Video Transcript: The Big Picture

And there are different ways of considering the Word of God. In a sermon series, we look at  chunks one at a time and think about them in some depth and see how they apply to our  lives. And in the same way, you can read the Bible a little bit at a time and meditate on small  passages. But there's also reading the big chat, the big picture, reading books, one chapter  after another as we do in a Bible reading plan, or in sermons, just stepping back and saying  what's going on in the big picture as a whole. And so let's look at these eight chapters of  Romans in one swoop, I'm not going to spend the 15 hours on it, that we have thus far, at  least I hope not. And maybe you do too. But the the book opens simply by saying that Paul, a  servant of Christ, Jesus called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God. He is  somebody who was called by God, and called when he was a killer, when he was a murderer  of Christians, and the risen Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him and called him not only to be a  follower of Christ, but to be a great missionary of Christ, and to spread the Gospel. And so  when Paul speaks of God's grace towards sinners, he's not talking about some doctrine that's  way out there. He's talking about something that happened to him, first of all, and all of what  he knows of Christ has flowed out of that there were times later on, when he was caught up to heaven, and saw things he wasn't permitted to tell. The Lord revealed amazing things to him.  But it all began when he was called to be a follower of Jesus, and a messenger of the Lord  Jesus Christ. And he wrote this letter to people in Rome, to the capital of the most powerful  empire in the world, to a mighty city, a glorious city. And he was sort of a nobody compared to the greatness and power of the emperor in some respects. And yet, he said, I am not  ashamed of the gospel, because it's the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes  first to the Jew, and then to the Gentile, because in the Gospel, a righteousness from God is  revealed. a righteousness that is by faith, from first to last just and it is written, The righteous  shall live by faith. You can have the power and glory of Rome, but the power of God is  demonstrated in the Gospel, in what happened in the events described in the gospel, but also in the impact of the gospel, in transforming people. It's God's power to save, to bring people  from darkness to light from the power of Satan to God, to give them life everlasting. And this  is the theme verse of this great epistle. The gospel is God's power for salvation to everybody  who has faith. And then the apostle begins to expound why we need that gospel. There are  various ways that God has revealed himself and the Gospel isn't the only way. God reveals  himself in the creation. What may be known about God is plain to people, because God has  made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world, the invisible things of God his  eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen, being seen in the things that are made so  that people are without excuse. That's what the Apostle Paul says. So creation displays God's  power and divine nature. A little later, he says, Your conscience sometimes accuses you, and  yeah, sometimes it excuses you, but you have conscience, that gives you an inner impression of what God wants of his law. Along with creation and conscience, you have the covenant  through Moses, God's law of obedience, the person who does these things will live by them.  And you have the written requirements of God's law. So you have available revelation and  creation, in your own conscience, in the law that God revealed to the people of Israel. And yet those forms of Revelation aren't enough. We need Christ, we need the gospel, we need the  Holy Spirit because we need forgiveness. And we need eternal life. And those are things that  creation and conscience and the Law of Moses cannot bring that only the gospel of Jesus  Christ has the power to bring. And in line with those forms of Revelation, there are different  brands of sinners. And Paul talks about each of those brands of sinners and each of us can  see parts of ourselves maybe in more than one category, but one kind of sinner are those who have the creation. They have the greatness of God shown to them, but they start worshipping created things rather than the creature, whether that's gods they make up whether that's  chasing whatever their sexual urges might be, whether that's just being mean to others. The  Apostle talks about these rebels without restraint, who just live wild and wicked lives. That's  one kind of sinner. And then there's another kind of sinner. And those kinds of sinners look at  the rebels without restraint. They say, Oh, yeah, those are bad, bad people. Glad I'm not like  that. We need more morality in our culture. And the Apostle says, Yeah, you believe in  morality. But really, you're just moralizing? You're saying that people ought to be good, but  are you really so perfect yourself, you condemn others, but how about what you're doing, or 

in the words of Jesus, you're trying to take a speck out of somebody's eye, but that's a little  tough to do. And there's a big a log sticking out of your own eye. So that's what's going on.  When you have this moralism without morality in yourself. You want God's law to prevail on  other people, but you're not living up to it yourself whenever it seems inconvenient for you.  So conscience alone doesn't get it done any more than creation alone gets it down. If you  

