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The Obedient Son #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 30, 2024 12:00 am

The Obedient Son #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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May 30, 2024 12:00 am

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Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, Founding Pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. It is our joy to continue our commitment to teaching God's people God's Word. Today Don is continuing with the second part of a message we started last time.

So let's get right to it. Open your Bible as we join Don now in The Truth Pulpit. And those of us that are in Christ, now stay with me because this just gets really, really magnificent. Scripture says that believers are in union with Christ, that we share in the benefit of all that He has done. Jesus was born as a Jew with responsibility to obey the law. In Galatians chapter 4 verses 4 and 5 we read that He was born of a woman, born under the law in order that He might redeem those who were under the law. Let's look at Galatians chapter 4 just so you can see that with your own eyes.

Galatians chapter 4 verses 4 and 5 we read that when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons. He's born under the law, born with an obligation to keep the law, which He does, and He does that in order to redeem those who were under the law but failed. And so throughout His life, Jesus Christ obeyed the law perfectly. Even in His youth, Scripture says that He lived in submission to His parents, and thus redeems even young people from their sins of disobedience. And throughout Scripture we read about His perfect, impeccable righteousness. John 8 verse 46, Jesus says, which one of you convicts Me of sin? It says it's to His enemies. If they had anything on Him, they would have brought it forth.

They had nothing to say. Hebrews chapter 4 verse 15 says that Christ has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Now, why does that matter to us? Look at Romans chapter 3. So turn back in your Bibles to Romans chapter 3. In the first two chapters of Romans, Paul explains the wrath of God being all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. And he shows that it's a universal condemnation. Gentiles are condemned, which you would expect because they're godless pagans outside the promises, but Jews are also completely condemned by the law of God, which was news to them. Now in verse chapter 3, he's pulling his argument together. And what we read in this in chapter 3 verse 9 is, what then? Are we Jews any better off?

No, not at all. For we have already charged that all both Jews and Greeks are under sin. As it is written, none is righteous.

No, not one. No one understands. No one seeks for God. All have turned aside.

Together they have become worthless. No one does good, not even one. So that when we come to verse 19 of Romans chapter 3, we read, Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law, no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Here's the problem, beloved, and it's a problem that every one of us has in this room. Everyone that will ever come under the sound of this message, and everyone that will never come under the sound of this message, it's true of every single member of the human race since the time of Adam until today and until the return of Christ. Our problem is that you and I, we have not kept the law, and as a result of that we are under condemnation. The law requires perfect obedience to everything that it commands and everything that it prohibits. The law requires punishment for every transgression of that law, and because of our universal guilt, there is nothing that any of us can say in response to the demands of the law of God.

Let that sink in. The law requires perfect obedience, and we haven't given it. And the justice of God, which undergirds the law, must be satisfied before anyone can enter into his holy presence. The law makes positive demands upon us that we should do certain things.

The law prohibits us from doing other things. You shall not commit murder. You shall not lie. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not even covet to do such things.

You must honor your parents. And so the law demands that we obey its positive precepts, and it also demands that we suffer its penalty. That's the way God has structured the moral universe. And before the law of God, you have duties to perform with utter perfection throughout all of your life, without exception. You must render a perfect obedience to it, or you will be condemned. And having sinned, you have a debt to pay to God, and without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. Oh, beloved. Oh, beloved.

If we could just gather around these things and realize how desperately sad and lost our condition is as members of the human race. God requires all of this, and you and I have no obedience of our own to offer to Him. We've broken His law instead. You lack the perfection of obedience that He requires, and now that you have sinned, you cannot pay what you owe Him. Because to break the eternal law of an eternal God requires an eternal penalty, and you, as a finite sinful creature, can't begin to pay it. You can cry and weep and try to avoid the issue.

You can do all kinds of things to evade it, but it all comes back to this central point. We stand guilty and condemned before God on every aspect of His law. James chapter 2 says, James chapter 2 says, He who breaks the law in one point has broken on all of it. The law of God is like a beautiful pane of glass, and is a unit like that. And just one sin is like taking a rock and hurling it through that pane of glass, and it shatters, and there's no way to recover it.

That's you and me. We are that broken pane of glass that cannot be repaired on our own. And so, beloved, when we talk about the perfect obedience of Christ, the perfect sacrifice of Christ, that the fullness of what He did collectively in His life on earth, we start to understand when we see that He came to serve His people, He came to save His people, that what Christ was doing on behalf of His people was something that they never could have done on their own in order to satisfy the law of God. Christ meets, fulfills, obeys the law of God to perfection. Christ, in that condition of perfect righteousness, goes as an unblemished lamb to the cross of Calvary as an unblemished lamb, and having fulfilled everything that the law requires, having no guilt of His own to pay, when He goes to the cross, stands in our place, God strikes Him as a guilty sinner on behalf of everyone who would ever believe in Him, and thus fulfills the penalty that the law requires, having given the perfect obedience that the law requires.

