Why Everyone Needs the Gospel: Sin (Sermon video from Christ Church Mansfield)

The central problem of not only Romans 3:1-20, but everything we’ve covered so far in Romans can be described in two words found in v. 9 – that we are “Under Sin”

To be “under” something is to be in a position/condition that compels you, influences you in certain ways. “Under the influence of…something” is “impaired” and therefore “unable” to drive responsibly. But it also means to be “subject to”, to be “acted upon” and “constrained” – to be “under someone’s authority”. Sin is not just impairment and inability, but also slavery.

The witness of the Bible is that everyone is enslaved by and therefore, in a position of being influenced by sin to such an extent that no one is righteous before God on their own.

Paul strings along several passages, mostly from the Psalms, but one from Isaiah 59, that shows us what this slavery to sin compels us/influences us to do: “Turn away from” God with a “Runaway Heart”

“Seeks” – speaks to our aspirations and motivations. You seek out what you most want. And Psalm 14:1-3, quoted in Romans 3, says that “There is no one who seeks God…All have turned away.”

Sin warps our desires, because it infests our hearts. Remember, we are “worshipping creatures” (Romans 1), and if we are not worshipping the Creator, we are worshipping some aspect of His creation, and that is when “our foolish hearts are darkened” and our thinking/understanding/reasoning spirals downward in futility. When we worship something that has “eyes but cannot see”, we lose our ability to see, interpret, understand; when we worship something that has “ears but do not hear”, we lose our ability to discern what’s going on around us; when we worship something that has a heart of stone, our hearts become less responsible. We will resemble what we revere – what we most want, what we seek – and it will either be for our ruin (if not God) or our restoration (if God alone).

The righteousness we need is not one we can achieve by works of the Law, but only one we can receive by grace, through faith in the only One who perfectly lived up to the Law’s demands.

“The way the truth and the life” (John 14) comes to the wayward, the liars, and the destroyers.

Part of the sermon series Romans: Unlocking the Gospel | Unleashing the Power  at Christ Church Mansfield, from Lead Pastor Chris Gensheer. For more content or to know more about the ministry of Christ Church, go to http://www.christchurchmansfield.com

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Facets of the Gospel (2): Wrath

Came across this quote in my study this week on Romans 1:16-32, and thought it particularly helpful in thinking about God’s wrath as it relates to the gospel and “all ungodliness and unrighteousness”.

Picture taken from NCPR website. Click picture to go to news source link.

Pippert here is extremely helpful in seeing how we have no problem with the concept of “wrath” when it comes to “unrighteousness” – predominately effecting life in the “horizontal” dimension (e.g. injustice, wrongdoing; against “neighbor”). But if we live in a world created by a “higher power”/Supreme Being/Creator, should we then not be surprised that there is a wrath provoked by our genuine neglect or lack of regard for said Creator (i.e. “ungodliness”; ingratitude, unresponsiveness, arrogance toward, etc)?

Here’s the quote and the question to ponder is:

“Why would we have a problem with God’s wrath against all sin and it’s effects, if we have any problem with sin’s effects in the form of cruelty, wrongdoing and injustice throughout the world?

“We tend to be taken aback by the thought that God could be angry. how can a deity who is perfect and loving ever be angry?…We take pride in our tolerance of the excesses of others. So what is God’s problem?… But love detests what destroys the beloved. Real love stands against the deception, the lie, the sin that destroys. Nearly a century ago the theologian E.H. Glifford wrote: ‘Human love here offers a true analogy: the more a father loves his son, the more he hates in him the drunkard, the liar, the traitor.’… 

“The fact is that anger and love are inseparably bound in human experience. And if I, a flawed and sinful woman, can feel this much pain and anger over someone’s condition, how much more a morally perfect God who made them? If God were not angry over how we are destroying ourselves, then he wouldn’t be good and he certainly wouldn’t be loving. Anger isn’t the opposite of love. Hate is, and the final form of hate is indifference…. How can a good God forgive bad people without compromising himself? Does he just play fast and loose with the facts? ‘Oh, never mind…boys will be boys’. Try telling that to a survivor of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia or to someone who lost an entire family in Rwanda…No. To be truly good one has to be outraged by evil and implacably hostile to injustice.”

– Rebecca Pippert, Hope Has It’s Reasons (100-01)

Getting it Right: Gospel Centered Christianity

New Sermon Video is up from this past Sunday at Christ Church Mansfield!

In Part 1 of our series Romans: Unlocking the Gospel | Unleashing the Power, Lead Pastor Chris Gensheer unpacks for us what motivated, oriented and transformed Paul from being a former persecutor of the church, to a proclaimer of the Lordship of Jesus Christ; it was the gospel – in all it’s offensiveness against self-improvement and effort, and explosiveness to shatter our counterfeit foundations apart from God.

It is only in the gospel that we are changed from seeking to provide a righteousness to God for our life’s worth and significance, and instead, we receive a righteousness from Him instead.

That is the transforming power of the gospel.

#GospelPower

Facets of the Gospel: Justification by Faith from Calvin

John CalvinIn studying each week through Romans for our series at Christ Church Mansfield, I often come across many great thoughts, quotes, and illustrations. Here is a great quote from John Calvin on how the gospel is in fact good news for a sinner like me.

“A man is said to be justified in the sight of God when in the judgment of God he is deemed righteous, and is accepted on account of his righteousness; for as iniquity is abominable to God, so neither can the sinner find grace in his sight, so far as he is and so long as he is regarded as a sinner. Hence, wherever sin is, there also are the wrath and vengeance of God. He, on the other hand, is justified who is regarded not as a sinner, but as righteous, and as such stands acquitted at the judgment-seat of God, where all sinners are condemned. As an innocent man, when charged before an impartial judge, who decides according to his innocence, is said to be justified by the judge, as a man is said to be justified by God when, removed from the catalogue of sinners, he has God as the witness and assertor of his righteousness. In the same manner, a man will be said to be justified by works, if in his life there can be found a purity and holiness which merits an attestation of righteousness at the throne of God, or if by the perfection of his works he can answer and satisfy the divine justice. On the contrary, a man will be justified by faith when, excluded from the righteousness of works, he by faith lays hold of the righteousness of Christ, and clothed in it appears in the sight of God not as a sinner, but as righteous. Thus we simply interpret justification, as the acceptance with which God receives us into his favor as if we were righteous; and we say that this justification consists in the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.” – John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (pp. 37-38)