Greeting: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Text: 1) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2) through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3) Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4) perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5) And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. 6) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7) Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8) But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9) Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! 10) For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life. 11) Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Introduction: “I want you to know that we have a situation here.” That’s a typical line from any number of television dramas. In the story line of the program, a set of circumstances has occurred that call for some major attention. So, one of the actors sounds the alert. “We have a situation here.” The success of television programs depends upon the ability to create artificial situations that grab the viewer’s attention and interest. Some television writers do a very effective job of dreaming up those situations.
But the situations presented to us in the artificial world of television dramas are not the only situations that confront us. We also have a number of real-life situations to address. They may be our own life situation or they may be the situations of those around us. They are not make-believe. They are very real. In His Word from Romans, God urges us to think about our situation. So, let’s do that?
Just what is your situation? Do you like where you are sitting in life this morning? Yes, I know that you are sitting on a comfortable padded pew or maybe a not-so-uncomfortable stackable chair. But you are also sitting other places as well. Could it be that you are sitting in a waiting room, doing your best to be patient until your needs can be addressed, but not so sure when that will be? Or could you be sitting in the chair of a Ferris wheel, going up and going down, but always in a circle that seems to just get you back where you started? Or could you be sitting on a hot seat, with many responsibilities and pressures and little time to rest and no margin for error, perhaps even wishing that you were sitting in an ejection seat so that you could just blast out there and go someplace else? You may, in fact, be sitting any number of places, some of them not so bad and others that are downright uncomfortable.
Then we may also ask? What is my situation in terms of where I am heading? Where am I doing in life? Is your life an uphill climb? Are you trying to scale a mountain where the path is steep, where progress is slow and where each step requires so much effort. Or could you be going downhill in life at a rather high rate of speed? Are things moving too fast to keep up with? Are things falling apart? Do things seem headed for a harmful crash? Or could you be driving through bad weather – a dense, impenetrable fog or a blinding, pounding hail storm that doesn’t seem to let up? Again, we may well be heading through any number of conditions, some OK and others quite frightening.
Given our personal assessment of our life, our Savior would like to add to our consideration of our situation both in the present and for the future. After a careful reading of Romans 5:1-11, God wants us to understand that we simply have to like where we are sitting and also where we are heading. The reason for that view is based on Jesus Christ and the incredible love that He has shown us and the astonishing gifts He has given us. Dear friends, consider that Jesus has given us a situation that is worth celebrating.
1. Transforming Trials And A Peace-Filled Present
This remarkable display of God’s love for us has changed our situation tremendously. Yes, we may be sitting in the waiting room, in the Ferris wheel, and on the hot seat, but we because of Jesus Christ, we are also sitting in the center of God’s undeserved love. This love fills our present with wonderful blessings. First, Paul says it gives us peace. “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2) through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. Because Jesus died for us, God declares us innocent of our sins. We stand before Him forgiven and uncondemned. We are at peace with God. He has stopped His hostilities toward us. He gives us His favor. He rebuilds our lives. Our sin tore us apart and put us out of order. God reestablishes the proper connections with Him, with ourselves and with our surroundings. He introduces order out of the chaos and He helps us have a harmony and contentment where there was only chaos and disruption before.
In addition, God has turned things that might further harm us into things that work for our good. Paul says: And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3) Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4) perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5) And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. God allows us to face the bad things of life – setbacks and sufferings – without fear or regret. In fact God uses the troubles of life to word wonderful improvements in our very beings. Paul explains that God uses troubles to teach perseverance, the ability to be patient and persistent in our faith and actions. God then uses that perseverance to teach us to have a better character, with nobler and better personal qualities. God then uses that character to fuel hope, the firm assurance of God’s blessing for the future. In Christ, God transforms us through the unlikely means of trials so that we possess the most positive strengths and qualities. So, by God’s grace in Jesus Christ, we have a situation worth celebrating. God’s peace fills our hearts and the trials of life are transforming us in positive and blessed ways. What a privileged place to be sitting.
2. A Sure Salvation And A Glory-Filled Future
God’s unmatched love for us in Jesus Christ, not only changes our present lives, it also alters our future. Paul describes those alterations in these words: 9) Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! 10) For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life. 11) Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Paul reveals that because of Jesus Christ, God has justified us. He had pronounced us innocent of our sin. This also means that we have been saved. We can be sure that Christ has spared us from having to face God’s punishing wrath. God has shown how much He loves us and how highly He values us by having His Son die for us. If God would invest so much in us, we can be certain that God will safely shield us in the future. God saved us when we were His enemies. Surely He will deliver us now that we are His friends.
That saving work of God leads to an eternity of future glory. Paul says that “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Our present is blessed. Our future will be blessed even more. If our present is bright, our future will be brilliant. We are fully secure of blessing in this life, in death and especially after death. We may think that we are heading uphill or downhill or driving through the fog, but because of Christ we are heading for a dazzling future, a future of unlimited and unending glory.
We have a situation. In our world of sin, our situation is often hard and grim. Because of Christ, our situation is much improved. We are sitting in the center of God’s undeserved love. Peace fills our heart and our trials transform us. We are heading for a future of God’s unlimited blessing. We have a sure salvation and a glorious eternity. Christ gives us a situation worth celebrating. Let us rejoice and be glad for a Savior so good. Amen.