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Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water Commentary
Romans 5

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-5

Much More the Grace of God

Romans 5:1-5 , Romans 5:15-21

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

We have before us today portions of Romans for our study. The Epistle of Paul to the Romans carries with it one of God's supreme messages for saints. Three great facts stand before us: (1) The fact of sin, with its universality. (2) The fact of redemption, through the Calvary work of Christ, where grace is supreme. (3) The fact of the victorious life in Christ Jesus, through the Spirit.

A fourth message that stands in the limelight in Romans is a special word concerning Israel. This part of the Book includes chapters 9, 10, and 11.

1. The fact of sin. Grace cannot operate apart from the darkness and gloom of sin. The fall of man, with all of the results of his sin against the Most Holy, made possible the operation of God's grace.

Grace is based upon love, and it operates in mercy; but grace bears a deeper meaning than either of the other two.

When love is toward the unworthy, it begins to operate in the realm of grace; and when mercy is shown to the guilty, it works on the basis of grace.

Grace is the kindness of God to us while we were yet sinners. Grace is mercy to the unmerciful; kindness to the unkind; goodness to the wholly bad, and salvation to those unworthy to be saved.

Where worth begins, grace ends; where merit enters in, grace passes out.

One of the great verses of the Bible is this one: "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." There is another verse which is a close kin: He "loved us, and washed us from our sins," that is, He loved us before He washed us.

Thus, where grace abounds, sin abounds. Where there is no sin there may be rivers of love, but grace moves in mercy toward sinners.

2. The fact of redemption from sin and for sinners. Grace is the great motive power that moved God in making Christ an offering for sin. Grace ferreted out the way by which God could be just, and the justifier of the guilty. Grace discovered the way by which God; the holy, could bring man, the unholy, into His Divine presence chamber.

Grace, however, does not end its mercies at the Cross. Grace reaches on into the far vistas of the "ages to come." Here is a Scripture that marvelously magnifies grace: "That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

Grace enters into Heaven; grace passes into the ages beyond, where sin cannot enter, only because saved sinners can enter there.

It is His kindness to us the "us" carries with it the marvelous scope of redemption toward those who once were lost, dead in trespasses and sins.

3. Grace operates through faith. We are familiar with the Scripture, "By grace are ye saved through faith." Grace, is the Divine side; faith, is the human side. Grace, is God moving out toward the lost sinner; faith, is the lost sinner moving out toward God. Grace reaches down; faith reaches up. Grace is God reconciling; faith is man accepting.

There is, however, one thing we must remember, that even faith is the gift of God. Faith is made operative in us, but faith is in us because God put it there. Grace is God seeking to save, by way of the Cross, and by every other means through which He makes it possible for man to be saved. In addition to the work of Calvary, He gives the Word of salvation as found in the Scriptures. He also gives the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin.

Faith is man's act, and yet we still insist that faith is impossible, unless it is wrought in the heart, by God.

I. JUSTIFIED BY HIS GRACE (Romans 4:24-25 )

The Spirit, through the Apostle, has been discussing the utter weakness of a sinner to save himself. He has put special stress upon the fact that the Law cannot save, because the Law is a broken precept. Under the Law, every mouth is stopped, and all the world becomes guilty before God. The man who rests in the Law, and maketh his boast of God, is certain to break the Law, thus bringing dishonor upon God, If we would be saved by the Law, we must be doers of the Law; however, all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. The result is, that, by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.

Grace now steps in and provides a way by which the righteousness of God, without the Law, may be manifested. This is the righteousness of God by the faith of Jesus Christ. It is a righteousness that passes upon all them that believe.

Now we can sing, being justified freely by His grace.

Grace does not operate upon the basis of man's work or deeds. It operates wholly through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Grace is God setting forth His Son to be a propitiation for our sins; grace is God declaring us righteous, through the Blood of Christ. Grace is God granting the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God, upon every one which believeth in Jesus.

II. GRACE FORBIDS HUMAN GLORY (Romans 4:1-5 )

It is natural for the flesh to boast. We delight to say that we have done this, or, that we have done that. When we come, however, into the realm of salvation, there is no place for human glorying.

The Spirit asks, "Where is boasting then?" "It is excluded." How is it excluded? Is it excluded by works? That is impossible. If we were saved by what we are, or by what we do, we would have whereof to glory.

In emphasizing this, the Spirit uses an illustration. Let us mark His words. "If Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God."

Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees. Abraham went out, not knowing whither he went. Abraham became a tent-dweller, looking for a city whose Builder and Maker is God. Abraham offered up Isaac. Abraham paid a tithe to Melchisedec of all that he possessed. These were all works of faith, but by none of them was Abraham justified.

It was not works which justified Abraham, but it was the faith that worked. Abraham believed God, and his faith was counted to him for righteousness. Abraham's faith was not a dead faith, as we have seen. However, it was not the works of faith that saved Abraham, but the faith that works.

If God had counted righteousness unto Abraham because of his works, Abraham would have had every reason to glory; but since Abraham was saved by faith, the reward was reckoned unto him of grace, and not of debt.

The supreme message, herein, is, that justification is to him who worketh not, but to him who believeth on God who justifieth the ungodly; his faith is counted for righteousness.

III. GRACE OPERATES THROUGH FAITH (Romans 4:16 )

Our verse says, "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed."

If salvation were by law-works, it would not be equal to all; but, since salvation is by grace through faith, it is made sure to every one who believes.

Again, the Spirit brings Abraham before us, and speaks of our walking in the steps of that faith, because Abraham's faith was not through law-works; for it was through the "righteousness of faith" that the promise came to Abraham.

The story of Israel, under the Law, abundantly proves man's helplessness to keep the Law. The Law is no more than a schoolmaster to drive us to Christ. The Law can do no more than to prove to us our sin. If we are under the Law, we are under the curse, for it is written, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the Book of the Law to do them."

The Ten Commandments were no sooner given than they were broken. When Moses, coming down from the mountain, beheld the Children of Israel dancing around the golden calf, he broke the tables which held the Law; the Law, that the Israelites had already broken. Thus, "the Law worketh wrath,"

Now we understand the wherefore of grace, and, the position of faith. Once more the faith of Abraham is used as an example: because Abraham against hope, believed in hope. He knew that his own body was as good as dead, for he was about an hundred years old, when God certified to him the birth of Isaac. Yet, "he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief"; but he was strong in faith, giving glory to God. Abraham was fully persuaded, that God was able to give him a son, even Isaac. Therefore, his faith was "imputed to him for righteousness."

