Los Alamos Church of Christ

Let the Word Dwell

#13 Romans 5:1

Weak and Strong

 

This morning we move to Paul’s letter to the Romans.  We are going to be spending 7 weeks in Romans. 

I am excited about these 7 weeks.  I am excited about our first verse in Romans.

 

ESV Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Let’ do some soteriology.  What? The theology of salvation is called soteriology.  That is my goal for this sermon to explain, from several different perspectives, how we are saved.  Let’ do some soteriology.  Let me hear a whoop, whoop for soteriology.

 

Let’s jump into Romans 5:1-2.  Let me say to start with that I suspect the reality of what happened on the cross is really beyond our capability to understand.  We must allow room for the mystery of the cross.  There is no way we can get our head completely around the transaction that happened in the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We know it is of first importance… that Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures and was buried and was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.  But understanding it fully… all I can do is give it my best shot.  Here is my best shot at soteriology. 

 

Let’s read Romans 5:1-2.

 

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Justified – a courtroom

 

ESV Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

 

Notice the past, present and future tenses of our salvation…

--we have been justified,

--we have peace and we stand in grace,

--we hope for the glory of God. 

 

In the past we have been justified.  Let’s explore justification.  Justification is a legal metaphor.  The scene is a courtroom.  God sits behind the Bench.  God is the judge.  We are on trial for crimes we have committed.  By the way we are guilty…

 

ESV Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 

So, I am sitting beside my defense attorney; Jesus.  Satan is the accuser; the prosecuting attorney.  Satan lays out the evidence… here is Tim lying, lusting, betraying, coward, gossiping… on and on he goes.  I keep slipping down a little lower after each accusation.  The trial is not going well.  Finally, after Satan has finished, with a flourish of grinning satisfaction… “The prosecution rests your honor.  It is obvious from the evidence that Tim is more than guilty.”

 

Jesus stands as my defense attorney.  Jesus simple says, “Tim has faith in my death.” Jesus sits back down beside me.  We wait for the verdict... The gavel comes down… bam with a crash.  The Judge pronounces, “Not guilty!”

 

“What?” the devil screams with incredulity, “This is not fair!  Tim is guilty.  I proved him guilty beyond any reasonable doubt! ” God, the judge, ignores the outburst.  The judge explains, “The price has been paid for his sins.  By faith in the death of Jesus, the penalty of his sins, which is death, has already been credited as paid for.”  It is just-as-if-I’d never sinned.

 

ESV Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

In the past Jesus paid the price for my sins.  By my faith in his sacrificial death, his cross; his penalty; his sentence; is substituted for my punishment. 

 

Justification is one soteriological metaphor for what happened on the cross.  It is only one.  Here is another.

 

Let’s keep going in Romans 5:1-2.

 

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Reconciliation – a healed family

 

ESV Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

 

In the past we are justified.  In the present we have peace with God. The picture; the metaphor here, is of a broken family.  In the beginning God created humans to be in his image.  God wanted companionship with us.  God wanted to expand his family.

--God walked in the cool of the evening with the children he loved.

--God delighted in Adam naming the animals. 

--God took pleasure in the presentation of Eve.

--God thrilled with the caring of the Garden. 

--God enjoyed us, like we as parents enjoy our children. If God had had a Facebook account, cute pictures of Adam and Eve would have been posted all over his wall.   God would have tweeted constantly about everything we did and learned and discovered and played.

 

God wanted more than anything to share in the joy of his children sharing His perfect creation… together.  God wanted us in his family.

 

All we had to do was love and trust Him.  But we didn’t. We broke that relationship.  We squandered that love.  We poo pooed all over the intimacy.  We did not trust him.  We broke our family. 

 

ESV Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 

But God could never leave our family broken.  God was not content to let us go our own way.  God could not leave his love alone.  So, God came to this world to prove his love for us, again.  God, in the form of Jesus, was born just like we are.  Breathed this air, felt the hurts, knew the struggles, stepped into the reality of being a human.  God crossed the breach we had created.  God bridged the gap to restore our relationship. 

 

Then having given up being God, to be a human, God showed us the full extent of his love for us… he died on the cross.  He laid it all down for us in order to welcome us back into his… family; into his peace.

 

ESV Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

He offers reconciliation, in the purest sense, to us.  We can be family again through our Lord Jesus Christ.  The cross bridged the chasm between God, the Father and his children.  The cross provided reconciliation.  The cross reforms the family.  A second way to understand soteriology is to see the cross as the offering of reconciliation.  We are family. 

 

In the past we are justified… just-if-I’d never sinned.

In the present we are reconciled… we are at peace with God.

 

Let’s keep going. 