have just creation, you still can have these rebels without restraint. Even if you have some  conscience, people manage to tiptoe around their conscience and apply it to others, rather  than looking in the mirror. And then there are those who have religion, who have maybe the  law of Moses and the great rituals, and they start counting on the rituals, and they start  counting on their deeds. And those things can't save them because they don't have a living  relationship with God. And so the Apostle says at the end of all that, what shall we conclude  then? Are we any better? Not at all? There is no one who does good, not even one. So he's  saying there's different brands of sinners. And if you're in one group rather than another, if  you're the rebels without restraint, you say to yourself, Well, I'm better than those others  because at least I don't pretend I'm authentic. I'm genuine. I don't pretend to be, you know,  some stuffed shirt. So you can feel superior. When you're a rebel without restraint. You feel  superior to all those stuffy religious people, I stay away from church, they're just a bunch of  hypocrites. I'm not a hypocrite, I parade it openly. And then you will of course, have the  people who have their morals and look down on those who don't. You have the religious  people who have their religious practices and rituals and look down on those who don't. But  the Apostle just levels it all and says, Are we any better? No, there's nobody who does good.  Not even. And a way of portraying that I pointed out was to ask now who's in a healthier  position? And who is closer to making it to the moon, someone who's in a wheelchair, and  can't walk and is at sea level, or somebody who is at the top of Mount Everest, and is an  expert climber. Obviously, the climber can do some things that the person in the wheelchair  can't do. And there are some people who are comparatively a little more moral than other  people. But if you want to make the comparison from the point of view that matters the most. How do they compare? How does the wheelchair bound person compare to the great  mountain climber? Well, if you're on the moon, here's what they look like. If you're on the  moon, and you look back at Earth, there's the comparison between the mountain climber and  the wheelchair bound person, the difference is irrelevant. If you want to make the trip from  the Earth to the Moon, you do not need climbing lessons, you need a rocket. And if you want  to cover the distance that has arisen between humanity and God, you don't need a few more  lessons in how to be a nice person. You need a complete transformation. You need somebody  who can cover that distance for you all have sinned and fall short. We will always fall short of  the glory of God. And so our own efforts aren't going to get us there. And it all comes down to  this Devin does devastating diagnosis. That's a tongue twister. You can say it fast a lot of  times, but devastating diagnosis. It says here's what's wrong with you. And it is really serious. We know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law why so that they  can be saved by themselves no so that every mouth may be silenced. The whole world held  accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the  law rather through the law, we become conscious of sin. So all of God's revelation, whether in  creation, conscience, or the law, leaves us without excuse, and shows that we are all sinful.  And then the apostle makes the turn with those great words but now, but now a  righteousness from God has been revealed. To which the law and the prophets testify it's been made known apart from law but the law and the prophets talked about it. And this  righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ all who believe there is no  difference for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his  grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of  atonement or a propitiation through faith in his blood. So this is what God has done.  Redemption is a picture of God purchasing us and rescuing us from bondage, and like  redemption out of Egypt. justified means God declares us right with Him, that we are  accepted by him. And atonement or propitiation means that Christ has paid the penalty  through his blood. And it's through faith in that blood, that we become right with God, there's  this tremendous power in Jesus blood, to make us right with God. And that is how God has 

