Romans Lesson 65 - Assurance
Do you ever struggle with assurance of salvation? Do you feel uncertain that God will forgive you on the last day? If so, the Apostle has a divinely inspired message you need to hear.
Queen Victoria, who reigned over Great Britain in the lat 1800’s, once attended a service in St. Paul's Cathedral and listened to a sermon that interested her greatly. Afterwards she asked her chaplain, “Can one be absolutely sure in this life of eternal safety?” His answer was that he knew no way that one could be absolutely sure. This incident was published in the Court News and came to the notice of a minister named John Townsend. After reading of Queen Victoria's question and the answer she received, he prayed and then sent the following note to the queen:
To Her Gracious Majesty, our beloved Queen Victoria, from one of your most humble subjects: With trembling hands, but heart-filled love, and because I know that we can be absolutely sure now for our eternal life in the home that Jesus went to prepare, may I ask Your Most Gracious Majesty to read the following passages of Scripture: John 3:16; Romans 10:9–10. I sign myself, your servant for Jesus' sake, John Townsend.
John Townsend was not alone in praying about his letter to the queen. He took others into his confidence, and they offered up prayer to God in Her Majesty's behalf. About two weeks later he received the following letter:
To John Townsend: I have carefully and prayerfully read the portions of Scripture referred to. I believe in the finished work of Christ for me, and trust by God's grace to meet you one day in that place He has prepared for us in heaven.” Victoria
After Queen Victoria's discovered her assurance of salvation in the work of Jesus Christ alone, she began carrying copies of a small booklet to give away. It was a booklet on the plan of salvation and the assurance one could have in Jesus Christ. The title of the book, Safety, Certainty, and Enjoyment. These were the things she had discovered in Christ.
Adapted from Preaching Today.com; Citation: Raymond Ferreira, Durban, South Africa
As we come to the end of our series on The Perfect Gifts from God in the first paragraph of Romans chapter 5 . . . you could easily outline the last 3 verses of the paragraph – verses 9-11 – with the three words from Queen Victoria’s little book.
You could write into the margin of your text, next to Romans 5:9 the word “safety.”
9. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
Beside verse 10, you could write the word “certainty.”
10. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Paul is using the greater to lesser argument – in other words, if God can reconcile us while we were enemies through Christ’s death, how much more likely it is that God can save us through Christ’s life.
And beside verse 11, you could write the word “enjoyment.”
11. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. . .
Safety . . . certainty . . . and enjoyment.
I believe that all three words could easily be categorically arranged under one word – a word that summarizes one of God’s perfect gifts.
It is the word that Queen Victoria discovered – it is a word that many people do not have – it is a controversial word that has created distinct denominations. Some call it, “eternal security.” In a word – it is simply, “assurance.”
In these three verses Paul will inform us of our wonderful assurance in Jesus Christ with three statements.
The first statement revolves around the idea of safety.
This is the wonderful assurance that we have been saved from somewhere!
Namely, judgment and hell
9. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
Now there are several types of God’s wrath in the Bible:
There is immediate wrath.
That is the penalty that somebody experiences when they sin. Not all sin results in consequences that are experienced during a lifetime, but much sin does.
Like cirrhosis of the liver in the alcoholic who violates Biblical commands against drunkenness and drinking strong drink. Like cervical cancer in teenage girls who are promiscuous; or in men and women who contract sexually transmitted diseases and bear the effects of their diseases.
Add to that the myriad of psychological and emotional penalties that come from marriages being broken and homes splitting up; the stress and guilt when men and women hide their infidelities and double lives . . . the effects of lust and greed and anger and lying and many more sins pay a high price in the body and mind of the individual.
Solomon wrote that even envy eats away at the bones.
This is the principle of reaping sin and sowing the penalty of sin, which is the immediate wrath of God.
There is immediate wrath and there is ultimate wrath.
This is eschatological wrath – the future, promised wrath that exhibits itself against unbelieving mankind during the Great Tribulation and the reign of the Anti-Christ and later, through the penalty and wrath experienced by the unbeliever in an eternal hell.
