Kid’s Corner

 

Kid’s Corner

Assurance of Salvation

April 23, 2017

Romans 5:6-11 & 8:31-39

 

Romans 5:6-11 & 8:31-39

(Romans 5:6) For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

According to God’s perfect timing, Christ died for the ungodly, and Paul has already proved that Jews and Gentiles have behaved in ungodly ways—that includes us today. Because we have behaved in ungodly ways, we are unable to save ourselves or stand in the presence of God in the right (as righteous or justified) apart from the work of Jesus Christ and faith in Him. We are powerless to make ourselves right with God. God himself began to make us right with Him when Christ died for the ungodly (which includes us) and God completes our justification (makes us right in His sight and just judgement on the Great Day of Judgment) when we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our sins.

(Romans 5:7) For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.

A “righteous person” in this context is one who appears to be right before the watching world. In their own eyes the Pharisees were “righteous” because of their works according to their laws. Rarely will someone die in the place 0f someone who lives like the Pharisees acted in their presence. A “good person” is probably one who strives to do good to others or help people in need. Paul wrote that a “good person” might so win the admiration or love of someone that they might be willing to die in their place for them.

(Romans 5:8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

When God looked (and looks) at sinners (and all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God—Romans 3:23), God does not see righteous and good people because God looks into our hearts. But rather than see us all judged and condemned to eternal death because we have violated God’s Law of Love, God has proven His love for us by sending Jesus Christ to die for us—so God could be just when He justifies us. Because we know these facts even while we suffer, we have hope for the future and for the glory of God that we will experience in ever greater measures throughout eternity.

 Romans 3:23, 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

(Romans 5:9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

No matter what we feel or what is happening to us or around us, we have the hope, the assurance of God’s fulfilled promises and works, that we will be saved from God’s just punishment on the Great Day of Judgment (the Day of God’s wrath). By grace, Jesus Christ shed His blood as a sacrifice on our behalf and we have been justified and have peace with God now and forever through faith in Him. We know we will be saved on the Great Day of Judgment because God’s love has been poured into our hearts and the Holy Spirit has been given to us.

(Romans 5:10) For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Paul emphasized the benefits of faith in Jesus Christ, and we begin to consciously receive these benefits when we believe in Jesus Christ. We do not trust in our imperfect life and works or what we hope to do in the future, but we trust in the life and works of Jesus Christ who died and rose again for us before we ever repented and began to love and trust in Jesus or our heavenly Father. Since Jesus has done all that Paul has described and even more for us while we were still God’s enemies, by His life and work in our lives we have the assurance that He can and will give us eternal life as He promised (see John 3:16).

John 3:16, 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(Romans 5:11) And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

When we sinned against God and refused to love God and others as we ought, we sinned personally against a personal God (not some distant dictator or potentate who is concerned only for his selfish interests and obedience to his rules). After we rebelled against God and brought disgrace upon ourselves, we could not have an acceptable personal relationship with God because of our true moral guilt. A judge in a courtroom can justify or condemn us impersonally without ever desiring to have a personal, loving relationship with us. But God created us in His image and God loves us and wants to have an eternal loving personal relationship with us. Therefore, Jesus Christ came into the world to justify, forgive, and pardon guilty sinners; through Jesus Christ God has established a personal, loving relationship between God and us. Jesus prays for us as our High Priest in heaven, God the Father hears and answers His prayers for us, and the Holy Spirit indwells us to comfort and guide us—these are some of the fruits of reconciliation that we have received by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Our reconciliation is with and through the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Our justification through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ made our reconciliation possible. Our God and King, the Judge of the universe, wants to have a personal, loving, everlasting relationship with us, and through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ we have become true and lasting friends with God and members of His forever family.

