Tag Archive: Adam


The Gospel

2014

 

Introduction

Several years ago, on the first Sunday of the new year, I began a tradition, which I have repeated each year since. I spoke on one particular doctrinal issue in order to set the course for the coming year and remind us all of what really is the most important matter we handle as a congregation (All Saints Parish Church in Vancouver, WA). All that we believe, practice, and hope to become is grounded in one issue. It is essential, obviously, and due to the essential nature of this subject, I want to revisit it this afternoon as we begin a new year. I’m referring, of course, to the gospel.

The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection. People think about the state of their lives, what they wished they had accomplished, what they hope to accomplish, and so forth. The gospel is the heart of the Church’s life and, therefore, serious reflection on the gospel and the state of our ministry is both edifying and advisable.

I want to explain what I mean by the term “gospel.” When I use this term, I have in mind what God has revealed to us about our redemption. Therefore, I’m using the word “gospel” in a broad sense to include all that the Bible has to say about our restoration as a fallen race. The manner in which the gospel is understood and taught is the life-blood of any congregation, as I’ve already stressed. What is believed about this subject determines the spiritual character of a church; in fact, it determines whether we really are a church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If a church believes and teaches what the Bible proclaims on this issue, then that church is bound to have a good apprehension of everything found in God’s word. On the other hand, if a church does not understand, believe and teach what the Bible says about man’s salvation, that congregation is bound to have defective doctrine across the board. Command is illegal

First, we will consider the necessity of the gospel. If the gospel, broadly defined, has to do with the restoration of man, we must know what it is about man that requires a restoration. Second, we will look at the provision of the gospel. Under this point, we will see what God has done in response to man’s need. The third point will be the exclusivity of the gospel. Here, I will concentrate on the unique nature of God’s provision for our need.

01. The Necessity of the Gospel

We are all aware of the event that occurred early in the history of our race which unalterably established our need of redemption. I’m referring, of course, to the fall of Adam and Eve. This is such a familiar portion of Scripture that I’m sure I could just mention it and proceed without much elaboration. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness, I will review this story briefly.

As we know, the Biblical description of man’s origin is composed of two primary elements, his creation and his disobedience. The Scripture tells us that God created the first man and he was perfect. In addition, because this creature was made in the image of the Creator, he was morally upright. In the beginning, therefore, Adam, the first man and father of our race, existed in a state of innocence.

All was harmonious in this setting. God was recognized and served as the almighty Creator; man recognized himself as one that came from the hand of this almighty Creator and was, therefore, bound to relate to God as the thing made should relate to the sovereign Maker. In this state, Adam enjoyed communion with God and was at peace and able to pursue his calling.

In this original environment, God designed a circumstance in which Adam would be tested regarding his willingness to abide by the implications of the Creator-creature relationship. God granted Adam access to all that the Garden of Eden had to offer with one exception. Adam was forbidden to eat the fruit that was found on one particular tree.

This was a simple arrangement, yet one with profound implications. This circumstance declared that this was God’s world and, therefore, His will was supreme. It taught Adam that he had to submit to the Creator in all things. The point of this test was not the fruit of that particular tree, but Adam’s willingness to abide by the command of the Creator.

After receiving instructions, Adam also received Eve, a creature like him. Together, Adam and Eve were commissioned to multiply, subdue the earth and rule it under God. Together, as man and wife, our first parents were to serve the Creator and thus enjoy His blessings.

As we know, however, things changed drastically:

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’” 4 And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

These few verses record the most tragic event that could be imagined. Here is the ruination of our race! That which was perfect is perfect no longer. The relationship between the Creator and the creature is horribly disrupted and the narrative hardly reveals the devastation which resulted from this episode. It is this one incident which determines the nature of our existence from that point forward. This act forever changed all of creation.

Consider the manner in which this story is given to us. The writer records the facts in a simple, straight-forward manner. I have already rehearsed the background for this story. We know that this was a perfect environment; we know that God and man existed in harmony; we know that all of God’s creation was what He intended it to be; and we know that Adam had been given a command that epitomized his relation to God. But into this picture came the deceiver, the enemy of righteousness.

