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The One and the Many
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1897.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, AUGUST 3, 1884.
"The judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification." Romans 5:16.
I am not going to speak at length about the Doctrine of the Federal Headship of the first Adam and of the second Adam, which is, to my mind, indisputably taught in this chapter. I have heard a great many objections to that Truth of God which appear to me to be plainly revealed in Scripture, namely, that we were all represented by Adam in the Garden of Eden and that when he sinned, he so sinned as to sin representatively—and we fellby virtue of his disobedience. Certain it is that we all come into a world that is adapted to sinners—where the babe is no sooner born than it begins to suffer pain—where winter's frosts, summer's heats and changes of all kinds constantly try us—a world not at all adapted for perfect beings. God regards us from our very birth as sinful and He treats us as such. Now, whatever quibbles there may be about that Doctrine of Representation and Federal Headship, it is a fact, and I would remind objectors that it is, under many aspects, a very blessed fact! When the angels fell, keeping not their first estate, there was never any proposal to ransom them, for each of those spiritual beings fell in his own individual capacity and fell hopelessly. But the human race was a unitrepresented by the one head, Adam.
And though to us it is a most unhappy thing that we should all have fallen by virtue of our being represented by Adam, yet here is the mercy of it—it left a way open by which we might be restored, for, if we fell by one Adam, there remained a possibility of our rising by another Adam! If the disobedience of one representative was the first cause of our being regarded as sinners, then it became possible that the obedience of another and still greater Representative might enable God to regard us as righteous and treat us as such! I shall not quibble at what is so greatly to my own personal advantage—I rather bow before what I cannot understand and accept it because I see how it is now possible for me to be saved forever and ever! "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputes not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." I dare not question the perfect justice of my fall in Adam. I should be most unwise if I did, for by so doing I might cast some doubt upon the justice of my rising in the second Adam—and what other way of rising is there possible for me, or possible for any of us?
Entering not, however, into any of the disputes that have arisen around this Truth of God, I simply allude to the fact, most dreadful and terrible, that in Adam we died, because in Adam's sin we were regarded as sinners. And I rejoice in that second fact which covers and meets the first, that in Christ we live, inasmuch as Christ's righteousness is the property of all who are truly in Him. He was righteous on their behalf and they find in Him wisdom, righteousness, sanctifica-tion and redemption!
Our text alludes to certain differences between the consequences of Adam's representation and that of Christ—"The judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification." I shall speak about four things as the Holy Spirit shall graciously guide me.
I. the first is, THE VENON OF SIN—"The judgment was by one to condemnation." By one man, by one sin, by one act of transgression, "The judgment was to condemnation."
Notice, dear Friends, that Adam's offense was one. True, there were a great many sins wrapped up in that one—it would be almost impossible to mention any sin which did not lie asleep, or which was not found in embryo, within that one act of tasting the forbidden fruit. Yet it was but one offense. It is looked at by those who have no spiritual understanding as a very small matter, just as at this day men still make light of sin and regard disobedience to the will of God as being a mere trifle. Yet that one offense has ruined us all. When he, who committed it, fell—
"Then I, and you, and all of us fell down." Inasmuch as he was the parent of us all, he communicated to all his offspring a tendency to sin. And all his descendants became subject to the weary woes of life and to the sure penalty of death. Think of the mischief that one sin can do— Adam's disobedience was but one offense, yet some of its consequences will remain forever!
Note, next, that one offense brought with it condemnation. Such is the Law of God—that it does not need to be broken many times to bring condemnation—one breakage of it and the dread sentence is passed. Had you and I committed only one solitary sin—I scarcely like to utter the supposition, for it is so far remote from the truth—but if it were so, he who breaks the Law in any one point has broken it all. It is like a chain and if you file through a single link, you have broken the whole chain. It is like a vase of purest alabaster, of matchless workmanship—if you break it anywhere, you have spoiled it and it can never be offered unto God. One offense brings condemnation! The verdict of, "Guilty," upon one solitary count of the indictment brings upon the convicted criminal the death sentence from the Throne of God. Let no man object to this. If he does, his objecting will not alter the fact. It still stands as a necessary consequence of the righteous Law of God that He will, by no means, spare the guilty, and even one offense brings judgment unto condemnation!
