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Law and Grace

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
July 2, 2021 8:00 am

Law and Grace

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 2, 2021 8:00 am

If we're saved by grace, and grace abounds when sin increases, why should we try so hard to lead holy lives? Dr. Boice argues away this 'first great objection' to the gospel of grace, using the power of triumphant grace and our union with Christ.

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If we are saved by grace and grace abounds when sin increases.

Why should we try so hard to lead holy lives today on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce argues away. This first great objection to the gospel of grace using the power of triumph and grace in our union with Christ to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically now from Romans six, Dr. Boyce talks about the very first command in the book of Romans empowering Christians to live like the new creatures in Christ that they are a number of years ago. Now I was in Canada speaking in a seminary I got into a conversation with one of the professors got talking about preaching and he asked me what I was preaching about. When I got back to Philadelphia and I said well I'm about ready to start. Romans six that all that's right back. This chapter for a Presbyterian about me back a little bit I do know what he was talking about.

I was a Presbyterian chapter for the Baptist, but I went back in my stomach that I began to see why he said that Paul uses the image of baptism. There first paragraph of the chapter in verses three and four and I suppose that's why he thought it was a Baptist chapter actually have anything to do it baptism but it's really talking about is the first great objection that comes to the gospel of grace. When people really understand it.

Objection goes like this. If you are saved by grace, will, why should you lead a holy life. As a matter fact, why not just go on sinning so graceful about. I can understand why he deals with that in chapter 6 we were studying last time. From the very end of chapter 5 and you know that wonderful verse. There been so much to John Bunyan and John Newton also law was added so that the trespass might increase, but where sin increased, grace increased all the more week so wonderful, that is, means that God doesn't diminish the measure of his grace toward you because of sin time people think that you start off with 100% grace but by sending you lose a little bit each time you send a very bad way, you lose almost all of you soon enough.

You lose all of it. Paul is saying actually the grace of God is so great and so triumphant that where sin increases grace super abounds. Grace is triumphant in the matter.

As soon as you understand that you say well then why shouldn't we send more so there might be more grace. Paul obviously thinking of that because in verse one of chapter 6 he uses those very terms this talk about sin, increasing grace, increasing all the more. Now he says why not sin. So grace may increase now are good answers to lack a Christian really understands what it is to be a Christian is ever going to think that way. Paul indicates that by the way, responds. He says all by no means God forbid that any of us should ever like that, let me say that kind of thinking at least shows that you understand the gospel in a certain sense, it's a test of whether you heard whether a person is preaching or whether other people of understood the gospel of God's grace. What I mean by that is if you're preaching the gospel, that is the opposite of grace, that is the gospel of X. While the nobody would ever raise that kind of a question with you and suppose you say is most of the religions of the world the way you achieve blessedness what you get, where you find favor with God is by doing good works after live a righteous life you have to do good deeds you have to turn from sin, you have to pile one good eye upon another. That's the way you please God, well anybody was preaching that kind of a doctor is never going to be accused of lawlessness technical term for artist antinomianism. It means against the law disregard of the law anybody is that you are saved by keeping the law is certainly not preaching against the law, like Paul.see Aaron what true Christian preaching on the gospel always says if you preach salvation is by grace in us apart from our ability to keep the law is quite natural.

At that point for somebody to say well then what you're doing is encouraging lawlessness, since it's logical is the race that kind of question logical, yes, but the same time logical when you really understand the gospel FI process by no means what he means is I can't think of anything more foolish than that statement. Why first of all, it overlooks God's purpose in saving us why did God save us. He didn't save us in our sins, in order that we might remain in them and be contaminated by the wounded by them forever. He saved us from our sin in order that we might live a holy life for him when he thought about that theologically of always got assigned along with justification, which is a legal act goes regeneration, which is a personal transforming act longer talking about justification is the great doctrine of the Reformation you're talking about something important, because it says that God as judge on the basis of what Jesus Christ did when he died upon the cross counts those who have faith in him as being justified. That is standing in the right position before his Lord Jesus took the punishment in their place. God doesn't punish the same sin twice of what justification means I'll that's all there is to let you could say well then I might as well go ahead and sin. But you don't understand what God is done unless you understand that. He also regenerates us when he justifies it as he gives us a new nature in order that we might be delivered from sin and brought to heaven in the form of Jesus Christ also overlooks the methodology God uses Paul's talking about that here in the first paragraph in the paragraphs that follow, because he's not talking so much about justification at this point as he is about our union with Jesus Christ.

