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The Gospel of God
The opening statement of the first chapter of Romans gives us sufficient basis for our introductory word. The statement reads thus: "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God."
There are three things here plainly stated.
1. Paul was a servant of Jesus Christ. The word means nothing less than a bond slave. It does not carry with it the thought of service for pay. It is the service rendered to a lord, and master. This is the only attitude which any real believer should take. If Christ is Lord and Master, then we are servants. If we are not servants, Christ is not our Lord.
Servitude suggests obedience. If we are under our Lord, as a servant, we are called upon to go where He tells us to go; to do what He tells us to do; and to be what He tells us to be. The servant can never be above his Master.
2. Paul was an Apostle of Jesus Christ. The word "Apostle" means "a sent one." A sent one, going forth under orders.
When the Apostle Paul went to Damascus with letters of authority, he was the apostle of the Jewish Sanhedrin. When, afterward, he went forth with the Gospel of God, he was an Apostle of Jesus Christ.
If we will examine our papers, we will find out, that we are commissioned of the Lord to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.
3. Paul was separated unto the Gospel of God. He had but one thing to do, and that was to preach Christ.
(1) Paul was not called to reformation. He had no message concerning world betterment. He was not in the "clean-up" business. He was not sent to teach the lost better manners. He was not commissioned to show people how to eat, and how to drink, and how to dress.
(2) Paul was called to separation. When we think of the word "separation," we think of being separated from ; we may also think of being separated unto. If we are called to one thing, we are called from every other thing that, in the least, offsets the one thing to which we are called.
Thus we contend that when Paul was separated unto the Gospel of God he was called out of every other effort, that was distinct from the Gospel of God, The Gospel is "the power of God" which saves, and there is no other gospel. Let us sacredly guard our separation unto that Gospel.
I. THE GOSPEL OF GOD (Romans 1:1 )
1. A tendency to leave God out. Among faithful believers, and workers, there is a tendency, in teaching the Gospel, to eliminate God the Father, and to place all the emphasis upon God the Son. This is evidently wrong.
God, Himself, so loved the world. He is the One of whom it is written: "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
It is the long-suffering of God which waited in the days of Noah.
It is God, who was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. The truth is, as we study the Word of God, we find that the Father was just as vitally connected in the work of the Gospel, as was the Son.
God, the Holy Ghost, is also indispensable to the Gospel. Every believer is born from above, regenerated by the Spirit.
It is written: "I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." The Gospel, apart from God the Spirit, would be altogether ineffective.
Let us, therefore, be careful in preaching not to centralize in our precious Lord and Saviour, to the elimination of God the Father, and God the Spirit.
2. Wherein the Gospel, is the Gospel of God. The Gospel is the Gospel of God, because the Gospel was purposed by God. He originated the plan of redemption.
Before the foundation of the world, the Lord God chose us, in Christ, "that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love."
Back in eternity the Father predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
The Gospel is the Gospel of God, in the second place, because God sent Christ to be the Saviour of the world. The truth is that God is behind everything relative to the Gospel. Therefore, the Gospel is God's Gospel.
II. THE SON OF GOD (Romans 1:4 )
1. The message of the Gospel is about the Son of God.
This is the testimony of the Old Testament Prophets. The first half of the Bible is full of the message of redemption, which is in Christ Jesus. It has been truly said, that God's son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is the core of the whole Bible, Take the Prophet Isaiah the Lord Jesus Christ is his one great theme. He is the Lamb, led forth to the slaughter; the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with griefs. He is the One whose soul is made an offering for sin; the One who was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. It is He who shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied. So, throughout the Bible, the Gospel of God centers in the Son of God.
2. The message of the Gospel is about One who is declared to be the Son of God. The modernist may endeavor to make Him the Son of Joseph. He may seek to humanize Him, and to drag Him down from His Deity. However, it is written that He is "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead."
He who stands at the empty tomb, stands recognizing the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. His resurrection is certified by many infallible proofs; and the certainty of His resurrection certifies Christ as the Son of God.
God would never have raised an impostor from the grave. God would never have placed an impostor at His own right hand. God would never have accorded an impostor with all authority and power.
Thus it is that we thank God, that the Gospel of God, centers in the Son of God who was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh, that He might have Blood to shed; but, who was declared, in His resurrection, to be the Son of God with power. In these remarkable words all the glory of the Virgin Birth is restated in unmistakable terms.