But what I want you to especially think of is that this one sin has such venom in it that it has brought condemnation and suffering and death upon the whole race of mankind. Oh, what myriads of men there are in the world! When I traverse this city of five million souls, it appalls me! It can scarcely be called a city—it is a province, it is a nation! There are two or three nations which, if put together, would not make up as many inhabitants as the population of this wonderful city! Yet, over all this vast population the taint of sin has spread. But what is London compared with all the nations of the globe, the almost innumerable hosts that people this round world? Yet there is not one who bears the countenance of a man upon whom the shadow of the curse has not fallen. Each man must toil for his bread with the sweat upon his brow and, in due time, it must be said to each one of us, "dust you are, and unto dust shall you return." What has caused all this? It is the one offensewhich has brought judgment unto condemnation upon all!
Just think, for a moment, that this has been the case, not merely with the populations of today, but with all who have ever lived upon this earth. Can you count them? As well might you try to number the drops of the morning dew! The world is one vast cemetery—in many places, an Aceldama—a field of blood where men have slaughtered one another even by the thousands! But in peaceful times the people have still died! As surely as the leaves fall from the trees in autumn when no rough wind or frost drives them from the bough, so do men die in due season. "Man goes to his long home and the mourners go about the streets." My imagination would aid my understanding, but, together, they fail to comprehend the hosts on hosts of men and women and children who have died and whose bodies lie buried in the earth, or cover the bottom of the sea. "Who slew all these?" the answer is, "Sin, which brought death into the world."
It was but a woman's finger that lifted the latch, but in came that which cannot be expelled till the greater Man shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the trumpet of the archangel and with the voice of God! Death, with all his train of sickness, disease and woe, came in among us by the sin of our first parents. Oh, the venom that there must be in sin! Oh, think not little of it! Children of God, by the blood of the Atonement, I beseech you, think not lightly of sin and, by the terror of that curse which came by one act of rebellion, I entreat you, never trifle with sin! There is a ship lying outside a certain harbor. It has come front Marseilles, but it must not enter the port. There is a panic on the land, the whole town is up in arms, the people will not let the cargo be unloaded, nor allow the mariners to tread our English shore. Why? Because there is cholera on board!
And what is that? Can it be seen with a microscope? I do not know. Perhaps one day the germ of it may be discovered and it may be sufficiently large to reach the human understanding. It may be but a puff of putrid air—a something unseen which lingers in a bale of dirty rags. But will you bring it on shore? No, unless you hate your fellow men and wish to murder them! And every sin contains within it a pest, a plague, an evil a thousand times more terrible than the black death of olden times—and more awful than the cholera of today! Oh, flee from sin as from a cobra, lest a single look at it should fascinate you and its sting should have envenomed your veins before you are aware of it! O young men and fathers, you who have children, I beseech you, especially, to remember how your sins will be transmitted from generation to generation!
Before I leave this point, I must also remind you that the sin of a single moment is the sin of eternity. Mark that well. A man drops a stone into the ocean and, by wondrous perceptive organs, the effect might be discovered on every shore and in every sea. Such is the power of mechanical motion, that the least movement in one place must affect the entire world. But sin has an all but boundless influence. There may be some erroneous teaching that may be spoken to but half-a-dozen people, but you can never recall it. It has gone forth forever and, by that one sin you may have impregnated one person with evil and that one may pass on the error to another—and that one to a thousand—and so mischief is done which only a miracle of Grace can undo! Oh, the horrible nature of sin! I pray you, let your horror of sin make you love that Redeemer who bore its curse in His own body on the tree and who has saved from it you who are Believers in Him! It is no trifle from which Christ has saved you! Sin is a worse disease than leprosy, it is something more than death, for it brings the death that never dies. O Sirs, with tears of penitence, turn your backs on sin! And turn those eyes, yet filled with tears, upon your Savior's bleeding body, and adore and magnify Him that He has delivered you from sin!
