GRACE RULES

GRACE RULES by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

If you ask a typical Christian—“how is your spiritual life?”—more than likely, you will hear, “Oh, I am doing the best I can.” “I am trying to hang in there.” “I know I should be doing better.” This is a far cry from what God has promised to every Christian.

Romans 5:18-21  18Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign (rule) through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Overall Background:  With the passage we just read in Romans 5, we are getting to the heart of the Book of Romans. This is what we’ve been trying to get to. Many people have a very poor understanding of salvation. If you ask the average Christian—what does it mean to be saved? Salvation means my sins are forgiven; salvation means I am going to heaven; salvation means I am a child of God. Anything else? Nope, that’s it. You have to do the best you can—read the Bible, pray, go to church, give, and witness. Do the best you can and do it often as you can—that’s it until you get to heaven.

But when you read passage like Romans 5 and 6 and on, you realize that there is more.

For e.g. Nicole’s grandfather grew up with parents who were lost. When George (that was his name) got saved, he tried to tell his parents about Jesus and they laughed at him. But, there was a big change in his life. He just could not get enough of the Word of God. He went to a small country church and he just did not get what he was hungry for. After his daughter, Nicole’s mom, married Nicole’s dad, he would come and visit them in seminary. He would go to classes with him. Pastor Jerry, Nicole’s father and my mentor, would often share of how when he would look over at George in those classes, he had tears streaming down in face and he would say—“I knew there was more.”

Romans 5 and 6 onwards tells us that there is more. What is this more? The more is—

  • Salvation is not just about forgiveness for my sins, it is also about deliverance from sin.
  • Salvation is not just about forgiveness for what I have done, it is also about deliverance from who I am.
  • Salvation is not just about Christ dying for my sins, it is also about Christ delivering me from the power of sin.

This morning – if you want more, if you are frustrated with your Christian life, if you tired of your constant battles with old habits, old hang-ups and old sins, if you are ready to move further in your Christian walk, this is the message for you.

There are 3 things that Paul is going to tell us about this much more.

I. IT IS A FREE GIFT

18Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

Background: The moment we tell someone that there is more, the question that follows is “how much do I have to pay?” You get what you pay for. If it’s free, its gotta be a gimmick. Not so in the Christian life.

How can it be a free gift? 19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

If we can only get that in our brains and our hearts, it will revolutionize the way we look at the Christian life.

Let’s recap for a moment—All us were born into Adam’s race. Our father Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden. He chose to disobey God and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, when God had expressly warned him not to and he sinned. When he sinned, a fundamental change came into his character and he became a sinner. Because of his disobedience, it says, “sin entered the world” and we became sinners by nature.

Application: That’s why, wouldn’t you agree—

–         You try to please the Lord and something in you does not want to.

–         You try to be humble and pride begins to rise up in you.

–         You try to be gentle and you get angry.

–         You try to be encouraging and you do just the opposite.

–         You try to smile and be loving but, instead, you are hateful and bitter.

What is the solution?

We need to switch families. We need to come out of the family of sin and disobedience to a family of grace and obedience. Listen again to verse 19: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”

  • Where the first Adam failed, the last Adam—Jesus—did not.
  • The first Adam stood in the Garden of Eden and said—“My will be done,” the last Adam knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and said—“Your will be done.”
  • The first Adam was cursed and kicked out of the Garden; the last Adam—Jesus—humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

By His obedience, we are made righteous.

Application: Many Christians are trying to be righteous before God. They try to pray more, read the Bible more, go to church more, witness more. You will never attain the standard of righteousness that God requires. Jesus did it all for us. All you and I can do is to come out of the family of Adam and enter the family of Jesus. That’s the meaning of being born again—born into the family of Jesus and now you are all that Christ is.

The much more of the Christian life is a FREE GIFT.

II. IT IS GRACIOUSLY GIVEN.

20Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound.

Background: The moment you say with Paul “All you need is to look to the righteousness of Christ and not your own,” a hand goes up—“Why was the Law given if God did not expect us to be righteous?” Paul says, “You misunderstood the reason for the Law.”

God gave the Law for two reasons:

#1  Initially, he gave the Law to Israel to protect them from the Canaanites who were living in the Promised Land. In Genesis 15, it talks about the “iniquity of the Amorites.” He gave His Law to His people so that they would not become like their neighbors (Galatians 3:19).

#2  The second reason the Law was given was for what it says here—that the “offense/sin might abound.” Sin/offense was already there in the world. People were already guilty before God but by giving a checklist people realized how much they had sinned.

For e.g. Imagine a glass filled with dirty water. If that water has been sitting still for some time, it appears clean until you stir it. Now what happens? It shows all the dirt.

