Calvary Road Baptist Church

“OUR PROSPECT AND OUR PRAISE”

Romans 5.9-11 

Twenty-six years ago a Church member and I were out visiting one evening. I remember the event because I wrote it down. A number of our Church people were out in the community at the same time. But one of the doors my partner and I went to turned out to be a particularly interesting visit. The woman who answered the knock on her door claimed to be a Roman Catholic, who said she was married to an Arab who was a Muslim. Although her husband wasn’t home at the time, I proceeded to ask her whose spiritual views were right, hers or her husband’s. She deflected my question by stating that she respected her husband’s religion. Interestingly, Islam very specifically teaches its adherents not to respect non-Muslim religious beliefs, labeling me and my visitation partner, as well as the woman as we were speaking to, by the derogatory term of a kafir.[1]

During our pleasant conversation, I pointed out to her that the laws of logic, upon which all human knowledge and reasoning are built, insist that if two assertions conflict, one must be correct and one must be incorrect.[2] I didn’t share with her that Roman Catholicism and Islam, both being based upon human works, are not really in conflict and thus both of them are incorrect. At any rate, she raised her eye brows when I indicated to her that it was possible for someone to know that he was going to heaven. Interestingly, I had only moments before that conversation spoken to a very nice young lady who indicated she was a Jehovah Witness. She told me she did not know she was going to heaven. She knew she was not going to heaven. And she was right.

Reflection upon those two conversations brings a question to my mind. How does a child of God know that he or she is going to heaven? I suppose someone can answer “Well, I have trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.” Okay. But why does believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins in the past, and beyond that why does additionally being justified by faith in Christ in the past, necessarily mean that you are going to heaven in the future? You need to answer that question, Christian. The Bible indicates that you are directed to have an answer for the hope that lies within you, First Peter 3.15. You’d better be able to answer people who ask you how you can be sure you’re going to heaven just because you claim to know Jesus Christ as your Savior.

My text for today is a portion of Scripture in which we are given the logical reason for believing why those who have trusted Christ will go to heaven. Therefore, I urge you Christians to pay careful attention. You who know Jesus Christ as your savior will learn how to tell folks about the basis for the hope that lies within you. Please turn at this time to Romans 5.9-11. Once you have found that passage, I invite you to stand with me for the reading of God’s Word: 

9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 

We know that the person who has repented of his sins and received Jesus Christ as his Savior has been justified. Romans 5.1 is only one of the places in the New Testament where that is asserted. Further, we know that the justified person has certain possessions given to him by God, namely peace, grace, hope, and proof, proof of God’s love for him.

Today we learn of the justified person’s prospect and the justified person’s praise. 

IN ROMANS 5.9-10 WE SEE THE JUSTIFIED PERSON’S PROSPECT 

The believer’s prospect has to do, of course, with his future. Everyone has a future, though the believer in Jesus Christ is predictably more likely to eagerly anticipate his future than is the Christ neglecter and the conscious Christ rejecter. The believer’s expectation is described in verse 9, and the explanation is given in verse 10: 

9  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 

Let’s look at our expectation, Christian, outlined in verse 9: 

“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” 

There are four things of note in this verse that I want to call our attention to: First, consider the “Much more then” phrase at the very beginning. Here Paul is preparing his believing readers to consider a certain line of reasoning. I choose to refer to it as the “more to less” line of reasoning. So that we might clearly understand what I mean by “more to less” reasoning, turn to Romans 8.32, where we find another example of what I refer to as “more to less” reasoning: 

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” 

The whole point of Paul’s declaration is, if God has already done that which is great, not sparing His Son, delivering up His Son, why should He not do for you that which is small?[3] If I have given you a $100 bill would I begrudge you a quarter for the parking meter? Of course not. That is what we have here. And so it is in Romans 5.9. If God goes to all the trouble to justify you by Christ’s blood, will He begrudge you the additional benefit of sparing you His wrath? Of course not. Of course not. Next, let’s consider the phrase “being now justified by His blood.” This phrase does not in any way conflict with the truth that we are “justified by faith,” but rather looks at the issue from another perspective. Faith is the means by which we are justified. Faith in Christ. But it was Christ’s shed blood on Calvary’s cross which satisfied God’s righteous demands for payment for our sin. Thus, faith is the means while the blood of Christ is the ground for our justification. The means of our justification is entirely compatible with the ground for our justification. There is no conflict. Third, “we shall be saved . . . through him.” This is the heart of the believer’s near future expectation. We have been saved from the penalty of sin. We are being saved from the power of sin. But this declaration refers to what takes place during our journey on the way to someday being saved from the presence of sin.

Since eternity future consists of either heaven or the lake of fire, “shall be saved” must, therefore, refer to some future deliverance. Of course, the expectation of every born again child of God is to be delivered from an eternity in the lake of fire to an eternity in heaven. But notice, finally, the words “from wrath.” Let me say at the outset that more and more we are seeing so-called evangelicals going wobbly on the existence of Hell and the lake of fire, refusing to mention their existence if they do not outright deny their existence. Joel Osteen is just terrible on this issue. Are you sure you know what Hell is? As well, are you sure you know what the lake of fire is? Those two places are the real life result of those who live and die without ever repenting of their sins against God by trusting Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Hell is the temporary abode of the doomed and the damned when they die, with the lake of fire being the eventual everlasting abode of the doomed and the damned when they die.