revealed His righteousness. And he did this to show that he's just He punished sin. He didn't  punish the sins right away when they happened. But he was storing up the punishment, and  he laid it all on Christ. And he lays all of our sins on Christ. And Jesus blood is the payment for  that. And it provides redemption and justification. It makes us right with God. And the apostle  then in chapter four, it goes on to say, I'm not saying anything brand new. God had been  planning this all along. And it's just part of what he's always said, and part of his unfolding  plan. All along, God justified the wicked by counting faith as righteousness. Abraham was not  called when he was a great all around guy. He and his family were idol worshipers when God  called him. All along, God chose Abraham to be the father of many nations, not just one. It's  not a new thing, that God wants to bless all nations. God never had only Israel in mind. When  he chose Abraham, he said, through you all nations will be blessed. So Paul says, Don't talk to me, like, like I shouldn't be mentioning God has good news for Gentiles. He's always been  planning this. And now here's how it's happening. Through Christ, the seed of Abraham, all  the nations are being blessed. And that shows a nation was not meant to just keep to itself  and be snooty and despise others, it was always meant to bring blessing to all nations. If you  turned into a bunch of racists, who despised other nations, then you misunderstood God's  intention for Israel. And all along forgiveness and justification would come through the Son of  David and he shows that this was the case with Abraham. He shows it was the case with  David himself who said blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are  covered, whose sins, the Lord does not count against him. So neither Abraham nor David  claimed to be right with God based on how good they were. It was always being justified  through faith, to the man who does not work but trust God who justifies the wicked. His faith  is credited as righteousness. God credits righteousness, apart from works. And then he quotes the Old Testament scriptures, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as  righteousness, the words it was credited to him were not written for his benefit alone, but also for us to whom God will credit righteousness for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our  Lord from the dead, he was delivered over to death for our sins, and was raised to life for our  justification. So always, God has justified people accepted them on the basis of their trust in  Him, not on the basis of how well they have performed and earned his favor. And then he  says, since we've been justified through faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord  Jesus Christ. That's how chapter five begins, by whom we have gained access, by His grace  into this grace in which we now stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not  only so but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces  perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope, and hope does not disappoint  us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit whom he has  given us. You see at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the  ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone  might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this While we were  still sinners, Christ died for us. And since we've now been justified by His blood, how much  more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him? For if when we were God's enemies,  we were reconciled to him through the death of his son. How much more hadn't been  reconciled, shall we be saved through his life. And not only is this so but we rejoice in God  through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation, that great  passage, Romans five, one through 11, on the benefits of being reconciled to God of  belonging to him, you have peace with God, you have God's favor and friendship, you rejoice  in his glory, even if you're suffering, you know, God's doing something good in the middle of  it. So you rejoice in that too. You're flooded by the Holy Spirit, you're sure of God's saving  love. And so you have joy in God, not just a belief that he exists, not just a desire to do  something, so you don't get in trouble with him, but you rejoice in God, and you rejoice in God supremely because of his love. And this passage shows the two greatest demonstrations of  God's love. One is simply the experience of God's love as He pours his love into our hearts  through the Holy Spirit. And we sense deep down, that we are loved. And the other is the  great public demonstration of love. While we were sinners, Christ died for us. The apostle will  say a lot more about the love poured out in the Holy Spirit, and more about God's love in  Jesus Christ from which nothing can separate us. But here are the great principles of love, that

God makes it known to you on the inside by His Holy Spirit. And he makes it known to you  publicly and objectively on the outside as it were, in the giving of his son, even while we were  still God's enemies. And again, this is God, the Father's love that's being demonstrated, we  should never think that yeah, the Holy Spirit is nice to us and loves us. And Jesus loved us.  And it's a good thing because they'll get us off the hook with that grumpy God the Father,  God, the Father is the one who gave His Son and it is his love that pours out the Holy Spirit  into our hearts. The Apostle says how this works, he says that we are represented. We are  represented and involved with Adam. And we are represented and involved with Christ. And  when Adam sinned, he brought sin into the world. When Christ obeyed perfectly and gave his  life. He gives people victory over sin. Many died because of Adam's sin many lived because of Christ's grace, Adam's sin brings condemnation. Jesus's death results in justification, Adam's  disobedience brings sin to many if you're involved in Adam, you're involved in his sin. But  Jesus obedience brings righteousness to many. So you're involved in what Jesus has done.  