(Romans 8:31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

Earlier in his Letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God” (Romans 8:14) and “It is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16) and “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26). From the written Word of God and the Holy Spirit within us, we know God is for us as our Lord and Savior. Whoever thinks they are against us and who tries to work against us will have whatever they say and do overruled by God and worked out for our eternal and ultimate good (if not physically in this life, then certainly spiritually and for the next life). We will be glorified as God purposed according to His will in spite of anything ever done to us by anyone or anything or any other being (angel or devil).

 Romans 8:14, 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

 

Romans 8:16, 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

 

Romans 8:26, 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

(Romans 8:32) He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

To illustrate or prove his point, Paul argued that the greatest gift God could ever give us was His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. God gave Jesus Christ up for every believer and He could give us no greater gift. Along with Christ, God has given us everything we need to grow in grace, love, and holiness in this life and throughout eternity. God freely gives us what is best for us and all these things are related to Jesus Christ in some way.

(Romans 8:33) Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;

Christians are justified. Now, or if they appear in God’s courtroom in the future, God has and will declare Christians to be right with Him, right in the sight of God, right in His Kingdom, and not under any condemnation — all these things and more God will declare because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If anyone ever dares to bring any charge of being guilty for anything past, present, or future against a Christian, God has already declared them and will declare them in the future, “Not guilty.”

(Romans 8:34) who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

God has not and will not condemn us, nor will God allow anyone to bring a charge against us and condemn us. God will not allow this to ever happen in His Kingdom though it will happen to believers on earth in earthly kingdoms. Christ died to justify believers and He rose again to sit at the right hand of God to advocate and intercede in behalf of believers. The believer has assurance of salvation from the saving work of Jesus Christ in their behalf, from the fact that the indwelling Holy Spirit intercedes and prays for them (Romans 8:26) and from the fact that Jesus Christ intercedes and prays for them from the right hand of God (Romans 8:34). Consider also: “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens” (Hebrews 7:25-26).

Romans 8:26, 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:34, 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

 

Hebrews 7:25-26, 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

(Romans 8:35) Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

God has and will graciously give believers all things in Christ Jesus and believers have the assurance of the love of God and Christ. Believers are heirs of God and Christ, and in this life believers will suffer with Christ and be glorified with Christ (Romans 8:17). Throughout history believers have suffered everything Paul has listed here. Through all of these afflictions, believers may be assured that Christ loves them and will be with them. In his Letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Romans 8:17, 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

 

2 Corinthians 4:17, 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

(Romans 8:36) Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”

Paul referred back to the Old Testament to reaffirm that the afflictions of Christians in this life were to be expected (Paul quoted Psalms 44:22). Christians suffer rejection, persecution, and death for the sake of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the same as Jesus suffered for His gospel and our salvation, and as the true prophets in the Old Testament suffered for preaching the truth of God. Christians suffer as sheep that do not fight back because they are powerless to fight back, though Jesus who is all-powerful chose not to fight back when He suffered and died on the cross to save us from our sins. In Old Testament times perhaps, people did not give much thought to a sheep that was sheared or slaughtered, the same as many today do not give it much thought when Christians are tortured or martyred.

Psalm 44:22, 22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

(Romans 8:37) But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Everything good that we are, have, and will have in the future we enjoy because God loves us and loved us enough to send Jesus Christ into our world to live, die, and live again for us. God’s Word and Spirit led us to faith in Jesus Christ. Christ enabled the just and merciful forgiveness of God for our sins. Christ cleansed us of sin and made us fit for the Holy Spirit to live in us. Christ sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and intercede for us. Because of these events of God in Christ for us, and the intercession of Christ and the Holy Spirit for us, we are more than simple conquerors when afflicted or attacked; someday we will be completely prepared by Christ to rule and reign with Him in His Kingdom as complete victors over all of His enemies and ours.

(Romans 8:38) For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

In general, Paul wrote a compelling list of what the followers of Jesus Christ may face with more or less intensity depending on the purposes of God for them. In death and in life, we might face good angels or evil demons, and these may come to us unexpectedly and in unusual ways, but no power on earth or in heaven can separate us from God in Christ, because God loves us and God is all-powerful and willing to save us.

