Eternity Bridged

Eternity Bridged

Eternity Bridged

Eternity, a concept bridged here in this passage of the bible by a single conjunction, the word ‘Therefore’. What an incredible word and what a wonderful placement of it. What I desired to do in this message is to bring out both the value of a single word, and its placement in scripture, as well as an opportunity, through the sermon, to summarise what we have discovered in the journey through the book of Romans so far.

The place we find ourselves in this portion of the book of Romans I think is important. It is at this junction that all that has gone before linkswith all that comes ahead. 

A single word provides the bridge.

It’s not an accident that this first word of Chapter five is directly after the last word of chapter four.

“Therefore”

When we see the word ‘therefore’ we should understand and know what it is there for!

Here, the significance of this word, particularly its placement, is possibly the most important in all of scripture.

We need to remind ourselves why the Lord Jesus Christ had to die, whyGod himself was manifest in the flesh, why the Bible was given by God to mankind; indeed, whyGod created the universe and all that there is therein, in the first place. 

It is that God may have a personal relationship with man.

If we don’t understand Gods reason for this entire creation , we won’t comprehend his motive for our salvation!

What is difficult today is that most of the western world are being continually given ‘Bread and Circuses’. Cisero coined the phrase in the 1stcentury BC, referring to giving men just enough to live on, and keeping them amused enough so the reality of life would pass them by.

We are entertained to death in the west, fiction and reality seems to merge to a point where it is hard to tell the truth. FICS-ALITY? 

Wax models of Christians believe they are just as safe from the wrath of God as those that KNOW they are NOT Christians. 

The book of ROMANS GIVES CLARITY to our reality.

Therefore………being justified ………..by faith,……… we have peace with God …………through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Romans 5:1

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God

Therefore being justified

Therefore

ALL THAT HAS GONE BEFORE THIS CONJUNCTION, this ETERNAL BRIDGE, speaks to us of the work GOD has done to reconcile SINFUL MAN, to HIMSELF. 

ALL THAT HAS GONE BEFORE this junction, IS OF ABSOLUTE IMPORTANCE, as it is both the state of man apart from God and the CONDITION for which man may have PEACE WITH GOD!

All that comes after this simple grammatical word,…well…is life everlasting!

1.   Therefore: Links What Is Told Before

We find that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against ALL ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. (1:18)(Ch1), and that God will render to every man according to his deeds(Ch2), and we discover that we all come short of the Glory of God (Ch3). And then finally in chapter 4 we incredibly discover the solution to all our woes, that Righteousness shall be imputed (Credited) to us as it was to Abraham, “if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”(Rom 4:24-25)

Thereforebeing justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ!

That was the summary, lets expand on it just a little for this first point. What was the Point?

  1. Therefore Links that Which Was Before.

 Romans 1, The Wrath of God.

The full case of God against man is rounded up explicitly in chapter one.

It’s what is termed by Donald Grey Barnhouse 5 volume set on the book of Romans as “The Ruin of Man.”

Chapter 1 demonstrates the potential, continuing depravity of man as he rejects that which has been revealed to him from heaven; as it is “the invisible things of him, from the creation of the worldare clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, the passage presents that it is for this reason and this reason alone ..that they are without excuse” (1:20)

We discovered that “When they knew God they glorified him not as God but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened” (1:21)

And Incredibly what we witness in the world is confirmed in scripture, that once they have rejected the evident things of God, they yet “profess themselves to be wise, but become fools”(1:22)   

So well witnessed by the foolishness of the arguments, both philosophical and quasi-scientific, by Dawkins, Hawking, Harris, Hitchens and Dennet. 

These “Bright’s” are put back in the darkby the changed mind of the greatest philosophical atheist of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Antony Flew,in his last book before he died titled “There is A God”.

Richard Dawkins was so taken aback by the revelation that his hero atheist has become a believer in God that he thought it was the ramblings of a senile old man. 

Beloved, I have read the book, if there is any irrational senility it’s in Richard Dawkins and not Antony Flew.

We see evidence of corruption with man as they become more and more adoring of things created, they “Change the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts and creeping things” (1:23)

Today, even the moderate environmentalist has “Changed the truth of God into a lie, and worship and serve the creature more than the creator who is blessed for ever amen” (1:25)

It’s interesting that today’s moderates are yesterday’s extremist’s

BUT THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCE OF THEIR REJECTION OF GOD DOES NOT STOP THERE.

