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  • Oct 08 / 2017
  • Comments Off on God is the Potter, We are the Clay (Romans 9:19-29)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

God is the Potter, We are the Clay (Romans 9:19-29)

Download Notes in a .MD file

God is the Potter, We are the Clay

Romans 9:19-29 (Pastor Heo)

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” 26 and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ” 27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. 28 For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.” 29 It is just as Isaiah said previously: “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.”


God has absolute sovereignty. Last week we saw that God chose Isaac, not Ishmael. He chose Jacob, not Esau. This is not a matter of the actions of the person, but a matter of the grace of God.

This is a matter of his divine mercy and grace according to his Sovereignty.

God’s sovereign will seems to create a problem.

If God is sovereign, who can resist him? And if someone resists, what right has God to judge him?

  1. God had mercy on Moses, but condemned Pharaoh. Is this just?
  2. God elected Israel, but rejected Egypt. Is this just?

YES. (but why? – because it is GOD who did it.) God is not righteous because he is DOING something righteous. Rather, God is righteous always, SO whatever he is doing is righteous.

To this question, we must note three things. Let me go into detail about these THREE things next time.

#1 God is the potter, I’m the clay in his hands

v. 19-21 “19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”

A potter was a very common and necessary vocation in ancient times – since most cooking was done in various types of clay pots. Yes, the potter has every right to take one large lump of clay and use some part to make a delicate vase (for noble use) and some part of the same clay to make a pot just for common cooking and ordinary use. Neither vase nor pot has a right to complain and ask why the potter did this. The potter has every right to do what he wants. Like this, God has every right to do with us what he wants. So, we are stupid to question his will.

Isaiah 45:9 “Woe to him who quarrels against his maker… does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you thinking?'”

The clay has no right – it is absolutely passive in the hands of the potter. Nobody chose their own parents, blood type, DNA, birthday, race, birth place, etc. We should believe that these matters are in the hands of God. But these do not excuse our responsibility. So, even though we are the clay in the hands of God, we can resist him if we choose.

Pharaoh had great opportunities to know about the true God, but chose to rebel. God is absolutely sovereign, so we are privileged to have ANY relationship with him at all. So, we must remember all the time, God is the potter, we are the clay. But also, God is much wiser than we are. So no one has the right to complain and ask God, “WHY ME?”

#2 God has a purpose for you!

v. 22-24 “22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?”

God has a purpose. We can even see two times in this passage, “What if?”

God endured Pharaoh for a long time, with long suffering. In Exodus, “Yes, I have seen my people in misery in Egypt – I have heard them crying out.” The fact that God waited a LONG time indicates that God gave Pharaoh many opportunities to be saved.

1 Tim 2:4? “God wants all men to be saved and come to a saving knowledge of him.”

God wants ALL men (including KJE) to know him.

  • “God is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness.”
  • “God wants no one to perish but all to come to repentance.”

Yes, God prepares men for glory, but sinners prepare themselves for judgment.

  1. In Moses, God revealed his mercy.
  2. In Pharaoh, God revealed his power.

But since neither DESERVED mercy, God cannot be said to be unfair.

Yes, Moses and Pharaoh experienced the same things:

  • Moses & Pharaoh:
    • but Moses came nearer and nearer to God because of the wonders, signs, and miracles of God he experienced.
    • But Pharaoh went farther and farther away from God because of the SAME signs and wonders and miracles.
  • Sunlight:
    • We can see some things grow well in direct sunlight.
    • But other things die quickly in direct sunlight.
  • Weather:
    • Some people thank God for the sunshine, rain, snow.
    • Other people complain to God for the SAME sunshine, rain, and snow.
  • Sermons:
    • Even today, in the same church, some people are blessed and thank God for this sermon.
    • Others may be bored, complain to God, and watch his watch during the SAME sermon.

The very important point is – God has a purpose for us. Yes, we are weak in many ways, but we are all created in the image of God. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are not meaningless accidents who have been thrust into this place at this time.

Still salvation is at hand – the news of the gospel is that God has for YOU a plan of blessing that began in eternity past.

Eph 2:10 “We are God’s workmanship, created in Jesus Christ, to do good works, which he determined in advance for us to do.'”

Yes, we may wonder why we were chosen while others were rejected. The answer is that God is absolutely sovereign, and no one has any claim on his mercy. God prepared us in advance by his gift of salvation. God will show his glory in us when we are with him in eternity.

Yes, God has no obligation, duty, responsibility to show his mercy and grace to us. But he loves to do this.

We are all students before God. The main job of a student is to get knowledge and information. Remember, the best knowledge we can get in this world is to know God’s will for all of us.

#3 God is fulfilling prophecy

25 As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” 26 and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ” 27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. 28 For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.” 29 It is just as Isaiah said previously: “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.”

  • Verse 25 is a quotation of Hosea 2:23.
    • This is a statement that says God will turn from the Jews and call the Gentiles as his loved ones.
  • Verse 26 is a quotation of Hosea 1:10.
    • It proves that God’s called people will be called “Children of God.”

As we know, Hosea was a faithful, merciful, gentle husband to a woman named Gomer. She was a faithless, adulteress woman. He named their first child Jezreel “God judges”. The next two children were not his own (they were from another man). But he named them Lo-Ruhamah “Not my people” and Lo-Ammi “Not my loved one”.

Hosea was faithful and long suffering with Gomer. This shows how long suffering and faithful God is with us.

The idea in the OT is the idea of the Remnant – to prove only a remnant of the Jews would be saved while the greater part would be judged.

Yes, we also should be found to be a part of the Remnant when Jesus returns. “I’m a Remnant.'”

  • 9:28 For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”

This probably refers to the Tribulation in Revelation – when only a Remnant will remain in Christ during this time of trial.

The application today = only a Remnant of the Jews remain with Christ today.

Last verse (conclusion):

“29 It is just as Isaiah said previously: “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.””

To emphasize this verse is to emphasize the unconditional grace of God in sparing the Remnant. This proves that God was not unjust in saving some and rejecting others. God was just fulfilling the OT prophecies given centuries ago. God would be unjust if he did not keep his word.

This also makes possible the salvation of the Gentiles – including you and me.

  • The last verse is quoted from Isaiah 1:9.

These two cities were destroyed by heavenly fire. If this had happened to us, we would still have nothing to complain to God. By nature,

  • “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23?)
  • “We were dead in our sins and transgressions”
  • “everyone is destined to die once and after that to face the Judgment.”

We are all destined to go to Hell.

“Unless…” (in the verse) – without the unconditional grace and mercy of God – we would be like Sodom and Gomorrah.

  • If I were lost, I would have nothing to complain to God.
    • But thankfully, I’m saved by the grace of God.
  • If I were to go to hell, I would have nothing to complain to God.
    • But thankfully, I’m guaranteed safety in Christ by the grace of God.
  • If we had nothing to eat, drink, no shelter, we would have nothing to complain to God.
    • But thankfully, we have enough by the grace of God.
  • If I had been killed years ago by sickness, typhoon, car accident, guns, I would have nothing to complain to God.
    • But thankfully, we are still alive and breathing by the grace of God.

“Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.”

As long as we live, we have nothing to complain to God – we only must praise him. “Give thanks in ALL circumstances.” As long as we are breathing, we should praise him and give thanks to him. He is God all the time, good all the time, merciful, faithful, righteous.

  • “I think, therefore I am.” (Descartes?)
  • “I thank (God), therefore I am.” (Christian motto)

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 01 / 2017
  • Comments Off on God has a Purpose for You! Part 1 (Romans 9:19-24)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

God has a Purpose for You! Part 1 (Romans 9:19-24)

Download Notes in a .MD file

God has a Purpose for You!

Romans 9:19-24 (Pastor Heo)

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?


God has absolute sovereignty.

Last week we saw that:

  1. God chose Isaac, not Ishmael.
  2. He chose Jacob, not Esau.

This is not a matter of the actions of the person, but a matter of the grace of God.

God’s sovereign will seems to create a problem.

  • If God is sovereign, who can resist him?
  • And if someone resists, what right has God to judge him?
  1. God had mercy on Moses, but condemned Pharaoh. Is this just?
  2. God elected Israel, but rejected Egypt. Is this just?

To this question, we must note three things. Let me go into detail about these THREE things next time.

So… during the next week, think and pray and meditate about these questions.

  1. God had mercy on Moses, condemned Pharaoh. Is this just?
  2. God elected Israel, rejected Egypt. Is this just?

These are very serious questions.

Let us pray.

  • Sep 24 / 2017
  • Comments Off on God has Absolute Sovereignty (Romans 9:1-18)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

God has Absolute Sovereignty (Romans 9:1-18)

Download Notes in a .MD file

God has Absolute Sovereignty

Romans 9:1-18 (Pastor Heo)

Paul’s Anguish Over Israel

1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

God’s Sovereign Choice

6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” 10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.


Romans consists of 3 parts. Last week, we finished the first part. Today, we start the second part. The theme of this book: the Righteousness of God.

  1. Part 1: chp 1-8 (Revelation / Manifestation of God’s Righteousness)
  2. Part 2: chp 9-11 (Vindication of God’s Righteousness)
  3. Part 3: chp 12-16 (Application / Practice of God’s Righteousness)

In the 3 chapters, 9, 10, 11, Paul is revealing the vindication of God’s righteousness using the story of Israel. In these three chapters, the main material used to reveal the attributes of God = Israel. This is the story of Israel (literal, historic, Israel – located in the Middle East).

So, why is this necessary for us to study the story of Israel at this moment? A careful study of these chapters is necessary to reveal and vindicate God’s righteousness.

Yes, from chp 1-8, we have been strongly persuaded that Once Justification, Once Salvation = Always (it never fails).

Last time, chp 8 closes with great joy and shouting about “no condemnation in Christ and no separation from the love of Christ.”

8:37-39

“37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Someone might challenge this. “Hmm, IF this is true, then, what about the Jews? Israel?” The OT is the story of Israel – the Chosen people in God’s redemptive history. They are set apart from the love of God and God is building his church with a new people – the Gentiles. It seems that the Jews were abandoned and rejected by the love of God. So, did God’s plan fail with regard to Israel?

(This is a very serious question – because the character of God is at stake. If God were unfaithful to the Jews, how can we be sure he will be faithful to us?)

So, through these next 3 chapters, God’s righteousness is vindicated.

  • Chp 9: Israel’s past election
  • Chp 10: Israel’s present rejection (human responsibility)
  • Chp 11: Israel’s future redemption (God’s faithfulness despite human unfaithfulness)

Israel is very small geologically. But spiritually speaking, Israel is the ONLY country that has a history with God – past, present, future.

“All Israel will be saved” – just before the Second Coming of Christ. (not individually, but generally, and nationally returning to Christ)

First, we see Paul’s concern for the spiritual well being of his brothers (Israel):

Paul’s concern for Israel

v. 1-3

Paul’s Anguish Over Israel

1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,” (Jews)

At that time, Paul was considered a traitor to the Jewish nation – because he was a minister for the Gentiles, not Jews – and he preached of Freedom from the Law of Moses. He preached in many synagogues and “caused trouble” for the Jewish religion.