 

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Redemption – a freed slave

 

ESV Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

 

Continuing in the present, we find another picture… Redemption.  The picture is of a slave auction.  We are standing online being sold as a slave.  We have been captured by the human trafficker; Satan.  Through the temptations of sin we have been kidnapped by sin.  We are addicted.  We are broken.  We are slaves to our own selfishness.  Satan is selling us to the highest bidder.  The bidding begins. Satan begins the auction, “Who will offer me the most?  Lust, greed, pride, lying, drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, whatever… I will sell his soul to the highest bidder.” 

 

As the bidding escalades, with each of our addictions wanting to own us… Jesus steps up.  “I will buy him.”  “What, you don’t have enough money to buy this one.”  “Here is… my life.  I offer myself in exchange for him.  You can have me.  I give my life for him.” Jesus lays it on the line.

 

Without a moment’s hesitation, “Sold!”  Satan delights. “You can have his worthless carcass.  I want you the perfect one… to exploit.”

 

Through the cross we move from the auction block to a pedestal.  We move from the slavery to sin to standing in his grace.  I picture his grace like a spotlight.  I stand in the spotlight of grace. The spotlight of grace is like a bug zapper.  It protects me from being enslaved.  We stand in the forgiveness of his light. 

 

This allows us to live in freedom.  

--Freedom from the slavery of sin… here comes a sin… zap… forgiveness.

--Freedom from fear… of anything… “Oh no I am… zap.

--Freedom of worry. “What happens if… zap. I’m standing in his grace.

--Freedom from decision.  “What should I do?” … zap… just listen. 

 

Next week, when we are in Romans 6, we will explore this idea of how baptism into the resurrection of Jesus changes our status from slave to sin to slave of righteousness!  I can’t wait. 

 

In the present, now, we stand in the grace of God… redeemed.

--We have been justified.

--We are reconciled.

--We stand in freedom.

 

Let’s look to the future.

 

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Salvation – life

 

ESV Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

 

In the future, we hope for glory.  One of the major metaphors for the cross is life.  In the beginning we were created to live eternally with our God.  But Death entered the world... 

 

ESV Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death…

 

Death is the enemy.  When I was in Costa Rica, 2 weeks ago, I kept thinking this is an amazing place.  But there was a sad undertone to the trip for me…  I probably will never go here again.  Maybe, I will, but not likely.  Being in Costa Rica made me think of all the other amazing places in the world which I will never visit.  I most likely will never raft down the Grand Canyon.  I will never go to New Zealand or climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Or scuba dive in Tahiti.  Or millions of other places. 

 

Then, I thought another sad thought… It is unlikely I will be able to see all my grandkids’ kids. I like most of my grandkids.  They are amazing.  One day they may marry.  I want to meet their spouses.  If they have kids… which is the Stidham way… early and often.   I want to get to know my great-grandkids.  That is unlikely.  Bexar is my youngest grandkid, but probably not my last.  He may be 30 years out from having his last kid.  I could be around… but not likely. You have heard of little old ladies, but you rarely hear of big old men.  I most likely will never know my grandkids’ kids.

 

There are so many things I will never do, or places I will never go, or relationships I will never have, that it, either… makes me want to go crazy attempting to do all I can do before I die. Or, it make me want to give into depression; to stop doing anything much.  The realization that I am finite; that I am way over half way done with this life, can make me neurotic.  God placed inside of me an expectation of eternity.  Knowing I will die makes me crazy.  Death is our enemy.

 

But, BUT, BUT… I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God!  Instead of becoming neurotic over my too soon demise, I can rejoice in my future glory.  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, the trumpet will sound and I will be raised from my sleep to be imperishable.  I will be changed.  Knowing that moment of joining God’s glory makes all the difference.

 

Jesus died for our sins, according to the scriptures.  Jesus was buried, just like I will one day be buried.  But, BUT, BUT… Jesus defeated death on that third day.  Death, itself, was killed.  Whatever contract there was with death was torn up.  When Jesus was resurrected, not resuscitated, but resurrected, he became the giver of life!

 

ESV Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but, but, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

We are saved from death.  Salvation is a marvelous metaphor.  Being lost and then found.  Being ill than healed.  Being doomed and then rescued.  Being dead, but then made alive.

 

My favorite metaphor of the cross is the killing of death.  Satan using his tool, Death, was happy to claim Jesus. As Jesus dies on the cross, Jesus grabs Death in a death grip and takes Death to grave.  When Jesus rose on the third day, Death is left screaming in the grave.  Satan’s tool is destroyed.  Satan can no longer use it. Jesus rose to give us life.  So, we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God! 

 

In the twinkling of at eye we will be changed…

 

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ESV Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 

 

In the past we have been declared; not guilty by our faith in his death for us… Justification.

In the present we live in the family of God in peace... Reconciliation.

Also, in the present we live the spotlight of grace which frees us… Redemption.

In the future we will live with our God in his glory… forever… Salvation.

 

That is my best shot at soteriology. 

 

ESV Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Tim Stidham

March 29, 2015

Los Alamos Church of Christ