Here’s the notes from my sermon outline for Romans 5:2-5 preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship, our church in Naperville. You can listen to the sermon on this page.
Romans 5:2-5 “3 Reasons to be Glad in God”
Intro: There are many things in life that are wonderful, but we don’t realize how wonderful they are all at once. It takes time, and often teaching, for us to really grasp their true nature and greatness. You can have a fine painting and think it is beautiful, but your appreciation is renewed and increased over time as you start to see details in the painting you hadn’t noticed before or after someone teaches you more about the artist’s incredible skill and technique that went into the work. Of course, the same thing can happen with a great book, or movie, or music. Time and teaching can lead us to a renewed joy, wonder, and appreciation, and to behold even more clearly the true greatness of a thing before us.
In many ways, our experience with the GOSPEL is like this. We know its glorious—far more glorious than any painting, book, movie, phone, or earthly relationship—but we don’t know about all the ways it is glorious and wonderful at first glance. It is only over time, and through solid Bible teaching, that we come to see this. We come to discover that not only that our sins are forgiven, but we are also clothed with Christ’s righteousness. We see that not only is Jesus our Savior, but that he is also our King, protector, provider, and priest. We learn not only that we have been reconciled to God, but that we are now children of God! These were all true even of us when we first became Christians, even when we did not know about them, but over time and through teaching of God’s Word we learn them and behold again how amazing God love and grace is toward us.
God has graciously revealed to us the wonder of the gospel in Romans 5-8. Here, we are given a fuller understanding of the wonderful new reality the gospel has brought about for believers. Romans 1-4 explains to us the gospel: we are sinners estranged from God and under God’s just wrath; we have no hope in our good works or religion; God in love and grace sent Jesus to die for our sins; through faith in Christ we are saved and brought back to God. Romans 5-8 explains more of the wonderful results of the gospel. Here we learn about the hope we have because of the gospel and the wonderful salvation that has taken place. It is a VERY joyful section and is meant to lead us to rejoice in God. The gospel is amazingly good news, even better than we originally thought!
Last week in 5:1, we saw that because of the gospel we now have peace with God. This week Paul explains 3 other truths that flow from the gospel: 1. In the Gospel we have access to GRACE; 2. In the Gospel we have a hope for the future; 3. In the Gospel we can rejoice even in our suffering
These are 3 reasons for us to be glad in God! Let’s consider each of them together:
1. In the gospel, we have Access to Grace (2a)
One reason we have to be glad in God is that through the gospel we have access to the GRACE of God.
LIMITED ACCESS: Ever been to the Field Museum? If not, I highly recommend it. It is my favorite museum. But one thing I wish they did different was open up all the exhibits to everyone. Some exhibits are only open to those with special pass. Access is denied, unless you have purchased a more expensive pass. Not all can come in. -Paul wants us to see that in the gospel we have ACCESS TO GOD’S GRACE
“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand”
-Through Jesus we have Obtained ACCESS: we are brought in and not hindered anymore because of our sin.
-Our sin hindered us from a right relationship with God, but Jesus has brought us in
-“In which we stand”=we are brought in and experience God’s grace now! We “stand in it”
GRACE= God’s kind disposition toward us, giving us what we don’t deserve in salvation and life.
MOO: “Grace describes the free, unconstrained manner in which God acts toward his creature…while this state of grace includes our justification as a key element, the notion goes beyond justification to all that is conveyed to us by God in Christ”
-NOTE: We “HAVE” obtained access
-Perfect tense of the verb: past tense with present results
-We have access RIGHT now as Christians to God’s grace.
-This is an amazing and wonderful reality due to the gospel!
WHY SHOULD ACCESS TO GRACE MAKE US GLAD IN GOD?
-God’s grace is beautiful (Hosea: Israel like a prostitute, but God kind and faithful: 2:14, 19-20)
-God’s grace is unearned (Titus 3:4-7)
-God’s grace is multifaceted (1 Peter 4:10)
-God’s grace transforms and trains us. (Titus 2:11-12)
APP: Having ACCESS to the grace of God is a one good reason for us to be glad in God today and this week.
2. In the gospel, we have a Hope for the Future (2b)
Another reason we have to be glad in God, because of the gospel, is the hope that we have for after we die.
