Thursday, February 4, 2010

Still not in labor... therefore I read!

And I am sooo glad for what I have been reading lately. I decided a while ago that I was going to spend a good chunk of time in Romans. It is such a rich book of the bible, and I have not taken the time to really soak it in before. I am wonderfully reminded of the goodness of God's sovereign grace! This book of the bible, coupled with Spurgeon's book All of Grace - that I picked up a few days ago - have been a mighty tag team in keeping me freshly aware of the good news of the gospel message.

I really felt encouraged to share. Before I do, I must confess that for large part of my christian life I have taken the gospel for granted. I guess to me, growing up in church, it became the same ole sentence or two briefing of.. "Jesus died on the cross so I could go to heaven.." But leaving the gospel at that, is like using 2 cubes of sugar to make 2 dozen cookies.... they just won't taste as sweet as they should! I am in no way the best presenter of such a wonderful message: but the bible is.

Spurgeon points out from Romans 4:5, that God justifies the ungodly.
"He makes people just who are unjust, forgives those who deserve no favor. Did you think that salvation was for the good and that God's grace was for the pure and holy who are free from sin? Perhaps you think that if you were excellent, then God would reward you; and maybe you have thought that because you are not worthy, there could be no way for you to enjoy his favor. You must be somewhat surprised to read a text [from the bible] that says "He justifies the ungodly."....We according to the natural legality of our hearts, are always talking about our own goodness and our own worthiness, and we stubbornly believe that there must be something in us in order to win the notice of God. But God who sees through all deceptions knows that there is no goodness whatsoever in us. He says that "none is righteous, no, not one" (romans 3:10)... He comes, not because we are just, but to make us so; he justifies the ungodly... Jesus came into the world to save sinners."

"To save sinners," - what exactly are we being saved from. We must realize that we deserve death for sin. Romans 6:23, ".. the wages (consequences) for sin is death.." This is not a light issue, but very serious. So when Spurgeon refers to Jesus coming to "save sinners," it literally means that we are being saved from a much deserved death sentence that is to be paid in hell. The rest of Romans 6:23 tells us of this free gift from God, "... but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Two ends of a rope. What we deserve: death. And what he gives us: life.
What a gift, so free and undeserved. That is the 'good news'

This is so important to remember, that we are born into this world as ungodly, as sinners. But that God has provided a way- that is: Christ condemned in our place.

Romans 3:23
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God... and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption of Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation ("satisfiier" of God's wrath for our sin) or ( the wiper away of sin) by His blood to be received by faith"
Romans 5:6-9
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even die - But God shows his love for us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. We have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God."

As Spurgeon suggested, maybe you have thought that salvation was reserved for the good and His grace was for the pure and holy. And that if you were good, God would reward you. And because you have not been holy, you cannot enjoy God's gift. Well, as we have read so far, that is not the case - thank God! The ESV Study bible's footnotes put it so well in referencing Romans 4:4-5.

"If salvation were based on works (or goodness, or deserving) , then God, in granting salvation would merely be repaying what he owed that person - just as an employer gives a worker wages for his work. Under the gospel, righteousness does not come to those who work for God since all - according to God's standards are ungoldly. Rather, right standing righteousness comes by believing instead of working."

No person on this earth is walking around actually deserving this gift of grace. If anyone would be believed to have deserved this gift, then I am sorry- because that is a lie. Ephesians 2:8-10 encourages us to realize that we are not saved by our own worth, good works, or preparations.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. It is not your own doing, it is a gift from God, not a result of works - this is so no one can boast. We are his workmanship, created in Christ for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them,"

Good works are an overflow of the grace that we receive. You do nothing to get the gift of grace, other than to believe and have faith. 'Faith is a confident trust and reliance upon Christ Jesus and is the only means by which one can obtain salvation.'[esv study bible footnotes]

Psalm 32:1
"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered"

Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but the unrighteous. Jesus came to save sinners. You... me...
" Believe that the only persons that can need justification are those who are not just in themselves. They, we, need something to be done for us to make us just before God. Depend upon it..." -Spurgeon

If you find your self unworthy, or unqualified - than you find yourself in a good place my friend: because Jesus said, "they that are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" Mark 2:17

We need a Savior.

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