Saturday, April 22, 2017

Together Forever

Print Passage: Romans 5:6-11; 8:31-39
Devotional Reading: Romans 1:1-15

There is one thing that I love to do and that is to compare the law of the world and the Plan of God. Let us begin our lesson with some insight as to the law of the world. Under certain circumstances, a crime may be committed for a reason that makes the crime justified. When a person has a legitimate reason for his or her crime, the defense raised falls under the category of a justification defense.1

Unlike excuse defenses which provide a reason as to why a person committed a crime but do not make it at all right, justification defenses provide a person a reason for a crime and show how the actions taken by the accused were the right thing to do in the situation. One of the most common forms of a justification defense is “self-defense.” Self-defense basically allows a person to say that he or she was justified in seriously injuring or even killing another person because that person was threatening the defendant’s personal safety or even life. Necessity is another justification defense. In this defense, a person had to do something because some natural force was threatening the defendant’s safety or health. In this instance, it is expected that the harm caused by the defendant is less than that which would have occurred had the defendant not performed his or her actions.

We are in Unit II – “God’s Caring, Saving, and Upholding Love” of the three units of the quarter. This is the fourth lesson of a five-lesson study. The lesson elaborates on the force and power of God’s love in Christ to reconcile, justify, and preserve the believer.

A couple of Sundays ago we were studying a lesson wherein Jesus was teaching Nicodemus God’s Plan of Salvation. In part He stated at John 3:16, “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.” (NKJV) Love, as demonstrated by God, is complete and unconditional for “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4:8 NKJV)

In our lesson today Christ has been crucified, buried in a borrowed grave, and Resurrected. The Apostle Paul begins chapter 5 by pronouncing the benefits which flow from being justified through faith. Christ bore the sins of the world in order that we might be reconciled to a right relationship to God. Therefore believers are justified by faith, and they have peace in God through Jesus Christ. They also receive access to God, rejoice in His glory, suffer (Acts 5:41), persevere toward Christian character with patience and experience, and receive a good hope of happiness that does not disappoint because they have the love of God through the Holy Spirit.

Then Apostle Paul reminds us that we are enemies against God because of our rebellious nature and how God still wants us to be His beloved children. In Romans 5:6-8 he explains, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NKJV) Sinners are helpless to overcome the result of their rebellion against God. Since we could only say we would do better in the future and perhaps break that promise, we are guilty of sin and considered rebellious and enemies of God. Each of us are powerless to save ourselves from eternal damnation. (Romans 4:5) Christ willingly gave His life in due time, the appropriate time selected by God. I can’t imagine myself nor do I personally know of anyone who would give up their life in death for either a righteous person or a good person. There may be a few who would do so, but I would question their motives. Also, Christ knew His purpose was to be the sacrifice for our sins from His birth. Everything He did was toward that purpose. I am just not sure that you would find anyone, righteous or otherwise, who has purposed in his heart from His birth to sacrifice himself to death in the place of another. What would be his purpose? There is no comparison to how extraordinary Christ’s death is and how far beyond ordinary human experience God’s love is. Christ did not die for righteous or good people. He died for sinners. He died for the ungodly people who had rebelled against God. His death on that cross assures us peace and hope.

As we rejoice that God provided a Plan of Salvation let us get a better understanding of the assurance it gives us as Paul so elegantly stated in Romans 5:9-11, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 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 not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our LORD Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (NKJV) Christians will now be treated as not guilty because of the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. Justification does not mean we did anything to have that favor with God. But through the blood of Christ we do not have to fear the wrath of God on Judgment Day. We are saved when we first express a belief in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-10), and we receive an inheritance unto salvation that can’t be taken away. It is kept by God through the believer’s faith until the time for his/her salvation. Our eternal inheritance is secure unless we, “…fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.” (2 Peter 3:17b NKJV)

The Apostle also mentioned that we shall be reconciled to God now that the charges have been dropped for our sins (justified) through the blood of Christ. Our positions have changed. The purpose for Jesus to go to the cross was for those who believed in Him would no longer be counted as enemies of God. We now have a choice to become believers in Christ Jesus and His Resurrection and a restored relationship with God. Since God paid a very high price to make this transformation of His enemies to His children possible, we can be very confident in His love for us and our future. It is now that we rejoice in God through the LORD Jesus Christ. He has given us so much and while we were yet His enemies, we received our joys elsewhere. Remember that it was not God who needed to be reconciled with man. It was man who needed to be reconciled with God.

God is only for an individual if that person is reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. The Apostle writes at Romans 8:31-32, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (NKJV) What things? In verse 30 are enumerated the things of predestined, called, justified, and glorified. Predestined is defined as God’s foreknowledge of us in eternity past which ensures our eventual repentance and belief. Called is defined as those who respond to the predestination. All those who respond are justified or given righteous standing in God through faith in the merits of Christ Jesus. All those who are justified shall also be glorified. So if we consider the unbreakable links in these things in the chain of redemption, success is inevitable. In light of all that God has done for us, who could possibly be successful against Him? Just think of the magnitude of His love. He gave His only Son to suffer a shameful and horrible death for our sins. His Son was His Treasure, but he became our sin substitute. If God has gone to these lengths to make us His own, do you really think He will let us go. If He has already paid the highest price wouldn’t He pay a lesser price to keep His children?

Paul continues to assure his readers that both God and Jesus Christ are their invincible advocates at Romans 8:33-34, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (NKJV) Jesus died on the cross in the place of all the ungodly. All charges against sinners (the enemies) were dropped. We were justified by His blood and reconciled (restored) into the favor of God as His children. No one can bring charges against His children. They are innocent in God’s eyes and only He could have dropped the charges. Although Jesus perfectly implemented the Plan, it was God (the Judge) who required the charges to be dropped. No one can condemn the Plan to drop the charges. It was God’s Plan. There is no room for condemnation on the believer, the death and resurrection of Christ, nor on Christ as He sits on the right hand of God making intercession for us.

Many times the fears of the believers are disquieting and they need to be assured that no matter what the situation, it shall not separate them from the love of Christ. Eloquently Paul states in Romans 8:35-36, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL DAY LONG; WE ARE ACCOUNTED AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER.’” (NKJV) The Apostle challenges the enemy to try to separate the believers from the love of Christ. It may be painful and may even lead to their death. Types of calamities are mentioned – tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and sword. However none will cause Christ to love them any less because they suffer. Christ suffered and God loved Him. Paul quoted a passage from the Old Testament passage (Psalm 44:22) to remind them that Old Testament saints were persecuted and killed continuously by the enemies who thought no more of killing saints than they thought of killing sheep. Sheep would not hurt the enemies who simply wanted to satisfy their evil. Yet this did not separate the saints from the love of God. He delivered them from their enemies just as He provided a Plan of Salvation. Through Christ the believers are able to have confidence in God’s love.

Paul expresses the magnitude of God’s love in Romans 8:37-38, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our LORD.” (NKJV) We are more than conquerors in bearing these trials, not in our own strength but in God’s love-motivated victory in the work of Christ. The Apostle states he is totally convinced that God’s love can withstand the believers’ fear of death, life occurrences, spiritual things such as angels, principalities, and powers, the present and the future, the highest height and the deepest depth, or any other thing in all of creation. There is absolutely nothing that will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Our relationship with God is secure and can’t be shaken.


Written by Deborah C. Davis

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