Romans Review pt 2: Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ
Pr Edi Giudetti
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For 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.
As we began our review of the Book of Romans as a short mini-series before we return to the conclusion of the Romans expositional Commentary I began back in 2019, we had a look at the first natural segment of Romans seen in chapters 1 to 3 which I titled ‘Tragedy and Hope’.
In this we saw the devastation of mankind and his fall into ruin in a very practical manner before we saw his hope in the Gospel from the 21st verse of Romans 3.
First was seen that man is held accountable to know God. We saw that man is without excuse when it comes to God’s existence. He can see the “invisible things of God” as “Being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead”.
We witnessed that this rejection of that which is plainly evident concerning God however has its effect in the ruin of man.
- Truth exchanged for a lie,
- the worship of the creature more than the creator
- The distortion of the natural affections between men and women, turned to its opposite in the lusting one with another, men with men, women with women.
- Until a complete reprobate mind is found in them.
Today we are living with the plain global evidence of this effect, at least in western civilisation.
Man’s overall rejection of God and the evident embracing of a completely secular and atheistic worldview is clearly leading man into the moral and cultural abyss so evident in the world today.
In short, the rejection of Truth has its effect in the embracement of deceit. This is simply the most natural and logical outcome, just as we witness today.
It has been said that when man rejects the truth of God he does not turn to believe in nothing, on the contrary, he believes anything.
In this the conscience itself is affected, when society loses its grasp on reality, on truth and error, right and wrong, so too does the reprobate mind affect the conscience.
Paul wrote of this to Timothy saying,
1 Timothy 4:1–2
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
No longer able to discern good and evil, truth from lies, this is the hallmark of the “latter times” as man rejects God on-masse.
Jesus testified to this in Matt 24:3, Mrk 13:5 & Lk 21:8; deception will rule the days of the last days.
Thereby man is given over to a reprobate mind, a mind no longer able to function in accord to its created structure.
Then we witness the self-condemnation in man in Romans 2. Just when we thought the ruin of Romans one could not be made worse, we enter man’s hypocrisy of pointing out the sins of others, that he himself uncritically entertains.
We had seen in this that man condemned their own selves when they judge the evil deeds of others, that they themselves do.
“Inexcusable” verse 1 of chapter 2 begins,
… wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
By the “righteousness” of their ability to point out the sins of others, they even think to escape being judged themselves. But we found scripture holds another view, saying;
3 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? 4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
No, instead we had seen them condemn themselves when they do that which they condemn in others.
In Romans 3 We had seen that this did not only apply to secular man, but also to the Jew.
Though they indeed have many advantages, and principally that pertaining to the Bible, yet they themselves are condemned by the Law they profess to hold.
They, with the law, are held in account to the Law, and yet attend to those same things as do those who had no law to hold to.
But Romans 3 demonstrates that the LAW cannot justify a man, for its purpose is ONLY to condemn him.
19 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 is the knowledge of sin.
So, we saw quite evident that the “all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God” and that sin has evidenced the decent of man, his continual fall into a moral and spiritual abyss.
But wonderfully chapter 3 does not end there.
We saw the Tragedy, but then we also saw the Hope. Beginning in Romans 3:21 with;
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, ….22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ
We read verse 23 that
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
But then that we are 24 …..justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Culminating in the declaration of verse 26 ….. that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Now we come to the next natural segment of Romans. First, we recognise that there are two overall sections to the book, remember what they were?
Romans 1-11 Doctrinal
Romans 12-16 Practical.
Nevertheless, we do have mini sections in Romans. The first was seen at Romans 1-3, this next is 4 to 6.
Simply titled; Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ
Eternal Life By Faith, Not Debt
(Rom 4:4-8, 14-16a)
It was her birthday, and she arose very early in the morning to head to the markets to buy all the fresh food she needed for dinner than night.
