Please open your Bibles again to Romans Chapter 5. The theme that we are pursuing this week is God's surprising servants, things that God uses that we have a tendency to underestimate or underappreciate or maybe even not recognize at all. And so yesterday morning we looked at how God uses quiet subtle judgments like the moth, like dry rot to bring about most of His judgment.
And then last night we thought about unconscious influence. We don't think about that all that much but God uses it very powerfully. And tonight we are going to consider what the Word of God teaches us about how He uses adversity. Adversity being things that we would rather not go through. So, some kind of suffering such as sickness, some kind of sadness, the loss of a loved one, the vexation that may attend a work situation that is causing you anxiety, financial distress, family troubles. All of these fall into the category of adversity and God can use all of them to accomplish purposes. These are painful things that we would rather not undergo and God uses them first of all to bring us to the Lord Jesus Christ.
And then He uses them to accomplish sanctification in us. There is a young man in our church who suffers from severe peripheral neuropathy. He can't feel anything from his knees down. And this leaves him liable to sustain injuries in his feet and in his lower legs.
You know if he backs up against a stove with his calf then he doesn't know it, he's not feeling pain. So, we don't think of pain as being a blessing from God, but it really is that the Lord uses pain to help us to know what something that we're doing that we need to stop doing, or something that is going wrong that we need to fix. And I think that one of the downsides of all of the anti-depressant medicines that are being utilized today, I think over utilized is that sadness is a kind of pain that is meant to make us stop doing the thing that is making us sad. And so it is possible to alleviate the sadness without stopping doing the thing that makes you sad.
I realize that there are persons who have chemical imbalances and I don't want to make anyone feel guilty about taking medication if you need to take it, but I think most of us would agree that it's way over prescribed. And I think one of the bad effects of the over prescription of anti-depressant drugs is that people are able to continue in destructive behaviors because they have alleviated the pain that otherwise would make them stop doing the destructive behavior. So, in this text of Scripture tonight we're going to see first of all how that pain drives us to the Lord Jesus Christ. Adversity drives us to the Lord Jesus Christ in the first place. And then we'll see secondly how that the Lord uses adversity to accomplish our sanctification. Then in this text of Scripture there also appears the logic for the hope that we have that God is going to bring this process of sanctification to completion.
So, there is the logic of hope. And then this text concludes with the crown, the crowning work of salvation. The crown that crowns salvation is what I mean by that. And ultimately the crown of salvation is that we are led to rejoice in God. Justification is a great blessing.
Sanctification is a great blessing. And the other blessings that are mentioned in this, but more than all of that is rejoicing in God Himself. And so, let's see what the Lord has to say for us in this passage of Scripture.
The pastor read it just a few minutes ago and so I'm not going to read all 11 verses now, instead just handle it a bit at a time as we go through it. And the first thing that we'll see as we direct our attention to verse 1 is that it's implied that it is adversity that drives us to Jesus Christ in the first place. Look at verse 1, therefore since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, the fact that we now have peace with God means that at one time we did not have peace with God. And the fact that we have embraced Jesus Christ as He is freely offered to us in the Gospel indicates that we became unhappy with this situation of being separated from God. Now, the Baptist Catechism asks the question about the fall, what were the effects of the fall is essentially the question that is asked. And the answer is that through the fall we have become sinful and we have become miserable. We've become sinful and we've become miserable. It's very helpful for us to think about those as two different things tonight. And so wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate wherein two men fell?
I'll answer that question. And then secondly wherein consists the misery? And so recognizing the sinfulness into which the fall brought all of mankind and feeling the misery are the essential components of adversity that drive us to Jesus Christ seeking peace with God.
So, the sinfulness of that estate wherein two men fell consists in two parts. There's original sin and then there is actual sin. So, original sin is called original sin because you originate with it.
And it consists of three basic components. So, original sin is the guilt of Adam's first sin, that's the first component. The lack of original righteousness and the corruption of our whole nature.
So, let me explain those three things. Those are, that's the kind of sin that we are born with it's called original sin because we originate with it. As soon as we are conceived we are conceived as a sinner. And we are a sinner who is held responsible for the sin that our first representative head committed. Now, we Americans who espouse democracy are especially uncomfortable with the idea that we have to suffer the consequences of what someone else did. And there are even verses of Scripture in the Bible that would lead us to protest against that. For example, you are supposed to stop saying that the father ate the sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge. Every person is going to be responsible for his own sin.