One thing covid has reminded us is how little control we have over the future. We thought we were in control, but then covid happened, and plans are upended. But one amazing reality that the gospel has produced for us is an unshakeable hope for life beyond the grave, the hope of eternal life. Here described as the “hope of the glory of God”
–and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
–REJOICE: Paul speaks about a JOY that Christians have. A Real happiness in our hearts.
-Someone once said “a joyless Christian is a contradiction”
-REJOICE IN Hope of the glory of God= a hope that we’ll partake and enjoy God’s glory.
MOO: “the glory of God” is that state of “God-like-ness” which has been lost because of sin, and which will be restored in the last day to every Christian.”
-We were made for God’s glory.
-In sin we have fallen short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23)
-In the gospel there is the promise of hope of the glory of God. -This is far better hope than Earthly hopes or earthly glories which fade away (sports, job, etc)
WHY SHOULD THE HOPE OF GLORY MAKE US GLAD?
-There is something FAR better coming for us in heaven and on the new Earth. (2 Cor 4:17-18)
-Some of us here may be on the cusp of eternal life in heaven or eternal death in hell
-One month before Craig passed, we had no idea he would soon be in heaven.
-What about your friend? Is Jesus your Lord? This hope of eternal is for those who believed
APP: MEDITATE this week on the reality of hope of heaven.
-Baxter would spend 30 minutes a day. Maybe try for 30 seconds, or 3 minutes to start off.
3. In the gospel, we can have Joy even in our suffering (3-5)
A third reason to be glad in God because of the gospel is that even in suffering we can have joy!MISUNDERSTANDING: Following Jesus will give you an easy life. You will suffer, but knowing Christ is better than an easy life free from suffering. And here we learn that because of the gospel, we have joy even in our suffering.
-JOY IN SUFFERING? This last point is the most surprising, and shows how supernatural Christianity really is.
-JOY in our suffering: we rejoice in our sufferings,
–Not joy that we have to suffer, but joy even in the midst of sufferings.
-HOW? BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT GOD HAS A GOOD PURPOSE IN THEM:
knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
God uses Suffering as part of a Good and Wise Process that God takes us through to make us holy.
1 Suffering PRODUCES Endurance: We do what is right even as we suffer and it produces endurance
SCHREINER: –“Those who undergo trouble are toughened up so that they are able to withstand the storms of life”
2 Endurance PRODUCES Character: As we endure, we become stronger in the Lord, and more compassionate
3 Character PRODUCES Hope: A changed character leads to a changed perspective of HOPE.
SCHREINER: “After one endures… difficulties, a strength of character develops that was not previously present. Such tested character in turn generates hope. Why? Because moral transformation constitutes evidence that one has really been changed by God. Thus it assures believers that the hope of future glory is not an illusion.”
CHALLENGE: Many of us of have a weak theology of suffering. At the first hint of hardship we question God’s goodness. This passage reorients us to the truth that God brings about trials for our good.
A POSSIBLE Objection: Is this a real hope, or an empty hope? (Hope of planning for Chicago Bears this Fall)
ANSWER: It is a real hope, one that will not put us to shame: and hope does not put us to shame,
-HOW SO?This leads to another surprise in the text. We know that this hope won’t put us to same not on the basis of intellectual reasons of facts of the cross (though there are those too), but on the experience of God’s love in our own hearts:
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
-EXPERIENTIAL reality of God’s love in our hearts: “God’s love poured into our hearts”
-God is LOVE (1 John 4:8) and as we turn from our sins and believe in Him He pours His love in our hearts.
COOLAID (flavor?), TINY dropper, GIANT PITCHER
-Through the Holy SPIRIT God POURS His love into our hearts.
-God’s love is WONDERFUL: Psalm 63:3 “LOVE IS BETTER THAN LIFE”
WHY SHOULD ALL THIS MAKE ME GLAD IN GOD?
-The fact that God has a purpose and plan for my suffering leads me to rejoice in Him in it.
-We get to experience God’s love! Now and into eternity.
CONCLUSION: We can be glad in God because in Christ we have access to the grace of God. We can be glad in God because in Christ has a hope for a future beyond the grace. We can be glad in God because even in sorrow and hardships we can experience joy and God’s love.