Romans Chapter V: Overview: Christ our Lord is our assurance
This passage starts 'Part Two' of 'The Fourfold Purpose of Romans' (see Romans Background Material: The Gospel as our Induction into the Domain of the Spirit (5:1‑8:39) "The Gospel is the continual functioning of divine power, because it is the means by which all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are transferred from the realm of sin and death into the realm of the Spirit and life! The great fundamental aspect of life is that we have been saved, redeemed, and we received it when we realized we needed it!
General Idea: Here is the image of our loving and graces God who transcends the bounders of our sin to give us His Grace. This grace saves us but does so much more. It gives us the joy to endure the harshness of life. He gives us the hope to persevere and make our life purposeful and meaningful. He does this with His Spirit and His love! He gives us access to Himself. It is God's abiding love that keeps us attached in grace and purpose for His glory. Because we alone would quickly fall away into our sin, and forget who we are in Christ, just as the Israelites did throughout the OT, especially in Judges 2. The Holy Spirit is the glue who keeps us sticking together. He takes us who are His enemies by our sin and reconciles us so we are no longer enemies rather His friends (John 14-15).
1. Justification means that not only has God forgiven and accepted you, He has covered you with the righteousness of Christ. Therefore you are pleasing to God.
1. The implications of justification are our true riches, our access to God through the Holy Spirit by what Christ has done.
2. The barrier has been removed that had separated us from God.
3. Our riches, how wonderful it is to be a Christian, are in love, hope, joy, and grace. We have access to God anytime, if it was based on our works, it would be limited to null, depending on what we did.
4. Peace means we have been reconciled and are no longer His enemies as we were with sin. We have assurance and hope, our sin and guilt have been covered and removed from His sight; however it must be accepted and received by faith. This understanding helps give us our contentment!
5. Repentance does not save us; repentance is only the realization of our salvation.
6. We must place our focus on the cause (Christ) not the effect (What He has done), because the effect will flow from a natural desire and create growth and maturity. Our duty is to take care of the chicken and not the eggs, for the eggs will come anyway when we care for the chicken.
7. We are right with God because of Christ, not of our faith and obedience, but faith and obedience is the fruit and proof. Thus, salvation is not logic or knowledge (2 Cor. 5:17-19). This is not optimism or wishful thinking, but the fact of the love of God.
8. Justification is not just insurance from Hell, but is lasting and a source of blessings.
9. Our confidence is in Christ and His character, not self-esteem, but "Christ-esteem"!
10. True service is doing what we do not like to do for others (2 Cor. 12:15).
11. Christ no longer will hold our sins against us.
2. Tribulations refer to the hardships we face. God does not always cause them to go away; rather carries us though and uses them to teach us maturity and character. Trials build faith and character, allowing us to be better used to glorify God. Trials are not a personal attack against us, but rather they allow God to work in us in a deep way to be of better use to Him, for others.
1. Our identity is who we are in Christ, and nothing else. Once we fully realize that the love of Christ has been poured out in us, then we can identify ourselves in Him. We will be able to identify Christ's interests in others over against our own interests (John 15:3; Rom. 9:3; 1 Cor. 9:22).
2. We need not be frustrated or filled with worry when we have Christ (1 John 4:17-19).
3. Our service must not be guided by our desires or our needs. When we think "we are all that"(holy) we are of no use to Him. All we do is isolate ourselves into a sub-culture when God calls us to be salt and light. Our goal is not to serve, but to be His children, and that devotion will lead us to serve. To keep our eyes on Him, to keep our mind on Him!
4. Trials work in favor for us (8:28) and not against us. They actually promote spiritual growth!
5. Our justification is no escape from bad things happening. It is a starting point to build and develop character, patience, and dependence on God's grace, as Abraham by faith; we are accountable for our choices.
6. Grace was not an after-thought of God, but a part of the plan all along.
7. This is Irresistible GRACE, the "I" of TULIP.
8. God has always dealt with people from Adam to the Patriarchs, prophets and all, with grace. The O.T. helps us understand the conflict and limit of the law. We are all in Adam, our first birth we had no control, but we had to learn (John 16:33).
3. Love is that Christ died in our place. The love that flows from us is not from us, but from God through His Spirit (1 Cor. 13). We cannot prove love, we can only respond and obey it.
