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Category Archives: Run Through Romans

Run Through Romans (ch 5.18-21)

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18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

 19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

This is a wonderful continuation of what the word taught us in Romans 5.17: through Adam we were all made sinners, but through Christ’s life of perfect obedience that was offered up to the Lord for us, many people shall be made righteousness.  On the cross, Jesus was made sin so that we could be made righteous (2 Cor. 5.21) – to make it more real, I like to say it like this: Jesus who knew no sin became sin with our sin so that we who knew no righteousness could be made righteous with our righteousness.

That is one powerful realization: Jesus took our sin and became our sin on the cross.  Everything you have ever done wrong, every impure thought you have ever had, every lie you have ever told, every sin you have ever committed, every time you crossed the line, every time you acted like there was no line but you knew there was a line – every sin was placed on Him and He became sin with your sin.

No wonder He told the Father: if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.  No wonder as He died He yelled “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”  No wonder the sky was black and the earth was shaking.  He took your sin.  He took my sin.  He took the sin of the world.

Adam disobeyed and his nature became the nature of wrath, he was a child of satan and therefore took after his father, satan (read John 8 – I will post some articles expanding this at some point).  Adam’s whole nature changed – he was spiritually alive created with the spirit and breath of God inside him (Genesis 2.7) , and on the day he sinned he spiritually died losing his communion and love and life, and becoming bound with fear and guilt and shame and blame.

Since then every child of Adam (that is, every single human) has been born dead in their sins and trespasses, unable to please God, unable to serve God, unable to live in victory.  The only solution for this sin issue was if someone completely righteous, someone who never sinned, someone who was born differently so they were born spiritually alive.  Someone who lived their entire life without ever sinning and therefore never dying spiritually. 

And then that someone would have to offer up their life on our behalf, to take all of our sin, to carry it all into their body, and pay the total penalty for all of our sin.  And that is what Jesus did.  Because all the price has been paid for our sin, then we can be made righteous – not by doing anything right – but by believing in Jesus and realizing what He did and then receiving His righteous and His life which then transforms our spirit.   This experience is so life shattering it is called in the Bible being born again (John 3.3,5) – your whole inner nature changes from being dead to being alive, you stop having the nature of death and satan; and start enjoying the nature of God – being a partaker of the divine nature.

 20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

This is Paul re-iterating that this salvation, this life of abundance, this partaking of the divine nature, this being born again, this being made totally righteous and being able to stand before God without sin, without fear, without a sense of judgment or sense of inferiority – being able to come boldly to the throne of grace has NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR MERIT.  The purpose of the law is not to make righteousness abound, but to make offence abound.

The rules and regulations that were in the Old Testament were not to make the people good, but to show them how bad they were.  The Ten Commandments are not to make you good, they cannot make you good, they just make you want to disobey them, they just show you that you fail.  They have no power to change your heart and your attitude.

What is wonderful about this verse is that the more you sin, the more grace there is.  The more you have disobeyed, the more goodness God extends to you.  It is not your goodness that causes God to move towards you and bless you, it is His grace.  Even if you have broken all 10 commandments, and sinned in huge massive ways: God’s grace is more massive.  It is greater.

If you go back to the law and try and obey God and try and be good and try and obey God, the more you do that the more you will fail, the more you will mess up, the more you will offend against God’s holy law.  However, if you come to God and just accept that He is good, that He loves you, that He blesses you – not because you have been good but because He is good and He is kind and He is lovely, you will find that His grace is greater than your sin.  As soon as you stop trying to be good and start to trust in the fact that God is good, then you will be more holy and more loving by accident than you have ever been on purpose.  Say it outloud until you believe it from the core of your being: “God’s grace abounds more than my sin.”

 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

You see sin rules over your life before you are a Christian.  You are dead spiritually and sin is your master.  Because sin is your master, satan can come into your life whenever he wants.  You were the tail and not the head – just following around the circumstances of life.  Whenever you managed to succeed in one area of your life, you started to fail in another. 

But when grace entered your life because you heard and believed your entire nature changed, your entire life changed.  You stopped being spiritually dead and started being spiritually alive, you stopped being a sinner and started being righteous.  You started enjoying eternal life, you started enjoying a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

You stopped being the tail and started being the head – you can speak to mountains and they move, you can walk in victory, you can rule and reign and love life.  That is the joy of being born again, that is the fun of being a Christian: being in right relationship with God (His Son), being in right relationship with the world (it’s dominator) and being in right relationship with satan (your foot on his head, not the other way around).

Now you might read this and say: hold on Ben – I am not experiencing this.  This does not describe my life.  Well it should.  It is what you are in the spirit.  If that is not manifesting and not flooding out of you then you need to do three things:

1. Think it.  Spend time in the Bible reading Scriptures about you reigning in life. 

2. Believe it.  Let your mind paint pictures of you reigning, of you enjoying a great relationship with God, about you walking in health and wealth and victory and joy.

3. Say it.  Mark 11.23: For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 

You need to speak to everything in your life that is in your way, and you shall have what you say.

Next time we will begin to answer one of the most important questions that a study of Romans 5 brings up: if we have peace with God because of what Jesus did, and no matter how much we sin, God’s goodness and graciousness is more than our sin, can we live however we want and sin as much as we want?  The answer will probably not surprise you, but the Biblical reasons for the answer probably will.

