Romans chapters 6-8, when taken as a whole, form one of the most powerful portions of Scripture in the whole Bible as it relates to regeneration. Chapter 6 sets forth the power of sin broken…chapter 7, the strength of sin through the law…and chapter 8, freedom sin through the Spirit. Many it seems like to live in the realm of theological head knowledge and fancies but where is the practical application that grasps the precious truths contained in these chapters and brings beauty of godliness down to earth!! Though many read Romans 6 and 8 as though written across the pages are the words “do not touch”; every page cries forth “try me”!!
In the chapter before us we turn to look at the power through which men find victory over sin, namely the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit!!
One of the most abused and misunderstood chapters in the whole of New Testament is the chapter before us in this sermon, namely Romans chapter 7. I say abused, because for many this chapter offers a supporting crutch for them to continue to live in habitual sin; for after all they’ll say, if Paul struggled with sin doing those things he desired not to do and not doing those things he desired to do – then who are we!! I say also misunderstood, because so often in the exegesis and application of Holy Scripture, we must first establish beyond all shadow of doubt what a passage/verse cannot be saying!! Romans 7 is sandwiched between two chapters either side (6 & 8) which refuse to allow for the position of defeat in the area of sin in the life of the believer.
This sermon seeks to debunk the myth of Romans 7 offering a seeming safety net to excuse sin and brings out the true understanding of the chapter so that a proper application can be made to our lives.
In the mind of many Christians, the only difference between themselves and that of sinners is that they are “forgiven”. Grace is viewed as an insurance policy in which we can sin now and claim forgiveness later. Admittedly, whilst many would not be so brazen as to put it in those exact words; the sad reality is that in experience, this proves to be the policy under which many who name the name of Christ live! Paul begins the sixth chapter of Romans with a question; “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound”? He spends the rest of the chapter showing categorically that this cannot be the case. For Paul, the cross of Jesus Christ was more than a place where sins are forgiven but was the place of his own funeral and subsequent resurrection from the dead. The implications of the mystery that Paul presents in this sixth chapter are so profound and the ramifications so powerful, that if heeded, and acted upon, one’s Christian worldview and experience will never be the same again!
This sermon is a strong exhortation to holiness and a thorough refutation to the lukewarm, sin excusing breed of Christianity that seeks to comfort and assure men in their sin in the name of so-called grace.
One has only need to open his eyes to see that there is a fundamental problem with the world we live in. Though it shines with the beauty of a rising sun and glistens with the splendour of a snow capped mountain; though one cannot escape the beauty of the vast array of wildlife, as beautiful as all this is, that beauty is overshadowed by the presence of a lurking enemy, poised to take it all away. That enemy has a name and its name is death!
Many today deny the doctrine of original sin. To them the Garden of Eden is just a myth. However, Paul takes the reader right back to the Garden and in so doing lays down the truth of what took place; “Wherefore, 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:” (Rom. 5:12). In Adam, through the offence of one, all died, yet in one man Jesus Christ, through His obedience, the free gift of everlasting life has now come to all who would receive.
Paul has already dealt with two great doctrines in the preceding two chapters of this great epistle to the Romans, the doctrine of justification by faith and the doctrine of redemption. Now Paul comes to another great doctrine and pillar of the Christian faith, namely the doctrine of reconciliation which results from the other two. Can it be, that we who were formerly at enmity with God have been brought into a state of friendship? This is the great clarion call of the Gospel; be ye reconciled to God!!
This sermon lays out this wonderful truth and encourages believes who are enduring trials of affliction to lift up their heads heavenward and to fix their hope on the eternal prize laid up for them in Christ!!
For 1500 years, Israel had been under the heavy yoke of the law. This had been their rule of life since the time of their coming out of Egypt when God entered into covenant with them at Mt. Sinai. Paul was clear of one thing (himself being a Pharisee for many years), by the works of the law shall no man be justified in the sight of God! If any man was going to stand a chance of gaining right-standing with God, it was to be by faith alone that the reward might be of grace!
In this fourth chapter of Romans, Paul seeks to address this seismic shift in religious worldview by pointing out that such a concept of imputed righteousness on the grounds of faith is nothing new! Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation predated Moses by some nearly 1500 years, yet Abraham had this testimony before God, that he was counted righteous on the grounds of his faith and not by the works of law. Paul lays hold on this truth and expounds this great doctrine of justification by faith by demonstrating that righteousness must come by means of imputation alone and can never come by the works of the law!
Words such as expiation, propitiation and atonement are words that have generally lost their meaning in today’s society; yet, these words are key to understanding the great transaction that took place on the cross!! Theological concepts such as 'substitutionary atonement' has become repulsive to a Church that generally has no stomach for justice and righteousness. God is holy and as such He must punish the guilty. How can a holy God remain just and at the same time punish the guilty?
In this sermon, the glorious truth of justification by faith through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ on account of God’s grace toward us is brought out for all to see. Our being brought into right standing with God came at a great price. May we ever rejoice in this truth!!
When one surveys the Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets, one cannot escape the sheer volume of passages and verses that speak of a future blessing for Israel. They cry forth from every page...God has not cast off His covenanted people Israel!! In answer to the scathing indictment against him in chapter 2, the Jew sought to exploit this truth in an attempt to hold God to account by insisting that whatever wrong they did on their part, God would remain integral to His Word in keeping covenant with them.
In this fifth teaching part we see how Paul blasts this faulty reasoning out of the water bringing the Jews back to the fundamental truth of his argument, namely that both Jew and Gentile are fully deserving of the righteous judgment of God!!
Having mounted a case against the self-righteous man and having concluded that both Jew and Gentile stand condemned before a holy God, Paul now turns his attention in particular to the religious Jew who rested in the law though he kept it not! The Jew made his boast in his creed and pedigree, in the receiving of the law, in the external rite of circumcision. Paul would have none of it and seeks to pull the rug of religious pride from under his feet and to lay bare his hypocrisy. Say not we have Abraham to our father, say not we are they to whom the law came, say not we have the seal of God upon us through circumcision; does your life match up with the reality of what these things contain?
This sermon is a challenging message for search to be made as to the genuineness of our confession of religion that our lives might match our profession of faith!
Jesus reserved some of His most chiding words for the religious hypocrites. Content to dwell in their self-righteousness, to sit in the seat of judgment against others yet failing to see that by that same judgment they themselves were condemned!! Against such, Paul lays down the case and when he’s finished getting done, the righteousness of the self-righteousness is reduced to dust and ashes!! To the Jew seeking to justify himself in the sight of God, he has been weighed and found wanting! To the Gentile he too has been tried by the law written on his heart and has been found wanting. Paul concludes all men under sin and announces the coming day of wrath when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ!!
This sermon is a very powerful exhortation to cast aside self-righteousness and to cast oneself upon the righteousness provided in Jesus Christ!!