(Romans 8:39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Our future and our security no matter what happens rests in God, and we know God loves us and promises to care for us throughout eternity because of Jesus Christ and what He has done and does for us. His intercession for us is only one of many things Jesus does for us. He is our Lord and the Lord over all creation; therefore, He works all that happens and will happen to us for God’s purposes and our benefit — and He will do so forever.

 

 

 

 

 

Assurance of Salvation

April 23, 2017

Romans 5:6-11 & 8:31-39

 

“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life— is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).

God proved His love for us by sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins. God did not wait until we felt sorry for all the ungodly and sinful things we have said and done. God did not wait for us to recognize that we were powerless to change ourselves without His help. God did not wait for us to long to be made right with Him, with others where possible, and within ourselves. No. Because God loves us, God acted first. At the right time, God sent Jesus to save us from ourselves and from the eternal punishment we deserve because of our behavior. By God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, God made us right with Him. Through our continuing relationship with Jesus Christ, we stay right with Him, and we begin to make the changes in our lives that God knows is best for us and others. We still face temptations and sin sometimes; we sometimes suffer unexpectedly, but God loves us and remains faithful to us. We know this because Jesus died to save us. More than this, Christ rose from the dead and assures us of eternal life. More than this, because Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, all the power God can rightly and wisely use each day in our behalf God will use. Finally, as though this were not enough, Jesus Christ prays for us each day knowing our trials and temptations in advance. Because Jesus lives for us, nothing will separate us from God’s love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking Further

Assurance of Salvation

April 23, 2017

Romans 5:6-11 & 8:31-39

Name _______________________________

 

 

  1. What were we like when Christ died for us?

 

 

  1. How much of your relationship with God depends on Jesus Christ and His life, death, and resurrection? Give a reason with your answer.

 

 

  1. What does it mean to you to be justified and glorified?

 

 

  1. What reason did Paul give for us to believe “that God would graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32)?

 

 

  1. Why can no one succeed with God if they bring a charge against us or condemn us as a Christian? Give a reason for your answer.

 

 

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

 

  1. What were we like when Christ died for us?Powerless, ungodly, sinners, God’s enemies.
  2. How much of your relationship with God depends on Jesus Christ and His life, death, and resurrection?Give a reason with your answer. All of my relationship depends on Jesus Christ because I have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. I am saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ; therefore, I love God and want to obey God and maintain the relationship with God that God has called me to have with Him through Christ. The Holy Spirit within me helps me have a right relationship with God day-by-day, so every good thing I do depends on God.
  3. What does it mean to you to be justified and glorified?For me, to be justified means I know I am forgiven by God and I am and will be declared right by God and with God because of the grace of God in Jesus Christ who died and rose again for me—I trust in Jesus Christ for my eternal salvation. For me, to be glorified means I know God has cleansed me from sin and has sanctified me (set me apart for His holy use) and will continue to help me grow in grace and conform to His will so I can show forth the glory of Christ in this life and be enabled to show for His glory forever when He has given me a resurrected, glorified, and perfected human body, mind, and spirit for eternity.
  4. What reason did Paul give for us to believe “that God would graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32)?God did not spare His Son but gave Him up for us all.
  5. Why can no one succeed with God if they bring a charge against us or condemn us as a Christian?Give a reason for your answer. God has chosen and justified us as Christians. Christ died and rose again for us. Christ is at the right hand of God and He is interceding for us as Christians. The Holy Spirit is within us praying for us. God loves us and nothing can separate us from His love in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Word Search

Assurance of Salvation

April 23, 2017

Romans 5:6-11 & 8:31-39

Name _____________________________

 

 