If this has blessed you or if you have any questions, please comment on the post and I will respond to all comments.

Blessings and love,

Benjamin

Run Through Romans (ch 5.17)

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17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5.17 is one of the most powerful truths in the Bible.  Adam sinned.  The consequences of this action was that he died spiritually and eventually died physically.  However, Jesus Christ gave us two things: abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.

Abundance of grace means completely undesevered access to God.  Abundance means more than enough.  God’s grace is His goodness that we don’t deserve.  Grace is the power of God to enjoy Him and His goodness.  Everyone of us through Jesus’ death on the cross has received utter and total access to God.  An angel cannot keep you away from God’s presence.

It is totally undeserved which means it doesn’t matter how you have lived today, it doesn’t matter what you have done wrong, all that matters is that Jesus paid the price.  You have free unlimited access to God.  Whatever you ask for in prayer will be done for you.  Whatever you say, He will hear.  Whatever you call for, He will answer.  You can walk in His presence and life every single day.

And if that wasn’t enough, we also are given the gift of righteousness.   The gift of righteousness according to Romans 5.17 means we can reign in life.  According to the dictionary, reign means “Exercise of sovereign power, as by a monarch”.  You can reign in life.  Do you get that?  In every area of your life you can exercise sovereign power – you can act like a king and a queen.

Is sickness bothering you?  Act like a king and command it to leave you alone.  Is poverty making living month to month difficult?  Act like a king – command it to leave, command money to come in.  Walk into your place of work like a king, work hard and expect payrises and promotions.  Is there a habit in your life you are trying to kick?  Command your body to not enjoy it anymore.  Boldly declare your freedom.  You can reign in life.  Say outloud: “In every situation in my life, I AM A KING, AND I REIGN”  Start to enjoy life – you don’t think kings enjoy being in charge?  You should enjoy life because you are in charge because Jesus has made you righteous.   You can calm storms, you can heal the sick, you  can ask what you will and  it will be done.

Run Through Romans (ch. 5.13-16)

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Dear All,

I am going to continue our run through Romans series.  I apologise in advance that it has been a couple of months since the last post on this, but I have been really busy with the church and with work and with planning the gospel crusade.  I would love for all of you to be at the gospel crusade in August – I know we are going to see so many signs and wonders, healings and salvations and it is going to be absolutely awesome.

I am really looking forward to continuing this series as well, especially as we are about to look at Romans 6-8, which is easily some of the most neglected teaching in the whole of Christianity about how we can live holy and why we should live holy.  Most Christians are still mixed up in the law and do not realize we are under grace.  But before we reach those chapters, we are going to hammer the message home that Jesus Christ has paid the complete price for all of us and we are under grace and not law:

13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

This is so important for all of us to realize: where there is no law, sin is not imputed.  Imputed means held against.  You have to realize that there are two categories of consequences to sin.  Most Christians never ever realize this.  There are resultant consequences to sin and legal consequences to sin.

Resultant consequences are the things that happen when we sin: if you steal something and are caught, you will be fined or jailed. If you offend someone you care about, you will never have the joy of their company again.  If you swear a lot and are lazy, you will not be promoted at work.

This things have always happened.  As we will find out in Romans 6.23, the wages of sin is death.  If you sin, death will always result.  Adam and Eve sinned and death resulted.  Sin is stepping away from God and His glory and His goodness, and if you sin, you leave that life and wonder and beauty, and you end up in death, and ugliness and loneliness.  God cannot make you make a choice, but if you choose sin you choose death.

When God told Adam and Eve that they would die spiritually and that Eve would be in pain in childbirth and that Adam would be in toil working the ground, God was not cursing them: He was simply explaining what the resultant consequences of sin would be.  God was on their side, He loved them, He clothed them and He looked after them.

Legal consequences to sin are much worse.  A legal consequence to sin is when God judges you for your sin.

When Cain murdered his brother Abel, God didn’t strike Cain dead, He actually offered to protect him.  This is because the law had not been given.  When there is no law, sin is not imputed.  In other words, before the law was given by Moses there were no legal consequences to sin.  God did not judge Cain for His sin, God simply protected him.

After the law of Moses was given, people had their sin imputed to them.  In other words, there were now legal consequences for sin.  A man was stoned to death for picking up sticks on the wrong day of the week!  If you lied you would be stoned to death.  Achan stole some precious metal and was stoned to death.  Read through the laws of Moses and look at what you would be stoned to death  for: almost everything.

However, what most Christians still don’t realize is that Jesus Christ on the cross completely dealt with every single legal consequence for sin.  God is not angry with us, God is not after us, there is no more wrath of God for us.  Hallelujah!  We could kill our own brother and God would not judge us.  That is what it means to be righteous by faith.  It is entirely through what God has done that we are righteous, not by anything we have done.  Any and every sin we commit has no legal consequences whatsoever.  It won’t make you lose your salvation, it won’t affect your fellowship with God at all.

14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Even though there were no legal consequences to sin, there were resultant consequences to sin.  Adam died.  Every one of Adam’s descendants died. This is before the law.  Death is a resultant consequence to sin.  If you sin, you will die.  The more you sin, the faster you will die.