II. the second Truth of God in our text which I want to bring before you is concerning the freeness of salvation— "The judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification."
I like that expression, "the free gift." Somebody asked, the other day, why we talk about "Free Grace." Of course, that is a redundant expression, for Grace must be free, but there are so many people about, nowadays, who will not understand us if they can help it, so we like to speak, not only so that they can understand us, but so that they cannot misunderstand us if they try! It is for this reason that we say, "Free Grace," that they may have it twice over and hear it with both ears. If we only speak to one of their ears, it may, as men say, go in that one and out the other—but if we speak to both their ears at once, perhaps the Truth of God may meet somewhere in the center of their brain and remain there. We delight to speak of salvation as Paul puts it here, "the free gift." Nothing can be freer than a gift, but, lest there should be any mistake about the freeness, it is spoken of as "the free gift."
What is this free gift? It is, first, the original gift of Jesus, God's unspeakable Gift. Surely, nobody can ever be so foolish as to dream that men deserveto have Jesus Christ as their Savior! That is a notion which, I should think, would be repudiated by every man who gave it half a thought—that ever fallen men could deserve that God should give up His only-begotten Son to bleed and die for them. No, Jesus must be a Gift, and He must be a free Gift.
And when our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world and gave Himself for us, this, also, was a free and undeserved gift of Grace. Does any man think that he has any merit by which he could claim that Christ should assume human form and should live and suffer and, at last, die for him? You must be mad, man, if you harbor such a thought for a single instant! Your pride must have made you insane if you can think that you deserveyon Cross and all that it meant to the glorious Victim who was nailed to it! What? Can you see His hands and feet pierced with the cruel iron and His heart divided by the soldier's spear—and then talk of your own merit It cannot be thought of! You could not meritChrist— that would be quite impossible! His death must be a free gift, for none could ever deserve it. So that, on the part of the Father, and of the Son, salvation is a free gift.
It is also as a free gift that the Holy Spirit applies this salvation to the hearts of men. You dream, perhaps, that you are to pay to God so much prayer, so much repentance, so much faith, so much promise and resolve, so much reformation and so much future holiness. I tell you, Sirs, you know not God, nor His ways, while you entertain such a foolish notion! Until such talk as that is driven far from you, you do not stand upon ground where God can meet you. He comes not to sell the priceless blessing of His love for your paltry pence of supposed merit and obedience! It must be a free gift if it is to be yours at all.
Salvation is a free gift bestowed upon men without anything on their part to deserve it. When God saves a sinner, it is simply as a sinner that he is saved—not as one who has any point about him that can commend him to God's love. He is just a lost, ruined, undone, condemned soul, apart from the mercy of God! When the Lord comes to deal with a sinner, it is not upon conditions and terms. If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, God saves you—and saves you wholly, completely and unconditionally. I have read that Queen Elizabeth was once asked to pardon a person who had made an attempt upon her life, but who had done it out of loyalty to the Queen of Scots. She felt that she could forgive the man, but she said to him, "Now, if I pardon you, must it not be upon certain conditions?" He answered, quoting from a good, sound Divine, "Grace upon conditions, your Majesty, is no grace at all." He spoke well, and the Queen recognized that it was so, for she said to him, "I pardon you at once without any condition," and she, thereby, made a loyal subject of him for the rest of his life. So the Lord forgives you, poor trembling but trusting soul, without exacting anything of you of any sort whatever!
