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January 29, 2018 11:03 am
I was a young attorney on the crest of the wave driving suddenly to quickly very quickly in a city in Scotland on my way to a very important conference. I saw the police but saw them too late and soon a police officer was telling me that I'd been driving over the speed limit. I knew I had. I had no excuse and that when I prepared myself for the inevitable.
The police officer then looked at me and said don't I know you and I said possibly said perhaps you've seen me in court. He said oh yeah, that's what I've seen your your lawyer and to I said I am. He said drive carefully. Scottish police officers never say have a good day, but I thanked him for his graciousness and drove off. No ticket no fine life I thought was very good but was not justice. A few years later I was in the United States longer practicing law but still loving to drive and I had been invited to speak at men's group in a Baptist Church of all places, that some of my best friends are Baptists and those I breakfast me the Baptist Church in another city I've never been to the church before I funded was the top of the hill. We had a great time with the man at that breakfast and as I laughed. I just joined the flow of traffic and driving down the hill I saw there was a speed trap parent myself and about six other cars were pulled over and soon a policewoman was asking for my license and telling me that I was speeding. I'd actually gone 5 miles over the speed limit are dreadful so that it was II said to her I just come from the church up there. I was speaking to men's group using the big church up there in coming downhill and I hope my big Bible was on the seat that she would see the she was totally on move, not the flicker of a smile, and soon she was writing a ticket for the maximum fine. Neither of us said have a good day.
In one case I had been driving well over the speed limit on buyers to say how fast I was driving in Scotland and I was laid off. On the other case I was driving just 5 miles over the speed limit Dina Hill with the flow of traffic in the place had never been before and had to pay cash 50 fine, which was considerably higher than the tiny honorarium. My Baptist friends had given me so I came up that day with quite a loss, but was not justice all of us have a sense of justice. Don't wait. We believe that guilty people should be convicted and innocent people should be acquitted and in recent years there have been public outcries, and rightly so, when it seems that justice has not been done because sometimes in our society. Innocent people are convicted and sometimes in our society guilty people are laid off their declared innocent. Proverbs 17 verse 15 says he who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
The strong language in the is an abomination to the Lord someone who would justify the wicked and someone who would condemn the righteous is God concerned with justice is the address, God. God certainly is loving and compassionate and gracious in all of us aren't so appreciated above that and the remind ourselves, over and over again that God loves us and that God is compassionate and that is certainly true, but does that mean because God is loving and compassionate. Does that mean that God overlooks sin or by his justice isn't really the case.
Do you really think that you can live and do anything you like and at the end of the day is going to be all right because God's love to subject this morning is the justice of God. There is no different from Scripture that God is love.
The Scripture says that in a multitude of ways, but one of the great themes of this book that were studying the book of Romans. This magnificent letter by Paul to the Christians of Rome written 2000 years ago, one of the great themes is the righteousness of God. It is the justice of God. Of course God is loving but Paul is telling us something that we tend to forget that this God who is loving is also a God who is very very righteous. And Paul is relearning is emphasizing the justice of God on the righteousness of God. But here is a question this morning.
Can we reconcile the justice of God and the love of God, are they not incompatible putting in another way, how can sinful people like you and me be declared righteous by God. Paul's great theme is relearning is justification by faith. That was what Martin Luther came to discover 500 years ago this great truth of justification by faith I wonderful parts. How can God who is just week. How can he continue to be just and righteous, and at the same time Claire guilty people like you and me righteous can he do that putting the question another way, can God be just and at the same time justify the sinner.
The answer to these important questions is found in the passage this morning and this finding a rather unusual word with a very important word. The word is if the theological word. Don't be afraid of it. The largest propitiation that it is not nice work propitiation branch of never said it before I mentioned it yesterday to one of the pastors who is from the south and he says in the site is just one syllable propitiation, but it is propitiation propitiation this wonderful truth. Some translations have a sacrifice of atonement or the means by which people's sins are forgiven. The English standard version that we have in the pew that I'm preaching from and that many of you have uses this word propitiation does it mean going to discover that basically means that turning aside of the Roth of God.
The truth of propitiation not send and read a passage roaming a look at verses 25 and 26.
But for the sake of context I want to read 123 with me from verse 21 which a few weeks ago we looked at so read with ministry. This thoughtfully.