15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

This verse is telling us first of all that the gift of righteousness is different from Adam’s sin because it is better.  You see because of Adam’s sin, the resultant consequence is that we all die.   But because of Jesus’ redemptive, we all live.  Grace triumphs over sin.  Jesus’ death means that death does not lead to hell for us anymore!  We can enter heaven when we die because we are righteous right now.

16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

This verse is telling us the second difference between Adam’s sin and Jesus’ redemption.  It only took one sin from Adam to lead us all to death – but Jesus’ death and redemptive gift of righteousness erases many offences.  It doesn’t matter how many sins you have committed, how many you are committing right now, and how many sins you ever commit Jesus Christ has completely and totally paid the price for them all on the cross.  If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.

Sin has no more legal consequences for the Christian.  You are not under the law of Moses anymore.  You don’t have to worry about sin causing God to be angry for you, you don’t have to worry about hell, you don’t have to be concerned about losing fellowship with God ever again.  He paid the price!  Hallelu Yah!

The Normal Christian Life, chapter 3 (Watchman Nee)

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I consider that this chapter, beautiful illustrated and explained will aid as you seek to learn from and understand Romans 1-8:

Our old history ends with the Cross; our new history begins with the

resurrection. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things

are passed away; behold they are become new” (2 Cor 5:17). The Cross

terminates the first creation, and out of death there is brought a new

creation in Christ, the second Man. If we are `in Adam’ all that is in Adam

necessarily devolves upon us; it becomes ours involuntarily, for we have to

do nothing to get it. There is no need to make up our minds to lose our

temper or to commit some other sin; it comes to us freely and despite

ourselves. In a similar way, if we are `in Christ’ all that is in Christ

comes to us by free grace, without effort on our part but on the ground of

simple faith.

But to say that all we need comes to us in Christ by free grace, though

true enough, may seem unpractical. How does it work out in practice? How

does it become real in our experience?

As we study chapters 6, 7 and 8 of Romans we shall discover that the

conditions of living the normal Christian life are fourfold. They are: (a)

Knowing, (b) Reckoning, (c) Presenting ourselves to God, and (d) Walking in

the Spirit, and they are set forth in that order. If we would live that life

we shall have to take all four of these steps; not one nor two nor three,

but all four. As we study each of them we shall trust the Lord by His Holy

Spirit to illumine our understanding; and we shall seek His help now to take

the first big step forward.

Our Death With Christ A Historic Fact

Romans 6:1-11 is the passage before us now. In these verses it is made

clear that the death of the Lord Jesus is representative and inclusive. In

His death we all died. None of us can progress spiritually without seeing

this. Just as we cannot have justification if we have not seen Him bearing

our sins on the Cross, so we cannot have sanctification if we have not seen

Him bearing us on the Cross. Not only have our sins been laid on Him but we

ourselves have been put into Him.

How did you receive forgiveness? You realized that the Lord Jesus died

as your Substitute and bore your sins upon Himself, and that His Blood was

shed to cleanse away your defilement. When you saw your sins all taken away

on the Cross what did you do? Did you say, `Lord Jesus, please come and die

for my sins’? No, you did not pray at all; you only thanked the Lord You did

not beseech Him to come and die for you, for you realized that He had

already done it.

But what is true of your forgiveness is also true of your deliverance.

The work is done. There is no need to pray but only to praise. God has put

us all in Christ, so that when Christ was crucified we were crucified also.

Thus there is no need to pray: `I am a very wicked person; Lord, please

crucify me’. That is all wrong. You did not pray about your sins; why pray

now about yourself? Your sins were dealt with by His Blood, and you were

dealt with by His Cross. It is an accomplished fact. All that is left for

you to do is to praise the Lord that when Christ died you died also; you

died in Him. Praise Him for it and live in the light of it. “Then believed

they his words: they sang his praise” (Psalm 106:12).

Do you believe in the death of Christ? Of course you do. Well, the same

Scripture that says He died for us says also that we died with Him. Look at

it again: “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That is the first statement,

and that is clear enough; but is this any less clear? “Our old man was

crucified with him” (Romans 6:6). “We died with Christ” (Romans 6:8).

When are we crucified with Him? What is the date of our old man’s

crucifixion? Is it tomorrow? Yesterday? Today? In order to answer this it

may help us if for a moment I turn Paul’s statement round and say, `Christ

was crucified with (i.e. at the same time as) our old man’. Some of you came

here in twos. You traveled to this place together. You might say, My friend

came here with me’, but you might just as truly say, `I came here with my

friend’. Had one of you come three days ago and the other only today you

could not possibly say that; but having come together you can make either

statement with equal truth, because both are statements of fact. So also in

historic fact we can say, reverently but with equal accuracy, `I was

crucified when Christ was crucified’ or `Christ was crucified when I was

crucified’, for they are not two historical events, but one. My crucifixion

was “with him”.[3] Has Christ been crucified? Then can I be otherwise? And

if He was crucified nearly two thousand years ago, and I with Him, can my

crucifixion be said to take place tomorrow? Can His be past and mine be

present or future? Praise the Lord, when He died in my stead, but He bore me

with Him to the Cross, so that when He died I died. And if I believe in the

death of the Lord Jesus, then I can believe in my own death just as surely

as I believe in His.