These things understood, I am persuaded this promise of being saved from God’s wrath refers not to the eternal state of the believer, as so many Christians assume without investigation, but to our immediate future life in the flesh as believers. To be sure, those who trust Christ will go to heaven when we die and will not be delivered to the eternal torment and damnation of the lost. However, wrath is an expression that, contrary to most people’s understanding of the term, typically refers to God’s visitation of displeasure upon the wicked before they die. Therefore, not only will those who trust Christ go to heaven instead of Hell, but for the rest of your life as a Christian, you are spared from any and all of God’s wrathful displeasure. Instead, even when God is correcting a believer’s sinful conduct, He is doing so with kindness, mercy, tenderness, and as a loving father, and never with wrath or anger toward those who are His Own through faith in Christ.[4]

Thus, to be saved from God’s wrath is a promise concerning you and God once you become a Christian, He will never display wrath toward you again. Not ever. We who claim Christ as our own expect heaven to be our eternal home because Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary’s cross satisfied God’s demands for the payment of our sins’ penalty. However, even before then, Jesus Christ endured God’s wrath for me on the cross of Calvary so I would never see it again in this life. Praise His holy name!

We next consider Paul’s explanation, in verse 10: 

“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” 

This is what is called a first class conditional statement. It is the affirmation of truth using a standard formula of “if such and such is true, which it is, then such and such is true.” If that is a stop sign ahead, which it is, then you’d better come to a complete stop before proceeding. And often, such as here, we see the “if,” but the “then” portion of the statement doesn’t always say “then,” but implies it. Enough with the high school English. Observe with me the “if” part of Paul’s statement: 

“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.” 

I want you to take notice of three truths which are assumed to be true in the “if” part of this statement Paul has made: First, that you and I were God’s enemies before our conversion is assumed to be true. No one who denies that he was in rebellion against God before his conversion is a Christian. First John 1.9, also employing a first class conditional statement, says that 

“if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” 

Thus, lost men and women must recognize their animosity toward God before they have any real notion of the sin from which they must be saved. Second, those of us who are now believers in Jesus Christ, those of us who have been justified by faith in Christ, are assumed to be now reconciled with God. Notice the significance of Paul’s shift in terminology. Justification has to do with legal standing, but reconciliation has to do with relationships. Once the legal issue of sin has been dealt with the justified person can now enjoy a real relationship with God because he is now reconciled to God.

Beloved, this reality is unique to the Christian faith.[5] You will never hear of a Jew, of a Muslim, of a Buddhist, of a Hindu, or someone of any other faith system speaking of such a thing as an interpersonal relationship with God. And third, it is assumed to be true that all of this has been made possible by the sacrificial death of God’s Son. Not the death of God’s Son plus your prayers. Not the death of God’s Son plus your good efforts to be a nice person. The death of God’s Son, plus nothing that you have done or could do, making your present good standing and communion with God possible. This is what is assumed to be true in the first class conditional statement presented for our consideration by the Apostle Paul. With these things being true, what then must also be true? With our reconciliation being true, it must also then be true that we shall be saved by His life. If a dying Savior could give His life a ransom payment to reconcile us to God, surely a resurrected and living Savior can then guarantee our safe delivery to that same God in heaven.

Think about this, now. Do you deny that people can know for sure that they are going to heaven if they’ve trusted Jesus Christ? To deny the conclusions of a first class conditional statement, you must deny the initial assertions. To deny that one can be sure he is heaven bound you must also deny that unsaved people are God’s enemies, you must deny that believers have been reconciled to God, and you must deny that Jesus Christ made all this possible. See how all this rises and falls together? You either have a know-so salvation, or you don’t have salvation at all. Notice, also, that the Apostle Paul is dealing with facts at this point, and makes no mention at all about your feelings. Christianity is a fact-based faith. Feelings are involved. And feelings are very beneficial. But feelings do not cause but are the consequence of, the facts. Thus, a genuine believer’s salvation is not necessarily suspect when his faith wavers. Mark 9.25 illustrates this: 

“Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” 

This is why the Christian faith is so very powerful in the face of adversity and difficulty. It is fact based rather than feelings based. What a prospect we who have been justified by faith in Christ have. 

IN RESPONSE TO THE JUSTIFIED PERSON’S PROSPECT WE SEE THE JUSTIFIED PERSON’S PRAISE 

Because you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are now justified and reconciled with God instead of still being His enemy. And because Jesus Christ has accomplished His great work of providing for your reconciliation with God, He will most certainly also deliver you into heaven in the future, with no wrath for you on your journey while getting from here to there. The question now is, what is your response to all this? How do you react to this factual truth, which remains true truth even when you are not feeling well or are confronted with challenging adversities? You ought to react with praise. Romans 5.11: 

“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” 

Is this not exactly what Paul and Silas’ response was in Philippi when they were arrested, beaten, and consigned to the dungeon of the Philippian jail? I read Acts 16.25: 

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” 

Two things can be said about the Christian’s praise:

First, the tune of our praise is joyful: 

“And not only so, but we also joy in God.” 

