Romans 5-6:7 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine. And we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse. Every chapter. Every book. This is expound.
Hey, redeemed one's. Great seeing you. You have your Bibles with you? I knew you were smart. Turn in your Bibles to the book of Romans chapter 5. Romans chapter 5. Peter talks about Paul, talks about Paul's writings. In 2 Peter he talks about our beloved brother Paul. And he says about our beloved brother Paul that Paul wrote many things, some of which are difficult to understand. I'm grateful for that scripture. Because Peter said that what Paul wrote was hard to understand, I don't feel so bad when I come across sections and I go, I better read that again, and again, and again.
I find that some of the things that Paul writes are just tough to unravel. And, even though Romans is this incredible treatise on salvation, I think if you take an honest read of it, all of us come to a place where we go, man that's so deep, that's so heavy, that I don't even understand a word he just wrote. And it takes a little bit of untangling for us. What we have to keep in mind is that the original recipients This was a letter. This was not a doctrinal statement. They at first had no exposition of it, like we're doing tonight. It was just a letter to the church at Rome, and the letter was read. And the recipients would grasp it, would understand it.
We have a gap of a couple of thousand years. And we have a gap of language, of Greek language, Aramaic language, to English language. We have a gap of culture. And so, what exposition does, what Bible study like this does, is fill in the gaps so that we have the same aha moment that the original recipients of the letter had. They would understand it.
We're in chapter 5 of the book of Romans. We've been covering a couple chapters a week. For those of you who are new to our Wednesday night studies, we have been doing this since we started the church. In fact, this is how we started the church. We started in a home, a Bible study, that got to an apartment complex, and we just covered a chapter or two a week, going through the scriptures verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book. Every single book of the Bible.
We've gone through the whole Bible as a church together a few different times. It's a format that we are used to, and I find it to be very beneficial to go through it in a manner where we can spend as much time as we like, and then pick it up next time, and just pick it up from there. We just stop wherever we stop, and then pick it up and keep going until the book is done. Even though I have grand designs in my mind that I'm going to cover two or three chapters a week, sometimes it's a 1/2 a chapter, or a chapter, or a chapter and a 1/2, but again it doesn't matter. We just stop and pray, and then come back again together and finish it up next time.
We happen to be in chapter 5. Do you remember by now the way the book is divided? By now you are Bible experts. By now at least you have a working knowledge of the book of Romans. This is divided, if you remember, into how many sections? Four sections. And again this is my outline. There are much better outlines. This is just the Skip Heitzig, easy, garden-variety outline of the book of Romans. Four sections. The first section of the book, from the first chapter to chapter 3, verse 23, is all about the wrath of God. Paul paints a dark picture, consigning all humanity to guilt. But we are in the second section. And after the wrath of God comes the grace of God in chapter 3, verse 24, all the way to the end of chapter 8. That's section number two. Section number three is the plan of God for Jew and Gentile. And then, finally, the will of God. That takes it from chapter 12 to the end of the book. So that's how I've divided the book.
If you remember, in chapter 3, verse 23, that statement that we all know so well, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." We've come short of God's standard. Paul is saying, no matter who you are, whether you are a Gentile and you have no religious background whatsoever, or you're a Gentile and you have a false religious background, or you're Jewish and you have a true religious background, you're all guilty before God. Religion can't save you. Ritual can't save you. Affiliation can't save you. And we would even say to the Christian, baptism can't save you. Only Jesus can save you, as an act of grace, by dying for you, and you believing that He died for you, that that was enough before God for you. Then, and only then, can you be saved.
And when you are saved, you are given a special status. And that status, if you remember, takes us to the very last word of chapter 4. It bears looking at. The word justification. And, if you remember last time we were together, I explained what that means. It means that God declares you to be righteous, declares that you are right with Him, declares that you are just before Him. Even though you are not, in and of yourself, He makes the declaration that you are. Not based on what you do but based on what Jesus did. So He declares you justified. He declares you right with Him. Then He treats you that way. He treats you just if I'd never sinned. Justified. He treats me like Jesus deserves to be treated, because God treated Jesus like we deserve to be treated on the cross. That's the exchange. That's the substitution. So we are justified.