So at this point, Paul wants to show his love for his brothers and sisters, and his desire for their spiritual well being.

Remember chp 8?

“I’m convinced NOTHING can separate me from the love of Christ.”

Now, chp 9

“I wish that I COULD be cut off from Christ – for the sake of my brothers.”

There is a similar prayer in Exodus 32 –

While Moses was on the top of the mountain receiving the 10 Commandments. At the bottom of the same mountain – the people made idols and ran wild. When Moses came down and saw that sin, God was very ANGRY.

  • God said, “I will destroy / kill all Israel – and I will start again to build a great nation with you – Moses.”
  • But Moses did not say, “Amen.” He said, “No, God, please, forgive them. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – forgive them. If you do not, remove me from the Book of Life.” (Send me to hell if you don’t forgive them.)

Of course, God forgave all of them, and did not remove Moses’ name from the Book of Life.

Yes, parents here, maybe you have this experience. When your child is sick, sometimes you say, “I wish it was ME who was sick, not this child. I would take your place.”

This is a true heart of love.

If you are really a born-again Christian, we have two opposing attitudes.

  1. 1. When we see Christ, we abound in love and joy at his salvation
  2. 2. When we see the lost, we abound in unceasing anguish for their spiritual loss

May God bless us to be true Christians in the eyes of God.

Next, we see the election of Israel. We have no right to ask God, “Why did you choose Israel?” This is God’s will.

The Election of Israel

v. 4-5

“4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”

God gave the people of Israel a divine promise and also the Tabernacle. God gave the Law to Moses. He gave the Promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, David, etc (these are the Patriarchs). What is the purpose of all these blessings?

Key Point:

  • v. 5b “from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”

Jesus, the Messiah, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, was to come through Israel. This is why all the blessings are given to Israel. They were to receive Christ, and then introduce him to all other nations – so that all nations might be saved together.

But unfortunately, when the Messiah they had waited for eagerly, finally appeared on Earth, they did not recognize him, and crucified him.

chp 3 “What is the advantage to being a Jew? Much! They have been entrusted the very Word of God.”

But even the failure of humans is inconsequential to God – who is always faithful.

Question today:

  • What is the advantage to being a Christian today – in this unbelieving world?

Ans:

  • Much in every way. We are entrusted with the very word of God – the gospel message.

This is a very simple message, but has life-giving power. “Believe in Christ and you will be saved – live forever in the presence of Christ.” But who can preach this message except the children of God? (You and me.)

God’s absolute sovereignty / redemptive will in choosing man

v. 6-10

“6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” 10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac.”

What does this mean?

In chp 2, remember that a man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly. No, he must be one inwardly.

There is a difference between:

  • natural, physical seed of Abraham, and
  • the spiritual children of God.

As we know, in the OT, Abraham had 2 sons. Ishmael and Isaac. According to principle, Ishmael was the first-born, so he should have been chosen. But it was Isaac who God chose.

Also, Isaac had 2 sons: Esau and Jacob. Esau should have been chosen, because he was first. But God chose Jacob. These two shared the same father AND mother (unlike Ishmael and Isaac).

This shows that God did not choose based on physical condition (blood first-born), but by God’s absolute sovereignty.

If we are saved, it is not because of our physical condition, but because of God’s will and purpose.

Also, we can see that God’s election was not based on the character of the person. Is your character good? Good enough to be saved?

God’s purpose in Election

v. 11-13

“11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” “

Please do not misunderstand the meaning of this sentence, esp v. 13 “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”. Actually, God chose Jacob before he was born. They had done NOTHING before that. God’s choice is sovereign – and based on nothing from the people themselves.

Malachi wrote this “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What does this mean?

This does not mean Individual Choice, but National Election for World Mission.

  • “Jacob I loved” = I chose Israel as the mission country for world mission and evangelism
  • “Esau I hated” = Not personally, but he did not choose to use Edom for world mission

This means, even though our character and actions are sometimes evil, God remains faithful. He chooses not based on human merit, but on his own will and for his own purposes.

“God has absolute sovereignty” He is God.

v. 14-18

“14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

Why? Because he is God.

Nobody has the right to say to God, “Why me?”

God is God.

Is God unjust or unrighteous? No, not at all.

The fact that God chose one and not the other seems to indicate that God is UNrighteous. Do not misunderstand.

If we think, “God chose this person, but not that person” we might this “God is not holy.” But, actually, if God acted only on the basis of his own righteousness, NOBODY would be saved at all. All people should go to hell immediately – if God treated each person “fairly, equally, and according to what he has done.”

God’s election is not about personal righteousness, but about God’s mercy.

Paul quoted Exodus 33.

Actually, all the people of Israel committed a terrible sin – idol worship. If God had judged them according to his righteousness, ALL of them should be killed. Rather he just killed 3000 of them – not because some were “better” than others, but simply because he was merciful to the others.

In this passage, Paul is using two examples:

  • Pharaoh and Moses.
    • Actually, before God, they were equal – both murderers.
  1. God raised Pharaoh up to show his power through him.
  2. God used Moses to show his mercy and redemption through him.

Pharaoh was a king, Moses was a slave – but Moses is the one who received God’s mercy. Why? Because God chose this way. God acted according to his absolute sovereignty.

The hardening of Pharaoh:

v. 18 “Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

This “hardening” is reference 14? times in Exodus. Sometimes “Pharaoh hardened his heart” and sometimes “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart”. Actually God gave Pharaoh a chance (many) to repent, but he did not.

That’s why the Bible says, “When you hear the Word of God, do not harden your hearts.”

Please, whenever you hear the Word of God, do not harden your hearts. Make your heart soft when you receive the Word of God.

God’s faithfulness is still unchangeable.

Let’s pray.

 

  • Sep 17 / 2017
  • Comments Off on No Separation from the Love of God (Romans 8:28-39)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

No Separation from the Love of God (Romans 8:28-39)

Download Notes in a .MD file

No Separation from the Love of God

Romans 8:28-39 (Pastor Heo)

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


  • Romans 8 opens with: No condemnation in Christ (v. 1)
  • Romans 8 closes with: No separation from the love of God

Romans 8 is the Christian’s proclamation of freedom in Christ

  1. Freedom from condemnation
  2. Freedom from defeat
  3. Freedom from discouragement
  4. Freedom from fear (today)
  • There is no judgment because we have the righteousness of God
  • There is no defeat because we have the Spirit of God
  • There is no frustration because we share the glory of God
  • There is no separation because we experience the love of God (v. 35)

v. 35 “35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

v. 38-39 “38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

v. 28 “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

What is important is: Do you love God?

If you love God: then you are “called according to His purpose” – AND in all things, he works for your good.

Just remember, because of our limitations in knowledge, wisdom, understanding, faith, we may many times feel like saying, “Everything is going AGAINST me!” – but actually, “Everything is OK with me.” This is due to my own limitation.

Example of Jacob:

Once he said, “Everything is going against me” – but actually, everything was going well with him.

  • Jacob thought his dearest son Joseph was killed by wild animals.
  • Another time, there was no food – famine – so he sent his 10 sons (except Benjamin) to Egypt for food. Only 9 returned (not Simeon).
  • Sometime later, there was no food again, so he had to send 9 sons – but they said, “We must take Benjamin! Or we cannot get food!”
  • Jacob said, “No! Why? Everything is against me! Joseph and Simeon are no more. Why are you taking my last, dearest son?” Jacob shouted like this.

But the truth was the opposite. Joseph was the Prime Minister in Egypt. And Simeon was with him, in the rich land of Egypt – filled with food. And they waited for their whole family to come.

We also can be like Jacob. So, we must be faithful to remember that GOD is faithful – not only with our words “God is good, all the time” – but also with our actions – our daily, practical lives.

“In ALL things, God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.”

The Golden Chain of God’s full salvation

v. 29-30

“29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

  1. Foreknew
  2. Predestined
  3. Called
  4. Justified
  5. Glorified

#1. Foreknowledge

God is infinite in wisdom, knowledge, understanding, nothing is hidden. But what does THIS mean?

Matt 7:22 “Jesus: ‘On that day, many will come to me and say to me, “Lord, we did much in your name” but I will say to them, “I never knew you.”‘”

Jesus saying “you are evildoers” means he knows what kind of person they are – but this “knew you” = have a personal relationship with you

The meaning of God’s “foreknowledge” = has a relationship, plan, purpose for you.

#2. Predestined

God ordained, determined, decided, in advance to save you and me – before we were born – even before the Creation of the world.

Eph 1:4-5 “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight, and God predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters through Jesus Christ in accordance with his good pleasure and purpose.”

#3. Calling

For an active relationship and communication, calling is very essential. You call your children, for example. This same God who called Moses, Abraham, etc, is still calling his people today.

There are TWO callings – and we must respond personally, individually by faith, not sight:

  1. Calling for salvation
    1. TO Christ
    2. OUT of this world – to be holy, separate, different from the world
  2. Calling for blessing
    1. INTO this world – to be a herald of Christ – a transformer of the world – we serve them with the message of the gospel

Are you hearing this calling? God is calling us all the time.

#4. Justification

5:1 “Since we have been justified by faith in Christ, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Justification = the act of God – where he declares (as highest judge) – “you are innocent & righteous” simply because you put your trust in Christ as Savior and Lord.

This is a declarative word of God – not an action in us.

#5. Glorification

(Wait… is that PAST tense? – but glorification comes in the FUTURE, right?)

In the Greek Bible, the tense is “Past Perfect” = ONCE, done, for all.

Are you Christians?

Our final glorification is to be like Christ perfectly.

v. 29 “29 For those God foreknew he also predestined *to be conformed to the image of his Son*, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

Review:

  1. Foreknowledge
  2. Predestination
  3. Calling
  4. Justification
  5. Glorification

Question: How far, from first to last? How long does it take to cover ALL steps? (God is not bound by time.)

  • In our experience, this process covers from ETERNITY PAST to ETERNITY FUTURE.
  • On God’s part, all five are INSTANTANEOUS – immediate and perfect at once.

This doctrine, “Predestination” is a GREAT mystery, but true and real.

  1. Point: Predestination applies only to the SAVED people. Nowhere does it say that “God predestined some to be eternally condemned.” – Predestination only applies to the Children of God. And this should make us humble, not proud. This should make us not doubt our salvation – but provide the ground for the Assurance of Salvation. Because this is not “you and me” – but GOD who initiates our salvation.
  2. Another point: This is not a source for debate, but rather a grounds for praise and worship to God.
  3. Last point: If we really believe this doctrine, “predestination” still DOES NOT excuse us from preaching the gospel. Rather, we must preach with GREAT responsibility for the lost. We must be very careful to understand the full heart of God in this case.

Story:

William Carey – the father of modern missions (British missionary to India)

Motto:

  • “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.”

At that time, his heart was burning for world missions. Before going to India, in his 20s, there was a very important meeting – many of the members were church elders. In this meeting, he stood up and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we must DO world mission – we must send MORE missionaries abroad – please SEND ME!”

