Monday, November 12, 2012

Greetings Friends,
 
Many believers acknowledge forgiveness for past sins, but find very little relief for present bondage.  In the book of Romans, particularly in chapter 6, we will discover answers of grace for deliverance from the power of present sin. The writer of the book of Romans is the apostle Paul.  He was formerly known as Saul of Tarsus.  Saul was a religious man who walked in his own self-righteous ways until one day on the road to Damascus he met the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts chapter 9)  He repented of his sins and received God’s gift of salvation.  He became a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in in Romans chapter 1:1 "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,"

The gospel of God is the good news of God. 

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The gospel is the good news of God.  The bad news is that sin still dominates the lives of many believers.  But the apostle Paul makes it very clear in the first two verses of Romans chapter 6 that this is not to be the experience for the believer in Christ.

Romans 6:1-2  1  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  2  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

In light of all that Paul has written in the first five chapters of the book of Romans, shall we, who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior, shall we continue in sin?  Shall we who have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light continue in sin.   Paul‘s answer:  “God forbid”.  This is the strongest negative found in the New Testament.  For a believer to answer yes to this question in word or in practice, is to fail to understand the purpose of grace.  Let us consider just a couple of thoughts from Romans chapter 5 to help clarify Paul’s answer of “God forbid” and the real purpose of grace.

Romans 5:1-2 1  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  2  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

We are justified by faith. If a soul under the conviction of the Holy Spirit by way of the Word of God, cries out to God for mercy, then that soul is forgiven.  At the very moment of forgiveness, God declares sinner now saint to be justified, made holy, and righteous before God.  The forgiven sinner is translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.  We leave the reign of sin and death and enter into the reign of grace. 

Romans 5:21  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Death is the final result of the reign of sin.  This is physical death which will then be followed by eternal death which is separation from God for all of eternity.  The forgiven sinner no longer belongs to the realm of the reign of sin and death.  At the moment of salvation, our spiritual position changes.  We are now under the rule and reign of grace.  We have now become the very sons of God.  As the sons of God, we have access to grace.  Grace that sustains us.  Grace that encourages us.  Grace that gives us hope.  Grace is the place where we live.  We no longer live under the guilt and condemnation of the reign of sin.  We now live under the blessings of the reign of grace. 

Before salvation the sinner lived under the reign or rule of sin and was condemned.  After salvation, the sinner is placed under the reign or rule of grace and is blessed.

If a believer is Justified, we can be sure that sanctification and glorification will follow.  Sanctification is both practical and positional.  The believer has been made holy.  The believer is set apart unto God to be the recipient of God’s blessings.  This is the reign of grace which will conform the believer into the image of Jesus Christ.  Our lives will change by the grace of God.  What changes have come about in your life since coming to faith in Jesus Christ.  Sanctification will follow Justification.  Glorification is the promise of a future state with God in heaven.  We the sons of God now have access by faith into this glorious grace of God.  We are at peace with God and we have unlimited access to the riches of HIS grace.

The unlimited riches of HIS love.
The unlimited riches of HIS joy,
The unlimited riches of HIS peace.
The unlimited riches of HIS forgiveness
The unlimited riches of HIS mercy
The unlimited riches of HIS lovingkindness
The unlimited riches of HIS wisdom

Those who are Justified shall become the image bearers of Jesus Christ himself.  Those who are being conformed to the image of HIS Son the Lord Jesus Christ shall be glorified.  The grace of God guarantees this in Romans 8:28-30. 

Romans 8:28-30  28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

The justified will be conformed to the image of his Son and then they will be glorified.  Therefore, the purpose of grace is to free us from the guilt and condemnation of sin and to conform us into the very image of God’s beloved Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our hearts are accustomed to being under the reign or rule of sin and death, therefore, we often are preoccupied with our bondage instead of being focused on the riches of HIS Grace.  The principalities and powers of darkness will seek to keep our focus on the reign of sin and death; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.  But faith will turn from the unbelief and deception and lay hold of truth and the truth will make us free. 

Romans 6:1-2  1  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  2  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

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