Adam's sin reigns in death. But Christ's grace reigns in righteousness, to bring eternal life.  And these great representatives, you're either in, you're in Adam, okay, you're in Adam. You're just born a child of Adam and Eve, and you're in him, he represents you in his sin, you sin.  You're at war with God by being involved in Adam. And it's not just that you were good, but  Adam represented you. So even though you're good, you got problems. It's that you're you  went right along with old Adam too. But if you're represented in Christ, then you have  somebody who's made you right with God, and you're involved in him. And everything that  involves him, involves you too. we're complete in Christ. And one thing that means, as we've  already seen, when it comes to justification is that salvation equals Christ, plus nothing.  Nothing I do makes me right with God. As the Apostle says, near the end of Romans five, the  result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men, it was Jesus and his great act of righteousness. So salvation is Jesus plus nothing. And what a great reality that is. But also remember the other reality, salvation equals Jesus minus nothing. There are some  in our time who have said, Oh, you can accept Jesus as Savior, but not as Lord. You can get  his salvation, but hey, your life might not change at all. And there were some back then who  accused Paul of saying something like that. They said, Well, why don't we just keep on sinning so that grace may abound? If forgiving is kind of job, God's job anyway? Well, let's give him a  job to do. Let's sin. Let's do bad stuff. Because salvation salvation is Jesus plus nothing. And  the apostle says, Yeah, but it's also Jesus minus nothing. Everything Jesus is and everything  Jesus does involves me. The whole me, is in union with the whole Christ. I can't divide him  into being savior and ruler, I need to take the whole Christ. And he gets the whole me. And  that's what he goes on to describe this union with Christ. We have the legal union or Jesus  represents us. He's our legal head. So he acts on our behalf the way a president can bring his  country into a war or refrain from a war he's involving us and acting on our behalf but what he does is counted by God as ours, so his perfect obedience is credited to us. The blood he shed  is credited us as the full payment for our sins. He's our legal, we have this legal union with  Him. And we have a living union with Him, He lives in us. And we live in him through a living  connection. He's our living heading where his body, his actions, affect and direct our  experience, and his death and his resurrection flow in our lives. And the apostle speaks of  this, especially with regard to baptism, what happened to Jesus happens to us, we're in union  with Him, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that Just as Christ  was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too, may live a new life. So  when he was buried, we were buried. When he died, we died when he was raised, we're  raised. And this has implications for how we live, we have new life, because we're alive in  Christ. And then we get the first command in the book of Romans. So count yourselves dead  to sin, but alive to God. In Christ Jesus, the apostle, has been writing and speaking the gospel  a long time before he ever says anything that you're supposed to do. It's about what God has  done. That's the first and foremost thing the gospel is it's what God has done in Christ, and in  His Holy Spirit. And now what do we do? Well, the first thing we need to do is count yourself  dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus, because you are. And one way to think of that is  a person who has spent some time in prison. And after you've spent a long time in prison, you start to think like a prisoner, you're kind of worried about what the guards are going to do, 

you're a little worried about what your fellow prisoners might do, you're quite dependent, and  you're not really ready to live independently sometimes. And so when the prison door swings  open, you're free. The prison guards don't have any authority over you anymore. But if you  bump into one in a coffee shop, you might still feel intimidated. So you have to start thinking  like somebody who's free, you have to start considering and counting yourself as somebody  who's been set free, who is no longer trapped in sin, imprisoned in sin, but who is instead free and alive to God in Christ Jesus, you have to get out of the prisoner mindset. And into the free person mindset, Count yourself dead to sin, alive to God in Christ Jesus. And if you're tempted to just want to go back, don't even think about it. What benefit Did you reap at that time from the things you're now ashamed of those things result in death. But now that you've been set  free from sin, and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness. And the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ  Jesus, our Lord. Everyone saw you get tempted to think, hey, the life of sin had its  advantages, just as the Israelites sometimes thought, oh, man, back in Egypt, the leeks and  the onions, they were so tasty. And they forget that their babies were being murdered there,  that they were slaves. And the last of the taskmasters was constantly on them, and all they  remembered was this stinking onions. And sometimes that's the way a Christian can be you  think back to the life of sin. And one or two things that were kind of fun for you at the time.  