III. THE POWER OF GOD (Romans 1:16 )
The Apostle said: "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
1. The Gospel of God, is also the Gospel of Christ. It is the Gospel of God in the sense that God originated it, purposed it, and planned it; it is the Gospel of Christ, because He is the message of the Gospel, and He also is the heart of the Gospel,
2. The Gospel of God and of Christ is the power of God. There is nothing weak about the Gospel. There are some who want to call salvation a childish affair; or, something that is good alone for the women.
The Bible proclaims the Gospel as the power of God, in the salvation of every believer. It was no small matter, which God undertook, in Christ, in behalf of lost sinners.
If we want to see the scope and power of the Gospel of salvation, we must first go down into the depths of sin, yea, into the depths of hell to which sin carries the unbeliever.
3. The Gospel of God which is the power of God, brings salvation to the believer. Everyone may be saved. There is sufficiency of power in the Gospel, not only to save the greatest sinner, but to save every sinner. However, that power does not operate until faith operates.
We have sometimes used the story of the streetcar. There is plenty of power passing through the wires, but those wires must be contacted by the touch of the trolley, before the streetcar can move. Faith is the trolley.
IV. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD (Romans 1:17 )
1. The Gospel of God contains the righteousness of God. Our text says, concerning the Gospel: "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed."
The thing which God had to face, was how He could be just, and yet pardon the guilty. We must remember that when God purposed redemption He had to sustain the dignity of His holy laws; uphold His own righteousness; and remove every legal obstacle to man's redemption.
All of this was accomplished through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus was made "sin for us, * * that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
He took our sins, paid their penalty, and suffered, the Just for the unjust.
We must never think that God merely got sorry for the sinner, and decided to overlook his sins.
We must never imagine that God, in any way, failed to sustain His own inherent righteousness, and holiness, and justice, in the salvation of the lost. God remained righteous, and yet received into His own presence chamber, by the way of the Cross, those who were unrighteous.
2. The Gospel of God imparts the righteousness of God. Not only did God sustain His righteousness in the Gospel; but He made the sinner who believed, righteous.
The Cross of Christ not only sees Jesus suffering for our sins and carrying them away, but it sees God imputing unto us the righteousness of God.
The believing sinner stands before God through the Blood of the Cross, as sinless. There is not one stain of his sin left upon him. God not only forgets his sin, and blots out his sin, and puts his sin behind His own back, but God, also, makes the sinner white. It is written: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."
It was this imputed righteousness of God, of which Paul spake when he said that he wanted to stand before God "not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, * * but * * the righteousness which is of God by faith."
V. THE WRATH OF GOD (Romans 1:18 )
Our eighteenth verse reads thus: "For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men."
1. The reason for the Gospel of God. We started this study with the Gospel of God. We discovered that that Gospel was concerning the Son of God. Next, we learned that the Gospel of God was the power of God conveying to the believer the righteousness of God. We now discover the reason for the Gospel the necessity of the Gospel. The Gospel was necessary because the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.
God found it necessary to condemn every ungodly man. His inherent holiness and righteousness, made necessary His wrath against unholiness and unrighteousness. For this cause, God sent forth the good news of salvation. When men, therefore, come and hide beneath the wings of the Gospel, they cannot be touched by the wrath of God. The man Christ Jesus becomes a covert from the storm.
It is written: "God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ."
2. Those who reject the Gospel remain under wrath. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not * * the wrath of God abideth on him." There are many today who refuse to believe in the wrath of God. They vainly imagine that somehow or other, God will manage to get all men into Heaven.
The Second Coming of Christ, in its attitude to those who have refused to hold the truth in righteousness, is thus described: "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven * * in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of pur Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord."
VI. THE GLORY OF GOD (Romans 1:23 )
1. Sin's terrible attempt. The men who hold down the Gospel of God, and reject the righteousness of God by faith, will press on and on in their sins. They "became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man."
The Book of Jude describes the men of the last days, as "ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." In the same Book, the saints are urged to worship "the only wise God our Saviour"; and to give Him "glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever."
This is the day in which men do not like to retain God in their knowledge. They continue to blaspheme Him with their lips, and repudiate Him in their lives. It is for this cause that God gives men over to a reprobate mind.
