AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH March 23, 2014
A Presbyterian Church
the Lord without Compromise
and the Bible without Qualification,
THE ANCHOR AND THE GRACE
SIN SHALL NOT HAVE DOMINION OVER YOU,
FOR YOU ARE NOT UNDER LAW BUT GRACE -
BEING EQUIPPED WITH A HEAVENLY
Romans 6:14 and Hebrews 6:14, each in context
Why will sin not have dominion over you ? Because of the new centrepiece, emphasis, regard, realisation.
Of what ? Your redemption. This of course applies to the Christian, who is the topic.
But was not redemption available (Psalm 32, 103, to those in Israel who believed in the God of mercy and covenant ?
Of course, excluding as now the temporiser, the trifler with no sincere intent (Deuteronomy 29:18-20).
How then does grace have this new role ?
It is a matter of emphasis, directness and centrality. Before a priest was used for sacrifices on your behalf, thus using symbolic sacrifices and the like; but now Christ has BECOME the essence of all priesthood as in Hebrews 7-10, and by one sacrifice once made has put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:23-28), and acting as High Priest, is aware and awake to the needs of His people for whom He is the direct counsellor without the apparatus of priesthood (Hebrews 4:14-16).
But did not priests of old act humanly in implementing the symbols of the covenant ?
But of course! Christ, however has acted substantially, done the job, personally paid once and for all (Hebrews 9:12), having obtained eternal redemption, and being alive to apply it Himself (Hebrews 7:25-27) keeps what is committed to Him, His guarding of these, His own select people (I Peter 2:9) sufficient even in the Day of Judgment!
Why does this increase the grace ?
It presents full payment for justice and place for pardon in person by the Payor, giving remit and reception to the Christian, just as he in turn receives the Lord. Moreover, God is then immediately available in all phases, and so grace abounds.
But is not the sinner still such ? None among mankind on earth fails to sin (I John 1:7ff.).
Truly, but sin does not walk throughout the temple of your Christian life, invade it and set up idols of self-will for you to worship. Indeed you still have to fight the battles of the flesh against the spirit as in Galatians 5:18-26, for spiritual life is not a sop but a challenge. Even so, not only is the promised end eternal life, but this begins and is in germ present and active already, and of this there is no countermanding (John 5:24). It is a gift granted and the keeping of Christ is assured from terrestrial to celestial (Hebrews 6:19, John 10:9,27-28).
As a Christian, you and sin become enemies, and its impact is detested, nor is it any more invested in you, though many a fight you may have, even failing at times. Yet accepting nothing pf its thrust, you trust in the Lord's power at all times, sensitive to transgression, purging your heart before the Lord (Psalm 62:5-8), who acts like a matron insisting on cleansing her hospital (Psalm 139:24).
Sin has indeed abounded; but grace much more abounds (Romans 5:20), and being redeemed, the Christian is moving close to the Lord (Ephesians 2:11-13), through the Holy Spirit (John 16:3-15), actively presenting the power and counsel of the Lord. Thus we immerse ourselves, not in water as if that could help, nor in psychology, as if man knew us better than God, nor in self-government, as if being a Christian meant a motorised drifter without the direction of the living Lord: but in Him. It is then in His nearness, counsel, conditioning that we move, as we seek it that we might be moulded more and more to His nature, growing in insight, investing in wisdom and gaining counsel (II Corinthians 3:17-18).
In that way, we gain liberty, since externally imposed controls are like winds, and this the inner place of rest (Matthew 11:27-30). It is not self, but salvation, not demons but deity, not abstraction but the Author of salvation, not a question of acting out images but the answer of the reality to which they all refer, not man (Isaiah 2:22), but the King of Eternity to whom one looks, and in whose presence, lives.
In that way, we gain liberty, since externally imposed controls are like winds, and this the inner place of rest (Matthew 11:27-30). It is not self, but salvation, not demons but deity, not abstraction but the Author of salvation, not man (Isaiah 2:22), but the King of Eternity to whom one looks, and in whose presence, lives.
Now looking precisely at our text once more, we ask this: What led to this statement, that sin will not have dominion over us, for we are not under law, but under grace ?
WHAT LED TO IT ?