S Y V C R X W X I R G P D L C

J U M G L Z S R E Y O X O S E

U C S Z U H X C M W N V R P T

S R V E E Q O Z E O E O I J B

T I D E J N T R S Y R F H O Q

I G P W C K L D F E J G E V P

F H U I S E E S U C H R I S T

I T L M S I M Q E A D A X J Q

E E H S D F N U X P V E S W A

D O P D Q O Z N H O A O V B J

F U B O C W K Q E G M R W A G

L S T O G X S J M R N U A F S

Q X E L N O W E A K S W R T J

A B J B H C O U N G O D L Y E

O T N M G N I D E C R E T N I

 

Powerless

Weak

Christ

Died

Ungodly

Righteous

Good

Love

Sinners

Justified

Blood

Saved

Reconciled

Son

Interceding

Separate

Sheep

Conquerors

 

 

 

True and False Test

Assurance of Salvation

April 23, 2017

Romans 5:6-11 & 8:31-39

Name _________________________________

 

  1. Jesus Christ died at just the right time for the ungodly.True or False
  2. We are strong enough to obey God perfectly each day, if we will just make up our minds to do so every morning.True or False
  3. Most will not die for a righteous person.True or False
  4. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.True or False
  5. If we get baptized in clean, flowing water, we can save ourselves from God’s wrath.True orFalse
  6. Christ died, was raised to life, is at the right hand of God, and intercedes for Christians.True or False
  7. Paul listed three people and three things that can separate Christians from Christ’s love.True or False
  8. If we will just boast in God to our neighbors every morning, we will not face death all day long.True or False
  9. Some think Christians are of no more value than sheep to be slaughtered.True or False
  10. Christians are more than conquerors through Christ, Who loves them.True or False

 

 

 

 

Answers to the True and False Test

Romans 5:6-11 & 8:31-39

Sunday, April 23, 2017

 

  1. True
  2. False
  3. True
  4. True
  5. False
  6. True
  7. False
  8. False
  9. True
  10. True

 

Prayer

O God, Your love for us in Christ is indescribable! As we ponder how You reconciled us to yourself, may we be examples of people who are also reconciled to one another. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

ADULT LESSON

 

Sunday School Lesson

April 23

Reconciling Love

 

Devotional Reading: Romans 1:1-15

Romans 1:1-15, 1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

Background Scripture: Romans 5:1-11; 8:31-39

Romans 5:6-11

6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Romans 8:31-39

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Key Verses

I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Romans 8:38, 39

Romans 8:38, 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

 

Romans 8:39, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Lesson Aims

After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:

  1. List reasons why God’s reconciliation in Christ is invincible.
  2. Explain the connection between being justified and being reconciled.
  3. Identify and implement one personal life change to make in order better to live out God’s reconciling love.

Introduction

  1. Assuring Victory

We’ve just passed the time of year known in the sports world as March Madness. Media was saturated with coverage of this, the highlight of the year in college basketball. That coverage is certain to include analysis of the preparations that coaches and players undertake to assure victory. Such preparations cover a wide spectrum, from the eminently practical to the hilariously superstitious. But history tells us that there is no 100 percent assurance of victory, no matter what preparations are made. Upsets happen!

By contrast, the two text segments of today’s lesson speak of that which is assured absolutely. God has done all the work through Christ to bring about this blessed assurance.

  1. Lesson Background

Paul’s letter to the church in Rome sets forth the grand scope of what he calls “my gospel” (Romans 2:16; 16:25). This scope includes how it addresses the deepest need of rebellious humanity, how it fulfills the foundational promises that God made to His people in history, and how it transforms death to life and slavery to freedom. The result is nothing less than fallen humanity’s reconciliation with their Creator.

Romans 2:16, 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

 

Romans 16:25, 25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

In laying out these truths, Paul was urging the Christians in Rome to renew their commitment not just to God but also to one another. Apparently the church had experienced a certain division between Christians of Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds. Each group seemed to have been asserting a greater claim to God’s forgiveness (compare Romans 2:17-29; 11:13-24). This tawdry game of one-upmanship was intolerable, so Paul demonstrated that no group can claim a privileged position; all people are rebels against God (3:9-18, 23).

Romans 2:17-29, 17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;

19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,

20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.

