Sermon: Romans 8:1-4 In Jesus You are Free

Main Point: Those who are IN CHRIST are saved from the penalty and power of sin.

 

  • What does it mean to be IN CHRIST?

 

  • IN CHRIST we are saved from the penalty of sin (v. 1)

 

  • IN CHRIST we are saved from the power of sin (v. 2-4)

The Freedom & Joy of Confession

Confession is an idea that brings with it a plethora of feelings and ideas that vary from person to person.  When you hear the word confession, do the ideas of joy and freedom come to your mind? Consider the words of 1 John 1:5-10:

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

John begins with the observation that God is holy and upright (he is light v. 5) and from this theological observation comes the application (v. 6): Those who have fellowship with God will become holy and upright.  It would be a lie to claim fellowship with God without having a resulting holiness.  John then gives us the two results of walking in the light (v. 7): Fellowship with other believers and the blood of Jesus cleansing us from all sin.

Then comes the glory of confession.  But before confession comes, recognition of sin is a necessity.  If we claim to be without sin, and therefore without need of repentance and confession, we cannot claim to be Christians or have fellowship with God, rather “the truth is not in us.” But if we, instead of denying our need for confession, actually confess our sins, we have the joy of forgiveness already addressed in v. 7. Confession leads to forgiveness from God and a complete cleansing from unrighteousness.

Freedom

With this in mind, I would like to point out the two aspects of confession that should be near and dear to all Christians.  The first aspect of confession is freedom.  In a world without the gospel of forgiveness, there is no freedom in confession.  Without the glorious grace of God in the gospel, confession of sin only leads to greater guilt and shame. But with the reality of the gospel in mind, we see that confession leads to cleansing, not guilt.  All people are invited to find freedom in repentance when Paul says “Have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret” (Ephesians 5:11-12).  We confess and turn, Jesus forgives.

Joy

This reality of forgiveness leads to joy, the second aspect of confession we ought to cherish.  John told us in v. 9 that if we confess our sins, Jesus “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Though we deserve condemnation for our shameful deeds, God sent forth His son, not to judge us, but to save us.  Since Jesus bore the wrath, and shame of sin, He is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” In other words, Jesus’ forgiveness not only frees us from condemnation but also shows Jesus to still be faithful and just.  What a joy it is to be cleansed and forgiven by a faithful and just savior.  Praise God, “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

When it comes to the freedom and joy of confession, few worship songs capture this reality better than this new song by Don Carson and Sandra McCracken.  Listen below and click here to read more about this song.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/track=3157705552/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/‘I Am Ashamed’

Lyrics by Don Carson; music by Sandra McCracken

I used to nurture bitterness,
To count up every slight.
The world’s a moral wilderness,
And I have felt its blight.
Self-pity ruled, resentment reigned;
No one understood my pain.
I spiraled down in murky night,
Insisting that I had the right
To hate and hate again.

I am ashamed;
O, my Lord, forgive.

But then the gospel taught me how
To contemplate the cross.
For there Christ died for me—and now
I’ve glimpsed the bitter cost.
He bore abuse, and blows, and hate;
He did not retaliate.
Triumphant malice sneered and tossed
Blind rage at him—he never lost
The love that conquers hate.

I am ashamed;
O, my Lord, forgive.

To make no threat, to smile, forgive,
To love—and not because I must,
For Jesus showed me how to live
And trust the One who’s just;
To suffer wrong and feel the pain,
Certain that the loss is gain—
O God, I want so much to trust,
To follow Jesus on the cross,
To love and love again.

How Should we React to God’s Choosing of us?

John 6:44 says “No one can come to me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent me draws him.” In other words, apart from God drawing us, we would reject Jesus eternally and would be without hope. What effect should this reality of God’s adoption and election have on us?