Now with that new status comes benefits. Chapter 5 begins a list of those benefits. You know, sometimes a company, when they want to attract an employee, or even a managerial position, will list benefits. They'll list the salary. But also besides the salary, yearly benefits that the employee has to look forward to. Now if you think about it, we belong to the greatest company in the world, the Church of Jesus Christ. Think about what we have. First of all, we have a product. Our product works universally. You can take the Gospel into Argentina, Afghanistan, or America, Albuquerque. The same message has the ability to transform a life. It has been doing that transformation for the past 2,000 years in every conceivable culture around the world. So our company we have a product that works universally.
Second, we have offices worldwide. Go to any country on Earth and you will find some representation of the Church in that culture. Even if it's underground, you will have believers everywhere. Third, we have a pretty awesome benefits package. We have peace. We have joy. We have purpose in life. We have a new community of believers, that strengthen and encourage us. And number four, we have a retirement package that is second to none. Because when this life is all over, we have what it describes in this chapter as the hope in the glory of God. So we belong to a pretty awesome company.
With that in mind, we get into some of the benefits of justification. So he begins in chapter 5, verse 1, "Therefore, having been justified by faith." He has spent a couple of chapters describing righteousness and justification that comes by faith, even through Abraham and David. Gave those grand examples. So that is an established fact. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have--" here's the first benefit-- "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." A few weeks ago, on a weekend, we discussed the meaning of this briefly in our series on Give Peace a Chance, and, if you remember, what he's talking about here is not the feeling of peace as much as the fact of peace. It's not a subject of peace that you feel inwardly, as much as it is an objective peace that is a fact. Whether you feel it one day and don't feel it the next day, it doesn't matter.
The fact is, at one time you were at war with God. Every unbeliever is. Every unbeliever is at war with God. Every unbeliever, the Bible, says is at enmity with God. Hostile toward God. No person hears that and goes, whoa, wait a minute, I'm not a believer in Christ. I have nothing against God. That's not the point. God has something against you. The Bible says in Isaiah chapter 48, "There is no peace, says the Lord, to the wicked." What do you mean God has something against me? I thought you always say God loves me? He does love you. He wants to remove that which is against you, the impediment. He wants to cleanse you of your sin and justify you. He wants to declare you righteous and treat you that way. But He can't unless you admit that the condition He says you have, you say you have.
Sometimes people say, well, why do I have to tell God I'm a sinner? Doesn't He know I'm a sinner? Yes, He does. Believe me, He does. But He wants to hear you say it. He wants you to confess it. And when you admit it, when you confess it, that's the first step. You acknowledge the bad news. And when you acknowledge the bad news, you are now open to receiving the good news, the Gospel. So having been justified by faith we have peace with God. There's no more war with God. The peace treaty has been signed at the cross. "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
So, again, I remind you of chapter 1, verse 18, where Paul started taking this whole thing downhill. In that verse, chapter 1, verse 18 of Romans, he says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven." And then he paints a picture of that wrath. Now he's taking it back up to the grace of God, saying, as opposed to the wrath of God, or over against the wrath of God, you and I, "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." So that's the first benefit.
Second benefit is in verse 2. "Through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." The word access is a very important word. It means that you have the ability to come before God, even though God knows your natural condition as opposed to Him. You are granted access to the Holy One of the universe.
It's an interesting word because Kenneth Wuest, who's a Greek scholar, said that it was a word used in ancient times of an individual who would introduce a person to a king, who would open up the door or grant an audience have the ability to grant an audience with a monarch, with a king-- and he would take a person into the king's presence. But he would first get the person ready, prep the individual, and give the individual the right clothing to wear. You know you're not going to stand before a king in a t-shirt and blue jeans. You're going to stand before a king in proper attire.
And so, this individual, who would grant the access, would ready the individual-- would ready that person, and give the person the right wardrobe. Which is a perfectly fitting word for the work Jesus has done. We are clothed in His righteousness. God looks upon us as if we are like Jesus. He gives us access into His presence. Not just one time. Not just at the cross-- now He sees us as His children-- but, because we still have a sin nature, we need continual access. So He gives us the card key into God's presence.
