A LOVE LIKE NO OTHER LOVE
We saw last week that our Justification produces:
a peace, access, a hope in God
A God who pours into our hearts the ability to endure all things, even tribulations with joy, for the glory of God in the present as we await our future with Him. Last week reminds and reveals to us that in our justification our spiritual security is not in our ability to stay or live godly. But solely in the power of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to make us godly and keep us godly. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ “Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:38-39. This life of “Living Water” is only possible on the grounds of the Spirit’s work in the life of the believer.
Again as Paul affirmed this truth, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Rom 8:14. We see this more clearly in the text before us this morning. (v6-v11)
one else could achieve it.
Paul gives us the details to the “atonement of Christ” in our salvation and what that brings into the heart of the new birth. “Atonement” being…. there is no other way for God to save sinners, other than to send His Son to die a literal death in their place. The Gospel of Matthew exposes our hearts to this truth when Jesus was in the Garden. “Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done." Matt 26:38-42
This was the only way for sinful man to be reconciled back to God. What Paul says here should melt our hearts with sadness over our sin. But it should also produce a joy, which praises His name for saving a sinner like you and me. Yes A Joy Despite How Paul Describes You And Me……. (v6-v7) “While we were still weak” usually means: “sick and feeble, deprived of strength by disease.” But in this context Paul is taking about our “spiritual state” because of our sin before God. “Weak” is referring to….”We have no power to formulate a scheme of justification, to make an atonement, or to put away the wrath of God through our doings or work.” This is why Paul says not only are we weak we are also “Ungodly” is reference to totally unrighteous, undeserving, and unlovable.
Our ungodliness puts us at odds with God.
We are completely powerless and worthless to receive His Love.
We are completely powerless to escape sin.
We are completely powerless to escape death.
We are completely powerless to escape the bondages of our slave master.
We are completely powerless to please and appease God’s holy anger.
Paul even contrasts this truth with a play on words a bit in (v7).
Even if someone was an outstanding individual, a person would still not sacrifice their life for that individual. In our fallen state we are only thinking of one life…my life, not yours. It is unnatural, to think one person would die for another even if that person was righteous or good or evil.
This dark disposition is not the end! Because
Paul says something supernatural.
But God! ….is an indication that something supernatural, something divine is about to take place. There is nothing better than “But God” after hearing bad and hopeless news about our disposition before a holy and just God. The word “but” in Scripture often introduces the message of the gracious and compassionate intervention of God. In the letter to the Ephesians Paul said, “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. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Eph 2:1-7
As one Theologian beautifully put it, “But God being rich in mercy, but God showing his incomprehensible “love for us in that while we were yet sinners” Said to us God-dead, God-ignoring, God-rivaling, God-hating, dry-boned children of wrath: “live”. Live to true beauty, live to true glory, live to true hope, live to true pleasure, live to true joy! Live to God and live forever.”
As Paul said, “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Gal 2:19-20
These two words are overflowing
“But God” demonstrates, revealed, His love (Agape love which is unconditional) by sending His Son to fully atone for our sins and rebellious hearts. According to Paul, God did this for….totally unrighteous, underserving, and unlovable, people like you and me.
“But God” without hesitation, or contemplation, revealed
His love by sending His Son to save sinners.
“But God,” tell us that we have been saved only by God’s grace alone. Because! Dead children of wrath do not become living; loving children of God….this is why “But God” is so important. God poured His holy hatred and indignation on His Son to demonstrate His love for His created children. And the love God poured out on His perfect Son with His perfect wrath, now satisfied the Father’s perfect justice, towards those who are in Christ. This is the love that God showered or poured into our hearts; that we are no longer at war with Him; we are no longer enemies but a child of the King.
“The gospel is for everyone, but it only
That someone is free from the wrath that is still yet to come upon the sons and daughters of disobedience. (v9) Paul says “at the “right time or due time” Christ died for the ungodly.” R C Sproul said, “God did not wait for us to exercise our wills, incline ourselves to Him, repent of our sins, or get ourselves in such a state that it would be appropriate to provide an atonement for us. No, while we were still in this state Christ died for us.”
Our spiritually dead state has placed us in a condition that we are at the mercies of God because we cannot save ourselves. “In due time” In a timely manner; at the proper time; “the fullness of time was come,” Throughout Jesus’ ministry He said numerous times “My hour has not yet come." (John 2:4; John 7:6; John 7:30; John 8:20)
But! As Jesus was entering the city on Psalm Sunday He said this to His disciples and crowd listening. “And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.…..And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.” John 12:23-33
In the opening of Jesus’ High Priestly prayer, He revealed this appointed time. “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent…..”
