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Faithlife Corporation

Guarding Your Heart #4"Reigning with a New Heart"

Notes & Transcripts

Roscoe and Bubba were killing time one day when they discovered an abandoned well. Roscoe asked, "So, how deep do you think it is?" Bubba leaned over the edge of the well and spit, and they listened for it to hit bottom. When no sound emerged from the well, Bubba threw a rock in and listened for a splash. Nothing. Now really curious as to the well’s depth, Roscoe began searching around for something larger to throw in. He found a cross tie in the weeds, drug it over to the well and heaved it over side. Both men leaned over and listened for a sound, but they never heard the cross tie hit bottom. While leaning over the well, the two men were surprised to see a goat suddenly run up to the edge of the well, jump up on the edge and then jump down into the well. They stood there slack-jawed in amazement. A little while later a local farmer arrived on the scene and asked if the men had seen his goat. Roscoe said, "Sir, you are not going to believe this, but just a little while ago a goat ran to the edge of this well and jumped in." The farmer said, "Nah, that could not have been my goat. My goat was tethered to a big ‘ol cross tie!"

Often our Christian experience is like the episode of Roscoe and Bubba. Our lives are occupied with meaningless activities that lead us into trouble. The text in Romans 5:17 asks the question, "How much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life." Have you experienced the overflow of grace in your life? Is the gift of righteousness reigning in you?

Many believers operate from a sin management philosophy. They live in guilt and shame because they fail to live up to the standard of holiness associated with following Christ. Their faith becomes a never-ending effort to reduce the bad stuff in their life instead of reigning in life in Christ. We wind up attempting to manage our sin (so that it doesn’t get out of control) rather than victoriously reigning over life in Christ. Like a football team in a prevent defense, we live trying not to lose a game instead of pressing on to the victory that has been promised. The first half of Romans 5 describes our union with Christ, and in the closing verses of the chapter and the first part of chapter six we discover principles for transferring the spiritual reality of eternal life to reigning with a new heart on a daily basis.

I. RECOGNIZE THE PAYMENT (Rom. 5:12-21)

            1. to reign with a new heart, we must first recognize the payment that Christ made not just for sin, but for our new heart
              • "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12, NIV)
              • “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Romans 5:15, NIV)
                1. v. 15 mentions the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ
                2. God did not merely redeem us from sin; He transformed our heart
                    1. before grace, sin and wickedness reigned in our hearts
                      • “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19, NIV)
                    2. after grace, Jesus and righteousness reign in our hearts!
                      • “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17, NIV)
            2. how is it possible for God to save sinners in the person of Jesus Christ?
                1. we understand that somehow Christ took our place on the cross, but how was such a substitution possible?
                2. the Apostle Paul answers that question in vv. 12-21
                    1. these verses are the heart of the letter—and the heart of Paul’s theology of justification
            3. first, note the repetition of the little word one
                1. it is used eleven times
                    1. that must mean it’s important
                    2. it is!
                2. the key idea here is our identification with Adam in our humanity, and our identification with Christ in our faith
            4. second, note the repetition of the word reign
                1. it is used five times
                    1. that must mean it’s important
                    2. it is!
                2. Paul saw two men—Adam and Christ—each of them reigning
                    1. Adam was given dominion over the old creation, he sinned, and he lost his kingdom, and incurred condemnation and judgement
                    2. Christ came as the King over a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), and by His obedience on the cross, He brought in righteousness and justification
            5. lastly, note that the phrase much more
                1. it is repeated five times
                    1. that must mean it’s important
                    2. it is!
                2. Paul’s point is that in Jesus Christ the Christian has gained much more than we ever lost in Adam