You said boy, you know, those, those might have been the good old days, what if I go back  and the boss says, Come on, think about it, that was just giving you shame. And it was ruining your life and death, God's wages. Well, Sins wages are death God's gift is life, keep the gift,  dump the wages. And then he talks about the relation of Christians to the law. The law of God  is a good thing. And it was given for a definite purpose, but it was not given for the purpose of saving us. And we need to be rescued from it. And one way to think of it is in marriage, you're tied to somebody as long as both of you are alive. But if one dies, then you're no longer tied  to that person in marriage, the marriage has ended, because of death. And so the Apostle  says, likewise, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you  may be belong to another him who's been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear  fruit for God. We've been set free from the law so that we can belong to Jesus we have a new  spouse. He's the one you know, if you have a spouse, who's perfect, that's not always that  comforting. If he's a perfectionist. If you say, Oh, I wish I had the perfect spouse. Be careful  what you wish for. The law was The perfect spouse in one sense, it was always right. Do you  really want to be stuck with somebody who's always right and insist that you always be right,  and never helps you with any of it? That would be a very difficult situation. But that's what the law was like. It was like a perfectionistic. Spouse. That's always right, but doesn't help you to  get right. And Jesus is always right, and he's perfect. But Jesus also brings the forgiveness and the grace and the mercy that helps you to really grow and be transformed in your life. So  what's it mean to be released from God's law? Well, it doesn't mean that now we can just do  bad stuff, and the law and God's good will doesn't matter anymore. But it does mean this.  We're righteous apart from law. We're right with God through faith in Jesus who kept God's law perfectly on our behalf. We're free from the law's curses. Because Jesus suffered the curse.  The law said, cursed is anyone who's hung on a tree, and Jesus took that curse on the cross,  and He canceled our debt. And we don't have to change our lives. Just through the law, the  Holy Spirit writes God's law in our hearts, not just on tablets of stone. And so he gives us not  just the rules and the guidance, but he gives us the desire to obey God, and even the ability  to obey God more and more. So the spirit, in a sense, is applying the same law of God, but is  now giving us power and ability to keep it. And then all of the old signs that God used before  Jesus came those rituals that were pointing the sacrifices, the dietary laws, the feast days,  those things were pictures, pointing to Christ. And now those old covenant signs give way to  the New Covenant reality of Christ. So we're released from the law in these senses, not in the  sense that, hey, what God wants doesn't matter anymore. What God wants matters a lot. But  the Holy Spirit is the one who transforms us to live in line with that law. And yet, there's an  already and not yet in the Christian life, wonderful things have happened. But not everything  has happened completely. And one of those things that hasn't happened completely, is the  complete transformation into the likeness of Jesus. And so you find yourself in that difficult 

struggle of Romans seven, where you're doing things you hate, and you're not always doing  things that you really want to do. We know that the law is spiritual, but I'm of the flesh sold  under sin, for I do not understand my own actions, for I do not do what I want, but I do the  very thing I hate. Now, if I do, I do not want, I agree with a law that it's good. So it's no longer  I who do it, but sin dwells in me. So there's still something there. But now it's not me. It's kind  of an alien power in me that's trying to ruin me. And I need to recognize that fact, when I'm  struggling with an addiction, whether it's an addiction to pornography, whether it's an  addiction to alcohol, or drugs, whether it is a rut of anger, or any other habit that has really  got a hold on me, and that I cannot seem to change successfully, I need to realize that I'm in  Christ, and that I am not going to be able to deal with it just on my own energy. When you  have this flesh, this kind of cancerous, fallen self still bothering you. One temptation is to go  with self indulgence, I'm just going to surrender and try to enjoy living an immoral life, and  tell myself that God's not a factor anyway. And an opposite reaction. Rather than self  indulgence, you can choose self improvement, I'm going to try harder. I'm going to fight the  flesh by just more effort to be a better person. But if you've ever tried that, to deal with  something that is really powerful and addicting in your life, you find yourself almost more  addicted, the harder you try. And so you have to give up on self indulgence and self  improvement and rely on God's Holy Spirit. And this is where the apostle begins to speak of  the work of the Holy Spirit in more detail. We have to trust God's grace in