At that time, the Chairman said, “Hey! Sit down! You don’t know, God is Almighty, Omnipotent, can do ALL things. If God wants to save them, he can save them even if you do not go. But if God does not want them to be saved, he will not save them EVEN IF you go.'”

They understood only the “doctrine” of Predestination – but not the HEART of God.

Predestination means “God wants to save those he wants to save THROUGH OUR WITNESS.”

In the Bible, who uses this term “predestination”? Paul. (In Romans, in Ephesians)

This man who made the doctrine of Predestination clear confessed: 1 Cor 9:16 “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel of salvation. Even though I preach, I have nothing to boast. I’m forced to preach the gospel.'”

This is a REAL understanding of the Doctrine of Predestination.

This is the last review:

  1. Foreknowledge
  2. Predestination
  3. Calling
  4. Justification
  5. Glorification

If we believe this full course of our salvation, then we can SHOUT five things (with questions):

These are all rhetorical questions (spoken for emphasis): “Who knows” = “nobody knows”

1. (v. 31) If God is for us, who can be against us?

NO ONE

2. (v. 32) -how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

HE WILL GIVE US ALL THINGS – (what does he spare if he did not spare his own Son)

  • Phil 4:9 “My God will graciously meet all your needs”
  • Ps 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want”

3. (v. 33) Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?

NO ONE

(But, actually, others may accuse us, even I can accuse myself – Satan always accuses us, prosecuting us – BUT all accusations against us are rejected and dismissed by God because HE has chosen us. For God to accuse us, it would mean his salvation job was a failure. Jesus already paid all penalties on the cross)

4. (v. 34) Who then is the one who condemns?

NO ONE

v. 1 “There is now no longer any condemnation in Christ” – there are 4 points:

  1. Jesus died for us
  2. Jesus rose for us
  3. Jesus is still alive for us
  4. This same Jesus is interceding for us at the right hand of God (dual intercession):
    1. Holy Spirit also intercedes for us (v. 28) and
    2. Christ intercedes for us at the right hand of God
      1. Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, Christ is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he lives to intercede for them.”

5. (v. 35-39) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are **more than conquerors** through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • “I’m a Super Conqueror in Christ.”
  • “We are more than conquerors.”

In Christ,

  1. We are COMPLETELY victorious – because Christ paid the penalty and we enjoy his righteousness.
  2. We have freedom from defeat because Christ lives in us and we have his life.
  3. We have freedom from discouragement because Christ is coming soon and we will reign with him.
  4. We have freedom from fear because Christ is interceding for us and we cannot be separated from the Love of God.
  • Romans 8 opens: NO condemnation
  • Romans 8 closes: NO separation

“If God is for you, who can be against you?”

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 10 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Best is Yet to Come! (Romans 8:18-27)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

The Best is Yet to Come! (Romans 8:18-27)

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The Best is Yet to Come

Romans 8:18-27 (Pastor Heo)

Present Suffering and Future Glory

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.


This is the chapter of Freedom in Christ

  1. 1. Freedom from judgment (Assurance of Salvation)
  2. 2. Freedom from defeat (no obligation to the sinful nature) – last week
  3. 3. Freedom from disappointment / discouragement (no frustration) – today

v. 18 “18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Do you like suffering? We should like suffering and also NOT like suffering. (It is well, with my soul)

Ex: When you drive, if you have no skill, you may suffer. Also, if we do some things – without the necessary skills, ideas, information – we may suffer.

There are many sufferings in this world – but ALL can be typified in only two categories:

  1. GOOD suffering (for Christ)
  2. BAD suffering (against God)

v. 18 “18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

These sufferings are not due to our carelessness, sins, mistakes, etc. In this sentence, “our present sufferings” = those sufferings because of Christ.

v. 18 (alt) “18 I consider that our present sufferings (for Christ) are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (in Christ).”

We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – in all areas – in duties, privileges, responsibilities, and even sufferings. (this is the previous verse – v. 17)

v. 17 “17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

Imagine: If someone paid $1,000,000(,000) for your house bill, would you find it difficult to pay $1 for his ice cream? This should not be difficult.

v. 18 means = Our service, sacrifice for Christ is less than $1 compared with the $1 bil sacrifice that Jesus paid for us. (and vice versa)

  • Present suffering = temporary
  • Future glory = eternal

If we open our spiritual eyes, we can see and know that the present glory that Abraham/Paul is now enjoying with Christ in heaven is non-comparable with the previous sufferings he received on earth for Christ.

How about us?

Yes, a day will come (soon) when the next generation will witness about us – “My grand/parents now enjoy such glory in heaven with Christ that cannot be compared with the sufferings they once paid in the past” (now)

Keyword: Groan (x3)

Literal meaning = “long and deep sound due to pain, suffering, trouble, disappointment, discouragement”

Usually, actually, this word is used negatively. BUT in this section, this word is used positively. It is not useless, but useful. Not meaningless, hopeless, but meaningful, hopeful groaning. This is a very positive meaning.

To understand this inward, eager, positive groaning, we most open our spiritual eyes and ears. If we open these, it is not difficult to understand. But if our spiritual eyes and ears are closed, this looks a little strange. Let’s open our spiritual eyes and ears now.

#3 Groans

1. Groaning of Creation (inwardly)

v. 19-22 “19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation *has been groaning* as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (현재 완료 진행)

This is not meaningless, hopeless groaning. This is like the pain of childbirth.

When God finished Creation in Genesis 1, at first, the Creation was “good.” (7x the same sentence “it was good” – finally “it was VERY good”) – Because God is good all the time, everything God created and does was, is, will be always and forever GOOD.

Because of the fall of Adam, this “good” Creation became “groaning” Creation – from “blessed” to “cursed” (Genesis 3).

Yes, Creation could not / did not sin – but because of human sin, the land of Creation was cursed and became a “groaning” Creation. Also today, we must pray “heal this land.” –

  • If this land is full of children of God, this land will be blessed.
  • But, if this land is filled with evil men, this land will be cursed and filled with “groaning.”

When we go out to a picnic (even Niagara Falls) – we may say, “Wow! Beautiful!” – but this is only outwardly. Inwardly, Creation is groaning. We must be able to see this if we are spiritual men.

Even today – Nature is angry with man through Fires, Droughts, Famine, massive Hurricanes, etc. This is surely not what Creation was meant to be. This is an outward expression of inward groaning.

But this groaning is still not hopeless, meaningless. It is hopeful and meaningful – as the pains of childbirth.

Mothers, did you have the experience to deliver your child? I respect and honor you. Yes, in this delivery, there is so much pain. But this pain will FINISH when the child is born.

Like this, a day will come when this groaning Creation will be exchanged for glorious freedom in Christ. When this earth becomes full of the children of God.

v. 21 “21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”

This sentence will be fulfilled in Revelation – when Jesus returns. Even Nature is earnestly looking forward to the return of Christ.

Rev “The first heaven and earth have passed away and the New heaven and earth have come.”

  • First groaning: All Creation

2. Groaning of Believers’ spirits

Are you groaning? For what?

In the spirits of non-believers, there is not this inward groaning.

v. 23-25 “23 Not only so, but we ourselves, *who have the firstfruits of the Spirit*, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

If we are really Children of God, our spirits inwardly groan. The reason – we have the experience of the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit (v. 23)

What does this mean? It’s a foretaste (시식) of the future glory to come.

Ex: If you go shopping (Mall of Hyoja) – there are many “tasting” corners. There are many things to taste. If that foretaste is very delicious, a satisfying foretaste is not enough, but makes you GROAN for more (고구마). My experience yesterday.

Pleasant talking on the phone (Skype) with your son/daughter from America – makes you GROAN to talk to him/her face to face soon.

These are all foretastes.

The first miracle of the Lord Jesus is turning water into wine. This first miracle gives us a meaningful and practical message. The person who had tasted that water (became wine) said, “Wow! All men bring out the best wine first and cheap wine later! But you have saved the best wine until now!”

This means Christian life is “better” than before – because we are living with Christ our Saviour.

  • Our today is better than yesterday.
  • Our tomorrow is better than today.
  • Next year is better than this year.

Why? Because our lives – as Christians – are holy pilgrimages – getting nearer and nearer to the BEST. Because “The Best is Yet to Come!”

But at the same time, the earthly life without Jesus is the opposite. A journey, nearer and nearer to the WORST destination – hell. That is why we must preach the gospel.

v. 23 “23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”

But wait, this looks a little strange. We know (from last week) that we have already received the spirit of adoption / sonship. We are ALREADY adopted. So then why does THIS verse say, “We wait eagerly for the redemption of our bodies.”

We must remember there are 3 times in our adoption.

1. PAST – In the counsel of God

this was the action of God in eternity PAST – before the Creation of the world (Eph 1:4-5 “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy, blameless, and set apart. He chose us to be adopted as sons and daughters in Christ…”)

2. PRESENT – Personal experience

at the time of receiving Christ as Savior (John 1:12 “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, God gave the right to become children of God.”) – so at the moment we accept Christ, we are adopted

3. FUTURE – full realization / consummation of this adoption (Redemption of the body)

v. 23 “23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, *the redemption of our bodies.*”

Yes, even though we are saved, our physical bodies are not perfect. But when Christ comes again, our bodies will be changed into perfect, heavenly bodies. This is the redemption of our bodies.

This eager anticipation is like a person who drives all night and looks forward to the morning when all the darkness, mist, and fog will be driven away.

Like this, we eagerly await our new bodies. (I have hope for my new body – eagerly.) Also, we look forward to the New Heaven and Earth – to rest and reward for our service, – to eternal family and home – to the absence of sin and suffering – to being with Jesus Christ face-to-face

“Look forward to eagerly” (학수 고대하다)

  • First, All Creation groans
  • Second, Believers’ spirits groan

3. The Holy Spirit groans

v. 26-27 “26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

v. 26 “the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us through groans that words cannot express.”

Our weaknesses may sometimes be emotional, physical, spiritual. The HS intercedes for us and fills the burdens of our weaknesses.

  1. Actually, no one can call Jesus “Lord” except by the ministry of the HS.
  2. “The HS testifies with our spirits that we are children of God.”
  3. And we call God “Abba, Father” through his ministry.

Prayer in the Christian life is “breath”

  • To pray according to the will of God is much more important.

Most of us know what we like, what we want. But many of us don’t know what we NEED. (Consider kids at the mart.)

We do not know exactly what we NEED. So we often do not know what we must pray for. So the HS helps us to intercede for us and pray for the will of God in our lives.

The will of God is SO important in our lives. (Let’s continue with this next time.)

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 03 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Freedom from Defeat (Romans 8:5-17)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Freedom from Defeat (Romans 8:5-17)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/freedom-from-defeat

Download Notes in a .MD file

Freedom from Defeat

Romans 8:5-17 (Pastor Heo)

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.


Romans 8 = Christian’s declaration of freedom in Christ by the Holy Spirit.

We have 4 spiritual freedoms we can enjoy in Christ NOW:

  1. No condemnation (judgment) = Assurance of Salvation (“Therefore there is no condemnation in Christ…”)
  2. Freedom from defeat (sense of loss) – no obligation to the flesh

Yes, we have flesh, but we have no obligation to the sinful nature any longer.

v. 12 “12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.”