And so, Christ's obedience didn't advance His righteousness one bit, because He was already perfect. What He was doing was obeying the law of God on behalf of His people. Look back at Galatians chapter 4 verse 5 with me again, just to reinforce the point. Galatians chapter 4 verse 5. And in a concentrated form, we read again in verse 4 that the Son was born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law. Those who were under the law were condemned by it.

Christ was born under that law to achieve perfect obedience to it, to fulfill it in order to redeem those who did not fulfill it. Now, beloved, let me give you a theological term here that's not perfect, but it's more than sufficiently descriptive. When theologians talk about the death of Christ on the cross, they'll often talk about it in terms of His passive obedience. What they mean by that is that Christ yielded Himself up to the cross so that He could bear the punishment of our sins in His own body, and He yielded to that.

He wasn't entirely passive. He was active as He was dying and fulfilling Scripture even then, but it's descriptive enough. The death of Christ, the Lamb of God. As we talk about the obedience of Christ as we are here this morning, fulfilling all righteousness, this is sometimes called by the better theologians the active obedience of Christ, the active and the passive obedience of Christ.

R.C. Sproul describes the active obedience this way, and I quote, The active obedience of Christ refers to His whole life of obeying the law of God, whereby He qualifies to be the Savior. In our redemption, His righteousness is imputed to us, which righteousness He would not have had if He did not live this life of perfect obedience.

End quote. God requires a perfect obedience, and Christ gave it. You need a perfect obedience to the law of God on your account if you're going to survive the judgment of God. What Christ did in His obedience to the law of God is credited to your account. It is applied to your benefit as a gift in salvation so that you stand, if you are a Christian, you stand before God credited with the perfect righteousness of Christ. And God accepts that righteousness of Christ on your behalf when you repent of your sin and put your faith in Him.

Think about it this way. Adam was born with a responsibility, or he was created, better stated, he was created with a responsibility to obey. He sinned and failed, and everybody that's a descendant of Adam enters into that condition of failure, judgment, and falling short. We inherit his state of works, sin, and failure.

Let that sink in. In biblical salvation, we are transferred out of the realm of Adam into the realm of Christ. And in that realm of Christ, there's perfect obedience to the law.

There's satisfaction to the penalty that the law requires. Whereas in Adam, before salvation, we had Adam, works, sin, failure as our head. In Christ, we have obedience, forgiveness, eternal life as our head. Christ obeyed the law perfectly and receives the full reward of that. When he saves you, beloved, here's the thing.

This is where all of the momentum is bringing us. When Christ saves you, when a man is united by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, that man, that woman, that boy, that girl inherits the full merit of everything that Jesus did. Because Jesus came to serve his people and to save them from their sins.

And this is an integrated whole. His obedience is credited to your account. His death is credited to your account.

We're used to thinking about it more in terms of his death, aren't we? That we get the benefit of the death of Christ applied to our account. Well, the full teaching of Scripture is that we also get the full benefit of his obedience to the law. And so we get credit for his death.

We get credit for his obedience. Look at Romans chapter 5 with me. Romans chapter 5, verses 17 through 19. And in Romans chapter 5, verse 17, verses 12 through 21 is a very intricate argument that takes many messages to explain.

But we'll trust the Spirit of God to help us in a brief look at it. Romans chapter 5, verse 17. For if because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, speaking of Adam, Adam's sin is imputed and affects all of humanity. Just one man, one trespass in real history affected all of humanity. Much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. The one act being looking at Jesus' life as a collective whole. Verse 19, for as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Adam, the one man, disobeyed and everybody was ruined by it. Christ, obeyed, died, and all who believe in him and are in him benefit to the full from it. John MacArthur says, Adam disobeyed God and his disobedience was counted for condemnation to all who were in him.

In the same way, Christ obeyed God and his obedience was counted for righteousness to all who are in him. The imputation of sin and the imputation of righteousness have a basis in the actual lived out actions of Adam and Christ. And so, you're either credited with the sin and disobedience of Adam with your own independent guilt added to it, and that's how you stand before God, in guilt and condemnation in Adam, or you're in Christ credited with the righteousness of Christ fully accounted to you and given to you and given to you as a gift. Take your pick.

There is no third option. If you are not in Christ, you are in Adam, guilt, works, and condemnation. If you are in Christ, you have God crediting you with full obedience to everything his law requires and saying, enter into my kingdom.

Which will it be for you, beloved? Paul said in Philippians chapter 3 verse 9, and let's turn there, Philippians chapter 3 verse 9. As you're turning to Philippians, let me remind you of what 2 Corinthians 5.21 says. It says that he made him who knew no sin, who had perfectly obeyed to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Our sin counted to Christ condemned. His righteousness counted to us and blessed and rewarded.