It included the call, Shall we continue in sin ? as its mandated servants ? Why should this thing be ? Is it so that the grace which endures with us and the Lord who keeps us may watch us as sin abounds, and showing more grace have a bedlam! Scarcely (Romans 6:2). If you died to sin, how do you regale or extravagate in its power ? It is of course hard to animate the dead, but the devil would love a resurrection of the old nature of man!
It cannot be, though many are the devilish sparks.
Paul now institutes a series of images with effects from their meaning, leaping out from their formats. In this tussle, he speaks to pierce with truth to the heart. The apostle points out that in terms of our baptism into Christ, our sovereign self is already dead, our mortal coil is already unwound, and our Leader is singular, the Lord. This is a matter of personal power, not sacramental elaboration, and as Peter says in I Peter 3:21, the baptism that saves is not a matter of washing the flesh "but the answer of a good conscience toward God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." This, the victorious outcome of the sin payment in the crucifixion, likewise depicts the power to walk in His work (Ephesians 1:19), since He once died, but is alive for evermore (Revelation 1:18).
Guided by the word of God, therefore, we find that our spiritual lives have been subjected to three transforming powers, impacted in ways three images exhibit. First, to take it in the order of Christ's life, we are crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6), so that our sinful selves, the chief vehicles of sin, are condemned not by Him but with Him, dying with Him, while we are saved by Him, since in His sacrificed life the penalty is borne. It is thus a joyful death, if painful, and a grant of solace, if disastrous to the leading ways of sin, whether these be sins of ignorance, indifference, self-centredness or other. It has results in liberation and the emplacement of power to live godly by His resurrected life, and it is He who saves to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25), being ever alive to make intercession as well as offer priestly counsel, in accord with all of His word, the Bible (I Cor. 2:9-13, II Timothy 3:16).
Next, in these images of Romans 6:4-11, we are interred with Christ (6:4), and as He was left alone, so put down as not at once to rise, but left buried, so indeed we are PLANTED with Him, in a union with His death, about to burst back into life, overcoming all. We do not send out roots, that is an image lost! We do not shed blood, in application to ourselves, that is an image of sharing, not bearing: the latter, His alone. Nor do we have a burial ceremony, for the issue is recovery to eternal life. the "old man" continuing in his buried state, as the new bursts forth in vitality.
What then ? Those are figures, aligning us in spirit with Christ, and leading on from this crucifixion (we do not have a crucifixion service for new members). Moving to burial, and planting, we come to the RISING WITH CHRIST also. This is included in the imagery, bearing the fact that as HE died FOR us, so we come to grief with Him, our 'old man' losing his deplorable domination, and the 'new man' fresh from the spiritual obstetric ward, produced like a babe. Yet in His power, it comes to be more like a rocket (Ephesians 1:19), this not from the ingenuity of man but the regeneration of God (Titus 3:1-7).
We are restored back to the image first given in creation (Colossians 3:10), not dimmed, damned or downgraded by sin. Pardoned and regenerated, we are received into life eternal. If you want to change the imagery. as in Hebrews 6:19ff., we are anchored to the triumphant Christ in His glory. It is AN ANCHOR OF THE SOUL, steadfast, sure: it is in Him we have, in this past all contention, laid in heaven for us..
Indeed, in terms of Romans 6:23, just as our wages for sin were the rigors of death (in law and guilt, borne by Christ), death marking the tugs for the lawless, the outlaws, to ship us to ruin, from the pride of life and the surrealistic substitutes for the Lord of spirits and of man: so, free is the gift of God. The tugs may now seek to enrol, but they sink. So is the dynamic, authoritative, legislated, predestinated gift of eternal life made sure. Not only is this the gift of God, but it is, a gift BY grace (Romans 5:15), so that both what it is and how it gets there and is sustained, are all part of one action in one God in one way for one eternity, with Himself.
This work of God is not explosive into bits, though it is sent with power; but inherent as to gift, and the mode of giving, both! It is free (Ephesians 2, Romans 3), fulsome and uninhibited, drawing freely on the Christ who being raised from, the dead in His own flesh, makes this, His attainment, the gift to all who are believers in Him according to His word. Thus "God both raised up the Lord and will raise us up by His power," I Corinthians 6:14.