Well, there is a sense in which that is true. I'm not going to be condemned for the sins of my parents. I may suffer consequences of the sins of my parents.
Sometimes God visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children under the third and fourth generation. But generally speaking I am going to be held accountable for the sins that I have committed, or at least I would have been until the Lord Jesus Christ undertook my account and paid my debt that was due. But if you are not in fellowship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ then you are accountable for your sins. But you also are suffering the consequences of a sin that was committed by the first representative head of the human race, the first man that was created, Adam.
Now, we ought to be careful that we don't protest too stringently against this arrangement. Because the offer of deliverance from our sin is given to us on the exact same principle. We are accounted sinners because of the disobedience of one man. And now we are accounted righteous because of the obedience of one man, the Lord Jesus Christ. And if that is the first time that you've thought thoroughly about that or begun to think about it, it's explained more fully in this very chapter.
I don't plan to go into it anymore deeply. But the one element of our sinfulness is that we are held accountable for the guilt of the human race that was committed when the human race was encapsulated in one person. So, the sinfulness of that estate wherein two men fell consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin, the lack of original righteousness. So, I've told you two times that original sins means that we originate with sin. The lack of original righteousness means that we don't originate with righteousness.
And that is something for which we are culpable. We were created to be righteous. And so the fact that we don't have righteousness is a problem.
It is a sin. It's an element of original sin. We have the lack of original righteousness. And then the third component of original sin is the corruption of our whole nature. So, every aspect of human psyche, every aspect of the spiritual part of human beings has been adversely affected by sin. So that given enough time and given the opportunity every human being who is conceived is going to sin because we have a corrupt nature. Now, when the Holy Spirit brings conviction to us we may not understand all of that thoroughly, especially if you're just saved as a little child.
All you may know is that you're going to go to hell because God is unhappy with you. But that fear of going to hell is the sort of unhappiness that makes us look for a remedy and makes us eager to hear the remedy that is offered to us in Jesus Christ. Well, not only do we have original sin, but we also have actual sins.
As soon as we are capable of doing so, and it's very, very young, I'm so thankful that little children in the tomb, in the womb, in the cradle is what I'm trying to say, do not know how to operate automatic weapons because I'm quite confident that they would use them. And so it doesn't take long for a child with a corrupt nature to demonstrate that she or he is going to actually sin and do things that are disobedient to the Lord. All of that original sin and that actual sin separates us from God. And if we are functioning properly, and that only happens through the work of the Holy Spirit, it makes us unhappy. And so it makes us look to God for a remedy, makes us open to hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed.
Well, sinfulness is not our only problem. We also suffer from misery that has come about as a result of sin. Well, all mankind by their fall, and here are the elements of that misery, all mankind by their fall lost communion with God. So we are no longer in fellowship with Him. That contributes to our misery because we were made to have fellowship with Him, and we persistently feel the lack of it, and try to fill it up with a thousand different things. And until the Holy Spirit does a work of grace in our hearts, we search throughout the universe for some place where we can set our feet where God is not.
And it's only when we find in earth, and air, and heaven or hell that such might nowhere be that we could not flee from Thee anywhere, then we fled to Thee. And so it's but we lost communion with God. We are under His wrath and curse. We are living in a world that is cursed by sin. And even after you have been born again we still have to deal with the curse that God has put on this world as a result of sin. We ourselves have been delivered from the curse of sin.
We are going to go to heaven when we die. But as long as we live on this earth we are going to have to deal with the kind of unhappy things that happen here because this world is under God's wrath and curse. As a result of God's wrath and curse we are made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever. And so when we become conscious of the fact that we are sinners and we are guilty before God, and our misery is as a result of our sin, then we look to God for the remedy. God preaches to us the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit issues the effectual call. And effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit whereby convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds and the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills He persuades and enables us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the Gospel. But it's misery, it's adversity, the adversity of sin and the misery from sin that drives us to Jesus Christ in the first place looking for peace with God.
And so that's all implied in this statement. It's explained more fully in chapters 1-4, but it's all summarized in this statement in verse 1, therefore since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God. Now justification is an act of God's free grace, and in justification He does two things for us. First of all He pardons all of our sins. And the second thing is He accepts us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith alone. So these are two indispensable components of justification. All of our sins are pardoned and we are credited with a perfect righteousness, the righteousness that Jesus Christ wrought out during the days of His humanity on earth.