What is our conclusion? It is this: Righteousness shall likewise be imputed to us, through faith, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord, from the dead.

IV. THE MUCH MORE OF GRACE (Romans 5:14-15 )

Now come into that matchless chapter, Romans five. This chapter compares the first man, with the second; the first Adam, with the last Adam. It was by one man that sin entered into the world, and death by sin. It was because of that one man's sin, that death passed upon all men, inasmuch as all men have sinned.

Thus, it was that death reigned from Adam to Moses; and, from Moses to this hour.

Over against sin and its reign, through Adam, the Spirit places the free gift of God through Christ. Verse fifteen reads, "Not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one Man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."

How wonderful it all is!

"He saw us ruined by the fall,

Yet loved us notwithstanding all.

He saved us from our lost estate.

His loving kindness, O how great!"

Not only this, but He superabounded in His grace over all the wreckage of sin. What we lost in Adam, we have more than gained in Christ. The depths to which Adam's sin, and ours, has dragged us, are not comparable only to the heights to which the grace of God has lifted us.

We delight in the expression, "Much more the grace of God."

We are now justified by faith. We now have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We now have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and our hearts rejoice.

V. GRACE AND LIFE (Romans 5:17-18 )

It is a gruesome sight to stand and view the result of one man's offence. Our Scripture text says, "Death reigned by one." The world has become but little more than a graveyard. The wreckage of sin is seen on every hand. Death reigns, that is, death is a monarch, holding sway. Death is a monarch, scythe in hand, whose victorious sweep cannot be hindered. We may hold back the ravages of death for a day, by attempting to resist death's reign; but sooner or later every opposing power must succumb, as grim death with open scythe stands victor mid the wreckage which death has wrought.

Every newspaper shows that sin and death still reign. Blood and carnage are ever about us. We who are living, are daily walking through a valley of the shadow of death. Sin and sorrow, shame and suffering, are on every hand. The cries of many wounded and dying are ever in our ears.

Against all of this we read that they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Christ Jesus.

How blessed it is to step out of the valley of death into the garden of life; If sin brought death, and death reigned by one; much more do we reign, in life, by One.

Let the artist paint the shadow of sin and of death with ever so gruesome a detail; yet, his painting will afford no more than the background, which shall enhance the beauty and the glory of the reign in life, which is given to us, by grace.

Let hell be pictured in all of its honors; Heaven doth super-abound in all of its glories.

We delight in God's far-flung vision of redemption. We can almost hear our Lord saying, "The former things are passed away." The new Heaven, and the new earth, and the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, will soon come. God will soon be dwelling with men. What now is before us? "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away," Thank God for the "much more" of grace!

Jesus, my Saviour, Bright Morning Star,

Come soon, Lord Jesus, come from afar;

Thy saints have grown weary with Thy delay,

Bend Thou the heavens, come soon, we pray.

VI. GRACE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS (Romans 5:20-21 )

In the preceding study we spoke of the "much more of grace," in the vision of life and its beneficent results super-abounding over death and its devastating wreckage.

We continue with much the same thought, only, instead of seeing life reigning, we find grace itself is reigning through righteousness unto eternal life.

In Adam sin reigned. In Christ grace reigns. Where sin reigned, the curse reigned. The supreme conception of sin, is its downward pull. Sin steals from us everything that is worth the while. It reigns until it ravages humankind, and reigns unto death.

How blessed it is that we can enter the valley where sin abounded, and find grace superabounding! We who sat under the scepter where sin reigns unto death, now sit in Christ where grace reigns unto eternal life.

We saw in a Georgia swamp, mid the mirk and the mire of death and decay, a beautiful white flower, sending out its fragrance. As we stooped down and plucked it, we thought of how, when we were dead in trespasses and sin, God quickened us, gave us a new life; and raised us, and gave us a new righteousness. Then He caused us to sit down with Him in the Heavenlies, and gave us a new fellowship.

Let us turn our gaze from sin, as it sits upon its throne, reigning unto death, and behold grace, as it sits upon its throne, reigning through righteousness unto eternal life.

Where is he that would not like to renounce the throne and scepter of sin and Satan, and enlist under the throne and scepter of righteousness and of Christ?

VII. THE SUPREME QUESTION (Romans 6:1 ; Romans 6:14-15 )

We have been following God's message concerning grace. We have passed along, step by step, until, by grace and through faith, we have seen ourselves lifted up, from the dominion of sin and of death, and into God's eternal life and glory. A supreme question now is thrown before us. It is twice asked. First in verse one, of chapter six; and again in verse fifteen of the same chapter.

Verse one, asks, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"

Verse fifteen, asks, "Shall we sin, because we are not under the Law, but under Grace?"

The questions are similar, the answer is the same: "God forbid."

Is grace a license to lust, even unto those who have drunk from its bounty? Is grace a permission for impiety? Is grace an encouragement to iniquity? Shall we sin, because grace super-abounds over sin? God forbid.

Grace is a call to live in righteousness. Grace teaches us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.

Shall we who are baptized into Christ's death on the Cross; and then buried with Him by baptism in the likeness of His death, and of His resurrection, continue in sin?

Shall we who, in Christ, are dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God, permit sin to reign in our mortal body, that we should obey it in the lusts thereof?

If we yield ourselves as servants of sin unto death, how can we call ourselves servants of righteousness unto life?

Of old, we yielded our members to the authority of uncleanness and iniquity; but now we yield our members as servants of righteousness unto holiness. God has said, "Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the Law, but under Grace."

AN ILLUSTRATION

Thinking of God's much more of Grace over sin, reminds us of Dr. Biederwolf's story:

"Deeper Than That"

"Depth" (Ephesians 3:18 ).

"When Nansen was looking for the North Pole he found himself in very deep water. He tried to take his sounding, but his line would not reach bottom. He took his book and wrote the date, the length of his line, and added this note: 'Deeper than that.' The next day he lengthened his line and dropped it, and again it failed to touch. Again he wrote down the date and length of his line and added this note: 'Deeper than that.' The next day he gathered all the rope that could be found on the vessel and made it into one long line and dropped it down, but it did not touch the bottom. Once more he took his book and wrote the date, the length of his longest line, and added this note: 'Deeper than that.' Oh, the depth of the love of Christ!"