Further, if you do come just as you are, empty-handed and foul, and receive what He is prepared to give, He does not ask you to give anything of your own in return for His free gift. "But I must be holy," says one. You shallbe holy and that very holiness will be God's gift to you! "But I must repent." Yes, and you will repent, but that penitence will be God's gift to you! "But I must leave my sin." Yes, and you willeave your sin, and be glad to leave it, yet that, also, will be God's gift to you—not your gift to God. You are simply to be a receiver all the way along. You are a prisoner at the bar, you have not any plea to urge why the judge should not put on the black cap and condemn you to death. If you should search through Heaven, earth and Hell, you could not find one valid reason why God should save you except this one—that He wills to do it by a free gift of His pure, unmerited Grace. He can justly do it through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, for He is both "just and the Justifier of him that believes."
If any of you desire to know how you are to be saved, I tell you again that there is nothing for you to do in order to merit salvation—you have rather to leave off your own doing and to rest in what Christ has done! Have I put the matter plainly enough? No, I have not, for who can make it so plain that a blind man can see it? God must open the blind man's eyes and then he will see it! Yet there it stands, clear and plain—salvation is the free gift of God! It is all of Grace from first to last!
III. now, in the third place, I must speak upon THE LARGENESS OF GOD'S PARDON—"The free gift is of many offenses."
I would like to stand here and preach, not merely for seven days, or seven weeks, but for seven years, upon those words which I have just repeated—"The free gift is of many offenses." You would be worn out, I daresay, with listening, but I would let you go home and invite another congregation to fill the house to hear this wondrous story, which can never be fully told!
Think of the many persons that Free Grace has saved—the many who are still upon the earth. But, if you are heavy of heart, I ask you to look up beyond that gate of pearl and gaze by faith into Glory. Oh, the myriads, the innumerable myriads, that my spirit eyes behold clustering around the eternal Throne of God! They are as bees that throng about the hive and hang in clusters around the queen bee—or stars that stud the firmament of Heaven, or as the drops of spray that leap from the unnumbered waves in the hour of a great Atlantic storm! Of things impossible to count, I speak no longer! Who shall tell the thousandth part of the stars of Heaven that once were darkness, or of the children of God who once were heirs of wrath?
Think, next, of the many offenses which all of these saved sinners must have committed, yet the free Gift has blotted them all out. Turn your mind to contemplate the many kinds of sin that there are in the world and then remember the text—"The free gift is of many offenses." I will not try to go through the black list. I will not begin with the least and mount up to the highest, but this I will say, if you have been a blasphemer, if you have prostituted your body, if you have defiled your soul, if you are covered with scarlet sin from head to foot till not a spot is left clean upon you, still is my text true—"The free gift is of many offenses unto justification." "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men," for, "the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin." That is a wonderfully sweet, "all!" It includes many kinds of sin—yes, every sort of offense against God.
Think, dear Friends, of the number of times that you have committed any of these sins. I will not ask you to count them, for they are greater in number than the hairs of your head, or the sands on the seashore. You have sinned once, twice, three times—begin with millions—and you will be nearer the mark! There are men who seem to make every breath a sin. They breathe out iniquity and every pulse beats in rebellion against the Most High. They are always sinning and yet they are never satisfied—their appetite grows with that it feeds upon. Yet in this text there is hope, even, for such sinners as they are! "The free gift is of many offenses." Poor blackamoor sinner, where are you? This message is meant for you—for you who drip with filth as you go along—you whose speech would make the cheek of modesty to blush! The free gift is for you whose hearts must be a very morgue—a reeking sepulcher of iniquity! Yet even to such as you is my text sent to declare that "the free gift is of many offenses unto justification."
IV. there is sufficient sea room there for us to sail on as long as we please, but I must come to my last point which is—THE PERFECTION OF GOD'S GRACE—"The free gift is of many offenses unto justification." I have time only to say a very little upon that wonderful theme. May the Holy Spirit, Himself, teach you what it means!