The woman was questioned by the serpent: “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (v. 1) And the woman captured the essence of the command when she repeated God’s prohibition (v. 2) Clearly she knew that the Creator had forbidden her to eat from that particular tree; she was not ignorant of the law that governed her relationship with God. Nevertheless, instead of ceasing contact with the serpent immediately, she continued and heard these words: “You surely shall not die!” (v. 4)

And, as we know, Eve considered the words of the deceiver and “when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” (v. 6)

If we ask, “What happened in the Garden of Eden?”, the uncomplicated answer is that the command of God was broken—and this is the fundamental definition of all sin. Perhaps this is why this important event is recorded in such a simple fashion. Perhaps it is so that any child can read this account and understand what happened. God gave a command and it was not obeyed. Anyone can listen to these words and know that Eve and then Adam disobeyed the Creator.

This brings me to a second question: What is the meaning of this event? We get a symbolic answer to this second question in our passage: “7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”

Consider how awful it was for the creatures made in God’s image to sense the need to hide themselves from Him! Clearly, something horrible occurred. When they broke God’s commandment, they immediately sensed that what they had done was unnatural; they immediately realized that the peace of the Garden had been disturbed.

For Adam and Eve, the repercussions began with their instant realization that they were transgressors and could no longer appear in God’s presence without shame and guilt. Adam and Eve attempted to avoid confrontation with God because confrontation with God would require them to own up to their disobedience. They did what they could in those circumstances to evade the Lawgiver.

Adam and Eve did what they were forbidden to do and, as a result, their relationship with God was ruined. This is the story of the beginning of our race. From this time forward, Scripture teaches, every descendant of Adam and Eve is conceived in the state of alienation; every descendant is born in that state of estrangement from God. At its core, the action of Adam and Eve was rebellion. They both substituted their will for God’s will; they both ranked their wisdom above the wisdom of God.

We know from later revelation that the transgression of Adam and Eve had a most extreme impact upon their natures. Soon, we are told about the banishment of our first parents from this place of fellowship with God. Life in the Garden meant fellowship with God; it meant that all was right and that all relationships were what they should be. Banishment from the Garden meant just the opposite; it meant that fellowship with God had been broken and that things were not right and all relationships had been adversely affected.

From a blessed existence to a cursed existence; from peace to disorder; from fellowship to antagonism. Now man is at odds with God, now he is God’s enemy, now he struggles under the weight of guilt for having disobeyed. Man comes into existence now with a rebellious heart and throughout his miserable life, he gives continual expression to the corruption of his soul.

This is the doctrine of man’s total depravity. Every facet of his existence, every faculty of his soul, is marred by sin. Depraved man will not and cannot restore what has been lost; he knows only the way of defiance because his soul carries in it the seed of corruption. This is fallen man; this is man before the gospel.

Returning to the Genesis record, we know that something else was said between God’s cursing of the parties involved and the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden. When God came to Adam, Eve and the serpent, each party was cursed and bound to live with certain temporal consequences of this incident. And the consequences went well beyond temporal considerations; the very nature of man was affected.

However, following His denunciation of the serpent, the woman and the man, God gave that wonderful promise of a coming restoration: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” (v. 15) Here is the first indication that God, the One offended, would undertake the rescue of His special creatures.

This is the promise that unfolds throughout the rest of the Bible and throughout the rest of history. This is the first announcement of the gospel and it comes here in Genesis, in the midst of man’s ruin. The gospel that we love and cherish cannot be rightly understood, believed or taught apart from an understanding of its origin. A plan of restoration was necessitated by the events that transpired in the Garden of Eden.

02. The Provision of the Gospel

We have seen what necessitated a plan of redemption; now we can see what God meant by His promise to send a Deliverer. What must be kept in mind is fallen man’s need. Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden, that spot which symbolized fellowship with God and harmony in relationships. After disobeying God, they lacked the quality of moral uprightness, which is defined by God’s character alone.