Double imputation. In Philippians chapter 3 verse 9, let's start in verse 8, he says, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him. Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law. Not a righteousness of my own obedience to the law, Paul says. I don't want that because that is failure.

That is Adam. That is condemned. I haven't kept that law and so I don't claim a righteousness of my own. What I want is in Christ, that which comes through Christ, look at it there at the end of verse 9, the righteousness from God that depends on faith. Not a righteousness of my own, a righteousness that belongs to Christ that is received by faith alone.

I realize this is heavy lifting, but think about it this way. We did not die for our sins, Christ did at the cross. We get the benefit of his death even though we did not do it ourselves. In like manner, beloved, you and I have not kept the law of God but Christ did and in Christ we get the full benefit of what's known as his active obedience. This has enormous far-reaching consequences and implications for understanding our security in Christ.

And if you will take the time to meditate on these things after you walk out of here, it could release you from a whole lot of confusion and guilt and bondage. When a man puts his faith in Christ, we say that he is justified. And some of you that have grown up in certain circles and have been under ministries that like little cute sayings, maybe have heard justification defined as, justification means that it's just as if I'd never sinned. Some of you heard that?

Show of hands, you heard that? That's not a good statement of justification. I don't mean to startle you.

Well, maybe I do. That's not a good statement of justification at all. Because, you see, justification is more than God saying you're not guilty. Adam in the Garden of Eden was not guilty, but he still fell and sinned and lost everything. No, in justification God does something far, far greater. He does not simply restore you to Adam's position of innocence, and therefore you're not guilty.

That's unstable. Adam fell from there. What God does for the believing Christian is he goes beyond saying you're not guilty. He says, I accept you as fully righteous.

Completely different. It's one thing to have no guilt, but you could have no guilt and say, therefore now I've got to carry the burden going forward. No, in justification God does two things. He pardons all of your sin. He forgives all of your iniquities, all of your trespasses. He forgives it all and cleanses you from all of that. But he goes further, and he credits you with the full righteousness of Jesus Christ, and he accepts you on that basis. He accepts you as righteous on the basis of obedience of Christ, reckoned to your account. We've often heard it said, I think it comes from Horatius Bonar, on a life I did not live, on a death I did not die, another's life, another's death, I stake my whole eternity on.

Christ's life, Christ's death, I stake my hope on that and nothing of me. You get the benefit of his death, though you did not die. You get the benefit of his obedience in the same way. So, beloved, wrapping Matthew 3 up in all of this, when Jesus told John the Baptist it was fitting to fulfill all righteousness, he was indicating that the act of baptism, which he did not need, was an essential part of the obedience which his people did need in order to be saved from their sins. All of his people needed the repentance and the baptism of repentance, and Christ stepped in and did it on their behalf. And so Christ not only died for you, beloved, he lived for you. He served you with his life.

He served his people with his life in order to save them from their sins, in order to give that life as a ransom for many. Some of you will know the name J. Gresham Machen, who died back in 1937, as I recall. He was one of the greatest theologians of the earliest 20th century, almost 100 years ago.

It was 100 years ago. He got sick unexpectedly, and within a few days went from having a very active ministry and then realizing that he was on his deathbed, and he was going to die within a matter of a very short time. He cabled his friend John Murray, who was a fellow professor of his at the newfound Westminster Seminary, and he said this in his dying hour. He said, I'm so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. There is no hope without it. The idea being that the law requires perfection, and I don't have it to give. In the obedience of Christ, it's been accomplished on my behalf as a gift, and therefore I am safe with God. Now, beloved, this all has practical implications for the way that you understand your salvation in Christ. Justification is not simply that Christ washed away your sins, and justification is not that it's now up to you to keep the law. Justification tells us that Christ took our penalty for sin and he also kept the law perfectly on our behalf.

Now think with me, stay with me, I'm almost done here. What that means is, if you've been a Christian 40 years, let's say, you are no more justified today than you were at the very initial moment of your salvation. And if you can understand this, then you've really grasped a lot about the whole nature of salvation. At the initial moment of your salvation, you are as completely justified as you will ever be in heaven. Because at the moment of salvation, God justifies you, not on the basis of what you have done or what you will do. He justifies and accepts you as righteous on the basis of what Christ did on your behalf. And so your good works do not contribute to your standing with God at all.

Stated differently. If you are justified today, you will certainly be justified at the final judgment of God. There will be no loss in between. Because your justification before God on the final day is the same justification on which He accepts you now. You are, by His grace, you are utterly and completely saved from all of that. And that gives you confidence as you think about the day of judgment. And I know that many of you, those of you that were raised in Nazarene environments, that you can lose your salvation. Those of you that were raised Catholics and everything about it is that you've got to earn the favor of God or you've got to keep the favor of God with your obedience.