The emphasis of this chapter = Holy Spirit

(also many times today he is mentioned – at least 19x) – and related to this, there are 3 levels of LIFE in this world. What level do you live?

  1. Level 1: No Holy Spirit life
  2. Level 2: Holy Spirit life
  3. Level 3: Holy Spirit-owned life

v. 5-8 “5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”

These verses are not about 2 kinds of Christian life – but rather a comparison between the Unsaved person (Level 1) and the Saved person (Level 2/3). There are 4 contrasts.

  1. in the flesh vs. in the Spirit
  2. death vs. life
  3. hostile to God vs. peace with God
  4. pleasing self vs. pleasing God

Which are you in? Pleasing yourself or pleasing God?

#1 In the flesh vs. In the Spirit

  • In the flesh = mind fixed on the things that satisfy the flesh
  • In the Spirit = mind fixed on the things that satisfy the Holy Spirit (things above)

#2 Death vs. Life

  • Unsaved = physical life / spiritual death – no matter how rich, religious, educated, etc = he is DEAD – because only Jesus says, “I AM the Life.” – outside Christ, there is no life.
  • Saved = physical life / spiritual life

#3 Hostile to God vs. Peace with God

Romans 5:1 “Therefore since we have been justified by faith in Jesus, we have peace with God through Christ”

#4 Pleasing self vs. Pleasing God

  • We were all created in the image of God to please God – and we cannot be TRULY joyful by pleasing ourselves. Only pleasing God makes us truly happy.

This doesn’t mean that the Unsaved never does anything good, nor that the Saved never does anything bad. It just means that the mindset / bent of the lives is different. One lives for God, one lives for himself.

Mindset is very important. You can check your own mindset.

Level 1: No Holy Spirit

When a person decides to do something or hold a certain belief, that person has a certain mindset. What is the function of “mindset”?

  1. It determines HOW you act / behave
  2. It motivates you to ACTION
  3. It influences who / what we choose as a source of knowledge / authority
  4. It affects our view of every experience
  5. It shapes our own value system
  6. It dominates your private and public lives

Every person has their own mindset, but all mindsets can be reduced to TWO categories:

  1. Sinful – about the flesh
  2. Spiritual – about the Spirit

These two mindsets are not a part of one person, they are not forces in one person. They are powers of two lands.

  • The sinful mindset, consciously and unconsciously is related to death, rebellion against God, not pleasing God with actions and attitudes.
  • The spiritual mindset, consciously and unconsciously is oriented to life, peace, friendship with God, obedience to the Holy Spirit’s influence, guided by love for his/her neighbors and keeping the Word of Jesus Christ.

Which mindset do you have?

Level 2: Holy Spirit life

v 9-11 “9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. “

The evidence of conversion is the presence of the Holy Spirit within – witnessing that you are a child of God. Through our conversion, our bodies become the very temple of the Holy Spirit (not this building) – your body.

1 Cor 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives within you? You are not your own, you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God with your body.”

God gives us life to serve him. If (when) we die one day, our bodies will be raised like the body of Christ.

v. 11 “11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

This guarantees the resurrection of Jesus as our resurrection (therefore, 1 Cor = “the first fruits of the resurrection for those who belong to him”)

The logic of this verse =

  1. The Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead
  2. This same Holy Spirit lives in you forever
  3. This same Holy Spirit will raise you also from the dead

This means, just like Jesus’ resurrected body, our bodies will be in the same nature as Jesus’ resurrected body (immortal, imperishable, heavenly, spiritual, honorable, tangible, recognizable, visible, touchable, physical).

In the NT, the Holy Spirit was very active in the life and ministry of Christ. That’s why he’s called “Another Counselor” – as Jesus’ substitute for his continual ministry.

  • In his first birth, Christ was conceived by the HS.
  • He was anointed by the HS at his water baptism.
  • Jesus received the HS and led into the desert to be tempted – and begin his ministry.
  • Through the HS, he performed all his miracles.
  • The HS was active in his death and resurrection.
  • Jesus requested his Father send the HS.

“Receive the HS” (“Receive MY Spirit”) – Matt 28:20 “And I am with you always to the very end of the Age.” (Through the HS)

Acts 1:8 “When the HS comes on you, you will receive power and be my witnesses in Judea, Samaria, and to the very ends of the earth.”

Do you call Jesus ‘Lord’? Then you are calling him ‘Lord’ by the power of the Holy Spirit – whether you recognize it or not.

Level 3: Spirit-owned life

If we have the HS within, we are saved (Level 2). But it is not enough to merely HAVE the HS. The HS must HAVE US. He must possess us as his own things.

v. 12-17 “12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

It is not enough to HAVE the HS.

The HS must have US.

We do not have an obligation to the flesh (the Old Self) – but we do have an obligation to the HS.

  • “I have an obligation to the Holy Spirit.”
  • “We have an obligation to the Holy Spirit.”

The sentence “I have no obligation to the flesh” means at the same time “I have an obligation to the Holy Spirit” – because it is Jesus who saved us and gave us eternal life when we believed in him and trusted in him.

Holy Spirit names (x4)

1. The Spirit of Life

Empowers us to obey – to become more and more like Christ

2. The Spirit of Death

Only he can enable us to put to death the sinful deeds of the flesh – as we surrender the members of our body to the Spirit – he applies in us the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ –

Only he puts to death the sinful nature / actions of the body – and

Only he reproduces the spirit of a saint

Gal “Those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the sinful nature.”

Because we live by the Spirit we will not live by the flesh – because they both desire conflicting things – that’s why the Bible strongly asserts that we “Live by the Spirit”

3. The Spirit of Adoption

(v. 15) “you received the Spirit of sonship and by him we cry out , ‘Abba, Father!'”

At that time, in the NT, the word ‘adoption’ means being placed as an adult child in a family – we come into the family of God – and at that moment, God adopts us – giving us the position of adult son/daughter (not as a baby) –

Yes, in our physical life, a baby cannot speak, walk, draw upon family wealth, etc.

But believers CAN do all these things the instant they are “born again” – because we are adopted as adult children.

  • “All fear is gone” –
  • 2 Tim 1:7 “God did not give us a Spirit of timidity (fear), but he gave us a Spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” –

Remember FEAR is NOT from God – it is from the devil, the flesh.

  • Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in thanksgiving with prayer and petition, present your requests to God.” –

God NEVER gives us a spirit of fear. HS continually encourages us to call God, “Abba, Father.”

This means “Papa, daddy” – this is a term of endearment – a term of intimacy and respect. Even today, this is a term used by Hebrew children in addressing their fathers.

Jesus also used this expression when he prayed to God in Gethsemane – just before his crucifixion.

  • “Abba Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup from me, but not my will – yours be done.”

Do you call God “Abba”? Not in public prayer, but in your private, personal prayer, try this. It is biblical. (Life, Death, Adoption)

4. The Spirit of Witness (Testimony) –

v. 16 “16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

In the NT time, adoption means “receiving as adult children” – yes, salvation is spoken in several terms: regeneration, sanctification, adoption.

  • In regeneration, we receive NEW LIFE – a New Nature.
  • In justification, NEW STANDING
  • In sanctification, NEW CHARACTER
  • In adoption, NEW POSITION – as an adult son/daughter

We need to understand the background of the society at that time. Rome was very developed in a Law system. The policy of adoption was very common.

If a person was adopted as a son, he was automatically legally the same as a natural son – in rights, duties, privileges, responsibilities, inheritance.

The obligation to us is like this:

  • Jesus Christ is the ORIGINAL Son of God.
  • We are adopted sons/daughters.
  • Legally, we are exactly the same as Jesus Christ in our duties, rights, responsibilities, privileges, inheritance.

That’s why the last verse says:

v. 17 “17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

We are the same with Christ in his suffering and his glory – because we are the same with him in duties and inheritance.

This is our application (v. 17)

Memorize this.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 27 / 2017
  • Comments Off on No Condemnation in Christ! (Romans 8:1-4)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

No Condemnation in Christ! (Romans 8:1-4)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/no-condemnation-in-christ

Download Notes in a .MD file

No Condemnation in Christ!

Romans 8:1-4 (Pastor Heo)

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.


Romans 8 is one of the greatest chapters in the Bible. This gives the definition of Christian freedom. We have 4 spiritual freedoms we can enjoy because of our union with Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It emphasizes “in Christ”.

  • Christ (x15)
  • Holy Spirit (x19)

v. 1 “No condemnation in Christ…”

This is the FIRST freedom in Christ. Freedom from judgment (no condemnation).

Gal 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. So do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

2 Cor 3:17 “Where the HS is, there is freedom.”

John 3 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. We hear its sound, but do not know where it comes from nor where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

The HS is a spirit of light and liberty.

No condemnation (in Christ).

  • But there IS condemnation outside Christ.
  • It also does not say, “no trials, temptations, discipline, problems, sufferings, etc.”

What son is not disciplined by his father?

Even Christians make mistakes and sin.

  1. Abraham lied about his wife.
  2. David committed adultery and murder.
  3. Peter was an attempted murderer.

So, they suffered consequences for their sins. But they did not suffer CONDEMNATION.

What is this meaning? “No condemnation.”

  • This means freedom from judgment.
  • Practically: Assurance of Salvation

This is essential for the victorious Christian life. So, today, I want to share this essential, basic, fundamental topic:

Assurance of Salvation.

This means freedom from judgment.

As a Christian, we must be very clear in this area.

Are you sure you are saved?

Even today, to our sadness, many Christians do not know they are saved. They are bent over by the world, rather than being a “shouting” Christian, they are “doubting.”

I hope you can make it clear to this answer. What is your answer to this basic question? “Are you saved?” What is your answer? No? Maybe? I hope so. Let me see. I’ll try. Maybe later. Or, “YES!”

To this basic question, we must be able to say immediately and whole-heartedly “YES!” Can you?

There are many different doctrines between the Roman Catholic church and the Protestant church (ours). Honestly speaking, I don’t want to criticize others, but I want to say FACTS so that we are not confused.

Basic position:

RC: “We don’t really know if we’re saved or not.” Yes, salvation belongs to God alone – our salvation is at the mercy of God – so only God knows if I’m saved or not. So how can a man, even me, say “I’m saved.” So, my whole mission in life is to do my best and wait and see – if I’m saved or not – when I DIE.

This seems outwardly very humble. That the Assurance of Salvation is prideful. BUT, the truth is the opposite. Their position is a big misunderstanding of the Bible’s teaching and God’s heart.

In a father-son relationship (father-child).

Imagine, there is a human, blood father, blood son. The son says, “I hope I’m your son, but I’m not sure. Only you know. I didn’t see you when I was born. Only you know. I’m not sure. But I guess so. I think so.”

At this attitude, what does the father say? “Oh! You are so humble!” No! The father will be so sad, disappointed, angry with this attitude.

God is our loving, gracious, merciful father, so he wants/desires us (who believe in Christ) to KNOW that we are saved and his loving children.

1 John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of Jesus Christ – so that you may KNOW that you are children of God.”

