Harbor Lights Sermon  Dec 2011

Romans - The Hope of Salvation

We've been going through Paul's letter to the Romans, and the topic today in Romans 5 fits right into the Christmas theme. But first let us review. The first two and a half chapters of Romans speak about the human condition, namely that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God and that it is not in our nature to do what is right. In such a state we were enemies of God, separated from him due to the guilt of our sin and our unholiness. Thus Isaiah says, "your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear you." Is 59:2

But God in his mercy sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ who atoned for sin, satisfying God's judicial nature, and opening the way to heaven through the forgiveness of sins.

Then in Romans 4 we learned that there is but one condition he places upon us to receive salvation as a free gift. That one condition is simply to believe in Jesus, to believe the promise of God. And thus it is by faith alone that we are saved, apart from any other regulations. It says in Romans 4:4-6 "Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 'Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.'"

And now we're in Romans 5 which starts, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God."

Notice - we have been justified. That's a done deal for those who believe God. Such people are already saved. And consequently we are at peace with God. And this is not simply of a sense of tranquility, but rather an ending of hostility. God no longer has a posture of hostility towards those who believe Him. And this was accomplished through the cross and activated by your faith in Jesus Christ. Consequently, "In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence" Eph 3:12 As we stand in the grace of God having been saved by faith.

Now for those who have come to embrace that truth, we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. By "hope" the Bible doesn't mean what people often refer to as "hope" today. Today people may say "I hope that will happen". What they mean "I wish that will happen" or "I wish that were true". That's not the hope the Bible is talking about. Rather hope refers to the feeling of anticipation of that which you are confident will occur. It's like the feeling kids have on Christmas Eve in anticipation of what presents they may have when they wake up in the morning. So also for those who have put their faith in Christ, we anticipate a joyful awaking from the dead unto glory. Put your faith in the blood of Jesus to redeem you and put your hope in the promise of eternal life and you will not be disappointed.

And you find this even in the Old Testament, like when the angel told Daniel, "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." Dan 12:2,3 or in the book of Job who declared, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes— I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" Job 19:25-27 Does your heart yearn within you for the glory to come? That is the Christian's hope.

And this even despite the sufferings we face now. For the sufferings we face now only serve to enhance our convictions. Thus Paul continues in Romans 5 to say, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

The gift of the Holy Spirit is yet another part of the whole salvation package we have received. But that I'll get into more in chapters 6 to 8. But of sufferings we believers experience in this life, James likewise writes, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Jam 1:2-4

The Christian's hope is not primarily about this life. In view of his sufferings Paul writes, "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." 1Cor 15:19,20

As we continue in Romans 5:6-8 Paul goes on to say, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." And this goes along with the point he made in Romans 4:5 saying, "to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness." This is the ultimate in graciousness. And let us not belittle God's graciousness by assuming our salvation were a matter of some ritual or some acts of goodness on our part. God went through alot to make salvation free to the glory of His gracious nature.

Paul's own jailer once asked him, "What must I do to be saved?" He responded, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." You who have believed in Jesus for salvation, you have been saved, and no one can take that from you. And if there are those who have yet to believe, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.

And Paul continues in Romans 5:9-11 "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."


Hymns:
ANGELS FROM THE REALM OF GLORY
HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING
JOY TO THE WORLD


Jul 29,2015