It is found in Romans three verses 21 through 26 but now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins and wants to show his righteousness at the present time so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who is faith in Jesus. Amen. Please be seated.
We want to remind ourselves of the truth we've looked at before that God's Roth is revealed against sin. If you have your Bible in Romans look at for example chapter 1 verse 18 Paul writes for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Chapter 2 verse five is a solemn theirs.
Because of your heart and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. Chapter 3 verse five but if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God which only say that God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us.
Paul is presenting us with this truth that we don't like to think about that because of our sin. God's wrath is against us. Yes he's loving yes is compassionate but his wrath is against sin students.
You don't expect your teacher. Do you to overlook the mistakes in your mind thinks math exam. You don't expect the referee in the Super Bowl to overlook the unnecessary roughness in the game. You don't expect a judge to overlook a premeditated murder or assault. Why then would you expect a holy God's to overlook your sin. The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk chapter 1 verse 13 writes of God, you would've pewter eyes than to see evil know the wrath of God with me by the wrath of God. The wrath of God is a holy and just God confronting rebellion against him. The wrath of God is God's opposition to sin and evil you want to know what God thinks of sin and evil in your life and mine think of this, that God's wrath is against us we going to think of that many churches don't we relegate this concept of the wrath of God and even send itself to some kind of bigoted, ignorant people. The hellfire preacher well you can say what you want in a sense, you can believe what you want, but if we take seriously the Bible as we do in Paul's magnificent letters. He gives us the best exposition of the gospel that we have anywhere in Scripture. He tells us over and over again. God is angry at sin that God cannot overlook sin. These IDs are foreign to us in the society which emphasizes self-esteem and self actualization.
When I was reading last week I came across Coco Chanel saying quote beauty begins the moment you decide you need to be yourself essentially nice.
The new AG beauty begins the moment I decided to be myself. So Hitler being himself and sending 6 million people to the gas chambers as being beautiful criminal who decides he's going to be himself and guns down an innocent police officer is being himself.
Someone who molest children. This is what I said is who I am. You need to accept me that's that's beauty beauty is being ourselves no. The gospel, the Christian gospel. Please understand doesn't find beauty in being yourself authentic beauty. According to Scripture begins as Paul is telling us not by finding beauty in ourselves, but by acknowledging within all of our hearts that these hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked that we are selfish, self-indulgent people who prefer to live our own life rather than God's.
That's why he said as we saw the end of the the year from verse 23 all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. No exceptions until all of us sins you well where is this beauty fund. This beauty is found in the Christian gospel by acknowledging that you are sinful by acknowledging that your heart is deceitful that you failed your broken God's commandments by acknowledging that and then turning to Christ and seeing the wonder of Christ center receive his forgiveness and his cleansing and to be born again to be a new creation in Christ and then under the wonderful ministry of the indwelling spirit to become more and more like Jesus. That's true beauty is in the tumbling from our sin and embracing Christ.
We began by reminding ourselves that were here to celebrate Jesus and the more I look at Christ the more I embrace Christ the more I see him as I read his word and pray to him. Then the more beautiful I will become trying to find beauty in yourself will be fruitless will be destructive. Ultimately, so Paul in chapter 1 verse 18 through chapter 3 verse 20 has established that all of us have sinned that all of us have come short of the glory of God that all of us under the wrath of God. So here's the question as God's wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.
How can it be triglycerides. How can I escape the judgment of God. I began by reminding us that life is very brief. However, young. We are is very tenuous and at any moment any of us may go from time into retirement, and each one of us without exception here will stand before a holy God.
Then I stand as a guilty person is a sinful man, how can I stand before a holy God cannot escape the condemnation of this God is holy, whose jobs.
When I stand before him. A God who hates Satan a God who is opposed to sin. How can I then stands his Paul's being there was an answer. We just read it. The cross of Christ turns aside the wrath of God. I sent we grasp the cross of Christ turns aside the wrath of God. This is God's answer, not answer. Not something we thought up, not self-actualization, not digging deep within ourselves rather by looking to the cross of Christ on the means by which God's wrath is turned assigned his advantage. Is this wonderful word propitiation FF Bruce writes Paul has thus pressed into service. The language of the law court justified as a legal term.