1. All this happened in God's timing (John 17:1; Acts: 2:23; Gal. 4:4), thus we need to trust God in His timing and not ours.
2. Christ will meet us in our deepest need.
i. Love is not from our nature.
ii. The response is to put Jesus first (John 15:12; 21:17; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; 3:9; 3 John 7) and let Him work in our lives.
iii. Thus, God will bring us to people and situations we do not like for us to learn true love.
iv. Love is also disciplined, constant, and spontaneous.
v. Discipleship is our response to His love, to be passionate and obedient to our Lord.
3. The created order has been restored in the righteousness of Christ (John 10:15), as we are a totally new creation ("Solus Christus", by Christ alone).
4. Atonement means covering, that Christ covered us with His righteousness, so God does not see our sin, and cannot be contaminated by us. Atonement in the O.T. was done by animal sacrifice which covered their sins, but did not put them away as Christ does with us.
5. Our relationship with God is through Christ. Christ's redemption is that He took away our sins and preserved us in faith for God's glory.
6. Since not all are saved, Christ's redemption is not for everyone this is "Limited Atonement," if it were then there would be universal salvation, that is, everyone regardless of faith or belief would be saved (John 6:35-57; 10:15-18; 27-29; 11:51-52; Eph. 1:3-14; Gal.2:20; 3:13-14; 4:4; 5:1; 1 Pet. 1:20; 1 John 4:9-10; Rev.1:4-6; 5:9-10; 22:17). Christ was not limited in what He could do with His Godhood and power, His redemption is for the "elect", those foreknown for God's purpose.
7. Our thinking of justice cannot be a factor to an all knowing and all powerful God.
We have to see the magnificent aspect of what Christ has done for us. We need to see the joy (James 1:2-4) and the hope (Heb. 6:18-19) we are given. This is foundational to life and liberty. Without hope we cannot persevere in life effectively as we would give up and become captivated by correction or oppressed into drudgery. This hope gives us the road to drive our maturity and spiritual growth on. As we go though life we learn and when we learn we grow and when we grow we develop character and hone and improve our worship of Christ. This builds our personality and lets us be used better in the lives of others. Our character and what He is doing in our lives is our true treasures. And this richness is so much more tangible and impressive than what the world offers. To take this hope to new levels and apply it with passion and conviction, we have to see who we are in Him. We must be careful that our faith is developed from God's nature and not ours! This hope will not just fuel our liberty but also our worship. Because we praise God for what He has done. Do you realize what He has done in you?
Learning Outcomes: a. Know what it means to rejoice in suffering (Phil. 3:10f; Rom. 8:28; I Cor. 10:13) b. Be able to surrender your attitudes and experiences to Christ, whatever the cost, even if it means suffering. c. Be committed to surrendered prayer bringing all problems, joys and concerns to the Lord. d. Be willing to be mentored by a more mature and experienced Christian. e. Surrender your pride and self-determination. f. Desire to grow and mature in the faith, and know that Christianity is not a spectator sport.
1. Do you know people who are very optimistic? How do they make you feel when you are down and feeling upset?
2. Have you considered that the implications of our justification are our true riches, not what we make or earn or do?
3. How can 'our riches', be translated into being a wonderful Christian filled and overflowing with love, hope, joy, and grace.
4. What is/ was the barrier that has been removed that had separated us from God?
5. We have assurance and hope, our sin and guilt have been removed; however it must be accepted and received by what?
6. What is the role of repentance?
7. How do you keep repentance in your cue, that is on top of your mind?
8. What must you do to allow the desire to create growth and maturity in your life?
9. "Our duty is to take care of the chicken and not the eggs, for the eggs will come anyway", so what are the chicken and eggs?
10. Do you know Christians who think they are right with God because of their faith and obedience?
11. How can you show them that faith and obedience is a fruit and proof, not the instigator of the Christian life?
12. What frustrates you in life?
13. What do you need to do to remove those frustrations?
14. Our confidence is in Christ and His character, not in self-esteem. So how do you apply this "Christ-esteem"?
15. 'True service is doing what we do not like to do for others', so what do you not like to do?
16. Because Christ will no longer hold our sins against us (when we repent) does this help you cut down sin or step it up thinking, "Oh He will just forgive me anyway"?