Why do you believe that the Lord Jesus died? What is your ground for

that belief? Is it that you feel He has died? No, you have never felt it.

You believe it because the Word of God tells you so. When the Lord was

crucified, two thieves were crucified at the same time. You do not doubt

that they were crucified with Him, either, because the Scripture says so

quite plainly.

You believe in the death of the Lord Jesus and you believe in the death

of the thieves with Him. Now what about your own death? Your crucifixion is

more intimate than theirs. They were crucified at the same time as the Lord

but on different crosses, whereas you were crucified on the self same cross

as He, for you were in Him when He died. How can you know? You can know for

the one sufficient reason that God has said so. It does not depend on your

feelings. If you feel that Christ has died, He has died; and if you do not

feel that he died, He has died. If you feel that you have died, you have

died; and if you do not feel that you have died, you have nevertheless just

as surely died. These are Divine facts. That Christ has died is a fact, that

the two thieves have died is a fact, and that you have died is a fact also.

Let me tell you, You have died! You are done with! You are ruled out! The

self you loathe is on the Cross in Christ. And “he that is dead is freed

from sin” (Romans 6:7, A.V.). This is the Gospel for Christians.

Our crucifixion can never be made effective by will or by effort, but

only be accepting what the Lord Jesus did on the Cross. Our eyes must be

opened to see the finished work of Calvary. Some of you, prior to your

salvation, may have tried to save yourselves. You read the Bible, prayed,

went to Church, gave alms. Then one day your eyes were opened and you saw

that a full salvation had already been provided for you on the Cross. You

just accepted that and thanked God, and peace and joy flowed into your

heart. Now salvation and sanctification are on exactly the same basis. You

receive deliverance from sin in the same way as you receive forgiveness of

sins.

For God’s way of deliverance is altogether different from man’s way.

Man’s way is to try to suppress sin by seeking to overcome it; God’s way is

to remove the sinner. Many Christians mourn over their weakness, thinking

that if only they were stronger all would be well. The idea that, because

failure to lead a holy life is due to our impotence, something more is

therefore demanded of us, leads naturally to this false conception of the

way of deliverance. If we are preoccupied with the power of sin and with our

inability to meet it, then we naturally conclude that to gain the victory

over sin we must have more power. `If only I were stronger’, we say, `I

could overcome my violent outbursts of temper’, and so we plead with the

Lord to strengthen us that we may exercise more self-control.

But this is altogether wrong; this is not Christianity. God’s means of

delivering us from sin is not by making us stronger and stronger, but by

making us weaker and weaker. That is surely rather a peculiar way of

victory, you say; but it is the Divine way. God sets us free from the

dominion of sin, not by strengthening our old man but by crucifying him; not

by helping him to do anything but by removing him from the scene of action.

For years, maybe, you have tried fruitlessly to exercise control over

yourself, and perhaps this is still your experience; but when once you see

the truth you will recognize that you are indeed powerless to do anything,

but that in setting you aside altogether God has done it all. Such a

revelation brings human self-effort to an end.

The First Step: “Knowing This…”

The normal Christian life must begin with a very definite `knowing’,

which is not just knowing something about the truth nor understanding some

important doctrine. It is not intellectual knowledge at all, but an opening

of the eyes of the heart to see what we have in Christ.

How do you know your sins are forgiven? Is it because your pastor told

you so? No, you just know it. If I ask you how you know, you simply answer,

`I know it!’ Such knowledge comes by Divine revelation. It comes from the

Lord Himself. Of course the fact of forgiveness of sins is in the Bible, but

for the written Word of God to become a living Word from God to you He had

to give you “a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him”

(Eph. 1:17). What you needed was to know Christ in that way, and it is

always so. So there comes a time, in regard to any new apprehension of

Christ, when you know it in your own heart, you `see’ it in your spirit. A

light has shined into your inner being and you are wholly persuaded of the

fact. What is true of the forgiveness of your sins is no less true of your

deliverance from sin. When once the light of God dawns upon your heart you

see yourself in Christ. It is not now because someone has told you, and not

merely because Romans 6 says so. It is something more even than that. You

know it because God has revealed it to you by His Spirit. You may not feel

it; you may not understand it; but you know it, for you have seen it. Once

you have seen yourself in Christ, nothing can shake your assurance of that

blessed fact.

If you ask a number of believers who have entered upon the normal

Christian life how they came by their experience, some will say in this way

and some will say in that. Each stresses his own particular way of entering

in and produces Scripture to support his experience; and unhappily many

Christians are using their special experiences and their special scriptures

to fight other Christians. The fact of the matter is that, while Christians

may enter into the deeper life by different ways, we need not regard the

experiences or doctrines they stress as mutually exclusive, but rather

complementary. One thing is certain, that any true experience of value in

the sight of God must have been reached by way of a new discovery of the

meaning of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus. That is a crucial test and

a safe one.

And here in our passage Paul makes everything depend upon such a

discovery. “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the

body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to

sin” (Romans 6:6).