The slave market redemption member. We thought of that a few weeks ago and now the temple mercy seat propitiation of the Lord mercy seat to do justice to the fullness of God's gracious act in Christ, pardon all of your sins can be pardoned liberation free and redeems atonement.
All are made available to man by his free initiative that is God's free initiative and may be appropriated by faith. Yes, God has taken action to turn his wrath away. This is what verse 25 saves, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood propitiation means the timing aside the of venting the removal of the wrath of God is the means by which we are saved from the wrath of God. It is the only available escape is to be sheltered by the blood of Jesus Christ is what I want my preaching to be Christ centered and cross center authentic Christianity does not have as its central theme, God is there to help you have a successful life that you have your dreams and then God will help you to achieve your dreams.
That's not the gospel. Why is the cross, the symbol of the Christian faith, why do we have across on the ceiling while the cross is not just the symbol of Christianity. It is the very center that it is a very heart of the gospel. Why do I preach Christ crucified because a holy God, a righteous God adjusts God has provided the cross.
The cross of Christ. The very means whereby, without excusing our sin without overlooking our sin he diuretics the full weight.
Can you imagine this, he directs the full weight of that righteous drive which you deserve against his son I will give an understanding of her sinful your practice is think of it, who could you ever stand for holy cards. All of the things you say if all of the things you've done, some of them even discussed yourself far less other people far less God thing of all of the thoughts that you've had. Think of all of that much of it forgotten about you, but could we ever ever stands in our own righteousness before a holy God will guard and his grace since his son and the death of Christ, God's beloved son, our glorious Savior satisfies God and the barracks. His wrath.
God notice what Paul says in verse 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, that is the cross of Christ is the meeting place between a holy God and sinful people like my cuts. It is, says Paul by his blood, that is by the blood of Christ likeness to be shared is without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins, and this time propitiation is only use one other time in the New Testament that with me at the Hebrews chapter 9 to see that Palestinian on it is in Greek or the Greek scholars here and issues. One other time in the New Testament in Hebrews chapter 9 verse five and I think this reference to it will help us to understand its meaning. The same word but here in Hebrews 9 verse five is not going to be translated propitiation has a translated Hebrews 9 verse five above it that is above the Ark of the covenant when the chair you beam of glory, overshadowing the Marseilles seat, the mercy seat in Greek same word as in Romans three verse 25, translated depreciation.
Now what was the mercy seat is a picture of the mercy seat, the mercy seat is above the Ark of the covenant there is the Ark of the covenant.
Remember in the tabernacle in the temple there was a holy of holies there was the undercard. There was a holy place and then behind the veil that beautiful veil was the ark of the covenant, and as a lid on the ark of the covenant is the mercy seat with these chair you beam with their wings over to the Ark of the covenant what was in the ark of the covenant, the 10 Commandments, 10 Commandments, which every single human being other than the Lord Jesus Christ has broken so they Ark of the covenant contained the 10 Commandments, the commandments, which the Israelites break in which we break, which everyone breaks with all of sin and come short of the glory of God. Paula said, however, in the Old Testament under the Levitical system you can read about in Leviticus 16.
Once a here the most significant jihad in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, the high priest himself goes in to the holy of holies, and he goes and then he sprinkles blood on the mercy seat screws me he sprinkles blood. The different animals as described in Leviticus 1601 burned all the details he sprinkles the blood on the mercy seat. What is the mercy seat, then the mercy seat is the meeting place of a holy God who knows that these people have broken his law and sinful people, so the mercy seat in the Old Testament was the place of atonement and on the day of atonement, when God laid down on the ark of the covenant.
He no longer saw the law which was broken by Israel. He saw what he saw the blonde of the sacrifice animals is that blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat on the propitiation propitiation had been made made and the sprinkling of the blood covered the sins of the nation the nation of Israel for another year, but what is pulsing's look back at Romans three verse 25 that the cross of Christ is our mercy seat. It is a propitiation verse 25. By his blood, that they are on the cross, God's holy wrath is poured out on the cross of Christ.
For those who desire his condemnation, and we receive this salvation. Verse 25 it is to be received by faith and those who receive this propitiation, we are now say we are now delivered from the Roth of God. Look at chapter 5 of Romans Romans five verse nine. Since therefore we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the raw of God's marvelous to think each one of us here today can be saved from the coming wrath of God. If you shelter and covered by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that Paul is going to write in Romans eight verse one there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are good people. Members a Calvary church read the Bible every day, give money know there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Because if you're in Christ Jesus you are sheltered from the Roth of God is not wonderful that Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of all of the Old Testament sacrifices the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets say when he comes, sent by a God of love into this world becomes as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. How does he take away our sin.