2. The result of refusing to glorify God. When men glorify God and worship Him, exalting Him as a Lord and Saviour, they are acceptable before Him. When men glorify Him not as God, neither are thankful; they soon become filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, etc.
There is a little verse that says: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
It is not difficult to discern between the godly, and the ungodly. The former delight in singing the coronation hymn, crowning Christ, Lord of All. The latter glory only in men; they glory in the flesh; and they have no place in their hearts, or in their lips, to glorify the Lord.
VII. THE JUDGMENT OF GOD (Romans 1:32 ; Romans 2:2-3 ; Romans 2:5 )
1. God judges the ungodly as worthy of death. The same Christ who said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," said, also, "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments."
The man who accepts the Gospel, is saved from the wrath to come, inasmuch as God's wrath against his sin, fell on Christ.
The man who rejects the Gospel refuses to enter the covert of safety, and leaves himself exposed to the wrath of God.
2. God warns the wicked of false hopes. He says: "And thinkest thou this, O man, * * that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?" The very next verse says: "Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
It is utter madness for any unsaved man to spurn the grace of God, and yet to imagine that he can withal escape the judgment of God.
3. The judgment of God irretrievably falls upon the hard and impenitent heart. The wicked who refuse mercy, spurn the Spirit's call; turn away from the love of God. They will, therefore, find their hearts daily growing harder and more impenitent. Such men are treasuring up, unto themselves, wrath against the day of wrath.
4. God's judgments against the wicked are righteous. Our God cannot overlook sin. He will render to every man, according to his deeds. To those who are contentious, and obey not the truth, He will render "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish."
In that great-white-throne judgment day, God will open the books of record. He who has rejected Christ will be damned; then, every one of the damned, will be judged according to the things which are written in the books.
Men may mock at the wrath of God, and decry the judgment of God, nevertheless, it is written: "death and hell were cast into the lake of fire." It is also written "the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever, and ever: and they have no rest day nor night."
"As a result of a wager to test the skepticism of the British public, a man disguised as a peddler appeared in the streets of London and offered genuine five-pound notes for a penny each. Although he offered these extraordinary bargains for an hour, flourishing the notes in his hand and crying, 'Five-pound notes for a penny each,' even permitting people to examine them, the peddler sold only two. It appeared to be too good an offer to be true. It suggests to us the query, 'Is the Gospel too cheap?' Our answer is that it is offered freely without money yet a man must give himself and his life in return for it. Then the price of our redemption was the suffering on Calvary. While it is offered freely, and every one is urged to come and partake of it, we must never forget the price paid was not silver or gold, but the 'precious Blood of Christ.' "
The Wrath and Judgments of God
Romans 1:32 ; Romans 2:1-12
As we listen to the pulsings of twentieth century thought, we find that God is not only being denied by many, but his wrath against unrighteousness and His judgments against sin are being generally set aside by the ungodly.
A study of the Word of God reveals that God's love and goodness in no sense lessens the severity of His judgment against the ungodly.
Grace does not make justice negligible; it rather makes it more severe. Love does not make sin less sinful, nor does it make sin's punishment less severe. Mercy in no wise lessens wrath.
What grace does, is to make God's love operative by sustaining every legal demand of the Law for righteousness, by the death of a Substitute. Grace transferred wrath from the sinner to the Saviour. Grace not only sustained the Law, but it fully met the righteous judgments of God against the sinner for his sins, by placing stripes due the ungodly upon the God-sent Son.
He who mocks at the righteousness of God's wrath, and the honor of God's judgments, should stop at the Cross and behold the agonies of the Son of God, as He went His weary way around the cycle of His sufferings, the Just dying for the unjust.
He who denies hell, would make Heaven impossible; for Christ's descent into hades only makes the believer's ascent into Heaven possible.
When the world believes that there is no judgment for sin; no punishment for the wicked then sin will run riot on the earth. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."
The wicked have set themselves against faith in any Divine justice ever overtaking them; they have tried to persuade themselves that God doth not know, or that if He does know, He is good and does not punish the guilty; yet these same wicked men have never failed to call down judgment on the heads of those who sin against themselves.
If law, judgment, and punishment is removed from any land, red-handed murder and repine will rule the day.