21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?

22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?

23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?

24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?

27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

 

Romans 11:13-24, 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

 

Romans 3:9-18, What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:

16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:

17 And the way of peace have they not known:

18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Romans 3:23, 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

But through Christ all can be reconciled to God (Romans 3:21-26). To be a Christian is to be one “whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered” by the blood of Christ (4:7). This state of blessedness is available to both Jew and Gentile, without prejudice (4:9). These facts are preparatory for Paul’s unfolding argument.

 Romans 3:21-26, 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

 

Romans 4:7, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

 

Romans 4:9, Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

  1. Enemies Become Children (Romans 5:6-11)

The “therefore” of Romans 5:1 introduces the theme of assurance in terms of the peace the Christian has now and the hope he or she has for the future. When we reach verse 6, the apostle allows us to consider even greater proof of the assured peace and hope that Christians have as God’s reconciled people.

  1. Love and Death (vv. 6-8)
  2. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Regardless of who we are or what we have done, we are helpless to overcome the result of our rebellion against God. We can resolve to do better, and we may do so. But we can never go back and change what we have done. Paul has shown at this point in his letter that all are guilty of sin and without means of removing their own guilt.

But it is at this very point of weakness—our inability to reverse the guilt and power of our own sin—that Christ’s saving work comes to bear. Christ came for those who are unable to help themselves, which is everyone. We are all members of the ungodly (compare Romans 4:5) before He rescues us. The ungodly have not shown God the honor that is His right and due.

Romans 4:5, But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Further yet, Christ did not simply come for the ungodly, as if merely to teach us how to live better. He died for us willingly. In His strength He gave himself over to utter weakness for the sake of the weak. In His goodness He gave His innocent life in place of our guilty lives. On His gracious love, demonstrated at the cross, stands the believer’s confident assurance.

What Do You Think?

What convinces you most that you need daily what God offers in Christ?

Points for Your Discussion

Regarding physical challenges

Regarding spiritual challenges

Regarding relationship challenges

Other

  1. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

A person dying for another is most exceptional. Paul reminds us of this point to emphasize how extraordinary Christ’s death is and how far beyond ordinary human experience God’s love is.

Let us imagine, says Paul, a righteous man, someone who has been obedient to the laws and standards of society. Only in the rarest of cases can we imagine someone volunteering to die in the place of even such an honorable person. Then let us imagine a good man, one who “out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good” (Luke 6:45). Certainly someone might voluntarily dare to die on his behalf, but even that would be rare.

Luke 6:45, 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

  1. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ did not die for righteous or good people. No, Christ died for sinners, for people who had rebelled against His authority as the divine king, “the ungodly” of verse 6. This is well beyond even the outer bounds of human heroism!

The cross of Christ sets before the world the full demonstration of God’s love. God loves not as humans do. We focus our love on those closest to us, but God’s love is for everyone. It is boundless and utterly self-sacrificial. His love is for His enemies—and our sin makes us all His enemies at one time or another. The extent of God’s love is seen in what He gives for the benefit of His enemies: the life of His Son.

Let there be no mistake here. God the Son, sinless himself (2 Corinthians 5:21) and sent by God the Father (John 3:16), physically died on a wooden cross to pay the penalty of the guilty (Romans 3:23-26). We will not be able to imagine a firmer foundation for confidence in our relationship with God than the cross of Christ. The death of the Son assures our peace and hope.

2 Corinthians 5:21, 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 

John 3:16, 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

Romans 3:23-26, 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

  1. Justification and Reconciliation (vv. 9-11)
  2. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

The New Testament uses the language of salvation in different senses. Concerning time-based senses, which are seen here, we can think of salvation both in terms of what we possess right now and also as something that awaits realization in the future (Colossians 3:3, 4; 1 John 3:2).