How may our sins be forgiven. How can you escape the wrath of God.
There's only one answer. There's only one safely and that is in Christ and Christ alone. It is his supreme sacrifice on the cross.
It is the ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice which ends all of the sacrifices perfectly fulfilled in our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ, who, as the spotless Lamb of God is crucified on the cross and bears the wrath of God and the judgment of God that we desire that you desire, and that I deserve and then sacrifice and all of the sacrifices so the who is holy is just in his infinite wisdom has provided the only way of salvation so that he can retain his justice and at the same time justifying guilty sinners like you and me.
I think of the contrast between Jesus as the propitiation or if you want to say and some translations doing Romans three verse 25. Use the word mercy seat. Think of Jesus as our propitiation is our mercy seat. Contrast that with the mercy seat in the Old Testament.
Aaron went in to the holy of holies once a year with his own blood know he was guilty. He was the perfect man. You know how he criticized his own brother Moses know he was a sinful man is about going with his own blood. He went in with the blood of bulls and goats, our Savior is the mercy seat. He provides propitiation St. Paul here by his blood, his own blood.
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. When Aaron went into the holy of holies he was on scene.
He was behind the veil. The people couldn't see him as he was sprinkling blood on the mercy seat, but when our Lord Jesus Christ goes to the cross. He is exposed publicly to the whole world is publicly crucified.
God put him forward. When Aaron went into the holy of holies the sacrifice only covered sin, but Christ's death on the cross as we were singing paid the price once and for all. For our sin by his blood, and so satisfied the demands of a holy God forever since you understand this, our sins have gone forever. The cross of Christ turns aside the wrath of God. So I don't want you ever to forget this beautiful word and certainly its meaning of propitiation can imagine being covered by the blood of Christ. When we stand before a holy God. All those who have received Christ as Paul says here by faith will think more of that.
What this faith is more of this next week as we think of the concluding verses of chapter 3 when we received Christ by faith we are saved.
There is no condemnation because the Roth that we deserve his fallen on our Savior. This is why we talk about believing in Christ as our personal savior, not just as the Lamb of God, but my Savior, my Lord, my Christ know the cross of Christ then demonstrates, as we see in verses 2025 and 26.
It demonstrates the righteousness of God. Verse 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
Have you received by faith. This was, says Paul to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he has passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time so that he might be just as beautifully worded so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in the gospel is the good news is he the cause of Christ might be on. Think of it this way Paul does the cross of Christ then demonstrates the righteousness of God. Even in the past. Paul is saying here. Verse 25 that God passed over former sins that is in the Old Testament sacrifices before Christ came know these Old Testament sacrifices couldn't take away sin move in his commentary on Romans rights God postponed the full penalty a Jew sins and the old covenant allowing sinners to stand before him without that having provided an adequate sack satisfaction of the demands of his holy justice. Think of that this didn't compromise the justice of God because he was looking forward to the sacrifice of the blood of the bowls and the growth the right of Hebrews tells us they could take away sin no but they were anticipating and pointing to the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is the effect of the cross of Christ is retrospective as well as prospective. All of the Old Testament sacrifices pointed to Jesus that in Christ is the propitiation for the sins of Old Testament believers. Those with faith in God as well as New Testament believers.
So John writes in first John two verse two regarding Christ. He is the propitiation uses a different form of the same word.
He is the propitiation for our sins and not for our sins on lay but also for the sins of the whole world.
And so the justice of God is demonstrated in the past, says Paul in verse 26 the cross of Christ demonstrates the righteousness of God. At the present time.
Verse 26. It was to show his righteousness at the present time. You know that just this means that the guilty are punished and the innocent acquitted the fact that God hates sin is demonstrated in the cross of Christ his own son is made, the sin offering, he who knew no sin is made saying that is the sin offering for us, so we then are justified on a just basis. Our sins are forgiven as propitiation has been made, so the cross of Christ brings freedom and liberation and escape from the wrath of God.
