Monday, January 23, 2023

2023.01.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 5:6–8

Read Romans 5:6–8

Questions from the Scripture text: What was our condition at the beginning of Romans 5:6? Who did what (that we didn’t have enough strength to do)? For whom (what else was our condition)? For whom would one scarcely do what (Romans 5:7)? But for whom would someone perhaps dare to? But Who is the One Who acts in Romans 5:8? What is He demonstrating? Toward whom? What was our condition? What did Christ do?

What keeps us glorying in God’s glory and even in our tribulations? Romans 5:6–8 looks forward to the sermon in this week’s midweek meeting. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that our total dependence upon Christ in the gospel keeps us from glorying in self. 

In the gospel, God has exhibited Christ as a propitiation (Romans 3:25). This display of Christ, this demonstration of Christ, is key to keeping us from glorying in ourselves. As we have seen in Romans 5:2-3, faith glories in God’s glory and even in tribulation, not in itself. But it is the experience of many believers that we do not glory in Christ, as we ought, but still very much rather in ourselves.

Now, Romans 5:6 begins with “for…” giving us a foundation upon which to build the proper sort of glorying in the Christian life. Here, the Spirit demonstrates to us three realities that will keep us glorying only in God and glorying abundantly in God.

Demonstration of Christ’s strength to die, when we had not strength to die. “When we were still without strength… Christ died.” A death was necessary for our sin, but we weren’t strong enough to do the dying. It had to be Christ Who died. Now, we must daily die to sin and live to righteousness, and it is still only Christ Who is strong enough. He has died our judicial death, and we died there in union with Him. But if we are going to die to sin and die to self, we need it to be by Him with us in our lives, by the strength of His resurrection. The gospel is good news of God’s power, from start to finish.

Demonstration of Christ’s righteousness and goodness, when we were ungodly. Having reminded us that we are ungodly (Romans 5:6), Romans 5:7 proceeds to talk about the hypothetical righteous man and the hypothetical good man. But there is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10). And there is no one who does good, no, not one (Romans 3:12). The only One is the Christ Who died (Romans 5:6). If there is to be any righteousness, any goodness in the Christian life, it must come from Christ.

Demonstration of Christ’s love, when we were sinners. Here, then, is not merely justice or noble generosity. It is abounding, unfathomable love. The ones for whom the death was died were sinners. The One Who died is the alone righteous and good One. But He has so loved those sinners that He died for them. This is a demonstration of God’s love, because Christ is God. If He weren’t, it would not be particularly loving of God for someone else to have died for us. But God the Father has so loved the world that He gave the Son (Romans 5:8, cf. John 3:16), and the Son has so loved us that He laid His life down for us (cf. 1 John 3:16; John 10:11, John 10:17–18). Love in the Christian life, even our love for God, does not come from our loving God but from His loving us (cf. 1 John 4:10, 1 John 4:19)!

Strength in the Christian life is from Him, not from us. Goodness in the Christian life is from Him, not from us. Love in the Christian life is from Him, not from us. Let us learn to glory only in Christ, not ourselves!

For what, in your life, do you need strength, goodness, and love for God? Where can it be had? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for being our strength and goodness and love—both perfectly in Yourself as counted for us, and presently and effectively by Your Spirit’s working in us. Grant that we would see and know this and glory in You, not in ourselves, for we ask it through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”

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