Colossians 3:3, For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

 

Colossians 3:4, When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

 

1 John 3:2, Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

By Christ’s death (his blood) repentant sinners can be counted as righteous in the present (being now justified; compare Romans 3:21-26). The fundamental truth is this: Christians stand justified before God—meaning treated as if not guilty of our sin—because of the righteousness imputed to us by Christ’s work alone; being justified does not result from anything meritorious we have done. A marvelous result is that we enjoy God’s blessings daily (Romans 4:6-8; etc.).

Romans 3:21-26, 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 4:6-8, Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Regarding the future, we have no fear of Judgment Day. Being justified means to be saved from wrath—the wrath of God. That future outpouring of anger will be His righteous, holy response to evil (Romans 2:5; Revelation 6:15-17; 11:18; etc.). Since God counts us as His people in the here and now, then certainly He will also save us from the wrath of judgment! His reconciling love assures our eternal future as long as we remain faithful (Romans 11:17-22; 1 Corinthians 15:1, 2; Colossians 1:21-23; Galatians 5:4).

Romans 2:5,But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

 

Revelation 6:15-17, 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

 

Revelation 11:18, 18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

 

Romans 11:17-22, 17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

 

1 Corinthians 15:1, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

 

1 Corinthians 15:2, By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

 

Colossians 1:21-23, 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

 

Galatians 5:4, Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

What Do You Think?

What are some ways to express the confident assurance that Christ’s death gives us?

Points for Your Discussion

In relationships

In priorities

In stewardship

In worship

Other

  1. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

This verse reveals parallels with verse 9 as Paul expands on his point about our present status in relation to our assured future. One parallel consists of the words “justified” (v. 9) and “reconciled” (here in v. 10). The former is from the language of the courtroom; the latter is from the language of relationships. Their use in parallel here may give Paul’s readers an understanding that they might not otherwise have thought about. The parallel phrases “by his blood” (v. 9) and “by the death of his Son” (here in v. 10) help ensure that the readers don’t miss this connection.

Looking back, we see that at one time we were enemies of God—the king’s subjects who had mounted a rebellion against Him. Not only were we hostile to Him, He was hostile to us (Romans 1:18-32). God overcame that state of hostility, but it cost Him dearly as the Father gave the Son over to death. Our penalty has been taken by another—the Son of God himself. Since God has paid such a high price to make possible the transforming of His enemies into His children (Romans 8:14-17), we can have utter confidence about the future (compare 2 Timothy 4:8).

Romans 1:18-32, 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

 

Romans 8:14-17, 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

 

2 Timothy 4:8, Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Correct Sequence

In August 2014, a white policeman fatally shot a black man in Ferguson, Missouri, after a complicated chain of events. The result was a two-week wave of unrest. More unrest resulted in November when a grand jury declined to indict the officer.

Whether or not the grand jury’s decision was proper in this particular incident, the U.S. Department of Justice subsequently determined that the practices of the Ferguson police department “violate the law and undermine community trust, especially among African Americans.” This incident and its aftermath served to focus public attention yet again on issues of justice and reconciliation.

While some are quick to call for racial reconciliation, others say that justice must come first. How those two concepts interrelate can be complicated when they concern human-to-human relations! Part of the problem involves defining the terms justice and reconciliation to the satisfaction of all concerned.

But regarding our relationship with God, everything is quite straightforward: justice has already been served in the fact that the penalty for sin has been paid by Christ on the cross. This is the basis for our reconciliation with the one we once treated as an enemy—God.—C. R. B.

What Do You Think?

How should Christ’s death for us as His enemies affect the way we respond to our own enemies?

Points for Your Discussion

In terms of our thoughts and memories

In terms of our words

In terms of our actions

  1. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

As our reconciliation in the present assures us of salvation in the future, so our future salvation transforms our present. Because we are justified, because we are reconciled, because we are saved—all through our Lord Jesus Christ—we have a triumphant declaration to make continually. We also joy, that is, we victoriously boast, about what God has accomplished in Christ. Love like this cannot be kept a secret.

