Christians are not guaranteed immunity to temptation, tragedy, difficulty or even suffering, we are promised victory over them. God’s pledge is not that suffering will never afflict us, but that it will never separate us from His love. We can celebrate the security we have in Christ, because God has worked for us in Christ and God’s love for us in Christ.
In our present time of waiting and expecting suffering, hoping for future glory, God provides for all that we need in our time of waiting. God has acted and it assures us that God has a plan that He is unfolding, a plan that will provide fully for our future glory. Our assurance of the gospel is that God is sovereign in saving sinners.
The future glory is the climax in God’s plan both for his people and for his creation. Since we have not reached that climax, we must eagerly and patiently wait for it. We learn that the gospel is both personal and cosmic. It is important that our understanding of the gospel take the shape of the Scriptures epic vision of God’s redemptive plan.
God has made us His children through the work of His Spirit. As a result, we rejoice now in being able to call God “Father.” However, we also rejoice in knowing that God, having adopted us, has also made us His heirs. We can therefore look forward to the future with confidence.
We are encouraged by being reminded of all that God has done for us, and all that God will do for us. We are secure in Him and have a certain hope for the future. Yet our security must not breed complacency. We must not sit back and rest, thinking that God has taken care of it all. While we can proclaim the “life” that the Spirit has won for us, we will never experience that life unless we are growing in holiness.
The law is holy, and the commandments is holy, just, and good. The law is not responsible for sin or death. Even though the law is good, the law is also weak, since it does not have the power to save us. It can be a moral guide, but is has no saving power. It is holy, but it is unable to make us holy.
Two things threaten our hope for final salvation, sin and the law. What Paul is teaching us is that as believers we have been released from the bondage of the law, because we have died with Christ and are no longer under the law. But what does this mean in practice and how should we view the Mosaic Law as Christians?
Knowing our relationship to sin as Christians and believing it to be true, we need to present ourselves to God for His service and then allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives by following the revealed will of God, with His help. If the Spirit is not transforming us, we either do not have the Spirit living within us (are unsaved), or He is there but we prefer to live life on our own.
Since we, as Christian have been set free from the domination of sin, how can we continue to live as if sin is still in charge? We have been released from the dominance of the power of sin through our union with Christ. Only by constantly looking to the cross, where we consider ourselves who really have died to sin and been made alive in Christ will we be able to live out the new status God has given us.
When Paul speaks of salvation, he speaks in terms of the future. For the Christian we are saved, but not yet. Our salvation is not complete. By comparing and contrasting Adam and Christ, Paul is showing believers that we can have assurance in our salvation based on the superior work of Jesus Christ. If we are confident, that sin has brought death and untold devastation into the world. We can be even more confident that the grace of God in Christ that justifies us will also save us from God’s wrath in judgment.
Since we have been declared righteous (justified) by grace, in Christ and through faith the results of that new status relates to the past, present and future salvation. We have peace with God because of our past forgiveness. We stand in grace in our present privilege and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God in our future inheritance. Yet despite these wonderful blessings, we will still face afflictions.
The blessing and the promise did not come to Abraham through obedience, but God’s declaration of Abraham being right with God through faith. God’s law makes demands which we transgress, and so incur wrath, but God’s grace makes promises which we believe, and so receive blessings. It was not Abraham’s faith that was strong that justified Him, but it was the object of Abraham’s faith that was strong that justified Him.
Since we have been justified by grace alone, in Christ alone and through faith alone, it brings about humility, unites believers and leads to holy living. God has always justified by faith as we see evidence in the life of Abraham and confirmed by David.
No other ideology or religion proclaims a message where man can be declared right with God, when man is clearly in the wrong deserving judgment. All of them point to some form of self-salvation through good works. Yet Paul is showing us how God can both declare people who are wicked to be right with Him and yet God remains righteous and just. How? The cross of Christ.
The human dilemma is not people committing sin or even that they are in the habit of committing sin. The human dilemma is that people are under sin, which means that people are helpless prisoners of sin. The reason why this is important is that if we understand the problem, it is going to dictate the answer to the problem. We are not going to need a teacher but a liberator to set us free from the bondages of sin.
What matters to people is outward, visible and material and it leads to being superficial. What matters to God is a deep, inward, secret work of the Spirit in our hearts. God’s people has always been marked as a people who walk in joyful obedience because of the Spirit of God that is working in transforming their hearts.
The problem is not just out there in our world, the problem is in here in our hearts. When God judges us, it is based on truth, it is inescapable and it is impartial. It all leads to the same result, condemnation. Yet, we see the goodness of salvation shines forth brightly when it is seen against the dark background of divine judgment.
For us as Christians to really appreciate the gospel and be overwhelmed by God’s grace, we must come to grips with our sin and rebellion against a holy God. Only when we have really come to grips with the extent of the human dilemma will we be able to respond, as we should to the answer to the dilemma found in the good news about Jesus.
When the Gospel is being proclaimed, God’s power is unleashed that does not just convert us, but also transform us, and it is available to all who believes. It is only when we grasped the truth that the gospel is God’s power for salvation, can we say with Paul, “I am not ashamed, I feel obligated and I am eager to preach the gospel”.