The Reign of Grace – The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

let us pray
jesus christ our risen lord
we thank you that you are not here today
not bodily but that you sit at the right
hand of the father
interceding for us that you
are a great high priest who is all and
was in
always tempted like as we are yet
without sin
and because of that you are able to
comfort those
like me and everyone else
who still struggle with sin
father calm our hearts this morning
calm our hearts from the storms
of the world father calm our hearts
from the storms and the struggles
in our hearts
calm our hearts from the wars
within us and father let us
lift our eyes to see jesus
the author and finisher of our face
of our faith and we thank you for these
in the name of jesus christ our lord
this morning
all people all god’s people said amen
please be seated
we’re continuing our study in romans
the reign of grace and today is a very
important passage in fact today is the
where i took the title for this series
the reign of grace this is where he
talks specifically
about how grace now
reigns through jesus christ
i remember when i was
in seminary i
was studying old testament and so i
went during the summer i started during
the summer and did the crash
course in hebrew so i did three
of hebrew in nine weeks
and if you’ve ever heard the term
drinking from a fire hydrant
try taking three semesters of hebrew in
one summer and you will know exactly
what is meant by that
nevertheless i was sitting in my third
of those classes and we were studying
jonah and we got to this
prayer that we read this morning and my
kind of shocked me and took me back a
little bit and he said
what a pretentious and prideful
prayer and i was shocked at first
because it is a beautiful prayer
and it’s taken out of the psalms but
what he meant is he meant
for jonah to pray what he meant
was for jonah to pray this prayer
because if you read the rest of the book
of jonah
it is a satire and jonah is a symbol
of the people of israel and he prays
this prayer
really does he really does pray it very
proudly and
you know oh those poor idol worshipers
out there
and yet it’s he in the story
who’s disobeying god who refuses to
humble his heart
it’s the religious man
and but the beautiful thing about the
book of jonah
is that god still lavishes grace
on him god still lavishes
grace on us when we’re broken
when we still sin as christians
he still forgives and he still pours out
his love
again and again
and it’s a symbol of this reign of grace
that paul is talking
about here in chapter
5 verses 12
through 21
and so i want to ask why
why paul has been talking about
justification for a couple chapters
and maybe you’re already getting sick of
hearing about justification
you know they say in communication when
when people are just starting to get
sick of what you’re saying
you’re starting to get through
so we’ll see
god’s still trying to get through to me
but why does justification matter
does it matter now or is it just a lofty
theory floating up in heaven
and it’s not it’s not lofty theory
and i’ll illustrate that
with another story
i sat down this week with
one of my really good friends in life
one of my closest friends we hadn’t seen
each other in a while and
we got together to just talk catch up
and at one point in the conversation he
says todd do you know what imposter
syndrome is you know what imposter
syndrome is and i said well
i’ve heard that term before and it’s the
idea that
you know we we feel like
it’s like when we feel that
everybody else is looking at us and
we are just fake like people are going
to find us out like we’re trying to go
through life and we’re trying to do the
best we can
but we feel very insecure in who we are
as a person and so we feel like an apost
and many many successful people go
through this
uh struggle of what they call imposter
that they feel like wow
how did i get all this success what an
accident when
is somebody going to discover that i’m
not real that i’m not that good that i’m
really that good and i asked my friend
is that what you’re talking about and he
exactly and he says todd i feel like a
and that was painful to me because he’s
my good friend and i know he’s
such an authentic person and you could
see the authenticity
in somebody when they look at you across
the table and go i feel like a fraud
you can’t talk about any more
authenticity than that amen
okay because that’s honesty you see what
the world
is doing is it’s constantly telling us
to put on airs it’s constantly telling
to be awesome go out be awesome we want
you to
impress us and the gospel comes along
and says you don’t have to impress
doesn’t mean we don’t have to do a good
job but the gospel turns all that
on its head you see we all suffer
from feeling like a fraud or an imposter
or sometimes we really convince
that we’ve got it until we hit some
stage in life or we hit some
circumstances in life that rips the
carpet out from under us and we hit the
face down really hard on our nose
but we fall apart under some really
and so how is it that we
usually you know this is what leads us
to self-justify the pressure that we get
to be
something it’s not necessarily something
that we’re not
but to live up to everybody else’s
example it comes naturally out of us in
this idea of self-justification
you see there’s two types of
justification in the world there’s
self-justification and there’s a
justification of god
and that’s all g that’s all paul is
