Faithlife Sermons

The Hope of Glory

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The reality of sin levels all as "Fallen short of the glory of God"; but the free grace and mercy of Jesus declares us to be righteous so that we now stand with the firm hope of glory.



Psalm 32 NKJV
A Psalm of David. A Contemplation. 1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah 6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him. 7 You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. 9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you. 10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!



Romans 5:1–11 NKJV
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 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. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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. 6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.


We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
The day will come when we will be fully in the presence of Christ Jesus. His glory beyond that which we can imagine. The beauty and peace and awe and fear of that moment cannot even be borne by us today, for it would drive us to madness and despair.
Such a sight is fit only for a glorified body, free from sin and death.
John got a glimpse of that glory and fell down as a dead man until he was lifted to his feet again.
Right now, there is a curtain covering that world. We can only read the descriptions, and even then we cannot fully fathom it with these eyes.
All we can do is long for it.
There is justice that is beautiful and immense and perfect.
There is goodness that makes the eyes water and shuts the mouth
There is beauty that renders us helpless before it.
There is love that leaves us crumpled and weeping, like the groom seeing his bride walk down the aisle - but even more so.
And we get glimpses of all of those things on this earth from time to time.
But they only leave us gasping for more - they are the amuse course, the tiny bite in advance of the supper, the glimpse of things that are coming.
Israel got a glimpse in the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire,
Peter and James and John got a glimpse at the mount of transfiguration. And Peter told us that we now have a trustworthy record of his heavenly majesty and glory…laid up in heaven for us.
It isn’t here. Here we only have a glimpse.
And it is hard to see it by faith when all around us we see beatings, revilings, mockings, banishment, exile...
So Paul writes this epistle to the Romans - to tell them that he is eager to come and preach the gospel to them so that they might be encouraged, strengthened and empowered for the life that God calls them to, even while the world is raging.
He talks about that power in chapter one - but first he describes the world of the Gentiles.

the judgment of the others

Chapter one comes up a lot in Reformed circles, especially when talking about the sins of the world, and especially whenever a discussion of same sex attraction is brought up.
The world knows God, but does not worship him as God, so God gave them over to practice lawlessness of every kind.
This was the state of the world in the days of Rome, and it is the state of the world ever since. We know that. We understand that.
And it is so, so easy to fill sermon after sermon with Romans one denouncements of the sinfulness of the world.
But Romans one goes to Romans 2 , which indicts the people of God. If you are going to sit in judgment over adultery, homosexuality, rebellion and idolatry in the world, what will you do with your own heart of adultery, rebellion, worship of money and power?
To put it in modern terms, when you condemn the fornicators in the world, and then turn on the pornography on the computer, you have simply condemned yourself.
Romans 2:1–2 NKJV
1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.
It is not those who can pass theology exams who stand before God perfect and whole. It is only those who are righteous. You cannot stand before God unless you are righteous.
And think very seriously about that.
For we always fall into that trap of thinking that because we don’t commit the sins of the others we are somehow righteous, and that somehow that righteousness makes us acceptable to God - at least more acceptable than those other guys.
We find ourselves saying, “I thank God that I am not like other men - like this tax collector.”
And we read that parable and say to ourselves, “I thank God that I am not like other men, like that Pharisee. What a moron!”
And on and on it goes.
Paul sums that up by saying, “There is none who do good. No not one.” All have sinned and have come short of the glory of God.

Alien righteousness

Then he points us to a righteousness that isn’t our own, it is a free gift, received by faith alone.
We don’t earn it. We don’t make ourselves pure enough to receive it.
You cannot denounce the world from Romans one without denouncing yourself in Romans 2 and 3. - that is the whole point.
And in chapter 4 he describes what we call alien righteousness. Righteousness that comes from outside of ourselves. It isn’t ours, and it is the only possible righteousness that will stand before the glory of God.
This is the righteousness which is a gift, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.
His perfect life, his sinless thoughts, his purity and beauty and everything about him - the beloved son, in whom God is well-pleased.
Imagine that perfect beauty is a perfect garment. Christ’s sacrifice washes you clean - the waters of baptism.
And then the garment comes on. And not even the pickiest critic can find a wrinkle, for it is perfect.
And God did that for us when we were filthy, lepers, outcasts, unclean, prisoners, without hope and without God in the world.
And when I was lying awake, again, in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, the words flow back to me again -
Romans 5:1 NKJV
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Peace with God. What a thought! We have peace with God that can never diminish, never be taken away, never be broken.
Because it doesn’t depend on me. It depends upon the perfect work of Jesus, HIS garment put on me. His blood washing me.
Having been justified by faith.
The devil accuses. Look at you. Your a failure, you are ridiculous. Everyone hates you. They can’t wait for you to be gone.
If they only knew what kind of a person you REALLY were, they would have nothing to do with you.