We are joined in. So what is true of Jesus is true for us. And because Jesus is risen from the dead and the newness of life week two newness of life.

If indeed we really belong to Jesus Christ, you can understand from the point of view of sound and well-rounded theology that to say just because grace triumphs over sin.

We got us in the grace might abound is a foolish thing in the alcohol is not only interested in showing that it's foolish to say that he also wants to show why we must not go on sinning.

That is why Christian cannot be an antinomian you can't say I can do what I want doesn't matter because well the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from every sin way does it is by a phrase that has become very puzzling to commentators.

I don't think it's all that difficult, but it has been an SI phrase he mentions next in verse two we died to sin such as reason you say we can't go on sinning so that grace may abound because we died to sin so people look at that and say if that is really the reason well then what in the world. Let me know what sense have those who are Christians died to sin is meaner since of course we know better than that talking about something. What is it mean well various exclamations of the been given I give you a few of them because maybe they been in your mind as well on explanation. Probably the most common one is to say, well, when we died to sin. What we really do is die to sin's effects are the power of temptation. The argument would go like this when the person is dead is when there's just a corpse. There one of the ways you know it is that it doesn't respond to stimuli project nothing happens you poke it. Nothing happens you're out on the street there's a dog lying there by the curb.

You don't know whether it's data asleep what you find out about it is nudging it with your foot used to say step on its tail, but then we have a lot of animal rights advocates today. I got in trouble when I said that you nudging gently with your foot. If it's asleep and awake and run away because it imagines what you're going to do a step up on its tail, but if it's data doesn't do anything so the argument goes, when Paul says we died to sin. What he really means is it were dead to sin stimuli. We don't respond to problematic courses you well know, is it just isn't true Christian is susceptible to sin as a matter of fact, if he weren't, why would Paul go on to say the things he does. Later in the chapter he says do not offer the parts of your body to sin rather offer yourself to God as those of been brought from death to life. Offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. You don't have to give that kind of merging to a corpse. So as logical as at first! Be really doesn't work! Is there success but what it really means is that the Christian should died to sin, the sense in which that does right, of course, what it means, if that's what were talking about is that the Christian should go on growing in holiness throughout his or her life. You're going to associate with Jesus Christ spend any time with him you want to become increasingly like him so some of the sentence that you had in your life early on auto begin to fade away all that is perfectly true. The problem with that is an explanation is that that justice and what Paul says, usually to say you died to sin. That is, you are dead in whatever sense that's to be taken is quite a different thing from saying you want the dog sin Greek language. The verb is in the air is tense and it points to a completed past actions. Something happened in the past that Paul describes his death, whatever that means is unrelated to the fact that we ought to go on an increasingly live a holy life, so that is a good explanation but explanation is there success. Well, what he really means the size of Christians are dying to sin day by day is not talking about motivation, you should died to set us talking about actuality you are dying to sin day by day, but is he that is in solve the problem of the tense of the verb either one great explanation by Charles Lodge. I'm in a take issue with that. You gotta be careful when you do that somebody like Charles Lodge is that what Paul is talking about here is that the Christian cannot continue in sin because he's renounced it. Now the strength of that of course is that it gets that in the past tense where it belongs. We died to sin. We renounced arson select part of it is right secondly is also true, as Paul would say part certainly points out that part of what it means to become a Christian is the renunciation of sin to become a Christian is to believe on Jesus Christ with the intention of following after them. Jesus Christ is holy and you can't do that in the clinging to your sin.

At the same time is a sense in which when we become Christians and commit ourselves to follow after Jesus Christ our Lord.

We, the disciple we have, by definition, turned our back on sin Hodges right when he says that but again it's not the best of all possible explanations.

Because of this, you see, having renounced sin is something that we do corresponds to faith's true when Paul talks about her having died to sin. This is something that is happened to us on something that we do see that very clearly when he talks later on about slavery, saying that we have, by the grace of God been delivered from one slavery in order that we become servants of Jesus Christ is not something we affect by ourselves.

Whatever this death in the past has to do and so far as sin is concerned, it's not something that is a result of our decision.

Rather, something God himself is done, so that's not the best of all exclamations. Fifth, when I don't want to take a lot of time with that is that of Robert Haldane. He says it has nothing to do death in that sense, it only has to do with guilt. He says we died to the guilt of sin and that is true, but only as far as it goes is actually what Paul is talking about in the chapter, but having dismissed those five exclamations about it rather quickly.