Also, at the same time, it is possible to be saved and DOUBT it. Is this good or bad? Doubt is a spiritual sickness (disease).

Doubt is a spiritual sickness. So doubt is to our spirit what pain is to our bodies. This is a warning / signal that something is wrong.

  • Pain means: something is wrong with your body.
  • Doubt means: something is wrong with your spirit.

We may doubt from time to time, but it is a problem we must overcome and solve.

So, HOW can we have Assurance of Salvation? What is the basis / ground on which we can enjoy this Assurance of Salvation?

Assurance of Salvation

Let me say three things on basic grounds that we can have this Assurance.

#1: Based on the WORK of Jesus Christ

(not my work/merit/performance/sacrifice/ministry)

v. 1 “1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,”

Yes, sometimes, we FEEL condemned because Satan tells us or our own conscience reminds us as well – or our non-Christian friends remind us of our past, inconsistencies, personal dysfunctions, etc. Sometimes, the perfection of the Law show us how imperfect we are. Also, sometimes, our comparison with others makes us feel inadequate.

“IN Christ” = we are a member of Christ and his body of believers.

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my voice and believes in me is saved… there is no condemnation…” (Jesus)

Acts 4:12 “There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 3:17 “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

In the matter of salvation, we must look to Jesus Christ – and what he has done for us. We must focus on only Jesus, not our own selves/ministries/etc.

If we have Assurance of Salvation because of our OWN efforts, it is a double fault.

“Fix your eyes on Jesus Christ, who is the author and perfector of our faith.” (Hebrews?)

I’m a full-time minister – but the truth – as long as I look at my OWN works for God, I can never have Assurance of Salvation.

So, if you are asked “Do you have Assurance of Salvation?”, you must immediately look to… Jesus Christ.

AoS (Assurance of Salvation) based on the WORK of Jesus Christ.

#2: Based on the WITNESS of the Holy Spirit

v. 2 “2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

Do you receive the witness of man? Man is not perfect, right? We receive the witness of man. If we receive this, why don’t we receive (accept) the witness of the HS – who is righteous and holy all the time.

Do you know how often we receive and accept the witness of man?

  1. At the restaurant, we don’t check if the food is cooked well and not poisoned. We put our faith in the man who cooks it. This is receiving the witness of man.
  2. At the hospital, we see a doctor who we don’t personally know, and he gives us a prescription we cannot read, pronounce, understand. We give it to the pharmacist whom we do not know personally and receive medicine – but don’t check that it’s correct – and take the medicine. Why? We receive this witness of man without doubt.

You know, man is not perfect, sometimes, there is a mistake or falsehood in the witness of man. Yet, we still receive this witness of man in our daily lives. But then, WHY we do not receive the witness of the HS – who is fully God and perfect all the time?

The witness of the HS: “Jesus died for you. If you believe, you are saved, a child of God.”

Romans 8:16 “The HS himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”

“When the Counselor (HS) comes who I will send to you from the Father, he will testify about me (Jesus Christ).”

Romans 8:26 “Even the HS intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” This is so we may have Assurance of Salvation.

That’s why DENIAL of the witness of the HS is the unforgivable sin.

Imagine, even though we receive the witness of man – imperfect – why do we not receive the witness of the HS – perfect? This is the unforgivable sin.

The HS first witnesses TO us, then witnesses IN us. Do you have this witness in yourself that you are a child of God.

  1. Based on the WORK of Christ
  2. Based on the WITNESS of the HS
  3. Based on the WORD of God

#3: Based on the Word of God

v. 3 “3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so [God] condemned sin in [sinful man],”

Yes, God did ALL things necessary for our salvation. Jesus did not come as an angel, nor as a sinful man – like you and me. But rather, he came in the LIKENESS of man – so that he bore our sins in his body on the tree.

God is just/righteous. Because of this, sin must be punished. Debt must be paid because God is righteous. And “the wages of sin is death.”

  • Yes, the sin/debt must be paid.
  • Another principle = the prohibition against “double jeopardy” – can’t be tried twice for the same crime. Once paid, always paid. (cannot be punished twice for the same crime)
  1. One crime, one punishment.
  2. Two crimes, two punishments.
  • But, you cannot pay the price once and be forced to pay it again.

If I break the window – and it is $1 trillion – I cannot pay this price. Suppose somebody (rich) pays this price for me. Actually, I did not pay, but the result is the same as if I paid – so I don’t need to pay the price again.

Like this, my sin was punished IN Christ – paid completely, perfectly, once for all.

2 Cor 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us…”

1 Peter 2 “Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree… by his wounds we have been healed.”

3. Based on the WORD of God

John 1:12 “To those who received him, believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Romans 9 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

The Bible (Word of God) is the official, objective document authorized, notarized, signed, sealed, delivered by God as our spiritual birth certificate.

Remember: if you need to prove your birth, go to the government office, and get the notarized document. Like this, the Word of God is our spiritual birth certificate (notarized).

  • To doubt the Word of God = to make God a liar.
  • To doubt the Word of God = not to trust God.
  • To doubt the Word of God = not to believe in God / Jesus.

We can have AoS based on:

  1. Work of Christ
  2. Witness of the Spirit
  3. Word of God

This is the fruit / evidence of those who have AoS.

v. 4 “4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

The changed and changing life is natural and essential, not FOR salvation, but AFTER salvation. Like this, growth is essential not FOR physical birth, but AFTER birth.

AoS is a gift of God.

2 Cor 5 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation, the old has gone, the new has come.”

My challenge:

I do not know who has AoS among us, who doubts, but this is my challenge as a conclusion.

If you are struggling with these questions of doubt (unsure about your salvation) – please pray similarly:

“Father God, I’m not sure if I’m your child. But I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sin, rose from the dead, offering eternal life. I accept Christ as my personal Savior and Lord. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life. Please, by the power of the HS, enable me to have AoS.”

Because AoS is essential for victorious life in this world, God wants us to have AoS.

If you HAVE AoS, God is calling you to help others have this same kind of AoS. This is the mission God is calling you to in this world. This is a double-blessing. (Blessing from God, so you may be a blessing to others.)

Lastly: Remember, the Word of God is the official, objective, document, signed, sealed, delivered by God as our spiritual birth certificate. Do you have this?

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 20 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:14-25)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:14-25)

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:14-25)

Download Notes in a .MD file

Thanks be to God…

Romans 7:14-25 (Pastor Heo)

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.


Conclusion: (v. 25) “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Today is the third time in chapter 7. The whole chapter = the Discussion of the Law.

  1. Our relationship with the Law (we died to the Law, alive in Christ)
  2. The Ministries of the Law (what the Law CAN do – there are 4)
    1. Reveals sin
    2. Arouses sinful nature
    3. Kills
    4. Displays the sinfulness of sin
  3. The Inability of the Law (what the Law CANNOT do – 3 points)

The Inability of the Law (3 Points)

#1 Law cannot change us

v. 14 “14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.”

  • The Law is holy, came from a Holy God – he is righteous in all he says and does.
  • The Law is good, it reveals God’s holiness to us – and helps us to see our absolute need for a Savior.
  • The Law is spiritual – it deals with the inner man – as well as the outer actions.

Problem: “I am unspiritual (sinful by nature).”

  • The Law’s nature = spiritual
  • Our nature = unspiritual (even though we are saved, still we are unspiritual – we have a sinful nature )
  1. The Old Nature does not know the Law
  2. The New Nature does not need the Law

The Law cannot transform the Old Nature – it only shows how sinful that Old Nature is. If we try to live under the Law, we will only activate the Old Nature – not eliminate it.

How can we be free from sin and yet continue to do wrong?

“In Christ” – we are FREE from

  1. the penalty of sin (judgment),
  2. power of sin (powerlessness),

but NOT FREE from

  1. the presence and
  2. possibility of sin.

Under grace, the Law is changed from judgment to guidance – to a character study of the one who shaped us.

Only Jesus died for us on the cross, and only HE can change you and me.

#2. Law cannot enable us to do good

Do you want to do good or evil? Good.

The Law cannot help us to do good.

v. 15-21

“15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”

Are you confused? “I want to do what I don’t want to do, but I don’t do what I want to do, it’s what I don’t want to do that I do…….”

  1. Do you always do what you want to do?
  2. Do you always NOT do what you DON’T want to do?

Paul, personally, confessed, “I do not understand what I do. I do what I DON’T want to do. I DON’T do what I want to do.”

What does this mean? Is he declining into sinfulness? Getting worse and worse? NO. There are 3 points here.

#1: More blessing = more conscious of sin

More we become holy, the more we desire to become holy.

v. 5:20 “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”

This means, the more we experience the grace of God, the more we become conscious of sin and fighting sin. This is a basic doctrine of Christianity. The more grace/love of God, the more sensitive to sin we are, the more we desire to become holy – and hate/fight sin.

The more blessing we receive, the more blessing we are to give.

Practical example:

  • If you own $1000 / month, and give $100 in tithe, this is the correct, acceptable tithe.
  • If you earn $1,000,000 and give $1,000 as tithe, even though this is 10x the first amount, this is not the correct amount, it is not a full tithe.

Example 2:

  • How’s your suit/clothes? If you wear VERY expensive, wedding dress, etc, maybe you will be VERY careful about your actions and where you sit. You will be very careful to keep it clean. Even one small stain will be outstanding (noticeable).
  • But if you wear casual, cheap, loose clothes, you don’t care how to move, where to sit, etc. Even if something stains your clothes, it will not be noticeable and you will not be unhappy.

i.e. “The more holy you are, the more holy you want to be.”

In the Bible, there are certain books written by the apostle Paul.

  • 2 Cor = AD 56
    • (chp 11:5 “I am not less than any super apostle. I’m not in the least inferior to those.'”)
  • Eph = AD 60-61
    • (chp 3:8 “I am less than the least of all God’s people.'”)
  • 1 Tim = AD 62-63
    • (chp 1:15 “I am the worst of all sinners.”)

Look at this transformation.

Is Paul becoming worse and worse? No, the opposite is true.

The more we experience the grace/love of God, the more humble we must become.

In your case? Do you find the same things that you didn’t recognize as sin before you were saved – now you recognize it as sin since you are saved?

After saving, do you find the same things 1-2 years ago, you didn’t think “That’s a sin”, but now you recognize it as sin – then you are becoming more holy.

Paul “If I do not preach, I sin a terrible sin – curse on me.” Personally, he experienced the amazing grace of the gospel – and it changed his whole life completely. Now he cannot be happy without preaching the gospel.

If we experience this same power and grace in our lives, we also cannot be happy without doing this as well.

Samuel confessed (1 Sam 12:23) “As for me, far be it from me, that I should sin be failing to pray for you.” (Not praying for others was a terrible sin – because he experienced the special grace of God in his own life)

The more grace/love of God, the more we become sensitive to sin. May God bless us all with more grace.

#2: Christian life is a struggle

I’m a fighter. Christian life is a struggle in this world.

Q: “Are you dead IN sin, or dead TO sin?”

Be clear about your answer.