Man’s need, then, is great; it is almost beyond comprehension. However, God’s provision is also great. The provision of God in the gospel centers upon one concept: substitution. For fallen man to be reconciled to God, two things had to happen: one, fallen man had to render unto God a perfect life and thus do what Adam failed to do; two, fallen man had to provide a payment for his sins. The problem, of course, is that fallen man is incapable of providing what is absolutely necessary for his redemption.

Without going into great detail, let me state that one aspect of man’s total depravity is his inability to do anything about his condition. Man was not just wounded, spiritually speaking, he was killed. A sinner is a walking dead man when it comes to spiritual matters. He can do nothing about his circumstance and does not care to do anything about his circumstance. What, then, is the solution? It is what I mentioned earlier. The solution, the only solution, is substitution.

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul writes: “2:13 And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Here is the substitutionary payment for our sins; here is the satisfaction of our debt before God. Notice that Paul reminds us that we were “dead” in our fallen state; however, God made us alive in and with Christ.

Jesus Christ is the provision for our salvation. He is what God had in mind when that glorious promise was made in the midst of the ruin of the Garden of Eden. According to these verses, God was willing to let Jesus Christ take our sin-debt to Himself and bearing it, be nailed to a cross where He gave His blessed life in our place. So great was the quality of that life, Paul teaches, that the debt we owed to God is “taken out of the way.” It is not forgotten nor is it ignored for a time—our sin is paid for by Christ’s sacrifice of Himself in our place.

When Christ paid for our sins, that was one component in our restoration. The second component is something I mentioned already, namely, a righteousness of our own. Having our sins paid for does not, at the same time, make us righteous in the eyes of God. Therefore, a second component in man’s restoration—or the sinner’s justification—is the provision of a righteousness. Once again, let us hear from Paul:

Phil. 3:8… I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith…

After his conversion, Paul understood that the needed righteousness cannot be earned, but must be imputed. The sinner’s hope is not only that Christ will pay his sin-debt, but also that Christ will credit to the sinner the perfect life He lived while on this earth. Therefore, Paul rejects the notion of self-justification or any idea that the sinner can restore himself. Instead, Paul embraces and teaches the idea that the righteousness that the sinner must have is not his own and cannot come from himself.

The needed righteousness must come from One able to provide it and that One is Jesus Christ. Not only does Christ become our Substitute in His death, He also becomes our Substitute in His life. All that is required of the sinner is supplied by the sinner’s Substitute. Payment for sin is made and righteousness is given and both things are grounded in the Savior.

This brings me to the third point of this sermon, which has to do with an aspect of the gospel that needs to be stressed frequently. Man’s need necessitated a particular provision, which God supplied in Christ. This means that the manner in which fallen man is restored to God’s favor is singular, narrow and restricted.

03. The Exclusivity of the Gospel

By this heading, I mean that there are not many avenues to restoration; there is only one and that is the one designated by the offended Party, namely, the God of this creation. The fact that the way of reconciliation for sinful man might be singular should come as no surprise. Therefore, I will not spend a great deal of time on this third point. Let me refer to a definitive statement made by Paul in 1 Tim. 2: “5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.”

In the context of these verses, the apostle is urging believers to pray for all who are in authority, regardless of rank. His reasoning is that God would have all classes of men, the rulers and well as the ones ruled, to come to the knowledge of salvation (cf. v. 4). Then Paul makes a restrictive, intolerant declaration: “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Two parties are envisioned here, God and fallen man. Standing between the two, as it were, is a Mediator, One who is able to bring the two together. To be more precise given all the Biblical data, this Mediator is bringing the one party, man, to the other, God. It is man who needs reconciliation and this reconciliation is achieved by One and only One Mediator, Jesus Christ. He is the One, Paul notes, “who gave Himself as a ransom” for all men.