Divine Revelation Essential To Knowledge

So our first step is to seek from God a knowledge that comes by

revelation — a revelation, that is to say, not of ourselves but of the

finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. When Hudson Taylor, the

founder of the China Inland Mission, entered into the normal Christian life

it was thus that he did so. You remember how he tells of his long-standing

problem of how to live `in Christ’, how to draw the sap out of the Vine into

himself. For he knew that he must have the life of Christ flowing out

through him and yet felt that he had not got it, and he saw clearly enough

that his need was to be found in Christ. `I knew’, he said, writing to his

sister from Chinkiang in 1869, `that if only I could abide in Christ, all

would be well, but I could not.’

The more he tried to get in the more he found himself slipping out, so

to speak, until one day light dawned, revelation came and he saw.

`Here, I feel, is the secret: not asking how I am to get sap out of the Vine

into myself, but remembering that Jesus is the Vine — the root, stem,

branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit, all indeed.’

Then, in words of a friend that had helped him:

`I have not got to make myself a branch. The Lord Jesus tells me I am a

branch. I am part of Him and I have just to believe it and act upon it. I

have seen it long enough in the Bible, but I believe it now as a living

reality.’

It was as though something which had indeed been true all the time had

now suddenly become true in a new way to him personally, and he writes to

his sister again:

`I do not know how far I may be able to make myself intelligible about it,

for there is nothing new or strange or wonderful — and yet, all is new! In

a word, “whereas once I was blind, now I see”….I am dead and buried with

Christ — aye, and risen too and ascended….God reckons me so, and tells me

to reckon myself so. He knows best….Oh, the joy of seeing this truth — I

do pray that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened, that you may

know and enjoy the riches freely given us in Christ.'[4]

Oh, it is a great thing to see that we are in Christ! Think of the

bewilderment of trying to get into a room in which you already are! Think of

the absurdity of asking to be put in! If we recognize the fact that we are

in, we make no effort to enter. If we had more revelation we should have

fewer prayers and more praises. Much of our praying for ourselves is just

because we are blind to what God has done.

I remember one day in Shanghai I was talking with a brother who was

very exercised concerning his spiritual state. He said, `So many are living

beautiful, saintly lives. I am ashamed of myself. I call myself a Christian

and yet when I compare myself with others I feel I am not one at all. I want

to know this crucified life, this resurrection life, but I do not know it

and see no way of getting there.’ Another brother was with us, and the two

of us had been talking for two hours or so, trying to get the man to see

that he could not have anything apart from Christ, but without success. Said

our friend, `the best thing a man can do is to pray.’ `But if God has

already given you everything, what do you need to pray for?’ we asked. `He

hasn’t’, the man replied, `for I am still losing my temper, still failing

constantly; so I must pray more.’ `Well’, we said, `do you get what you pray

for?’ `I am sorry to say that I do not get anything’, he replied. We tried

to point out that, just as he had done nothing for his justification, so he

need do nothing for his sanctification.

Just then a third brother, much used of the Lord, came in and joined

us. There was a thermos flask on the table, and this brother picked it up

and said, `What is this?’ `A thermos flask.’ `Well, you just imagine for a

moment that this thermos flask can pray, and that it starts praying

something like this: “Lord, I want very much to be a thermos flask. Wilt

Thou make me to be a thermos flask? Lord, give me grace to become a thermos

flask. Do please make me one!” What will you say?’ `I do not think even a

thermos flask would be so silly,’ our friend replied. `It would be nonsense

to pray like that; it is a thermos flask!’ Then my brother said, `You are

doing the same thing. God in times past has already included you in Christ.

When He died, you died; when He lived, you lived. Now today you cannot say,

“I want to die; I want to be crucified; I want to have resurrection life.”

The Lord simply looks at you and says, “You are dead! You have new life!”

All your praying is just as absurd as that of the thermos flask. You do not

need to pray to the Lord for anything; you merely need your eyes opened to

see that He has done it all.’

That is the point. We need not work to die, we need not wait to die, we

are dead. We only need to recognize what the Lord has already done and to

praise Him for it. Light dawned for that man. With tears in his eyes he

said, `Lord, I praise Thee that Thou hast already included me in Christ. All

that is His is mine!’ Revelation had come and faith had something to lay

hold of; and if you could have met that brother later on, what a change you

would have found!

The Cross Goes To The Root Of Our Problem

Let me remind you again of the fundamental nature of that which the

Lord has done on the Cross. I feel I cannot press this point too much for we

must see it. Suppose, for the sake of illustration, that the government of

your country should wish to deal drastically with the question of strong

drink and should decide that the whole country was to go `dry’, how could

the decision be carried into effect? How could we help? If we were to search

every shop and house throughout the land and smash all the bottles of wine

or beer or brandy we came across, would that meet the case? Surely not. We

might thereby rid the land of every drop of alcoholic liquor it contains,

but behind those bottles of strong drink are the factories that produce

them, and if we only deal with the bottles and leave the factories

untouched, production will still continue and there is no permanent solution

of the problem. The drink-producing factories, the breweries and

distilleries throughout the land, must be closed down if the drink question

is to be permanently settled.

We are the factory; our actions are the products. The Blood of the Lord

Jesus dealt with the question of the products, namely, our sins. So the

question of what we have done is settled, but would God have stopped there?

What about the question of what we are? Our sins were produced by us. They

have been dealt with, but how are we going to be dealt with? Do you believe

the Lord would cleanse away all our sins and then leave us to get rid of the

sin-producing factory? Do you believe He would put away the goods produced

but leave us to deal with the source of production?

