Friday, November 07, 2008

...sound theology is no excuse for silence - we must proclaim the gospel!

We live in a time beloved where people are substituting the genuine gospel of sola fide, sola gratia and solus Christus for a social gospel; an ecumenical gospel; a gospel of health, wealth and prosperity; a gospel of self-esteem; a gospel of convenience; a gospel of co-belligerence; a gospel of postmodern emergence; a gospel of cheap grace; a gospel dumbed-down to attract 'seekers'; and a gospel that denies the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. These gospels, as the Apostle Paul would say, are no gospel at all worthy of only anathema (Gal. 1:6-9).

I have been studying through the book of Romans this past year. It's great theme is the righteousness of God. One of my favorite passages in Romans is Romans 5:1-2. I trust the following message on these two great verses will encourage your hearts and minds to boldness and urgency in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

May the Lord richly brand His Word upon all of our hearts so that we may be "vessels fit for the Master's use." May we ask the Holy Spirit to revive our hearts and give us an unction, a holy burden and urgency, for the lost souls of our neighbors, friends, family and co-workers, and children. Are we willing to say with Paul, "For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh" Romans 9:3)

Soli Deo Gloria...
2 Cor. 4:5-7


Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we have also cobtained access by faith
into this grace in which we stand,
and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
-Romans 5:1-2 (ESV)

Someone has said that,
"Jesus Christ came from the bosom of the Father to the bosom of a woman. He put on humanity that we might put on divinity. He became Son of Man that we might become sons of God. He was born contrary to the laws of nature, lived in poverty, was reared in obscurity, and only once crossed the boundary of the land in which He was born-and that in His childhood.

He had no wealth or influence and had neither training nor education in the world’s schools. His relatives were inconspicuous and uninfluencial. In infancy He startled a king. In boyhood He puzzled the learned doctors. In manhood He ruled the course of nature. He walked upon the billows and hushed the sea to sleep. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His services. He never wrote a book and yet all the libraries of the world could not hold the books about Him. He never wrote a song, yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all songwriters together. He never founded a college, yet all the schools together cannot boast of as many students as He has.

He never practiced medicine and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors have healed broken bodies. This Jesus Christ is the star of astronomy, the rock of geology, the lion and the lamb of zoology, the harmonizer of all discords, and the healer of all diseases. Throughout history great men have come and gone, yet He lives on. Herod could not kill Him. Satan could not seduce Him. Death could not destroy Him and the grave could not hold Him."

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,"

Justification is the heart and soul of the gospel. It is the "Atlas which bears on its shoulders the weight of all other Christian doctrines" says, J.I. Packer. To be justified means to have a right standing before God. It means the Sovereign Judge of the universe declares a man or a woman has right standing before Him. God declares His chosen to be "not guilty" on the basis of the perfect imputed righteousness of Christ which by faith in Jesus Christ is imputed to every believer. It is the reality that sinful people are now declared to be righteous by God in Christ. "He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (Roms. 5:21). We are no longer under the judgment of God, no longer under the wrath of God, he is now the friend of God; more that that, he is the child of God; he is the son of God. God has fully and completely accepted him as righteous. That only happens by faith and faith alone. And that’s, of course, the great reformation truth. That God declares the sinner righteous on the basis of faith and faith alone. But, of course, there’s more to it than just the declaration. The reason God can declare the sinner righteous is because he covers him, or imputes to him, the righteousness of Jesus Christ—which is a perfect righteousness. So it is in Christ’s righteousness that we are right with God. This is what the Greek word hilesterion means: God was completely satisfied with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That’s why He raised Him from the dead. Because He had perfectly accomplished the work and that’s why He exalted Him to his right hand. The substitutionary, atoning work was perfectly accomplished and the justice of God was completely satisfied.

That is why the gospel never begins with man and his needs, but with God and his glory. The issue of the gospel is that, not how do we get sinful man to holy God? But the issue of the gospel is how does holy God come to sinful man without violating His holiness and justice? The answer—the once for all atoning and sacrificial work of Jesus Christ on the cross!