The need of men, all men, was determined in the Garden. The singular provision of a Substitute for those in need was determined by God. That provision was His Son and that provision is exclusive in the sense that it is the only provision given and accepted by God. As Paul implies here, if a man is to have fellowship with God, it must be by way of the Mediator, Jesus Christ. The sinner cannot go to God on his own, nor can he devise some way that might gain him access to God’s blessed presence.

What Paul teaches here is repeated throughout Scripture. God promised a Deliverer at the time of Adam’s fall. That promised Deliverer was the focus of all prophecy and expectation. No other means of restoration for fallen man is ever mentioned in God’s word because no other means of restoration exists. God accepts sinners in His Son and only in His Son. Since all men are in a state of condemnation, this means that all men either have Christ as their Mediator, and therefore enjoy God’s saving favor, or they remain in their fallen condition and await the day of God’s wrath.

To all sinners, Christ declares: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6) This is not a debatable issue! There are sinners and there are saved sinners in this world and the only thing that separates one category from the other is the Substitutionary mediation of Jesus Christ. There are not many gospels, there is only one gospel and this one gospel is from God and makes known to us our need, God’s provision and the exclusive nature of that provision.

Application

One purpose I had in mind in preparing this sermon was to declare the essentials of the Biblical gospel. While much more could have been said about the gospel, I do believe that an outline of the gospel has been presented and in this outline, I have touched upon the primary elements. Explaining the gospel consists of two chief facts: man’s need and God’s provision.

The gospel is a simple message; it is one easily understood by all who hear it. We were in need and God provided what we needed. In a day when the churches of Christ are dabbling in so many things unrelated to the true ministry of the gospel, we would do well to meditate upon the gospel as it is found in the Bible.

Another purpose for this sermon was my desire to “go on record” regarding my own beliefs and the beliefs of this church where the issue of salvation is concerned. What I have related to you is what I believe Scripture teaches. I believe that man is conceived in a state of alienation from God and that his only hope is the substitutionary life and death of Jesus Christ.

Further, I believe that fallen man is incapable of doing or desiring any good whatsoever as far as his restoration is concerned. He is a creature absolutely dependent upon the grace of God. This is what I believe and this is what this church believes, by which I mean that this is the doctrine that we hold and teach.

As I noted, these convictions about the nature of man and the nature of salvation will influence everything you will hear taught from this pulpit in the coming year. You will hear statements indicating our utter dependence upon God in all things; you will hear statements ascribing all glory to God and statements urging complete devotion to God and His holy will.

All these things and more are grounded in what the Bible teaches about our need as fallen creatures and God’s response to our need in Christ. Whether we are talking about salvation or our ethical obligations or our vocations, all that we are to know and do is traced back to man’s fall in the Garden and God’s merciful restoration of man in Christ.

And a final purpose for this sermon was my desire to encourage you to consider anew the glorious work that God has done for us. Let us begin the new year with a fresh perspective on what God has accomplished for us. In connection with this purpose, I want to emphasize to our young people their responsibility to consider the gospel of our salvation. You are privileged to be growing up in an environment in which we all are attempting to serve God and communicate to you the knowledge of the Bible. Understand, however, that the gospel that I have described is just as relevant for you as it is for anyone else.

When the Bible describes the miserable state of fallen man, it is describing your state apart from Christ. When it speaks of the condemnation of all who are descendants of Adam, it is speaking of you. Give thanks to God that He has placed you in the community of believers—this is no small privilege—but also know that you are a sinner and you must own Christ as your Substitute if you are to escape the inevitable end of God’s enemies.

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The Gospel of Our Salvation

(Rom. 5:6-11)

Part 1

Romans 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

The gospel is a message concerning two primary issues: the spiritual condition of human beings and God’s response to that condition. One of the chief aims of Paul in the book of Romans is communicating the fact that all people, Jews and Gentiles, come into the world alienated from God. We all have inherited the corrupt nature of our father Adam.