Not only are Christians going to go to heaven someday, but we also have this great tendency to celebrate and get happy about it before we go. It’s the anticipation of our future in heaven, don’t you see? Do we always live up to our expectations? Not always. But more and more as time passes and we gain experience. Set your gaze on that word “joy” in verse 11. It’s the same basic word that’s translated “rejoice” in verse 2 and “glory” in verse 3. We are those who “glory,” who “rejoice,” who “joy” in God. Does it not make perfect sense? People who have had their sins forgiven, who have been reconciled to God, and who are going to heaven in the future instead of Hell, are delighted about it. And more and more so with the passing of time. We sometimes hoop. We on occasion holler. We typically sing. We frequently testify. We also skip a little when we walk. Folks there reaches a point where the realization in one’s mind of the significance of a spiritual truth so moves a person that it provokes a physical response. If that spiritual truth, that is, is true in your personal experience.

If the tune of our praise is joyful, the theme of our praise is Jesus Christ: 

“We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” 

Three comments are appropriate to make in closing: First, “We joy in God.” As I have pointed out many times before, the Greeks were profoundly political people. Being political, they thought regarding spheres of influence. They thought regarding territory and what youth gangs now call turf. Notice that our rejoicing is “in God.” Being reconciled to God means that we are now on His turf. We are under His influence. We are those who consider ourselves to be His. Second, “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Lord Jesus Christ is the One Who made it possible. He is the One Who did the work that needed to be done to reconcile us to God. Not Mary. Not angels. Not saints. Not men. The Bible reads “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Finally, “by whom we have now received the atonement.” It is important to point out that this word “atonement” does not refer to the same thing “atonement” refers to in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament “atonement” has to do with covering and refers to the sacrificial blood of the offering covering our sins and temporarily hiding them from God’s view. The word “atonement” here translates the same word that is translated “reconciled” in verse 10.

Why did the translators translate the word in this fashion? No one knows for sure, but it’s thought by some that they wanted to stress the fact that when you are reconciled, you are at one with the one who used to be your enemy. Therefore, atonement is referring, not here to any Old Testament concept, but to the fact that when Jesus Christ died, He made at-one-ment with God a reality. And we have now received the atonement! This is a present reality. Again, this is a nowhere else but the Christian faith reality. The bottom line is this: Those of us who are justified have a good and sufficient reason for being confident that we are going to heaven. And that confidence inspires our rejoicing. And when we rejoice we acknowledge and recognize and give testimony to the distinctive roles of both God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ in this matter of our salvation. 

Because of your past, you know your future. If your past is a past of sin and rebellion against God, then your future is an eternity of torment and pain in the lake of fire, and along the way, as an unsaved rebel against God, you necessarily suffer the wrath of God. But if your past is one in which you have been justified by faith, then God says “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more,” Hebrews 8.12 and 10.17. Your past, as far as God is concerned, is Jesus Christ’s past. And His past indicates that He already suffered the wrath of God on the cross of Calvary for you.

Do you know what that means? That means that not only will your future not be the lake of fire, but your life’s journey on the way to eternity will be without any possibility of God’s wrath. Your future will be a relationship with God in this life and a future in heaven in God’s presence in the next life. Romans 5.9-10 gives us absolute assurance of that. And Romans 5.11 tells us that not only do believers know where we are going but that we “joy in God” all along the way. We rejoice and glory in God all the way to heaven. So, we’re going to end this morning’s service with a song of triumph, a song of victory, a song of rejoicing.

Christian? Seize upon the opportunity to do something besides just standing there. Do what you’re supposed to do. Do what you are permitted to do. Do what you have the liberty to do whether you are on a mountain top or traversing a deep valley. Rejoice and glory in God as you sing. And if you are here and you’re not sure of heaven, turn to Christ to be saved. We’re going to sing a song of rejoicing. If you can’t sing such a song, I invite you to see me after Church so I can rehearse with you how to be saved.

Or, if you’re a Christian who just mopes around and has a sad face on, take the time to repent of your besetting sins. Unload your burdens. Rejoice again. You might be thinking to yourself, “But I’m not happy.” I can tell you who are thinking that way that you are dwelling on passing issues and not eternal verities. Lift up your eyes and look to Jesus the Author and Finisher of your faith and your mood will change in a hurry. I promise you.

__________

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafir 8/31/2017

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_excluded_middle 8/31/2017

[3] Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans - ECNT, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 1998), page 262.

[4] Rene A. Lopez, Romans Unlocked: Power To Deliver, (Springfield, MO: 21st Century Press, 2005), pages 108-110.

[5] Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle To The Romans - NICNT, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), page 311 and C. E. B. Cranfield, The Epistle To The Romans, Volume I (ICC), (Edinburgh: T & T Clark Limited, 1975), page 267.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org