Satisfaction for sin has been made under this way, God's justice and his righteousness are preserved and displayed. This was verse 26 to show God's righteousness at the present time. You understand this in Christ's sacrifice on the cross. The full demands of a righteous God, and a just God have been made in some churches that would shout hallelujah what a safe you with me on this.
Luther certainly got it. He writes then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness that he understood that that's why before he came to Christ.
He was so afraid when he thought of the justice of God and the thought of the righteousness of God. He was he wasn't tattered he wasn't feared as well he might be and then the understood this. He grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which, through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into prototypes. So rather than Luther heating the justice of God than the righteousness of God and became sweet to him and I trust you propitiation to believers.
Justice Scalia passed away several years a go.
You give a commencement address to high school and the smoke of our belief cord that seems particularly to Bissett modern society that believing deeply in something and following that belief is the most important thing a person can do. If habits disbelieve be passionate about something, say Scalia very wisely. I'm here to tell you that it is much less important. How committed you are than what you are committed to well said. He went on to say, not just to be zealous in the pursuit of your ideals, but to be sure that your ideals are the right ones, not merely in their ends within their means.
That is perhaps the hardest part of being a good human being. Good intentions are not enough to this book with documentary Scalia speaks well worth reading. So ask you where is your faith was the day so I'm a person of faith. I believe what you believe you who you you trusting in our pluralistic society. People have a right to believe in anything, I believe in nothing, and many people today and is a bit of a cliché is that they speak of the passion this week on the radio I have in an ad for pizza and the person giving dad was a guy in pizza and he said I'm passionate about pizza that really passionate about pizza when I can of a slice every other month.
That's okay for me if you like pizza to be passionate about pizza was good to be passionate but it's much more important to be passionate and to be committed by the right thing. So when Paul is saying that this comes to us is to be received by faith understand this. He's not talking about faith and faith is not talking about faith in ourselves is not talking about faith in our passions is not talking about faith in our achievements, but is talking about faith in Jesus is talking about faith in God's son. That is not what he says in verse 26 is the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. That is, we are justified by faith alone, as will see next Sunday so I asked is your faith in Jesus you personally trusting in Christ is believing about item but that you have received them as your Savior and that your sheltered my will eternally shelter from the coming wrath of God and that of the cross with the receipt, receipt, justice, and receive mercy. We see a God of justice. Of course we do and we also see a God of love Psalm 85 are stand steadfast love and faithfulness meet righteousness and peace saith the psalmist kiss each other and the cross we see the righteousness of God and we see the love of God and the peace that can come through knowing Christ at the cross we see the on compromising holiness of God and also the unfailing love of God perfectly coming together at the cross.
No wonder Paul says in first Corinthians that the two us to believe the gospel. Not only is the power of God, but it is the wisdom of God.
What a brilliant plan of salvation that God can retain his justice and displaying his justice and at the same time justified sinful people like you and be at Golgotha to seize mats and one contending tied a tidal wave of righteous wrath and all the love of God when high up on the tree for sin, the son of God was nailed the tidal wave of wrath was spent in love divine to be sheltered by Christ, but we sometimes think he paid it he paid it all and we sing this morning that the debt has been paid by my Lord Jesus Christ. So what what your response.
Surely it's become repent of our sin and confess our sins and ask you to do that you may stop stop denying it. Confess that sin before Jesus memo to the cross and say thank you that this Christ who died for my sins and was buried, and rose again and is the living Christ as I receive them. He indwells me and his righteousness now becomes my righteousness and surely we are to respond then with worship and praise and to live a holy life and in the region life.
How can you if you understand something of the wonder of propitiation. How can you if you understand something of that continue to live as you once laughed. No, you can't do that if you think you can do that and I suspect you've never had truly been saved by the grace of God because when Christ saves us. He indwells us and we understand more and more of his love and more and more about own sinfulness and that brings us back over and over again to Christ and the gospel covered by the blood of Christ. Propitiation your trust in Christ's father, we thank you for this great truth. More than that, we thank you for the magnificent Savior, my Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank you for his love for steadfastness for his sinlessness and may all of us place our trust in Christ with those of us who do not renew our faith that we will love him more that we will serve him more enthusiastically and that will tell others about magnificent Savior, we thank you that the Lord is our salvation that he has come to seek and to save the lost. May all of us come to Christ. We pray in his name