In response to man’s need, God set in motion a plan of redemption by which the human race would be rescued and delivered from condemnation through the work of Jesus Christ. The entire Bible is about this unfolding decree of God whereby He appointed us to eternal life.

The passage above comes from a section where the apostle is explaining how Christ served as our Savior. Having established the fact that all people are in need of the Savior because all people are, as I said earlier, alienated from God, Paul takes up the matter of our common Redeemer. God has appointed only one way of salvation and that is through His Son.

Please notice how Paul begins this section of his letter to the Romans. He describes a sinner’s condition at the point where the ministry of Christ becomes relevant. While we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. (v.6) The first phrase of this verse speaks to the spiritual condition of man. We were “helpless.”

The context confirms that Paul is speaking of our status before God as we come into this world. He is addressing the results of man’s fall into sin. As a race, we were left “helpless.” Paul uses a Greek term (asthenes) that means” to be weak, sick, feeble, without strength.” Remember that Paul is not speaking of our physical condition, but of our spiritual condition. He is teaching that the sinner is incapable of delivering himself from the judgment of God. We do not have the ability to overcome the effects of man’s corruption due to the fall of Adam.

Adam was our representative and his conduct had immediate and critical consequences for all of those human beings who would descend from him. Right at the beginning of human history, therefore, mankind was confirmed in a spiritual state that left him estranged from God and liable only for God’s judgment.

Notice how Paul describes us, in our fallen state, as this passage continues. In verse 8, he refers to us as “sinners.” This is the simplest and most prevalent term used to identify fallen man in his relationship to God. While God is holy, man is unholy. God is unmarked by sin, but we are corrupt in every facet of our existence.

In the next verse, Paul refers to us as being “saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (v 9) If we are saved from the wrath of God in Christ, that means that we existed under the wrath of God prior to our deliverance. Apart from Christ, we are not in neutral territory, so to speak. From the point of Adam’s disobedience, every human being is conceived in a state of separation from God.

At no time during our lives do we escape the sentence of judgment that hangs over us. As Paul has already stated, the only way of escape is for us to have a Substitute to receive that judgment in our place. That Substitute, as already stated, is Jesus Christ.

The wrath of God does not disappear, nor is it simply set aside. The wrath of God must fall upon sin and all transgressions against a holy God must be atoned for. That is what happens for us in our Savior. In Christ, the necessary and unavoidable justice of God finds its fulfillment in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. And those represented by Christ, just like those represented by Adam, receive the benefits of what He attained.

One other descriptive term of man in sin is found in verse 10: “[W]hile we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” It is an unsettling thing to think of ourselves as enemies of God. He made us and yet we are declared to be hostile toward Him. We fall into a category of hopelessness because no enemy of God can ever overcome Him. God’s enemies are always defeated and destroyed because there is no wisdom or power in all the universe that can successfully contend with the wisdom and the power of God.

To be an enemy of God, therefore, is to be doomed. It is to have no hope of deliverance, no hope of escaping the inevitable wrath that a righteous God must inflict upon His enemies. It is not difficult to understand why Paul begins this passage by saying that we were “helpless.” There was nothing we could do to change our condition. Compounding this frightening truth is the fact that a fallen man has no desire to be reconciled to God, no desire to serve his Maker, and no desire to please God. (cf. Rom. 3:10-18)

Theologians use the term “depravity” to describe fallen man’s spiritual condition apart from Christ. This word means that there is no aspect of our nature that has gone untouched by sin. There is only one way of salvation and that is through Jesus Christ. By receiving His work as our own, our sins are paid for and we are granted eternal life in Him. In the Savior, God’s condemnation falls on Him as our Substitute.

With Christ as my personal Savior, God accepts His work on my behalf. As my Redeemer, Jesus was nailed to the cross where He suffered and died in my place. He paid the price necessary for me to be reconciled to God. When God came to this world in the flesh, He gave himself as a sacrifice of infinite worth. His death atoned for my sin.

