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The Promise Granted through Faith

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
July 15, 2021 12:01 am

The Promise Granted through Faith

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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July 15, 2021 12:01 am

We cannot receive God's promise of salvation by our own works but by trusting in the sufficient work of Christ on our behalf. Today, R.C. Sproul teaches on the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind.

If we would seek to find our salvation through the law we are on a fools errand, because the only consequence of that law for us is that it exposes us to his wrath.

So I beg you to banish from your minds forever. Any thought of justifying yourself before a holy God by your behavior by your good deeds will I think we give you the passion that was clean from the proceeds pool made during a sermon he preached before the congregation. He loved and shepherded for the year St. Andrews trip.

We have been please this week to share with you selected sermons that are secret from various New Testament books, this one from Romans were the apostle Paul makes it clear. Salvation is by faith and faith alone set of one of the great Christian apologists of the 20th century who was so brilliant that he was in a class by himself that whenever he was engaged in debate that not only were his arguments so acute and so compelling that he virtually annihilated his opponent in such debate, but that when he was finished he dusted off the spot where his opponent had stood, and I think of that when I follow the progress here of Paul's argument in Romans three and 41 he sets forth so clearly the doctrine of justification by faith alone and in our last session we looked at how the apostle Paul reached back again to the life of Abraham and argued the point that Abraham before he had done any of the works of the law before he had offered Isaac on the altar before he was even circumcised as early as Genesis 15 when Abraham believed the promise of God. God counted him righteous in his sight, and so now the apostle continues to press him. This example of Abraham by saying in verse 13 for the promise that he that is, Abraham would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law on the let's stop there at that, where the apostle hesitates, just for a second to remind us that Abraham and his seed together are the heirs of God.

Later, the possible say those who are of Abraham and Nipsey of his seed are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ actually in terms of principle, the only proper air of God the father is God the son, God the son alone is worthy to inherit the kingdom that his father has promised. But through the gift of faith and through that righteousness that is by faith.

Those who were adopted into the family of God become his heirs, along with his only begotten son no later on in this epistle, Paul will give more details about what it means to be an heir of God, but he introduces the concept here for us and reminds us that the heirs of Abraham and his seed do not receive the inheritance that is promised of them through the law, but rather through faith. And here's what he says. For if those are of the law are heirs, then faith is made void and the promise made of no effect.

What's Paul getting at here is if in fact the way in which one receives the kingdom of God is through the law than that would vitiate the primary and central importance of faith.

If there's a way to receive these gifts of God apart from faith that is through your works, and through your striving, and attempt at merit than you would in effect, empty the meaning and the significance of that faith which is indeed the alone instrumental cause of your justification and then he goes on to argue the point further when he says that the promise of God to Abraham and through his seed would be made of no effect. If it's not a faith if it's of the law, God's promises are empty and worthless. Why does he say that why does he come to such a grim conclusion. If people confuse the ground of justification and think that it comes through the works of the law rather than through faith alone will he answers that question for us is it because the law brings about wrath what the law affects what the law brings to pass is not salvation. It's not justification it's not forgiveness, but the wrath of God. That's what we get from the law, and so if you're going to put your confidence in the law.

The only thing that you can hope to gain by it is the wrath of God. Again, if you seek to base your salvation on your merit.

As I said before, the only thing you've ever been able to merit before God is his wrath because of sin.

Now he gets on to say. Further, why this is for where there is no law there is no transgression. What does he mean by that will, if God doesn't set any standards. If he makes no requirements. If he imposes no obligations upon us, then we would be autonomous.

We would be free to do whatever we wanted to do that. Dostoyevsky said if there is no God all things are permissible. You live in a society of lawlessness.

You live as a society that seeks to banish the very concept of sin from human consciousness. But in order to do that we must first banish God from the equation, the Westminster divines and setting forth the shorter catechism. Many of our young people are studying right now have set for us.

A simple definition of sin.

The question in the catechism begins. What is sin. Sin is any want of conformity there on to or transgression of the law of God. Now that gets it specifically does not. Because there are two aspects of that definition. Tom, you know it, didn't you sin is any want of conformity. Now that's somewhat archaic language that want of conformity means a lack of conformity to the law of God. So if God imposes a law or a rule for our behavior, saying, thou shalt do this or thou shalt not do that if I fail to conform to that law. If I disobey that commandment, then I am failing to conform to his standard of righteousness. In one sense this failure to conform or want of conformity or lack of conformity in some respects, calls attention, but not always, but sometimes to what we call sins of omission are failure to do those things that we ought to have done that God commands us to do if we don't do what he commands us to do. We have failed to conform to his law, but it's not just that negative failure or omission, but there are also sins of commission, wherein the second part of that shorter catechism definition is that and not only want of conformity thereunto but transgression of the law of God with the transgression know when we pray the Lord's prayer. Sometimes we say forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. But other times we hear that prayer articulated by the phrase, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Now you've all seen signs in certain places that say no trespassing. That means there's a border over which you're not allowed to step because if you do, you're liable to some kind of prosecution because you have violated the law that prohibits you from stepping across that boundary work. God has also established boundaries by the law and when we transgress we trespass we step over the line and break is law which is soon as we do that exposes us justly to his wrath to his punitive wrath, not merely the corrective wrath that he gives to those children whom he loves, and whom he is forgiven, we still experience that correction from his discipline but his punitive wrath is when his judgment falls upon impenitent sinners who have failed to conform to his law or transgressed against is up now again this is one of those points that Paul in the fifth chapter will also labor a little more fully and it's one that needs to be labored and because again we live in such a spirit of lawlessness in our culture today that even Christians don't spend much time thinking about the law of God, and sometimes even think this somehow beneath the dignity of God's love or his goodness that even has lost but he is the one who's made us and he's the one who rules us and he's the one who is sovereign over us and there's nothing more perfectly rational than in the just and holy God should declare what is his will is precept of will of his creatures.

There's nothing at all unjust or irrational about such a God imposing standards and obligations upon his creatures. We learn in the law what God requires of us what he commands. Right now, if he never gave any law, there wouldn't be any transgression, without the law there is no sin.

That's what the apostle saying here. No law do what you want. However, dear friends, there is a law and God's law manifestly reveals our sin. It's the law of God that demonstrates our falling short of his glory though manifold ways in which we transgress against him.

I keep this in mind also that when you break the law of God, which you do and I do have done continue to do the problem with that is not simply that we have violated some moral abstract standard that we call law because the law of God, dearly beloved, is not an impersonal matter. It's a personal matter because when we sin, we don't just sin against some abstract norm. Some piece of legislation when we sin, we sin against the one who's law it is we do violence to him to the author of our very life twice.

Sin is such an egregious matter to his site and if we would seek to find our salvation through the law we are on a fools errand, because the only consequence of that law for us is that it exposes us to his wrath. So I beg you to banish from your minds for ever any thought of justifying yourself before a holy God by your behavior by your good deeds by your merits or by your work and so we should abandon all hope of entering the kingdom of God by virtue of our obedience to the law again. Paul is not finished with this is, he will pick it up again later. The law brings about wrath for where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore, the apostle concludes it is of faith that it might be according to grace so that the promise may be sure to all the seed now is a complicated sentence here.

First of all, he says.

Therefore, it is of faith that may be according to grace.

Therefore, the three solos by faith alone, grace alone in Christ alone. So Paul here emphasizes this when he says therefore it that is our justification is of faith. Now we have a purpose clause, something that gives us a reason why is it by faith, that it might be according to grace when we really grasp this doctrine of justification by faith alone. What we grasp with it is the sole graciousness of our redemption and so Paul says it is by faith, in order that it might be by grace to what ends so that the promise might be sure to all the city were told not to be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine cannot be double minded people vacillating is one being blown in the wind, leaning this way then that way never coming to a point of conviction never coming to a place of assurance of salvation that amazing when the New Testament gives us the exhortation to make our election sure that we are called not to vacillate not to waver in our confidence, to be sure of our status before God, to be sure of our receiving the promises of God. Not again. Paul sets his sights once more on Abraham because he's talking about a faith that is through grace for the purpose that we might be sure of the promise now let's look at it from the backside for second supposed your justification supposed your salvation depended on your obedience to the law of God.

How sure would you be of your salvation. Even more importantly is the question how sure could to be of your salvation. If you have a look at the law of God, then look at your own life. Honestly, any assurance that you ever scraped a hold of would be demolished in this and that's why a Greco line the 16th century said to the gallows with Moses because every time he looked at the law.

He saw his own unrighteousness, and he lost hope because he had no assurance and justification were, according to law, you would have no certainty whatsoever. But the apostle says justification is by faith that might be of grace, so that all of the seed of Abraham.

Abraham and all of those who come after him to follow in his way may be sure shorter all the seed not only to those who are of the law, but those who are of the faith of Abraham, who was the father of us all as it is written, I have made you a father of many nations. Abraham is Paul Genta saying not simply the father of Isaac not only the father of the progeny of Isaac is not only the father of the Jews, but he's the father of the Gentiles who trust in the same promise that he embraced, by which he was counted righteous be for God's again all labors that we are the seed of Abraham, not just the Jews, and that we are the seed of Abraham by faith and not by the law in the presence of him whom he believed God, who gives life to the dead and because all those things which do not exist as though they did, who, contrary to hope for.

Against all hope, in hope believed so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, so shall your descendents be.

Now there is a gold mine in that lengthy sentence I just read to you.

There's so much in there that we could spend just a couple of weeks merely concentrating on that last verse. First let me start off by saying the remind you that when we talk about the faith that justifies we have to remember that that faith has content to it. There's information that must be understood.

We call that historically the data or the indicative, the information that we believe and we must believe it in the sense of intellectual assent door what the reformers called a sense loose, but both of those elements which are necessary elements to saving faith together.

Do not make up saving faith. I told you before that the critical element of saving faith is what's called for nuclear personal trust you're justified by faith, by trusting in Christ and in Christ alone for your salvation. And that's the nature of the faith of Abraham living by trusting his promises even when you can't even see the fulfillment of those promises. Faith is ultimately trusting what is preeminently trustworthy. Now there is tension there. When it comes to staking your life on God and here's what Paul says about Abraham in those circumstances that I made you a father of many nations in the presence of him whom he believed God, who gives life to the dead because of things do not exist as though they did. Again, welcome back that, but in this race who, contrary to hope or against all hope, in hope he believed that would seem to give some credence to this idea. The true faith is faith that is believed against the evidence that believes against all reason.

Because here's Abraham, who, against all hope, hope that a leap of faith or did he have a reason for the look of himself. He looked at his wife.

This is a hopeless situation but I possibly believe that promise. Then he looked at the one who made the promise and realize instantly was anything hopeless about it. The only thing hopeless was that the promise would not come to pass because it is impossible for God to lie, it is impossible for God to break a promise.

But what we do in our sin. Beloved is that we project to the character of God our own character. We break promises and we live in the midst of people who break promises routinely and so we say were so accustomed to broken promises. How can we trust this one who promises us against all earthly evidence of things that could possibly happen now. The key to this is in that phrase that I service left over and I said I go back to them with look at it again that Abraham believed in the presence of him whom he believed God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did one whom Abraham believes is the God who can create asked me hello who can bring you something out of nothing and you can bring life out of death.

Satan could have gone to the tomb of Lazarus and cried to Lazarus to come forth until he lost his voice, not a grain of life would've stirred in that corpse was Satan does not have the power to bring life out of death, the Abraham was dealing with God. The God he was dealing with could look at Abraham's aged, frail, decrepit body and his wife's barren womb say B and Abraham said yes there will be because he put his trust in the promise of God. That's what it means to be a Christian.

Your only hope in life and death is trusting in the word of God. There is nothing else.

The trusting everything that this world offers passes away your eternal life rests in the hands in the will and the power of God.

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief was strengthened and faith, giving glory to God, being fully convinced that what he promised he was also able to perform and therefore was accounted to him for righteousness. Paul concludes this section by saying it wasn't written for his sake alone was imputed to him, but also for us. This is why Paul's rehearsing this history of Abraham. It shall be imputed to us who believe in him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead was delivered up because of our offenses and was raised for our justification. Now my time is going. We come to one of the most critical affirmations of this passage that I read an item have to wait till the next time to pick it up this because I want to unpack a little bit about what the apostle means when he says the geniuses was raised for our justification and sanctification rests not only on the perfect obedience of Jesus not only on the atonement of Jesus on the resurrection of Christ, but it is his work through and through.

From beginning to end and is to that we are to put our trust. As father Abe reminded of the words of that great him one of Marcy's favorites rock of ages.

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling Christ and Christ alone accomplished our salvation.

Thanks for listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Thursday I'm Lee Webb in the all week. We have been highlighting Dr. RC Sproul sermons from the New Testament, and today we focused on the book of Romans is likely to have Dr. Sproles hardbound commentary on Paul's theological masterpiece or your donation of any amount. We will send it to you.

You can do make your request online that Renewing Your or you can call us with your gift and 800-435-4343 if reading your Bible more regularly as a goal you set to let me recommend Wegener's monthly Bible study magazine table talk. Not only will you find daily guided studies, but to also helpful articles from trusted pastors and theologians along with a daily schedule to read the Bible in a year. Learn more and Tomorrow we'll wrap up the week with a message from first Peter.

Christians are called over and over again in sacred Scripture not to park their minds in the parking lot when they enter into church but to awaken their minds that they may think clearly and think deeply about the things of God joint is for Dr. Sproles sermon entitled living before God our father.

That's right here on Renewing Your Mind

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