Tom: We’re continuing with our ongoing study of the gospel of salvation, and we’re looking at Romans:5:6-21. And we’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now, and I’m going to pick up, Dave, with verse 17: “For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”
“Abundance of grace,” “Gift of righteousness” —as we mentioned last week, I think we touched on this a bit—how wonderful! These verses compare what we had because of Adam’s sin, what we have—and now, what we have if we’re in Christ. These are staggering!
Dave: It’s wonderful. It talks about “the abundance of grace.” And I think that ought to take care of everybody who’s trying to work their way to heaven, whether it’s sacraments of the church, church attendance, gifts to charity, whatever. This is grace. Abundance of grace. And Paul says, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” So, this is the grace of God. But it always brings in Jesus Christ—it’s by Jesus Christ—the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Because you can’t just be gracious and turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to sin. The penalty had to be paid.
So it is God’s grace, but it is only through Jesus Christ. And to think that we will reign with Him! Well, first of all, a thousand years in the Millennial reign of Christ. We will reign over this earth. And then we will be reigning with Him—I don’t understand what that means—for all eternity. Reigning over the universe. A new universe! What that means, I don’t know, but praise God! Sin will not have dominion over us. So we will certainly be ruling in that sense.
Tom: Dave, in verse 18, I’ll pick up there: “Therefore, as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” People who, well, whether they’re following this program or whether they’re, maybe, objecting to some things that we say, because we’re talking about what God’s…a lot of times, we’ve been talking about God’s justice, and that rankles them. But they forget that He has to be just, and they would want it that way. They want a just world. I mean, they cry out, “Why…there’s no justice!” Well, He offers justice, but it comes with consequences for us.
But on the other hand, they’re rankled, but why don’t they think about these other things? What about the abundance of grace, the gift of righteousness? I’m continuing with this verse: “Even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” All of this He offers as a free gift. So why are people upset?
Dave: The man who stands before the judge and says, “All I want is justice!” Well, he thinks he’s innocent. But we’re not just. We are not innocent. And we dare not demand justice from God, because the wages of sin is death. If we got what we deserved, we would be sentenced to hell. Separated from God forever. Now, a man who complains about the decision of a court, he’s complaining that the court was unjust in its decision. We can’t complain about that with God. God is perfectly just. And furthermore, He’s just beyond our comprehension! We don’t even know the sins that we’ve been guilty of. “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” Therefore, I can’t complain against God’s justice. I can’t complain that God is unjust. No one can say that. The whole world—Paul has already dealt with this in Romans 3. He has brought the whole world guilty before God, and one day, those who reject Christ will stand before Him at the Great White Throne of judgment. “I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat upon it (Revelation 20) from whose face the earth and heavens fled away. There was found no place for them.” The books are opened—the things that they’ve done. They’re judged out of those books. Everyone’s lips are sealed. They have no complaint against God.
Well, then, why not accept the pardon that God offers? Because Christ paid the penalty that we deserved. So the stubbornness of a person who insists that God is unjust, who insists, “I don't deserve your wrath!” Who insists that they’re going to make heaven their home by their own righteousness. It’s beyond comprehension, Tom. And then on that basis, they reject the pardon that God offers. What pride that takes! To be unwilling to humble myself; to repent, to acknowledge that I’m a sinner. I’m worthy of God’s judgment forever—and then, in gratitude, to thank Christ, and to accept the pardon that He offers.
Tom, this is….there’s nothing like this in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam. You study the Qur’an. Well, they talk about “Allah is gracious and forgiving.” There’s no basis for his grace or forgiveness. It’s capricious. You never know whether he will forgive you or not. And there is no just, righteous basis for it.
The same thing is true with those who are involved in sacramentalism. Why would the Mass, the offering of this wafer, which they say has been transmuted into the Body and Blood of Jesus—we’re going to offer Him perpetually on the altar. But you have to keep doing it again and again and again. What about the one sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross?
So it is a rejection of the one sacrifice and saying, “Well, we’re going to do it again and again and again and again, and finally, hopefully, we may have done it enough. It doesn’t work. There is only one way. There is nothing like this in any religion, and not in pseudo Christianity, false Christianity. That Christ, by one payment upon the cross, He endured the eternal judgment that we deserved. He endured it. He said, “It’s finished! Tetelesti, paid in full.” And now there’s forgiveness.
I mean, Tom, I would think that everybody would jump up and down, just so thankful! Rejoice! And that they would accept this and believe in Christ and receive the pardon He offers and this abundance of grace! And yet they don’t. I don’t understand it.
Tom: Well, it has to do with the heart being deceitful. You know, we want what we want…
Dave: Well, Tom…
Tom: We want to make heaven in our own image and be the Ruler of all.
Dave: Tom, part of it (and I could say this a lot more strongly than I’m going to say, and that would get a lot of people angry more angry with me), but I’ll say what Jesus said in Matthew 23. He said to the rabbis, “You scoundrels! Not only don’t you enter into heaven, but you stand in the way of those who would. And you set up a system of religion so complicated it would take a Philidelphia lawyer to unravel this.”
You know, I’ve said this many times, but I’m only paraphrasing what Jesus said. The people are at the mercy of religious leaders who stand between them and God. This is religion, Tom, and this is churchianity. This is a lot of what’s called Christianity, and they have set up rules and regulations. They would be out of business. If everybody believed what the Bible says, these people who “transmute” this little wafer into the body and blood of Jesus, who claim that they alone can interpret the Bible, who claim that it is through their sacraments, through their hearing of sins and pardoning them, whether these are Catholics or Protestants—whatever they call themselves—I put a lot of blame on the religious leaders, who lead people to believe that the common person can’t understand the Bible. They can’t know what it says. They can’t approach God except through these people who have their collars turned backwards or wear robes or have certain degrees and so forth. They stand between the people and God!
Tom: Right. You mentioned Bishop Tutu. I mean, here you have the scholars so-called, the theologians, who are saying, “It doesn’t say what you think it says. It doesn’t mean what these people…” Plain words on paper communicate….
Dave: And, Tom, they can’t get it straight themselves, so they’ve got to come up with a new image of God. And yet, they tell the people, “We will help you get to heaven. We will help you please this God,” when the Bible says, “It’s not by works of righteousness that we’ve done...” It’s not by religion; it’s not by our deeds, it’s not by our gifts to charity, it’s not by our penance. It is because Christ paid the full penalty on the cross, and God’s grace is abundant.
What that means is there is no sinner who has sinned so badly—even Hitler could have been forgiven [had he received Christ’s offer of forgiveness]. Christ paid the penalty for his sins as well. This is an abundant grace that reaches me. I love that song, “Wonderful grace of Jesus, reaching the most defiled; taking a sinner and making him God’s dear child.”
Tom, it's good news, and I hope that there are some out there who are believing it, not because we say it, but because the Bible says it. Then search the Scripture daily to see whether it was so.