  1. Children Become Conquerors                               (Romans 8:31-39)

Between the two segments of today’s text, Paul further contrasts the readers’ new status in Christ with their status before coming to Him (Romans 5:12-7:6). This leads into thoughts on the purpose of the law in relation to sin (7:7-25) and implications of life in the Spirit (8:1-30). With those tasks completed, he is ready to summarize the “assurance section” of Romans, which extends from 5:1 through 8:39.

 

 

  1. Invincible Advocate (vv. 31-34)
  2. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

In this section, Paul uses a series of questions to summarize the believer’s status in God’s love. The first question concerns the proper perspective to have in light of all that God has done. That question is answered with another, the answer to which is obvious. God is the greatest being, and what He has done to reconcile us is the greatest act of love we can imagine. So since God is our advocate—proven by what Jesus accomplished on the cross—then no opponent can prevail against us. Whatever hardships life brings, the cross speaks God’s assurance to us.

  1. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

As he has done before, Paul reasons from God’s past actions to His future actions. To reconcile us, God gave his own Son to suffer a tortuous, shameful death in our place. Christ put God’s plan into action with great pain but greater determination (Luke 22:39-44).

Luke 22:39-44, 39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.

40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

In light of the cross, what will God do in the future? Surely He will affirm His Son’s sacrifice by making Him the world’s king! But just as surely, He will affirm that sacrifice by making us to share in the Son’s rule of the world (compare 1 Corinthians 15:25-28). Like a victorious army under an invincible general, God’s people in Christ share with Christ the celebration of His victory.

1 Corinthians 15:25-28, 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

  1. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

No charge of guilt can be valid against those to whom Christ’s blood has been applied—those whom God has made His elect (“chosen”) because of their faith in His Son. Such people are in right standing with God, who has paid the penalty for their sin. No one can allege guilt where God pronounces innocence. “The accuser of our brethren is cast down” (Revelation 12:10).

Revelation 12:10,10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

  1. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Should Jesus’ followers worry that a charge of guilt will somehow slip through the forgiveness that God has provided? The answer is found in what Christ has accomplished. Christ’s death was sufficient to pay the penalty of the sin of all humanity. His resurrection demonstrated His victory over the death that would have been our just punishment.

Jesus now rules in the position of supreme authority in Heaven. There He maketh intercession for us in the heavenly court of justice, an advocate who asserts authoritatively that our penalty is paid in full. There is no voice that speaks more authoritatively than His, nor any charge that is greater than the sacrificial price that He paid. As victor over death, Christ is the unanswerable advocate.

What Do You Think?

In what specific ways can our church express in action that Christ was victorious in death?

Points for Your Discussion

Regarding outreach (evangelism, benevolence, etc.)

Regarding upreach (worship, prayer, etc.)

Regarding inreach (fellowship, nurture, etc.)

  1. Insufficient Opponents (vv. 35-39)
  2. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Having assessed our divine advocate, Paul now discusses various things that may threaten to separate us from the love of Christ. All are formidable. All are painful. But none measures up to God the Father or Christ the Son.

The listing is of the range of experiences that cause people to suffer. Tribulation is pressure or trouble of any kind. Distress is similar: a term for pressured, painful trouble. Persecution is the hardship wrought by people who deliberately oppose us.

The ancient world knows famine as a constant threat. The same is true for nakedness, when clothing is made by intensive manual labor and therefore very expensive. Paul uses the word perils eight times in 2 Corinthians 11:26 to refer to numerous dangers he had faced to that point in his missionary travels. Sword reminds us specifically of human violence.

2 Corinthians 11:26, 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

When faced with the difficulties of life, people ask, “Where is God? Does He no longer care about me?” But that’s not what Paul asks. His preference is to ask whether anything can cancel the love of God that Christ has brought to us by His cross. Christ triumphed after He suffered. And in one way or another, we too will triumph after each and every suffering we endure. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12).

2 Timothy 2:12, 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

 

 

What Do You Think?

What guardrails can you erect to ensure that you do not separate yourself from the love of Christ during times of difficulty?

