San Antonio as well.
Response: That's right.
And I mean just look at Job 1 and when Job lost 10 of his children at once, it was God who said, "Have you considered my servant, Job?" And yet he turned him over to Satan and it was Satan who was the tool and the hand of God that carried that out. But it was God who set the boundaries and the parameters. And at first, you can do everything but you can't take their life, and then you can take their life. God in his sovereignty has numbered the days that everyone will be here upon the earth. I don't want to say that God was only present 2,000 years ago when his son died. And that is true, what he said.
But I have to believe in the Doctrine of Providence that God was also there and that God had purposes and reasons, and some of those reasons are to bring the attention to the Gospel to cause people to consider the shortness of their own life and the approach of death. I mean God has purposes and reasons in that. I don't want to say that God is hands-off. I mean God does take the life of people and even like Pastor Graham said, his own son. I think we have to look to the Lord on that. Directly, it was the God of this age, Satan, the Devil. I mean evil is real. But as Martin Luther said, "The Devil is God's Devil and God uses the Devil for his own purposes."
I would have to say that God is at work even in a tragedy like that. But there's an element of mystery in this as well that – I mean I can't untie all those knots. But it wasn't – we can't say, "Well, God was on the outside of the church and it was only the Devil on the inside." No, God is omnipresent and God was there and God has sovereign, eternal purposes and that's a closed book that we're not allowed to look into, Chris. But that's certainly a great question. And we're all grieved, horribly grieved at the atrocity of that and our heart just goes out to those families.
Response: Just the attacks are coming about praying. It's like just they're always looking for an opportunity to take a shot at a Christian.
Oh absolutely, of course they are.
Response: We need to be ready for that.
We are, and I think it's only going to escalate and become worse. So I don't know where it all ends. But I do know this; I do know where it ends; us in Heaven however it is, whether we live a long life or we die unexpectedly through a shooting like that. We know where our soul is headed. It's headed to glory and nothing can circumvent that. And Paul did say for me to live as Christ and to die is gain. We graduate to glory. So – well, men, it's so good to be with you. We're not going to meet for a while because as I said, I'm going to be gone out of the country for a while, but as soon as I get back we're going to meet.
Thursday, December 7th we'll be back here. You can be reading out ahead. Now the next verses, Verses 12 through 21, are some of the most theologically profound verses in the entire book of Romans. I mean it's almost up there with Romans 9. I mean this is profound what we're going to be looking at. And one theologian has well said, "You can tell how good of a theologian is if Romans 5:12 is well worn out in their Bible." I mean you tell me what you do with Romans 5:12. I'll tell you 40 other things you believe. It's the pivotal – it's a key intersection. It's a pivotal doctrine. And so that's what we're going to look at next time. And it'll take us probably two times to get through it. I want to make sure that we get it. But it's utterly important.
In reality, there's only been two men in the entire human history; Adam and Jesus. And everyone is either an Adam or in Jesus. And what Adam did affected all of his people, and what Christ has done has affected all of his people. And so to understand everything in a sense is to understand these verses, in Adam or in Christ; Adam's act of disobedience and Christ act of obedience. And in that sense, Christ is the second Adam and we need to understand how he was the representative of his people just like Adam was the representative of his people, the entire human race.
Let me close in a word of prayer.
Father, thank you for your love that has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Enlarge our hearts for you that we might more fully feel and exult in your love toward us. Please deliver us from being lukewarm or apathetic. Ignite our soul with holy love in return for you. Thank you for what you've done for us in Christ, in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
© 2019 Steven J. Lawson