We will bring out various aspects of God's wrath and of His judgments against sin, which should help students to understand better some things we may not have considered from God's viewpoint.
Hasten, sinner, to be blest!
Stay not for the morrow's sun,
Lest perdition thee arrest,
Ere the morrow is begun.
I. THE FACT OF GOD'S WRATH (Romans 1:18 )
The wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men is not a matter of conjecture, and of discussion pro and cons for it is a revealed wrath. This is the statement of our text.
The preceding verse says that the "righteousness" of God is also revealed in the Gospel of Christ. In Romans 1:20 God's eternal power and Godhead is said to be clearly seen, so that also is revealed.
The man who rebels against the revelation of God's wrath as set forth in Romans 1:18 , must of necessity, therefore, rebel against God's righteousness, and even against God's eternal power and Godhead.
There is no room for finding fault because God has revealed His wrath. It is fact and not fancy. It is impossible for men to live in ungodliness that is, a wrong relationship with God: and in unrighteousness that is, with wrong relationships toward men, without meriting the wrath of God.
All down through the ages God has manifested His wrath against sin, whether it be sin toward God or sin toward man. In the very beginning God's wrath fell on Adam and he was expelled from the garden. Cain came next under the wrath of God and he cried, "My punishment is greater than I can bear." Soon the whole world became evil and was corrupted before God and it was overthrown with the flood. The Tower of Babel, the mark of man's vaulted pride was cast down; the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown; the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea; the seven nations dwelling in the land of Canaan with the cup of their iniquity full were destroyed, and thus the wrath of God swept on and still it sweeps.
Our theme is correct for God's wrath is a fact and not a fancy. Men cannot live as they list, giving vent to every desire of the flesh, without paying the penalty thereof.
The hand of God is still writing our judgment and condemnation on the wall.
So our deeds are recorded
There's a Hand that's writing now:
Sinner, give your heart to Jesus
To His royal mandate bow;
For the day is approaching
It must come to one and all,
When the sinner's condemnation
Will be written on the wall.
II. THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY ARE INEXCUSABLE (Romans 1:20 ; Romans 2:1 )
The world is full of excuses. Cain was one of the first to excuse his sin by saying, "Am I my brother's keeper?" There is scarcely a sin toward God or man, be it ever so vile, but what man will seek to excuse himself. Our first verse says that men are without excuse. Our second verse says, "Thou art inexcusable, O man."
The wicked may proclaim that their wicked deeds cannot be avoided, but God says, "They are without excuse." One man says that his fiery temper and uncontrollable wrath was inherited from his parents, but God says, "Thou art inexcusable." Another man says that the lusts of the flesh were dominant in his nature and that he could not but yield to their desire, but God says that he is without excuse. Man says that he did not know any better, that his sins are sins of ignorance, but God says that he cannot thus excuse himself.
No matter what power sin may have in the life of any of the ungodly; no matter what sway of the world; no matter what power of Satan; the sinner is without excuse because God has provided a way of escape from all of these.
Why should man continue in sin, or remain a dupe and slave to sin's power, when the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth a Gospel that saves from these very things.
"For the Lion of Judah shall break every chain,
And give us the victory again and again."
Even the heathen, who have never known of the Gospel are without excuse, because they have not lived according to the light which they possess. When they knew God they glorified Him not as God neither were thankful. The very ignorance in which they now dwell is due to the fact that when they professed themselves to be wise, they became fools. When they changed His glory into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. When they had the truth of God, they changed it into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator.
The world cannot plead that it did not know that the wrath of God was revealed against sin, ungodliness and unrighteousness of man, because the wreckage of God's judgment has covered the world with its debris.
There is no excuse that men can bring in honor because God has dealt fairly and squarely and above board with all sin and iniquity.
Look unto Me, and be ye saved!
Look, men of nations all;
Look, rich and poor; look, old and young;
Look sinners, great and small!
Look unto Him, and be ye saved!
O weary, troubled soul,
Oh, look to Jesus while you may;
One look will make thee whole!
III. THE WICKED ARE WORTHY OF DEATH (Romans 1:32 )
We have just been noticing the fact that man is inexcusable for his sin. We are now to consider that man is worthy of the judgment which God places upon him. If man had the least excuse for sinning just to that extent God's judgment would not be just. The opposite is also true. If the wicked are worthy of death, they are necessarily without excuse in their sins.