Christ, forgive our  sins. That's one of the first things to release you from an addiction. The guiltier, or you feel  about something and the more ashamed of it, you are, ironically, the more likely you are to  keep on doing it. It sounds weird. But even if you don't believe Christian theology, psychology  will tell you that the things that you are most ashamed of, and that you feel most guilty about are very often the very hardest things to quit. And so one of the first things to break addiction is to know that you are forgiven and it is not held against you. And you do not need to just  feel constant shame and guilt about it anymore. And another is that there is somebody at  work in you that is stronger still than that addiction. So there's no condemnation for those  who are in Christ Jesus right after the Apostle Paul says, oh, wretched man that I am, who's  going to rescue me from these things that I hate to do? Well, thanks be to God through Jesus  Christ our Lord. Therefore, there is now no condemnation. For those who are in Christ Jesus,  the condemnation is gone. And then you can go on to say, don't feel guilty and ashamed  anymore, and realize who's at work in you now God's Spirit is inside you. And that is the great theme of Romans eight what God's Spirit does in us God's Spirit, the third person of the Holy  Trinity, the Helper, the counselor, who was sent by Jesus and the Father from the throne, to be with us and to be in us. And we, we see in Romans eight, that he's the spirit of freedom, the  spirit of life, the spirit of adoption, or sonship, the spirit of expectation, the spirit of prayer,  and in each of these areas, we have wonderful blessings from God. And again, we're  reminded that if you want to soar, and you think you're just going to come up with your own  efforts, and your own machine and your own little flapping of the wings, that is not the way to overcome the flesh and the power of sin in your life. The power of the Spirit of Life set me free from the law of sin and death there, there has to be a different law at work. And one way to  think of that was just in the laws of flight, if you only think about how am I going to build a  machine where I can flap my wings hard enough to defeat the power of gravity with my own  energy, that's not going to work, you need to have a different law going on. And when people  finally did figure out how to fly, they learned how to how the laws of aerodynamics, and the  laws of combustion in the internal combustion engine, how those laws could counteract the  law of gravity, so that you could actually have something that flies and the Apostle says,  that's what it's like when a law of the Holy Spirit sets you free from the law of sin and death,  that gravity is overpowered by a new law that's at work within you. The Apostle was not  talking about airplanes, by the way, the airplanes was my illustration of a different law, of a  different law, at work that overcomes a different law. He was he had prophetic powers, but I  don't think the Lord revealed airplanes to him. There's the spirit of freedom, then that sets  you free from the law of sin and death. There's the spirit of life. And the Apostle says this, the  mind of the Spirit is life, and peace. The Spirit is God's life inside you. And if the Spirit of Him  who raised Christ from the dead is living in you, He raised Christ from the dead, who also give

life to your mortal bodies, through His Spirit who lives in you. So he's the Spirit of life in the  sense that he transforms your life, but also the spirit of life, in a sense that once he's in you,  your body too is going to be raised like Christ's body has been raised. And so by the Spirit of  life, you kill the deeds of the body, and you live to Christ. You have abundant life now through  the Holy Spirit. And not only that, you have resurrection life forever and ever. When you're  made perfect, and your body itself is raised again, he's the spirit of life. He's the spirit of  adoption, you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again, to fear but you received  the Spirit of adoption or of sonship. And by him, we cry, Abba, Father, the Spirit himself  testifies with our spirit, that we are God's children. And if children, then heirs and co-heirs  with Christ, this is what the Spirit tells us, that we are God's children, and we cry out to Him  as our Father, our daddy who loves us, and whom we love. In the great parable of the prodigal son, Jesus speaks of two sons and neither of the sons knew their father's heart. The younger  son wanted his inheritance, he wished his dad were dead, so he could have it all but the dad  gave it to him while he was still living, and he took off and blew all the money. And then when he was envying the food, the pig slop that the hogs were eating, he thought, I'm not too  bright. You know, when pig slop looks good to you, something has gone wrong. You haven't  been on a good path. He says, I'm going to return and go to my father and say, father, I've  sinned against heaven and against you, and I'm no longer worthy to be your son make me  one of your slaves. And when he gets home, he starts the speech, but he never gets a chance to finish it. He says, I no longer would be worthy to be your son, but he doesn't get the part  out make me your slave because his father by then has thrown his arms around him and said, Put the robe on him. Give him the ring that shows he's a son and one of the heirs of the family and just restored his position as a son. He wanted to go back as a slave and his father  wouldn't take him back as a slave. He took him back as a son, you don't receive the spirit of  slavery. You receive the spirit of sonship YOUR CHILDREN OF GOD And of course, the older  brother. He had the language of slavery on his lips too he got ticked off. When the father took  the son back he said, all these years, I've been slaving away for you. And you didn't even give me a little goat for a feast for my friends. And you gave him the fatted calf. And the father  says, Son, everything I have is yours. You want to talk about me giving you a little goat?  