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Paul's Magnum Opus

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
April 4, 2020 12:01 am

Paul's Magnum Opus

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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April 4, 2020 12:01 am

Left to itself, humanity is spiraling downward in a tailspin of evil. Today, Steven Lawson surveys the Apostle Paul’s diagnosis of the human heart in the book of Romans.

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Today on the Saturday edition of Renewing Your Mind. You say doesn't worship idols are not seeking God. They are running away from God as fast as they can and creating an alternative God in their attempt to suppress the truth about God. They come up with their own God.

According to their own likeness in the book of Romans, Paul explains the death spiral of sin for those who don't believe that exchange is they deny the clear evidence of God and instead embrace what Paul calls foolishness today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. Steven Lawson shows is from Romans chapter 1 that everyone has a deep sin problem in this session we come to one of the most important parts of this entire series.

We come to the teaching of sovereign grace by Saul of Tarsus, who became known as the apostle Paul, the apostle Paul was the poster child of sovereign grace. There was no one who was running any faster away from Christ then was Saul of Tarsus. He was on the Damascus road with letters in hand to apprehend the believers and drag them back to Jerusalem and probably were, they would be stoned to death that Stephen had been stoned to death and Saul was standing right there and observe that entire martyrdom he had no thought of becoming a Christian. All he wanted to do was to obliterate the name of Jesus Christ in the face of the earth. He was adamantly opposed to all believers and to all Christians.

Until that moment when Jesus Christ appeared to him and knocked him off his high horse and he looked up and said what would you have made to do Lord who are you, Lord.

He answered his own question and that very moment you are you, Lord, and for the rest of his life and for the rest of his ministry no doubt that entire conversion experience, a time when he was he was not even seeking Christ he was seeking to destroy Christ. That whole experience continued to reverberate within his soul and as he would preach and as he would write the truth of sovereign grace would just flow like a river from his pen, and from his lips in this session I want us to look at his magnum opus. I want us to begin looking at the Magna Carta of the Christian faith.

You know I'm referring to the book of Romans and we no doubt will spend some time in the book of Romans as Paul makes his case for the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Paul makes his case for biblical Christianity.

Has Paul will write what will become the closest that we will ever have to a systematic theology as he writes to the church in Rome. Paul emphasizes the sovereign grace of God and he is writing to a church, the believers in Rome who were under the very shadow of Caesar, who are living in the midst of a of an immoral cesspool who have found themselves in the hub of the most powerful city on the earth. Rome there where the powerful armies of Rome marched in there where Caesar presided in there where these extraordinary building such as the Roman Coliseum found itself apostle Paul will take pen in hand and he will write this letter to the Roman believers in that city and to give them steel in their backbone that they may stand strong and this Imperial city. He writes a letter that is saturated with the truths of sovereign grace, so I want to begin with. The bad news and then will proceed to the good news. I want to begin with a message of depravity and then we will work our way to the diadem of sovereign grace. But the more we understand of the radical corruption of the human race. The more we rise up and bless the name of the Lord for his salvation that has been bestowed upon us once again I want to begin at the start of the letter in Romans chapter 1 and draw to your attention the key passages that teach the doctrine of total depravity. There is a sense in which we could be here for very long time. If I was to address everything and time will not permit that someone have to pick and choose and make some difficult choices. What I will address myself to do and what I'll just have to save for another time, but is wearing chapter 1 beginning in verse 18 Paul now starts his exposition of the gospel and he begins with our need for the gospel. He begins with the entire human race under the wrath of God. The entire human race that is outside of the Lord Jesus Christ really begins for the wrath of God is revealed. Please note that present tense is not one day in hell, it will be revealed right now this very moment the unbelieving world is under the wrath of God. This is a long way from smile.

God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. This is the present vengeance and holy hatred of God toward sin revealed from heaven note against all ungodliness and unrighteousness ungodliness refers to the attitude unrighteousness refers to the actions ungodliness refers to irreverence towards God. Treating God is just a common thing, and unrighteousness refers to the sinful lifestyle that such an attitude produces and everything begins with the attitude. Everything begins with a heart.

Everything begins with the inner person and it will spread to the outward actions and Paul understands that and Paul begins by saying that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, not just against the action, but against the attitude as well of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. All who are outside of Christ are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness the truth about God into suppress the truth. The picture he really is is something about of a beach ball that the child would be trying to hold down underwater and if you let go of the baseball it pops back up to the surface and making every effort to submerge it into to keep it under the surface of the water as it were out of sight. This is what unsaved men unconverted men due date suppress the truth in their unrighteousness says because that which is known about God is evident with in them. They are trying to remove the knowledge of God from their life and it is there ungodly attitude, and it is their unrighteous life that is exposed in this verse later.

