- Sermon Notes
Faith Changes Everything
For the last four chapters Paul has been compelling us to understand that the gospel is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes. The gospel
is God’s answer to the dilemma of every sinner; how can an unrighteous sinner have a relationship with the holy, righteous God?
That’s why Paul is not ashamed of the gospel. God can take a sinner and make that sinner righteous in one verse, “He made Him who knew no sin, to become
sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
God gives righteousness to the sinner as a gift. In other words, it’s all given as a gift by grace, but that gift is received by faith. Faith, then, becomes
the issue and it’s always been the issue. Last week, in chapter 4, Paul brought us all the way back to Abraham, the father of faith, to prove that
it’s always been about faith. Abraham believed, he had faith in Him who gives life to the dead and that faith was reckoned to him as righteousness.
What you believe changes everything, it changes how you live. If you believed that you were going to receive big promotion at work, it would change what
you did. If you believe you’re going to lose your job tomorrow; that would also change what you do. If you sat with your doctor and he said, “I’m so
sorry, but you have cancer, you only have 6 to 9 months to live,” it would change your life, it would change what you do. You may not feel anything,
but you believe the doctor’s report; it will change you emotionally and spiritually.
What do you believe about God? Do you believe there is a day fixed in which He will judge the world in righteousness? Do you believe you’re a sinner?
Do you believe that God can make a sinner righteous by giving him righteousness as a gift? If you believe, then you have faith and by that faith you have
been justified, you have been made righteous before God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
That brings us to chapter 5. Martin Luther once said, “In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text.”
Paul begins this chapter with the word “therefore.” That one word asks us to bring everything that Paul has given us in four chapters and to understand
how it now applies to our lives as believers in Christ Jesus. In other words, Paul is saying, “I have just irrefutably demonstrated that we have been made righteous before God by simply receiving that righteousness as a gift, by faith. And because of that great truth, I want you to understand the consequences and the result in your life.”
I. You Now Have Peace with God
- Before we were given the righteousness of God, we were at conflict with God. Because we were sinners we were on a collision course with God’s judgment.
- Jesus said, “If you’re not for me, you’re against me.”
- We were on the wrong side. Some people respond by pretending God doesn’t exist, other people respond by shaking their fist at God. Still others simply
walk as far as possible away from God.
- When we say we were enemies with God, we should be clear that we were the ones who turned our back on Him. It’s not like two people having a disagreement
and turning their backs on each other.
Romans 10:21, As for Israel He says, “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
A. Let this issue be settled
- By faith we understand that we are no longer in conflict with God. We have been reconciled, we are no longer on a collision course with judgment.
- Now we can have fellowship with God, we can walk together in the cool of the evening, we can love unencumbered and unhindered because our sin has been
taken away. We can now have a close relationship to God. We can worship freely.
- The more faith we have, the more this issue is settled.
- This issue is settled with God, but many people are still wrestling with it, many people are still wrestling with God, but there’s no need.
Psalm 46:10, “Cease striving and know that I am God.”
Illus – In our study in Daniel 3 last Wednesday, the three Jewish men would not worship the image of gold because this issue was settled in their hearts.
Illus – Abraham’s son was Isaac, in turn, Isaac had the twins Jacob and Esau. God’s promises to Abraham would come through Jacob, but he was a deceiver and a manipulator. After many years it all came down to one night when God met Jacob and wrestled with him until daybreak. Though he could have defeated him in three seconds, God let him wrestle all night. As light dawns, Jacob has his hip dislocated and still won’t let go, saying, “I won’t let you go unless you bless me.” God then said, “What is your name?…”
- Cease striving, know that you have peace with God; settle this question and let God be Lord of your life.
B. We have obtained our introduction into grace
- That’s an interesting phrase; through Jesus we have obtained, by faith, our introduction into this grace in which we stand.
- In other words, our standing before God is by grace and Jesus introduced us to it.
John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
- We come to the Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus gives us that access, but we have much more than an introduction to grace, we have grace beyond measure.
Illus – There is a vast difference between being introduced to God through Jesus Christ and being adopted by God as a son or daughter.