I suppose somebody is going to say you must be rather arrogant to think you have a veteran well I would be if it were original with me. I'm almost sorry it isn't because I would mind being arrogant if I discovered something good but unfortunately I have discovered as many other preachers have over the years that all of your original and brilliant ideas when you analyze a little bit further and the right ideas of generally been seen by generations of people before you.

That's why Spurgeon used to talk about the old paths, encouraged preachers walk in the old plans because generally they were the right ones. At any rate, the view that I think is the right one is not novel with me, but it's the view of Frederick though.

Day one of the great commentators on Romans or John Murray or Martyn Lloyd Jones or John Stott suggests Stott's approach. We looked at it when we were studying Romans six earlier. Stott begins by a very astute observation. He said this phrase death to center, having died to sin occurs three times in the first half of Romans six find first in verse two we died to sin that servers were studying, you find it again in verse 10 is talking about Jesus. The death he died, he died to sin once for all. And then you find it again in verse 11 in the same way.

Count yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Now Stott points out that he doesn't rightly that when you have the same word in the same phrase in the same passage repeated more than once.

If not, I have the same meaning unless there's some very strong reason for thinking. To the contrary. For example, if you're obviously playing on the word to use it in one sentence and then you obviously change it and using it in another sense alcoholism doing that here and so when he uses the phrase death. The center died to sin of Austin.

He also uses that of Jesus Christ. Way to come to understand what it means when it's applied offices to see what it means when it's applied to Jesus, we would say first off, because were used to this kind of terminology will that must mean that Jesus died for said he died in our place. It was our subsidy was our sin bearer or citizen carry over to us because we can't died to sin and that way but also that's not what Paul says he doesn't say here in verse 10 Jesus died for us and he said Jesus died to send it to make it very clear he answer phrase once for all you saying is that was a sense at one point in the passage, Jesus had a relationship to Cindy rustling the Jesus was a center we had a relationship to sin somehow and somehow that ended and ended once for all.

Now what could that possibly mean all I could mean is that when Jesus was here on earth.

He came to deal with sin, and in that sense. He had a relationship to what he was here in order to attend the sin problem.

But once he died buying on the cross for us and he also died to sin once for all of the sins that he never has to deal with that again. So he ascends to heaven and there is on the right hand of his father and he is never going to come back to the earth deal with sin again because he died for sin and to sin once for all stocks is not sentence you need to take it and carry it over to us.

Paul is been talking about in the previous chapter is our union with Jesus Christ, she saying at one time you were in Adam as you are united Adam, you had all of spiritual propensities and times to your forefather Adam and so you behave as he did, but God by his grace took you out of that relationship and by the miracle of regeneration joined you to Jesus Christ and what that means is that you died the past relationship. Stott uses an illustration. He says for the Christian. It's like his life is being written in two volumes up to volume biography first volume is the old me before I became a Christian and ends with my death. Christ death be my death.

And then there's the second volume. That's the new me after I become a Christian and that begins with my resurrection life resurrection and Christ's resurrection of the point of that of course is if you can't go back to the old if you're a new creature in Christ.

You can't stop being a new creature in Christ. When Paul says you died to sin. He means it literally. That's a pass to which you cannot return. I want you to see how he applies it. That's the meaning of the phrase, and he develops it in the verses that follow, but you get the verse 11/3 time that phrase death to sin is used in your find him here coupling it was something we should do the same way he says, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Here's a little quiz. Those of you are with us when we were studying Roman sex couple of years ago probably remember the answer, but the quiz goes like this.

This is an imperative. Paul is telling us to do something. How many times in the book of Romans up to this point has Paul told us to do something hallows that you already heard the answer.

Don't blurt it out as it 51020 times that's what you always hear in preaching. I go to this just not doing this to this is a lot of preaching answers. While the preacher many times as he done it many times in chapter 120 times in chapter 2. How many times in chapter 3. Here we are halfway through chapter 6 book only has 16 chapters last chapters are short when we get a long way through the book, how many times is he gone that the answer is once the first imperative, the book of Romans and what's the nature of the command nature of the command is that those who are Christians should start acting as if they are Christians because they are in other words, the referring everything is already taught me says look at the understand what it is a God is done when he saved you have to recognize that you can go back acting that way, you better get it in your head that your new creature in Christ and go on with the Christian life and surgeries what he uses logins of lives an interesting word.