What is justification? You have, perhaps, heard of, "justification by faith," till you scarcely attach any meaning to that familiar phrase. Well, first, justification is the reverse of condemnation. Do you know what condemnation is? I suppose that you never were condemned in a court of law, but were you ever condemned in the court of conscience? Did all your thoughts sit, like a jury, to try your whole life? And did they, with one consent, by the mouth of the foreman, say, "Guilty"? I tell you, Sirs, you do not know how to spell, "justification," till every letter of the word, "condemnation," has burnt itself into your soul. These two things must go together—the condemnation, like a harrow, tearing up the earth, or, like a great sub-soil plow, cutting up everything as it runs along. And then comes justification, like a sweet, gentle shower, softening the clods and preparing for the precious grain that shall produce a harvest of glory. Condemnation on account of sin is a very real thing—those who have felt it know that it is. Many a man has been ready to lay violent hands upon himself when he has been under sentence of condemnation! And justification is quite as real.
Justification further means actual acquittal. I want you to get that Truth of God into your mind, dear child of God. If you ever were as I was for five long years, as a child, condemnation was very real to you. It was no dream, it was an awful reality. You knew that you were condemned, and your own conscience said that it was so. Well, now, if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you may just as certainly and as truly know that you are acquitted and justified—and conscience, taught by the Spirit of God, will confirm the verdict! You are no longer guilty—God regards you, in Christ, as righteous. He pronounces you just and if God says you are just, let not the devil be listened to when he declares that you are unjust! The great work of salvation is fully accomplished! Your chastisement has been borne by Another and your sin is put away forever. "It is finished," is Christ's own declaration! The righteousness that God required of you is perfected by Another, even by your great Substitute, and He has wrapped that robe around you and you may wear it. If you are a believer in Jesus, what we sang just now is true concerning you—
"In Your Surety you are free, His dear hands were pierced for thee! With His spotless vesture on, Holy as the Holy One."
"The free gift is of many offenses unto justification." If you were as guilty as the greatest sinner out of Hell, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, that guilt is all gone! The righteousness of Christ is yours, you are justified before God and, therefore, you are in perfect security and safety now and forever! And you shall forever adore the Divine Grace that has saved such a sinner as you feel yourself to be! God bless you all, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
Jonah 3:1, 2. And the Word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid you. There is no preaching like that which Gods bids us. The preaching that comes out of our own heads will never go into other men's hearts. If we will keep to the preaching that the Lord bids us, we shall not fail in our ministry.
3. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the Word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city of three days 'journey. For those times, Nineveh was "an exceedingly great city," but it is far exceeded in size by this modern Nineveh of London!
4. And Jonah began to enter into the city on the first day's walk, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown/His message was short and sharp, there was not a word of mercy in it. There was nothing to distract the attention of the hearers from the one point and the one subject—and there is a great deal in that. We may sometimes say too much in a single sermon and give our hearers a field of wheat instead of a loaf of bread. But Jonah said what he was bid to say, no more and no less—"Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."
5-9. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed, nor drink water: but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yes, let them turn, every one, from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, that we perish not?Note that the only message they had heard was a prophecy of impending judgment! God had sent His servant to warn them of the coming destruction and, since He had warned them that He meant to destroy them, they could infer that He might possibly intend pity towards them should they repent, but there was as yet no verbal declaration of mercy or hope. These people went to God with nothing better to sustain them than this, "Who can tell?"
How much more guilty than these Ninevites are they who refuse to humble themselves before God, even when they have distinct injunctions from God and explicit promises that whoever shall confess and forsake his sins shall find mercy! These men of Nineveh will rise up in judgment against the men of London and the men of this generation, and condemn them, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now men do not repent even at the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God! To despise the Prophet Jonah would have involved these people in certain destruction—of how much sorer punishment shall they be thought worthy who despise the Christ of God and do despite unto the Spirit of Grace!
10. And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented of the disaster that He had said that He would do unto them; and He did it not There is no change in God, absolutely considered, but there is often an apparentchange. That which He threatens, while men remain in sin, is not executed upon them when they repent and turn to Him. He is always the same God. From the beginning He has been "the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." If He did not pardon sin when men turn from it with sincere repentance, He would have changed His method of dealing with the penitent. But when He does forgive, it is according to His way from the beginning, for He has always been a tender, compassionate and gracious God.