  • Romans 3:23-25a, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness…”
  • Proverbs 16:6, “In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.”
  • Psalm 85:10, “Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed.”
  • Psalm 32:1-2, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:11, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
Justified by His blood – Romans 5:9
Justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ – Romans 5:1
Justified freely by His grace – Romans 3:24
Is not by works – Romans 8:3
It is by God – Romans 8:33
And is obtained by the resurrection of Jesus – Romans 4:25

On the cross of Jesus Christ, all our sins have been punished; the penalty of sin atoned for; the guilt of sin expiated; God’s wrath propitiated; His holiness reverenced; His justice satisfied; His law fulfilled; His grace exalted; and sinners reconciled. It is not through ourselves in any way, neither by our own merit nor our own efforts. It is all of grace; it is all through Jesus Christ our Lord. We are justified!

With justification as the foundation of the Christian’s “Declaration of Dependence”—the first great truth in that Declaration that represents the security of the believer in Jesus Christ is:

"we have peace with God”

The peace that Paul is speaking about here is not subjective peace, but objective peace. It is not a feeling, but a fact. Apart from salvation through Jesus Christ, every human being is at enmity with God, spiritually at war with Him (see v. 10; cf. 8:7), regardless of what his feelings about God may be. In the same way, the person who is justified by faith in Christ is at peace with God, regardless of how he may feel about it at any given moment. Through his trust in Jesus Christ, a sinner’s war with God is ended for all eternity.

As my friend, John MacArthur once said,
“Most unsaved people do not think of themselves as enemies of God. Because they have no conscious feelings of hatred for Him and do not actively oppose His work or contradict His Word, they consider themselves, at worst, to be “neutral” about God. But no such neutrality is possible. The mind of every unsaved person is at peace only with the things of the flesh, and therefore by definition is “hostile toward God” and cannot be otherwise (Rom. 8:7).”
Not only are all unbelievers enemies of God, but God is also the enemy of all unbelievers. The Psalmist says that God is angry with the wicked every day (cf. Ps. 7:11). God is the enemy of the sinner, and that enmity cannot end unless and until the sinner places his trust in Jesus Christ (John 3:36). As Paul declared near the opening of this letter, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18).

To those who foolishly think God is too loving to send anyone to hell, Paul declared, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things [the sins listed in v. 5] the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6); “and the Lord does hate all who do iniquity” (Psalm 5:5). You see, Hell is not the absence of God, but the wrath of God poured out for eternity upon Satan and all his hellish hosts, and all who have rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives in unmitigated fury and gaul. But on the cross, Christ took upon Himself all the fury of God’s wrath that sinful mankind deserves. And those who trust in Christ are no longer God’s enemies and no longer under His wrath, but are at peace with Him.

In light of the above, the Four Spiritual Laws could be written like this:
LAW ONE: God is holy and has a plan for your life whether for wrath or for mercy.

LAW TWO: His wrath burns against you and you are hopelessly lost. There is nothing you can do about it. You are sinful and utterly lost; totally depraved, conceived in sin, and are incapable of saving yourself by the merits of your own righteousness.

LAW THREE: The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world, born of a virgin, tempted as we are yet without sin, died in our place and as our merciful and faithful High Priest fulfilled God’s law, took upon Himself every sin that would ever be committed by every who would ever believe, with its guilt and penalty, and all of the wrath of God that persists against our sin.

LAW FOUR: Repent of your sin and confess and receive Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior for eternal life and have peace with Him forever. His love, mercy and grace no one can ever take away once your life is hid in Christ. This is God’s wonderful plan of salvation.

Paul assured the Colossian believers: “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him [Christ], and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach” (Col. 1:19-22).

The theme of Romans 5 is reconciliation. Reconciliation with God brings peace with God. That peace is permanent and irrevocable, because Jesus Christ, through whom believers receive their reconciliation, “always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). “For I will be merciful to their iniquities,” the Lord says of those who belong to Him, “and I will remember their sins no more” (Heb. 8:12; cf. 10:17). In fact, Christ not only brings peace to the believer but “He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14).

"through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Sin strikes at God and says, “I don’t care what You said, I’ll do what I want.” It is God’s would be murderer. Sin would un-God God if it could. Sin defiles the conscience. Sin is irrational and forfeits blessing. Sin is painful—it hurts. Sin is damning. Sin is degrading it mares the image of God and man. Like Samson, it cuts the locks of purity and leaves men morally weak. Sin poisons the springs of love and turns beauty in leprosy. Sin defeats the mind, the heart, the will, the affections and it has made a whole world of people—all of mankind—children wrath by nature; objects of God’s wrath. Sin brings man under the domination of Satan and his sick sin system, which he controls. Man and the world is a slave to sin, open rebellion and defiance to God and a slave to Satan."
“Through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:1; 11; 23; 6:23; 7:25; 8:39.)

