AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH
MARCH 21, 2004
VICTORY and its ENVIRONMENT
completing SPIRITUAL ENVIRONMENT IN THE WALK BY FAITH
Review and Completion
1. THE GRANDEUR OF THE WAY
We were contemplating the wonders of the word of God in the book of Revelation; and we turn now to the present in Romans 4:20-5:15. In Revelation the end, in Romans the way.
In so doing, we look right back from the future to the past, with Abraham, in 4:21 being “fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform”. This by grace was accounted to Him for righteousness; and this same righteousness is available to us through the very One whom God promised Abraham, a blessing to all nations, Jesus Christ (4:25), who was delivered up because of our offences, and raised up on account of our justification.
In Romans 4:20, we see the
of the way
(“he did not waver at the promise of God through
unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God”), and with
this comes the
beauty of faith as in 4:21-25, the
solace of peace (5:1), the
access to glory (5:2), and we find an
exercise in training on the Track to Glory (5:3-5).
2. THE SURE PATH WHERE HEAVEN AND EARTH MEET
In Romans 5:6-11 you see the divine mind and love penetrating to earth from heaven, leading by plan and payment TO heaven.
In these verses, you see:
1. the celestial love and initiative (6-8)
2. the celestial certainty and its absolute warrant and guarantee unrescindable (9-10).
3. its accomplishment in fulfilled atonement through Christ’s blood (5:11),
4. the deathless joy the sings to heaven because of these things, and likewise, the
5. divine signature on our receipt!
The apostle then is moved to review past events and their thrust to the future.
By ONE man, Paul goes on to show, came death, in aching early history; by ONE man, came glory and grace in criminal shame: through ONE came sentence, through ONE, the acquittal. By ONE, death reigned, but by ONE, God Himself in human form, came abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, and this being so, the recipients, we read, will REIGN in life (5:17); indeed, in 5:21, we find that in this way GRACE REIGNS through righteousness to eternal life. This is not only future, but PRESENT! The reign of grace is here tender, the purchased persons imbued with it, enabled through it (Romans 8:9-10,12-17), so that “grace should reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ”, just as surely as sin reigned through death (5:17-21).
The dominion of the Lord in life begins NOW, just as that of sin began in Eden; and as the rule of sin continued distinctively till judgment, except He intervene, so here we find the rule of grace continues to the full manifestation of eternal life. Already given on earth (John 6:40,50-54), this brilliant and beatific bounty is consummated in heaven.
3. THE VICTORY ON EARTH FOR THE TRIUMPH IN HEAVEN
Let us thus come back to earth to consider this ‘reigning’ in our current climate, a point for you here and now. Romans 5:17 shows that by the power of the Holy Spirit and the mercy and grace of God, you should even now, be REIGNING IN LIFE! Neither should sin have dominion over you (scourge the thought! – Romans 6:14. Why ? Because you are not under law but under grace: HENCE, the grace that saves is the grace that enables, challenging, correcting, purging and drawing. “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Grace reigns THROUGH RIGHTEOUSNESS, as you see in Matthew 7:21. Grace covers, but it also enables!
It is time to be practical. Just as SIN reigned from Adam, because of and following that sin, so GRACE reigns now through righteousness to eternal life (Romans 5:21). Sin did not wait to devour; and grace does not wait to endower. Grace works on and in those who have received “abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17).
You do not measure the receipt, but receive all the goodness of God with delight, ravished at His presence, rejoicing in His liberality, embracing His good gifts with fervour. You relish what your mind now understands, your heart loves and your spirit savours. As many were MADE sinners through Adam’s fall, so many are MADE righteous through the gift (5:19) which not only brings pardon, but breeds perspective and power. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound!” Paul expostulates (6:1). There is thus not only change of status and nature, but of stature and strength in Christ.
True, it is not without suffering, this life now for Him.
But faith works, stirring courage, action, power and purpose, mercy and reviving! “For,” says I John 5, “whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God!” Remember Mark 11:23ff., Ephesians 1:19, the power which is transmitted to and through faith! Then reflect on the sheer wonder that after all the foul empires and frauds, the rich self-enriching masters there have been, here is the KINGDOM that DOES NOT END (Daniel 7:25, Revelation 22:3-5, 7:15-17, 12:10, 21:1-4, Ephesians 1:10).
Then the LAST will thus be FIRST; and those despised for Christ, now through divine calling at glorious peace with the very Creator and Redeemer (though for the time in the midst of wars and trials), will find the foundation with its towering superstructure and with the beginning with its end, an intimacy into eternity; and they shall see His face. To be His friends, is joy unspeakable! To end with Him for ever, this is rapture divine. Praise God HE has spoken it as only He can! He has done all things well. He has SHOWN us His face: man has SHOWN Him his response to that face. Now we must face the features of that face, and in receiving Him whose it is, we find the peace that is His.