Jonah 4:1. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. A nice Prophet this! Jonah was a man of a somewhat ugly disposition, yet I think he has been misunderstood. He was the true child of Elijah, the Prophet of fire. Elijah was a rough, stern servant of the Lord, who felt that the indignities which had been done to Jehovah deserved instant and terrible punishment. And he seemed almost to wish to see that punishment inflicted, as he accused the people unto God, saying, "the children of Israel have forsaken Your Covenant, thrown down Your altars, and slain Your Prophets with the sword. And I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away." He was bravely stern for God and Jonah was cast in a similar mold. He seemed to feel, "I have been sent of God to tell these people that they will be destroyed for their sin. Now, if they are notdestroyed, it will be thought that I have not preached the truth and, what is far more serious, it will be thought that God does not keep His word."
His whole thought was taken up with the honor of God, and his own honor as involved in that of the Lord. There are many people, nowadays, who seem to think everything of man and very little of God and, consequently, they fall into grievous errors. Jonah, on the contrary, thought everything of God and very little of men. He fell into an error by so doing and there was a lack of balance of judgment. Yet is Jonah's error so very seldom committed that I am half inclined to admire it in contrast with the error on the other side! He felt that it would be better for Nineveh to be destroyed than for God's truthfulness to be jeopardized even for a single moment. God would not have us push even concern for His honor too far, but we are such poor creatures that, very often, when we are within an inch of the right course, we fall into a snare of the enemy. It was so with Jonah—when he was exceedingly displeased and very angry at what God had done in sparing the repentant people of Nineveh.
2. Andhe prayed unto the Lord, andsaid, Ipray You, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that You are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and relents of doing evil This was as much as if he had said to the Lord, "I went and did Your bidding, and told the Ninevites that they would be destroyed. But I knew in my heart that if they repented, You would not carry out Your threat and now You are too gracious, too kind to these wicked people." It is a strange thing, is it not, that Jonah was angry because his message was blessed to his hearers? As a good commentator says, "When Christ sees of the travail of His soul, He is satisfied. But when Jonah saw of the travail of his soul, he was dissatisfied." There are some men who leave off preaching because they do not succeed—but here was one who was ready to give up because he didsucceed!
It is strange that such a good man as Jonah was should fall into such a foolish state of mind. But God still has a great many unwise children. You can, any of you, find one if you look in the right place—I mean, in a mirror. We are all foolish at times and it should be remembered that although Jonah was foolish, and wrong in certain respects, there is this redeeming trait in his character—we might never have known the story of his folly if he had not written it himself! It shows what a true-hearted man the Prophet was, that he unveiled his real character in this Book. Biographies of men are seldom truthful because the writers cannot read the hearts of those whom they describe. But if they could read them, they would not like to print what they would see there. But here is a man, inspired of God to write his own biography, and he tells us of this sad piece of folly—and does not attempt in the least degree to mitigate the evil of it. Now turn to a very different portion of Scripture, Romans 5.
Romans 5:1. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ These are matters of fact. Not of fanatical delusion, but of logical conclusion, for Paul begins with a, "therefore." God's people are justified on solid grounds, on reasonable grounds, on grounds that will bear the test, even, of the last Great Judgment Day. "Therefore, being'"—now, at the present time, this very moment—"justified by faith, we have peace." Not only we hopeto have it and trust we shallhave it, but we have it. "We have peace"—not only peace of conscience and peace with our fellow men, but, "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Mark that—we have it. O dear people of God, do not be satisfied unless you can talk in this confident fashion! "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
2. By whom also. What? Is not that first verse all? Oh, no! There is more to follow. When you get a hold of one golden link of the blessed chain of Grace, it pulls up another and then another, and then another! "By whom also."
2. We have access by faith into this Grace wherein we stand. We come into this Grace by Jesus Christ and to this heavenly standing, this justified condition, through Jesus Christ who is the Door.