Beloved, this delivers you from all of that. Because what that implies, whether you thought about it or not, whether it was ever said to you, is that the basis on which God saves you is a mixture of what Christ did and what you do. That's not the basis on which God saves you.

You have nothing to do with it when it comes to justification. God accepts you completely on the merits of Christ in His active and His passive obedience. And that and that alone is the ground upon which God receives any sinner. And so your salvation is stable.

Your salvation is secure. God said at the baptism of Christ, this is my beloved Son, with Him I am well pleased. When God saves you, when the Spirit draws you to Christ, He places you in Christ. And everything that God says about Christ is true of you. God says, I accept my Son.

You're in my Son, I accept you too. That's what God requires, is that you would give yourself to Christ and rely upon Him and His merits rather than your own for salvation. And so all of this gives us confidence as we think about the day of judgment. In Christ we will never be cast away. We couldn't be cast away.

God would have to stop being God to cast away a true Christian. We will never be cast away because the grounds of our acceptance is stable and it never changes, that ground being the righteousness of Christ. That means, beloved, that you and I, we do not need to fear life. We do not need to fear our own weakness in the sense of losing our salvation. We do not need to fear death.

We do not need to fear the grave. We do not need to fear the throne of God itself because we stand complete in Christ in everything that He has done for us and God is satisfied with that, as shown by the voice at the baptism. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. God is satisfied with that active obedience. God is satisfied with the sacrifice, with the passive obedience, as shown by the fact that He raised Christ from the dead. Everything about Christ satisfies God completely and perfectly forever. So if you're in Christ, you're perfectly saved.

You're perfectly secure. And God, I don't mean to shock you here with what I'm about to say, but the true Christian has the same status before God as Jesus Christ Himself does because God credits everything of Christ to our benefit and there is no separation, there is no diminishment. So you see, beloved, when you contemplate your blessed Lord, the work that Christ did for you was far more than three hours of suffering on the cross. It was three decades of obedience while He was here on earth and now He continues that work perpetually at the right hand of God, interceding for you before the throne of God. And that standing with God is given to you at your salvation. We sing the hymn.

I almost started to sing it. My hope is built on nothing less than what? Jesus' blood and righteousness. His passive obedience, His active obedience, everything about my hope before God is built on what God has done for me in Christ. His shed blood, His righteousness, that is what God requires and we will never be cast away if we are truly in Him. We have a brother in heaven who loves us, who went before us 2,000 years ago, carried out what God requires, and now in time by His Spirit shares that blessing with everyone who repents and believes in Him. If we're in Christ, we could never fall away, we could never be sent away any more than the Father could send away the Son in whom He is well pleased.

That's the consequences of the things that we've seen here today. And dear friends, this salvation is freely offered to any sinner anywhere in the world at any time who would repent and believe in Christ and give himself over to this great Savior. Will you be one of them? Are you in Christ? If so, you should leave here with full rejoicing no matter what your circumstances are, knowing that you've been the object of a great eternal love that no money could purchase. If you're not in Christ, and I know that some of you are not, understand that what has been shared with you from the Word of God today is the difference between an eternity of suffering in hell and an eternity of love and bliss and forgiveness in heaven.

There is no third option. Will you have Adam? Will you have your own sin?

Will you have your own disobedience? Will you have the judgment that comes with that and choose that? Because there is nothing in Christ. There is nothing in God. There is nothing in the offer of the gospel that hinders you from coming. God will have you. Christ will have you.

He says, come to me. Take of the water and drink of the water of salvation without cost. There's nothing in Christ that pushes you away. If you're not found in Christ at the end, it will only be because of your own sinful defiance of an offer made to you in love and good faith for your eternal blessing.

Oh, dear friend, why would you turn away from that? Let's pray together. Father, these are wonderful truths, weighty matters, hard for us to think through all of it and get our minds around it. So having said all that we can say, we just ask for the help of your Spirit to encourage your true children to call those outside of Christ into your kingdom. In Jesus' name we pray.

Amen. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, thank you, Bill. And just before we close, my friends, I want to let you know that this podcast is made possible for you by the generous support of many friends of our ministry.

We're grateful for that. And if you have supported us, I want to say a special word of thanks to you for all that you've done to make this possible. And if you would like to join in the support of our ministry, you can do that so easily by going to

That's You can see the link to give, and you can add your support to the others who make this possible for us. Thank you for whatever you do and whether you give or you don't give.

Know that our love and prayers are with you. Thank you for joining us. We'll see you next time as we continue to study God's Word together here on The Truth Pulpit. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you so much for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Join us next time for more as we continue teaching God's people God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-30 04:33:32 / 2024-05-30 04:45:28 / 12

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