The Law of Righteousness Romans 9:30-33

Text: “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.  Wherefore?  Because they sought it not by faith...”
Romans 9:31-32.

Good morning, righteous Christian!  You, by the grace of God alone, have attained unto true righteousness, and as a direct result, are forever secured among the Heaven-bound children of the Most High God, Jehovah.  Through time and Eternity; through man-made Hell and high water; through thick and thin; through good times and bad - your Eternal destiny is secure - “...nothing...” shall pluck you from God’s hand!  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!  Salvation is of the Lord Jesus Christ!  (John 10:27-30)

How do we know we are possessors of true righteousness; the righteousness required to gain admittance into the Kingdom of God?  Can anyone be certain as to their Eternal destination?  Or, are we to live in a state of constant anxiety as to whether or not we will go to Heaven when our time on earth is over?  I believe, with all my heart, we can know these things for sure, today!  How do we know?  Because God has given us His Word on the matter - and that’s more than enough for me.  (Psalm 119:105)

“God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He not said, and shall He not do it?  Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)

So, what is the exceptional quality that gains us entrance to the Holy realms of Heaven?  And, how can we know that we possess what it takes to be permitted entrance within such a Holy Place?  These are the vital questions we all must ask of our own immortal souls, for, the answers we get will determine our Eternal destination - Heaven or Hell.

There is only one quality that sinners must possess to be certain of entering into Heaven - righteousness.  There is only one type of righteousness that will even be examined by a thrice Holy Lord God of absolute wrath against sin - the righteousness of Christ Jesus Himself.

If the above is the case how, therefore, can mere sinners like ourselves achieve such a seemingly impossible degree of perfection; of Holiness; of impeccable purity and sinlessness?  There is, in fact, just one exclusive way:  “Marvel not that I (Christ Jesus) say unto thee, ‘Ye must be born again! (i.e. born from above)’”  (John 3:3-8)

How are we born again?  By believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as our own and personal Saviour, Redeemer, Lord and Friend.  The Philippian jailer asked the relevant question of the apostle Paul in the book of  Acts: “Sirs, what must I do to be SAVED?”  (Acts 16:30)

The apostles, under the anointing of God the Holy Spirit, gave us the answer:  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be SAVED...” We have God’s Word on the matter.  (Acts 16:31)

To attain the righteousness of Christ Himself in the eyes of our Holy Father in Heaven, we must first believe unto Salvation.  This can only be achieved if the Lord Himself grants the individual two things: repentance from sin and the faith to believe in Christ and be saved.  We cannot work this up ourselves, we cannot be awarded these things from our parents; a church organization; nor any other source.  God Himself grants repentance from sins and faith to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Praise God for His grace to Hell-deserving sinners such as we. 

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the GIFT OF GOD; not of works, lest any man (or woman) should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) (Romans 10:17)

This is what the Bible refers to as ‘the law of righteousness’.  “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”  (Romans 4:3) (Galatians 3:6) (James 2:23)

Why was Abraham’s belief ‘counted unto him for righteousness’?  Because the Lord had granted him the necessary saving faith to repent from his sins, believe in God’s promise; and receive the full righteousness of his coming Messiah/Saviour, Jesus the risen Christ.  What grace!  What profound simplicity!  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour! 

“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
(Hebrews 11:8)

Thought:  If we know we are saved, Eternally - let’s show we are saved by being more like Christ, daily.

The Wrath? Or the Rapture? Romans 9:11-28

Text:  “Pilate saith unto them, ‘What shall I do then with Jesus, which is called Christ?’ “
Matthew 27:22.

Good morning, Christian ‘vessel of mercy’!  Praise God that he has chosen both thee and me to be partakers of His mercy!  We shall, therefore, never experience the full weight of His Holy wrath against sin - for we are Eternally safe, in Christ Jesus.  (John 10:27-30)

But, how does our text above relate to our selected Bible reading for today?  Is there some connection, or has the  Bible teacher perhaps made an error in his humble choice of text?  We are taught in Scriptures always to compare Spiritual things with Spiritual things.  (1 Corinthians 2:13)

Therefore, for relevance of comparison in today’s text, and in fact pertaining to all interpretation of Holy Scripture; we must always let the authority of Scripture interpret Scripture - there is no room in the process for the mere will or opinions of mortal men/women.  (2 Peter 1:20-21)

God’s Word is a perfect whole, all Scripture supports all other Scripture, and comparing writings from various books of God’s inspired Word helps us to form the various doctrines of our faith.

