Freed to be Free #6
“… As If …”
Well, New Life we are in a series of messages titled “Freed to be Free” …
Paul has written a beautiful letter that builds from the Beauty and simplicity of Grace, to the Reality of the Spirit controlled life.
I don’t want to push us too far ahead before we develop … But what is the purpose for Freedom? Is it not for the purpose of being FREE?
There are two celebrations and remembrances this week … tomorrow is the day set aside annually to remember the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thursday is the infamous anniversary of the decision to allow Abortion on demand that has seen the legalized killing slaughter of tens of millions of unborn babies in the 36 years since.
How sad it is for the struggle that it takes for life to created, to have it only taken away before the first breath can be enjoyed.
And how sad it is for those like Dr. King who have sacrificed their lives for Freedom only to have freedom still denied.
Well, how sad is it for Christ to have sacrificed so much for, a gift so undeserved, and for us to either deny the freedom that he offers us or after experiencing Freedom officially, to fail to live in it in the actuality of daily life.
Go with me to our text in the 2nd chapter of Galatians
Jesus tells the story of a man who owed a King more money than he could ever pay. He told this story to paint a picture of how great our debt was to God and how Great the Gracious Forgiveness that we have received from God. In the parable in Matthew 18 Jesus says a man owed the King 100 denari. In today’s economy that would be $25 billion in Gold, or $220 million in Silver or roughly 10,000 large houses.
That’s a pretty great debt! Not only is the debt great, but it is a debt we could never pay back in a lifetime.
And so is our debt of sin to the Father. We could never even begin to pay it back and so the payment for sin is death … Rom 6:23
Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God
So what are we going to do?
We don’t need to be reformed, but we need to go back to the drawing board …
The sin has to be dealt with
Life has to come from death
And Victorious living needs to replace defeat.
Three words, Justification, Regeneration, and Sanctification.
There are so many other words that we could investigate when talking about soteriology or the theology of salvation. But working from our text today These Three Words give us Great Encouragement today.
The wonder and simplicity of the Gospel of Grace gives us MORE than the bondage of law and tradition could have ever done for us.
So, Let’s look at the first thing that the Gospel of Grace does for us …
our “as if” list begins
Because of the completed work of Christ, when we receive him it is
Just As if …
1. I’d Never Sinned
That is the word “Justification” or
I’ve relayed to you a simple definition of the word “justification” … and that’s just as if I’d never sinned.
Sin separates us from God and we cannot come into his presence because of our sin
The ONLY way for us to come into God’s presence is to be COVERED …
Do you remember when Moses wanted to see the glory of God? In Exodus 33:20-23 … God said “you can’t see my Glory … there is a place near me where you may stand on a rock … I will put you in a cleft in a rock and cover you with my hand …”
Well people, we too cannot come into his presence on our own merit. Our sin debt is too great.
But when we stand on the Rock that is Jesus, in a Cleft Called Grace, covered by nail scarred hands, then we can see the glory of a relationship with God.
In our text, Paul says we “know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”
Go with me to Romans 3
The law didn’t provide righteousness
Everyone has sinned,
Everyone needs the same solution
Justification by the work of Jesus Christ, through faith alone
Sin, brought us condemnation but IN JESUS
Romans 8:1 “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
This is a legal decision by God
The Legality of our sin will not allow God to just look the other way
Justification is a process by which is one is declared just through a court order.
Justification is not MAKING just but declaring Just.
There is an understanding that Justification is the reconciling of a debt
Justification is where OUR Spiritual Debt Balance is GREAT … and the Wealth of Christ is transferred into our account reconciling where we come up short.
2 Cor 5:19 – God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.
We are not righteous but we are accepted as we stand on Christ, covered by his blood because of our mediator, Jesus Christ.
Our debt, again, is too great. We can’t set up a payment plan but we need the debt paid.
The principle behind forgiveness is NOT that it is just forgotten about, but behind the word is an understanding that the “forgiver” himself bears the debt that is forgiven.
Ps 32:1-2 Blessed is he whos transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not COUNT against him and in whose spirit is not deceit.