Because God gave them over to a reprobate mind, That is, he handed them over to themselves with minds that no longer function well, he did not restrain them nor their lusts, 

26…God gave them up unto vile affectionsfor even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with menworking that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Romans 1

Homosexuality is clearly noted here as a SYMPTON of continuing depravityas we reject the truth of God evident in all things. 

The GLOBAL acceptance of homosexual activity, is the clearest manifestation of the worlds rejection of God. It’s interesting to see it so prevalent and normalized today, an age in which we have not seen such wholescale rejection of the Bible among Secular and Nominal Christian alike.

The Normalizing all form of Sexual Preferences and lusts is a symptom of a far deeper problem. Like the breaking, bleeding and corruption of the skin is the outward manifestation of LEPROCY within, so too does the common acceptance of perversion manifest the rejection of God within.

It’s notably the last spiraling stage of man’s state, before the overall description in those last verses of Chapter one.

·     Romans 2

Friends, chapter two of Romans did not placate man’s situation either; beginning with man being inexcusable, for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. (Rom 2:1).

According to verse 3 God says And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

Man uses Gods law, testifying his knowledge of it from his own conscience, to condemn others yet does the same things himself.

This is why verse 5 states that ‘after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds”

It does not matter who you are, verse 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

But Romans 3 summarizes and closes the loop on both Jew and Gentile alike

·     Romans 3

Verse 10 tells us 

         … There is none righteous, no, not one: 11   There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12          They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 

Man, however thinks himself much more highly than he ought to think and looks for means to have peace in their sin, The objective purpose of Psychology is ultimately to free man from guilt, but verse 17 says And the way of peace have they not known

Verse 18 places that last bit of evidence against the godless man

: 18    There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Now without hope, many seek to turn to the Law for justification, but this third chapter closes the door there also.

It tells us that the purpose of the law was never intended to save man; but its purpose was to bring to us the knowledge that we broke the Law and silently stand guilty before GOD.

 3:19-20      Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law isthe knowledge of sin.

In ancient days men followed the teaching of Epicurus whose teachings led men to think that man had little purpose but to enjoy the fruits of life. He became later known as “the patron of drunkards, whoremongers and gluttons[1]

We see Romans 1 and 2 there and find confirmationthat 

All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (v23)

It was toward the fall of the Roman Republic that the Epicurean Life could not be maintained, and the opposing school of Stoicism was given opportunity. Founded by Zeno of Citium, the Stoics held to restraint and simplicity, an abiding in the Law. But can any salvation come through the Law?

In the Old testament Isaiah 64:6 confirms this saying. 

 But we are all as an unclean thing

And all our righteousnesses areas filthy rags; 

And we all do fade as a leaf; 

And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Isaiah 64:6

Stoisim also fell at the end of the Roman Republic, the Law and all our goodness was not enough. We see the latter part of Romans 3 revealed in that history.

But on the heals of the end of the Roman Republic came Biblical Christianity.

I don’t believe that is coincidental.

Romans 4 speaking to us about HOW we are justified and can come to have peace with God.

·     Romans 4

Righteousness is attained when we would simply believe God at his word as did Abraham.

23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Romans 4:23-25

Now that we have summarized the first four, let’s go on to consider what is presented as Cause and Effect.

2. Therefore has cause and effect  

THEREFORE, having touched the hot plate, I burnt my hand.

THEREFORE, having worked with my hands, we have food on the table.

THEREFORE, having Honored my parents, I live long..er

THEREFORE, having upset dad…THE WRATH OF GOD HAS FALLEN UPON ME!

Cause and effect

THEREFORE being justified by faith, we have peace with God…!

 Turn to Deut 30:15-19

All of Deuteronomy is a sermon and a historical reminder.

There was a ‘THEREFORE” type of cause and effect upon Israel.

THEREFORE, because the parents of those Moses addresses in this sermon did not believe God, their carcasses fell in the wilderness over the last forty years.

The same Cause and Effect afflicted Moses and Arron, 

Numbers 20:12

12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, thereforeye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

Numbers 20:12

All of them had seen and experienced their Exodus from Egypt, and witnessed the miracles of God through;

  • the ten plagues that came upon Pharaoh, 
  • the parting of the Red Sea, 
  • God speaking to them directly from Sinai
  • the bread that came down from heaven to feed them, 
  • the rock from which water flowed to quench their thirst and so on, 

BUT still did they not believe God at his word and rebelled against him when commanded to go into the land to possess it, THEREFORE they perished over the 40 years in the wilderness for their unbelief, and their children entered in. 