Verses 1-11

The Great Salvation

Romans 5:1-11

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

1. God's story of sin. The fifth chapter of Romans is God's great climactic of the theme of redemption. Earlier chapters of the Book of Romans set forth the story of sin in all its heinousness. The Gentile world is declared unto sin. The Jewish world is then set forth under the same flaring headlines. Following is a conclusion in chapter 3 that "all have sinned" and every mouth is stopped. The whole world stands guilty before God. God proclaims that "there is none righteous, no, not one." All have turned out of the way, and together they have become filthy.

2. God's story of righteousness. After sin in all its heinousness has been discussed, the Lord begins to develop the second stage of redemption which is the discussion of the righteousness of God, made possible apart from the Law. This righteousness is declared to be manifested by the faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all who believe. It is possible to all who believe because Christ died for all, and became a propitiation, or mercy seat, through faith in His Blood, to declare His righteousness by the remission of sins. God thus becomes a Justifier of the ungodly, through the Blood of the Cross, and upon the faith of the believer in Jesus Christ. The accomplishing of this righteousness of God is set forth as being apart from works. For this cause all boasting on the part of man is forever excluded, and grace is forever enthroned.

3. The Book of Romans continues to take up the discussion of salvation by grace and through faith. This is a marvelous message, and one that needs to be thoroughly understood. Abraham and David are both used as examples, showing how we are saved without works and through grace, but according to faith. It is this salvation that brings glory to God.

As a great conclusion of the message of redemption, it is stated in Romans 4:1-25 that God delivered Christ for our offenses, and raised Him again because of our justification. Having thus considered a few of the outstanding features of redemption we come to the study of today, which is a discussion of the first eleven verses of Romans 5:1-21 . We might suggest that the fifth chapter is the great resume of redemption. Today's study opens with a great statement as to the cause and first results of reconciliation; this is followed (beginning with the 12th verse) by the marvelous vision of the superabounding grace of God through Jesus Christ in preponderance over sin and its effects.

I. A THREEFOLD STATEMENT RELATIVE TO THE UNSAVED (Romans 5:6 the ungodly; 5:8 sinners; 5:9 enemies)

We have selected three different verses, three distinctive and illuminating statements concerning the wicked: they are ungodly, they are sinners, and they are enemies. Let us notice these one at a time.

1. The ungodly. The word ungodly means apart from God, or without God. There is a verse in Titus which tells us that we should live soberly, righteously, and godly. Soberly, suggests our attitude within ourselves; righteously, suggests our attitude toward our fellow men; and godly, our attitude toward God, A godly man is one who has God. He recognizes God's supremacy, God's place and power in redemption, God's part in his life. He walks and talks with God. He lives out God. An ungodly man is one who repudiates God; one who does not hold God in his thoughts; who will not acknowledge God in his life.

You remember how Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?" He said he would not have "this man" to reign over him.

Every ungodly man takes the attitude toward God which is described in the first chapter of Romans. They do not like to retain God in their knowledge. The ungodly are those who deny God and who change the Truth of God into a He. They worship and serve the creation more than the Creator.

2. Sinners. Sinners are the ungodly in action. They not only leave God out of their thoughts, but they are given over to lasciviousness and to all uncleanness. They are implacable and unmerciful. They are full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, inventors of evil things. God's portraiture of the human heart shows it to be deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. A sinner is a man who sins. "Sinner" is a word which suggests sin in action.

3. Enemies. Enemies are the ungodly fighting God. There are many sinners who are not enemies in the aggressive sense. When sin has ripened in the life, men will not only be ungodly, but they will be against God, They will join battle, saying, "Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us." They will set themselves together against the Lord and against His anointed. We remember the expression, "Jericho was shut up." That is the. picture of an enemy in resistance, refusing to allow God to enter or to rule his life.

II. A STATEMENT RELATIVE TO GOD (Romans 5:8 )

One of the beautiful things in Romans 5:1-21 is summed up in two words: "But God." "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Did you ever go into a jeweler's store to purchase a diamond? That jeweler threw the diamonds down on a dark velvet cloth in order that their luster might shine forth the more. Thus it is that God in our verses has thrown down the dark background which we have just been discussing: the ungodly, the sinners, the enemies. Then, against this background He throws the statement we now have before us: "But God." It seems as though the Spirit would thus give us God's marvelous love to shine forth. You remember how the second chapter of Ephesians has a similar statement. First, there are six things said about the sinner: he is dead, walking according to the course of this age; he is under the power of the spirit who rules among the ungodly; he is energized by Satan; he has his conversation in the lusts of the flesh and the mind; and he is a child of wrath. After this has been stated we read, "But God." God then is described under three words: His love, His mercy, and His grace.

In Romans 5:1-21 we find the same marvelous conception laid before us. We were sinners, ungodly, and enemies, but God commended His love toward us.

We walked in a Southern city one day and discovered a beautiful flower as white as snow which had sprung out of an old decayed root where filth abounded. Thus, God seemed to pass by where pollution reigned. He spoke, and lo, a flower! God also passed by a human heart which was full of sin and iniquity. He spoke, and lo, a new life created in righteousness and true holiness sprang forth.

III. THE STATEMENT OF CHRIST'S CALVARY SACRIFICE (Vs. 6, Christ died for the ungodly; Vs. 8, While we were sinners He died for us; Vs. 10, When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son)

Three times we have the statement of Christ's death. In each of these statements one of the threefold conditions of the wicked is met. Let us look at them separately.

1. Christ died for the ungodly. Here we might use the word propitiation, which suggests mercy seat. God in His great mercy made a way through which the ungodly might be restored to fellowship with God. The prodigal in the far country finds a way through which he can return to the father. That way is the way of the shed Blood.

2. Christ died for sinners. Here we might use the word "substitution." A sinner is one who sins. One who sins, sins because he is sinful. God is a holy God, and He cannot receive into His presence the unholy. God is just, and He cannot receive the guilty. It was for this cause that Christ was made sin for us. He took our place, suffered in our stead. He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. The result of this substitution is briefly expressed in this way. God put our guilt over on Christ, and made Him to be sin for us. God put Christ's righteousness over on us, and we were made the righteousness of God in Christ. Thus there is the exchange. There is an exchange of places, because He died in our stead. There is an exchange of conditions, for our sins were on Him, and His righteousness was upon us.

3. Christ died for enemies. The word here which we might use is "reconciliation." We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son. An enemy is a man who is aggressively at odds against the Almighty. The Lord God becomes aggressive in His reconciliation. We read that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Thank God that this ministry of reconciliation has been committed unto us.

IV. WE HAVE THE STATEMENT OF GOD'S THREEFOLD WORK IN BEHALF OF THE WICKED (Romans 5:9-10 )

We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; we shall be saved by His life; we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

1. Through Christ's salvation work we are reconciled. Our mind now goes to the Cross, because it was there that our reconciliation took place. In Ephesians 1:7 we have this statement: "In whom we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins." It is this which makes us accepted in the Beloved.

When you think of reconciliation you must not think that Christ was on earth seeking to pacify, on the one hand, the wrath of God, and the wrath of man on the other hand. That there were two enemies: God and man, that these two enemies were each fighting the other, that God was trying to down the sinner, and the sinner was trying to curse God such a conception is altogether at variance to the message of Scripture.

God could not save the sinner because He was a just God. However, God loved the sinner. This, we have already considered. God commended His love toward us while we were yet sinners.

God was not fighting to down the sinner, because God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. God wants every man to be saved. The sinner was fighting God the Father, and God the Son, and They, together, were seeking to save that which was lost.

God's love was held in check by God's justice. God's love fully sustained God's justice when God reconciled the sinner through the Cross of Christ, In other words, Christ was given to die under the determinate counsel of the Father in order that God through the Cross might reach down and save and reconcile the lost.

2. Kept safe in His life. We are using the literal translation. We are reconciled through His Blood. We are kept safe, or made secure, by His life. Thank God for this picture. We are not only reconciled and saved; we are secure and safe. We have not space to dwell on this, but we suggest that you read John 10:27 , John 10:28 .

3. We are saved from wrath. This salvation awaits us because the wrath of God will be revealed from Heaven when Christ returns, and also at the great white throne judgment. Reconciled by His Blood, secured in His life, and now saved from the day of wrath through His power.

V. THE STATEMENT OF WHAT THE BELIEVER OBTAINS (Romans 5:1-2 )

1. We have the peace of God. This word suggests that the fight is now over. An old Scottish woman when dying was asked if she had made her peace with God. She replied, "I never made any peace with God. God made my peace, and I accepted it." It was through the Blood of the Cross that peace was made. God now receives us into His own presence and fellowship.

It is not something that we should have, but it is something that we do have and must have when we are justified by faith. I would not tell a sinner who has just received Christ as his Saviour that he ought to have peace. I would tell him that he has it. We are not talking of peace and rest which we may have in a world of trouble and sorrow. We are talking of peace with God which we have when our sins are washed away through the Blood.

2. We have access to God. This is the result of peace. If Jesus Christ has made peace by the Blood of the Cross, we have a perfect right of approach now. A sinner in his sin has no method by which he can come to God, but a sinner washed in the Blood of Christ can enter in. The veil of the Temple has been rent. He can come to God through Christ, and God can come to him through Christ. The Book, indeed, tells us that God will come in and make His abode with us.

3. We have hope in God. This word can reach into the future. Our verse says that we "rejoice in hope of the glory of God." What a far-flung, and all-radiant vision! There is a verse which describes the Second Coming of Christ as a coming of glory and power. This is included in our hope. Another verse tells of the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of Heaven, and "the City will have the glory of God." This, too, is our hope. Thank God for these three things; peace with God, access to God, and hope in God.

VI. THE STATEMENT OF SOME THINGS WHICH THE BELIEVER HAS DONE (Romans 5:11 )

1. We have received the atonement. This is set forth in the last statement of our verse. "By Him we have now received the atonement." The word, atonement, in this verse, is the same word which we have in Romans 5:10 , and it should be translated "reconciliation." This brings before us our part as sinners.

God gave Christ to die, thereby making the reconciliation possible. We receive the atonement. We do not make it. Sinners could not reconcile themselves unto God. You remember the hymn:

"Could my tears forever flow,

Could my zeal no respite know?

All for sin could not atone,

Thou must save, and Thou alone."

There is nothing in us and there is nothing to be done by us which would make us worthy of reconciliation with God. However, Jesus Christ was worthy, and in Him the reconciliation was made. This we receive; that is, we accept. John 1:12 puts it this way: "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name."

2. We joy in God. Here is a vision of a life that is redeemed. If we have been saved we are not joying, boasting, or glorying in ourselves. We are giving the glory to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. All of this is set forth in Romans 4:1-25 where we are told that boasting is excluded. We have nothing whereof to glory,

3. When we have redemption and reconciliation to God we may expect to have tribulation. The world in which we walked, and out of which we have now come is a world which is without God, which is at enmity to Him. This world which hates our Lord, hates us. When we gain friendship and fellowship with the Lord, we lose friendship and fellowship with all who hate the Lord and set Him at nought.

The place of the redeemed is by the side of the Redeemer. We are called to walk with Him. We are not only to believe on His Name, but also to suffer for His sake. Our place as Christians is outside the camp with our Lord, bearing His reproach. It is in this that we glory. We suffer not complainingly. The Apostle Paul, in the jail at Philippi was suffering for Christ's sake. He sang as he suffered. The Lord Jesus Christ said on one occasion, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad." Let this be our part.

AN ILLUSTRATION

"THE GREAT SALVATION"

"Salvation, by a Person, Not a Plan. We are not saved by a plan, but by a Man, the Man Christ Jesus, 'God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into Glory.' This is not true of any plan, even though God be the Designer of it. The plan of salvation did not die for us. It was the Son of God Himself, 'the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person,' who loved us and gave Himself for us. A man may backslide for an acquaintance, however accurate, with a plan or a system; but did any one ever backslide from a true heart-love to God in Christ? 'This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only True God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent'"


Verses 12-21

The As and So of Scripture

Romans 5:12-21

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

We wrote a booklet on "As and So," dealing with the "As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man." We now present the wider meanings of some of these Bible combinations As and So.

Perhaps the most striking combinations of the two words are to be found in the fifth chapter of Romans. Let me jot down some of these for you.

"As by one man sin entered * * so death passed upon all" (Romans 5:12 ).

"As the offence, so also is the free gift" (Romans 5:15 ).

"Not as * * by one * * so is the gift" (Romans 5:16 ).

"As by the offence of one * * judgment * * so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men" (Romans 5:18 ).

"As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous" (Romans 5:19 ).

"As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign" (Romans 5:21 ).

We have before us a comparison well worthy of thought. Here are some further suggestions:

1. In each case (excepting the last where it is inferred) the whole entail of sin is laid at the feet of Adam's transgression. How far-reaching then does Adam's sin become? How far-reaching also was Satan's victory over Adam?

Whatsoever we see today in sin's sweep and sway may be traced back to the garden of Eden and to Adam the father of us all.