I love the scripture in Lamentations that says, "His mercies are new every morning." I know that to be true because I use them all every morning. I use whatever is there. It's like, good, fresh batch. Good. I need it Lord. Forgive me. Here I come again. And that's the interesting thing. When you are related to the king you can come before the king at any time. You don't just come once, but you keep coming back. And even though a son of a king got all dirty and muddy, because he's the son of a king, he can go into the king's presence. You're a child of the King. You now have access. Not just the first time but continually. That's why it says in Hebrews that we come boldly before the throne of grace, that we might receive mercy, or obtain mercy, and grace to help in our time of need.
So we have peace with God. We have access to God. And look at verse 3. Not only that, here's another benefit of justification, "but we glory in tribulation." Now wait a minute Paul. What do you mean glory in tribulation? We endure tribulation. We put up with it. We'll get through it. But we actually glory in it? Why would he say that? He says, "not only that, but we also glory in tribulation," because we know something. He said, "knowing that tribulation produces perseverance." The old translation says patience. How many times have you asked God for patience? A lot? Have you ever done that? Anybody here? Honest show of hands? Ever prayed for patience? OK, good. Thank you for the honest poll there. Now, because you have prayed for patience, don't be surprised if God answers your prayer by sending you, what? Tribulation. And you're standing over there going, wait a minute God, I didn't ask for a trial. I asked for patience. Well, tribulation produces patience, perseverance, "and perseverance, character; and character, hope."
As I look back on the trials in my early Christian walk, compared to my trials the last decade, if I would have had in the first year of my Christian experience the trials that I've had in the last decade of my Christian experience, it would've wiped me out. I couldn't have made it. But what those early trials did, and all of the tribulations throughout my walk, is give me a level of patience, perseverance, that developed within me character. And an ability to endure. And not just endure, but endure with hope.
And here's the hope. If God has been faithful as I look back on my life, and He has-- I can count time, after time, after time where God has just been so faithful-- I have hope because it must mean God's going to be faithful in the future, whatever comes. That's quite a benefit, because what it shows me is that, far different from somebody who does not know the Lord, yes, I have trials. Yes, I have tribulation. But my trials, my tribulations are productive trials and tribulations. They produce something, and he lists what they produce. Perseverance, character, hope. Verse 5, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
This is why we always have to be careful when we say, why would God allow that bad thing to happen to me, a good person? First of all, be careful when you call yourself a good person, because Jesus said nobody is good but God. So you need a new definition of good. Why would God allow that bad thing to happen to me, one of God's children? OK, you are God's children, fair enough, but be careful when you call something bad because it actually might be good for you.
You remember Joseph, all the trials he went through. Unfairness. He could have been very bitter when his brothers finally showed up and Joseph revealed himself to them. And they're freaking out because they think Joseph's going to kill us, he's brought us into his lair, and now he's going to drop the hammer. And he basically said, relax bros. What you meant for evil God meant for good, "to save many people alive." I'm here, by God's grace, to come up with this plan to save the world from a famine.
Now think back before that little revelation, when Joseph's brothers first came to Joseph, not knowing it was Joseph in Egypt. He was the Prime Minister of Egypt at the time. They didn't know it was Joseph. They need grain. He gives them grain, sends them back, but then says, if you come back again bring your other brother that you left at home, little Benjamin. Because they said, well, we have a guy, Benjamin, but Dad won't let him out of his sight because his other son, Joseph, got killed, and so he won't let Benjamin. He said, well listen, if you want grain again, you bring Benjamin this time.
So they went back home, told Dad and Dad said, well Benjamin's not going. But the famine got worse, and worse, and worse. Finally Dad said, look, we're going to sit here and die unless you go back and get grain in Egypt, and I guess you're going to have to bring Benjamin. But then, Jacob said something. He said, all things are against me. Everything's against me. Well, Jacob you can't say all things are against you because you just don't know all things. And it's really not against you because, even though he thinks the worst is happening to him-- he thinks he's lost his son Joseph. He thinks he's about to lose his son Benjamin and he says, all things are against me. This is horrible. He can't imagine the good things God has prepared for him. He can't picture the day when Joseph is going to say, I'm your boy. And he'll be able to hug his son Joseph again, and be reunited with the person he thought was dead and gone.