This is the wrath of God referred to by Paul in Romans 5:9. And what does he promise us in that verse, “we shall be saved from the wrath of God. Would you notice he did not say, “and we [hope to be] saved from the wrath of God through Him; [we’d like to think] we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him; we’re doing the best we can at Christianity so we can be saved from the wrath of God. . .
NO! We shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
Because we have been justified (past tense), we shall be (future tense) saved from the wrath of God.
We are safe, even now.
The word translated “we shall be saved,” is what Greek students call a temporal future. That is, it’s something you have right now, and it’s something you really going to experience fully at a later time.
Adapted from Douglas J. Moo, Romans (NICNT); (Eerdmans Publishing Company), 1996, p. 310.
We are already safe!
The second word is Certainty: We have not only been saved from something, but we have been saved by Someone!
10. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be (again, temporal future) saved by His life.
Would you notice that in this verse we are told something has happened because of Christ’s death, and something has happened because of Christ’s life.
Read it again. We were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, we shall be saved by His life.
Salvation has everything to do with the death and resurrection of Christ. It’s all about Jesus Christ!
The Bible says, “Jesus, because He lives forever . . . is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
In other words;
we were saved by Christ, the Lamb of God who died;
we are kept saved by Christ, who lives to represent us.
Writing to Christians, the Apostle John said the same thing this way, “If [a believer] sins, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (I John 2:1)
The person who believes that they can somehow lose their salvation understands only one side of redemption.
The death of Christ has redeemed us.
But the life of Christ preserves us.
We can come to the Lord’s table with smiles on our faces . . . why?
Because His death guarantees our redemption,
And His resurrection from the dead guarantees
We are saved by His death . . . we are kept saved by His life!
We are saved from somewhere . . . we are saved by Someone . . .
The final word that Queen Victoria often shared with others was the word, Enjoyment. That is, we have been saved for some thing!
11. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
To rejoice in God is the greatest of all human activities.
What is the chief end of man? The Westminster Shorter Catechism asked it’s students . . . “man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”
Are you enjoying God?
Paul would remind you that you have been saved from the penalty of sin; you have been saved for the praise of your savior.
We have been saved from the wrath of God . . .we have been saved for the worship of God.
And we exult – fervent passionate adoration.
Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!
Say it with me, Praise God . . . what are you Presbyterians? I can’t hear you . . . Praise God . . . say it – Praise God – shout itPraise God! Again, Praise God. Again, Praise God.
Would that our city would echo out there with the sound of our praise in here.
Like the city of Ephesus which shook with the chanting of allegiance to their false god – would that our city would resonate with the sound of our praise to the one and only, true and living God.
That they would see it in our lives.
That they would hear it from our lips . . . from the lips of people who know – who know – who know – that they have been redeemed because of the death of their Savior and they will forever reign because of the life of their Savior.
Albert Einstein, the great physicist who was honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century, was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of each passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his other pocket. It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat by him. He couldn't find it. The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.' Einstein nodded but didn’t seemed relieved.
"The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the brilliant physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. The conductor rushed back and said, ‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry. I know who you are. You don't need a ticket; it’s not a problem.’ Einstein looked at him and said, ‘Young man, the problem isn’t that you might not know who I am, the problem is I can’t remember where I'm going.”
Citation: John Huffman, "Who Are You, and Where Are You Going?" Preaching Conference 2002
This is your ticket!!
Paul has simply reminded us of who we are – and where we’ve been and where we’re going . . . imagine it!
Can we do anything less, in light of it, than do what Paul says to do at end of this paragraph, “But we also exult – that means with passionate enjoyment and excitement and fervency – we praise our God through Jesus Christ, our dying Deliverer, and our Living Lord.
Stand with me – the Ephesians chanted their false praise to Diana, their false God, for 2 hours, in hopes of silencing Paul who had preached to them the gospel (Acts chapter 19). For two hours!
Let’s praise Him for a few more seconds – shout it aloud with me unto our Great and living Lord – “Praise God – Praise God – Praise God – Praise God – Praise God – Praise God!”
-Ladies and Gentlemen:
-You have been saved from somewhere . . . don’t forget that!
-You have been saved by Someone . . . don’t forget Him.
-You have been saved to something . . . don’t fail to praise Him
because of it.
Let’s sing our praise to Him the giver of all good and perfect gifts – Peace,
Love of God,
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen
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