Categories
Theology

Sermon 11: Connecting the Dots Between Justification and Sanctification

Connecting the Dots Between Justification and Sanctification
Series: Redemption
Pastor Tim Wiebe

Romans 6:1-23

  • The more we appreciate justification, the greater desire we will have to live a godly life.
  • Justification unites us to God.  Christ’s death has purchased this, and somehow we have mysteriously died with Christ.
  • We died with Christ.  If we have died with him, we have been purchased by him and now have the ability to live a new life.  Because we are justified by God, we can live a holy life.  We do not live a holy life in order to be justified by God.
  • Our loyalty has changed.  We no longer are slaves to sin, we are slaves to Christ.
    • Slavery in the first century was more like voluntarily being owned by someone else rather than forced labor.
    • People don’t think slavery exists any longer today.  But if we look at our credit card statements and how you spend your time, it will tell others what you are a slave to.  Ask yourself what commands your attention and affection and you will find your idols.
    • Romans 6:23 is the “Twitter version” of the gospel.
  • So many Christians become susceptible to “plateau Christianity.”  There might not be any big dives in your spiritual walk, but there aren’t any spikes either.  Are you loving the doctrine of justification?  Are you trusting the Lord for your sanctification?
  • Ask yourself: Is there a disconnect between my view of justification and how I pursue sanctification?
  • Sanctification is not about ramping up enough self-effort to do it on your own.  It’s about grace-motivated obedience.
  • This passage alludes greatly to baptism.  Are you dead to sin?  If so, are you baptized?  Ask yourself: If I’m already dead to sin, what is preventing me from identifying with Christ through baptism?
Categories
Theology

Sermon 10: Three Big Words

Somehow I forgot to record my notes for Sermon 9 last week.  I think I lost my notes on the bulletin.  Sorry about that if you are really following along!  Let’s continue though with sermon 10.

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Three Big Words
Series: Redemption
Pastor Steve Moltumyr

Romans 3:21-26

  • What’s so great about Romans?  It shows how sinful, inexcusable, guilty, and speechless people are before God and then shows God’s solution to this mess.
  • When you read the first two chapters of Romans, someone may object, “There is so much wrong with the world, I don’t want to hear bad news about myself.”  But the truth is that there is bad news about us, but God has provided a way through his Son to be reconciled to him.
  • The three big words in this section are Justification, Redemption, and Propitiation.
  • Justification (v. 22-24): God declares you righteous because of his Son Jesus.
    • Paul writes that we are “justified freely by his grace.”  How is this possible?  It is possible “through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”
    • This separates Christianity from all the other religions of the world.  Every other religion requires a moral performance record that God must accept.  For the Christian, Jesus is their perfect moral performance record.
  • Redemption (v. 24): To buy back or liberate through a purchase.
    • What Jesus is for us is a kinsman redeemer.  This has Old Testament roots in the book of Ruth.
    • There were three requirements for a kinsman redeemer in ancient times.
      1. You must be a relative.
      2. You must love the person.
      3. You must bear the cost of their debt.
    • Boaz did this for Ruth.  Everything he owned became hers.  His name became her name.   His life became her life.  Jesus is the ultimate Boaz for us — the ultimate kinsman redeemer.
  • Propitiation (v. 25): To satisfy anger; to turn away from wrath.
    • The wrath of God is not emotional crankiness.  It is legitimate, holy anger against sin.
    • Some people say that God should just be loving and good and not angry at sin.  It is love and justice that makes God angry at sin.
    • When wrong is done to you, either you make the offending person suffer or you suffer in forbearing their sin and forgiving them.
    • Some people get in a huff about God requiring a blood sacrifice.  They say it’s primitive or gross.  But Christianity is the only religion in which God himself shed his own blood.
    • God is more loving than man’s view of God.  God gave his own life for us.  The next time someone says the God of the Bible is not loving, ask them, “What did it cost your God to love you?”  More often than not, they will not have an answer.
Categories
Theology

Sermon 8: Sin Darkened Hearts

Sin Darkened Hearts
Series: Redemption
Pastor Steve Moltumyr

Romans 1:18-32

  • God reveals righteousness and wrath.  Both of them reveal who God is.
  • The wrath of God is a permanent, consistent attribute of God that is a holy response to everything that is unholy.