What happens when sin is stirred? Listen to the second half of verse 20 “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,” Literally in Greek it means—“where sin increased, grace super-increased.” God is not waiting to strike us at the sight of sin. To the contrary, He is eagerly waiting to pour His super-abounding grace on us.

What does this grace do? 21so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign (rule) through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Since we were born into the family of Adam, we were under the control of sin. We were living under the fear of death. Now there is a new sheriff in town. His name is grace. He does not come to us with a checklist. He comes to us with a super-abounding grace.

Application: Many people when they see God, all they can see is a God who is angry. He is just waiting to judge them—waiting to send them to Hell. When he does save, it is reluctantly and grudgingly. This is not the way God looks at fallen humanity. He is waiting with arms open wide. He runs towards us. He is like that Good Shepherd who leaves the 99 behind and goes after that one. When He sees that one, He does not pull out the Law but He pours grace upon grace.

The much more of the Christian life is a FREE GIFT. It is GRACIOUSLY GIVEN

III. IT HAS A NEW MOTIVATION

Romans 6:1-4  1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

The moment you say – “It is all by grace,” it does not fail that someone will raise their hands and say—“People are going to misuse it/abuse it/take advantage of it. You have to have some rules to keep people in line with their Christian lives.”

Remember: God never leaves a job half done. We have two problems—sins (things we have done wrong) and sin (our sinful nature). Jesus took care of Problem #1 by taking my sins upon Him on the cross. He gave me His righteousness. But, that is only one half of my problem. Problem #2—what to do with my sin nature?

What is Paul’s response? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?2Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

What does that mean? We’re all born in the family of Adam– the family of sin. The Blood cleanses us from the debt of sins. We still carry the family germ of sin that was in Adam and was passed down to us. What we need is to get out of the family. The Blood cannot get us out of the family. The only way to get out of the family is by death.

3Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

Application: Someone says—“I get it! I need to die to myself—my sinful nature. I need to crucify myself. I need to daily pick up my cross and walk behind Jesus.” Let me know if it works. It doesn’t.

What if I were to tell you a secret? If you are saved, you have already been crucified. Listen to verse 3 again—“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” 2000 years ago Jesus died for us. We know that He died as our substitute. But, did you know that He also died as your Representative. We know that He died for our sins but did you know that He also died to represent our death in the family of Adam. So 2000 years ago Christ was not only crucified for us but in the foreknowledge of God we were also crucified with Christ. In other words, God included my death in the death of Christ.

Not only that but listen to verse 4 4Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, When Jesus went to the grave, you went into the grave with Him.

What’s next? that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Meaning: When He rose from the grave, you rose from the grave.

Listen to verse 5 “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,” It is all past tense. Your death, burial, and resurrection are applied to you the moment you are saved.

1. Ephesus Baptismal Pool

2. Emmaus Baptismal Pool

3. Milan Baptismal Pool

4. Tunisia Baptismal Pool

Did you notice the imagery that Paul through the Holy Spirit has used throughout? Baptism! Some people look at baptism as a non-essential. They say, “You do not have to be baptized to be saved.” That’s true but Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. The baptismal pool is really a coffin. It symbolizes our death, burial and resurrection with Jesus Christ. It tells the world that we have been united with Him in death, burial, and resurrection. It is a sign that I am now cut off to the old world and have entered into the new.

So where are we now with our sin nature?  6knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him,

The Old Nature was crucified with Christ.

  • Some people read it too hastily and think Sin was crucified or Sin has been eradicated. Not true. As long as we live in this world, sin will be there.
  • Some people read it too hastily and think that the Old Nature has been eradicated. Somehow, the “Old Me” is gone. Not true.

Again, the Old Man has been crucified. It no longer has power over us.

Someone says—why do I still sin if my Old Nature has been crucified? When a person dies, it does not mean that they are eradicated. The body is gone but the Spirit lives on—either before God in heaven or in Hell waiting for judgment. Listen to verse 6—knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Our Old Nature is no longer alive in the flesh. It is only alive in the Spirit. We have been set free. Listen to verse 7For he who has died has been freed from sin.

Application: Most of us try to deal with sin by trying to strengthen the Old Man—suppress it, fight it, deny it, train it. I am not going to get angry; I am not going to be envious; I am not going to lust. Before you know it, you are back in it.

God deals with our sin nature by making us weaker and weaker; by removing the sinner; by putting us to death. But He doesn’t leave us dead. He gives us new life.Listen to verse 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,

Application: God is not asking you to go crucify yourself or to go do penance for your sin. It’s all past tense. The place to begin is KNOW—this has been done for you. You have been set free. Open the eyes of your heart and see who you are in Christ. You may not feel it; you may not understand it but you have it. Just accept it.

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