The Bible teaches that death is the wages of sin. A man is reaping no more than what he has sown. According to this, the sinner so to speak, is the author of his own destruction. He, himself, gathers the fuel to feed the fire which shall for ever torment his soul. He sows the seed of the maddened brain; he plants the germ that develops the woes and the miseries, the gnashing of teeth and the wailing of hopeless despair.
The wicked are worthy of death. They are receiving no more than their due. They are only being paid for their deeds. God does not have any pleasure in the death of the wicked. He would that all men everywhere should repent. He is not a tyrant who with ruthless rage casts the just to the tormentors. He, even goes so far as to open the door of hope in the valley of Achor. He offers salvation by the way of the Cross to the vilest of the vile.
Man is worthy of death because man has rejected proffers of mercy. He has spurned the opportunity of righteousness. He has given a deaf ear to the call of the Gospel.
Instead of heeding what he hears, he has given himself over to unrighteousness, being filled with fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful. Men who live in these things are worthy of death.
IV. GOD'S JUDGMENTS CANNOT BE ESCAPED (Romans 2:3 )
The argument as God has given it to us is steadily mounting up. The net is being more tightly drawn, and the sinner is being more surely entangled in his unrighteousness. Sometimes the sinner will recognize that he is inexcusable, he will even concede that he is worthy of death, and yet he will seek to escape his just punishment.
There are criminals all over the land who have evaded justice. There are men everywhere who are trying to hide their sins. Men need, however, to know that they cannot deceive God.
Where can the sinner go, that God will not find him? God has said, "Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down." All things which a man doeth, and all things which a man is in his heart, are naked and open unto Him with whom we have to do.
Our Lord looks down from Heaven and all things are before His eye. He knows our downsitting and our uprising. He understands our thoughts afar off. Our God is acquainted with all our ways. There is not a word in our tongue but what He knows it altogether. How can men hide from God? for He has beset them behind and before. Where may men fly from His Spirit? or where may they hide from His presence? Listen to the Word of God, "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee: but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb" (Psalms 139:8-13 ).
It is useless to evade the issue. The wicked must stand before the Great White Throne and face the records of their lives. They cannot escape meeting God.
Where will you spend Eternity
Those years that have no end?
Will it be where you are debarred
Ever to know and see the Lord?
Ever to have His great reward?
V. THERE IS A SET DAY OF WRATH (Romans 2:5 ; Romans 2:16 )
In the fifth verse we read that man is treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath. In the sixteenth verse we read that there is a day when God shall judge the secrets of men.
1. This is the day of grace. We are convinced that God frequently judges unrighteousness now, and sends terrific manifestations of wrath, but these are no more than suggestive of the great sorrow and travail which awaits the wicked.
In this age for the most part, God is allowing men to reap no more than the wreckage which his own sin now involves. God is now calling men to repentance. God is now proffering grace. Heralders of the Gospel are being commanded to go to the ends of the world and to preach to every creature the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Songs of salvation are being sung. Altar calls are being made, the Holy Spirit is striving with men. We can still say, "Behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation."
When Christ entered Nazareth, He said in the Temple, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor." He was reading from the Prophet Isaiah and He read on through the most gracious of words until He came to the expression "and the day of vengeance of our God." Before He read these latter words, He suddenly stopped, and said, of the words which He had just spoken, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears." He did not read the statement concerning the day of vengeance because He knew that that day of vengeance had not yet come.
2. The day of vengeance and of judgment is a set day. The angel of God's grace who has hastened before giving proffers of mercy and of salvation must soon step aside, that the angel of His wrath may unsheath his sword.
Time is gliding swiftly by,
Death and judgment draweth nigh,
To the arms of Jesus fly:
Be in time!
Oh, I pray you count the cost,
Ere the fatal line be crossed,
And your soul in hell be lost:
Be in time!
Sinner, heed the warning voice,
Make the Lord your final choice,
Then all heaven will rejoice:
Be in time!
Come from darkness into light;
Come, let Jesus make you right;
Come, and start for Heaven tonight,
Be in time!