A. CHRIST DIED THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE THE OVERFLOW OF GRACE

            1. Romans 5:15-21 is a study in contrasts
                1. the Christian’s peace with God was recovered the same way it was lost—by the actions of one man
                2. Jesus Christ appeared as the ‘second Adam’ to gain, through obedience, what Adam lost through disobedience
                3. in this passage there are five contrasts between Adam and Jesus
            2. 1st, Paul contrasts the Sin of Adam with the Gift of Christ (vv. 12-15)
                1. as a result of Adam’s sin physical death and spiritual death came to all men
                2. as a result of Jesus’ sinlessness the gift of righteousness is available to all men who will believe upon His name
            3. 2nd, Paul contrasts the Timing of Adam’s Condemnation with the Timing of the Gift of Christ’s Righteousness (v. 16)
                1. God’s judgment of Adam followed after only one sin and brought condemnation
                2. God’s judgement of sin in Christ after His one great act of redemption brought justification
                    1. when Adam sinned, he was declared unrighteous and condemned
                    2. when a sinner trusts Christ, he is justified—declared righteous in Christ
            4. 3rd Paul contrasts the Reign of Death with the Reign of Life (v. 17)
                1. after Adam sinned, death reigned in his world and all of his descendants died—quite a legacy in a manner of speaking
                  • ILLUS. Read the “Book of the Generations of Adam” in Genesis 5, and note the solemn repetition of the phrase “and he died.”
                2. after Jesus died, life reigns in the lives of all who believe in their hearts that He is risen from the dead and confess with their mouths the Jesus is Lord
                    1. because life reigns in us, we can reign over life
                      • “If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?” (Romans 5:17, The Message)
            5. 4th, Paul contrasts the One Trespass of Adam with the One Act of Righteousness of Christ (vv. 18-19)
                1. let me give a note of warning here—in understanding these two verses, context is everything
                    1. take them out of context and you’ve just justified Universalism—the doctrine that just as Adam’s disobedience caused all to die, Christ’s obedience will cause all to live; all were lost, but all have been found
                2. the most obvious fault of using vv. 18-19 as a proof-text for Universalism is v. 17 where Paul asserts that only those who receive God’s provision of grace reign in life
                3. so what is the Apostle saying in these two verses?
                    1. both death and life were the result of one act: One an act of sin, the other an act of righteousness
                    2. all who are in Adam are sinners and are under condemnation—that’s all men
                    3. all who are in Christ are righteous and are under grace—that’s the many
            6. 5th, Paul contrasts Law with Grace (vv. 20-21)
                1. the Law (i.e. the moral and ethical commandments given to the Hebrews) actually increased our knowledge of sinful behavior
                    1. listen to how the Apostle explains this in Romans 7 (again, I’ll use The Message)
                      • “But I can hear you say, “If the law code was as bad as all that, it’s no better than sin itself.” That’s certainly not true. The law code had a perfectly legitimate function. Without its clear guidelines for right and wrong, moral behavior would be mostly guesswork. Apart from the succinct, surgical command, “You shall not covet,” I could have dressed covetousness up to look like a virtue and ruined my life with it. Don’t you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of “forbidden fruit” out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless, and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong.” (Romans 7:7–10, The Message)
                2. but God’s grace—despite man’s sin—(and I like the KJV here) did much more abound
                3. our union with Adam made us sinners
                    1. the result is that death reigns in this world
                4. our union with Christ makes us righteous
                    1. the result is that even though physical death still reigns in this world, believers are enabled to “reign in life”
                      • ILLUS. An Old Testament story helps us understand the conflict between these two “reigns” in the world today. God rejected Saul as the king of Israel, and anointed David. Those who trusted in and followed David eventually shared his kingdom of peace and joy. Those who continued to trust in Saul ended in shame and defeat.
            7. Adam's sin had enormous consequences, but the sacrifice of Christ is "much more" effective
                1. where sin multiplied, "grace multiplied even more" (v. 20)
            8. Recognize the Payment—the Overflow of Grace and the Gift of Righteousness Are Ours Because Christ Died for us

II. RECKON YOU POSITION (Rom. 6:1-9)

    • ILLUS. Those of you who have every been on a lengthy trip with your children know that at some point you’ll be asked the fateful question: "Are we there yet?" The answer seems obvious. If we were there, then we would not still be driving.
            1. the inability of a child to comprehend this concept is not much different than our inability to appreciate our new position in Christ
                1. after our conversion, God sees us as fundamentally different than before our conversion
            2. our position in Christ makes us righteous before the father
              • “Therefore being justified by faith, ... “ (Romans 5:1, KJV)
                1. Paul affirms that the believer is in right standing before a holy God
                    1. in Christ, our Heavenly Father sees us as righteous as He sees His own Son
                2. the Bible calls this imputed righteousness
                  • Romans 4:3 "For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited [imputed] to him as righteousness.” NASB95
                    1. the word imputed – often translated as credited or reckoned in most modern Bible translations means to put down to a person’s account
                    2. in Christ, God has credited to the believer’s spiritual account, grace
                      • ILLUS. How would you like it, if every time you got your bank statement, you saw that someone had credited a significant amount of money to your account. Week-in-and-week-out there is always enough money deposited to cover all your debts and debits regardless of how large they were. Every time you ask the bank manager where the money comes from, he just smiles and says, “You have a loving benefactor!”
                3. by His love, God has deposited all the grace we’ll ever need into our spiritual account
                    1. no matter how great our debts, this grace never runs out
            3. in his body Jesus Christ bore the sins of His Elect, so that we might receive forgiveness
                1. at the cross, a great transaction took place
                    1. your sin and my sin were reckoned to Christ’s account in order that Christ’s righteousness might be credited to our account

A. OUR FORMER POSITION LED TO A CONDITION OF ENMITY TOWARD GOD

    • Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” KJV
            1. that word enmity is an interesting word
                1. enmity means to have hatred with intense ill will and vindictiveness that threatens to kindle hostility for no good reason
            2. enmity is the present spiritual condition of all lost men
                1. no matter how moral they may be, the lost person is a self-proclaimed enemy of God
                2. no matter how ethical a person might be, if their sin is not covered by the blood of Jesus, they are an adversary of God
                3. no matter how religious a lost person might be, they are a foe to God
            3. even by the slight act of not favorably responding to God’s grace, the lost man or woman has made themselves the enemy of God