talking about this
you can either drive your life on the
opinion of others
or on the opinion of god
that’s all we’ve got those are the two
options and what paul is calling us to
in the gospel is saying
build your identity and your self-worth
on the gospel of god
because the beauty because of jesus
god has justified you and is therefore
not judging you
and if god’s not judging you he’s not
doing another thing
that paul’s talking about in here he’s
not condemning
you and the most un-gospel thing we can
is to condemn one another to judge
one another
how is it that we usually self-justify
well the fastest way to self-justify is
to criticize others and cut them down to
we live life or we have a constant
tendency in life
to try and stand one step up on the
steps from other people
you know oh so-and-so does that but at
least i don’t do that
right you see we don’t we compare
ourselves to others we don’t compare
to god because that would be futile
if we compare ourselves to the perfect
white-hot glory of god
then we’re not going to feel too good
about ourselves and that’s like an
example i heard ray comfort use one time
is that if you see a couple sh you see a
bunch of sheep standing in a field
they look so white and beautiful but if
you come back an hour later and it
and there’s perfect white snow on the
now the sheep look what dirty
right yeah they’re not bleached white
anymore they’re not they’re no longer
clorox white
because it’s the standard we put
ourselves up against and so putting
ourselves up against each other is a
futile standard look at
what paul says here in romans 2 1
you have no excuse o man whoever you are
when you judge another for in passing
upon him you condemn yourself
because you the judge are doing the very
trying to build a world through erosion
what does erosion do washes
things away it’s tearing down
washing away that’s what
criticism that’s what judging
that’s what self-justification does
and we’re fixated on this but god
doesn’t want this
you see what god does in the gospel is
he gives us
what we can’t have honor gives us
the justification of god and so what is
the end of
self-justification the end of
is death
did you get that people the end of
is death and the end of god’s
justification is life
you see it self-justification is a false
gospel we trust in
that leads us to a temporary satisfied
that makes us miss out on the real
self-justification it’s the difference
between drinking
you know eating uh junk food
and real food junk food will satisfy you
temporarily but in the long term if
that’s your
primary diet it’s going to give you a
health problem
and it’s the same thing if our primary
of justification is self-justification
we are going to be lost
and so paul says here in romans 5 12
just as sin came into the world through
one man and death through sin
so death spread to all men because all
sinned for sin indeed was in the world
before the law was given but sin
is not counted where there is not no law
yet death reigned from adam
to moses even over those whose sinning
was not like the transgression of adam
who was a type of the one to come and so
he paints this big picture
of the kingdom here and again
self-justification camouflages the
kingdom of god
from true selfish true salvation
it camouflages it it makes us think
that we’re okay and here’s the freedom
of the gospel
is you don’t have to have it together
you don’t have to be perfect
you don’t have to have changed the world
to be important to god
all you need is for one person to care
about you
and that’s god himself
and that’s why he talks about these two
atoms here
the first atom and the last adam who is
a type of the one to come and he creates
this great contrast here
and these verses between adam
and his sin and the consequences of that
how we lost our justification before
god and the new adam
jesus christ and his righteous act
and the justification he gives us
two atoms and two different ends two
paul says in first corinthians 15 thus
it is written
the first man adam became a living being
and the last
adam became a life-giving spirit
he contrasts these two
and just as we were born in the image of
the man of dust we shall also bear the
image of the man of heaven
i tell you this brethren flesh and blood
cannot inherit the kingdom of god
nor does perishable inherit the
you see in adam death reigned
that’s what paul’s talking about death
but what he’s saying is that in jesus
the reign of grace is through the
justification of christ
the righteousness that god gives us
that we can’t get on our own and that’s
why he talks
so much here about the free gift he says
the free gift in verse 15 is not like
the trash
trespass for if many died through one
trespass much more have the grace of god
and the free gift by the grace of that
one man jesus christ abounded for many
and so you see this contrast he sets up
under the first adam is the trespass
under the last
adam is the free gift of god under adam
under the first is many died
under the last many will be made alive
under the first there’s disobedience
unto the last there’s a righteous act
under the first is condemnation
and under the last is justification
and so through the first adam death
and through the last grace now reigns
and so i have to ask you what does it
mean to reign
what does it mean to reign we don’t hear
that as much today because we live in a
democratic republic we elect
our leaders but monarchs of the ancient
or even the medieval world they were
autocrats they had