To ask this question is but to answer it. Of course He has not done

half the work and left the other half undone. No, He has done away with the

goods and also made a clean sweep of the factory that produces the goods.

The finished work of Christ really has gone to the root of our problem

and dealt with it. There are no half measures with God. “Knowing this,” says

Paul, “That our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might

be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin” (Rom. 6:6).

“Knowing this”! Yes, but do you know it? “Or are ye ignorant?” (Rom. 6:3).

May the Lord graciously open our eyes.

Run Through Romans (ch. 5.12)

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 12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5.12 introduces a new topic for Paul. 

Paul’s topic from Romans 1.18- Romans 5.11 has been consistent: how God has completely dealt with the fact that man has sinned.  You and I have done unrighteous things, and we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  However, God has dealt with the problem of your sins by placing them on Jesus.  Jesus bore your sins and now you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  The correct theological term for this is “justification”. 

Justification is the process where God declares an unrighteous person righteous by virtue of the fact that Jesus died for their sins.  You cannot be justified by any action or any religious ritual, but only by believing in Jesus Christ.  This is called justification by faith.

Romans 5.12 introduces another section of this book, which continues to the end of Romans 8.  The topic of Romans 5.12-Romans 8 is not justification as much as sanctification.  What this word means and how it applies to a Christian shall be explained as we work through the next few chapters.

By now I want you to realize that in addition to the problem of your sins, you have a second problem.  A far worse problem: the problem of sin.

Sins and sin.   It is a subtle difference but one that is so important for you to live in victory.  In the previous 5 chapters Paul has expertly explained that Jesus has paid the price for your sins.  Now he is going to show you how to deal with sin.

So what is the difference between sins and sin.  A good analogy, and I am greatful to Watchman Nee for this analogy, is to imagine a factory making a product.  The product is the same as sins, but the factory is sin.  Even if you went all throughout the country destroying the product, you wouldn’t ever be able to complete your task as the factory would still be making the product.

Even, in the same way, you have committed sins.  The work of Jesus has completely dealt with your sins, by placing them all on Jesus.  Jesus paid the price for your sins.  Every single action that was selfish, unrighteous, destructive, disobedience to God, dishonouring to God, disrespectful to other humans: Jesus paid the price.    And we are declared righteous because Jesus paid the price, not because of anything we have done or could ever do.

But the fact is this: inside your heart, before you became a Christian, was nothing short of a sin-factory.  All the sins you ever committed came from somewhere: and they came from your heart.  You acted selfish because you were selfish.  You lied because you were a liar. 

This is contrary to much of modern thinking about psychology and behaviour.  Many people today will determine your behaviour by your actions: if you lie, then that makes you a liar.  That is not true: you are a liar, that is why you lie.   There are clinics and self-help programmes all over the place that are dealing with behaviour and managing behaviour.   But people do these programmes and after a few months are doing the same things again and again.   The product has been destroyed, but the factory is still there.

The beauty of the gospel message is that Jesus doesn’t just deal with the product: he destroys the factory.  He doesn’t just forgive all your sins, He gives you a new heart.  So many Christians are told that Jesus forgives, but are then left to struggle to live right and live a life of victory and joy.  Paul outlines the full gospel in Romans, and in the next few days and weeks we are going to learn how not just to know that you are righteous, but how to live a righteous life in the world.

 12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world

Like he does with the problem of sins, Paul starts in Romans 5.12 by introducing the problem.  The problem is this: by one man (Adam – who was a real person made by God in His image just as the Bible says), sin has been brought into the world.  Adam sinned. 

and death by sin

Death is brought into the world by sin.  Sin always leads to death.  If there is no sin, there is no death.  You are going to die because you sinned.  If you don’t believe in Jesus, you will be going to hell.  That is the reality of the situation.  Sin leads to death and hell, and without Jesus paying the complete price, you would die and enter hell.  But because Jesus dealt with your sin, you can enter heaven and enjoy heaven on earth.

and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Adam sinned.  Adam, like every human, was made up of three elements: spirit, soul and body.  When Adam sinned against God, immediately his spirit died.  Adam could no longer communicate freely with God without fear, without shame.  From that moment, gradually his soul started to die.  He has his first argument with his wife, one of his son’s murdered another, his thinking and his emotions became darker.  Eventually at the end of this death process, his body died.

That happens now to every son of Adam.  Adam’s entire nature changed due to sin.  It happened to you and it happened to me.  We were born on the planet spiritually dead.  We do not care for God, we do not seek God.  Over time our soul – our emotions and our thinking and our decision making power – dies.  We lose the ability to think, we lose the ability to empathize.  We start getting pleased and having positive emotions at negative and sinful situations.  Eventually our body will die, and our sin-filled dead spirit and soul will descend into hell for eternity.The fact is that you were by nature a child of wrath.  By believing in Christ, you have been made righteous, and you can now enter heaven.  All your sins have been forgiven.

The only escape from this is to be born again.  Being born again means that your dead spirit is reborn and is now a living spirit.  Now you can hear the voice of the Lord, your conscience is restored.  Your living spirit will start to influence your soul, and your thinking will become clearer.  And when your body dies, you will ascend to heaven and enjoy heaven.  At an appointed day, your body will be re-created as a sinless and incorruptible body, and you will enjoy a new heaven and a new earth, in the presence of the Lord, forever.