VI. WRATH IS INCREASED BY KNOWLEDGE (Romans 1:19 ; Romans 1:21 ; Romans 1:32 )
It was because that, when men knew God, yet glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, that God gave them up. If man had been ignorant and had not known God it would have been different. However, man not only knew God but He also knew the judgment of God.
If no ray of light, revealing God both in grace and in judgment, had ever come to man, sin had not been reckoned against him.
That which makes sin exceedingly sinful is its willfulness; its stubborn refusal to accept the right.
It is because men love darkness rather than light that their darkness is made the darker; it is because men refuse righteousness that God gives them up to iniquity. He who knew not his master's will and did it not was beaten with few stripes. While he who knew his master's will and did it not was beaten with many stripes.
In the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for Chorazin and Bethsaida for, "if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."
In the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for Capernaum, not but that Sodom was morally more vile, but that Capernaum had been exalted unto Heaven by the presence, the words, and the miracle working of the Son of God, which Sodom had never known. Christ said to Capernaum, "If the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been in Sodom, it would have remained until this day."
Sinners who live in this day of grace with the blazing light of the glory of God's grace bursting full around them should beware lest they by their refusal are treasuring up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath. In the silent midnight watches,
List thy bosom's door!
How it knocketh, knocketh, knocketh,
Say not 'tis thy pulse is beating
'Tis thy heart of sin;
'Tis thy Saviour knocks, and crieth,
"Rise, and let Me in!"
Death comes down with reckless footsteps
To the hall and hut;
Think you death will tarry knocking
When the door is shut?
Jesus waiteth, waiteth, waiteth;
But the door is fast:
Grieved, away thy Saviour goeth,
Death breaks in at last.
Then 'tis time to stand entreating
Christ to let thee in;
At the gate of Heaven beating,
Wailing for thy sin!
Nay! alas, thou guilty creature.
Hast thou then forgot?
Jesus waited long to know thee,
Now He knows thee not!
VII. THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD ARE RIGHTEOUS ALTOGETHER (Romans 2:2 ; Romans 2:5 )
The day of wrath of which we have just heard will bring forth the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. God's judgments will be according to truth.
At the Great White Throne no sinner will be able to say that he got more than his dues, nor will he receive less. Those who are contentious and obey not the truth but obey unrighteousness will receive indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish. Mark the word, this will befall every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first and also of the Gentile.
All the wicked, all unbelievers, all the fearful and the abominable and murderers will have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and yet all shall receive according to the sins done in the body.
When the dead small and great stand before God, the Books which carry the records of their earth deeds will be opened, and every man will be judged out of those things which were written in the Book according to their works.
When death and hell are cast into the lake of fire, and God's judgments are completed, there will be no room for disputes and no reasons for an appeal to a higher court. God's judgments are not only final but they are eternally just.
IN A RING OF FIRE
An ungodly European was once trying to convince a convert in India that his religion was of no use, and that he never would be any the better for it. "What, after all," said the scoffer, "has your Jesus done for you?"
"He has saved me!" said the native, with great animation: "He has saved me!"
"And what is that?" said the European.
"Step with me to the door," was the reply, "and I will show you." So saying, he took him outside of the house, picked up a quantity of dry leaves and straw (of which there were plenty close at hand), and made a large circle of them. He then sought for a worm; and, having found one, he placed it in the center of the ring. Forthwith he applied a lighted match to the material that surrounded it, the scoffer looking on all the time with no little astonishment. As the heat of the fire approached the poor worm, it began to writhe and show symptoms of distress, but could not get out of the burning ring. The man darted his hand through the smoke, plucked the worm out of its dangerous position, and placed it on the green grass, out of reach of all danger.
"There," said he, "that is what the blessed Jesus has done for me: I was exposed to the flames of hell there was no possibility of escape; I was condemned and ready to perish, and He rescued me by dying for my sins, thus snatching me as a brand from the burning; and He has given me, a poor dying worm, a place near His heart,"
Can you thus speak of yourself as saved fay the death of Jesus? Are you able to say, like the poor native, "He has saved me"? It not, we entreat you to come now, as a sinner, to Jesus, who is at the right hand of the Majesty on high, and He will give you rest. Take shelter in His blood, and you will be cleansed from sin, and delivered from the wrath to come.
"When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6 ).
"Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom" (Job 33:24 ).
"Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back" (Isaiah 38:17 ).
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Romans 1". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25