So again, Romans 8:28, "all things work together for good to those that love God, who are the called according to His purpose." So yes, we have trials. Yes, we have tribulation. But one of the benefits of justification is that those things are productive in our lives.
I've always loved a little-- well, I've always loved the writings of Samuel Rutherford. Samuel Rutherford, if you've heard me talk about him, was a Scottish pastor in Anwoth, Scotland, a very tiny little town, small congregation. But he was very faithful to the Gospel and, thus, outspoken for the Gospel, for Christ, and, in some cases, against the government. It landed him in exile. He was exiled in Aberdeen and forbidden to do ministry, but he could write letters. And he writes-- There's a whole book called The Letters of Samuel Rutherford. I commend it to you if you want good, wholesome correspondence that will edify you.
But he writes this great little poem, though it doesn't rhyme, but it's a little work that he talks about trials. And he says this. "Why should I tremble at the plough of my Lord, that maketh deep furrows in my soul?" Can you picture it? Can you picture the analogy? Here's a farmer digging deep furrows in the soil, to plant a seed. "Why should I tremble at the plough of my Lord, that maketh deep furrows in my soul?"
And then Rutherford said, "For He is no idle Husbandman, He purposes a crop." He's not some farmer who's just willy-nilly digging furrows in the ground. He's digging that furrow deep because he's going to plant something awesome. He wants a crop to come out of this. He's purposing something great, some fruit to happen. He also said-- I love the way he wrote-- he said, "Whenever I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord's choicest wines."
Look for the Lord's best when you are at your worst. And when you do, you're going to start glorying in your tribulation, because you'll be going through a trial and you'll start thinking this way, I've just got to look around a little bit deeper and see what good thing God might purpose. "Because," verse 5, "the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Now, when it says the love of God has been poured out, it's God's love for us, not our love for God. He's speaking about God's love. And God's love has always been difficult for me to understand. I accept it. I rejoice in it. I'm really stoked about it. But I don't get it.
Remember, as a kid-- was it called The Frog Princess? About the frog who has a conversation with a princess. The princess discovers that this frog was actually a handsome prince, and would be converted back into a handsome prince if she would kiss the frog, right? That's how the story goes? What is it? The Princess and the Frog. Did I say The Frog Princess? OK, it was The Frog Prince, it was called. It was called The Frog Prince. Right. Yeah, I've got to get my frogs right. So the princess is the chick, the prince is the frog. They have a conversation.
It's a beautiful story. She bends down and she kisses the frog, and he turns into a prince. But, you know, when I was a kid I would read that and I would think what princess in her right mind is going to put her lips on a stinky, old toad? And yet, God kissed the toad. God is so inclined that way. "The love of God has been poured out," shed abroad, "poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time," or just in the right time-- in the nick of time-- "Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die."
We know what that is like. If you're in law enforcement, if you've been in the military, you know the kind of risk you are taking. That you might have to stand in front of a bullet and protect life. You are willing to do that for the greater, a good cause. "But," verse 8, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." The apostle Paul is describing our helpless condition, when we were without strength. We were helpless. In fact, we were dead, right? "You as He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sin." I've seen a lot of corpses. I've never seen a corpse able to help itself, able to change its condition. It lacks capability. It lacks capacity. You and I were dead. We were helpless, and we couldn't do anything, but Christ died for us.
"Much more then." Now there's a phrase that Paul uses quite a bit in the rest of the paragraph, the rest of this chapter. He uses much more because he's wanting to make a strong point. "Much more then, having now been justified--" declared and thus treated righteous-- "being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more--" there's the second much more-- "having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."
Once again, never forget the first part of the book of Romans, because if you don't get the first part you'll never get the second part. The first part is the wrath of God. "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven," Romans 1:18. Ephesians 2, "We were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." When a person is born into this world, they are born guilty. To use even more spiritual terminology, they are born dead. They're born, they're alive, but they're the walking dead before God.