17. How do you identify yourself?
18. What can you do to reaffirm that your identity is who you are in Christ, and nothing else?
19. How do you suppose God feels when Christians believe and even teach that justification is just 'insurance from Hell', and being a Christian is to be a source of blessings only?
20. How can you identify Christ's interests in others over against our own interests?
21. Why is it that a lot of evangelism and mission efforts fail besides people's objections, and the regular excuses that they use to turn away from our Lord?
22. What is the factor that makes people not respond because we as the church are sometimes guided by our desires and needs?
23. When we think "we are all that"(holy) we are of no use to Him. Why?
24. Why do some Christian groups and some denominations isolate themselves into a sub-culture when God calls us to be salt and light?
25. What is the prime goal or prime directive (for our Star Trek fans) for the Christian faith?
26. How can, and why do trials work in favor of us (8:28) and not against us?
27. How can trials promote spiritual growth?
28. A lot of Christian's think bad things happen only to those in sin or those that have little faith. That if you have enough faith you will be blessed only. Is this Biblical, if so why, if not why?
29. Can you think of an example of grace in the OT?
30. We may not have had any direct control over our original sin condition since we were not there (Adam & Eve represented all humanity, and if anyone else in all of human history were there in their place the same choices would eventually have been made) what do we have control of?
31. When you have gone (or will) through trials, do you blame God? Do you think they are a personal attack against you?
32. How can you see trials and problems as a means to allow God to work in you in a deep way to be of better use to Him, and for others?
33. What do you gain when you have gone through a trial?
34. Why does God need to use suffering to build us up?
35. When is a time that Christ has met you in your deepest need?
36. The response of love is to put Jesus first, so how can you do this?
37. How can you learn to be better and have more character by acknowledging and learning when God brings you people and situations you do not like?
38. As a totally new creation, how can you live your life so it reflects that it has been restored in the righteousness of Christ?
39. How can you explain 'Atonement' to an unbeliever?
40. A lot of evangelical Christians have big problems with "Limited Atonement", as I once did, why?
41. We must be careful that our faith is developed from God's nature and not ours! So how can you do this?
"Limited Atonement", the "L" in T.U.L.I.P. Christ's atonement in no way was or is restrictive, or has a limited value, or only powerful enough for just a few people. Hence, there is a lot of misleading theology by a misunderstanding of this term. Christ's sacrifice was, and continues to be, limitless in its scope and value and power. It is fully enough to save all who ever lived. But the focus is not the power and ability, but the purpose. Traditional reformed thinking is that Christ's sacrifice was for only those who the father has selected (Election). And that He bore our place in suffering and wrath and in taking God's judgment upon Himself for us. Thus this term "Limited Atonement" should be "Specific Redemption". Note that all Christian faith's teach this doctrine! Even Arminianism. The difference is Arminiaus taught that, because of God's "fore-knowledge", Calvin said because of God's "Purpose". Romans says the latter.
"Irresistible Grace": the "I" in T.U.L.I.P. Greek, "charis" meaning undeserving act of kindness. This is one of the most enduring actions of love that could ever be conceived (Gen. 6:8; Psalm 45:2; 84:11; Zech. 12:10; Luke 2:40; John 1:17; Acts 4:33; Rom. 1:7; 5:17; 11:6; 16:20; II Cor. 8:9; 13:14; Gal. 5:4; Eph. 1:7; 3:2; 4:7; 6:24; Heb. 12:28; James 4:6; ! This means that our salvation is a gift, that can not be earned or purchased (Hos. 14:4; John 1:16; 10:4; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 2:8-9; I Pet. 1:2; 5:12 II Pet. 3:18). "Sola Gratia", by Grace Alone, the sounding proclamation of the reformation. What this means in reformed theology is that Jesus knows His sheep, that He reveals Himself in such a way that we will respond. He does not force us, nor coerce us to follow Him. He creates the work to allow us to be willing to be lead and purchased by His blood. The "irresistible" part means we will put up a fight against Him naturally, being resistant! If we are left out on our own, we would never accept His precious gift. Thus, it is by Christ's work first, then we respond, that He creates the "irresistible" aspect. We do not respond first, because we are unable to do so. God is the one who regenerates us, creating a new will to allow the work of the Spirit. His Grace is sufficient, "effectual", meaning it will overcome our sin, to accomplish God's purpose.
R.J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministres © 1998, 2001, 2004 http://www.intothyword.org/