He still has a human nature now. But during the days of His humanity on earth He wrought out this perfect righteousness which He did not need for Himself. And so in His bequest to His elect He gives us His perfect righteousness. And this perfect justification is received by faith alone. So, it's not because of any works that we do, it's because that we stop working. Faith implies a stopping of work and we believe what God has said, especially because God has said it and with the intention of obeying Him fully. So, faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace whereby we receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation as He has offered to us in the Gospel.
And so, it's misery, it's adversity that drives us to God eager to embrace this salvation that is offered to us in Jesus Christ. Now, let me tell you a little story that I'm going to use for an illustration. And this is probably going to cause you parents some problems later on.
I'm going to be gone in a couple of days so don't ask me about it. Ask your new youth pastor about it. So, I grew up in a community where fighting was pretty common. And so, up until the time that I was converted at age 14, I did a lot of fighting. And I don't think I ever started a fight.
But this was a community, kind of a Hatfield McCoy type community where boys kind of tried to prove their manhood by fighting. And so, there was a lot of fighting that went on. So, I'm going to tell you about a fight that happened when I was in the second grade. It was the last day of second grade.
And it was a fight with a boy in my neighborhood who had been aggravating me and picking on me at the bus stop all year. Now, this kid was a year and a half, two years older than I was. But we had played together. We had been friends. And I think it was just because he wanted to show off in front of the older boys at the bus stop that he started aggravating me and picking on me.
Well, the last day of second grade I'd had enough. And so, I beat him up. And I beat him up good. And there was a neighbor lady who was watching out the window.
We watched and we waited for the bus in front of her house. I learned later that she called my parents and she said, now Jimmy just beat up Junior, but don't punish him. I've been watching out the window and Junior's been picking on him all year. Junior had it coming to him. So, I appreciated that.
I like a person who would call my parents like that. But anyway, here's the thing. The aggravation finally led, it came to a head. And there was a fight. And then it was over. That's the way it happened in those days. You get in a fight with someone and you're not going to get suspended.
You wouldn't get taken to court or anything like that. It's like you fought. And then it was over.
I would not be surprised if the boy came to my house the next afternoon and we played. Because we remained friends for the next several years. I mean I had to beat him up every once in a while just to kind of, you know, remind him of what happens. But we were friends. We were friends after that. Well, it didn't always happen that way. Sometimes you got in a fight with someone that it just had to happen and it was over with, but you didn't become friends after that. But in many cases it happened that way. And in this particular fight that I'm telling you about we became friends. Now, I'm going to use that as an illustration for what comes next in this text.
Wow, I bet you're waiting to hear that. So, let's look at what it says here in Romans chapter 5, therefore since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, the record has been cleared. We no longer have these accusations against us.
But are we going to be friends now? Verse 2, through Him, through Jesus we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. God's not mad at you anymore. You're not mad at God anymore. You're not so afraid of God that you want to stay away from Him. You're attracted to God.
You want to be with Him. And that also is through Jesus Christ and the work that He did. So, justification is primarily a legal transaction. We're pardoned from all of our sins. We're accepted as righteous in His sight.
But are we friends? And verse 2 says, yeah, we're friends. Through Him we're standing in a state of grace. We don't deserve to be here, that's why it's a state of grace, but we are here.
We are standing here because of the Lord Jesus Christ. And because this relationship has been mended, because our sins have been forgiven, then we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. That makes us think, wow, if God has been so kind and gracious to us as to pardon us of all of our sins, to credit us with the perfect righteousness, and He now identifies Himself as our Father, and He loves us not just because of Jesus but because we love Jesus, I think He's going to carry this through all the way to heaven. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And so, it is adversity that drives us to Christ in the first place and gives us this peace that we have with God, and the hope that we have that this is going to continue into eternity.
Now, let's move on and see secondly how that it is also adversity that prepares us to live happily when we get there. The greatest evidence that you're going to go to heaven is not that you prayed a prayer sometime or even that you hold the orthodox doctrine. The greatest evidence that you're going to go to heaven is that you are even now being made into a person who's going to enjoy living there. You didn't used to be that kind of a person.