1 John 2:1-2 says, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” The Greek word for advocate is Parakletos meaning helper-one who comes along side. John uses this same term in regards to the Holy Spirit in John 14:16.

But this word also carries the tone of a more legal nature. It was used in rabbinical literature who offered legal aid or one who intercedes on behalf of someone else. Undoubtedly in this context it signifies that Jesus Christ is our heavenly “counsel for the defense.”

"Through him we have also cobtained access by faith"

After the Tabernacle was built, and later the Temple, strict boundaries were set. A Gentile could only go into the outer confines and no farther. Jewish women could go beyond the Gentile limit but not much farther. And so it was with the men and the regular priests. Each group could go nearer the Holy of Holies, where God’s divine presence was manifested, but none could actually enter there. Only the high priest could enter, and that only once a year and very briefly And even he could lose his life if he entered unworthily. Bells were sewn on the special garments he wore on the Day of Atonement, and if the sound of the bells stopped while he was ministering in the Holy of Holies, they knew he had been struck dead by God (Ex. 28:35).

But Christ’s death ended that. Through His atoning sacrifice, He made God the Father accessible to any person, Jew or Gentile, who trusts in that sacrifice. The writer of Hebrews encourages believers to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

To make this truth graphic, when Jesus was crucified, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” by God’s power (Matt. 27:51). His death forever removed the barrier to God’s holy presence that the Temple veil represented. Commenting on that amazing truth, the writer of Hebrews says, “Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:19-22).
  • Ephesians 2:18, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
  • Ibid. 3:12, “in whom we have access with confidence through faith in Him.”
  • 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”

"into this grace in which we stand,"

Believers will often fall into sin, but their sin is not more powerful than God’s grace. They are the very sins for which Jesus paid the penalty. If no sin a person commits before salvation is too great for Christ’s atoning death to cover, surely no sin he commits after salvation is too great to be covered. In verse 10 of this chapter the apostle declares, “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.” If a dying Savior could bring us to God’s grace, surely a living Savior can keep us in His grace. Look with me in verse 20, “The Law came in that the transgression might increase,” he writes; “but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Standing in grace, we are in the sphere of constant forgiveness.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:31-34).

What is grace? “Grace is a provision…”

Jesus said, “all that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37). Charles Spurgeon said, “Our finite sin can never exhaust his infinite grace!”

But this is not cheap grace. Romans 6:18 says, “Having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” “For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). We’re not only saved by grace, but sanctified by grace. A professing Christian, who persistently and consistently continues in sin over the long haul without repentance, proves by their actions that they do not belong to the Lord. John says, “No one who is born of God practices sin ... Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God” (1 John 3:9-10).


"and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

The Christian has no reason to fear the future and every reason to rejoice in it, because he has the divinely-secured hope that his ultimate destiny is to share in the very glory of God. Jesus Christ guarantees the believer’s hope because He Himself is our hope (1 Tim. 1:1).
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." -1 PETER 1:3-5 (ESV)
Past, present and future sins have been swallowed up in victory by the once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ at the cross! Hebrews 10:10-12 says,
"By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”
You know “that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,” Peter reminds us, “but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Pet. 1:18-21).

And when our own perishable and mortal bodies one day are raised imperishable and immortal (1 Cor. 15:53-54), they will be fit to receive and to display God’s divine glory. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20-21).

The Holy Spirit is also Himself a guarantee of the believer’s security.
“In Him [Christ], you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14).

“But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
The promise of our glorification in Christ Jesus Paul proclaims in Romans 8:29-30 when saying,
“we are predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” In Romans 9:23, God has so predestined us, “in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.”
I grew up thinking that one-day when my life is over and I am home with the Lord that there will be a giant rerun of my life for all to see…

But ladies and gentlemen, there are no reruns in heaven! But through Christ, as Jude 24 says,
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever more.”

