21 Mar The Release of the Gospel
Read: Romans 5:12-21
Over the last two Sundays Pastor Ken taught on the blessings of justification (Romans 5:1-11):
1. We have peace with God.
2. We have access to God.
3. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
4. We rejoice in our sufferings.
5. We have confidence that we will be saved from God’s wrath.
This Sunday Chad Ferrell will close out chapter five with verses 12-21, as we will compare and contrast Adam and Christ as representatives of humanity before God. Those who are represented by Adam stand condemned. Those who are represented by Christ stand justified. As you prepare your heart for our corporate gathering, let these words from Tim Keller lead you to further reflect on what you have learned so far in our series through Romans.
The end of chapter 5 marks the end of a section in Paul’s letter, a glorious section which has laid out the gospel of justification by faith. The second-century church father Tertullian said that, just as our Lord was crucified between two thieves, so this great doctrine of justification is continually being crucified between two opposite heresies. The gospel keeps two truths together.
1. God is holy, so our sins require that we be punished. The gospel tells us: You are more sinful than you ever dared believe. To forget this leads to license and permissiveness— to what we might call liberalism.
2. God is gracious, so in Christ our sins are dealt with. The gospel tells us: You are more accepted in Christ than you ever dared hope. To forget this leads to legalism and moralism.
If you eliminate one or the other of these truths, you fall into legalism or liberalism, and you eliminate the joy and the “release” of the gospel. Without a knowledge of our extreme sin, the payment of the gospel seems trivial and
does not electrify or transform. But without a knowledge of Christ’s completely debt-satisfying life and death, the knowledge of sin would crush us or compel us to deny and repress it.
Questions for Reflection:
1. How precious is Christ’s active obedience to you?
2. How have these [chapters] caused you to love the Lord Jesus more?
3. What aspects of the biblical gospel have you learned that are new; or have you been reminded of that you’d forgotten; or do you now appreciate more deeply?
Excerpt from Romans 1-7 For You, by Timothy Keller
Song List for Sunday
1. “This Is Amazing Grace,” Arr. by Shane and Shane
2. “Behold Our God,” by Sovereign Grace Music
3. “All I Have Is Christ,” by Sovereign Grace Music
4. “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone),” by Chris Tomlin
5. “Jesus Paid It All,” by Kristian Stanfill