Jesus said, in the Gospel of John, chapter 5, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death into life." That's salvation. That's what happens when you are born-again. But, a couple of chapters back, in John chapter 3, verse 36 it says, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." So a person born into this world is born under the wrath of God, separated from God. God is at enmity with him. If a person says, I believe in Jesus, Jesus is the sufficient work, God makes a declaration that you are right before Him, just before Him, righteous before Him, and He treats you that way. And you go from death to life. You have the life principle, the life of God in you.
Verse 12, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, thus death spread to all men, because all sinned-- For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed where there is no law." That's a parenthetical statement, which you remember, a couple weeks ago, we gave you the example of the speed limit. If there's no speed limit postings on the freeway you can't get a ticket for breaking the speed limit. If there's no law that says you have to do 65 miles an hour, you can't get pulled over by an officer saying, you went over the speed limit. There is no speed limit. There's no law. But when the law is posted, when they finally hang that sign out there that says you can't go over 65, now you realize, man I've been breaking the law my whole life. I haven't been doing 65 on the open road. In fact, some of you don't do it even with the sign.
"Nevertheless," verse 14, "death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who is to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more--" there's another much more-- "much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ."
OK, let's unravel that. Maybe this falls in the category that Peter was speaking about. Paul wrote some things hard to understand. First of all, notice the repetition of the words "one man." It is used 11 times in this section. He is talking about one man versus one Man. Mano a mano. One and one. Adam and Christ. One man, one sin, one wrong choice brought condemnation, versus one Man, one sacrifice, one right choice brought salvation. Justification. So he's comparing one and one. Adam, and what Adam did, and the repercussions of that. "By one man sin entered the world." Death through sin, death spread. Versus Jesus Christ, the Last Adam, He is called. So one becomes the type of the other. Adam becomes a type of Christ, in that he did one thing and a lot happened because of that. So by "one man sin entered the world and death through sin."
I remember thinking when I was a younger believer, if I ever meet Adam, I think I'm going to punch him. I think he deserves that, probably from everybody, right? It's like, dude, what were you thinking? What you did made billions of people suffer. And then I got to thinking about Adam. I think if I was Adam I would probably do exactly what he did. In fact, I have done exactly what he has done, many times over. You have too. Because it says because all sinned.
We sin because we are sinners. Let's just sort of unravel a conundrum. Are we sinners because we sin? Or do we sin because we are sinners? The answer is we sin because we are sinners. It's not like we became sinners when we committed the first sin. We were actually born in sin. That's what David said, "I was conceived in iniquity." I came into the world speaking lies. It's the default of all human beings. Every parent who's raised any child, you don't have to convince them of this. You never have to teach a child to lie, or to hide, or to do wrong. You always have to correct a child, because the natural recourse of that child is to do wrong. That's our nature.
It's like my dogs. I have two little Welsh terriers, Mack and Maisie, and they bark. Maisie's the younger one. Mack is the older, gruffer, kind of mean old man. Mack doesn't like something, or like what he sees, he barks. Maisie started out being very docile and not barking, but she noticed that Mack barks, so she barks. And now she barks more than Mack. She just barks a lot.
Now, is Maisie a dog because she barks? Or does she bark because she's a dog? That's it, the second one. It's not like, well she barks so therefore she's a dog. I bark. I can bark like a dog. I won't do it. I've done it. But instead of barking, I can articulate a sentence, like, you know, I don't like that. Because I'm human, that's my nature to communicate that way.
So a dog's nature, because it cannot articulate, can't do a lot of things, is just to bark if it's upset, bark if it like something, bark if it's excited, because it's his nature. We have a sin nature. And because we have that nature, we are sinners by nature. Sinners by birth, as well as sinners by choice, based on that nature. That's sort of a theological construct, but it's important that you understand that's our nature. And the reason it all started, as Paul makes the point, is because of what one man did. One man made a choice. Sin entered. Death entered. The world had not known death, but God said, "in the day that you eat of the fruit you will surely die." So death entered. Death spread to all men, became part of our nature, because all sinned.
But what Adam did in the garden is he acted for humanity as what we call the federal head. The federal head, meaning he did something and everybody else, therefore, did it as well. He acted as the federal head. For a modern example of that, if you're familiar with the movie Hunger Games, in the show, the premise is that Katniss Everdeen, the main character, is a substitute for her sister Prim, so that she, Katniss, will act as the federal head, not only for Prim but for her whole district. If she wins the gladiatorial games, the Hunger Games, then her whole district will be rewarded with food, with feasts for a whole year. She acts as the federal head. What she does everybody else gets the benefit, or loss.