Points for Your Discussion

When unbelievers scorn your faith

When you feel “not good enough”

When negative circumstances pile up

Other

  1. As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

The question of why God’s people suffer is as old as humanity. Paul quotes an ancient biblical text to remind us of this, Psalm 44:22. There the faithful call out to God to deliver them as He had done for His people in the past. These words express the experience of God’s people in every age, including those who can look back on the cross and therefore know the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Psalm 44:22, 22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Human experiences are truly painful, as this quotation expresses. But as God’s past deeds of deliverance provided assurance, so now Christ’s victory provides even greater confidence.

God’s Love Is Greater

American Christians have sometimes used the word persecution to describe their loss of a dominant role in American culture as values have changed. Often cited as evidence of this phenomenon are limits on Christian prayers at civic gatherings. But what’s happening elsewhere in the world makes American “persecution” seem like a minor skin rash.

As Islamic militias expanded their violent control in the Middle East and Africa a few years ago, Christians there began to suffer severely. Many were beheaded publicly for the simple fact that they were Christians. Islamic radicals are the primary persecutors of the church in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia, and other parts of Asia. By one estimate, at least 180 Christians were killed each month for their faith in mid-2015.

It happened in the first century as well. Yet in writing to the Christians in Rome, Paul expressed his strong assurance of hope. Regardless of how much other people might hate them, God’s love would be greater. Should martyrdom be their lot, God’s love would still surround them (compare Acts 7:54-60). Do you know a “suffering someone” who needs your prayer that he or she continue to honor Christ?—C. R. B.

Acts 7:54-60, 54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,

58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

  1. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

God’s people experience a victory so great that Paul uses an intensified Greek word found nowhere else in the New Testament. In English it comes out as we are more than conquerors. Paul’s confidence is not in his own strength, but in God’s love-motivated victory in the work of Christ.

38, 39. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

To bring his point to a climax, Paul lists various threats to anticipate. He begins with death—the great fear of all people and the sentence that God pronounces on sin (Genesis 2:17; 6:3; Romans 5:12). Christ has overcome death by His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12-34). Life contrasts with death, but here it is named as a threat: anything that might befall as one lives. God’s power is more than sufficient to overcome what life throws at us.

Genesis 2:17, 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

 

Genesis 6:3, And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

 

Romans 5:12, 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

 

1 Corinthians 15:12-34, 12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

Angels, principalities, and powers are terms used in Paul’s time for spirit beings. These threaten weak, mortal humans (Ephesians 6:12), but Christ stands supreme over all of them (Colossians 2:15). Things present and things to come suggest both our immediate circumstances and whatever may come our way. The terms height and depth encompass all that is above us and all that is below. The final category of any other creature is an all-inclusive catch-all to refer to any created thing imaginable.

Ephesians 6:12, 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

 

Colossians 2:15, 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Our relationship with God is secure because His love cannot be overcome by any external force or being. Christ Jesus our Lord, who reigns supreme, makes the ultimate outcome of God’s love utterly certain.

 

Conclusion

  1. The Light of God’s Love

Based as they are in the facts of Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension, today’s texts paint a picture of enormous comfort: God’s love reconciles us to Him with utter certainty. Because our relationship to God is founded on His love in Christ and not on any goodness of ours, we can have complete confidence that we are now, and will always be, His saved and blessed people.

Even so, every believer has times of doubt as the turmoil of life raises questions about ourselves and our relationship to God. What transforms doubt into renewed faith is the good news of the cross and empty tomb. The divine Son of God gave His life to pay sin’s price for us when we were His enemies. His resurrection assures our own. Even in our darkest moments, the light of God’s love in Christ can shine brightly.

  1. Prayer

O God, Your love for us in Christ is indescribable! As we ponder how You reconciled us to yourself, may we be examples of people who are also reconciled to one another. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

  1. Thought to Remember

When in doubt, remember the cross and the empty tomb.