Romans Chapter 5
First Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
Good morning KLMX listeners- Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines. As you may know Iíve been teaching thru Paulís letter to the church in Rome and this week weíre on Chapter 5 of that letter. If you missed any of these messages, you can find them on our church website at www.fbcdesmoines.org or call us at 575.278.2421 and Iíll send you a CD with all the messages on them. Today, Iím about Ĺ way thru the 5th chapter and as always I pray that God opens your hearts and ear to receive His word and that it may lead you to justification through faith in Jesus Christ. Amen.
Our passage today is this:
Romans 5:6-11 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. (8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (10) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (11) And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
What a great passage this is! Letís look at it carefullyÖnote how Paul says "for when we were still without strengthÖ" Something that is "without strength" is "helpless", "weak", or "feeble" and that is the condition of a person without Christ. "When we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." If there is any doubt as to why Christ died, it should be answered right there. He died for the ungodly. Un-godly means w/out God, and so we have a person who is without strength and also without God. And yet, Christ died for this person. Christ did not die for those who were seeking God or those who had in and of themselves a faith, nor did He die for those who already had God but just needed a little help. Christ died for those who were without strength and could not help themselves and He died for the ungodly, for the enemies of God. Paul elaborates:
Romans 5:7-8 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. (8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This, folks, is grace in action. Itís also what Jesus is talking about here:
Matthew 5:43-48 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' (44) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (45) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (47) And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? (48) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Do you see what Jesus is saying here? Heís saying that if you only love those who love you, big deal! Even the tax collectors do that! Instead, you should love those who hate you and offer blessings to those who donít deserve it. God sends rain on the just and on the unjust. He says that we should do this so that we will be perfect, just as God is perfect. If we think carefully about exactly what is going on here, I think it will give us a small glimpse of what John Newton aptly called "Amazing Grace." How amazing is it that God rescues a bunch of people who initially and naturally want nothing to do with him? Paul says that maybe for a good man, another man might die- we see this in battle when one solider willingly and unhesitatingly sacrifices himself to save his fellows- but what about if a solder willingly sacrificed himself to save someone who didnít want to be saved and didnít like the guy saving him? That actually does happen once in awhile, and thatís exactly what Jesus Christ did for us. "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." And this, as Paul says, demonstrates Godís love for us. John says it too:
1 John 4:9-10 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
What wondrous love is that? Listen to the words of the old hymn, written by Alexander Means- here are the first two verses:
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.
When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath Godís righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.
What Christ died on the cross for his sheep is beyond full comprehension, but by considering the words weíve been given here, we can get a glimpse of Godís magnificent grace and mercy.
Letís see what Paul has to say next.
Romans 5:8-10 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (10) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Again we see the concept that, prior to justification, we were enemies of God. Paul says it plainly: "for if when we were enemies we were reconciled to GodÖ" Note his use of words- "reconciled." Do you know that word means? According to Websterís 1828 dictionary it means "Brought into friendship from a state of disagreement or enmity". Think about what it means to "reconcile" your checkbook- it means to fix all the mistakes and miscalculations so that your checkbook agrees with the bank. Likewise, thatís much the way it happens here. God uses the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ to fix your mistakes and bring you into balance with Him.
Note also why this reconciliation is so important; "we shall be saved from wrath through Him." The purpose of Jesus Christ is not to necessarily make you a better person or to give you a happier life here on Earth. Instead, the goal is to save you from Godís wrath. If you need a refresher course on Godís wrath, let me suggest you recall Noahís flood, or Joshuaís taking of the Promised Land, or the wrath to come that is described in Revelation. Godís wrath is a fearsome thing. Thank God for his love because it through that love that He provided Jesus Christ as an atonement to save us from His wrath.
Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
And so, we are saved by the life of Jesus Christ, given on our behalf. What is your response to this? Well, if you even faintly understand the depths of your sin and distantly glimpse the grace of God, your response should be like Paulís:
Romans 5:11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Our response should be to rejoice!! Hallelujah!! Non-believers have a hard time understanding the joy that lives in the Christian heart. Yes, trials and tribulations can bring us down for a short time, but our heart soon turns back to the promise and hope that are in Christ and we can do nothing but rejoice. Letís recall our verse from yesterday:
Romans 5:3-5 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; (4) and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (5) Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Watch these two examples:
Acts 5:40-42 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. (41) So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. (42) And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
Acts 16:33-34 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. (34) Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
The first example is of the apostles. They were beaten because they were preaching Christ, but after being released, they "departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name." The second example is that of the jailer who was saved after seeing the example of Paul and Silas who refused to flee jail. The jailer and his family were saved and baptized and then "he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household." Rejoicing is an essential part of the Christian life. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit as we see in:
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
And so we should wind up todayís message. To sum, we see that Christ died for the ungodly and for the enemies of God in order to reconcile them to God. We saw what it means to reconcile. We also saw that we are saved from something very specific- the wrath of God. And finally, we saw that the result of the salvation and the fruit of understanding exactly what salvation is and how and why it was accomplished should bring out joy and rejoicing in the Christian.
Where are you? Are you an enemy of God? Are you in need of reconciliation? If so, please ask God to apply the works of Jesus Christ to your account. Have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, so that you, too, can rejoice in His love. I ask in Jesusí name. Amen.
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