 

But you don’t have to continue living the same way when you become a Christian.  Becoming a Christian isn’t just God wiping the slate clean so you can get into heaven when you die: it is God throwing the slate away and giving you a brand new life: a resurrection life, the life of Christ.  How this works and how you can enjoy this life is the theme of Romans 5.12-Romans 8.  And in the next few days and weeks, we will unpack this for you.

I hope it excites you as much as it does me,

Blessings,

Ben

Run Through Romans (5.6-11)

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6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

This emphasises the point of the law: to show you that you have no strength.  To show you that you could never achieve righteousness on your own.  Because you could never achieve it on your own, Christ died for you.  He died in your place, becoming your sin, taking your death, bearing the punishment that should be on you.  How wonderful!

7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Before you ever tried to do anything good, before you ever prayed, before you ever fasted, before you ever read your Bible, before you tried to walk in love, Christ died for you because God loves you.  Never, ever doubt the love of God for you: while you were still unrighteous and while you were cursing His name and disrespecting His people, He sent Christ to die for you.  He loves you.  He loved you when you were a rebel.  Now you have tried and failed, do you honestly think he doesn’t love you anymore?  He loves you.  He adores you.

You determine God’s love for you not by your feelings or experiences.  If you try that you will be a yo-yo Christian up and down with your moods and your feelings.  You determine God’s love for you on whether Jesus died or not. 

You commit a sin.  You don’t feel loved by God.  Did Jesus die for you? Yes – then God loves you.

You do something great.  You feel loved by God.  Did Jesus die for you? Yes – then God loves you.

You try to do something and make a mistake.  You feel unloved.  Did Jesus die for you?  Yes – then God loves you.

You have a row with someone.  You disobey the Holy Spirit.  You let everyone down.  You lose control.  Did Jesus die for you?  Yes – then God loves you!

9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Follow Paul’s argument here because it is so powerful and will bring you so much confidence and peace.  Paul is saying that when you were a sinner and a rebel and there was nothing good in you, God loved you so much that He sent Jesus to take your sin and swap it for His righteousness. 

Now you have believed in the love of God and the death and resurrection of Jesus you are righteous.  If God loved you when you were a sinner, how much MORE – now you are justified (made righteous) by Jesus’ blood – are you saved from His wrath.  God will never punish you for sin.

Do you understand that: God will NEVER punish you for your sin.  You could go out and sin right now and God will not punish you for it.  You are righteous because of what Jesus did and are completely free from the wrath of God.

The wrath of God is the element of God’s justice and goodness that demands God punish sin.  Now when you were unrighteous, you were what Ephesians 2 calls “a child of wrath”.  Your whole nature was unrighteous and you deserved the judgment of God.  You lied, you stole, you blasphemed.  You were selfish.  When you died and were judged by God you would have gone to hell.

Now, because of your faith in Jesus you have been given a new nature.  You are not unrighteous anymore, but righteous: this change in your spirit is so monumental that Jesus Himself calls it being “born again”.  God punished Jesus for all your sins and He died on a cross taking your death.  He descended to hell, suffering your punishment.  Now you are now made righteous when you believe in Jesus.

Because you are righteous, you are not under the wrath of God.  In fact, it would be wrong of God to punish you for your sin.  God has already punished Jesus fully for every sin you have committed or ever will commit.  If God punished you for your sin, He would be unjust.   If Jesus has legally taken all the punishment for every sin you have ever committed you are not under the wrath of God.

Put in simple English: God is never going to punish you.  He is not mad with you.  He is not angry with you.  You are righteous.  The Lord God loves you.

Isaiah 54.9 says: For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.

Ask any Christian: do you believe that one day there will be another worldwide flood?  They will tell you not a chance – God has promised He will not judge the world with water again.   Ask any Christian: do you believe that God will ever be angry with you or rebuke you again?  They will most likely say: probably lots of times. 

Why? They are basing God’s love for them on their performance and not on the work of the cross and the grace of God.  Read Isa. 54.9 again carefully: as surely as God has promised that there will be no more worldwide floods, He will NOT be angry with you or rebuke you.  Ever.  That is what the Bible says.

You are righteous.  You are right with God.  You are at peace with God.  God is not angry at you.  Stop running away from God, He loves you.  He is not judging you for your sin, He is not holding your sin against you – He already held it against Jesus.  You are free and delivered and safe from the punishment of God.

This is the good news of the gospel!10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

If you realize this, you would joy in God too.  When you were God’s enemy and you hated God, He didn’t wipe you out: He sent His Son to die for you.  Now you are God’s friend, you shall be saved by the life of Jesus.  Jesus lives in you, and God loves you as much as He loves Jesus.  You should be shouting about now if this is sinking in.

We have now received the atonement.  Atonement is a terrible translation of the Greek word katallagē. It should be translated: exchange or reconciliation. 

You have received the exchange: Jesus took your sin and gave you His righteousness.  Say it out loud.  Get used to thinking that you are righteous with the righteousness of God.  That is the truth.  God is not angry with you, God is not going to punish you because you have received the exchange – the greatest exchange in history.  His righteousness for your sin.  God will never, ever deal with you according to your sin.  Most Christians don’t believe that, many ministers don’t preach that but it is the message of the gospel.

