FROM THE MORGUE TO A MANSION PART 2
I want to start this morning with two words that changed my life forever. Two words that completely changed everything for you and for me. Two words that took my dead spiritual state and made it alive and secured forever through mercy and grace. Two words that are still mystery and have no value or meaning to a lost and broke world. Two words that at times brings tears to my eyes because what Paul previously said leading up to this…..because that was me. Two words that I think are two of the most beautiful words in scripture.
“But God” we need to thank God for these two words. Paul said, “But God”! These words teach us about God’s marvelous intervention in our lives. As D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “These two words, in and of themselves, in a sense contain the whole of the gospel.” James Montgomery Boice said, “They tell what God has done, how God has intervened in what otherwise was an utterly hopeless situation.” Thank God for that word “But” in the Bible it’s always fascinating; this word always centers on which great issues turn. Paul has painted for us a dark and vivid picture in the opening statement of his letter. He has painted a picture of who we were in our spiritual state….dead! He has painted a picture of what I love the most and it was not God. He has painted a picture of human depravity and inability to the gospel apart from Christ and the leading of the Spirit. He has painted a picture of God’s wrath and His justice over the sons of disobedience. But! Paul now paints a picture that draws our attention to God’s immeasurable mercy and grace. With Christ, we are spiritually alive and that’s all because of these two words. “But God”
God is rich in mercy that is attached by a great love. (v4-v5)
To tell us that God is rich is a no brainer but to add that before the word mercy has great significance to the sinner who is seen as dead. “Rich” is an expression that God is overabounding, without measure, unlimited. Mercy is a perfection of the divine nature, and is essential to God. The problem with reconciliation is not on the Lord’s side. The two words “but God” show where the initiative was providing the power of salvation. The rebellion and rejection is on man’s side. That’s why we get to taste and savor the riches of His mercy. Because they never run out or need a rain check. He is rich in wisdom, rich in majesty and might, rich in His glory and rich in mercy. God lavishes the immense treasures of His mercy on us when we what? Answer: When…”you were dead in the trespasses and sins.” We will never know how fully rich He is until we arrive at our Heavenly home. But we can know that our salvation and our eternal promise hinges on this wonderful truth with these two words “But God”
The Bible describes God as rich in mercy ……
“Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,” Psalm 103:3-4
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1 Peter 1:3
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” 1 Chron 16:34
Bible also describes His great love…..
Titus 3:3-7 tell us “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 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, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Rom 5:8-9
These are but a couple of the riches of His mercies and love that we taste every day when He raised your dead corpse as R C Sproul from the bottom of the Ocean. As R C Sproul said “God just doesn't throw a life preserver to a drowning person. He goes to the bottom of the sea, and pulls a corpse from the bottom of the sea, takes him up on the bank, breathes into him the breath of life and makes him alive.” Salvation for God’s glory is by the motivation and power of God’s great love In this love He lavishes or extends to vile, sinful, rebellious, depraved, impoverished and condemned human beings and offers them salvation and all the eternal blessings it brings. Apart from this mercy and love a person may be present and walking amoung us, but they are dead until God gives them life. That’s what makes it special to you and me! The unfavorable became favorable, not because of what we did, but because of what God did/done through the gospel of His love. Think about that for a moment! That God would choose to extend this mercy to a rebellious sinner who by nature was a child of wrath.
This mercy is also sovereign distributed “As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.” Rom 9:13-18
This mercy is a place where we find boldness and strength to enter in “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb 4:16
Not only He lavishes mercy upon us, but He also lavishes us with His merciful, loving unmerited favor……His grace
But God saved us by His grace (v5-v7)
Grace according to the bible is defined and explained this way……“Grace is an essential part of God’s character. Grace is closely related to God’s benevolence, love, and mercy. Grace can be variously defined as “God’s favor toward the unworthy” or “God’s benevolence on the undeserving.” In His grace, God is willing to forgive us and bless us abundantly, in spite of the fact that we don’t deserve to be treated so well or dealt with so generously.”
God is the source of this grace….. “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11
It’s the source of our election…..”But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,” Gal 1:15
It’s the declaration to the gospel….” But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24
Grace does just not stop once we are saved. God is gracious to us for the rest of our lives, working within and upon us. The Bible encourages us with many additional benefits that grace secures for every believer:
This is what God’s lavishing graces does and produce in our lives today tomorrow and forever.
Grace justifies us before a holy God (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:6; Titus 3:7).
Grace provides us access to God to communicate and fellowship with Him (Ephesians 1:6; Hebrews 4:16).
Grace triumphs for us a new relationship of intimacy with God (Exodus 33:17).
Grace disciplines and trains us to live in a way that honors God (Titus 2:11–14; 2 Corinthians 8:7).
Grace grants us immeasurable spiritual riches (Proverbs 10:22; Eph 2:7).
Grace is the reason behind our every deliverance (Psalm 44:3–8; Heb 4:16).
Grace preserves us and comforts, encourages, and strengthens us (2 Cor 13:14; 2 Thess 2:16–17; 2 Tim 2:1).
If you want to understand Reform Theology, keep reading this verse a thousand times. This is what the gospel is centralized by “His grace”. It reveals and breaks the heart of a sinner who once was dead but now is alive by sovereign grace. What does that look like to a person who is dead? A story is told regarding the ministry of the eighteenth-century evangelist George Whitefield, who reportedly preached thousands of times on John 3. He was pouring out his heart one day during a Great Awakening sermon. A man with pockets stuffed with rocks came to physically attack the famous evangelist once the sermon ended. But after Whitefield’s powerful message, the man made his way up to the preacher, emptied his pockets, and said, “I came to hear you with my pocket full of stones to break your head, but your sermon got the better of me and broke my heart” (From Dunn, Evangelical Awakening, 17).
God gave this angry, hostile man new life through the gospel. This story wonderfully illustrates what happens when God saves sinners. Before we were Christians, we were by nature hostile and opposed to God. That is because we were “dead in the trespasses and sins in which [we] once walked” Eph 2:1. Before we came to know the grace of God in our lives, we were all – every one of us – in a hopeless, helpless condition before God. Listen again to how the Apostle Paul described every one of us “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Eph 2:1-3. We as Christians should never look at the unsaved with contempt. Our attitudes should always be “But if it wasn’t for the grace of God I…” Our only boast is in Him for saving us…
A person who isn’t better than anyone in this sanctuary or outside this sanctuary.
A person who isn’t saved due to my intelligence or ability to get right with God.
A person who nothing to boast about as it pertains to life and godliness.
A person who was once dead and need saving and resurrection to eternal life.
My boast is in Him and it’s all because of two words “But God”
Why? (v6) “He raised us up to seat with Him…” When Paul writes that Christ is seated, he means that Jesus is on the Throne and has dominion over all things. But…. Paul also is saying that we have dominion over this world, not that we have power and are equal as our Lord, but that we are co-heirs with Christ. This is an eternal promise by God that we will be with Christ and may forever be blessed by His power throughout eternity because of His saving power. From the time of salvation to the ages to come we never stop receiving the grace and kindness of God. And one day we will receive that inheritance that God has promised from long ago. As Peter said “to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,” 1 Peter 1:4. This place is where our union is with Christ, as death and judgement are behind Him, so they are also behind us. A God who delivered me from a morgue by His glorious mercy and grace to a Mansion where we will spend an eternity with Him.