AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH March 23, 2014
A Presbyterian Church following the Lord without
and the Bible without Qualification, by Faith
THE ANCHOR AND THE GRACE
SIN SHALL NOT HAVE DOMINION OVER YOU
FOR YOU ARE NOT UNDER LAW BUT GRACE -
and HAVE AN ANCHOR OF THE SOUL
Romans 6:14 and Hebrews 6:14, each in context
We have been seeing that sin shall not have dominion over you because you are not under law but under grace, and pursuing some of the images in Romans 6 on the way to 6:14, and following Hebrews 6:14, in that grand double thrust to the inviolable anchor and the unimpedible fact, that not only does sin carry in itself the wages of death as in Romans 6:23, but much more delightful that there is a gift.
The gift of God is eternal life, and even the gift has no postage, for it is a gift through grace as in Romans 5:17. It is a gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17), and thus clad, we consider the two MUCH MORES. Fled for refuge to Christ as in Hebrews 6:18, we have refugee status, eternal redemption payment as procurement (Hebrews 9:12) and the relay of what Christ has done FOR His people, TO them.
Thus "God both raised up the Lord and will raise us up by His power," I Corinthians 6:14.
There is a certain exuberance, vitality and uninhibited outpouring in these announcements and the images of Romans. Thus toward the end of Part I of this address, we had this:
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.
WHAT DOES IT LEAD TO ?
I Re-Capture of the Grandeur of Salvation in Hebrews
First, it leads to what for some may for some 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. The believing soul lies safe with its anchor steadfast in haven, warranted by the work of Christ, who graced and emplaced it. 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.
From this, 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. You flee from storm to house by FAITH, because (rightly) you believe it offers it! And our house is eternal as in Hebrews 6:19-20.
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 was even 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."
II THE PASSION OF CHRIST'S KEEPING
With what result here then ? This blessing of the Saviour (not the co-Saviour along with self, but the sole Saviour 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).
Don't rest without your rest as secured: IT is secure, therefore secure it, that it may secure you. LABOUR to enter into your rest by arresting irrelevancies. It is not you and Christ who are the joint Saviour, like co-pilots, but Christ alone, His alone the pre-eminence as in Philippians 2. Join your work with His and you have NO REASON to rest. Wait on Him only and there CAN be no lapse and failure, for HE has DONE the work, and you are the recipient, even of the work of eternal salvation, and seeing the door, you enter as unbreachable members of His flock as in John 10:9,27-28.
Consider therefore the two MUCH MORE exuberances of grace. These are found in Romans 5:9 and 5:20-21, on the way to our passage in 6:14.
MORE THEN, being now justified by His blood,
we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
The second case is this: Romans 5:20–21:
" Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.
But where sin abounded, grace did MUCH MORE abound:
That as sin hats reigned to death, even so might grace reign
through righteousness to eternal life
by Jesus Christ our Lord."
Avoiding the ephemeral, the perfunctory, activated by faith, trusting in God and His provision of eternal redemption, GO to Him and RECEIVE His ransom, His cover and REST in Him (Psalm 37:1-7). "I have written to you who believe on the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life," says I John 5:11-13. It is the ONE Son, the ETERNAL Son (Micah 3:1-3), the Son with the ONLY name by which man MUST be saved (Acts 4:11-12), it is the engraved Son (Isaiah 49:16), even on His hands, who died a ransom, the resurrected Son who delivers each of His saved ones, through faith by grace, with the gift of that self-same resurrection when, in its time, just as He first came in His own special time, the glorious wonder occurs (Matthew 24:30ff., I Thessalonians 4).
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 it and Him by a faith which knows the purpose of the love of God (John 3:16, Colossians 1:19), even the entire wonder of His reality: ETERNAL LIFE (I John 1:1-4). He says it; you take it; your rejoice in Him BECAUSE YOU TRUST IN HIM, IN HIS WORD, IN THE GRACE OF HIS GIFT. Here, in salvation, your puny works would pollute (cf. Matthew 22's uncovered guest, thrown out); but His are DONE ALREADY. There is no scope left for you but to receive.
III THE GRANDEUR OF HIS GIFT
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:
the Lord will deliver me from every evil work
and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom.
To Him be glory forever and ever! Amen!"
Do you remember the episode in Song of Solomon 5 ? The one beloved in this book where God is not mentioned, but figured as the bride-groom with the Church or Christian as the bride, as in Ephesians 5. In this Chapter, she appears to lapse into a measure of self-righteousness (does not want to arise lest she dirty " defile" her feet), having forgotten her former nature's faults and flaws, failures and flittings, sluggishness or spiritual slackness, and the condemnation due for this, before being taken by her beloved. Here He is, waiting outside her door and she does not bother to arise. He with the dew of service on Him, is now gone, receiving the rebuff without contest. Troubled in heart she seeks Him. Challenged, she tells those whom she meets just how wonderful is her Beloved, and so she finds Him.
In this imagery, there is scope for reality! We may needlessly become solaced with our own condition, though He made it and gave it and paid for it. This is one of the episodes of challenge. Tests abound. Look at Job. Yet as with Job, the end is to be found in MUCH MORE grace, in grace which even ABOUNDS much more!
Again hear his exultation in the grace of the gift of eternal life, which as such he had received:
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.