Why do we deserve God’s wrath?

  • We suppress the truth about God.
    • We don’t lack information about God, we deliberately reject what is uncomfortable for us to hear.
    • The universe is God’s signpost that points us to his power and nature.
    • At the most basic level, we suppress truth because we don’t like it.
  • We refuse to glorify and thank God.
    • We are not courteous to God.  This cosmic ingratitude causes us to live in the illusion of self-sufficiency.
    • Our refusal to acknowledge God is at the root of all our sin.  In essence, we want to be our own god.
  • We create idols to replace God.
    • Idols do not have to be primitive statues of wood or stone.
    • If you rest your security in anything other than God, you are putting your hope in an idol.  You are an idolater.
    • The end result of consistent, unrepentant idolatry is that God gives us what we want.

The Solution

  • As we look at this vice list, it should be like looking in a mirror.
  • We must look to Jesus, the only one who never committed one of these sins listed.  Even though he was innocent, he took on our sin and God’s wrath so that we might be forgiven and become his righteousness.
Categories
Life

Wayne Grudem on God’s Presence in Hell

At the end of January, I posted some of my thoughts on hell.  There I argued that hell is not the separation from the presence of God.  I wrote that hell is the “separation of people from the majestic, glorious presence of the Lord.”

To help flesh this out, I think Wayne Grudem’s thoughts from his book Sytematic Theology might help.

The idea of God’s omnipresence has sometimes troubled people who wonder how God can be present, for example, in hell. In fact, isn’t hell the opposite of God’s presence, or the absence of God? This difficulty can be resolved by realizing that God is present in different ways in different places or that God acts differently in different places in his creation. Sometimes God is present to punish. A terrifying passage in Amos vividly portrays this presence of God in judgment:

Not one of them shall flee away,
not one of them shall escape.
Though they dig into Sheol,
from there shall my hand take them;
though they climb up to heaven,
from there I will bring them down.
Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
from there I will search out and take them;
and though they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.
And though they go into captivity before their enemies,
there I will command the sword, and it shall slay them;
and I will set my eyes upon them for evil and not for good.
(Amos 9:1–4)

Categories
Theology

How and when is God’s wrath revealed?

Have you ever wondered what it means when Paul writes in Romans 1:18 that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”?  I have. And recently, I’ve asked, “When and how will God’s wrath be revealed?”

The word “revealed” in Greek is in the present tense — an ongoing, habitual action in Greek.  So unlike so many other references to God’s wrath in Paul’s epistles, this is a current happening — not a future cosmic event.  God’s wrath, in Romans 1, is being revealed now.

And I believe that God’s wrath is more than just a disclosure to the mind or a future judgment to come that will last for eternity in hell.    Just like the same word in verse 17, it has historical reality to it.  Something is physically being manifested in the real world.  Verses 24-28 tell us how God’s wrath is revealed.  Paul writes that God has given people to the lusts of their hearts to commit impurities (v. 24), to the dishonoring of their bodies (v. 24), to dishonorable passions (v. 26), and to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done (v. 28).  God’s wrath is revealed in people’s lives by God giving people over to their sinful desires.

God’s wrath is something that is real, not just cognitive; something current, not just futuristic.  God’s wrath is a current and ongoing reality that is manifested in and through a sinful, unhappy, worthless life that is lived for the pleasing of self and not God.

Where are you today?  Have you been redeemed and rescued from the wrath of God now and the wrath to come? If so, then celebrate and praise and thank Jesus!  But if you are still rebelling against God, and presuming upon his patience and kindness toward you, then repent.  Are you unfulfilled and dissatisfied?  Are you unhappy and feeling the effects of sin?  Remember that God is a wrathful God who hates sin.  But he is also “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7).

God has not only revealed his wrath.  Oh, no.  He has gloriously revealed his righteousness (Rom. 1:17), and this marvelous manifestation is revealed through his Son.  It must be received by faith, so if you would have it, come.  Jesus will receive whoever comes to him.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).