  Thus, we cannot take a verse, or in some cases half a verse of Scripture, and make a doctrine from it.  Doctrinal passages of our Bible must always be supported by what theologians refer to as ‘the whole thread of revealed Scriptural truth’ - the thread of truth which God has intricately woven throughout the books of the Old and the New Testaments.  We have God’s own Word, therefore,  on  what we do and do not believe.  Hallelujah!  That’s the truth!  Amen.  (John 17:17) (Isaiah 8:20)

The relevance of my chosen text for today is the fact that it is this question - “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” – that, when answered, determines for time and Eternity whether or not we shall one day experience the wrath or the rapture of the Lord God.

For Christ acceptors, the Eternal rapture described in verses like Psalm 16:11.  For Christ rejecters, Eternal wrath in a Hell that is hot indeed.  (Mark 9:43-48) (Psalm 9:17)

What have we done with Christ’s free offer of Salvation?  That is the real question for all sinners such as we.  (Acts 4:12) (Luke 19:10)

But, “What about the Calvinist doctrine of Unconditional Election?”, I hear some ask.  (i.e. the belief that God chooses whom He will save, and whom He will harden towards the Gospel instead)  The point I am here making, dear friend, as a believer in so-called Calvinist theology myself, is, that if one is among the Elect of God, then one can PROVE it by the answer one gives to Pilate’s poignant question!

Let us go no further.  Let us ask ourselves, in the privacy of our own hearts and homes: “Have I received Christ Jesus as my own personal Saviour AND Lord?”  Think for a moment on this rhetorical question. (Selah – now think on this!)

If we can answer in the affirmative then, praise God, we know for a certainty that we are indeed His Elect vessels of mercy.  Because this is so, we can never ever experience the dreaded wrath of a thrice Holy God of wrath against sin.  What relief this truth brings to mere sinners such as we.  Hallelujah!  I am saved by the grace of God!  (Jude 4) (1 Peter 2:8-9) (Romans 9:18-24)

God has chosen you and I to experience His Eternal rapture and delivered us from His Eternal wrath.  Does this thought not thrill your very soul?  Amen, it certainly thrills mine.  Thanks be to God for His unmerited Election grace and love!  Safe in the arms of Jesus indeed. (John 15:16) (Revelation 20:10-15)

God is therefore proven to be God Alone by our Bible passage and text. He created mankind - thus, He can do with us whatsoever He Himself desires to do.  God’s Sovereignty stands unchallenged by the pathetic beliefs, religion, and creeds of mere puny and mortal man.        (Psalm 115:3) (Ephesians 1:11) (John 15:16)

We are SAVED God’s way, or we are not saved at all.  Christ is the ONLY way of Salvation - rejecters of this fundamental truth receive God’s terrible wrath.  This is the Gospel truth!  Believe it.  Receive Christ.  Wait for the rapture of Heaven.  Amen, it is so, Lord Jesus, amen.

Thought:  God’s unconditional Election - deserves man’s unconditional acceptance.

Children Of God's Promise Romans 9:1-13

Text:  “For it is written that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.  but he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.’”
Galatians 4:22-23.

Good morning, Christian child of God’s promise!  You are not saved merely due to the fact that your Father and Mother were Christians.  Your faith in God is not something you have inherited from your earthly parents.  Not for you, Salvation through some legal religious system; or man written creed; nor system of ‘good works’, or ‘good-living’ keeping of high morals.  You believe God’s Word: “There is none righteous, no not one...”.  (Psalm 14:1-3) (Romans 3:10)

You are saved for time and Eternity by the finished work of the Cross of Christ Jesus, His Sacrifice, being appropriated, by God-given faith, to atone for your PERSONAL sins.  Hallelujah!  What truth, and what freedom for true children of God’s promise.  Amen.  (Titus 3:5-6) (John 8:32;36)

So often we learn of individuals, and even groups of individuals, who get so confused over the issue of Salvation.  Some think they become Christians because their Mothers and Fathers are Christians; because they join a church group; because they follow a certain code of behaviour; a list of do’s and don’ts; or man-made creeds.  What pitiful people these are!  There is no more wicked delusion as self-delusion - and self-delusion will damn the sinner’s soul to a Christ rejecter’s Hell.  (Jeremiah 17:9)

Some folk delude themselves that they are saved, merely because some preacher pleaded with them from a pulpit to, ‘Please accept Jesus into your heart?’  What nonsense!  What Arminian twaddle!  You and I have not got the power to become genuine, Spiritually regenerate Christian, unless the Lord has chosen us to be so, from before the foundation of the world.  He determines whom He will save, and whom He will reject for Salvation.  God is in FULL Sovereign Control of all things.  (Please read The Sovereignty of God, by Arthur W. Pink.)