2. And rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Our joy is in the past and the present, in some measure, but it is still more in the future—"We rejoice in hope of the glory of God." We have three windows—the one out of which we look back with gratitude upon the past—the one out of which we look with joy in the present and the one out of which we look with expectation upon the future.
3. And not only so, there is for every child of God Grace upon Grace. Every line of the Apostle's writing tells of more blessing. "And not only so." Is not that enough? Justified, enjoying peace, having access into Grace, rejoicing in hope of the glory of God! What can there be more? Why, there is something on the road as well as at the endof it. "And not only so."
3. But we glory in tribulations, also. We are not only acquiescent in the Divine will, but, tutored by the Spirit of God, we come even to "glory in tribulations also."
3. Knowing that tribulation works patience. "Knowing." Paul was no agnostic, he was a "knowing" man, and all God's people ought to be the same. They are a very dogmatic people when they are what they ought to be. They have nothing to do with, "if," and, "ands, "and, "buts," and "perhapses"—they believe and are sure! "Knowing that tribulation works patience." The natural tendency of tribulation is to work impatience—it produces peevishness in many— but where the Spirit of God is, there is a heavenly counteraction of natural tendencies and, "tribulation works patience!"
4. And patience, experience; and experience, hope. Again I cannot help observing how we seem to go through one door just to pass through another. We get into a silver chamber that we may go into a golden one and, before we can take stock of all the gold, we are ushered into a gorgeous palace of pearls and rubies and diamonds of priceless value!
5. And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. If you have the Holy Spirit given unto you, then the love of God fills your nature like a sweet perfume. As when the woman broke the alabaster box and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment, so, when the Spirit of God comes and brings the broken alabaster of the Savior's Sacrifice, and we feel the love of God poured out among us, what a delightful perfume there is! "Your name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love You." The way to make us love God is for the love of God to be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit!
6. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Are not these very wonderful words? "Christ died for the ungodly." Pick out all those who are the naturally good people and this text has nothing to do with them! But find out the ungodly, the sinful, the wicked—and here is a text exactly suitable for them—"Christ died for the ungodly."
7. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die. He is very righteous, but he is very stern. Nobody cares much about him.
7. Yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. He is "a good man"—benevolent, kind, and tender.
8. But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. While we were neither righteous nor good—"while we were yet sinners, Christ" did the most He ever could, or ever can do for us—He "died for us." This is the best Gift for the worst of men and that best Gift given to them when they are at their worst state! "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
9. Much more, then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. "Much more." Paul has been giving us, "alsos," and, "ands." Now he takes a bigger leap, still, for he says, "Much more, then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." If He saved us when we were sinners, He will certainly save us now that we are justified! If He called us when we were dead, He will not leave us now we are alive!
10. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. You see, there are three points here. When we were enemies, He blessed us. Much more, now that we are reconciled, will He do so. If, in the second place, when we were enemies He reconciled us, how much more, after He has reconciled us, will He save us! And, thirdly, if He did all this for us by the death of His Son, much more will He do for us by His life, Reconciled by His death, we shall be saved by His life!
11. And not only so, there is no end to the blessing. Dear Brothers and Sisters, the Apostle seems to be always going up, and up, and up! This Paul, calm and cool and logical as he is, makes the fire burn most wondrously! "And not only so."
11. But we also joy in God. We are glad that He is God, glad that He is such a God as He is. We would not wish to have Him altered! The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob—the God of the Old testament, and the God of the New testament—we love Him altogether just as He is! And, "we joy in God."
11-21. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the Atonement Therefore, as by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, (for until the Law, sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no Law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift For if through the offense of one many are dead, much more the Grace of God, and the gift by Grace, which is by one Man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. 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). Therefore as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. Moreover the Law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, Grace did much more abound: that as sin has reigned unto death, even so might Grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
I have not expounded the latter part of the chapter, as time fails me, but I shall dwell upon it somewhat in the sermon.
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