Sermon: Romans 4 Part One

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The Goodness of God

Whatever comes out of God’s mouth is true, righteous and is the Law. God, having given us free-will (because He has free-will and we are in His image), equipped us with the ability to choose whether we will listen.

Adam and Eve chose not to listen, spiraling creation downward, causing us to be born self-centered creatures desiring to preserve our existence. Our insecurity in this fallen world, which should drive us to God, starts us out fighting for our selves.

Thus, we violate God’s law and continually fall short of His glory. God could have left us there, just thrown us into hell, but instead His love and righteousness provided a way we could be redeemed and brought into right relationship with Him.

In order to do this righteously, God submitted Himself to His own Law, He (in the person of Jesus Christ) submitted to His own Law perfectly, and even took on Himself the curse of His own Law even though He was innocent.

This willingness to submit to His own Law and His own curse, shows us His love for us. God demonstrated this love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

This is the goodness of God on display, and the goodness of God leads people to repentance. He didn’t drop us in a no-win situation, He didn’t dictatorially gloat in His power to condemn, rather He became like us, suffered with and for us, and is now interceding with God on our behalf as one who knows our suffering.

He can relate to us and we can relate to Him.

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

Knowing the goodness of God on display through the Gospel, how can we not trust Him? How can we desire to disobey such a good and gracious God? The Gospel demonstrates His goodness and our corruptness: the end result is that we want Him more than we want our selves.

By faith, come alive to this new life in Christ. It is the point. He is The Life. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

Happy Easter!

Being Made a Curse for Us

God is the Lawgiver and His Law has declared us guilty. The Lawgiver has the power to save or destroy. In order to be saved by the Lawgiver whose Law we broke, we need help, primarily we need help from the Lawgiver!

A boy comes into his house after school and his mom is baking cookies. There are cookies everywhere and the smell of fresh-baked cookies fills the air with delicious intoxication. Mom says, “No cookies or you get double vegetables at supper!” But the boy can’t help it, in fact, he already swiped one and ate it and it was so good, he waits for his mom to turn her back and he takes another one.

His mom turns around to see him licking chocolate off his upper lip. “You ate cookies? Double serving of vegetables at supper for you young man!” As supper approaches and the smell of fresh-baked cookies is replaced by the awful smells of broccoli, the boy repents in sackcloth and ashes, crying and mourning over his sin and the coming punishment.

The mother, being humble and gracious, feels pain for her son and has compassion on him. “I feel your pain. I forgive you. But what do we do with all this broccoli? I already made the double serving.” The boy looks at his kind and benevolent mother with sad, puppy eyes. “OK, I will eat the double portion of vegetables for you!” She says.

God has demonstrated His love, grace and humility by choosing to submit Himself to His own Law. He was born as a human, humbling Himself and being obedient to His own Law, a great demonstration of His humility and grace. He came to do what His Father commanded.

But not only did He perfectly fulfill all that the Father told Him to do, He went above and beyond even that. There is a whole other side to the Law–punishments for violations–that Christ never submitted to as He never broke the Law.

But the Lawgiver, in unbelievable humility, also took the punishment of His own Law. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”

He who knew no sin was made sin for us. He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. The wages of sin is death, His Law says. He submitted to His own Law and never sinned, yet He took our sin and took our curse upon Himself.

It’s an amazing thing! When we see what our Lawgiver did for us to redeem us from the curse of His own Law, who can find fault? The Lawgiver is completely benevolent and humble with His law, being righteous with His power the whole time. He is a Lawgiver we can approach knowing His gracious nature. The goodness of God leads people to repentance.

Beauty of beauties. Let this light shine!

Made Under the Law

Yesterday I talked about the Lawgiver being the one with the authority to judge what is right and wrong and also His authority to save or destroy. He judges and His Law declares that we are all guilty, so what do we do?

If a brother takes a cookie from the cookie jar and his mom says, “No cookies!” The boy better listen! He knows the Law and he knows violating the Law will get him busted by the Lawgiver. Mom’s can abuse this power!

If mom says to the boy, “No cookies!” while she takes a handful and shoves them in her mouth, can she do this? She can, she has this authority, but it is rather rude! It demonstrates that she has some issues and is of a messed up heart.

Luckily for us, our Lawgiver is also good, gracious and benevolent! Although His Law demonstrates our guilt that makes us eligible for His wrath, God is willing to forgive.

But how can a just Lawgiver pardon those who offended His Law? This is where the Gospel and the humility of our Lawgiver enters.

God could have given a law, condemned us as violators of His Law and then threw us into hell. He had the right to do so. But if God had created us, put us in a classic no-win situation, where we are condemned before we know it and can do nothing to get out of it, then couldn’t we charge God with not being fair? How is that right?

God, in order to be just and be able to justify the wicked, devised an ingenious plan in which He became part of His creation and was “made of a woman, made under the law.” The Lawgiver submitted Himself to His own Law!

This is phenomenal! It blows the mind. He came not to do His will, but the will of His Father–He submitted entirely to God’s Word, the Law for Him. Amazing humility, but we’re not done yet.

Bobby Knight on God in Sports

“I have a problem with calling God into play for anything competitive–whether asking, or expecting, Him to take sides.

“I’m familiar with the line from Paul in Philippians 4:13–“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”–and I don’t think that advisory had anything to do with the mundane world of basketball, or any competitive sport.

“I did have a player who made the sign of the cross before every free throw. I told him to quit it–not because the act offended me; he was a lousy shooter and I told him he was giving the church a bad name.”

–Legendary coach and one of my sporting heroes, Bobby Knight

There is One Lawgiver

If a brother is dipping into the cookie jar and his sister says, “You can’t have cookies!” The brother will no doubt continue to snatch cookies. “You can’t do that!” The sister protests.

“I can if I want, you’re not my mom!” The boy says as he shoves cookies in his mouth. “You’re not my mom” is a classic kid argument. It’s an acknowledgment that only the Lawgiver needs to be obeyed.

If mom says not to eat cookies, well, that changes things, but a sister? Nope, sorry, sisters have no authority over brothers and brothers know it. Inevitably, sister will then fall back on, “I’m telling mom!” She does this because again, she knows the Lawgiver is the only one with power to judge.

“There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy”

The one Lawgiver is the One Judge. No one else can tell you what right and wrong is except the one who has defined right and wrong. There is no point in conforming to a person’s rules. What good does that do when God is your judge?

The Lawgiver alone will judge between right and wrong as this is His authority. He can save or condemn based on His judgment. He alone is to be obeyed as He alone judges.

This concept is not mind-blowing, even kids grasp this one.

The Lawgiver judges between right and wrong, and, unfortunately for us, we have done wrong. We are under the condemnation of the Law and are condemned by the Lawgiver. What will we do?

1) Talk our way out of trouble?
2) Point the finger at those who tripped us up?
3) Do good to work off the bad?
4) Show how others are worse than you?

These won’t work. We are dependent on the Lawgiver to save us or destroy us. How, oh how will we escape His wrath?