What is the difference? (a single two-letter word)

BIG difference:

  1. Dead IN sin (Eph 2:1 “…you were dead in your sins and transgressions…”) – we were children of the devil and slaves of sin – so at that time, we didn’t struggle, fight against sin – we just followed alone
  2. Dead TO sin = slaves of righteousness, children of God – no more condemnation or penalty or punishment of sin – alive to the consciousness of sin. This means we are fighting, struggling against sin.
  • Dead in sin = following sin
  • Dead to sin = fighting sin

Eph 5 “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. For our fighting is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground when the day of evil comes.”

Paul confessed, near the end, “I have fought the good fight.” (2 Timothy verse 7)

1 Pet 5:8-9 “Be self-controlled and alert because your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist Satan, standing firm in the faith.”

Christ “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have struggles of many kinds, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”

#3: We have responsibility

Both for our sins and our actions.

v. 17 “17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.”

v. 20 “20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

What is the real meaning of these sentences?

Paul is not giving up / abdicating his responsibility. But, he confesses that his desires and sin fight against each other all the time.

For us as well, because in this world, our redemption is not 100% complete yet. We are still living in the presence and possibility of sin in this world.

  • Until under the grace of God, sin possessed me.
  • Now still, under the grace of God, I possess sin.
  1. Before the grace of God, we were responsible for being sinners.
  2. After we were redeemed, we are still responsible for our sin.

If you fight someone, can you say “I didn’t beat you. This fist beat you.” We must always remember we are responsible for our actions, for our sins.

We must never use the power of sin/Satan as an excuse – because these are defeated enemies. Yes, without Christ’s help, sin/Satan are more powerful than we are, so we would not be able to defend ourselves against Christ’s attacks. So, we should never stand up to sin all alone. Christ is the one who defeated sin ONCE and for all. After that, Jesus promised to fight by our side. So, if we look to Christ for help, we will not have to give in to sin.

But we must always remember that we are responsible for our own actions and sins because Satan is defeated.

  1. Law cannot change us
  2. Law cannot enable us to do good

#3. Law cannot set us FREE

Do you want freedom?

v. 22-25 “22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

It is very clear. The Law cannot give us true freedom. It is only Christ who can set us free. Only Christ can give us real freedom.

“You know the truth and this truth will set you free.”

Gal 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

Even today, some Christians may say “Yes, salvation by grace of God through Christ, but our sanctification is by OUR actions – service, willpower, etc.” NO! Please remember that – not only our salvation, but also sanctification, growth, final glorification, from FIRST to LAST, all steps – all the course of the Christian life – is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. “Apart from me, you can do NOTHING.” This is applied in ALL areas of the Christian life.

At the same time, the Bible encourages us, “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13?)

v. 24 “24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”

Conclusion: v. 25 “25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

  • When you look to yourself, there is only powerlessness.
  • When you look to Christ, there is sure power, victory, possible through Christ.

Our proclamation: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 13 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Ministries of the Law (Romans 7:7-13)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

The Ministries of the Law (Romans 7:7-13)

Download Notes in a .MD file

The Ministries of the Law

Romans 7:7-13 (Pastor Heo)

The Law and Sin

7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.


Sin is utterly sinful.

Last time in the first part of this chapter (v. 1-6) we saw our new relationship to the Law due to our union with Jesus in his death / resurrection. If we are united with him in these things, surely our relationship with the Law is that we are dead to the Law, and under Christ (under Grace).

Somebody might argue saying, “What good is the Law if we do not need it any longer?”

A: (v. 7-13) – this is the ministries of the Law (why we need the Law)

The ministries (businesses/jobs) of the Law = 4.

These ministries function even today.

#1. Law reveals sin

The Law defines sin as sin – it exposes it as what it is.

(v. 7) “7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.””

Romans 3:20 “Through the Law we become conscious of sin – the knowledge of sin.” Without Law, there is lawlessness. This reveals to us the inner man and shows us how dirty/sinful we are.

Paul doesn’t use “obvious sins” (killing, adultery, stealing) is sin. This is not difficult to understand. But rather, he uses “coveting” (I want what you’ve got). This is not an outward action, but an inward attitude – and almost every human has covetousness in their heart (this is the last of the 10 Commandments in Exodus).

Covetousness = leads to the breaking of the other 9 Commandments – it is an insidious sin that most people do not recognize in their own lives, but God reveals it.

Mark 10 – the Young Rich Ruler –

This is an example of revealing sin to show his need for a Savior.

“One day, a young man came to Jesus and knelt down and said, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

Jesus, ‘No one is good except God alone. You know the Commandments.’

Man, ‘I have done all this since I was a boy.’

Jesus loved him and said, ‘One thing you lack. Go and sell all you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Come again, and follow me.’

At this, the young man’s face fell, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

No question, outwardly, this man was moral. It may be certain that he’d never broken the Commandments as he said. But when Jesus said, ‘Go and sell your possessions, and give to the poor.’ the Commandment to not covet revealed just how sinful he was. He did not realize that coveting was sin. But the Law revealed to him how covetous he was.

Jesus didn’t tell him the Law to save him, but to reveal to him his inward sinfulness.

This world says, Develop yourself, your greed, your wealth. But the Bible says, Covetousness is sin. Also “Put to death whatever is in your nature: greed, selfish desires, covetousness.”

Coveting, greed is idolatry.

  • “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs….
  • Be content with what you have…
  • Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…
  • Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind in Christ Jesus, then you will be able to know and approve his good, pleasing, perfect will.”

Our standard (as a Christian) is NOT the world.

Our standard is what God says in his Word.

First ministry: it reveals sin.

#2. Law arouses Man’s sinful nature to sin

What does this mean?

Is the Law itself good or bad? (Good)

(v. 12) “12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.”

Because the Law is from God, who is all of the above.

How does the Law provoke us to sin?

There is no problem in the Law itself. The problem is human nature. Sin has evil power.

Sin uses our sinful nature to rebel against the Law. (We know the story of the Fall of Man in Genesis 3 – the serpent used the Word of God to make Man fall – “Did God really say, ‘Don’t eat from these trees?’ No, no, no, eat, and you will become like God.” Eve thought it looked good – and from Adam all Men have received this same inclination – to do that which is prohibited.)

There’s a saying, “Stolen apples are sweeter.”

Forbidden things look more appealing.

  • Mom says, “Children, do not open this box. NEVER open this box! NEVER EVER EVER!”
  • So, what do children want to do? Open it quickly, just once, then close it forever.

Phil “The strength/power of the Law is sin.”

Genesis 1-3, at first, Adam lived in perfect surroundings – a commandment was given to him to NOT eat ONE fruit. It was given for his benefit. But the serpent turned this into his temptation. The mere fact that it was forbidden made it tempting.

Biblical scholar:

  • Serpent = a symbol of pleasure.
  • Eve = senses (emotion).
  • Adam = reason (logic).

Which is stronger? Sense or reason?

Follow your heart, or follow your mind?

Pleasure attacked through emotion – through the senses, then reason was led astray and sinned. Even a man with reasoning may say, “Look, other people are doing the same thing! If I do this small thing only once, it will make no difference.” In this way, emotion can lead Mankind away from his reasoning.

Strong passions, desires, feelings, reasoning, knowledge, understanding, etc – must all be put under control of the Holy Spirit.

#3. Law kills

If you are outside Christ, the Law kills you. Thus, we must be INSIDE Christ. “There is no more condemnation (of Law) for those who are in Christ.”

(v. 10-11) “10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.”

Gal 3:24 says the final ultimate job of the Law is: “The Law was put in charge to lead us to Christ…”

Let’s read and memorize this verse. It’s a key verse to understanding this.

Gal 3:24 “24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.”

The Law is our tutor – in leading us to Christ.

Romans says, “Christ is the END of the Law.” This has many meanings, but one meaning is: The Law is the sign board pointing to Jesus (an arrow). If you go to Seoul, follow the sign boards. If you go in the opposite direction, you go to Busan. The Law is the final sign board pointing to Jesus Christ – to have life. Because only IN Jesus Christ, there is eternal, abundant, heavenly life.

John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my voice and believes in me shall not be condemned. The thief Satan comes to kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

“I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.” (I am the WAY to LIFE, and that is TRUTH.) This is the reason why the book of God is written. “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God and have eternal life.”

John 5 “Whoever has the Son of God has life, whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

We are studying the Law, but is it not the same as the gospel?

There is a book called Gospel/Law.

  • OT = Book of Law.
  • NT = Book of Gospel.

Outwardly, this looks true, but inwardly, they are the SAME.

  • Gospel is “If you believe in and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, you will have eternal life.”
  • Law says, “If you reject Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, you will die.”

This is the same. Like two sides of one coin.

  • Gospel: “Believe in Christ as your Savior, and live forever.”
  • Law: “Reject Christ as your Savior, and die forever.”

#4. Law shows sinfulness of sin

Do you hate sin? (or sinners?)

We heard many times, “God hates sin, but loves sinners.”

(v. 12-13) “12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.”

Sin might become utterly (exceedingly) sinful.

The Law shows the sinfulness of sin.

Even unsaved, unbelievers know there is such a thing as sin – murder, stealing, lying, adultery, all sins. But, they do not realize the sinfulness (seriousness, true nature)of sin. Even today, some Christians may excuse their sin with words like “My mistake, human nature, instinct, bad habits…”

God condemns our sins. Yes, there is no penalty for condemnation for those who are IN Christ, but he still condemns our sins and tries to get us to see that they are utterly sinful. Until we realize how wicked sin really is, we will never want to oppose it and live in victory and holiness.

Ps. 19:12 “Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.”

The root of ALL problems: SIN

Do you have any kind of problems? The ROOT: SIN.

Then we have hope, and we can rejoice that the answer is JESUS – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Problems?

  1. ROOT: SIN
  2. SOLUTION: JESUS
  • 1 John 2:2 “Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.”
  • 1 John 3:5 “Jesus appeared in this world that he might take away our sins – because in him there is no sin.”

In Him: no sin.

 

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 30 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Lord, Our Shepherd (Psalm 23)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

The Lord, Our Shepherd (Psalm 23)

Download Notes in a .PDF file

The Lord, Our Shepherd

Psalm 23 (Pastor Abraham Kim)

1 The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

Introductory Questions

This is a very famous passage in the Bible. It’s such a beautiful and pastoral Psalm, many believers and even non-believers like it, use it(for example, in funerals), and can even memorize the whole chapter. So, many people are very familiar with it and even many songs are written about it. But I have one question: Do people understand the true meaning of this passage? Do people enjoy this Psalm because it is very pastoral and peaceful and provides a wonderful atmosphere? Do they only recite it from their lips or do they understand its depth within their soul?

1. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

This Psalm was written through King David by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We don’t know exactly when it was written, but we do know the whole life of David was not consistently smooth. As a youth, when he was a little shepherd, he was isolated from family in the field. After his anointing by the prophet Samuel, his father-in-law, King Saul, pursued and hunted him. In his later years, as King, his son Absalom betrayed against him and tried to become king. So, we can see that David’s life was never quite good enough. It was very turbulent and he endured many evil circumstances. Yet, still, he confessed and proclaimed “the LORD is my shepherd.”