I didn't. I remember when I was a little boy I asked my parents what was heaven going to be like and they said, well, I think there will be singing there and probably hear preaching. We're certainly going to worship the Lord. And I thought, church? Heaven is church?
That never ends? Well, I've been in a whole lot of church services that would still make me say that, you know, if heaven is going to be that. I'm not sure I want to be there. But the idea of being with God's people, of understanding God, of having fellowship with God, those are all attractive things to me now and they wouldn't have been when I asked that question. And if you were old enough to remember when you were converted then you can probably also remember when you thought, ugh, I don't want to do that. I remember talking to a boy in college one time about his need for Christ and he said, Jim, you don't understand everything that I love to do is sin.
Now, most people are not that forthright about it, but that's actually true of everyone before they're converted. What we really love to do are things that God would say, you can't do that in heaven. You're not going to have that kind of friend group in heaven. You're going to be with Christians in heaven.
Ew. We've got to be with Christians. You know that's the way that we felt at that time. Oh, you're going to be in the presence of Jesus Christ. But now you've been changed.
And if that still sounds unpleasant to you then you just haven't been converted yet. And so the greatest evidence that you're going to go to heaven is that you're now being made into the kind of person who's going to enjoy the delights of heaven. But the Lord uses adversity as one of the primary tools to accomplish that in our lives.
Let's see how it works here beginning in verse 3. Not only that but we'll rejoice in our sufferings. Now, there's a reason that we rejoice in our suffering, so this is not just masochistic. You know we enjoy going through pain. We rejoice in our sufferings, here's the reason why, knowing that suffering produces endurance. Or you may have a translation that says patience.
This word could be translated either way. I think that patience is the better translation because mere endurance could be that you are just gritting your teeth and putting up with it. Patience on the other hand says, I'm putting up with this but it is not knocking me out of sorts.
I'm putting up with this, I don't like it. You don't have to be patient with stuff that you like. So, this suffering creates in you the ability to see the big picture. Patience I think is the fundamental element of maturity. I think that maturity is the capacity for practicing delayed gratification. Little kids don't have it and so they want it to be right now.
Some adults never get it and so if they don't get their way right away then they become angry or they become pouty and lash out and complain and so on. But patience on the other hand says, I don't like this but I see the big picture. And the big picture for the Christian is God is in control of this vexing situation and God is using it for good. And so, I think that patience is a better word than endurance but we rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces patience and patience produces character.
That's what I was talking about last night. And I preach the same sermon today at the Tri-State Fellowship. Character is who you really are, the real you. Not necessarily the natural you but the you that has come into ascendancy since the Lord Jesus Christ did His work of grace and the Holy Spirit gave you the new birth. And so suffering produces patience. Patience produces character. It turns you into the kind of person that God wants you to be. And character produces hope.
Now how does that work? It's because of what I said earlier in different words. What I said a few minutes ago was that the greatest evidence that you're going to heaven is that you are even now being transformed into a person who will enjoy living there.
This is saying the same thing. If you see that change in your character then that causes you to have hope that your conversion was real. In 2 Peter chapter 1, I went over this last night and this afternoon, the Lord leads us through a series of eight virtues that we are to seek to cultivate in our lives. And then He says this is the way that you make your calling and your election, sure. We sometimes struggle with was my conversion genuine? Was the calling real? And so sometimes we try to remember well was I sincere when I said that?
What was I feeling? And for some of you it was when you were little kids and you can't remember it all and you're just kind of uneasy about it all. Well I've got good news for you is that you don't have to go back to that moment and figure out if you were sincere then. If the Lord saved you then, then He began creating in you a character that changes. Some of you, and that character that changes is the way that you make your calling and your election, sure. You can't look back into eternity past and tell, did God choose me?
Was I elect? Well if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and that is changing you into a person who rejoices in suffering because suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character then you should have hope. Character produces hope. As I'm sure that your pastors do the same thing that we do at our church when someone applies for membership then we interview them to make sure that they really are converted. And especially if someone has grown up in a Christian home I hear this testimony over and over again.
It is in fact my testimony and so I'll just use myself as an example. I was about six years old when I confessed faith in Jesus Christ. My dad was a careful pastor and so he asked me all the right questions and I was a well taught child and I gave all the right answers. And so I was baptized when I was six years old. And when you're six, seven, eight years old it's fairly easy to look like a Christian if you're not too ornery of a child.