Didn't you realize that everything I have is yours. God gives us the Spirit of sonship we cry out Abba father we're his heirs we're fellow heirs with Christ. God loves us with the same love  that He has for Christ. That's what the Bible teaches. He loves us as much as he loves his own son. And his spirit tells us so. And so don't say God, I'm going to try to be a better slave from  now on or God, I'm sorry, please take me back as a slave or a hired man, or God, you haven't  been treating me well, lately, I wish you'd give me just a little goat. So I can have a party  once in a while. But God, I thank you that everything that is yours has been given to me, in  Christ, the spirit of adoption, and the spirit of expectation. Now, if we're children, then we're  heirs. And if your heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, then you have big expectations, we  have the first fruits of the Spirit. And so we wait eagerly for various things. And the apostle  says, we're waiting for our adoption to be confirmed, and the redemption of our bodies, the  resurrection of the body, and we're publicly declared to be the children of God, we're going to  enjoy the glory of God's children when God says, well done. And when God sings over us, and  rejoices over us, and when all the splendor of the creation is shining from us, as well, and we  have that freedom from sin and Satan, that we're going to have as God's children.We look  forward to that. And we look for not only that, and to ourselves being changed, but to  something that happens to the whole creation, the entire creation has been groaning, but it's  going to be set free from its bondage to decay, and brought into the glorious freedom of the  children of God. And now we're really getting into the big picture. Did you think that God was  dying just to save you? That is a wonderful thing. And he loves you with a tremendous love.  But don't forget, you know, how the story ends of The Hobbit, if you've ever read that, you  know, at the very end, that Gandalf says, Now Bilbo, did you think this was all about you,  you're a very fine little hobbit. But there's a lot more going on, than just you. And and so it is  God is redeeming us one at a time in some ways, and he's redeeming a whole people for  himself. But the whole purpose is to redeem the whole creation, he appointed humanity to run creation and run it well. And when he's redeemed us, we're going to run it well. And the 

creation itself will be liberated, just as our bodies are raised, glorious, the whole creation is  going to be raised glorious with the people of God in charge. And that day hasn't yet come.  We have the first fruits of the Spirit. There are some signs of flourishing, some buds, some  little flowers here and there of God's work in our life, but much more needs to happen.  Because between the time of Jesus first coming in his second coming, we have the last days,  the new age of eternal life has begun, but not yet fully. The old age has been dealt a very  nasty blow, but it's not yet quite over. So we live in the overlap of those two aeons. Those two ages we're in the last days. And living in the last days can sometimes be a struggle. The  kingdom has come. And yet the Kingdom has not come in its fullness. Satan has been  defeated. And yet he goes around like a roaring lion and is angrier than ever because he  suffered a mortal wound. We've been raised with Christ, but our bodies are not yet raised and  perfected. The church is the bride of Christ, and it still stinks quite a bit. We have a new status in Christ, we're justified, we're adopted, and yet our adoption is not fully made public. We're  not displayed yet in the glory of the children of God. Holiness, we still do things we hate, and  don't do things we know we ought to do. We're changing. The Holy Spirit is doing stuff, but it's not complete. Yet we have the first fruits of the spirit we have the downpayment, not the  completeness. The Spirit helps us in our prayer life. And yet a lot of time we don't know what  to pray for. The Spirit gives great wonders of healing. And yet some of Paul's own colleagues  were near to death or even died or he advised the young men now you got to drink just a  little more wine and not some of that bad water. Don't help your stomach out. He didn't just  wave his arms over him and say in the name of Jesus, I heal you. Sometimes he did.  Sometimes, God gave this mighty power to heal him. Well, sometimes he didn't. And when  Christ comes again, there will be no limited powers to heal, there will simply be a total healing of everybody once and for all forever. Sometimes the Spirit gives us clear guidance.  