She wanted to make it really special, something that all her guests would never have experienced before. It wasn’t just the food; she had already arranged for the lighting, the special effects, the extremely comfortable chairs, and table décor. She arranged for special flowers to line the driveway as the guests appeared, and when they did they would be amazed at all she had done.
She had mature trees brought in that would feature on both sides of the long table that her family would be seated at. Each table space had both a placename and a gift for the guest. She knew it was her birthday, but she wanted it to be the most special time of all for the children that she sacrificed so much for in the years she raised them up.
She loved them.
Well, they all came, they sat, they ate food that was fit for kings served to them. They enjoyed the orchestra that was arranged to set the mood; mum seemed to have gone all out and she did this because she wanted her children to know how much she loved them.
There was simply nothing more that she could have done better that night, it was perfect, there was no expense spared and it was indeed expensive, it cost her everything, including time, she spent many months planning and preparing for this event.
Again, the night was perfect.
At the end of the night, her family said good night one to another, they parted and went their way, none really one spoke to her. They acknowledged her on their way in, they knew why they were there, the seemed to appreciate the food, the entertainment and the atmosphere, but then they left without so much as a thank you.
This was not something she expected, she was indeed perplexed and saddened.
She could not explain why her children behaved this way, it was almost as if they expected all they received.
She walked around the table after all the food was cleared, and to her complete bewilderment she noticed that each of the places where each of her children sat was some money, as if cast onto the table as a tip. Flat and even crumpled up notes;
$100 here, $200 there, sometimes a $20 or $50 note, one had left $500.
It was clear that they decided to pay for what she wanted to give.
A token, for what cost her everything.
She now understood why their love was cold, they must have thought they earned that night….perhaps she should thank them! Is she now to consider herself indebted to them?
We just finished a series titled The Gift, all of which was related to Salvation, Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ. But there are many people today who think they need to work for this gift, whether to earn it or to maintain it.
What is clear by that short anecdote is that what is intended to be a gift freely and gratefully received, can never be gratefully paid for. If it could, then it is earned and no longer a gift.
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Most of the world, as represented through the many diverse religions in the world, believe that eternal life is gained by merit. Our “good works” earns the right of passage for eternal life, or Nirvanna, or whatever else the secular world likes to comfort themselves with.
Now “the reward is not reckoned of grace”, it’s no longer a gift, it’s no longer that given by God without merit, now it is earned and “the reward”, ie Eternal Life, is a debt to be paid by God.
Verse 4 could not be clearer.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Paul does not tell stories like I just did, he simply employs basic logic. He expects we would use our minds to make sense of those things that are foolish and those things that are true.
Stories, or “fables” as they are referred to, is the preferred way of teaching in the last days. I am not a great fan of them, and use them sparingly for illustration.
There is a reason why the mother in my story was disappointed in her children, what she wanted was to give and bless her kids out of love, but they turned it around and made it a debt she owed them, they paid for what she wanted to give freely. They turned her gift to an item on sale, so they paid what each thought it was worth.
That is what people do who think one way or another, that salvation must somehow be worked for, either to attain or to retain.
What do you feel God thinks about our efforts to earn what he has already paid for?
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
To God, any work we attempt are as offering to him are filthy rags.
Any attempt at paying for eternal life presumes also we can possibly know the price of it! Think about this!
Some religions have made a complete artform out of how a person might limit their time of torment in the afterlife. None more so than the Roman Catholics who seem to have made a diligent study of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Lastly; if Eternal Life is only gained or retained by work and not by promise, it can never be certain!
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Chapter four goes on to speak of the Law, and how the Law is insufficient to secure Eternal Life for a man or woman or a child. Why?
Because it is no longer by promise.
14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore 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 chapter four explains logically how that any payment that requires eternal life to be reckoned of debt, can never give those who have a hopeful expectation they have done enough, ANY ASSURANCE they have eternal life.
But because it is by faith on the promise of God, THEN AND ONLY THEN IS IT SURE, to all who believe.