Or if you can hide it fairly well. But anyway about the time that I went to junior high school in the seventh grade just about to turn 12 I began being confronted with temptations that really gave me opportunity to sin like I had not had before. And I took advantage of those opportunities and I began to sin as much as I dared. And so through the seventh grade, the eighth grade and the ninth grade I began living a double life. There was a way that I would talk when I was at school. There was a way that I wouldn't talk that way at home. Use bad words at school not bad words at home. There were things that I would talk about with my friends.
Things that we would try to do when we had opportunity that I wouldn't do at home. And probably everybody at church except the kids who went to school with me thought, ah, Jimmy he's a good boy, good Christian boy. But I wasn't.
Well, I wasn't sure of that yet. It took me several years. Then thankfully the Lord saved me after my ninth grade year and my life changed. And after about three years as I was reflecting on the question, is my baptism legitimate?
I came to the conclusion, no, my baptism is not legitimate because I was not converted when I was saved. Now, I've used myself as an example but I hear that kind of testimony all the time when I'm interviewing people who have grown up in Christian homes. Oh, I lived like the devil all through high school. And then when I was in college I got under the influence of Campus Crusade or Baptist Student Life Ministries or something. And that's when I began living for the Lord. And so I'll ask people, so what makes you think that you were converted back there when you were six or seven years old? And here's the answer that I get 99% of the time. All those years that I was living sinfully I knew that what I was doing was wrong.
That's it. I knew that what I was doing was wrong. And so I'll say, during those years did you voluntarily read your Bible? No, never. Did you pray? Only when I got in trouble. Did you go to church? I quit going to church as soon as my parents stopped making me. And then I will say, all the evidence points to the fact that you were not really converted.
Just simply knowing that what you're doing is wrong is not grounds to conclude that you're converted. And sometimes I'll even bring it into the modern day and say, suppose you were the pastor of this church and someone wanted to join and you said, oh, we are so welcome. We'll be looking forward to seeing you next Sunday. And the person says, next Sunday? I'm not planning on coming to church here. Well, I thought you said you wanted to join. Well, yeah, but I'm not going to attend. Well, I guess we can count on you supporting the church with your tithes and offerings.
Are you crazy? I'm not going to give money to this church. I just don't want to go to hell. So, I'd appreciate if you'd just baptize me and get it over with. Sadly, there are some people who would baptize such a person, but those who try to practice integrity would say, no, you're not converted.
We're not going to baptize you. I know that I'm a sinner and I need to be baptized. No, that's not enough to conclude that you're converted. And yet there are many, many people who say, well, I think that I was converted because all those years that I was living in sin, I knew that what I was doing was wrong. That's not sufficient grounds to conclude that you're converted. So, it may be that the Lord is speaking to you through that. And you're like me, you were baptized before you were converted. How do you know you're converted now?
Because your character has changed. Tribulation worketh patience, patience, experience, character. Character produces hope.
And hope does not disappoint us. Look at the reason that is given in verse 5. Hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Now, this is a linguistic construction that allows of two interpretations. Does this mean that the love that God has for us has been made clear to us and He's poured that love into our hearts? Or does it mean that now there is a love for God that has been instilled in us?
It can be either one. I think that it means that there has now been a love for God that has been instilled in us. It's in a passage that concludes with here's the reason that you have hope. And hope is not going to disappoint you because you have been turned into someone who loves God. And so, this is adversity and it brings us to a confident assurance that we're going to enjoy the glory of God because now we love God.
But to help us out there is further explanation that gives us the logic of this hope. Now, let me point out this logic to you before I read these verses. There are two lines of reasoning that the Lord gives to us in the verses that I'm just about to read. The first line of reasoning is this. If God loved you and Christ died for you when you were His enemy, now that you love Him isn't He going to continue to be nice to you?
That's one line of reasoning. You used to be an enemy, now you're not an enemy you love Him. You've been reconciled to Him. Does it make sense that He's going to stop loving you now? That He's not going to finish the job that He started in you?
That's one line of the reasoning. The second line of reasoning is God forgave you in the first place because of the bloody death of His Son. And as precious as that is, there's something that God considers even more precious, and that's the life of His Son. If He forgave you of your sins because of the death of His Son, isn't He going to finish the job because of this thing that He values even more, the resurrected life of His Son? All right, let's see how this is explained in these verses. Verse 6, for while we were still weak at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person. You just almost never hear of that. Though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die.