God’s redeeming plan wasn’t early, and He was late, but He was right on time “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Gal 4:4-7
“The fullness of time appointed
by the Father.”
It was on the appointed and exact second to display God’ perfect Justice over sinful mankind. It was the perfect appointed time to display God’s perfect benevolent “Agape love” for sinners though the atoning works of His Son.
Thomas Watson said, “There is nothing in us, to cause God to make us anew. By nature we are full of pollution and enmity--yet now God forms the new creature. Behold the banner of love displayed! The new creature may say, "By the grace of God I am what I am!"
In John’s gospel we see this love revealed in Christ. “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” John 13:1
The objects of His love are described by his property in them, "His own"; by whom are meant, not all mankind.
The Gospel is for everyone but
it’s only for someone.
This is what Theologians call a special “love of complacency” that God has for His children who are kept, and filled for all eternity. What does God’s love of Complacency mean? “Complacency” usually has a negative meaning; someone is content with all they have achieved, they have no desire to go beyond that. God’s love of complacency means a special delight and pleasure He takes first of all in His only-begotten Son. And the love of the Father has for His Son, is extends beyond to those who belong to His Son though the Gospel. This “complacency love” that Paul speaks of here is ONLY for the adopted son and daughter through Christ. By adoption in Christ, every believer shares in this divine love of complacency. This love is reserved for the redeemed in whom God delights. Not because there is anything inherently lovely or delightful in us. (v6). God loves His Son with a love of complacency and He demonstrates that special love for us. “While we were still sinners Christ died for us”
It’s a love that has reconciled (One thing traded in for another)
us to the Father. Our lives have been renewed on the grounds of Christ taking our place. I was once an enemy, weak and ungodly, living and scheming for myself. But now! I am reconciled, justified by God, and I am no longer at war, hostile towards God, but a child of the King. A child saved by His special love, keeping supply of grace, to which I have full access too.
If that’s not enough! Paul says something here that should put a smile on your face. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” (v10)
If a dying Savior can save us from death, surely
a living Savior can keep us reconciled
In Hebrews 7:22-25 we read, “This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but He holds his priesthood permanently, because He continues forever. Consequently, He is able (no one can save a sinner but Him) to save to the uttermost those who draw near (no restrictions but faith in His Son) to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
“Uttermost” this word means “completeness, perfection or forever”. What were only “symbolized of removal of sin” (temporal), had now been completed and forever finished in Christ. Both eternally and completely. This reconciliation not only delivers us from sin and death, but also reconciles us, from uncertainty and doubt.
If God has already made sure our rescue from sin and death and future judgment… What then do we have to be uncertain about or doubt as it pertains to our spiritual position in Christ today? Nothing!
It’s through Christ…….
We have an everlasting peace with God (v1)
We have grace, hope and glory now. (v2)
We have preserving, proven character and hope. (v3-v4)
We have God’s love has been poured out by the Holy Spirit. (v5)
We have been rescued through His atoning death. (v-6-v8)
We have been spared God’s wrath. (v9)
We have been reconciled to the Father with His special love. (v10)
We have preservation of this present life through Christ. (v11)
How could a child of God knowing this truth live in such a way that would produce uncertainties and doubt? The power of the Gospel destroys all strongholds, powers, and brings every human though to its knees. The access we have is a gift given to us “we received” (v11) the reconciliation. The abundant joy that God gives His children is a grateful joy for those who received it. As the Psalmist says “Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” Psalm 32:10-11
Peter expressed these beautiful words to encourage the heart with joy. “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” 1 Peter 1:8. We are loved beyond measure and there is nothing that can take that away from the true child of God. Being justified, reconciled, sanctified, and glorified is far better than living in anticipation of wrath.
R C Sproul said “There is no room for the sourpuss in the kingdom of God.”
Every believer has cause for joy! No exceptions.
Not your present health condition
Not cancer and every other terrible disease
Not employment or finances
Not even your church
Every Day Is Cause For Joy! Why? (v6-v11)
One of the greatest expressions of love was penned in a Hymn, that the churches have sung for many years.
“O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing”
By Charles Wesley
for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!
My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread thro' all the earth abroad
the honors of your name.
Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease,
'tis music in the sinner's ears,
'tis life and health and peace.
He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.
He speaks, and listening to His voice
New life the dead receive
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice
The humble poor believe
Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb
Your loosened tongues employ
Ye blind, behold your Savior come
And leap, ye lame, for joy
To God all glory, praise, and love
be now and ever given
by saints below and saints above,
the Church in earth and heaven.
This is the love that Paul is reminding us about this morning. This is the blessed assurance that we in Christ.