- We need to move much deeper into our relationship to God. By grace we stand and by grace there’s a much deeper relationship that God desires.
C. Rejoice in the hope you now have
- This is such an amazing truth that Paul says we rejoice in this hope of the glory of God.
- It’s an aspect of worship. We worship when we rejoice because of everything we have received by God’s grace, as a gift. It’s the right response.
- In the English language hope has different meanings, but not in Greek. For example, in English we say, “I hope I get that job,” or “I sure hope I catch
some fish at the lake.” If you fish like I do, that generally means you’re not going to catch any fish.
- But in Greek, hope means “confident expectation.”
Hebrews 6:18-19, We who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…
- This hope we have as an anchor for our soul does not disappoint us because it’s far greater than the tribulations and difficulties of this world.
II. God’s Love is the Hope We Need
- In the next section, Paul wants us to understand that this is all because of how much God loves us.
- First of all, we might ask the question, “Why does God love us at all? After all, as sinners, we can’t be very lovable.”
- The answer is that God loves us because we were made in His image.
Illus – Before we had our first baby, I wasn’t very drawn to babies in general, but once we had our first child, made in our likeness, it was a different thing altogether.
A. Tribulation brings hope
- If anyone understood the tribulation and troubles of this life, it would be Paul. He was imprisoned several times, beaten times without number, often
in danger of death, five times he received 39 lashes, three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, three times he was shipwrecked and
spent a night and a day in the deep, etc.
- Paul says, let us rejoice or glory or exult in our tribulations because God uses it in our lives to produce hope and hope does not disappoint.
- Pain becomes one of our spiritual credentials. It’s through pain and difficulty that we discover the depths of spiritual liberty.
- When you go through a fiery ordeal – in faith – you discover that God is with you in the midst of the fire.
- In other words, when you discover that God is with you in the midst of the fire, you become more and more confident in God’s love for you. Tribulation
then brings about hope.
- However, this too is a question of faith.
- The famous preacher, CH Spurgeon said of these verses, “Tribulation does not bring hope to the one who has not faith. For the natural man, tribulation works impatience, and impatience misses the fruit of experience, and sours into hopelessness. Ask many who have buried a dear child, or have lost their wealth, or have suffered pain of body, and they will tell you that the natural result of affliction is to produce irritation against providence, rebellion against God, questioning, unbelief, petulance, and all sorts of bitterness in the soul. But what a wonderful alteration takes place when the heart has been renewed by the Holy Spirit.”
1 Peter 4:12-13, Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you… as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
- God’s love is the hope we need; it is the anchor to our soul, so much so that we also rejoice or glory or exult in our tribulations because through it hope is strengthened.
- In verses 6-10, Paul convinces us of the depths of God’s love for us.
- God demonstrates or proves His love toward us in that Christ died for the ungodly; while we were yet sinners, while we were enemies. That is love,
completely undeserved and unmerited.
- When we see how much God loves us by sending Christ to die for the ungodly, for the unrighteous, for sinners, then we are convinced that God would
love us through anything; that His love never fails.
Lamentations 3:21-23, This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Ephesians 3:17-19, [I pray] that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Illus – Many of you were at our daughter Nicole’s memorial service and know that she went through a terrible ordeal in her health when she was nine…
- She didn’t doubt my love, she wasn’t angry with me because of the pain, our love grew deeper because we walked through it together.
C. Let your character be proven as well
- In verses 3-4 Paul said that we should exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance brings proven
- In other words, our character is proven by tribulation, by the fiery ordeals we go through in this life.
- The prophet Jeremiah was told to go down to the potter’s house and God would speak to him there.
Jeremiah 18:3-4, I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.
- Clay starts out hard and resistant to the potter’s hands, but as he continues to work his hands upon the clay, it begins to take the shape he desires.
- If we could open our eyes to see it, we would see in the hands of the potter the scars of the nails that He bore for us. We are in the hands of a potter
- But the potter is not finished until the vessel is put into the fiery furnace and its character is solidified. Truly our character and our faith is
proven through the fire.
Romans 5:1-11 NASB
by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing
that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 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.
good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much
more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 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. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God
through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.