WHAT DOES IT LEAD TO ?
First, it leads to what for some may be a re-evaluation of the message on eternal security for the saved sinner, in the Book of Hebrews. Indeed, so far from this describing a dubious result for salvation, this book contrasts the full robustness of faith and its anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6), vested already in heaven, with the superficial, the nominal. It is just as I Peter 1:3-8 has it, in terms of reservation of place in heaven, the Christian being kept for this very thing by the power of God, with something, In Hebrews, it contrasts absolutely with something quite different.
What is this ? It is the fastidious, the faint-hearted, the unbelieving, the merely sipping, not swallowing, tasting not triumphing in the Lord. It contrasts saving faith with the peeping not the forthright presentation of sin for pardon, and of life for regeneration, such as is enabled by the Lord, who knows His own (II Timothy 2:19) and has always done so (Ephesians 1:4). As in Hebrews 6 and 10, the way of folly and fraud, superficiality and dubiety is popular enough, but it courts disaster with a strange diligence!
The other and the plain way as in Hebrews 6 is for those who FLED for refuge (in repentance and faith - you do not flee to a refuge which is a mirage) to the Christ who provides an anchor, not in this earth which is subject to decay and even dismissal (Matthew 24:35), but placed in heaven. You trust in Him, His performance, power and faithfulness.
Even this is not all. We learn that the promise to Abraham (Genesis 12, 17:7-8) had an extraordinary twofold assurance back of it. Two ? yes, one part concerned the land of Israel, the national base, a place of operations and living to all generations - except when exile comes as a result of chronic sin as in Leviticus 23. The other is giving the human component to the source of blessing to all nations, the Christ. Now this promise of the gift of life and its means, the Messiah, was not a matter of the word of God only (though this is inescapable as in Isaiah 14:27); because in this instance, His word waseven confirmed with an oath (Hebrews 6:17-20)!
Paul applies this zealously in Romans 4:25: Abraham was "fully convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform", and "therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness." This gift by grace ? Yes, "it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up for our offences and raised for our justification."
With what result here then ? This blessing of the Saviour (not the co-Saviour along with self, but of a shriven self, crucified, buried and raised with Christ) has the divine immutability underscored, the anchor of the soul being both sure and steadfast, the soul of the saved sinner being the ship. with the anchor past all depth, situated in heaven itself. Hence each Christian should
"show diligence to complete assurance of hope until the end" (Hebrews 6:11).
Sluggish sleepiness is not the symptom of spiritual life, so vital is the realising of the profundity of the offer, with the acceptance of that gift of grace by grace, leading to the the inheritance eternal as in Ephesians 1:11, assured even in the present. This is the portion of the Christian; so let no one linger in the shadows of sipping but let each come into the open day of drinking abundantly of this grace (as in John 6:50-54), and receiving by a faith which knows the purpose of the love of God (John 3:16, Colossians 1:19), the entirety of His reality: ETERNAL LIFE.
Sin may, indeed will snatch at you, like border guards as you drive past, but it cannot contain you. It may seek to trip you, but the righteous man falls seven times and yet rises. It is because his righteousness is a gift of God, not an attainment (Romans 5:17), and this does not depreciate. This the Christian must appreciate: your anchor is in heavenly ground, your life in the power of the High Priest in whom believing, you have eternal life (John 5:24), and from whom being sent, you show it and know it. Think of the example of Paul, facing a foul effluence of tyranny, leading to his death:
"And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work
and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom.
To Him be glory forever and ever! Amen!"
Again hear his exultation in the grace of the gift of eternal life, which as such he had received:
"I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed
and am persuaded
that He is able to keep
what I have committed to Him
until that Day."
Christ stoops as low as the lowest, and there is no glory but His (Isaiah 2:17, Revelation 5), and whatever is achieved, it is through the grace that is His, the power that He has contributed and the salvation He has procured. Rejoice then in His grace, and reject as spurious the Satan however furious, for as to him, his prognosis is terminal (Revelation 12:12). As to the gift of life, it is eternal. What is the transference ? faith. And what do you receive by faith ? Eternal life.