absolute authority absolute authority
and so you’re always flipping a coin
with an autocrat right
this good as the person in power right
you get a good king you have a good
kingdom and you get a bad king
and you got a bad time on your hands
and that’s what paul’s talking about
here he says
death reigned yet we had a bad king
after adam’s sin death reigned
it had dominion it had strength it had
power it had control
and it was a merciless
heartless master
that only chose to enslave and send all
human beings
to death to our end but he says now
through jesus christ our lord
grace reigns grace
the grace and love and kindness of god
has absolute autocratic power
for those who believe in jesus that
it’s so much power they can’t be taken
from you
it can’t be taken away
for if because of one man’s trespass
death reign through the one man
much more will those who receive the
abundance of grace
and the free gift of righteousness reign
life through the one man jesus christ
did you get that see down below he’s
going to talk about how grace reigns but
right here he said something else
and this is the outcome this is the
of our faith he says
that the abundance of grace it’s the
of grace and the free gift of
free gift of righteousness reign and
it says those who receive the abundance
of grace
they will reign in life you see the
is ours and what he’s saying here is
that those who placed our faith
in jesus will reign in life
you see the reign of grace
becomes ours it becomes
ours we own it
because jesus owns us
and so if you look down here verses 20
and 21
he says now the law came in to increase
the trespass
but where sin increased grace abounded
all the more and the contrast there in
those words is very important that you
can’t see
as well in the english but
it’s the law came in but grace abounded
it overflowed
it splashed all over the place
and he says so that as sin reigned in
death grace
also might reign through
righteousness leading to eternal life
through jesus christ our lord grace
might reign through righteousness what
righteousness jesus’s
and so i come back to the question of
imposter syndrome
why do we struggle with
imposter syndrome why do we struggle
with feeling like a fraud
well there’s some truth to it because
deep in every one of us there is the
brokenness of sin
there’s something in all of us and who
that it just ain’t right
that the world just isn’t right and
something within me just isn’t right
we feel it sometimes when that person
that other person in our life has
something good in their life and we feel
that moment of jealousy
and then we get even you know the the
more crazy thing we start getting angry
at ourselves because i shouldn’t have
that emotion right
we all know what that’s like
and that’s part of the brokenness of
being sinful and jesus comes along
and says yes i know that brokenness and
that’s okay i came to die for that and i
came to pay for that
and i came to also take away the guilt
and heal
and bring healing
and so we are often all impostors trying
to self-justify
and act righteous before god
and we are most acting when we are
criticizing others
that’s when we’re most acting
because as paul says there in romans two
in which we judge another
we have condemned ourselves
and as we move on in the book of romans
now paul’s going to
turn you know what he’s doing is he’s
laying out
this big feast of doctrine for us
in the first six chapters saying
this is what the gospel does this is
what the gospel is about
and then he’s going to turn and go okay
this is what it looks like to start
living that out
this is what it means to live as
and the beautiful thing is is we live in
this place of grace because of the reign
of grace
we live in this
catch net where we can fail and fail and
fail and if
you know i’m sure everyone in this room
had been to a circus at some point and i
always liked
the trapeze you know the flying trapeze
and and that net that always caught them
if they they
missed the bar and they landed in that
safety net that’s like the grace of god
and they can go up and they can try it
and know that god’s going to catch them
that god
is going to catch you and because of
our hearts can be at rest that’s that’s
what the kingdom does
that’s what the reign of grace does it
puts our hearts at
rest we don’t have to play the imposter
we don’t have to feel like a fraud
because we’re not we don’t have to play
the game
because of grace we’ve been freed the
grace of god has freed us to say
i’m broken that’s okay
and the only opinion that matters about
is jesus’s opinion
the only opinion that matters because
he’s the only opinion
that we’re all going to answer to one
day he’s not going to answer
we’re not going to answer to anyone else
so we don’t have to play the imposter
we can be all free
of all self-justification and
condemnation because of the reign of
there are no imposters in the kingdom of
just beloved weak children whom he loved
enough to save
you see when we’re judging one another
we’re judging the children of god
parents don’t take too well
to folks judging their children amen
but we can be free from that because he
you know just like paul turner said
we don’t need that
we can be at rest it’s okay
to be broken and it’s okay for others to
be broken
and it’s okay to rest in
the grace of god because jesus
is raised from the dead and we
are his children through the adoption
of sons and daughters to god amen people
of god

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