Sometimes we're kind of perplexed. We don't know what the next step is. There's an already  and not yet even in the area of guidance, we've come to know God, and yet well, we know, in  part, we don't know fully yet as we will be in the future as we'll know. So there's this already  and this not yet. And while you're living in the middle of that you're groan, the creation  groans, we who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan. And the Spirit Himself groans. And it's  because of childbirth. When you're pregnant, do you have a baby or don't you? Well, you have a baby, but you don't. So you're there is the groaning in the meantime until that child  emerges. And so it is, there is this groaning of creation of Christians of the Spirit himself. As  we await that fullness that's coming. And in the meantime, as we groan, and as the spirit  groans, his groans, are prayers, he who searches, our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit  because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. Even when you  don't know what you ought to pray for. Don't sweat it. The Holy Spirit is at work praying for  you, and Christ is interceding. And the Father knows what you need, even before you ask him. And in all of that, then the apostle after, after showing our sin, and what God has done in  Christ, and in the Holy Spirit says, and yeah, let's not forget what God has been doing all  along, you have this tremendous work of this Holy Spirit, of freedom of life of adoption, of  expectation, of prayer, and this work is going on. But God had a plan before it ever got going.  And it was God the Father who started all this. It was God, the Father who loved you before  the foundation of the world who foreknew you in the sense of loving you, and choosing you in  advance, and He predestined you that you would be conformed to the likeness of his son that  you'd be like Jesus, and he called you, he opened your heart, he helped you to hear God's  voice on the inside. And those he called, he justified and made right with God those he  justified He glorified already. Now, you have the spirit of glory and of grace resting upon you,  and that glory will only become greater. And so there is this chain where we don't supply a  little paper chain, to connect us to the might and power of Christ to pull us out of our mess.  We have a chain that God Himself forged, made with his own hands, that is Mighty, and that  was forged in the fires of eternity, from eternity past, to eternity present, and into eternity in  the future. Right now we live in light of the eternal. And because God planned all that and has all that in store, then you can bank that right now God is working all things for good for those  who love Him, and who've been called according to His purpose, because God has the really  big picture in mind. And he is a really big God, and His wisdom, and his power had this in 

mind all along. This is why he's doing what he did in Christ, and why he continues to do it  through His Holy Spirit, this mighty plan of God. So do not think only that me and Jesus have a little relationship. That's wonderful if you have a personal relationship with Jesus, but it's not  going to be a little one because he's a big Jesus, with a very big father and a mighty Holy  Spirit. And God has this magnificent eternal plan. And he wants us to know it. So that we will  have an expanded view of the greatness and majesty of God, so that we will know who he is,  and nothing will intimidate us. Once we know this God, and nothing will pull us down. That's  what the Apostle means by this. What shall we say in response to this? Well, if God is for us  who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also along with him graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against  those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies who is he that condemns? 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. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or  persecution, or famine, or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written for your sake, we  face death all day long. We're considered a sheep to be slaughtered. No. In all these things  we're more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death  nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future, neither height or depth  or anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God. That is in  Christ Jesus our Lord. That's what the Apostle says in response to this. And we'll think a little  more about that next time. We praise you, Lord, for Your greatness, for the incredible wisdom  that extends from before the foundations of the world on into eternity, beyond measure for  the plan of salvation, for the wonder of Your love, for all the magnificence of your gospel, the  power of you for our salvation for the salvation of people of whatever racial background, we  praise you, Lord for this gospel. May we Lord see the big picture and have our minds  expanded by it and praise you as the great and glorious God. May the just a picture of your  vastness and wonder, shriveled down to size, our fears, our sins, all the things Lord that hold  us back that keep us from being who we were meant to be. And as we come to know you  better and know your gospel more deeply. May we become more and more like Jesus. In His  name we pray, Amen. 

Last modified: Monday, January 3, 2022, 6:57 AM