In fact, in the very next verse, verse 20 for since the creation of the world his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what is been made so that they are without excuse the knowledge of God is the referring to general revelation is called general because it is made known to every man and every woman on the face of the earth. It is called general because it gives testimony to the existence of God and something of the attributes of God, but it does not reveal the way to God that would require special revelation, but he says that general revelation is sufficient to render the entire human race without excuse. When I stand before God. They were that excuse because I know there is a God, and they know something of who this God is, but instead they want to suppress the truth about the existence and the attributes of God.

Paul continues for even though they knew God, the ideas they knew about God. I didn't have a saving relationship with God in that sense.

But they knew about God because God is revealed himself to them in general revelation is Francis Schaeffer has said God is there and he is not silent goddesses speaking God, and God has spoken to every man on planet Earth through general revelation.

For even though they knew God, they did not honoring as God gives thanks. They disrespected God they disregarded God.

They tried to get rid of God suppress the truth about him. And in this exchange. They took the knowledge of God and wanted to suppress it. The result is what filled the vacuum. They became futile, worthless, useless in their speculations. In other words, they now begin to just make up thoughts about God to create a God in their own mind, not the result of divine revelation, but the result of human imagination that became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. This is Paul's diagnosis of the condition of the soul of the entire human race became foolish comes from a Greek word that is translated moron into the English incapable of logical thought in their foolish heart was darkened, as though God blows out the candle inside of them and what little light to come in through general revelation into conscience. They are not darkened when you reject the light God will see to it that you will be in darkness, professing to be wise, they became fools in exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and a bird said four-footed animals and and crawling things. You see, those who worship idols are not seeking God. They are running away from God as fast as they can in creating an alternative God in their attempt to suppress the truth about God's sake they come up with their own God. According to their own likeness. Total depravity. Then in verse 24 therefore God gave them over that is divine judgment.

God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, and they went from loss to impurity the evil desires. Now to the evil deeds so that their bodies would be dishonored and it speaks here, most specifically of a sexual sin and sinning against their own body.

Why, he says in verse 25 for they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the creator. Can you imagine anything more insane than this. Please understand sin will make you stupid. Sin will always make you stupid sin will cause you to have your wires short-circuited and you are no longer capable of proper sinking in verse 26 for this reason, for the reason that they've exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship the God that they have now created for this reason God gave them over is the second time we read of this phrase.

They are now on the slippery slope and they're going from bad to worse, they are cascading down and descending down yet deeper into the darkness of sin.

They started out at this level and they are crashing down. It had a far deeper level of sin. God gave them over to degrading passions.

Now they go from loss to degrading passions and gases being poured upon the fire of their loss for their women exchanged the natural function of the natural function would be for a woman desire. Another man into and to be married to him in and to have a relationship with him, and to bear children and and to have a family that is the natural function according to the design in the.

The genius of God, but they exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural and that which is unnatural he will allude to it is that they will desire to have a relationship with another woman, and he says it in the same white also men abandoned the natural function of the woman in the result of giving that they now burned in their desire toward one another that this is total depravity in Technicolor.

This is total depravity being put before our very eyes, and burned in their desire toward one another meaning for other men, men with men conceiving in decent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error and that refers to eternal hell that one day they will receive in their person. The due penalty of their error and their error is they have rejected the truth and they have now believed a lie and on the slippery slope.

They're going down down yet deeper does homosexuality lead to the judgment of God. Homosexuality is the judgment of God because the greater sin is the rejection of the truth about God, the rejection of the knowledge of God and so God gives them over.

It's not just that God allows them to go their own way but that God gives them up, push in the direction that there now already heading and it is the hand of judgment of God upon the truth, reject or God sees to it that they will believe a lie.

This is the lens by which we understand the world in which we live. This is the paradigm which gives us the mind of Christ into what we see in the decadence and the decay of the culture and the society in which we live. It is a parade of depravity that is going on all around us within verse 28. It it it doesn't end here continues to go deeper and deeper into sin and just as I did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer.

That's the greatest sin to reject God they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer.

