Since it’s been a while since we’ve talked about Romans, the sermon from 10.27.13 is conveniently a review of what we’ve covered so far. The thankfulness and joy that has filled my heart after hearing these messages seriously just keeps getting stronger and I feel as if my heart will burst every week!
In chapter 6, (posts here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) Paul brought us right up to the “knife edge” of grace. Imagine a knife on edge (like this: | ) and on one side is legalism, the other side immorality, libertinism. The ridge is grace and we are called to walk on that ridge. Both of those errors have the same root cause and as we move into chapter 7 shortly he wants to continue to keep us on that edge.
The Word of God has a theme as a whole and sometimes we need to step back from examining the tree bark to see the beauty of the tree.
It wasn’t very far into Romans before we were introduced to the idea of righteousness, which is used over 100 times in this book. In 1:18-3:20, the emphasis is that there is none righteous, no not one. We are condemned, and God is just. In 3:21 the question is, “How do we get into the kingdom, then, if we are totally wretched?” Believe. Not just mentally give ascent that, sure, God is there. But trust what He says. His promises, His Word.
In Chapter 5, we learn that we are justified by faith alone. The just shall live by faith. This means two things: 1) that we have peace with God and 2) we have access to God because we are justified! Lest we think the act of our faith is how we gain salvation, 5:20 reminds us about the “wall of the law” between us and God. How totally unable in ourselves we are to fulfill the law and meet the requirements the Lord has for us. “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It’s His grace, y’all, that enables us to have access to the Father. We need to realize chapters 1-3 (there is none righteous) before we can possibly be humbled by chapters 4-5. By the law is the knowledge of sin, but grace is much more abounding.
Paul addresses two “missteps” or wrong conclusions that our fallen minds may, knowingly or unknowingly, veer towards as we walk the knife edge of grace in chapters 6 and 7. The former deals with libertine (acting without moral constraint) tendencies and the latter with legalism.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound? God forbid!” “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” “Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?” There is a pendulum swinging between these two errors and I know I sometimes feel like Tarzan swaying from one to the other. But–they have the same reality at heart. With both errors, we are not living by grace. We are called to walk the knife edge where the pure grace of God is, trusting Him.
After church that week, our family went on a “it’s fall!” walk around our property, exploring areas I’d never been to before. I swapped to a pair of jeans, long sleeved shirt and kept the poncho on which made it modest to our standards since it covers my backside. 🙂 Here’s a picture, for those of you who have asked about modest pants outfits. Please ignore the knee brace– that was from my shopping injury. 😛
Hope y’all are having a fantastic week! Fan of ponchos or not so much? Blessings!