Eternal Life Through his Blood
(Rom 5:1, 6-10, 12, 16-19,)
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
As if to put a ‘full stop’ to Romans chapter 4 with its interesting address against a works-based religion, Paul begins chapter five with the most important “Therefore” in the entire Bible.
Like the ‘Welcome’ sign that greats a long-awaited arrival to a new country, the word ‘Therefore’ greats those who now know they are “justified by faith” and so finally have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
It is this knowledge that Paul is confident sustains us so greatly that, we are not only able to endure tribulations, but even “Glory” in them;
We not only rejoice in Hope of the glory of God (V2)
but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
There is an enduring quality to the knowledge that you have ‘Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ’, it sustains you and helps you endure through ‘patience, experience and then hope’.
But chapter five goes on to tell us exactly how this came about. We see it given us in verse 6;
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
That’s you and I: you and I were “the ungodly”.
[It is fascinating to me that so many people in the world today think they are gods, yet here we see the Bible making the exact opposite plain, we are no like God, we are “the ungodly”.]
Now notice the words carefully.
For when we were yet without strength,
An individual who cannot swim will never be saved by the lifebuoy, you can throw ten of them out to him, but he will simply sink down under the water, he is “without strength”.
Here the text continues that
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
We do not have eternal life because we can do anything. We could not work to gain it, there is nothing we can do to retain it, we were yet without strength, but “in due time Christ died for the ungodly”.
The word “Vicarious” is what helps explain what it means that “Christ died for the ungodly”.
Simply put, it is something that is done as a substitute for another. It is an experience that is experienced in the place of another.
- You and I have experienced tears on behalf of another person’s pain. That is vicarious.
- You and I have rejoiced in another person’s happiness. That too is vicarious.
- Many would have suffered sorrow vicariously for the people who endured the floods in NSW and Queensland this month.
Now, we did not actually lose the property, but we did feel some of the pain.
We did not actually have reason to rejoice, but we shared some of the joy.
We may not have personally related to another’s pain, but we feel some of the sorrow.
What Jesus did however was not in sympathy, Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Not only could we do no work to save ourselves, in the very state of our sin, in the very ignorance of our need of salvation and eternal life, “Christ died for us”.
Beloved, if this is the love of God through Jesus Christ demonstrated when we were sinners, how MUCH MORE are we saved from wrath AFTER we are Justified by his blood?
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For 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.
This is simply the most exciting reality that Bible here presents for each one of us.
Romans makes it abundantly clear that no work can save us, that Christ died directly in our place while we were yet sinners, and so abundant, eternal life is ours as we are “saved by his life”.
Now, if this is true;
- If we have done nothing but believed the Gospel and we can NOW KNOW for certain that we are going to heaven when we die,
- if we did NO GOOD WORKS,
- if we did NOT STOP SINNING but gained everlasting life, while yet sinners,
What is the next most logical question often asked by those to whom you claim you have Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ?
If it is true, you are 100% going to heaven when you die no matter what….?
Can you not just keep sinning?
So perfectly does chapter five deal with the matter of Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ as being an undeserved and unmerited gift, demonstrating the abounding grace of God, that chapter six asks and answers the most logical question that can ever asked in response.
Dead To Sin
(Rom 6:1-2, 3-11)
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
There are no logical arguments against the doctrine of Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ given as a free gift that the Bible does not address, either directly or indirectly.
This question is HUGE. It is the very question asked by those yet to understand how Jesus can die for you, in your place.
YET it is the very question that understands the claim The Gospel makes!
And chapter six answers it directly, and it is then expanded with further clarifying questions in chapter 7, dealing with our struggle with sin which we come to next week.
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
If you are born again, you are no longer alive to sin. Any of you who have been saved for any amount of time, know that your relationship respecting sin has changed, something is different, you don’t feel the same.