In our Bible passage today, the apostle Paul addresses this problem, and mourns deeply at the self-deluded people he encounters among his ‘brethren’, his ‘...kinsmen according to the flesh’ - the Jewish Nation.

These folk were Israelites whom had received the Law of Moses; been especially chosen as a Nation to reveal God’s dealings with mortal man; were outwardly waiting faithfully for the advent of their Messiah - yet, received Him not whenever He came unto them in human form!   (John1:11)

We latter-day Gentile Nations are no less deluded, in many cases, as to our real standing in the eyes of our Holy Lord God.  Many think their family relationship makes them accepted before God; many believe that the ‘good works’ they do daily will gain them a position in Heaven; many place their confidence in being a paid-up member of a church organization to attain Eternal Salvation.  What pathetic confidence!  Surely we can relate to Paul’s anguish at the misguided beliefs of such people in his day.  Is it any wonder Paul had, “...great heaviness and continual sorrow in (his) heart...for (his) brethren, (his) kinsmen according to the flesh.”? (V.2-3)

One can almost hear Paul screaming at his countrymen and women: “Neither is there Salvation in any other, for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby ye must be saved.”          (Acts 4:12)

“Jesus saith...‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”  (John 14:6)

The Jewish Nation thought that they would be saved just because they were the natural ‘...seed of Abraham...’ according to their lineage, but failed to realize that they were, ‘...not all Israel, which are of Israel...’.  In other words, they needed to become Spiritual sons/daughters of God; they needed to be ‘...born again..’ of God the Holy Spirit.  (John 3:3-8)

Just as Isaac was the son of God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah, we too must become sons/daughters of God according to His promise.  We do this by faith alone, in Christ’s Atonement at the Cross alone; and by personal conviction and regeneration alone.

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons (daughters) of God, even to them that BELIEVE on His Name.” (John 1:12)

God not only gives His children the promise of full Salvation, He also grants His free gift of FAITH to those whom He chooses to adopt into His Heavenly family, the true Church of Jesus Christ. 

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man (woman) should boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Therefore, we see clearly that true Christians are indeed the ‘...children of the promise...’ God gave to Abraham way back in the book of Genesis.

“Now the Lord had said unto Abraham...I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing...and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3) (Hebrews 11:8-12)

“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness...” (Romans 4:3)

“Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.”  (Galatians 3:6-7) (James 2:23)

God’s Word says, “Ye must be born again!”  We believe through God-given faith, and are imputed the very righteousness of Christ Jesus Himself! We become ‘children of God’s promise’.  Hallelujah!  What grace indeed!  Praise God our Father in Heaven!                 (Hebrews 11:6)

With the above exposition in mind, beloved friend, let me ask YOU the question I must continually ask of myself:  Are YOU a child of God’s promise, or merely a child who has grown up, or been brought into, a church organization? 

The personal, individual, answer we give to such a searching question can make the vital difference between self-delusion and full awareness of one’s Eternal Security in the Body of Christ.  (Philippians 2:12)

Thought:  It is better to be Eternally sure, than Eternally sorry!

Inseparable! Romans 8:28-39

Text:  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?...”                                                                 Romans 8:35.

           “...I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.
2 Timothy 1:12.

Good morning, much loved Christian!  God manifested absolute love towards His sinful creatures when He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die for our sins upon the Cross.  (John 3:16) (1 John 4:7-11)

God further manifests His infinite love towards us by making us INSEPARABLE from Him when once we are born again of Him.  Nothing can ever again separate the genuine Christian from the Lord God Who has Redeemed him/her.  Isn’t that a comforting thought with which to start or end any day?  Yes, praise God for His love!  (Romans 5:6-11)

When we fully understand the inseparability of God’s love for us, we can more confidently trust the Lord to make ‘...all things...’; all situations; all circumstances; even adversities; work together for our ultimate good.  (Romans 8:28)

Without this fuller understanding of our inseparable link with God, we can more easily become discouraged, or even falter for a while in our faith! (John 14:1; 27) (Hebrews 13:5b)

A sound knowledge of one’s Eternal security brings increased faith; increased love of God; increased humility; and a new sense of freedom from the cares of everyday life which so often beset us.  (John 8:36)

We can then, and only then, learn to soar like Spiritual eagles in the service of our Saviour, King Jesus, instead of running around continually grounded, like unspiritual chickens in the great farmyard of life.  (Isaiah 40:29-31)

The apostle Paul knew the reality of this concept when he penned the words of our lesson from the book of Romans this evening.  Thus, his challenge of triumph - “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

Read again the list of rhetorical questions our passage contains.  Paul needed no answer to these questions - his faith in God’s love, as revealed in God’s Word, was enough.  Therefore Paul, inspired by God the Spirit, cried, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”; “...shall He (God the Father) not with Christ also freely give us all things?”; “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?”; “Who is he that condemneth?”