So, how can David say this: “I shall not be in want?” This is NOT because all situations and conditions are favorable, but rather it because he recognized that his shepherd is Jehovah. He was very satisfied in God alone. This is how he can proclaim, “I shall not be in want.” We don’t have much personal knowledge about the life of a shepherd, but in Israel at that time, ALL Israelites were very familiar with this kind of lifestyle and profession. This is especially true of David, because he worked as a shepherd for the early years of his life. This was an example of a typical “3D job”: it was

  1. dirty,
  2. dangerous, and
  3. difficult.

Nobody wanted to do 1 this job. So then, why did David make this confession of God? It’s because he fully understood through his experience how much love the shepherd has for his sheep.

In verse 1, what is God revealed as? Verse 1’s subject is Jehovah. The sheep do not choose the shepherd. But the shepherd, particularly in Israel at that time, would look after other shepherd’s sheep and work hard when he was young to earn money to buy his own sheep. He chose these sheep himself, bought and paid for them with his hard-earned money, marked their ears with a tag, and cared for them with deep love. This is a reflection of God’s great grace and unconditional love for us in that he chooses his own sheep. To the sheep, the shepherd is their absolute LIFE. Without a shepherd, the sheep always perish.

We need to understand the 2 characteristics of sheep:

  1. They are powerless: The are vulnerable to attacks from external forces, for example: wolves, lions, bears, thieves, or even sheep flies and poisonous herbs
  2. They are foolish: They have many internal problems, for example, their eyesight is weak, they easily lose the way, they are stubborn. Foolish AND stubborn? Wow, this is NO 답 (totally hopeless). They even eat grass and the whole roots and foolishly destroy the fields.

These two characteristics of sheep are also just like humanity (me and you). Humans think that we can do everything by ourselves, even that we can save ourselves. But just like “cast sheep” – which cannot get back up after falling down – humanity also cannot save ourselves without the grace of God.

2. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

God provides for his sheep. In Palestine, for more than half of the year, the land becomes a harsh wilderness. So, the shepherd must prepare a place for his sheep before leading his sheep there to feed them. Shepherds need not only consider “green pastures” and “quiet waters”, but also shade and most importantly pens for their sheep. So, many shepherds used the same stone pens in many places every year. In Korea, these day is summer holiday season(휴가철). It’s The peak season. 2 This is a joy and same time one of the big burdens for many parents: If you go to the beach, children only expect the fun of playing in the water, but parents must prepare everything else: food, the shade, the place to stay, the place to wash, the place to lie down, etc.

Do you know when sheep can lie down? There are 4 conditions that need to be satisfied for this:

  1. Nothing to fear (because sheep cowardly, they are easily scared and run, lifting their heads and looking around) – so they need a sense of security
  2. There must be no conflict with other sheep
  3. They need to be free from flies, mosquitoes, or other bugs or discomforts
  4. After their bellies are fully satisfied with enough grass, they can lie down

David was a young shepherd so he understands these conditions much more deeply than the others. He also very sincerely protected his sheep, in the same way that he recognized that God abundantly loved and protected him as a Good Shepherd. In Gospel of John 10:11 Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” so, for the sake of his sheep, he can lay down his life for the sheep. And just as he said, he did.

3. he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

“He restores” means “gives life.” Recall the “cast sheep” – when they fall down they absolutely can’t get back up by their own power. In the same way, we also need God’s saving power to help us “get back up” – out of our sin and into a right relationship with Him.

When God love us, and save us? Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” and Ephesians 2:1 says “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins”.

God saved us and gave us life. He promised us that he would never leave us nor 3 forsake us. But Deists say that God created the world and abandoned it. That he gave us life and left. We believe that God is alive and with us and always faithful and leads us into “paths of righteousness.”

4. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

In the life of a shepherd, there were times when all the fields had been visited by the sheep, the grass destroyed, and the fields left bare. There was nothing left for the sheep to eat. The only place left was a swamp, or wetland, but the path into the swamp was very dangerous. This is what is referred to as the “valley of the shadow of death.”

There was no other choice but to brave the dangerous path to the only available field that remained, so the shepherd led his sheep down into the swamp. Like this, there are many times in our Christian lives that are filled with troubles, doubts, and dangers.

This is not always a result of sin or bad karma, but is the will of God. It is the will of our Shepherd. This is the “path of righteousness.” God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, so we can confess, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

What are the rod and staff of God?

  1. The rod is used to direct the sheep, or to hit the sheep to discipline them or alarm them when they lose the way. The shepherd needs to be very close to his sheep to keep them on the proper path and guide their feet. The rod is also used to count the sheep and check the quality of their skin – this means the shepherd uses the rod to check their health.
  2. The staff is used as a weapon to protect the sheep from their enemies.

When the shepherd leads his sheep through the “valley of the shadow of death” this is to grow and mature the sheep. In the same way, our Shepherd, God leads his people through the “valley of the shadow of death” and wants all his people to grow and mature in Christ. But when we walk through this difficult and dangerous path, there are two things we must remember:

  1. This is not the easiest path
  2. But, God is with us

So, when we walk through this “valley of the shadow of death”, we cannot fully understand God’s purpose or plan. Even though we may doubt or lose faith, we must draw close to our shepherd through the Word of his promise and our prayer.

5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Verses 5-6 show us that God is not only leading us in the past nor present time, but also until the the end of time. David proclaimed the Lord “prepared a table before him in the presence of his enemies.” What does this mean? There are 2 meanings.

First, that God resolved David’s conflict with Saul, even Absalom, and through those events, God let them recognize that he was with David during his life. However, this is not the full realization of this promise.

Secondly, in the Day of the Lord (Jesus’ Second Coming), God will completely and absolutely prepare a table before his children before his enemy, Satan, and we will feast together with Jesus in all his heavenly glory, and be declared righteous and free from all sin and death.

The first question in the Heidelberg Catechism says:

“What is your only comfort in life and death?”

The answer is:

That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil.

He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.

Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Human beings have no power to save anyone – even ourselves. The only one who can save us is our Savior and Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Our Good Shepherd Jesus Christ paid all the penalty for our sin with his precious blood.

In verse 6, the verb “follow” is “רדף ” râdaph[raw-daf]” in Hebrew and it is used in 1 the same way that a guard pursues or diligently follows an enemy. It’s just like as The Highway Patrolman, John piper says, “God is not only our good shepherd, nor only our lavish host; he is also a highway patrolman pursuing you with goodness and mercy every day of your life, and he is fast.” Originally this verb has a negative meaning. But here, it is used to strongly emphasize just how closely God’s grace and love and goodness will pursue us throughout our lives.

As Revelation 7:16-17 says, “16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Therefore, let us focus our eyes on our Good Shepherd, Jesus. For the sheep, the Shepherd alone is more than enough to provide for all our needs. We don’t need to worry about pasture, or pens, or shade, or enemies. If you are a true Christian, God alone, our Good Shepherd alone, is more than enough to satisfy all our needs. The Christians who can deeply proclaim and love this Psalm are truly the sheep of the Good Shepherd.

  • Jul 23 / 2017
  • Comments Off on We also died to the Law (Romans 7:1-6)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

We also died to the Law (Romans 7:1-6)

Download Notes in a .MD file

We also died to the Law

Romans 7:1-6 (Pastor Heo)

Released From the Law, Bound to Christ

1 Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. 4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.


  • Chp 6 = Our new relationship to sin due to our union with Christ (“We died to sin”)
  • Chp 7 = Our new relationship to the Law due to our union with Christ (“We died to the Law”)

v. 4 “4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law…”

Topic: We also died to the Law

Just as we died to sin, so we died to the Law. If we died to sin, it is natural that we died to the Law, because Law and sin go together. The power of sin = the Law.

  • Without Law, sin is not sin.
  • Without sin, the Law is not needed.

Chp 6 = “You died to sin, alive to God”

  1. KNOW this is a historical fact,
  2. COUNT it to be true,
  3. OFFER your life to God

So, serve Christ in the New way according to the Holy Spirit.

We also died to the Law.

I want to share 3 things:

  1. What is the Law?
  2. How is it possible to die to the Law?
  3. What does it mean when we say, “We died to the Law”?

#1 What is the Law?

This word is repeated 23 times here (many times throughout the whole Bible). So, according to the given context, there are many meanings.

  • Romans 8:2 “Because through Jesus, the Law of the Spirit of Life set me free from the Law of sin and death.”
    • In this sentence, LAW means “governing power/principle” (like the Law of Gravity)
  • Ps 1:2 “Blessed is the man who delights in the Law of the Lord, blessed is the one who meditates on the Law of the Lord day and night.”
    • LAW = “Word of God” (synonyms) Do you believe they are the same?

So, be careful when you say “We died to the LAW” – this does not mean “We died to the Word of God”

This word “LAW” means written code/regulations that have authority over those outside Jesus Christ.

#2 How is is possible to die to the Law?

Interesting illustration to explain this:

Romans 7:2 “2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.”

  • Chp 6 uses the illustration of Master and Slave to explain HOW we should Offer ourselves to God.
  • Chp 7 uses the illustration of Husband and Wife to show our NEW relationship to the Law due to our union with Christ.

This illustration is simple (not “sinful”) but has profound application.

When a man and woman are married, they are united for their whole lives – this is a physical union (Gen 2 “they will be one body”). So, as long as they live, they are under the authority of marriage. So, if someone marries another while still under that Law (authority), they sin. But, if the other dies, and the first marries again, there is no Law (authority) under which they are bound.

But we must understand the POINT.

  • Wife = us
  • Husband who died = the Law
  • New husband = Christ

POINT: If the wife died, the only one way she could marry again is if she rose again from the dead to life. THIS is the POINT.

  • Wife (us) DIED in Christ – so the Husband (Law) lost authority to rule over us
  • Christ died and we died in Christ
  • He rose and we were born again in Him
  • We remarried Christ (thus, he is called our “Bridegroom”)

#3 What does it mean when we say that?

6 points here:

1. It does NOT mean – the Law died

(Sin did not die) it is still very near to us and it has authority, dominion, power to condemn and punish those who are outside Christ. (We also were once under its authority and condemnation and penalty – but now, IN CHRIST, we are not under the Law but under Grace) – The Law LIVES.

(“I died to the Law”) – this is true – do you believe it?

2. This does NOT mean – I’m FREE to do whatever I want, nor to live a Lawless life.

Even amongst Christians, some say, “Dude, I’m saved – once for all” – but you do not have a license to live lawlessly. (Extreme of License)

3. We died to the Law, so we also died to “legalism”.

There’s another opposite extreme we must be cautious of (Extreme of Legalism)

We are no longer legalists.

  • This is the belief that we can become holy and pleasing to God by keeping the Law.
  • This problem = sees SINS (plural) but not SIN (singular) –
  • It judges outwardly, but does not consider the heart.
  • Legalism can make us unloving, unforgiving, judgmental toward other people.

So, we died to the Law = we are no longer legalists.

4. Our motivation is not from the Law – it comes from God’s grace through our union with Christ

v. 4 “4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”

We serve Christ, not by trying hard to keep the Law, but out of hearts and minds that overflow with love for Him. Total commitment to Christ cannot co-exist with total commitment to the Law – this would be spiritual idolatry. (We fully belong to Christ).