We got a lot of English words commented that two great uses classical Greek one was a commercial use that it was a bookkeeping term.

We get words like the logarithm log and logistics and so forth from it is a wireless philosophical that was used in philosophical language and it referred to nonemotional sound reasoning taxes to uses together is that in both cases it has to do with reality. It's not speculative, wishful creative thinking, but it is a hard thing it based upon what is actually true.

But think of it in terms of bookkeeping here I am at the end of the month and I'm beginning to run out of funds and I got some bills to, and I I I would like to deal with them and so I get out my little ledger which I keep a record of my expenses and I credit to my account when I need. I'm going to need a couple thousand dollars to pay some big bills so I write carefully in my ledger $2000 less the family and I don't actually have $2000.

We got a bookkeeping is not I can put $2000's in my ledger if I have $2000 in the bank as a logistics of goods of my means reckoning on what is true and that's what Paul is saying here you died in Christ so count on yourselves being dead to sin. That's two parts to it reckon that you're dead to sin and on the other hand, reckon that your life to Christ he doesn't mean that maybe you might be dead to sin and hope that maybe you might be alive to Jesus Christ.

He doesn't mean begin to think along these lines, because if you think about them strongly and offer powerful enough, you will gradually begin to died to sin and you will begin to live righteousness and to live a better life is not saying that at all. Saying you have died to sin past is gone and you are alive to Jesus Christ and therefore Christian. You don't think clearly but get it into your head that is happened because it's happened, you simply can't go back was a lot of Christians would understand that because we spend a lot of time trying to go back to we see the world that pushes itself in upon us of all kinds of ways, mostly through television, but the magazines on the advertisements and movies of all that does that.

I was speaking in New York yesterday. I observed is talking about television that you don't see a normal marriage on television anymore sexual relationship.

You see, there is outside of marriage anymore, and that process itself in upon us and we find ourselves saying at times. Well, maybe that's really what we ought to tell you know after all, it's rather dull the way I'm living right now. Maybe what I really need to do is have we doing all sorts of other ways as well. But what Paul is saying is Christian just won't work. Why is that life is going for you where you live once. When you were dead in your trespasses and sins, and followed after the way of the Prince of wickedness were by nature a child of wrath, even as others when he says in writing to the Ephesians. With that is done for you by the grace of God talks about grace appear the very beginning of the chapter, shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase if there at the end, sin shall not be your master because you are not under law but under grace of God by his grace has delivered you from that made you a new creature in Christ.

So stop trying to go back somebody will say that point but can you do it. Maybe, maybe you can do it now. It's a bit like an adult that wants to be a child again. I'm dying to know people like that they don't want to grow up they want to be like a child again cannot and don't go back to being a child again answer is no doubt connect childish Christians connect sinfully. Adults can never become child again and of the has any sense at all. If she has any sense at all. You go on and live as an adult because that's what you are.

If you're a Christian, go on living as a Christian because that is what you are what Paul is going to show as a goes on in the book is that that's the way to happiness you think clearly at all and you look back your past that you used to do before God, founded by his grace and you see the things you did it have any understanding of those things at all say that did not bring me happiness so I thought it would.

When I thought it would.

I was only buying into the world's lie, but I discovered is that there's a new way. That is the way of happiness. It doesn't mean the Christian life is going to be the fulfillment of every desire we may ever have. We have all kinds of wrong desires and inadequate desires, and quite often, sinful desires Christian life is not a fulfillment of all those things. It's not a formula for meeting all our felt the is the way righteousness the end of that is eternal life and the components of both righteousness and eternal life is joy and that is what we have every right and will have in Christ Jesus.

What's the relationship of grace to law supposed along now on the post want all the tool imposes ways of salvation.

So if you fall from grace reforming the law and that since the opposed are saved by grace you will want to obey Jesus Christ and walk according to the law of God and serve him and be as righteous in your dealings both with God and man as you possibly can because that's what you are not what you were before you died to it. So get on with the task of prayer.

Father, we thank you for the teaching of Paul so clear teaching of Scripture from beginning to and forgive us forever thinking, having become Christians, we can go back and live the way we did before where we find ourselves inclining that way as we do at times to give us a great sense of shame that we should never think of going back when we've experienced such a marvelous transformation and deliverance through your grace on the cross of Jesus Christ grant that cross in mind the knowledge of the newness of the life that we have in him and powered by your grace, we might go on from strength to strength and from faith to faith in a way that brings honor to your name. The praise of the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You are listening to Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

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