Okay, we hear of it occasionally. But what about this? God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Now, here are the implications of that. This is the logic of hope. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.
You see the comparison contrast there. We were saved by His blood. How much more are we going to be saved through Him?
The same idea is repeated in the next verse. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more now that we are reconciled, in contrast to enemies, we shall be saved by His life. So, this is the reason why we have hope. Christian hope I believe is a subdivision of faith. Faith is believing what God has said, especially when the only reason for believing it is because God has said it, and you believe it with the intention of obeying Him. So, faith is not fundamentally strong optimism. Faith is believing what God has said. It may lead to strong optimism, but fundamentally faith is believing what God has said with the intention of obeying Him. I think that hope is a subcategory of faith. Hope is believing what God has said regarding attractive promises for the future. So, God makes promises about the future that we find attractive. We believe those promises and similar to faith, which believes with the intention of obeying, we cooperate, when we hope, we cooperate with the means that God has appointed for the accomplishment of this hope. So, there are several parallels there.
Let me go over that again. Faith is believing what God has said regarding past, present, and future. Hope, similar, is believing what God has said about attractive promises He has made regarding the future. Faith embeds in it the idea that we are going to obey Him. We are going to obey what He says because faith without works is dead. So, saving faith includes with it the idea that we are going to obey Him.
Also, hope that saves us, hope that fills us with joyful anticipation with optimism embeds in it the idea that we are going to cooperate with the means that He has appointed for the accomplishment of the salvation that is underway. And part of that is through suffering. Even our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ was made perfect through suffering. It's what it says in the book of Hebrews chapter 2. Therefore, since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that through death He might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is the devil, and free those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
For surely it is not angels He helps, but Abraham's descendants. Therefore, He had to be made like His brothers in every way. He had to be made like His brothers in every way so that through suffering He might be made perfect and accomplish the goal that, accomplish the salvation that was appointed to Him as the Messiah. Jesus as a human had to undergo suffering. Later on in the book of Hebrews it says concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, although He was a son, He learned obedience through suffering. And once made perfect He became the source of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him. And it says concerning Him that He was heard because of His reverent submission.
I don't have to turn to that one. So, I think that's in Hebrews chapter 5. So, let me, because I'm not remembering exactly how that passage goes. So, Hebrews chapter 5 beginning in verse 7, in the days of His flesh Jesus offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death. And He was heard because of His reverence, although He was a son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. And being made perfect He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Now when you read that Jesus was made perfect it doesn't mean that He was ever sinful, but it means that He was not yet qualified to do the work of the Messiah. In order to become qualified He had to pass the tests that were put upon Him, like the tests when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. Our first representative head was subjected to temptation from Satan and he succumbed to temptation and plunged the entire race into sin and misery.
Our second representative head, the Lord Jesus Christ was also subjected to the temptation of Satan, but he resisted and through his obedience he brought out a perfect righteousness that he communicates to all those who have faith in Him. But it was accomplished through his cooperation with suffering. God's surprising servant of adversity was at work even in the life of Jesus, and it's at work in our lives as well. This section concludes in verse 11 with the crown of salvation. More than that we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have now received reconciliation. Now we have seen some precious blessings in this passage. What a great blessing is justification. What a great blessing it is to be standing in a state of grace and fellowship with the Lord. What a great blessing it is to know that God is sanctifying our sufferings for the purification of our characters.
And that through this we have an assurance of Heaven, but there is something even better than all that. Today Pastor David Morris quoted a hymn in your hymn book that was written by Anna R. Cousin. Anna R. Cousin compiled another hymn that is also in your hymn book, The Sands of Time Are Sinking.
She compiled it from the sayings of Samuel Rutherford. And one of the stanzas that almost always appears in hymn books is this one. She writes about all of God's saints going to Heaven, being clothed in perfect righteousness at the marriage of the Lamb.
But here what she writes, the bride eyes not her garment, but her dear bridegroom's face. I will not gaze at glory, but on my King of grace. Not on the crown He giveth, but on His pierced hands. The Lamb is all the glory of Emmanuel's land. And that's the love that has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given to us. And as a result, we don't just rejoice in the gifts that He gives, we rejoice in God Himself. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-26 23:49:20 / 2022-12-27 00:04:53 / 16