So Adam acted as the federal head. You go, well that's not fair. You're right. It's not fair. We're not talking about what's fair, we're talking about what is. And I'll explain this. It is not fair. Jesus dying on the cross for your sins is also not fair. He didn't do anything. He didn't commit anything. But here's the equity. Because God consigned the whole world guilty, because of what one man did, he can now forgive because of what one Man did. By saying you're all guilty He can say you can all be saved, if you come through that one Man, Jesus Christ. See how that works? So that's the powerful lesson that he is teaching.
"For by one man's death," verse 17, or "one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life." Now, again, notice the much more-- the much more's of this chapter. Verse 9, "Much more then." Verse 10, "much more, having been reconciled." Verse 15, "For if the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God." Verse 17, "if one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more." And then also in verse 20, "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more."
I have a question, based on what we just read. How much grace is there? Let's at least say plenty. Enough. Enough for you. Enough for me. It'll never run out. "Much more." Yeah, Adam did this, but Jesus did that "much more." So, whatever was lost in Adam is gained in Christ "much more." That's his point. He's making an emphatic point.
I don't know if I read verse 19 or not, but I don't want to be told I forgot to read it, so I'll read it again. "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered that the offense might have bound. But where sin abounded--" one of my favorite verses ever-- "where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." Here's another way to translate it. Where sin abounded, grace super abounded. That's actually-- one translation puts it that way. Where sin abounded, grace super abounded, or overflowed. Or where sin reached the high water mark, grace completely flooded over it. The point is, sin cannot erect a dam so high that God's grace can't flood over. It overflows. It overflows. There's nothing that can keep us from His love. "Where sin abounded, grace super abounded," or "did abound much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Chapter 6, he asks a question. "What shall we say then?" What can you say then? How about this? Wow! Or, awesome! That fits. Or, praise the Lord. Thank you, Jesus. "What shall we say then?" He asks a question. "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" So, if my sin causes the overflow of God's grace, right? The more I sin, God just keeps getting more and more gracious, and he's just overflowing, over the falls, might as well keep sinning and just get soaked in God's grace. Now that's a warped way of thinking, but sometimes people do think this way.
I remember, in the church that I grew up in-- I grew up in a Catholic church-- there was the idea that all you had to do is go to confession. You confess your sins, go live it up a little bit, go sin, because all you've got to do is step into that little box and say those things to that guy, and you're going to get your slate wiped clean again, and fill it-- chalk it back up. You say, well nobody thought that way. I did.
Here's a Protestant version of that. I remember speaking to a gal who was very loose with her morals, or she thought she could be. She came to know the Lord, but then she came to a point where she's struggling with the past. And she said, you know what? I believe in eternal security. And because I am eternally secure I really can do anything.
So the question comes, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" Verse 2, "Certainly not!" Or God forbid. Or perish the thought. Or no way, Jose. However you want to translate. "Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" And then he gives the example of baptism. You know baptism is, we always tell people, an outward sign of an inward reality, inward change. But we always tell people that and, for what we're about to read, that a baptism is a funeral. It's like a funeral. It's a symbol. You're acting out a play and the water is the stage. And when you put a person under the water it indicates we're burying the old you, the old way of life, the old person that controlled you, with all of its impulses. That's buried. And coming up out of the water is resurrection man. New life, new power.
"Should we continue in sin?" No way. We're dead to sin. I was at the funeral. I saw the guy get buried. What do you mean he's still alive, running around? I saw him get buried. So look at his illustration. "Or do you not know," verse 3, "that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of his death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of his resurrection."
Quick background note. A Christian baptism comes from a Jewish ritual that predates Christianity. It was the ritual bath that Jewish people would go through, and still go through, but they went through in older times before making a sacrifice in the temple. Before offering the sacrifice, they would be ceremonially cleansed in a baptismal pool. Full immersion, there was no sprinkling. They had to go completely under the water. And that baptismal pool was called a mikveh. Mikveh, in Hebrew. And the mikveh is the pool. So they would walk into the mikveh, they would say their prayers, they would walk out, towel off, make their sacrifice.