Still we must serve, we have a holy responsibility to live a holy life, but the motivation is not prompted by the LAW, but by our LOVE for him. (God looks at the heart)

5. It MEANS – we are to bear fruit

Fruit to God, for God, by God. Are you producing fruit? What is your fruit?

v. 4 “4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.

Here the word “fruit” is repeated twice.

NOW we bear fruit for God – THEN we bore fruit for death.

Yes, in physical marriage, we also have fruit (kids) – when we were in sin, we also produced fruit that made us ashamed – when we were under the Law, we produced fruit by our own effort and power that turned out to be fruitless – (the only fruit under the Law is sin and death – because sinful passions work against the Law).

Remember #1: The Law is still alive.

  • It had authority, but it did not effectively control human passions.
  • It restrains us and teaches us, but also stimulates our sinful nature.
  • It identifies sin, but also generates sin.

That’s why there’s fighting between the Old nature and the New nature.

Those who do not follow Christ, have only their own self-determination to follow. But, in Christ, “A new life begins.” That’s why we are born again. God is at the center of the Christian life. God provides, God supplies the power for Christian daily living. Our way of looking at this world changes totally through Christ.

John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit – fruit that will last forever.”

In Christ, we are to produce fruit that glorifies God.

  • Yes, in physical marriage, our fruit is physical children.
  • So, in our spiritual marriage with Christ, our spiritual fruit is Children of God.

6. It MEANS – we are released from the Law.

We are released (free). So what does this mean?

v. 6 “6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”

This means, we are released from

  • the authority of the Law –
  • the penalty of the Law –
  • the external regulations of the Law in order to be “righteous” –
  • the ceremonial regulations that point at Christ (because Christ himself has fulfilled them).
  • We are released to serve in the new way of the Holy Spirit – who teaches us how to please God.
  • We are set free through the blood of Christ and counted righteous before God.

Let me close with this point.

(DEEP THINKING coming up)

“We died to the Law” means we are:

  • “not to break the Law, but to fulfill it” –
  • “not to cancel the Law, but to uphold it.”

What does this mean? How is it possible?

Matt 5:17-18 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, rather I have come to fulfill them. Until heaven and earth disappear, not a single stroke of the pen will disappear from the Law until it is all fulfilled.”

Christ fulfilled these requirements perfectly through his life, work, death, resurrection.

Romans 10:4 “Jesus Christ is the END of the Law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

We are not to nullify the Law, but to fulfill it.

How is this possible?

Conclusion (secret / mystery (신비))

Only by remaining in Christ – belonging to Christ – are we accepted and counted as fulfilling ALL the demands of the Law.

Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are IN Christ – because in Christ, the Law of the Spirit set you free from the Law of sin and death.”

God condemned sin in sinful man by sending his Son in order that all the requirements of the Law be fulfilled through life in the Holy Spirit.

v. 6 “6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”

God bless us, God bless you. YOU died to the Law.

Please apply this to your life.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 16 / 2017
  • Comments Off on If you KNOW it, COUNT it as True, and OFFER yourself to Christ (Romans 6:11-23)
Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

If you KNOW it, COUNT it as True, and OFFER yourself to Christ (Romans 6:11-23)

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If you KNOW it, COUNT it as true, and OFFER Yourselves to God

Romans 6:11-23 (Pastor Heo)

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Slaves to Righteousness

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (memorize it)


Important words: Know, Count, Offer

Water baptism is an outward symbol of our inward experience in which we are united/ID’d with Christ in his death, burial, resurrection. If we are ID’d with Christ in his death, all things that happened to him, will happen to us because we are united in his body when he died. Therefore, automatically, his resurrection, life, victory, glory, seat in heaven, is ours as well.

“If you are children of God, you are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” – Christ is our eldest brother (Romans 8:29?) – “Those he foreknew he also predestined… that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

This union is the STRONGEST union.

This connection with Christ is much stronger than any other physical union in this world.

This union is stronger than:

  • the vine and its branch,
  • husband and wife,
  • this building and the ground,
  • head and body.

This union is authored by the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 6:17 “He who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”

This is a VITAL union (vitamin).

The life of Christ is the life of a true believer. He is living his life through you and me. We are a channel of Jesus Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live….”

This union is PERFECT / COMPLETE.

There are many parts in our bodies (ears, nose, eyes, etc) – each part in one body is both a means and an end.

  • Hands exist for the feet.
  • Eyes exist for the ears.
  • Ears exist for the nose.
  • Everything exists for the head.
  • Head exists for each part of the body.

“You are the body of Christ. Christ is the head. Each one of you is part of the body.”

This union is INSEPARABLE.

How long is eternal life?

Our union with Christ makes our relationship to sin totally different from before. Last time, we heard many times “Know this: you are dead to sin and alive to God.” So, are you dead to sin?

What does this mean?

  1. What is sin?
    1. A: State/action against the will of God. The greatest sin is not to believe in Jesus.

In our old lives, we were alive to sin, but now we are “dead” to sin. What is the difference?

  • “Alive to sin” = dead to the sense of sin (We did not know the will of God and we did not recognize sin as sin)
  • “Dead to sin” = alive to the sense (understanding / knowledge) of sin (Now, we recognize sin as sin and we understand the will of God)

Make sense?

  1. “Dead to sin” = free FROM sin (in the past, we were free TO sin) – we are FREE from the power, presence of sin
    1. The moment we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we were completely saved once for all time from the power of sin.
    2. NOW, we are being saved from the power, presence, temptation, challenge of sin.
    3. In the future, we WILL be saved totally from the entire presence of sin when we go to heaven to be with Christ forever and ever.

“Dead to sin” = sin is no longer our Master. (We once were followers of sin, now we are FIGHTERS against sin.)

“I’m a fighter of sin!”

v. 11 “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (very important)

This is the second important word in this chapter (to count – account – or believe what God says is true)

Important words: Know, Count, Offer

Bible does not tell us to “feel” that you are dead to sin, but ACT upon it and claim it for yourselves. This is a matter of FAITH that issues itself in ACTION. (Have you ever endorsed a check? If you really believe the money is in the checking account, you will sign your name and claim the money.)

“Counting” is:

  • NOT “claim a promise”
    • but “ACT on a promise” –
  • this is NOT “try to be dead to sin”
    • but ACT on the FACT that you are dead to sin.

Q: Even if we do not ACT on a FACT, is it TRUE? Yes!

This is reality. So, receive this reality as real and the truth as true and act on this fact.

  1. 3rd important word: “Offer”
  • 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
  • 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
  • 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.

Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you brothers in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies to God as pleasing sacrifices. This is your spiritual act of worship.”

  • The OT sacrifices were dead (animal) sacrifices.
  • But the NT sacrifices, God asks for LIVING sacrifices. Yes, God may ask SOME people to die for him (can you?), but God asks ALL of us to LIVE for Him.

Q: How – if we must offer our bodies to God, HOW can we do so?

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.

This is an act of the WILL. Based on the knowledge of what Christ has done for us, this is an intelligent act, not an emotional reaction to a moving moment. Look at the verb tenses (시제).

These are imperative verbs yes?

The literal translation of v. 13 =

“Do not constantly allow sin to reign in your mortal body so that you are constantly obeying its laws. Also do not constantly offer your members of your body as tools and instruments of sin, but ONCE AND FOR ALL, offer yourself to God.” (This ONCE AND FOR ALL is also described in Romans 12:1)

In our lives, (are you Christian?) – there must be a final and complete surrender of our body to God. It does not mean there will not be further steps of surrender – because the longer we walk with God, the further/deeper we walk with/surrender to Him.

Yes, we daily surrender to Christ, but even this is based on the FIRST, ONCE AND FOR ALL, surrender. This is the tense of Romans 12:1 and this 6:13.

Q: WHY does God want our bodies?

God eagerly, earnestly wants to use your body.

  1. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because it is the temple of God, he wants to use your body/my body for his glory and holiness.
  2. At the same time, it is God’s tool, weapon, workmanship.
    1. He wants to build his kingdom in this world (tool).
    2. He wants to use us to fight against his enemies (weapon).
  • God used Moses to conquer Egypt.
  • God used David to conquer the Philistines.
  • God used the mouths of the prophets to spread his message and
  • God used the feet of Paul to spread the gospel.
  • He used five pieces of bread and fish to feed 5000 adult men (+ women/children).
  • God wants to use our bodies to defeat the power of our enemy Satan.

Q: So, WHY are we to OFFER our bodies?

3 words are keywords (reasons for this surrender):

1. Grace 은혜

“Sin shall not be your master because we are not under Law but under Grace” – we are not saved by the Law, we do not live/stand under the Law. But, though we are saved by Grace, this is no reason to sin, but rather, reason to OBEY.

Sin and Law go together all the time. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.” Since we are dead to sin and alive to God, sin is robbed of its power and strength. Have you ever experienced God’s abundant grace? If so, you cannot sin continually.

2. Freedom

16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.

Practical translation of v. 19

“We must be AS enthusiastic/zealous in offering our bodies to Christ as we WERE enthusiastic/zealous in offering our bodies to sin.”

The illustration of Master/slave is easy to understand. Whatever we allow to become our Master – we are slaves to this. But now that we are slaves to Christ, we are free from Sin.

The message = REAL FREEDOM can be found only by being a Slave to Christ.

We know the story of the Prodigal son very well. This is a clear example of this truth.

  1. First he was a slave of wrong desires, then wrong actions, then a literal slave when he took care of pigs.
  2. He wanted to find himself but he lost himself.
  3. What he THOUGHT was freedom, turned out to became the WORST kind of slavery.
  4. It was only when he returned home to the father that he found real, true freedom.

3. Fruit (Do you like fruit?)

If you work, you expect payment. If you serve a master, you expect a salary. This is fruit.

21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If we serve a boss or master, we can expect some form of payment.

Sin is also a Master and God is a Master.

  • If we serve Sin, our salary = death.
  • If we serve God, our salary = holiness, eternal life.
  1. In our old selves, we produced the fruit that made us ashamed. (Have you experienced this?)
  2. In our new lives now, we produce fruit that glorifies God.

v. 23

“The wages of sin is death…” – this is usually applied to the lost (non-Christians) – that’s true, but it ALSO applies to US. This is a warning for the saved as well because this truth is applied not only in the spiritual world, but also in the physical world.

  • In the spiritual world, if we sin by not accepting Jesus Christ, the penalty is not receiving eternal life.
  • In the physical world, if we sin habitually, by doing something against the will of God, our physical life can also be taken away earlier.

Samson

Samson’s story is a clear example of this truth. I believe Samson was saved in his spirit, but lost his life earlier because of his lust and sin with Delilah who cut off his hair.

“but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”

These three words need to be heeded daily.

  1. KNOW – you have been crucified with Christ, dead to sin, alive to God
  2. COUNT – this to be true and act on the fact in your life
  3. OFFER – yourselves to God to be used by him in his story, for his glory

God bless us with his living and powerful message.

Let’s pray.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen