God’s Sovereign Choice
9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,1 my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,2 but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel3 be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,
“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
we would have been like Sodom
and become like Gomorrah.”
30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness4 did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
Life in the Spirit
8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.1 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you2 free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,3 he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus4 from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Heirs with Christ
12 So then, brothers,5 we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons6 of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because7 the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,8 for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
God’s Everlasting Love
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be9 against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.10 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Some manuscripts add who walk not according to the flesh (but according to the Spirit)
Some manuscripts me
Or and as a sin offering
Some manuscripts lack Jesus
Or brothers and sisters; also verse 29
See discussion on “sons” in the Preface
Some manuscripts God works all things together for good, or God works in all things for the good
Or who is
Or Is it Christ Jesus who died . . . for us?
Released from the Law
7:1 Or do you not know, brothers1—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.2 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.3
The Law and Sin
7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Romans 2-6 (11.19.22)
Grab your Bible, and let’s go deeper into Romans 2-6.
The Book of Romans is so good and so necessary for us to study! It is so necessary because our current society is drowning in a love affair with a semi-Pelagianism view of sin. Semi-Pelagianism teaches man is not so totally depraved that he cannot take the initiative in faith to seek God. This heresy is rampant in our culture that all too often has a low a view of sin that emboldens man and robs God of His sovereignty.
Charles Spurgeon rightly said, “He that thinks lightly of sin, thinks lightly of the savior.”
So, today we must look back over the text that we have lived in this week, Romans 2-6, in an effort to grab hold of a biblical view of our sin, its deserving judgment, and therefore the power of God’s amazing, saving grace. It is only when the bad news of our sin is seen clearly that the good news of Jesus is trusted in as our only saving grace.
When we look at Romans 3:10-12, we see Paul quote Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 and say, “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’”
From this small sample, we are given clear view of what God’s word says about the state of mankind!
Let’s look into this further.
1. No one is righteous
We have NO righteousness of our own that is satisfactory in light of God’s utter holiness! The Bible says everything we do apart from Christ is evil (Genesis 6:5; Romans 14:23),that our best efforts at good deeds or righteous living are like fifthly menstrual rags apart from Christ (Isaiah 64:6), and that every one of us fall short of the glory of God apart from Christ’s atoning work on our behalf (Romans 3:23).
2. No one seeks God
Someone might reply, “But I do seek Him,” or “I have been seeking Him all my life.”
Our culture has taught us that for mankind “all things are possible.” Mankind falsely believes that it will always be possible for us to mend our relationship with the Almighty. If it is necessary, we will take care of it ourselves in due time. The problem with this view is it is not what the Bible says.
Romans 3:11 “… no one seeks for God”
Romans 8:7-8 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
The Bible-revealed reality is what man seeks on his own is not God, but a man-made self-salvation based on self-merit. Essentially, it’s a pursuit of a lifestyle that attempts to put God in debt to man.
In this, the good deeds of man are ultimately not true worship or honor to God but are self-glorifying or self-satisfying.
3. No one understands
This is not in regards to our ability to think or reason or understand many things in this life; it is in regard to our spiritual blindness—our utter lack of spiritual perception.
Ephesians 4:17b-18in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
This doesn’t mean we don’t know about Him. The Bible says that even the demons understand who God is and can talk about Him (James 2:19; Matthew 8:29). But the spiritual discernment required to know Him personally is not in them or us in our sin.
1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV) The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
So, what does this mean for mankind who remains in sin apart from God’s saving grace?
The Bible proclaims the sentence for sinners in Romans 6:23:“For the wages of sin is death …”
Jesus declared it in Matthew 7:13: “… For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction …” (NIV).
Hebrews 10:26-27 tells us thatif we keep on sinning there is only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
It is imperative that we note that none of our excuses will have any weight before God.
As we read Matthew 25, we find that the people who were confronted by the Lord’s return made manifold excuses for themselves, just as people make excuses for their wickedness today.
You might be able to get away with giving excuses to other people—your boss, your spouse, your pastor. But you cannot excuse yourself before God. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:19 that in the day of judgment “every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.” When the Judge takes the bench, there will not be a single protest.
In our current day, man is in love with human “rights.” Most people wrongly assume that God owes us something—salvation or at least a chance at salvation. But if we have a right view of our sin and God’s perfect and righteous judgment, we will see that what we are truly owed is eternal wrath.
What we must understand is if God were obliged to be gracious, grace would no longer be grace, and salvation would be based on human merit rather than God’s grace alone to the glory of God alone. To add anything we do to grace is to misapply grace.
All this said, how is it possible that any be saved?
Turn with me to John 11. When Jesus returned to Bethany at the request of the dead man’s sisters, he was told that Lazarus had been dead for four days and that he was already putrefying:
John 11:39 (NIV) … “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
What a graphic description of the state of our moral and spiritual decay because of sin!
Dead, decaying, stinking, hopeless. There was nothing anyone could do for Lazarus in this dead condition. His situation was not merely serious or grim; it was hopeless for man—but not for God!
The good news is Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The good news is Matthew 19:26: “… with God all things are possible.”
Therefore, having prayed, Jesus called, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43), and the call of Jesus brought life to the dead man.
Simply stated, if the Scriptures are clear that men and women are sinful by nature and cannot do anything to save themselves or even prepare themselves to be saved, the Scriptures are equally clear that it is God who saves by grace alone through faith alone on account of Christ alone.
This means that it is God who acts first, upon the sinner, while the sinner is dead in sin. But the good news is that while sinners do not seek God, God in His grace saves sinners (Ephesians 2:1-10).
Grace defined: Grace is an undeserved gift from an unobligated giver
Today, large numbers of evangelicals undermine and effectively destroy the doctrine of grace by supposing or speaking that human beings are basically good and capable of pursuing God apart from God’s gracious intervention.
As soon as we introduce the doctrine of fairness, we introduce a standard of right by which God has to save all or at least give everyone an equal chance of being saved. And this is simply not grace!
We must understand the only thing that is fair, the only thing we deserve, is judgment and condemnation for sin.
This is what is so amazing about grace. This is why we need not make light of sin or our position in sin or God’s attitude towards those in sin. Oh, how desperate man is for God’s saving grace.
So, what is the gospel of grace?
-It is the truth that God reigns supreme over all created things—everything that is from Him, through Him, and to Him. It is for His glory forever and ever. – That’s Romans 11
– It is the truth that man has turned away from God’s glory in sin to make their lives about their own glory—to worship the idol of creation instead of God. – That’s Romans 1 and 3
– It’s the truth that because of our sin, we deserve the righteous eternal wrath of God. — That’s Romans 6
– But in God’s amazing grace, He saves sinners by the perfect shed blood of His Son. — That’s Romans 3
– Those whom God gives ears to hear and eyes to see, who repent of sin and self and trust completely in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and lordship, He justifies, adopts, and secures as His own for eternity. — That’s Romans 8
Romans 8:30 those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
The problem is we want to respond to this amazing grace with the question, “Why didn’t He call everybody?”
When we truly begin to understand our SIN, we should humbly ask, “Why did He call ANYBODY?”
As Charles Spurgeon put it, “There is no reason to be given for grace, but grace.”
God is the Creator and we the creation. It is not ours to ask why.
But for those who He has given grace, we have much to praise Him for. AMEN!
This weekend, may we meditate on the depth of our depravity in sin, thereby fueling our celebration and worship of His glorious grace that has set us free when all we deserved was wrath. As we gather with the redeemed in the church house, may these truths cause us to lift on high His worthy and holy name!
Go back and really meditate on Romans 6 again. Let if define you. Embrace the joyful truth and privilege it is to no longer be slaves to sin but slaves to Jesus in righteousness. Then, may we set out this week, unto purposeful, devoted, sacrificial, obedient living and bold testimony of the gospel of Jesus. All the while, may we be trusting that our sovereign God will open dead hearts with His saving grace as He purposes and wills, for His eternal glory and their eternal good.
By His grace and for His glory
Joshua “Shepherd” Kirstine
Soldiers For Jesus MC
Dead to Sin, Alive to God
6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self1 was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free2 from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Slaves to Righteousness
15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,3 you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.