B. OUR PRESENT POSITION LEADS TO A CONDITION OF RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD

    • Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, . . . “ KJV
            1. JUSTIFIED! is one of the sweetest sounding words there is
                1. the word means ‘to make valid,’ ‘to absolve,’ or ‘to set right’
                  • ILLUS. I love the words of the hymn Redeemed: "Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; Redeemed thro’ his infinite mercy, His child and forever I am. Redeemed, Redeemed, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! His child and forever I am.”
                2. when you responded to God’s overture of grace, and expressed faith in the risen Son, the righteousness of Christ was imputed to you at that moment
                    1. God the Father clothed you in the righteousness of God the Son
                    2. from that moment throughout eternity, whenever God looks at you, He sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ in you, over you and through you
                      • "just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (Romans 4:6-8, ESV)
                      • "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:2,1 ESV)
            2. our justification has been made possible through the redemptive act of God
                1. in Christ, God no longer looks at our sin, but at the precious blood of Christ that covers our sin, and He declares us ‘not guilty’
            3. it is the righteousness of Jesus Christ in us that makes us dead to sin
              • “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” (Romans 6:11–12, NIV)
                1. now, listen to the way Eugene Perterson says this in his translation The Message
                  • “From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day.” (Romans 6:11–12, The Message)
                2. Peterson's analogy is right on target
                    1. when we receive the grace of God, it is like moving
                    2. we have a new address—but, our new home is not just across the street; we have moved to another country that speaks a different language
                    3. we are now dead to sin
                    4. this doesn't mean that we never sin again
                    5. it does means that sin no longer reigns over us or controls our life as it did before receiving the grace of God
            4. Reckon Your Position—You Are Justified in Christ and The Gift of Righteousness is Yours

III. REDIRECT PRIORITIES

            1. having discussed the theological transformation of a heart that reigns in grace, Paul offers some practical suggestions for applying this concept to our lives

A. WE MUST STARVE THE FLESH

    • “From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day.” (Romans 6:11–12, The Message)
    • ILLUS. When I was growing up in St. Louis, there was a mom and pop owned dry cleaning business in a little community called Black Jack, just up the road from us. They did dry-cleaning and also dyed clothing. In their window hung a slogan that read: "We dye to live, we live to dye; the more we dye, the more we live; and the more we live, the more we dye.”
            1. in the simplest of terms, the apostle says that the way we are to experience what Jesus experienced is to count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God
                1. like the sign in the dry cleaner’s window, the more we die, the more we live
                2. this is not a matter of positive thinking, but a matter of conforming our minds and renewing our minds to the truth from God’s perspective
                3. only when we begin to see the world from God’s point of view can we begin to cut our ties to sin

B. WE MUST SATISFY THE SPIRIT

    • “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” (Romans 6:13, NIV)
            1. Jesus said those who hunger and thirst for righteousness would be filled
                1. we need to feed our souls on spiritual food
                    • ILLUS. When Linda and I travel, I like to eat at restaurants that serve food unique to the geographic location. On the Atlantic coast, I eat seafood. In Colorado, I’ll have a buffalo burger. In New York City, it’s a hot dog from a street vendor, Ray’s Pizza, and cheesecake.
                2. in the kingdom of God, we must eat meat from the word of God, drink the fresh water of worship, and feast on fruit of prayer
            2. as believers we must allow the Creator to shape our conscience rather than the culture

C. WE MUST STAY AWAY FROM LEGALISM

    • “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:14–15, NIV)
            1. in these verses, Paul warns us to stay away form legalism
                1. the Bible identifies legalism as one of the most dangerous threats to genuine faith
                2. Prayer, Bible Study, Church Attendance, Stewardship, Evangelism, and Political Activism have all been victimized by legalism
            2. too many Christians, and even some denominations have embraced legalistic standards in an attempt to build disciplined Christians
                1. Christian maturity has often been defined by adherence to an artificial standard that can easily be measured instead of the biblical standard of "being full of the spirit of God"
                2. legalism turns spiritual tasks like praying, studying, witnessing, and tithing into the target
            3. our goal is not to pray or to tithe; our goal to know Christ
                1. the disciplines of faith are stepping stones on a path leading to Jesus not the standard of achievement or maturity
            4. Redirect Priorities—Reigning in life through an overflow of grace means feeding the spirit, starving the flesh, and avoiding legalism

CONCLUSION: A few years before his death, Edward Windsor, known better as the Duke of Windsor, gave an interview to BBC television. Asked about his upbringing as the Prince of Wales and heir to the English thrown, he said, “My father [King George V] was a strict disciplinarian. Sometimes when I had done something wrong, he would admonish me saying, ‘My dear boy, you must always remember who you are.” The Duke of Windsor could trace his lineage back centuries in England’s history in order to discover who he was.

To discover who we are, the believer in Christ has two lineages to trace. One lineage is in Adam. That lineage insures that we were slaves to sin, destined for death. But the other lineage is traced back to Christ—the Second Adam—who has give us a new identity, a new lineage, a new heritage—that of Jesus Christ himself. As Christians, we must always remember who we are. We are a new creation with a new heart that dwells in overflowing grace.

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