John the Baptist comes along and baptizes differently, not for a ceremonial sacrifice in the temple, but he baptizes for the remission of sins at the Jordan River. Tells people it indicates a changed lifestyle. That sort of introduces the idea of baptism. That becomes the practice of the church, because Jesus did say that we are to go into all nations and make disciples, baptizing them. And you go through that ritual. But again, that's the stage, that's the play you are enacting. You are making an outward declaration of an inward transformation. Outward sign, inward change. Speaks of death, burial, and resurrection.
I remember a few years back, I was baptizing our tour group in Israel, at the site we have been doing it for years, the baptismal site at the Jordan River. And we usually have several buses, so we have a few hundred people, and it takes a while to baptize a lot of people. And so we mark off a good chunk of the day, maybe even after lunch, the latter portion of the day, and we have a beautiful baptismal service in the Jordan River, in Israel. I remember on this occasion, not only was our group around, but there were buses outside the fence, and people watching from outside the fence, looking in at what we were doing.
And after I was all done, did the last person to get baptized, and I'm stepping out of the water-- I'm cold by this time, because February waters can be cold-- I'm about ready to towel off. My teeth are starting to chatter. I'm ready to go in. This gal on the other side of the fence waves at me and I say hi. And she goes, no come here. And she introduces herself. Her name is Olga. She's from South America, I forget which country. And she said, can you explain to me what you have been doing the last hour? I said, well, this is Christian baptism. She goes, well, I'm familiar with baptism, Christian baptism, but it seem so different from what I'm used to, where babies go into a church and they sprinkle a few drops. Baby doesn't remember it. But this is something grand. So she said, explain.
So I explained this section of Romans that we're reading. That it describes somebody who their slate has been wiped clean, they have a whole new start, they're fresh and new before God, and it said the guilt is gone, et cetera, and she's just listening. And she goes, would you mind baptizing me? I said, well I will if you understand what I just said, and you are willing to do what these people have done, and make Jesus Christ the one that has saved your soul, that you are going to follow, you're going to commit your life to Him. Life is going to be different because He's going to change you, but you're making Him Master of your life. I explained the Gospel to her a little further. She goes, I want that, I'm ready to do that. So I said, well, figure out a way to get over from that side to this side and we'll do it. So she came over. She didn't have a bathing suit on. She was just in her clothes. And we just baptized her in the Jordan River, and she got on her bus back to South America a changed individual.
"Knowing this," verse 6, "knowing this, that our old man was crucified--" That is not your father. It's the old you. "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin."
It says "the body of sin might be done away with." The words "done away with" is the English translation of a Greek word, katargeo. And katargeo means to make void, to abolish, or here's a better translation, to put out of business. It's as if God went to Satan's shop and saw you and I in that shop, and he said to Satan, hey, I'm hanging this sign out in front. Out of business. You are out of business, when it comes to Skip Heitzig. You are out of business when it comes to this one, this one, that one, that one. Those who have given their lives to me, I have redeemed them. I have bought them back. And so, as far as they're concerned, here's the notice, you've been put out of business. Katargeo, to make void, to abolish, or to put out of business.
"For he who has died has been freed from sin." It's one thing that-- it's great. We're dead to sin. We had a funeral. And we have a new life. But, though that is true, something about the old nature doesn't want to stay down, stay buried, stay dead. I told you that I've seen several corpses before. I've watched a number of people die, take their last breath, including my mother. I was at my mother's deathbed. There's something that I find a little interesting and a little bit unnerving at a deathbed. When somebody is nearing death, and they're taking their final breaths, and their breathing is labored, there comes a point where you think they've just taken their last breath. It's this, (SIGH) and then nothing. And then you go, OK, well that's it. And then all of a sudden, (GASP) they start breathing again, or even almost sitting up. It's like, whoa! It's like they just came back again. They might do that a few times. They're fighting for life, until they do take that final breath.
