Last week we started in chapter 4 of the book of Romans - and the issue of salvation by grace with the implications of faith in that conversation.
From a human perspective - salvation by grace doesn’t make any sense. Salvation sounds like something that we earn. In fact, that is taught in many faith systems even today. We have to work for our salvation. Only - we don’t. And implying that we do, gives us credit for something that God did all on his own. God wants the credit for his work. Paul explains that even before the law existed, before circumcision - God credited Abraham with righteousness - solidifying that it isn’t what you and I do, but what God did for us.
Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
SIDE NOTE - Paul is referring here to the old testament, and clearly says that the old testament was written for US. When we rightly understand something about God from the old testament - we rightly understand it about God.
This passage is Another explanation of the Gospel found here in the book of Romans.
As we attempt to share the gospel with others - this is a good spot to refer back to.
Our part in the equation is to have faith - last week we got into that a little bit, today we are going to take a deeper look at faith as Paul explains what it meant for Abraham and what it means for us.
RECAP: What is Faith?
Greek - Pisteuo PEESTEVOH
The act of Believing or trusting something on the basis of truthfulness and reliability.
Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For by this our ancestors were approved. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Since we have been justified by faith:
We have Peace with God
We have access to Grace
We boast in the hope of Glory.
Peace with God
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have been justified by faith. That is chapter 4. Leading up to this moment. The work that Christ did - our faith in that for salvation - grants us peace with God. What does that mean? Let’s start applying some logical conclusions to it.
If with faith we have peace - without faith we are without peace.
Outside of that faith relationship - the You God me human relationship - we have no peace with God.
Well that doesn’t sound like a good place to be.
The mindset of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it is unable to do so.
New Living Translation:
For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.
That is a terrible place to be. At war with the creator of the universe. How’s that going to work out?
Two kids on a playground get in a fight, eventually it turns into - well my dad can beat up your dad.
Think about that - only in this case Jesus says “well yeah? My dad can speak your’s out of existence”
We don’t win war with God.
We surrender. We put our faith in him. And when we do that - the big faith thing - we have peace.
Peace that passes understanding, it makes no sense logically.
Peace that means not just an absence of conflict but a restored relationship.
Access to Grace
We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Since we have been justified by faith - we have access to Grace.
Yesterday we were at a pastors gathering at a foursquare church here in iowa and we were discussing some of the plans the pastor had for his building. In their nursery there was a giant mural of the ark.
Because of faith - through Christ and the redemptive work he did on the cross - the door to the ark hasn’t been sealed up to us.
Even though we don’t deserve it, we have an open door to it.
Grace we can stand in.
It changes our position in eternity. I’m not knocked out or passed by. I am STANDING - In grace.
And I need that. I need a new measure of grace every day.
Boast in the hope of the Glory of God
Because of faith - because we have been justified - because we have Jesus, we can boast in the hope of the Glory of God.
What does that mean?
It looks like this:
I can tell people - I can brag about - what I understand to be my reality for eternity.
I can brag about how wonderful God is. Because I have hope. What is hope?
In this context it isn’t the same other kinds of hope.
You might hope that your favorite team wins.
You might hope that you get better hours at work.
You might hope that the price of gas has gone down.
But the reality is - your team sucks, it is only by chance if they win.
You’ve been on the worst schedule for a while - and will be there for a while longer until they hire someone else.
Price of gas might go down, but probably won’t. And even if it does it will still be too expense.
Paul isn’t talking about that kind of hope.
The author of the book of Hebrews refers to hope in this way - he calls it a full assurance.
Now we desire each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the full assurance of your hope until the end,
And that is something to tell your friends about.
Man it doesn’t even matter how bad this day gets. I get to go home. I’m just trying to make it home.
God has better things in store for me.
I can’t wait to see what God has going on for me soon.
Faith is a building block for all of this and more. Our relationship with faith is an important one. There are stories in the Bible where Jesus rebuked disciples for having limited faith.
So how do we establish faith in God for ourselves?
How do we help establish faith in God in others?
Faith is Received / Obtained.
Simeon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who have received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.
Faith is built.
God wants us to have - Big faith. Along with the stories of Jesus rebuking those who had limited faith - the bible includes stories of believers asking the Lord to increase their faith as examples for us to follow.
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief!”
You have a part in establishing and building the faith in others. One of the things I heard yesterday pretty often was we have to “one another one another”
as we pray very earnestly night and day to see you face to face and to complete what is lacking in your faith?
strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, “It is necessary to go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”