So Chapter 30 of Deuteronomy is a summary from Moses to the children of those who perished in the wilderness over the last forty years.

V15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16          In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

These are the blessings that come upon them if they will continue to believe God at his word. 

Now comes the consequence if they turn away;

BUTif thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;18      I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and thatye shall not prolong yourdays upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.

Verse 19 now is the full expression of the consequence to man if they should turn away from the Lord, this can apply to each of us and not the Jews only, Moses here gives a powerful and clear summery;

19      I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, thatI have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: thereforechoose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Many people are sincere in the things that they believe, but as we can see here not all ways lead to life.

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereofarethe ways of death.”

Proverbs 14:12

“…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: thereforechoose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”

Moses provides for them action and consequence, CAUSE AND EFFECT.

The first word of Chapter five is the bridge, it is the most incredible THEREFORE there is particularly where it is placed in this wonderful book.

3.Therefore Bridges the Gulf

5:1     Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Turn to Luke 16:22-26

When the rich man in Luke 16 died and was buried and in hell he lifted up his eyes and being in torments saw Abraham afar off and he asked that Lazurus “may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” 

One of Abrahams responses was 26between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would comefrom thence. (16:26)

The effect upon mankind after chapters 1 through to 3 should be a sickening dread.

After these chapters you should know if you have peace with God, knowing that you may not have peace with God leaves you without hope because between you and God there is a great gulf! 

The word THEREFORE,in this passage, in this particular position in the Bible, bridges the Great gulf. It does so with the hopeful condition that was so wonderfully spelled out for us from the 24th verse of chapter three to the end of chapter 4.

Before the 24thverse of chapter three, man is left in a terrible condition: Should he die, should his foot slide in due time, should his next breath be his last, all hope would be lost. 

Without being reconciled to God and having peace with God, man is immediately cast into hell to await judgment after which he will be cast into the lake of fire created originally for the devil and his angels, and that for all eternity. 

Hope and Time can end for any person at any point.There are few people that will notbe surprised when death comes. Over 200,000 people die each day, I am sure most are making plans for tomorrow. 

Death is no respecter of persons

  • it won’t wait for a time that suits you, 
  • it wont wait till you have paid your life insurance, 
  • it wont wait till you have had kids or till the kids are ready or grown, 
  • it wont wait till your wife is strong enough to bare your absence. 
  • It wont wait till your husband can care for himself.
  • It wont wait till you’ve won that contract, got that job, completed your apprenticeship, finished school, enjoyed a world trip or ticked off that last item on your ‘bucket list’.
  • Death is immanent and will not wait

Have you made your plans well? 

Have you bridged the great gulf? 

When death comes it will come, and any effort to avoid it may indeed be the one that precipitates it.

There is a story about Death

Its told of a certain man who was walking in his neighborhood, not far from his home, when he came face to face with Death. 

He noticed an expression of surprise on Deaths face, but they passed one another without speaking. 

The man was frightened and went to a wise man to ask what should be done. The wise man told him that Death had probably come to take him away the next morning. The poor man was terrified and all he thought he could do was get as far away from death as possible.

So he drove all night to a distant city to elude Death. It was a terrible journey and it had never been done in one night before—and when he arrived he congratulated himself on having eluded death.

Just then, Death came up to him and tapped him on the shoulder. “Excuse me,” he said, “but I have come for you.”

“Why,” exclaimed the terrified man, “I thought I saw you yesterday near my home!”

“Exactly,” said Death. “That was why I looked surprised—for I’d been told to meet you today in this city.”[2]

Have you made your plans well? Have you bridged the great gulf? 

The THEREFORE of the first verse of Chapter 5 bridges the Gap, and that through Christ;

5:1     Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans chapter 1:17, and just before God begins his case against mankind, lets us in on a taste of hope saying, 

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, 

The just shall live by faith.

Galatians 4:4 says But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,          To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

There was a time appointedin scripture where God would send forth his Son, to save mankind from themselves and from the wrath of God. 

If there is anything we have learned in the last 13 sermons on the first four chapters, is that MAN CANNOT SAVE HIMSELF!