When it comes to the old you, the old manner of life, and it says here, you are to suppose, or to reckon, yourself dead, it still wants to go (GASP), suck in air and start moving around. So don't think that just because you've had the funeral service, the baptism, and you've given your life to Christ that, awesome, not going to be tempted any longer.
We discover that. We should tell people that when they come to the prayer room and give their lives to Christ. Don't think that the war is over. The war is just beginning. Jesus won the most important part of the battle. You're here, you've given your life to Christ. But a whole other battle now begins between the new nature that you have just received, as a new person in Christ, and the old nature that, before, had no competition. Now it has competition. The new nature wants to get fed. The old nature wants to get fed. It wants to get fed corruption and sin. It wants to stay alive. It wants to take in that breath. The new nature needs to take precedence over the old nature.
For example, to fill in the blank a little bit, I'm reading out of Galatians 5. We're not going to be able to finish chapter 6, as you can see, so I'm not going to even try. So Galatians chapter 5, this is verse 16. You're familiar with this, but you can look at it later, or you can look at it now if you'd like. "I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh--" the flesh is another term for the old nature, the old man, the old you. "For the flesh lusts--" or wars, fights-- "against the Spirit--" the new you, the new man, the new nature-- "and the Spirit against the flesh." There's a civil war going on inside of you. That's the new battle. "And these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law."
So you have a new nature. All of a sudden you go, man I want to read the Bible. And the old nature says, read it later man. There's that cool show you want to binge-watch. Go do that. Or the new nature says, I'm going to go to church, and the old nature says, eh, church. Just go hang out with your friends and eat a cheeseburger. Whatever it is, right? There's always the conflict that goes on in every decision we make. "The flesh lusts against the Spirit."
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a very famous story about a doctor, named Dr. Jekyll. And Dr. Jekyll came up with a way, through science, to make a potion that, if he took the potion, it would turn him into another man. And that man was Mr. Hyde. So Dr. Jekyll was the amicable, sweet, nice, easy tempered, easygoing guy, but he drank the potion, Mr. Hyde was a villain, a murderer. And somebody asked Robert Louis Stevenson, where did you get the inspiration for such devious characters? And Robert Louis Stevenson said, I had to go no further than just to look inside myself. I got the inspiration from me. And we, who are believers, know what that is like. The Dr. Jekyll and the Mr. Hyde. The spiritual person versus the old nature.
Because this is true, we need a battle strategy. If we know that the old man is dead, we've been to the funeral service, I'm justified by faith, not by works, so I'm right before God he's treating me righteous, at the same time, I know that I have this old nature that's wanting control, wants to control me like Mr. Hyde, but I don't want to let the old nature control me like Mr. Hyde. I want Dr. Jekyll to take over. I like the Dr. Jekyll part. So what do I do? Well you need a battle strategy. And Paul gives you a four-fold battle strategy to get victory.
And when we get together next time we're going to go through that battle strategy, because our time is up. And we'll be back in Romans chapter 6, and I will give you four principles that have the ability to absolutely revolutionize your life when it comes to this battle. Sneaky, huh?
Father, thank You for Your word. Thank You, Lord, that we reap the benefit of drilling down, digging down, making application, comparing scripture with scripture, and getting a full scope of the landscape of our salvation. Lord, we, especially who have attended these teachings in Romans, have understood now that the Good News is so utterly good, because the bad news of Your wrath on all humanity is so utterly bad.
And so, Lord, when Paul says, what shall we say to these things, we rightly say, praise God. Thank you, Jesus. Wow. Awesome. What one man did is plunge humanity into darkness. But what another One did is offer a gift. It wasn't fair that, what Adam did, we should all suffer for, just like it wasn't fair that our sins should be laid upon Jesus, but it was, and thereby, anybody who comes to believe in Him passes condemnation, escapes judgment, is given a gift of everlasting life.
Lord, we understand the battle. The battle is fierce. We have all these great benefits, and we've considered the benefits of peace, and access, and joy, and hope, and perseverance, and trial. Thank you for the benefits. But benefits aside, there is still a battle. I pray, Lord, as we learn the secret of that next time, Lord, that we would find the victory, and what it is to walk in the Spirit by faith. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. Let's all stand. Let's worship together.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us from this teaching in our series expound.