  1. It should humble us. Titus 3:5 says “he saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”. You did nothing to earn a right standing with God. You can do nothing. This reality aught to lead us to the throne of God in humility.
  2. It should cause Thankfulness. When you realize that you did not save yourself, that God did all the work, you will be thankful. I think of Ephesians 1:4-5, “God chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will to the praise of his glorious grace.”
  3. It should bring Hope. Because of that fact that salvation does not depend on man’s ability, because of that fact that it is God who is in charge of salvation, you can have hope for those who are lost. No matter how dead in sin they are, no matter how resistant they are to the gospel, all it takes for them to come to Jesus is God drawing them to himself by opening their eyes to the beauty of the gospel. Salvation is rooted in God’s mercy and God’s power, not man’s ability.
  4. It should lead to Prayer. If no one can come to Jesus apart from the father drawing them, then praying is the most powerful tool in evangelism. You can prepare all you want. You can have all the right bible passages memorized. You have all of the most “effective” evangelism techniques. But if you are not falling on your face before God asking him to open the eyes of your lost neighbor, asking him to change the heart of you family member or coworker, you will be working with your own ability, witch is useless without the power of God.
  5. All glory goes to God. Biblical texts that deal with God’s choosing, election, and predestination say that it is all for the sake of God’s praise and Glory: “ChosePredestined…to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6), “Predestined…to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12), “God’s purpose of election…to show my (God’s) power… and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Rom. 9:17 & Ex. 9:6) “to make known the riches of his glory…which he has prepared beforehand for glory– even us whom he has called” (Rom. 9:23)

Are You Hoping for Partiality?

In today’s text (Ephesians 6:5-9), we are told to ‘obey (or serve) others, as we would Christ.’ We’re also told ‘there is no partiality with Him—with God.’ Are you hoping for partiality? In the movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the heroine of the film gets stuffed into a basket and kidnapped away from her hero friend, Indiana Jones. And as she’s being carried away, she says this: “You can’t do this to me, I’m an American.” It’s a funny line that adds some humor in a rapid-fire, action-packed scene. But I want us to consider what it was she said. I’ve had the opportunity to both live and visit other countries, and this kind of privileged-American mentality seems to be everywhere I go. We live in one of the most prosperous and blessed countries this world has ever seen. Even our poor are relatively well to do by other countries’ standards. You’ve probably heard the term ‘Ugly American.’ It’s in the dictionary. It’s an American who behaves offensively abroad. Part of the ugliness may stem from a sense of entitlement and privilege. I’m an American; we’re the best; I get special privileges.

Now I can’t imagine that anyone here would take this kind of attitude with them overseas. But do we have this sense of entitlement here at home? “I deserve. I need. I’m supposed to get.” My kids like the movie, Emperor’s New Groove. The movie centers around the a character named Kuzco, a South American emperor who acts like the whole world revolves around him. At one point someone says to him, “All you care about is you.” To which he replies, “Yeah. Me. Everyone else in the kingdom gets it. You’re the only one that doesn’t seem to be with the program.” Now none of us would be this blatant in stating our sense of entitlement, yet, we move through life thinking we deserve better. And what God would have us know is that there is no partiality with Him. He doesn’t care where you’ve come from, or what you’ve got, so long as you live in obedience to Him. Do you live and work like a Christian: expecting nothing in return other than the grace of God? No entitlement; no partiality; all grace. Obey and serve those in authority over you as you would Christ.

Grace to You and Peace

To the Saints at Faith Baptist Church,

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 1:2).

What does grace and peace look like in the life of a believer?  Let it be said that it manifests itself in different ways: it might look a little different with you then it does with me.  But when grace and peace are evidenced in a believer’s life he or she will be like that man our Lord spoke of in Matthew 7:24—that wise man—who built his house upon the rock.  The rains fell; the floods came; the wind blew and beat upon the house; but it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.

Would it be fair to say that wisdom can be found in knowing Christ: knowing His grace (His unmerited favor) and His peace, despite circumstance?  If so—and if that grace and peace manifests itself in your life—then you will be unmovable, unflappable, and unshakeable amidst the storms that will undoubtedly come.  They’re beating against the door; they’re trying to get in and wipe you out; but Christ is your Lord—you’ve been founded upon the rock; and He is your shelter; He is your grace and peace; and that is what keeps you, despite circumstance.

There was another man in that story.  He built his house upon the sand; he was not on the sure foundation of Christ; Christ was not Lord.  He might have been near the rock, but he was no on the rock.  You might be near to Jesus, but do you make Him your foundation?  And what will happen when the storms in life come? —The rains fall; the floods come; the winds blow and they will beat against everything you’ve built, and it will fall.  Jesus says, “Great was the fall of it.”

Do you know the grace and peace of God no matter what tragedy has come, or will come, your way?  Or are you shaken to your core and devastated whenever trouble comes?  How you respond to trial is a good indicator as to whether or not you know the grace and peace that can only come from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yours heartily,

Jeremy Caskey