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Blessed Assurance

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Blessed Assurance

Romans 5:1-11    September 9, 2001


Scripture Reading: Responsive Reading # 668, Hymnal


Illus.: Blessed "insurance." Peace of mind.

          Blessed assurance. Peace of soul.

In our passage last week we learned what faith is not: it is not trusting in works, flesh, or law; but it is always by belief, and that is in Christ alone.

(This need for faith is the common denominator of the gospel that keeps us as equals in our dependence upon Christ in overcoming the other common denominator of our sinfulness.)

And so now that we know largely what faith is not, we must travel further along the road to what it is, or rather, what we have because of it.

We can learn best what faith is by defining what it does give us.

Please turn to our passage this morning in Romans 5:1-11.

The "therefore" at the beginning tips us off that this begins a new thrust in Paul's argument.

His argument will stretch from chapter 5 through chapter 8 and carries on from what he has already told us about our justification by faith.

What we have in our passage this morning is the theme of assurance, the certainty that our justification will lead to final salvation.

This is a radical new power that God gives us in our continual struggle against sin and the law.

This theme dominates the first and last paragraphs in these chapters (5:1-11 & 8:18-39) which frame the argument of Romans 5-8.

To show you where we are going, the passage in 5:12-21 about Adam and Christ grounds or supports the claim for assurance in 5:1-11.

Then in chapters 6-7, Paul deals further with the two continuing threats to our assurance – sin and the law.

Then in 8:1-17 he shows how the work of the Holy Spirit overcomes these threats.

Big Question:

What assurance does faith in Christ give us?

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (v. 1)

          B.      Implication

Faith in Christ assures us of peace with God.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Peace can be the absence of hostility, but even more here it is the general sense of harmonious well-being, the shalom of the OT. (S. Is. 32:17-18)

It refers to the well-being and prosperity of people who have been blessed by God.

Paul transfers the term "peace" from the national blessing of Israel to the personal experience of every believer. (S. Is. 52:7)

This peace is the objective state of harmony with God that believers who have been justified enjoy.

Paul is indicating and detailing for us the benefits that our new justified status brings.

Note also that this is not only the peace "of God" but peace "with God."

It is not just an inner sense of serenity and security that wells up inside our hearts when we appreciate the blessings we enjoy in Christ; it is the objective position we find ourselves in because God has ceased to be hostile toward us by reconciling us to himself.

Paul is telling us that God's verdict of justification marks the entrance into the Christian life.

When we respond to the gospel in faith, God declares us innocent and our relationship with him begins.

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (v. 2a)

          B.      Implication

Faith in Christ assures us of grace with God.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

We also have access to grace – like when a person has "access" to the President.

But our access to God is constant – it is access into his grace.

It is a state in which the believer lives.

God's free giving to us does not stop when we become Christians.

It continues to be poured out on us so much that we can be said to live in a constant state of grace.

We not only get into relationship with God by grace, we live out that relationship day-by-day by grace. (Amazing Grace)

It is that same amazing grace that undergirds all my life. "Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home."

III.    Cycle Three

          A.      Narrative (v. 2b)

          B.      Implication

Faith in Christ assures us of glory with God.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Now Paul introduces what becomes the theme of this paragraph: the hope we have as Christians to share in God's glory.

But this glory of God is not a trouble-free existence and leads us into the next idea.

IV.    Cycle Four


          A.      Narrative (vv. 3-4)

          B.      Implication

Faith in Christ assures us of godly process.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Paul says in effect, I know Christians will continue to suffer.

But life's difficulties do not contradict what I have been saying about the wonderful blessings of being a Christian; in fact, God actually uses them to bring us even greater blessing.

In fact, Paul claims at the end of verse 4 that suffering can actually lead to hope.

Just as resistance to a muscle strengthens it, so challenges to our hope can strengthen it.

Note four points here that give us a better perspective on suffering:

          1.       Suffering is a normal part of a consistent Christian life.

          2.       God uses suffering to accomplish his purposes. (The trials of life are a means of testing our faith and giving substance and strength to our Christian commitment – only suffering will pry me from this world and its pleasures.) (S. 1Pet. 4:1-2)

          3.       We are to rejoice in the midst of, but not in, suffering. (Paul calls on us to rejoice in the midst of afflictions, and even to rejoice because of afflictions – knowing what God will accomplish with them – but he does not ask us to be joyful about the affliction as well.)

