Read Romans 5:1-11
Jesus Saves and Gives
Christ saved us: Jesus saves! Since not all are saved, Christ's redemption is not for everyone; this is what is called "Limited Atonement" (not meaning that His work and sacrifice was not sufficient). If it were for everyone, then there would be universal salvation-that is, everyone, regardless of faith or belief, would be saved (John 6:35-57; 10:15-18; 27-29; 11:51-52; Eph. 1:3-14; Gal.2:20; 3:13-14; 4:4; 5:1; 1 Pet. 1:20; 1 John 4:9-10; Rev.1:4-6; 5:9-10; 22:17). Christ was not limited in what He could do with His Godhood and power, but, His redemption is for the "elect", those He chose and foreknew for God's purpose.
Christ transforms us: The Gospel is the continual functioning of divine power because it is the means by which all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are transferred from the realm of sin and death into the realm of the Spirit and life! The great, fundamental aspect of life is that we have been saved and redeemed, and we received it when we realized we needed it!
Christ Redeems us: We who are justified by faith now have peace with God. Thus, we are to rejoice in our hope (of what He did for us and in Heaven to come), and rejoice and glory in the midst of troubles. The abundant love of God was shown to us when He reconciled us to Himself by the death of his Son even while we were still unworthy sinners and His "enemies." Through Him, the created order has been restored in the righteousness of Christ (John 10:15), as we are a totally new creation (Solus Christus, "by Christ alone").
Christ gives us Atonement: Atonement means covering-that Christ covered us with His righteousness so God would not see our sin and would not be contaminated by us. Atonement, in the Old Testament, was accomplished by animal sacrifice that covered sins, but did not put them away as Christ does with us.
Christ takes our sin: Christ no longer holds our sins against us. Thus, we are right with God because of Christ, not because of our faith and obedience; rather, because He has paid our debt. Our faith and obedience are the fruit and proof. Thus, salvation is not logic or knowledge (2 Cor. 5:17-19). It is not optimism or wishful thinking, but the fact of the love of God. Our relationship with God is through Christ. Christ's redemption took away our sins and preserved us in faith for God's glory.
Christ Assures us: God assures us of our salvation and motivates us to rejoice and glory in Him no matter what happens or what we go through, because He has gone through more. Our confidence is in Christ and His character-not self-esteem, but "Christ-esteem"!
Christ is fair: This Romans passage (5:1-21) answers the common objection that sin is not fair. Sin entered into the world by one man, Adam, and it affected all people; the grace of God, which justifies us, came into the world by One man/God. Adam, along with all of us, deserved to die; Christ did not. Thus, it is unfair to God-not to us! The law proved that we deserve sin unto death; but we are offered the superior, abounding love of grace, as "reigning through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ."
Christ gives us grace: Grace was not an after-thought of God, but a part of the plan all along. Jesus Christ, by His love and grace, transcends the boundaries of our sin to give us His Grace. Yes, this grace saves us, but it also does so much more. It gives us the joy to endure the harshness of life. He gives us the hope to persevere and makes our life purposeful and meaningful. He does this with His Spirit and His love! He gives us access to Himself. It is God's abiding love that keeps us attached in grace and purposed for His glory. Alone, we would quickly fall away into our sin, and forget who we are in Christ, just as the Israelites did throughout the Old Testament, especially in Judges 2. God has always dealt with people-from Adam to the Patriarchs, prophets and all-with grace. The Old Testament helps us understand the conflict and limit of the Law. We are all in Adam; we had no control over our first birth, but we had to learn (John 16:33). The Holy Spirit is the glue who keeps us sticking together. He takes us, who are His enemies by our sin, and reconciles us so we are no longer enemies, but rather His friends (John 14-15).
Christ Justifies us: Justification means that not only has God forgiven and accepted you, He has covered you with the righteousness of Christ. Therefore, you are pleasing to God. Justification is not just insurance from Hell, but is lasting and a source of blessings. The implications of justification are our true riches, our access to God through the Holy Spirit by what Christ has done. It is an aspect of His Love that Christ died in our place. The love that flows from us is not from us, but from God through His Spirit (1 Cor. 13). We cannot prove love; we can only respond and obey it. All this happened in God's timing (John 17:1; Acts: 2:23; Gal. 4:4), thus we need to trust God and His timing, and not ours.
Christ gives us riches: Our riches, such as how wonderful it is to be a Christian, are beyond precious. We have love, hope, joy, and grace. We have access to God anytime; if riches were based on our works, it would be limited to depending on what we did and we can do nothing to please God on our own and thus have nothing of eternal value.
Christ gives us peace:Peace means we have been reconciled and are no longer His enemies as when we were in sin. We have assurance and hope, and our sin and guilt have been covered and removed from His sight; however, it must be accepted and received by faith. Our idea of justice cannot be a factor to an all-knowing and all-powerful God. This understanding helps give us our contentment!