The tomb

And it keeps us in bondage. Andrew Peterson sings
Well I'm scared if I open myself to be known I'll be seen and despised and be left all alone So I'm stuck in this tomb and you won't move the stone And the rain keeps falling
And for all of those who are afraid to be known, for all who hear that God would never accept a person like you, for all who are afraid to speak, to open yourself wide
The tomb is dark and scary, and there are a lot of people in there with you. It feels safe, but it is a tomb.
And opening yourself to be known by God is terrifying, because all you have heard your whole life is that God hates people like you.
But peace with God isn’t going to come by being a different sort of person. Peace with God isn’t going to come by hiding.
Peace with God only comes one way - being justified by faith.
Jesus, clothe me with your righteousness. Take away the condemnation and shame of sin. And work in me by your spirit.
I want to be clean. I want to be free. I want to be whole.
And yes, the people in the tomb will hate you, will revile you, will separate from you - because you will no longer be their kind of people.
But you will be free.
And far, far better - you will have peace with God, being justified by faith.
And faith is described in chapter 4.
Romans 4:16–22 NKJV
16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Read it again and again carefully. Abraham was considered righteous by God, so that he stood in God’s presence, because Abraham believed the words of God - that God is able to call things that do not exist as though they do.
Abraham’s body was dead. God called him “the father of many nations” and changed his name.
And that change of name brought about a new status for Abraham. He was not a father. God called him a father. He believed God. God’s declaration was true. He became a father.
And so here is the point.
You who have always been told you are not the right sort of person, you who are afraid of coming out of the tomb because you are terrified of being rejected by God...
Hear the lesson of Abraham. God calls you righteous and clean, even though you are not - and you become what he calls you, by faith.
God calls you acceptable, his kind of people, welcome by name, and you are not, but you become what he calls you by faith.
And this gives us hope, because we know that we are welcome now at the marriage supper of the lamb, and when these bodies are made new, we will stand in the presence of the fullness of the glory of God in a form that we can endure - our Lord Jesus, who for us and for our salvation became flesh and walked among us. Because of the great love which he had for us.
And if those kind of people aren’t the right kind of people than no kind of person is the right kind of person, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
But God calls us sons - and restores the hope of glory, being justified by faith.

Coming out of the tomb

But wow. Coming out of the tomb is hard. The people of the tomb hate you and revile you. Come out anyway.
On the journey of life, learning to walk out of the tomb, there will be many obstacles.
Romans 5:3 NKJV
3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
Look at them as coming out of the tomb. Then you can learn to glory in them.
The Lord took me from the mouth of the bear.
The Lord took me from the mouth of the lion.
The Lord will take me from the mouth of this danger.
And wounded, broken, bloody, we press on -
Knowing that there is an end. Knowing that a table is laid before us in the presence of our enemies. Knowing that the end is the glory of God, transformed bodies - and wrapped in the arms of the savior.
And how do we know this?
Romans 5:10–11 NKJV
10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
If God gave his own son to deliver us while we were filthy, how much more will he bring us through now that we have been cleansed by his blood?
When we were enemies, Christ died for us.
Will he now leave us to rot now that we are reconciled and have peace with God?
And so we trudge on, knowing that he is leading us even through this.
Step after step. One day at a time. Knowing that the valley will end and the curtain will be pulled back, and we shall behold him.
And until that day, we eat the bread and drink the wine, nourishing ourselves with the body and blood of Jesus.
And take another step. Until finally complete victory is ours.
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