So, IN Christ Jesus, when we embrace the Cross of Christ as payment for our sin, our indebtedness is covered in the wealth of Christ and we are declared righteous
Romans 5:25 says God presented him (Jesus) as a sacrifice of atonement (propitiation) through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice …
Oh the beauty of the grace of God in Christ Jesus …
Which fulfills the declaration of Luke 2:14 that promised “peace to men on whom his favor rests” …
This is GOOD News For all People the Angel said
Rom 8:33 who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies
In Jesus Christ through our faith in him, we are justified … and it is Just as if I never Sinned
But the glory of Salvation is that it doesn’t just remove from us the Penalty of Sin …
But also the Product of sin
Jesus Christ …
What did sin do to us?
It caused us to be spiritually dead
But when I received Christ, it was the same as if I had died on that cross. It achieved the end me dying for my sin to satisfy the Justice of God …
I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ Lives IN ME
It is just as if I never sinned and
Just as if …
2. I Never Died
When sin entered the world through the sin of Adam it was passed to each of his descendants as what we call “The Fall” … we fell from a state of the Blessing of God’s Grace.
So the only thing to return us to Grace is Grace.
You can’t EARN Grace or it ceases to be Grace
To can’t barter for Grace or it ceases to be Grace
But oh the beautiful thing when God in his own grace and mercy imparts life to those who have responded to his provision and call in Christ Jesus.
And Life comes to this dead spirit.
We who had been dead in our trespasses and sins, without any ability to please God in ourselves, are made alive in Christ Jesus.
Our unrighteousness is declared to be righteous, covered in the riches of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
And it is as if we never died.
We are Reborn, Regenerated, Infused with life
The penalty is gone but so is the product gone, i.e. death
I love the KJV rendering
I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I LIVE
The Contemporary English Version says
I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. I have died, but Christ lives in Me and I now LIVE …
We received Mercy and Find Grace
We desperately needed to be forgiven our sins … but WHAT? We have also been given more than we deserve or imagine …
The Good News is that there is LIFE out of death
It is ESSENTIAL
You can’t have Life, if there is no rebirth
What good is forgiveness if there is no life?
Jesus told Nicodemus “unless a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom” John 3
2 cor 5:17 – if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION …
There is REGENERATION …
NEW LIFE … Someone say “I know that’s right” !!
Regeneration is God Giving Spiritual Life to us who were DEAD in our Trespasses and Sins …
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures … but when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit
Oh what a change in Christ Jesus …
There’s a hymn we sang growing up …
What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought
Since Jesus came into my heart!
I have light in my soul for which long I had sought
Since Jesus came into my heart!
What a change …
we were DEAD
we were sons of evil
death was our inheritance
and our Life was limited to this earth death was eternal
It is our OWN Fault
We have Regeneration FROM God
The Result is we are his Children
We receive it by the sacrifice of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit
And now death is a one time appointment and LIFE is Eternal.
Speaking with Nicodemus in John 3 Jesus taught
Flesh gives birth to flesh but the spirit gives birth to spirit, don’t be surprised when I say you MUST be born again
I Am crucified with Christ … YET I LIVE !!!
1 Peter 1:23 you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God
The Penalty of Sin is gone
The Product of Sin has been done away with … but if we have been born of God …
1 John 5:4 everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith
I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me
Penalty is gone
Product is gone and also the
Power is defeated in the work of Christ … and it is
Just as if …
3. Christ were Living Through Me
And the life I now live … I live by faith, in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me …
Because of the Grace of Christ, that is giving me what I do not deserve, I have been given the Spiritual Power to a life of Victory.
Do not be deceived, the Christian life, is not an easy life. It is not a life without temptation, it is not a life, where we will no longer sin. But we have been given the power NOT to sin as we surrender to the process of Christ living through us.
I’ve described it before that Justification is the moment when I am declared Righteous and Sanctification is the process by which my outside begins to catch up in the inside.
We are not GLORIFIED yet, that is when we leave this life and leave the presence of sin, but we can get victory in this life.
What are the areas we can live a life of Victory?
> Over the World – I just read to you 1 john 5:4 – everyone born of God overcomes the world … this is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith
> Over the flesh – Rom. 7:24-25 who will resecue me from this body of death? Thanks beo to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!