You have received the reconciliation: you and God are no longer at war.  The sin issue has been dealt with by Jesus.  You and God are at peace.  God is not about to punish you or rebuke you and that is sealed in the blood of Jesus.

So start to joy in God.  The word for joy here in verse 11 means to boast gladly about.  Boast gladly that you are saved, not because of yourself, but because of Jesus.  Boast gladly that God will never punish you, not because of yourself, but because of Jesus’ blood.

Praise His name forever,

Ben

Run Through Romans (5.2-5)

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2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

You see, when we know that we are righteous and that we have peace with God we have full access to the grace of God.  That means we can stand no matter what is going on around us.  Does it really matter who or what declares war on you when God is at peace with you?  You can rejoice no matter what happens because you know that God is at peace with you.

You might have done something selfish and stupid today, but God is at peace with you.  So rejoice!

3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

Not only can we stand no matter what happens, we can rejoice in tribulations.  What does this mean?  It means that when you know God is at peace with you, you can declare war on any situation or circumstance.

I remember a long time ago, when I was a little child about seven or eight, I was in the supermarket and I was causing trouble.  I had escaped my mother’s careful eye and I was peeling the oranges around the fruit section and having a right giggle.

This lady, I don’t remember if she worked in the shop or not, decided to tell me off.  In fact, she decided to try and put me over her knee and smack my backside.

I was very cheeky to her but I was actually very nervous, especially when she got a hold of me.  She was twisting my wrist and was about to smack me one when my mother came around the counter.  She yelled at this lady “don’t you mess with my son”, and the lady dropped me immediately.  Suddenly I felt safe again, and started making rude gestures at the lady who simply backed off.

Now my behaviour was wrong, and my mother dealt with it, but the point is this: I wasn’t that ladies’ son and she could not declare war on me because I was at peace with my mother.

You are at peace with God – so glory in tribulation.  People calling you names for being a Christian.  Get excited – what are they really going to do to you in eternity?  Nothing, because you are going to stand before God on judgment day and you have peace with God.  Gives you a chance to preach the gospel to them.

Sickness comes on your body and attacks it.  Glory because God is the Healer and you are at peace with Him.  Bills stacking up, glory because God supplies all your needs and you are at peace with Him.

What your tribulation – your troubles – do is work patience.  Patience in the New Testament simply means consistency.  Anyone can praise God for healing when they are well.  But patient people praise God for healing them no matter what their body feels like, and people like that don’t stay sick for long.  Patient people thank God for His provision before they see it, and see it they will.  There is such a joy in being consistent before the Lord.

4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

This patience – the power of being consistent in praising God – always leads to experience.  You will experience your healing if you consistently praise God for your healing.  You will experience your freedom and deliverance if you consistently praise God for deliverance.

These verses are not about being patient in suffering, patient in barely scraping by.  That is a lie.  These verses are about being patient (consistent) in praising and glorifying God and thanking God and then experiencing what you are thanking God for.

These experiences then bring hope.  Hope is your imagination.  When you see one healing, you start to dream of other people being healed.  When you receive enough provision to meet your needs, you start hoping for the money to start meeting other’s needs.

Hope means you are a positive person.   When you know you are at peace with God you are positive.  Any trouble in your life just makes you consistently praise and thank God for helping you because you know you are at peace with Him and He is your ally and He will help you.  Your praise brings experience as you see your deliverance happen and then you are a hopeful person.

5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

When you have hope you are never ashamed.  No matter what you go through, you know that you are going through and not camping there.  And that means you are not ashamed.  It is no shame because your righteousness is based on the Lord and not your actions or your experiences.

And the other reason we are not ashamed: God has put His love in our heart.  Notice that this is present tense again: God’s love IS shed abroad in our heart.  Do you know that the full love of God is in your heart right now if you are born again?

There used to be a song sung in some churches: “More love, more power, more of you in my life.”  It has a nice tune, I grant that, but it is completely incorrect Biblically speaking.  If you are born again, the love of God is shed abroad in your heart.  If you are born again, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is inside you.  If you are born again, the Lord lives inside you.

How can you ever have more love, more power and more of God in your life?  It is nonsense.   It would be like if you gave me the keys to your car and I kept wandering around you begging you for the very keys you had already given me.  How would you answer a request like that?  You would be very confused.

I don’t think God is confused, but asking for things you already have is ridiculous.  You have the love of God inside you.

If someone near you is making you want to act unloving, don’t beg God to give you more love for that person.  It is a nonsense prayer – and if you have ever prayed like that (I have!) you will know it simply does not work!

What do you do then? Follow the Scripture: glory in your tribulation.  Notice the Bible says glory IN your tribulation, not glory FOR your tribulation.  Don’t thank God that there is someone you find difficult to love in your life, thank God that the love of God IS in your heart.  Your glory will bring patience: you will be someone who is consistency praising God.

Then your patient and consistent praising of God and thanking Him for the love that He has already put in your heart will become your experience.  You will start to feel the love that you know is inside you.  That will bring about hope.  That is how you deal with trouble in your life.


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