You take no pleasure in sin; the act may temporarily satisfy, but the end result is the exact opposite. You simply cannot “live any longer therein” (v2). Why? Because you are “dead to sin”.
This is the practical reality!
So many people think that Christianity is just something you believe in your head like the religions of the world, they do not think there is any practical difference. If you have changed at all, then its just you made some changes in your life and if it ‘works for you’, then ‘good for you, but Christianity is not for me’. “You have your fix, and I have mine”.
“I’m glad weight watches works for you, Jenny Craig works for me” etc.
But this is NO FAD, this cannot every be changed. No matter how much you might decide you want to go back to live in the flesh again, you simply can never return to sin the way you did before;
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life….
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
You are now changed, this is probably the single greatest testimony to a person who is truly born again, their relationship with sin is simply not the same.
Chapter six goes on to give further and more definitive arguments attesting to the fact that your old self is now dead, your Old Man is dead, crucified…done…dusted….stop wasting time with sin….you are NO LONGER even classified as a sinner in the present tense, that is not your identity anymore.
You are declared Justified, Clothed in the Righteousness of Christ, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, Saints and Kings. That is your new identity.
So live in it
Life In Him
So, v11, Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now we come to the last point that helps you realise you have “Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ”.
Note the determination of verse 11, “Reckon ye”; it is the ultimate accounting word.
I have accounting Software simply called Reckon, it is a word that brings the sum of all things that have gone before it, it is a perfect ‘recking’ of the doctrine of Eternal Life Through Jesus Christ. You are now to Reckon yourselves “dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
“Ok, right done. Lord we are finished now, ready to go when you are”
Well, not exactly. However, I want you to first be sure to let the truth of this sink down deeply into your ears. This is the foundation of our faith.
No works saved you, no work can save you. The Law can’t save you, if it could then God would be indebted to you rather than you to him. Further than that, if works could save you then bad works could destroy you, you can have NO ASSURANCE OF ETERNAL LIFE, you literally could have NO HOPE to cling to, because Eternal Life is not of promise, and if it is not of promise then it cannot be sure.
This is the reason those who believe they are to be saved by works either LOWER the BAR so they feel like they can climb over, or if they are actually saved but still think they need to work, live miserable lives having fallen from Grace (That term is explained in Galatians).
So now, if you are therefore justified by faith and have peace with God, you must also reckon yourselves “DEAD INDEED TO SIN”.
You may still choose to sin, but you simply cannot live any longer therein;
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Sin simply can no longer have the dominion over you, why? Because verse 14 makes it clear, “ye are not under the law, but under grace”.
O, but you are full of questions aren’t you? I can see the question now lingering in your mind, looking for loop holes. Looking for a way around this so that you might even trip yourself up.
I wonder what the question is….?
O, look, there it is, v 15.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?
Who would have thought you would ask such a question as this?
Who would have though the Bible would have a ready answer?
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Let me make something very clear that many modern Bibles teach and many pastors also affirm that is completely wrong;
You have NEVER BEEN A SLAVE TO SIN.
True that you are now free from sin, but the Bible never uses the word SLAVE when it comes to you previous relationship to sin.
You had always been its servant, always are willing participant. Never did you sin unintentionally and unwillingly.
A slave however is an UNWILLING participant, they do what they do because they are forced against their wills to do so. But never can you make the claim sin was out of your purview.
Never can you claim to be forced to sin.
Chapter six tells you that,
to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
We will speak more to the issue of sin in the life of a believer, its not over yet. Romans addresses this very well even in the next chapter as Paul writes of that relating to the trouble of a dual nature within, the Spirit and the Flesh wrestling one with another.
But suffice to conclude this way as we end this summary of three chapters.
Eternal Life By Faith, Not Debt
Eternal Life Through his Blood
Dead To Sin
Life In Him
So, live it.
Live it is service to him.
Yield your bodies to Christ.
He is your life, neither is your body your own.
Until you are home, or he comes in the clouds.