(1) It was by one man sin entered, so death passed upon all. One man could bring in sin and death, but that man, and all of his natural descendents are all helpless to stay sin's march and sin's result, which is death.

Every effort at social regeneration, or at salvation by any and every scheme known to man, has utterly failed. Sin still rules the hour and death still reigns.

(2) It was by the offense of one (Adam) that all passed under judgment. Sin cannot go unpunished. When God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden, He gave us a picture of what He must do, and will do to every man under sin.

All are under the condemnation. Not one man can escape God's judgment nor His wrath. We speak of man, every man, under sin. Every son of Adam is condemned, because all have sinned.

2. In each case the whole possibility of righteousness is laid at the feet of Jesus Christ, the Last Adam, God's Second Man.

(1) Death in Adam passed upon all, for that all have sinned; eternal life passes upon all in Christ who receive the atonement. Death was sin, life eternal is the result of faith.

(2) As was the offense so is the free gift. The offense brought condemnation through the sin of one, the righteousness of Christ brought the free gift upon all.

(3) One man's disobedience made many sinners; one Man's obedience makes many righteous. In this statement is found God's honor and majesty fully sustained. God cannot save the sinner in his sins. God, however, through Christ made the sinner righteous. The sinner's sin his disobedience was placed onto Christ; Christ's righteousness, by His obedience was passed onto us. He became sin for us, we are made the righteousness of God in Him.

(4) Sin reigned unto death; grace reigns unto eternal life. Here we stop only to stress one thing. Whatever sin did in its havoc of death, grace does in its blessings of righteousness and life. Grace not only abounds over sin, but it superabounds. Man redeemed, reaches a far higher altitude than man knew before sin had touched him.

Thus have we sought to scan briefly the great doctrinal statements of "As Adam * * so Christ" and of "As sin * * so righteousness, and of "As death * * so life."

We have read how: "Upon a steep precipice in the Alps, near Gemi, a white marble cross is erected. Upon the outstretched arms the inscription is placed, 'Jesus only.' A story tells that the only daughter of a noble family, one day while climbing in the mountains, fell from this precipice into the gaping abyss, and lost her life. The parents, bent with grief, could not find comfort. They tried to divert their minds in travel, but could not find any balm. At last they turned to the Lord Jesus, and found comfort and peace. Then upon the mountain slope, where they lost their child, they erected the white cross with the inscription, 'Jesus only.' There is no way to real peace or salvation save 'Jesus only.'" Frommel's Sermons.

Thus, in salvation, we pass from the "As" of Adam and sin's woe to "So" of salvation by Jesus only.

I. THE AS AND SO OF THE CROSS (John 3:14 )

"As Moses lifted up the serpent * * so must the Son of Man be lifted up." When Christ spoke these words, He not only placed His stamp of approval upon the historicity of Moses, but He also asserted that Moses' historical act, which was done under the command of God, was a typical act, looking down through the centuries to the Cross.

Christ's Words also revealed the fact of His fore-knowledge of His Cross. Back in the days of Moses, He knew that He was destined to die. Again, in the early days of His earth ministry, when He was speaking to Nicodemus relative to the plan of salvation, He knew that He had to die.

It was a miracle that brought healing to all who looked at the uplifted serpent. It is a miracle that brings salvation to all who believe upon the uplifted Christ of Calvary's Cross.

The "As Moses" was a historic miracle; the "even so must Christ" was, when spoken, a miracle in anticipation.

Let us look into this more carefully. There are three Greek words which are translated into the one English word "Miracle."

1. The first Greek word is " semeion ." This word means a sign by which anything is designated. The miracle in the wilderness, with its uplifted serpent and the healing of the Israelites, was a sign, because it anticipated and foretold the salvation of sinners through Christ uplifted on the Cross.

It was, moreover, a sign in that it foreshadowed Christ's death by crucifixion long before such a mode of capital punishment was known to man. It was a sign, again, because the serpent was "accursed," and, therefore, foreshadowed Christ who was to be made a curse for us. The healing of those who looked was also a sign of the salvation of those who believe in Christ.

2. The second Greek word is " dunamis ." This word suggests Divine power in action. The uplifted serpent was a " dunamis ," because whosoever looked upon it was healed by the power of God. In this sense, the " dunamis " of the uplifted serpent anticipated the " dunamis " or the saving power of God through the Cross. Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."

3. The third Greek word is " teras ." This word means a wonder. It suggests the marvel of a miracle, the amazement that is caused among men by the miraculous. When the bitten Israelites looked to the uplifted serpent and were healed, they marveled at the healing grace of the eternal God. They knew there was no power in a serpent of brass to heal them from the bite of living serpents, therefore, they glorified God. In the case of Christ uplifted, the believer never ceases to marvel at the grace of God made manifest in His redemption through the Christ of Calvary's Cross. He is filled with praise and wonder as he thinks upon what God hath wrought.

Thus, we have seen how the miracle of "as Moses" is linked to the miracle of "even so Christ" a miracle builded upon a miracle; faith builded upon faith, Once again the brazen serpent lifted up by Moses is indissolubly joined to the Christ who was lifted up by God.

II. THE AS AND SO OF THE RESURRECTION (Matthew 12:40-42 )

Once more we have before us a miracle based upon a miracle. Jonah three days and three nights in the whale's belly, and afterward Jonah cast alive onto the land was a miracle.

Christ three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, and afterward, Christ raised from the dead and alive after His passion was a miracle.

1. The miracle of Jonah was a " semeion " a sign. Christ said, "There shall no sign be given * * but the sign of the Prophet Jonah."

Christ knew the depths of the Jonah sign, when the sign was first set forth in the experience of Jonah, for it was He who wrought the miracle of Jonah swallowed and undigested; and it was He who spoke to the fish, commanding it to cast out Jonah upon the land.

We need not marvel, therefore, that Christ could, in wisdom, declare to the Jews the sign of the Prophet Jonah, and could, with the same wisdom, base His own Deity, with His death and resurrection, upon the Jonah sign.

2. The miracle of Jonah was a " dunamis " power. The power of God alone could prepare a fish that could safely house the runaway Prophet; and the power of God alone could cause the fish to cast Jonah alive upon the land.

Thus, also, Christ raised from the dead was a " dunamis ," because only God has power to raise the dead.

May we suggest that as Christians we need to know the " dunamis " the power of Christ's resurrection in our daily walk and life.

3. The miracle of Jonah was a " teras " a Divine wonder. It was the wonder of Jonah cast alive on the land, and walking alive upon the streets of Nineveh that caused that great city to repent.

No Jewish Prophet, crying, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown," could have made the Ninevites to sue for mercy. It was the marvel and the wonder that Jonah lived that startled the Ninevites into believing. They knew that God, and only God, had preserved the Prophet Men of the cloth may doubt the historicity of Jonah, and the possibility of Jonah being swallowed and then cast alive upon the land, but the repentance of Nineveh is the great attest to its truth.

Thus Christ in saying, "As Jonas * * so shall the Son of Man," based a miracle upon a miracle, and a fact upon a fact.

If Jonah did not live, Christ did not live. Christ, however, did live.

How else can you account for the three thousand saved at Pentecost?

It was the " teras " the marvel of Christ's resurrection that, under the testimony of Peter and the Apostles, and under the power of the descending Spirit, caused the people to cry out, "What shall we do?" and caused them to repent and be baptized.

III. THE AS AND SO OF THE SECOND COMING (Luke 17:28-30 )

We have something different before us in the "as" and "so" of the Lord's Return. The days of Noah and of Lot are likened unto the days of the Coming of the Son of Man.

1. Our Lord did not hesitate to reach back into the historical misty past, and then look forward to the prophetical misty future, and say, "as" and "so."

He knew the details of both the days of Noah and the days of Lot, for He was there. He knew the details of the day of His Coming, for He lives in one eternal "now," and He is there. That which is "misty" to man is "clear sky" to Him.

In the days of Noah and of Lot the wickedness of man had come to the full, and the judgment of God, with miraculous power, fell upon man to his utter undoing.

In the day of the Coming of the Son of Man, the world will be ripe in its iniquity and sin; and the judgments of God will again fall in miraculous power.

2. The Greek words " semeion " and " dunamis " and " teras " all had their part in the judgments of God in those days, and they will be followed in close parallels in the day of Christ's Return to the Mount of Olives.

The comparisons of those historic times, with the times of the. ending of this age, are too many for the space of our study.

With bowed head we marvel at the majesty of the Lord's vision as He spoke this final "as" and "so." His words went across the whole opinion of men. He dared to say what unregenerate man had never dared or cared to say. The world wants smooth words, and flattering words, and words of optimism and of the "upward trend." Christ spoke words to the contrary.

The world wants to prophesy "success," Christ prophesied "failure." The Lord even brought the success of the ministrations of the Spirit, and of the Church, in this day of grace, into seeming disrepute. He was, however, in fact, not speaking of the Spirit's failure, nor of the Church's collapse, He was showing that man, even under such benign privileges, would prove himself altogether corrupted.

3. The wonder of wonders is that nineteen hundred years have passed since our Lord reached back to the days of Noah and of Lot, and said, "as," and looked down to the days of His Coming again, and said, "so." These years have proved that the Lord's words were true.

The "so" of our day is even now fast running into the mold of the "as" of that early historic day. It is now as it was then. Our only conclusion is that we are drawing very near to the days of the Coming of the Son of Man.

Just this one word more. Let no one become discouraged or shaken in his faith by means of the present apostasy, and the prevailing world-wickedness of men. The present day, with all of its sin and sorrow, should only settle, strengthen, and establish faith for Christ's own prophecy has become history; His "as" has become "so," even as He said.

When darkness shrouds the earth around,

When wickedness and sin abound,

His coming draweth near;

Then shout and sing, hosannas ring,

Lift up your heart with cheer,

Christ comes again, with Heavenly train.

Why should you doubt and fear?

IV. THE AS AND SO OF SERVICE (John 17:18 )

1. God sent Jesus Christ into the world. When we think of the Lord Jesus among men, we must think of Him as sent of God. He came under orders; He came to accomplish a definite service; He came to do the will of Another; to fulfill the works of Another, and to speak the words of Another.

Every believer is also sent from God. He is under orders. He must work the works of the One who sent him while it is day. He must speak the message which God gives him to speak, and fulfill the task which God gives him to fulfill.

2. God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. The Lord Jesus, when He moved among men, was the Friend of sinners. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. What marvelous grace is wrapped up in this thought!

The world knew not God; the world was rebellious against God; it would not accept God's Headship. Yet, God sent His Son that the world might not be condemned, but saved.

The Lord Jesus went about doing good, healing and helping, lifting and loving.

Even thus did God send us into the world. The world may hate us as it hated Him, but we must seek to save it. Our ministry is a ministry of love, and of mercy, not of condemnation.

3. God sent His Son to be a propitiation for the sins of the world. Step by step we are entering into the purposes of God toward the world which He, Himself, created. Men are not lost because God hates them. God desires that ail men might be saved. Had God not sent His Son into the world to be a Saviour, no man had ever been saved. Had God not sent His Son as a propitiation, that is, as a mercy seat for sinners, God could not have saved the lost.

Jesus Christ came purposefully to die. He took flesh and blood in order that He might have blood to shed, and that His life might be given as a ransom for men.

God sent Him forth under the Law, that He might redeem those who were under the Law. Men are lost because they reject God's proffered mercy, and spurn God's gracious provision.

We, too, are sent as the Son was sent. The words still ring in our ears: "As the Father hath sent Me, * * even so have I also sent [you]."

We cannot die a substitutionary death as our Lord died, but we can share the stigma of His Cross. We may not die as one, for the sins of the world; but we can live or die in behalf of the gospel message that carries the story of salvation to the world.

Some one said, "God had but one Son and He gave Him to be a missionary." That is true, but in that one Son many have become sons, and they are all sent to be missionaries. Even now we can hear Christ voicing the deeper meaning of our text, as He says, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature."

Souls are dying, dying, dying, in the night,

Hear them crying, crying, crying, for the light,

Who will be their guiding star,

Who will go to lands afar,

Telling them of gates ajar

To mansions bright?

AN ILLUSTRATION

SERVANT, A VOLUNTARY

"And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant." A wealthy family in San Francisco engaged the services of a handsome young Japanese, whose business it was to wash windows and polish silver, furniture, etc He was always called "Sol" and was faithful and obliging. At the end of four years he left of his own accord, having saved some £80. Nothing more was heard from him until one of the daughters, traveling in Europe, attended a court reception at Berlin, and was introduced to "Sol" as "Lieutenant Karo Yatami." She learned that he was wealthy, and the nephew of the Mikado of Japan. His appointment in the German army was by request of his uncle, who had determined to adopt the German military system. The young lady inquired: "Why did you take the position of a servant?" He replied: "Though rich, I believed I could best serve my country by beginning where I did, and thus becoming acquainted with the American manners and customs."


Verses 15-21

Much More the Grace of God

Romans 5:1-5 , Romans 5:15-21

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

We have before us today portions of Romans for our study. The Epistle of Paul to the Romans carries with it one of God's supreme messages for saints. Three great facts stand before us: (1) The fact of sin, with its universality. (2) The fact of redemption, through the Calvary work of Christ, where grace is supreme. (3) The fact of the victorious life in Christ Jesus, through the Spirit.

A fourth message that stands in the limelight in Romans is a special word concerning Israel. This part of the Book includes chapters 9, 10, and 11.

1. The fact of sin. Grace cannot operate apart from the darkness and gloom of sin. The fall of man, with all of the results of his sin against the Most Holy, made possible the operation of God's grace.

Grace is based upon love, and it operates in mercy; but grace bears a deeper meaning than either of the other two.

When love is toward the unworthy, it begins to operate in the realm of grace; and when mercy is shown to the guilty, it works on the basis of grace.

Grace is the kindness of God to us while we were yet sinners. Grace is mercy to the unmerciful; kindness to the unkind; goodness to the wholly bad, and salvation to those unworthy to be saved.

Where worth begins, grace ends; where merit enters in, grace passes out.

One of the great verses of the Bible is this one: "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." There is another verse which is a close kin: He "loved us, and washed us from our sins," that is, He loved us before He washed us.

Thus, where grace abounds, sin abounds. Where there is no sin there may be rivers of love, but grace moves in mercy toward sinners.

2. The fact of redemption from sin and for sinners. Grace is the great motive power that moved God in making Christ an offering for sin. Grace ferreted out the way by which God could be just, and the justifier of the guilty. Grace discovered the way by which God; the holy, could bring man, the unholy, into His Divine presence chamber.

Grace, however, does not end its mercies at the Cross. Grace reaches on into the far vistas of the "ages to come." Here is a Scripture that marvelously magnifies grace: "That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

Grace enters into Heaven; grace passes into the ages beyond, where sin cannot enter, only because saved sinners can enter there.

It is His kindness to us the "us" carries with it the marvelous scope of redemption toward those who once were lost, dead in trespasses and sins.

3. Grace operates through faith. We are familiar with the Scripture, "By grace are ye saved through faith." Grace, is the Divine side; faith, is the human side. Grace, is God moving out toward the lost sinner; faith, is the lost sinner moving out toward God. Grace reaches down; faith reaches up. Grace is God reconciling; faith is man accepting.

There is, however, one thing we must remember, that even faith is the gift of God. Faith is made operative in us, but faith is in us because God put it there. Grace is God seeking to save, by way of the Cross, and by every other means through which He makes it possible for man to be saved. In addition to the work of Calvary, He gives the Word of salvation as found in the Scriptures. He also gives the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin.

Faith is man's act, and yet we still insist that faith is impossible, unless it is wrought in the heart, by God.

I. JUSTIFIED BY HIS GRACE (Romans 4:24-25 )

The Spirit, through the Apostle, has been discussing the utter weakness of a sinner to save himself. He has put special stress upon the fact that the Law cannot save, because the Law is a broken precept. Under the Law, every mouth is stopped, and all the world becomes guilty before God. The man who rests in the Law, and maketh his boast of God, is certain to break the Law, thus bringing dishonor upon God, If we would be saved by the Law, we must be doers of the Law; however, all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. The result is, that, by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.

Grace now steps in and provides a way by which the righteousness of God, without the Law, may be manifested. This is the righteousness of God by the faith of Jesus Christ. It is a righteousness that passes upon all them that believe.

Now we can sing, being justified freely by His grace.

Grace does not operate upon the basis of man's work or deeds. It operates wholly through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Grace is God setting forth His Son to be a propitiation for our sins; grace is God declaring us righteous, through the Blood of Christ. Grace is God granting the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God, upon every one which believeth in Jesus.

II. GRACE FORBIDS HUMAN GLORY (Romans 4:1-5 )

It is natural for the flesh to boast. We delight to say that we have done this, or, that we have done that. When we come, however, into the realm of salvation, there is no place for human glorying.

The Spirit asks, "Where is boasting then?" "It is excluded." How is it excluded? Is it excluded by works? That is impossible. If we were saved by what we are, or by what we do, we would have whereof to glory.

In emphasizing this, the Spirit uses an illustration. Let us mark His words. "If Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God."

Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees. Abraham went out, not knowing whither he went. Abraham became a tent-dweller, looking for a city whose Builder and Maker is God. Abraham offered up Isaac. Abraham paid a tithe to Melchisedec of all that he possessed. These were all works of faith, but by none of them was Abraham justified.

It was not works which justified Abraham, but it was the faith that worked. Abraham believed God, and his faith was counted to him for righteousness. Abraham's faith was not a dead faith, as we have seen. However, it was not the works of faith that saved Abraham, but the faith that works.

If God had counted righteousness unto Abraham because of his works, Abraham would have had every reason to glory; but since Abraham was saved by faith, the reward was reckoned unto him of grace, and not of debt.

The supreme message, herein, is, that justification is to him who worketh not, but to him who believeth on God who justifieth the ungodly; his faith is counted for righteousness.

III. GRACE OPERATES THROUGH FAITH (Romans 4:16 )

Our verse says, "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed."

If salvation were by law-works, it would not be equal to all; but, since salvation is by grace through faith, it is made sure to every one who believes.

Again, the Spirit brings Abraham before us, and speaks of our walking in the steps of that faith, because Abraham's faith was not through law-works; for it was through the "righteousness of faith" that the promise came to Abraham.

The story of Israel, under the Law, abundantly proves man's helplessness to keep the Law. The Law is no more than a schoolmaster to drive us to Christ. The Law can do no more than to prove to us our sin. If we are under the Law, we are under the curse, for it is written, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the Book of the Law to do them."

The Ten Commandments were no sooner given than they were broken. When Moses, coming down from the mountain, beheld the Children of Israel dancing around the golden calf, he broke the tables which held the Law; the Law, that the Israelites had already broken. Thus, "the Law worketh wrath,"

Now we understand the wherefore of grace, and, the position of faith. Once more the faith of Abraham is used as an example: because Abraham against hope, believed in hope. He knew that his own body was as good as dead, for he was about an hundred years old, when God certified to him the birth of Isaac. Yet, "he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief"; but he was strong in faith, giving glory to God. Abraham was fully persuaded, that God was able to give him a son, even Isaac. Therefore, his faith was "imputed to him for righteousness."

What is our conclusion? It is this: Righteousness shall likewise be imputed to us, through faith, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord, from the dead.

IV. THE MUCH MORE OF GRACE (Romans 5:14-15 )

Now come into that matchless chapter, Romans five. This chapter compares the first man, with the second; the first Adam, with the last Adam. It was by one man that sin entered into the world, and death by sin. It was because of that one man's sin, that death passed upon all men, inasmuch as all men have sinned.

Thus, it was that death reigned from Adam to Moses; and, from Moses to this hour.

Over against sin and its reign, through Adam, the Spirit places the free gift of God through Christ. Verse fifteen reads, "Not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one Man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."

How wonderful it all is!

"He saw us ruined by the fall,

Yet loved us notwithstanding all.

He saved us from our lost estate.

His loving kindness, O how great!"

Not only this, but He superabounded in His grace over all the wreckage of sin. What we lost in Adam, we have more than gained in Christ. The depths to which Adam's sin, and ours, has dragged us, are not comparable only to the heights to which the grace of God has lifted us.

We delight in the expression, "Much more the grace of God."

We are now justified by faith. We now have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We now have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and our hearts rejoice.

V. GRACE AND LIFE (Romans 5:17-18 )

It is a gruesome sight to stand and view the result of one man's offence. Our Scripture text says, "Death reigned by one." The world has become but little more than a graveyard. The wreckage of sin is seen on every hand. Death reigns, that is, death is a monarch, holding sway. Death is a monarch, scythe in hand, whose victorious sweep cannot be hindered. We may hold back the ravages of death for a day, by attempting to resist death's reign; but sooner or later every opposing power must succumb, as grim death with open scythe stands victor mid the wreckage which death has wrought.

Every newspaper shows that sin and death still reign. Blood and carnage are ever about us. We who are living, are daily walking through a valley of the shadow of death. Sin and sorrow, shame and suffering, are on every hand. The cries of many wounded and dying are ever in our ears.

Against all of this we read that they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Christ Jesus.

How blessed it is to step out of the valley of death into the garden of life; If sin brought death, and death reigned by one; much more do we reign, in life, by One.

Let the artist paint the shadow of sin and of death with ever so gruesome a detail; yet, his painting will afford no more than the background, which shall enhance the beauty and the glory of the reign in life, which is given to us, by grace.

Let hell be pictured in all of its honors; Heaven doth super-abound in all of its glories.

We delight in God's far-flung vision of redemption. We can almost hear our Lord saying, "The former things are passed away." The new Heaven, and the new earth, and the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, will soon come. God will soon be dwelling with men. What now is before us? "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away," Thank God for the "much more" of grace!

Jesus, my Saviour, Bright Morning Star,

Come soon, Lord Jesus, come from afar;

Thy saints have grown weary with Thy delay,

Bend Thou the heavens, come soon, we pray.

VI. GRACE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS (Romans 5:20-21 )

In the preceding study we spoke of the "much more of grace," in the vision of life and its beneficent results super-abounding over death and its devastating wreckage.

We continue with much the same thought, only, instead of seeing life reigning, we find grace itself is reigning through righteousness unto eternal life.

In Adam sin reigned. In Christ grace reigns. Where sin reigned, the curse reigned. The supreme conception of sin, is its downward pull. Sin steals from us everything that is worth the while. It reigns until it ravages humankind, and reigns unto death.

How blessed it is that we can enter the valley where sin abounded, and find grace superabounding! We who sat under the scepter where sin reigns unto death, now sit in Christ where grace reigns unto eternal life.

We saw in a Georgia swamp, mid the mirk and the mire of death and decay, a beautiful white flower, sending out its fragrance. As we stooped down and plucked it, we thought of how, when we were dead in trespasses and sin, God quickened us, gave us a new life; and raised us, and gave us a new righteousness. Then He caused us to sit down with Him in the Heavenlies, and gave us a new fellowship.

Let us turn our gaze from sin, as it sits upon its throne, reigning unto death, and behold grace, as it sits upon its throne, reigning through righteousness unto eternal life.

Where is he that would not like to renounce the throne and scepter of sin and Satan, and enlist under the throne and scepter of righteousness and of Christ?

VII. THE SUPREME QUESTION (Romans 6:1 ; Romans 6:14-15 )

We have been following God's message concerning grace. We have passed along, step by step, until, by grace and through faith, we have seen ourselves lifted up, from the dominion of sin and of death, and into God's eternal life and glory. A supreme question now is thrown before us. It is twice asked. First in verse one, of chapter six; and again in verse fifteen of the same chapter.

Verse one, asks, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"

Verse fifteen, asks, "Shall we sin, because we are not under the Law, but under Grace?"

The questions are similar, the answer is the same: "God forbid."

Is grace a license to lust, even unto those who have drunk from its bounty? Is grace a permission for impiety? Is grace an encouragement to iniquity? Shall we sin, because grace super-abounds over sin? God forbid.

Grace is a call to live in righteousness. Grace teaches us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.

Shall we who are baptized into Christ's death on the Cross; and then buried with Him by baptism in the likeness of His death, and of His resurrection, continue in sin?

Shall we who, in Christ, are dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God, permit sin to reign in our mortal body, that we should obey it in the lusts thereof?

If we yield ourselves as servants of sin unto death, how can we call ourselves servants of righteousness unto life?

Of old, we yielded our members to the authority of uncleanness and iniquity; but now we yield our members as servants of righteousness unto holiness. God has said, "Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the Law, but under Grace."

AN ILLUSTRATION

Thinking of God's much more of Grace over sin, reminds us of Dr. Biederwolf's story:

"Deeper Than That"

"Depth" (Ephesians 3:18 ).

"When Nansen was looking for the North Pole he found himself in very deep water. He tried to take his sounding, but his line would not reach bottom. He took his book and wrote the date, the length of his line, and added this note: 'Deeper than that.' The next day he lengthened his line and dropped it, and again it failed to touch. Again he wrote down the date and length of his line and added this note: 'Deeper than that.' The next day he gathered all the rope that could be found on the vessel and made it into one long line and dropped it down, but it did not touch the bottom. Once more he took his book and wrote the date, the length of his longest line, and added this note: 'Deeper than that.' Oh, the depth of the love of Christ!"

 


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Bibliography Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Romans 5:4". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/romans-5.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 13th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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