Christ takes us through hard times: Trials work in our favor (Rom. 8:28) and not against us. They actually promote spiritual growth! Tribulations refer to the hardships we face. God does not always cause them to go away; rather, He carries us through and uses them to teach us maturity and character. Trials build faith and character, allowing us to be better used to glorify God. Trials are not a personal attack against us, but rather they allow God to work in us in a deeper way to be of better use to Him for others.
What we Give Jesus is our Gratitude
Do you see all that Jesus has done for you? Our relationship with God is through Christ. Christ's redemption is that He took away our sins and preserved us in faith for God's glory! The question now is what will you do with this? How will you live?
We give Christ our Repentance: Repentance does not save us; repentance is only the realization of our salvation. We must place our focus on the cause (Christ) not the effect (What He has done), because the effect will flow from a natural desire and create growth and maturity. Our duty is to take care of the chicken and not the eggs, for the eggs will come anyway when we care for the chicken.
We give Christ ourselves: Our identity is who we are in Christ, and nothing else. Once we fully realize that the love of Christ has been poured out in us, we can identify ourselves in Him. We will be able to identify Christ's interests in others over our own interests (John 15:3; Rom. 9:3; 1 Cor. 9:22).We need not be frustrated or filled with worry when we have Christ (1 John 4:17-19).
We give Christ our service: True service is doing things for others that we really do not like to do (2 Cor. 12:15). Our service must not be guided by our desires or our needs. When we think "we are all that," (holy) we are of no use to Him. All we do is isolate ourselves into a sub-culture when God calls us to be salt and light. Our goal is not to serve, but to be His children, and that devotion will lead us to serve. We are to keep our eyes on Him, to keep our mind on Him!
We give Christ our love:Love is not in our nature. Our response is to put Jesus first (John 15:12; 21:17; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; 3:9; 3 John 7) and let Him work in our lives. Thus, God will bring us to people and situations we may not like so we will learn true love. Love is also disciplined, constant, and spontaneous.
We give Christ our growth: Because our greatest problem has been solved and the barrier between us and God has been removed, we are no longer separated from God. Christ will meet us in our deepest need. We can be committed to growing in Him. Our justification is not an escape from the bad things that happen; it is a starting point to build and develop character, patience, and dependence on God's grace, as Abraham did by faith. We are accountable for our choices. This is what Discipleship is about; it is our response of passion and obedience to our Lord and to His love.
We have to see the magnificent aspect of what Christ has done for us. We need to see the joy (James 1:2-4) and the hope (Heb. 6:18-19) we are given. This is foundational to life and liberty. Without hope, we cannot persevere in life effectively, because we would give up and become captivated by correction or oppressed into drudgery. This hope gives us the road on which to drive our maturity and spiritual growth. As we go through life, we learn; and, when we learn, we grow; and, when we grow, we develop character and hone and improve our worship of Christ. This builds our personality and lets us be better used in the lives of others. Our character and what He is doing in our lives are our true treasures. And, this richness is so much more tangible and impressive than what the world offers. To take this hope to new levels and apply it with passion and conviction, we have to see who we are in Him. We must be careful that our faith is developed from God's nature and not ours! This hope will not just fuel our liberty but also our worship because we praise God for what He has done.
Do you realize what Jesus Christ has done in you?
- Who is Jesus for you? Who should He be?
- How does Jesus help you when you are down and feeling upset? How can He help you?
- Have you considered that the implications of our justification are our true riches, not what we make, or earn, or do?
- How can "our riches" be translated into being a wonderful Christian who is filled and overflowing with love, hope, joy, and grace?
- What is/was the barrier that has been removed that had separated us from God?
- What does it mean to you that you now have assurance and hope, and your sin and guilt have been removed? However, it must be accepted and received by what?
- What is the role of repentance? How do you keep repentance in your queue that is on top of your mind in your Christian walk?
- What must you do to allow the desire for growth and maturity in your life to be fulfilled?
- How can you show others that faith and obedience are fruit and proof, not the instigators of the Christian life?
- What frustrates you in life? What do you need to do to remove those frustrations? How can Jesus help you?
- Our confidence is in Christ and His character, not in self-esteem. So, how do you apply this "Christ-esteem?"
- "True service is doing what we do not like to do for others." So, what do you not like to do?
- What can you do to reaffirm that your identity is who you are in Christ, and nothing else?
- When was a time that Christ met you in your deepest need?
- What is the prime goal or "prime directive" (for our Star Trek fans) for the Christian faith?
- How can trials promote spiritual growth? A lot of Christians think bad things happen only to those in sin or those that have little faith and that if you have enough faith, you will be blessed. Is this biblical? If so, why? If not, why not?
- The response of love is to put Jesus first. So, how can you do this?
- How can you learn to be better and have more character by acknowledging and learning when God brings you people and situations you do not like?
- As a totally new creation, how can you live your life so it reflects that it has been restored in the righteousness of Christ?
- We must be careful that our faith is developed from God's nature and not ours! So, how can you do this?