Oh yes, beloved Christian, Paul KNEW he was, by God’s good grace, truly INSEPARABLE from the Lord God and His infinite love.  (Hebrews 7:25) (John 17:12)

Paul then goes on in his Spirit-led teaching, on born again inseparability, listing many varied circumstances and oppositions to the Christian life of service to Christ which we all must face.  He concludes with the victorious words contained in our text above that, nothing, not even ourselves, “...shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.”  (John 10:27-30)  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!  What good news!

Take heart then, beloved Christian, God’s love makes us inseparable from Him; God’s Word on the matter makes our hearts rejoice.  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!  Amen.

Thought: The Lord always KEEPS whoever He saves.  Forever!
(1 Peter 1:5)  Amen!

Exceptional Sin Romans 8:1-18

Text: "There is therefore, no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (i.e. born gain), who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Romans 8:1.

Good morning, Spirit-led Christian!  For you, sin is exceptional, not acceptable!  Many professors might try to excuse sin in their lives by putting it down to human fallibility - but not you.  Being led by the Spirit to walk in the Spirit, you see sin clearly for what it is, and strive therefore to confess it and forsake it.  Basically, this is what is meant by walking after the Spirit as opposed to walking after the flesh.  (Galatians 5:16-25)

To strive to walk after the Spirit does not mean that the Christian thus striving is free from sin.  There has only ever been, and unfortunately ever shall be, one Man who has lived a completely sinless life.  That Person is, of course, God the Son - the risen Lord Jesus Christ.  Hallelujah!  Praise His Holy Name!  Amen.  (Hebrew 4:15) (1 Peter 2:21-22) (Romans 3:10)

Thus, everybody else, no matter how well respected; no matter how high a position in the church; no matter how seemingly righteous that person may be - have sinned; sin; and shall sin all the days of their earthly lives.  We are all natural born sinners.  (Psalm 51:5) (Isaiah 64:6)

However, although we are indeed NATURALLY born sinners, we can walk SUPERNATURALLY in the Spirit, because we are born again of God Himself, according to His own perfect will. (John 15:16)

Only the Lord God Himself can look into our human hearts and examine our hidden motivations for deeds done.  Only He can tell at times whether or not we do ‘good deeds’ for His glory, or just to glorify ourselves in the sight of other people.  Oh yes, beloved Christian, we each sin daily in some personal manner.  (1 Samuel 16:7) (1 John 1:8)

The difference therefore, between someone walking after the flesh, and someone walking after the Spirit is the fact that sin for the Spiritual person becomes the EXCEPTION rather than the natural daily PRACTICE!

On the other hand, the carnal (unsaved) person sins with impunity as a natural daily practice. As our passage for today reveals, there is a terrible difference between the carnal person and the Spiritual.  It is the difference between being, in metaphorical terms, a pig or a sheep.  Both will wander wilfully into the mud, but while the pig will wallow in it with impunity, the sheep will always bleat to be pulled out and washed afresh.

 Whatever a person is - at the calling away of the soul in death, or the appearing of the Lord when He returns - this is what determines where the eternal soul/spirit of that person shall eventually reside - Heaven or Hell.  That’s the Gospel truth!   (John 8:32)

The above seemingly harsh truth is verified by our selected Bible passage for this evening - there is NO CONDEMNATION to them who are in Christ Jesus.  How do we KNOW we are in Christ Jesus?  Our Bibles tell us so!  And, our daily experience of life proves the fact of our Salvation to us when we walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, to the very best of our God-empowered abilities.  (Acts 1:8)

It is the difference between knowing we have passed from CONDEMNATION to COMMENDATION when we, daily, as a normal practice, endeavour to walk in obedience to God the Spirit’s instructions - as found in our precious Bibles.  (John 17:17)

If, however, we find we have no desire to walk in Spiritual newness of life, then we prove to ourselves that we are yet in our sins, unsaved, unregenerate, and as a direct consequence, still utterly LOST.

Thus we see that sin for the truly saved person, (when personal Salvation occurs) is forever after the exceptional failing, and not the normal practice.  What, therefore, does YOUR sin mean to you?

Thought:  Make sin the rare exception, not a self-deception!