Before I continue, let me emphasize that what has been said so far about man apart from Christ is true of everyone. Paul is not speaking about exceptionally wicked people only, he is speaking about all people. The helplessness Paul mentions applies to every human being, past, present, and future. Absolute helplessness is the state of all people—every man, woman, and child—outside of Christ.

If you will meditate on these disturbing truths about your spiritual condition, you will find great comfort and joy in the other aspect of the gospel that I mentioned earlier, namely, God’s response to our need. While we were still helpless, Paul writes, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Consider the implications of that opening verse. Christ died for us while we were in a state of estrangement from God. We did not love Him, nor did we have a desire to please Him, as I noted before. Christ did not die for us after we began to make an effort to reach God.

Christ did not come along and help us find our way back to our Creator. Jesus Christ came for us and delivered us while we hated Him and wanted nothing to do with the righteousness of God.

The word that is used to describe this act of selflessness on the part of our Savior is grace. Grace refers to God showing the unworthy sinner mercy even when that sinner was an enemy. Grace is seen in God’s willingness to receive the work of His Son in our place. Grace is in operation when the sinner receives the blessings of redemption without any demands made upon him.

Above all else, therefore, we must keep in mind that the gospel is a declaration of God’s grace toward us in Christ. We did not deserve deliverance from God’s judgment, nor could we ever achieve deliverance from God’s judgment on our own. It had to be done for us and it had to be done without requiring anything of us because we had nothing to give in exchange for the salvation of our souls.

While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (v. 6) God responded to our need by taking our guilt from us and placing it on the back of His own Son. And then, bearing our sin Himself, Jesus Christ, the blessed Lamb of God, gave His life as a payment for our transgressions. God in the flesh came to us in our misery. This was His response to our horrible dilemma. We had nothing to entice Him, nothing to give Him, yet He came from heaven to earth to save us.

A second aspect of God’s response to our need is found in verse 8 where Paul says that the coming of Christ for us was a demonstration of God’s love toward us. Talk about God’s plan of redemption and Christ’s work of atonement can become quite technical and, to a degree, academic. This is because we have to have absolute precision in our interpretation of these matters.

We must always, however, work within the context of God’s love. Christ’s ministry on our behalf was grounded in the love of God. The truths that we hold dear as believers, the joy that we experience in worship and fellowship with one another, the peace we have when contemplating our security in Christ—all these wonderful elements in our Christian experience are aspects of God’s love for us.

God loves us; therefore, He did not require us to answer for our rebellion against Him. His love revealed itself in His plan for our deliverance, which, as we know, involved Another taking our place. The love of God was not only declared to us, it was manifested, Paul writes, in the Person of Jesus Christ.

The love of God can be observed. It is not just a concept. God’s promises are followed by His actions. While walking the earth, Jesus referred to His mission many times. He taught His disciples that He was the promised Messiah who had come to deliver them from their spiritual bondage. And Jesus went to the cross to fulfill the things He had promised. I will say again, therefore, that the love of God can be observed.

As I conclude part one of this study, I want you to personalize the teaching of the apostle. I want you to think about the fact that you were helpless—helpless when it came to escaping that dreaded sentence of condemnation. You would still be under that judgment were it not for Christ. Without Him, your spiritual condition would never change.

You will never know the displeasure of God. You will never experience even a taste of his righteous judgment. You will only know the peace of God, the comfort of God, the patience of God, and the forgiveness of God.

If you have embraced Christ as Savior, then all of God’s displeasure with you was transferred to Him on the cross. And His righteous judgment was directed away from you and to His own Son. And what is true for you, is true for all those who have believed God’s promise of salvation in Christ. Together, we praise God for His saving love. Together, we worship Him each week and strive to live for His glory each day. We live a truly blessed life. We know God, we know His Son, and we know where we are going.

If you hear these words, but realize that they do not describe your life, you can change that today. God offers salvation to all who will receive it. It is a gift in the most magnificent sense of the term. You may call upon the Savior even now and ask Him to save you, to fill your heart with joy, and to grant you eternal life.