And when you do not acknowledge God you have set your life on a course that is plummeting into a life of wickedness and depravity, God gave them over is not just that God observes them go their own way, but again God expedites the process and God gives them a push in the direction that they now want to go, God gave them over to a depraved mind and a depraved mind can no longer think correctly. A depraved mind now begins to make insane conclusions based upon the data that is put in front of and a depraved mind now renders legislation and educational decisions that previously would have been thought inconceivable, but it is because they have a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper being filled the ideas being saturated with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, full of envy, murder, strive deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant and boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, and if that's not enough. At the very end. Verse 32. They not only do it they give hearty approval to everyone else who doesn't you do these things, your ratings will go up. You do these things you'll sell more records you do these things. People come to see more of your movies total depravity. Chapter 2 verse five is is because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath stubbornness. The idea here is, you will not submit to God.

You will not humble yourself before God and you are unrepentant you refuse to turn away from your sin come all the way to Romans chapter 3 verse 11. Paul now makes his his concluding argument for total depravity is is there is none who seeks for God.

You say will I see people who are unbelievers who are seeking for God, no they're not. They are seeking what God may offer but they're not seeking God himself.

I mean they want a nice family.

They want happiness they want peace they want this and that. I just don't want God. They want only what God can give. But they do not want God himself, so they're not seeking God they hate God.

They reject God. There is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have become useless.

There is none who does good, not even one is is verse 13. Your throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asters under their lips. Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.

Please note stroke tongues lips mouth. What Paul is giving here is an analysis. A diagnosis of the entire human soul from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet every inch and every ounce of you is now polluted by sin is what total depravity means it doesn't mean that your acting as totally depraved as a human being could. Some are far worse than others is just that the totality of your personhood, your mind your affections your heart your hand your feet every thing about you is now contaminated and corrupted by sin and soon Romans three verse 15. Their feet are swift to shed blood destruction and misery are in their path and the path of peace they have not known verse 18, there is no fear of God before their eyes.

You see all this feet eyes, throat, tongues, mouth, lips Paul is giving a diagnosis of the entire human solids in anatomy of the entire human soul is not a pretty picture but it is the truth and it is this truth about how bad we were outside of Christ that causes the message of the gospel to shine brighter than 10,000 suns in the sky above. The darker the night. The brighter the stars and this is a dark picture that Paul is painting the human race and it will cause the grace the sovereign grace that he will set forth to be amazing Grace, and without this that we just saying grace is not amazing Grace is a yonder grace is common grace is pedestrian, but to see how bad the human race is in its sin. You realize how could anyone ever come to faith in Christ. If there is none who seeks after God and at one, how would anyone ever be. Say all depend upon God to be the initiator. That is why we need the sovereign election of God and that is why we need the definite atonement and the irresistible call of God. Otherwise, no one would ever be saved. So Paul is just make his case for the total depravity of the entire human race, and we will have to leave it here at the moment. Until next time when we will walk through the Trinity and we will see the ministry of each person of the God as they will set in motion eternal salvation so desperately need and have received orgies. Paul's explanation of total depravity that we read in Romans chapter 1 is eye-opening. Using it so perfectly describes those who deny God. In fact, I would guess that many of us right now are thinking of a friend or family member who is in that downward cycle right now. This message encourages us to pray for them all the more. I think as we do pray for them. We have to remind ourselves that there but for the grace of God go. We are listening to Renewing Your Mind on the Saturday by we Webb look at her teaching fellow Dr. Steven Lawson is our teacher each Saturday as we make our way through his New Testament volume of foundations of grace our understanding of sin and salvation must come from the pages of Scripture. That's why this is such an important series at RIT really helps us nail down our our doctrine so that we don't fall into error. You can request this 24 message series when you give a donation of any amount to what your ministries there are couple of ways so you can reach us. Our phone number is 800-435-4343 but you can also go online to give your gift at Renewing Your Mind.Ward, one of the marks of a growing Christian is a desire to learn more about God's word and that this series by Dr. Lawson is is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to lessons in series that we produced on the essential doctrines that we find in Scripture. That's why like to commend ligand or connect to you with some online community for growing in your knowledge of God's word and his world you can gather friends for a regular study planter drive-in at your own pace and you can learn more when you go to connect.Ligonier.org that's connect.Ligonier.org. Paul's lofty theology found in the book of Romans is unmatched in the New Testament next week on renewing my Dr. Lawson will trace Paul's argument for the doctrine of sovereign election.

We hope you'll join us again next Saturday here for Renewing Your Mind


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