> Over satan – James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee
Do we have the power NOT to sin … YES … we are not freed FROM sinning, but we ARE now set free NOT to sin …
1 Cor 10:13 promises that there is no temptation that will overtake us that through God’s faithfulness, we cannot stand up under the attack …
But remember we have been declared righteous … not made righteous …
Justification is a moment Sanctification is a process of responding in faith and obedience
please do not be discouraged or confused sin is STILL a struggle
The Good News is that according to 1 John 3 we will not CONTINUE in sin … it doesn’t mean that we will not fall occasionally to sin
In 1 John 1 … John is obviously writing to the church and yet he tells those of us in the church, the redeemed, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But then verse 10 says if we say ‘we have not sinned,’ we make him a liar, and His word is not in us.
We ARE still plagued by sin. Read Romans 7 Paul struggled with the difficulty of the New Nature of a Believer and the Old Nature of a sinner. Later in his life in Paul wrote to Timothy that he was the worst of sinners.
It is a Struggle
Each of the verses I read about victory over the World, the Flesh, and the devil, all paint a picture of a process,
I am Crucified … Yet I Live … Yet Not I but Christ IN ME …
Free from the Penalty
Free from the Product
Free from the Power
The Process of Sanctification, It’s about
As I surrender as if I had never sinned, as if I was never dead, then it becomes as if Jesus were LIVING THROUGH me … a Life surrendered to Jesus …
I am not oversimplifying it, but we can see the process in Romans 6 – let me read from the New Living Translation
V1,2 – should we keep ON sinning that God can show us more and more grace? Of course Not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
> REALIZE that we have POWER over sin
V6 – we know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might LOSE it’s POWER in our lives. We are no longer SLAVES …
So it doesn’t say we WON’T sin but it says we do not HAVE to sin …
Once we realize it … then we
> RECKONING it to be True -
V11 – you also should CONSIDER yourselves DEAD to the Power of Sin and Alive to God –
We were Justified in Christ Jesus, but to Reckon means to PUT TO ONE’S Account.
If Justification is the Righteousness of God being written to us in a Check … so anytime we need something we just SHOW the Check … and it is according to the check … well reckoning is cashing the check.
Reckoning is when we stop simply believing in the concept and start living by Faith
… The Life I NOW LIVE I LIVE By FAITH …
Our Shield is Faith
Faith is the Victory that overcomes the World
It is no longer BELIEVING in a promise but ACTING by the Power given IN the Promise
Free from the Penalty of Sin
> RESPONDING to the demands of God’s righteousness
Another word is to YIELD
V13 – give yourselves completely to God, for you WERE dead, but NOW you have NEW LIFE. Use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.
Before you knew God and were justified in him, you had no power for righteous living, not to say you couldn’t do a few good things, be a good person, but goodness would get you nowhere …
But NOW you are in Christ, you are free from the penalty of sin,
You are free from the product of Sin
And you are free from the Power of Sin …
Wiersbe says this is an act of the will based on the knowledge we have of what Christ has done for us. It is an intelligent act – not the impulsive decision of the moment, based on some emotional stirring.
It is fellowshipping with Christ
It is a day by day, moment by moment surrendering
Oh the beautiful Gift of Grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace that is greater than all our sin
Oh and this is just a FORETASTE
Because we are Justified when we receive Christ
And we are being Sanctified as Regenerated Children of God
But the best is yet to be
There IS Glorification to come … Sin will not challenge me forever …
I will not always be struggling with these two natures
Jesus Christ will split the clouds and this body will be changed
We will be like him for we shall see him as he is
And Glorification awaits … when we will leave the presence of sin forever and ever
Paul said I consider our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Rom 8:18
We WILL be able to come INTO his presence and see him face to face without fear …
What will you do with the word you have heard today?
Do you still hold off on receiving the Grace offered by Christ?
Why? Are you saving up your good deeds to pay off your sin debt? No Way … Not Gonna Happen
Come to Jesus
Frustrated by your past?
Well there is New Life in Jesus Christ
You can be a new creation in him
Life is found in Jesus
Come to Jesus
Are you a believer today, struggling … don’t be content with Justification and Regeneration
Be Sanctified in Christ Jesus
Walk with Jesus
Let Jesus walk with you …
We are HIS Workmanship
Created for acts of good that he has prepared in advance for us to do …
SONG – “COME TO JESUS”