Spurgeon one time encouragingly said:
“When Jesus gave himself for us, he gave us all the rights and privileges which went with himself; so that now, although as eternal God, he has essential rights to which no creature may venture to pretend, yet as Jesus, the Mediator, the federal head of the covenant of grace, he has no heritage apart from us. All the glorious consequences of his obedience unto death are the joint riches of all who are in him, and on whose behalf he accomplished the divine will. See, he enters into glory, but not for himself alone, for it is written, “Whither the Forerunner is for us entered.” Heb. 6:20. Does he stand in the presence of God?—“He appears in the presence of God for us.” Heb. 9:24.

Consider this, believer. You have no right to heaven in yourself: your right lies in Christ. If you are pardoned, it is through His blood; if you are justified, it is through His righteousness; if you are sanctified, it is because He is made of God unto you sanctification; if you shall be kept from falling, it will be because you are preserved in Christ Jesus; and if you are perfected at the last, it will be because you are complete in Him. Thus Jesus is magnified—for all is in Him and by Him; thus the inheritance is made certain to us—for it is obtained in Him; thus each blessing is the sweeter, and even heaven itself the brighter, because it is Jesus our Beloved “in whom” we have obtained all."
Beloved, let us rejoice in the heart of the gospel; and proclaim the good news of the gospel this week with others in love, boldness, grace, humility, and without compromise.


Bhedr said...

I am going to surprise some of you all here and tell you this is a good quote:

"“Most unsaved people do not think of themselves as enemies of God. Because they have no conscious feelings of hatred for Him and do not actively oppose His work or contradict His Word, they consider themselves, at worst, to be “neutral” about God. But no such neutrality is possible. The mind of every unsaved person is at peace only with the things of the flesh, and therefore by definition is “hostile toward God” and cannot be otherwise (Rom. 8:7).”

This is where MacArthur is good with isolating the problem in the Church today. I still feel we need to be careful and call sinners to repentance of their sin and yet make it clear that the sinner is receiving from God. I understand that it is God that regenerates but to me it is still clear that in the word of God it is clear that we are to call the sinner to receive Grace. I know that you understand that. In fact it is the withdrawal of repentance from the gospel call that has ignited good men of God like MacArthur and Tozer to use other terms like commitment and surrender and I undersand the passion to get this across. Still I make this appeal to many from the Lordship crowd...not in the spirit of arguement as I do think MacARthur has been maligned and missunderstood in many areas..but what I have gleaned from all of these debates is the sinner is indeed receiving at the cross and we need to make that clear as best we can and I think that is what the book of Romans does. In fact it is my belief that if the preacher preaches the wrath of God as did Whitefield and Spurgeon then the sinner will come fleeing to the cross in repentance to receive from Christ and place on Him their sins.

May God be with you this day. Again I don't wish to be argumentitive here. Its just an appeal I am making in hopes that many from the Lordship camp will consider. I respect a great many of you and am glad you are out there trumpeting the truth.

SJ Camp said...


I agree that John MacArthur is excellent at pinpointing the problems in the current state of the church.

Repentance is the missing link in most gospel presentations today.

Thank you brother,
Col. 1:9-14

Bhedr said...

Thanks brother. I am going to confess at a degree of risk that I was one of those with deep dark thoughts for years that I had committed the unpardonable sin and so repentance was something I was struggling to do but could never get peace until I rested my conscience there at the cross in the finished work of Christ in Himself and that is where my peace now is and is unmovable. I guess I make myself a little vunerable saying this. So I agree that repentance must go out with the gospel as it stirs the soul to see he is an enemy of God and to turn from this rebellion as MacArthur so rightly states and still the sinner must find relief in grace in Christ as our sinbearer. It is a great source of peace to rest here and draw my joy and strength to serve God knowing that I am forgiven and it is finished and it feeds my desire to perservere knowing that no suffering at present can be compared to the glory that awaits us in our identification in Him.

You guys have a blessed prayer meeting tonight if you all have prayer meeting the old fashioned Bible way on Wenesday night:-)

ann_in_grace said...

And may the Lord give me strength and courage to stand firm and secure.
Forgive me to be a bit off topic, but when I saw this today, I went into a "jaw-drop" and still am there.

A catholic priest in Poland celebrating his 70th birthday. This is the reality of it, the reality of false gospel.
God bless You, Steve, for Your boldness and steadfastness in the Word.

Psalm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SJ Camp said...

Consider yourself banned from this site for disparaging and unapologetic remarks directed about the Lord Jesus Christ.