It is Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone that will facilitate that peace between you and Godand only through faith in his blood can a man be justified, 

THEREFORE BEING JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD…!

This Son is The Christ that was promised and ordained before the foundation of the world, and he came to seek and to save that which was lost. (Lk 19:10)

He came to give his life a ransom for many (Matt 20:28)

And all these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (Jn 20:31)

It is through the shedding of his blood that man will have the remission of sins (Matt 26:28)! 

This is what the entire sacrificial system ordained for Israel in the temple was to represent! This is why the veil was rent in two, to show that the way to the holy of Holies, to God himself was now made manifest to all who believe! (Heb 10:18-20)

NOW, NOW there is hope through Christ and Christ alone, Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with Godthrough our Lord Jesus Christ:

  • Christ, the centerpiece of hope. 

He told the Pharisees, 

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

John 5:39

Will you go to him that you might have life? 1 John 5:12 says    

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 

Nineteen one syllable words that tell the gospel.

Friends, it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgement, Heb 9:27 why wait? 

The rich man of Luke 16 waited too long.

After listening to the response of Abraham, that there could be no hope, the rich man’s conscious concern went to his family;

27      Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30      And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31          And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they bepersuaded, though one rose from the dead.

What was the problem? They had Moses and the Prophets, but would not believe. 

  • We have all creation that testifies to God, 
  • we judge peoples actions according to the conscience God has placed in every man, 
  • we have had preachers for almost two thousand years telling the world of Christ, 
  • we have the complete revelation of God in the Bible, even in our own language. 
  • And the western world has been blessed and benefited from the Gospel more than any other group of nations on earth

BUT IF THEY HEAR NOT MOSES AND THE PROPHETS, NEITHER WILL THEY BE PERSUADED, THOUGH ONE ROSE FROM THE DEAD!

So, how can one be saved?

Why not hear what Moses and the prophets will say and see if you can pick it up. Consider the key word.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believethin him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

John 3:16

         He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 

John 3:18

         But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, evento them that believe on his name: 

John 1:12

         Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 6:29

         I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believenot that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

John 8:24

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believein thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. R

Romans 10:9

In all these verses What is the KEY to salvation?

What is it that grants eternal life and can assure peace with God?

What is the one thing that PREVENTS eternal life and Peace with God?

I pray this is not tedious to you, so important is this word and this Gospel, so vital for the souls of all those that are lost apart for Christ!

Thereforebeing justified by faith,we have peace with God

4.  Therefore Reveals Our, Hope.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:     By whom also we have access by faithinto this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

  • Being Justified BY FAITH is the prerequisite to peace with God

The word ‘THEREFORE’ reveals the consequence of what has preceded it, it is not there forany other reason, it is in this place to let you and I know exactly that being justified by faith, we nowhave peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not only a word that bridges the gulf, but it is a word of assurance, it REVEALS OUR GREAT HOPE.

Just as every action has a cause, and every cause has an effect, so too here. 

This is not a temporary state, our belief in Christ is never here today and gone tomorrow. Those that have trusted in Christ for the saving of their soul have their hope assured.

Salvation is forever, remember ROM 4:16?

 it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.

Romans 4:16

Turn to Hebrews 7:22

We began speaking of Moses command to the people of Israel. During this time in history was the tabernacle set up under the Old Testament (Old covenant or promise), Every year, and only once a year, was the high priest to enter into the holy of holies and offer, first for himself, because he too was a sinner and had sinned, and then for the people, to atone for their sins before God. 

This is known historically as The Day of Atonement, and we will speak more about this in a future sermon within this chapter. The atonement was a foreshadowing of the work God would manifest yet future through his Son for all the world. 

The High priest changed each time one died, but not our highpriest! Not Jesus, he was so much better.

Hebrews 7:22-28

         By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23    And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24       But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25       Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.         For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27         Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself28          For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Hebrews 7:22-28

Brethren, Salvation does not come in any other way.

When Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh to the father BUT BY ME” he was making an exclusive claim.

THIS IS THE GOSPEL. That’s why it is the GOOD NEWS!

Your faith in the work of Jesus Christ has saved you and justified you before God, 

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:     By whom also we have access by faithinto this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

I truly believe that no conjunction is better placed in all the Bible.

Romans 10:9 

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.


[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicurus

[2]Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 88–89.

0 Comments

%d bloggers like this: