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Paul’s Letter to the Romans

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
September 2, 2021 12:01 am

Paul’s Letter to the Romans

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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September 2, 2021 12:01 am

Often called the Apostle Paul's magnum opus, the book of Romans presents the Bible's most comprehensive explanation of the gospel. Today, R.C. Sproul visits key passages in this book to give clarity to our understanding of justification by faith alone.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind all Jesus had to do was to pay for our sins, he could come down from heaven on good Friday and gone straight to the cross and that would've been at but it was more than that he had to live a life of perfect obedience so that his merit now could be transferred to us just who is essential to understanding salvation is because any amount of obedience that you and I can muster is far from perfect. In fact, the Bible calls our best works, filthy runs tainted by sin. In order for God to maintain his justice. Someone had to be perfectly obedient. Dr. RC Sproul from his series justified by faith alone with them. Looking at the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and we looked at it from a historical view point and from a theological doctrinal viewpoint. We understand that the doctrine that the church devises is supposed to come from the source of Scripture itself and of course the doctrine of justification by faith is one that the apostle Paul expounds repeatedly in his epistles but his most exhaustive treatment of the doctrine is found in his magnum opus's theological work in Romans and so were going to spend some time today looking at some of the more salient passages that Paul gives us there in his epistle in the very first chapter of Romans. See develops the idea of the universal judgment of God upon fallen humanity that represses the divine revelation of God gives of himself and then he expounds how the effects of sin have grasped all people universally, both Jew and Greek and he brings the whole world before the bar of God's justice with the conclusion that all of sin and come short of the glory of God and that we are without excuse, but as he expounds on the nature of human sinfulness. See appeals to the Old Testament of the Psalm, which begins there is none righteous, no not one.

There is none who understands, and you know that passage, and when he gets to the end of that citation he says this in verse 19 of chapter 3. Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. And so he puts us before the judgment seat of God and the user the metaphor of the stopped mouse course. What that means is that when we are brought before the judgment seat of God and we appear before his holiness the natural human tendency would be to rattle off every conceivable excuse that we could give for our disobedience. But when we come before God. It will become so clear. Everyone standing there that it would be a pure exercise in futility to give any excuse or any attempt to rationalize our disobedience of God. Rather, at the judgment seat we shot up. Not a word can be said before God because his justice and judgment are so evident. But then Paul goes on to say.

Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. And now this brief statement here is extremely important to understand the doctrine of justification, and it also is a particular statement that the apostle makes it's been a subject of much debate and inquiry in the history of theology. He begins by saying by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight of the first question is to what is he referring when he refers to the deeds of the law there been those who are saying that that this is a restrictive passage that it only refers to the ceremonial requirements of the Old Testament law and the what the apostle is saying here is that nobody's justified by going through all of the actions that God commands as he did the Jews going through the sacrificial system and all of the cultic practices that were associated with the tabernacle and later with the temple. In other words, he saying that nobody's going to be justified by following the rituals that the law commands and again that's a very restrictive application of the tax.

The vast majority of commentators oversight, no cause, not simply limiting this to the performance of ritual but rather to all that the law commands, including all of the moral obligations that God's law imposes upon his creatures, and so he saying that by the obedience to the law of God, both cultic, Lee ritually as well as morally by the keeping of these no one will ever be justified. So in that sense any kind of good work as we would perceive a debate is excluded from the grounds of justification all others again limited this passage to say that no works of obedience done prior to regeneration will add to our justification but then they say, but what we do after were reborn will be the grounds of our justification. So again works are brought back into the house here as the grounds for justification and again this is part of the dispute between Rome and Protestantism because the Protestant views takes this the main that no works ever done at any time are the grounds for our justification. Even the works that are done after were converted or the works that were done after we receive grace those works that they may contribute to our reward in heaven are never part of the grounds of our justification again what he's talking about justification.

He's not talking simply about work of divine pardon.

There's a difference between being pardoned and being justified.

A person is pardoned, who is already been declared to be, and convicted of being guilty and after their convicted of being guilty. The governor for the president may execute their executive privilege of giving clemency and pardoning these people that is excusing them from the punishment that is due to their guilt, but justification is not simple.

Pardon a part of justification involves the forgiveness of sins, but the essence of justification is declaring a person just so in one sense, you don't have to pardon somebody who's been declared righteous people who are righteous have no need of pardon and so that the point of justification goes beyond the forgiveness of sins that is ours in the cross and all the rest to the declaration by God, that we who are in Christ and who possess faith are counted righteous before him.

That's why we've said all along that the imputation of somebody else's righteousness the righteousness of Jesus is so fundamental and essential to our understanding this work of justification. God declares us just once he has imputed to us the righteousness of Christ. So Paul goes on to say verse 21 but now the righteousness of God. Apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. So now again were speaking of that righteousness of God, not the righteousness by which he is righteous but that righteousness that he gives to those who lack righteousness, the giving of the righteousness of God that comes through faith in Christ to all who believe. And then later on in the same section he says for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God sent forth as a propitiation by his blood through faith to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance got it passed over the sins were previously committed to demonstrated the present time his righteousness.

They may be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. So I said repeatedly earlier that the slogan justification by faith alone means really justification is by Christ alone.

It is by his perfect work among we look at the work of Christ that is the foundation and the grounds were the meritorious cause of our justification, we make a distinction between his passive obedience and his active obedience. The passive obedience refers to his willingly giving of himself in obedience to the vocation is given to him by his father to die for our sins, he acquiesces and allows himself to be sacrificed for us. And in that act of redemption, which Paul is referring to here.

Two things are accomplished. Propitiation and expiation and sometimes people have a hard time remembering the difference between propitiation and expiation. I like to use the metaphor of the cross itself because the cross in its structure and its figure has a vertical beam which then carries a horizontal beam and that gives us the shape of the cross. I like to look at it this way in the cross we see of vertical transaction taking place. This is propitiation when the sun when Christ bearing the sins of his people satisfies the demands of God's righteousness. He propitiate's them. He pays for them. He satisfies what the law of God require by giving this perfect sacrifice. This is the essence of his active obedience. But at the same time as he makes this propitiation. He also performs the act of expiation and the word expiation begins with the prefix X which means away from or out and expiation refers to Jesus not only paying for our sins by propitiation but by removing our sins as far as the east is from the West from us. That's what expiation refers to all of this was modeled in the Old Testament sacrificial system on the day of atonement, the blood of the animal was poured on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant, and it was a covering a kind of reconciliation to satisfy God's justice by the second animal was used to recall the scapegoat where the priest would put his hands on the back of the goat and then the goat would be driven into the wilderness. Now the idea of that drama was the laying on of hands was the placing of the sin of the people or imputing the center of the people to the back symbolically of the scapegoat and then the scapegoat is sent into the wilderness. For this reason, the wilderness is outside the camp. It's the place of outer darkness is the place where it is beyond the pale of God's redemptive presence that is associated with his presence in the midst of his people and so just as in the New Testament. Christ is killed outside of the city of Jerusalem is handled over to the Gentiles, and he fulfills all of the perspective of the scapegoat for the sins of the people are placed upon him, and in this sense, in the cross by being forsaken and by being cursed on the cross he is being sent into the outer darkness outside the camp just like the scapegoat was in the Old Testament, and so that's the passive work of Christ found in his propitiation and his expiation is the victim as it were, but then there's the active obedience of Christ. That's absolutely essential to Paul's teaching here of justification, the active obedience of Christ refers to his perfect life under the law, where the old Adam fell into disobedience and by his disobedience were cast in the ruin by the new Adams obedience. We would now receive a righteousness that is real but is accomplished in his life to save it all. Jesus had to do was to pay for our sins, he could come down from heaven on good Friday and gone straight to the cross and that would've been at but it was more than that he had to live a life of perfect obedience so that his merit now could be transferred to us and so with you. In this case.

He actively submitted himself to the law of God, his maintenance drink was to do the will of the father and so he lived without sin. And so in our justification.

It is his righteousness are sin is transferred to him across his rices is transferred to us by faith and Paul goes on to say that this indicates that this satisfied God by virtue of the resurrection. We are told by the apostle that he was raised for our justification, which means that the sacrifice that he made in his passive obedience and the merit he gained in his active obedience were satisfactory to the father and so the father raised him from the dead demonstrates that this work of redemption and deed solve the problem, as it were, and brought us reconciliation now again people say why do we have to go through all of this. Why couldn't God just simply have exercised his mercy and his grace and give a pardon to sinners and why would he have them execute his son and do all of this so that summer calling out cosmic child abuse is because God being righteous will not ever negotiate his righteousness. He's not going to negotiate his justice in order to secure your justification. And Paul says that here in chapter 3 when it says this for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption of those in Christ Jesus, and God said forth as a propitiation by his blood through faith to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance, and so on. And he wants to demonstrate that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. So here again, God in saving us in this matter retains his own righteousness. He maintains his justice. He doesn't compromise is unjust, but the exact's that justice on somebody else. By imputing our sin to them and his righteousness to us. He keeps his justice and we who are unjust are now justified and then he goes on to cite where is boasting it's excluded. It's an exclusion. There's no place for boasting of works know, but by the law of faith. Therefore, we conclude this is a conclusion that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law and then he goes on to say in chapter 4. What then what shall we say about Abraham. For if Abraham was justified by works, he something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Now to him who works the wages are not counted as grace but as that now to prove his case of justification by faith apart from the works of the law. His example or exhibit a is Abraham. He reaches back to chapter 15 of Genesis where Abraham hears the promise of God, and he believes it, and when he believes that the Scripture say that Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. Again, there's the idea of reckoning or imputation that God regards Abraham now as being justified the moment he puts his faith and trust in God before he was circumcised before he offers Isaac on the altar before any of these things take place.

He is declared just in and by the faith that is given out. Notice again the link is to grace as why in the reformed tradition solo for the day is inseparably related to solo Grazie the justification that we received is clearly by grace and then Paul quotes David Rory says blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered and blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute them. So God is not impute our sin to us who deserve that sin imputes them to Jesus. And the whole process here from the Genesis chapter 3 through the whole Bible is manifested by the covering motif. You recall that the very first example of God's mercy on fallen Adam and Eve when they fled from his presence.

They sought to hide from him. They were ashamed because they realize they were naked. And so what does God do. He condescends and makes clothes for them covers them covers their shame in that same drama goes on. As I mentioned a moment ago, the day of atonement when the blood covers the lid of the mercy seat and the image again is that we are given the cloak or the robe of the righteousness of Christ to cover our nakedness, or to cover our filthy rags, so that the only righteousness we have the stand before God is the only righteousness we need, which is the righteousness of Jesus on our next session. What I want to do is to spend some time talking about the result or the consequence of being justified for us and then we'll look at the relationship between what Paul teaches about justification by faith apart from works and James teaching where he seems to contradict what Paul is teaching here in Romans will begin the look at the consequences and the results of justification. Next session and we look forward to that stunt RC scroll here on Renewing Your Mind continuing his series justified by faith alone. I'm Lee Webb, and I'm glad you joined us today that Roman Catholics and Protestants have never stops pouring over what actually saves us our own good works for the righteousness of Christ alone. But after hearing Paul's words. We can understand why Martin Luther and the reformers came to their conclusions why they stick their lives on the truth of God's word. We like to help you learn more about the doctrine of justification by faith alone and we put together several study resources for you when you contact us today with a donation of any amount. We will send you the DVDs of doctors.

Paul's teaching series justified by faith alone. In addition to those 10 lessons on two DVDs will include a digital study guide for the series, plus Dr. scroll's classic book faith alone. All of these resources are designed to jumpstart your study and will send them to you when you contact us today with a donation of any amount you can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 or you can give your gift and make your request you'll find more on this topic on our free app place you can stream this daily program at any time to search for the app with the keyword linear in your app store was Dr. scroll mentioned at the end of his message. Today we will begin to look at the consequences and the results of justification in her neck session. Here's a preview when were justified. The very first consequence of that is resume God is no longer at enmity with us and we are no longer at enmity with him.

That is the good news of justification, so we hope you'll join us again tomorrow for Renewing Your Mind

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