5th September 2023
Read (Romans 11v33-12v1)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
I have been Edengrove's minister for fifteen years and in that time I've preached through Romans on two occasions. I believe Romans to be a monumental book and one that deserves to be read and understood by every Christian. The opening eleven chapters are full of rich theology outlining God's glorious plan of salvation to both Jew and Gentile. What do those chapters teach? In summary, the Lord has kept and fulfilled His promises to Abraham, salvation has come to the Gentiles who have been justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and there is reason to hope and expect a great many Jews to turn to Christ before the Lord's return.
As Paul reflected on everything he had written, he broke into praise with a doxology (Romans 11v33-36). A doxology is a song of praise which ascribes glory to God and shouldn't be confused with a benediction which is a pronouncement of blessing from God to His people. Paul's doxology drew from Isaiah and Job (v34-35) and marvelled at the scale of God's plan of redemption. The Apostle knew his place and released that even in the midst of weighty theology, he still could not fully know God's judgments or completely understand God's ways (v33).
How should we respond to Romans? With utter humility. God owes us nothing and we can give Him nothing to better or complete Him. Nevertheless, God has moved in history and has worked a glorious salvation for His people. Everything finds it's source in God (v36a), everything comes to pass through God (v36b) and everything works to His glory (v36c). The Lord alone deserves all the glory both now and forever (v36d). We have no room for arrogance and if your theology produces pride in your heart, then your theology needs to be reexamined.
Paul's Spirit inspired theology deserves a lifetime's study and his doxology should be memorised and sung. But what now? Romans 12 acts as a cry for each Christian to respond to God's mighty work. The faith is not a passive one whereby we sit idly on the sofa waiting for the Lord's return. Instead Paul states "therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God...present your bodies as a living sacrifice" (12v1). We'll consider what that means in the days to come but today I simply call upon you to meditate upon the size, scale and grandeur of the Christian faith.
Paul would summarise the Gospel in this way "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5v21) Commit this verse to memory and allow yourself to contemplate the significance of it throughout the day. Jesus was sinless but became sin for us, He was our substitute, His righteousness was swapped for our depravity in a great exchange and by His stripes we have been healed. If all of this is true then brothers and sisters we must heed Paul's exhortation and respond with a Christ exalting life.
We have been well taught by Paul in Romans 1-11 and we have joined with him singing a doxology to our God in Romans 11v33-36. Therefore, in light of all that we have heard, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices to Christ our King. Soli Deo Gloria, to God alone the glory.
Q36 What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification? The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.