          4.       The suffering Paul speaks of here includes all the difficulties of this life. (In a certain sense, everything that a Christian suffers is on behalf of Christ. The evil things we face reflect the conflict between "this age" dominated by Satan and sin and the "age to come" to which the believer has been transferred by faith. All suffering betrays the presence of the enemy and attacks our relationship with Christ.)

V.      Cycle Five

          A.      Narrative (v. 5)

          B.      Implication

Faith in Christ assures us of godly confidence.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

The theme of hope now blends into our assurance.

Hope "will" not disappoint us because we are assured of God's love.

Paul is alluding to OT passages that speak of people who hope in God not being disappointed or ashamed at the time of judgment.

Our claim that Christ will rescue us from God's wrath will some day be vindicated – God will do what he promised.

We can be sure of this because of two reasons: God love for us in Christ, and God's work for us in Christ.

God does not just dole out his love for us in tiny measures; he has poured it into our hearts.

This is the same pouring that we see in Acts 2:17-18 when the Holy Spirit is poured out on the day of Pentecost.

Paul is cleverly alluding to the Spirit here.

It is the Spirit, dwelling in the heart of believers, who communicates God's love to us.

VI.    Cycle Six

          A.      Narrative (vv. 6-8)

          B.      Implication

Faith in Christ assures us of a Savior.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Alongside the subjective evidence of God's love for us we also have objective proof of that love in the cross of Christ.

Sending his Son to die for people who refused to worship him (the basic connotation of "ungodly") reveals the magnitude of God's love for us.

The difference between "a good man" and "a righteous man" is that a righteous person is one we might respect but a good person is one we might love.

Rarely will a person give their life for someone they merely respect; but occasionally a person would die for someone they love.

The awesome quality of God's love for us is seen in that Christ died for us while we were still sinners – hating God, in rebellion against him.

VII.   Cycle Seven

          A.      Narrative (v. 9)

          B.      Implication

Faith in Christ assures us of salvation from God's wrath.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

The word "justify" describes here what happens when God first accepts us.

He declares us innocent and absolves us from punishment for our sins.

This is a judicial idea.

VIII.  Cycle Eight


          A.      Narrative (vv. 10-11)

          B.      Implication

Faith in Christ assures us of salvation to an abundant life.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Not only are we justified but we are reconciled to God in Christ.

If "justify" was a judicial idea then "reconcile" is a relational one.

But notice here that being "saved" comes after we are justified and reconciled.

This seems unusual since we usually think of "being saved" with our initial acceptance with the Lord.

Paul is here using the term of "being saved" to depict the believer's final deliverance from death and the wrath of God in the last day.

Later in Romans 13:11 Paul claims that "our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed."

It is the very reasonable idea that our salvation is not completed until we have put sin and death behind us and been vindicated in the judgment.

Being justified and reconciled to God is the critical step on the way to salvation; if these are in place, eventual salvation is certain.

In Jewish theology, justification, and its opposite, condemnation, were verdicts that would be delivered only on the Day of Judgment.

Paul's claim that a person can be justified in this life is a radical departure from Jewish thinking.

This does not mean that Paul does away with the typical Jewish teaching about a future day of judgment.

He affirms that some day Christians as well as non-Christians will have to stand before God to be judged.

So we begin to understand better why Paul must focus on the issue of assurance in these verses.

Christians, he asserts, are justified, but we have not yet appeared before God on the Judgement Day.

In justifying us, God has already pronounced his verdict over us.

It can neither be rescinded nor changed.

True, we must still appear before God to have our case disposed of.

But we can face that day with utter confidence, since God in Christ has already decided the case in our favor.

Justification releases us from any uncertainty of fear about the judgment.


Big Answer:

What assurance does faith in Christ give us?

Faith in Christ assures us of peace with God.

Faith in Christ assures us of grace with God.

Faith in Christ assures us of glory with God.

Faith in Christ assures us of godly process.

Faith in Christ assures us of godly confidence.

Faith in Christ assures us of a Savior.

Faith in Christ assures us of salvation from God's wrath.

Faith in Christ assures us of salvation to an abundant life.

Timeless Truth: * The ultimate blessing of faith is assurance.

What we have because of our faith is hope for final salvation – the ultimate blessing of our justification.

The results of faith is blessed insurance.

Our faith gives us the assurance of peace with God, access to God's grace, joy in the hope of glory, joy in the face of the suffering that produces that hope, and the knowledge of God's love through it all by the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Moreover, it gives us that hope in the face of hopelessness – it gives us a Savior.

So to sum it up, we have been saved for life and eternity by the gospel and saved from the other side of the gospel which is God's wrath.

It is Christ who has reconciled us.

Assurance is the common denominator of faith.

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