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Community Bible Chapel Podcast
5/12/19 A Different Way To Live – Living in Grace
Jack has been plagued by a lifetime of guilt and shame.
-He was well liked as a kid, shoveled the neighbor’s driveway, and had a good reputation.
-He excelled in High School, lettering in three sports and was a straight A student.
-Everyone had high expectations for Jack, but the pressure was a heavy weight.
-Every day was filled with trying to please everyone and excel in everything.
-Feelings of guilt began to dominate his thinking as he failed.
-That pushed him to cheat and lie in order to look good to those around him.
-And he even convinced himself that he was better than he was.
-He went off to college and life fell apart.
-He started drinking and living promiscuously.
-His grades were boarder-line and the guilt just mounted.
-When school ended, he got a good job, and got married.
-These things only increased the pressure to excel and though he thought that when he was out on his own, the guilt would fade away, it didn’t.
-It only grew worse.
-Not knowing what to do about the guilt, life continued to get worse, which took a lot more energy to keep up the persona that he was doing well.
-No matter what he did, he was overwhelmed with a guilt that he just couldn’t shake and was shaking him to his core.
Now, many of us know people like Jack and you would never know it because they hide it so well.
-They seem to be doing great, but their daily existence is filled with guilt.
-What started out as a good thing (a desire to do well), ended up in a sinful mess.
-We might wonder, PJ how can a desire to do well be sinful?
-Nothing, until that desire turns into a life dominating desire.
“I must have” altered Jack’s thinking to the point where he didn’t want to let others see his “less than perfect life”.
-He struggled with heart idols of acceptance and pride that were clouded over in guilt and never brought under the influence of the Gospel.
-We hear these stories and begin to wonder if there is any help for Jack.
-Does the Bible offer any hope for him – for us?
Today we continue the series A Different Way To Live
-We introduced the series with the Hope of the resurrection.
-We then looked at living generously, and last week learning how to live in trust of God rather than worry and fear.
-And our Life groups helped us to dig deeper into our heart this week.
Today, we want to look at how our justification helps us with the guilt that comes from our sin and the heart idols that drive it.
I invite you to join me in Romans 5. Page 513 – You version (updated the internet – CBC Guest)
-The context of this passage up to this point is to hook sinners up with the Gospel that brings life.
-In the Gospel, God invites all people to come into relationship with Him by faith, which brings forgiveness for sin.
-Now, Paul changes course to speak to what happens after we come to faith in Jesus.
-He addresses two things that are so very helpful to us.
1. Our justification will lead to heaven.
-The fact that we are forgiven and given Christ’s righteousness will bring us to salvation in Him.2. God will help us to gain victory in our continuing struggle with sin.
Listen for those themes as we read the passage.
READ Romans 5
-Then Paul goes on to discuss the question of how we live our lives in this new grace that has been given us in Jesus.
-Continue reading at home, because it’s a great chapter in a great book, but we are going to focus on how grace overcomes guilt and gives us a different way to live.
The Problem – Guilt
Now, I say the problem is guilt, but that is the symptom that we see, but understand that there is a heart sin that lies under what we see.
-But as we continue to consider a different way to live, we are going to address the guilt to start with.
Guilt = a state of being.
James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”
-Pretty simple concept – break the law and you are guilty.
-Our whole justice system (at least until the last 20 years) has worked on this truth.
-Of course while we are talking about Biblical truth, the guilt from our sin is immense as this verse points out.
-Break just one of God’s laws and you are a lawbreaker – guilty before a Holy God and in desperate need of forgiveness.
-So true guilt comes from our sin – that’s pretty simple.
-But feelings of guilt can come in other ways as well.
-Sometimes we feel guilty even after God has forgiven us in Christ.
-Sometimes we feel guilty because of some rule that I applied to myself or that others have applied to me and I failed.
-On the other side, sometimes I don’t feel any guilt because I have no knowledge of God or because I have sinned so long that I have “seared the conscience”.
-So we have to be a little carful and explore the reason for the guilt we feel.
-But understand that true guilt is not a feeling – it is a state of bring.
Shame is a different animal that is subjective and feeling based.
-Shame can result from the guilt of our sin.
-But shame can also result from being violated by someone else’s sin.
-Or just that you don’t fit into a cultural standard.
-We can talk about forgiveness for guilt, but shame is not always connected to forgiveness.
–Ed Welch in “Shame Interrupted” makes this point.
“Guilt lives in the courtroom where you stand alone before a judge. Shame lives in the community . . . It says “you don’t belong – you are unacceptable, unclean, and disgraced”
-Where being embarrassed fades over a short period of time, and you laugh it off because everybody has experienced it.
-You never laugh about shame.
-Shame leaves you feeling publically naked and exposed to everyone.
-It can be identity forming . . .
-I am bad, unclean, disgusting.
Now, as we return to the passage, as believers we have an understanding of the Gospel and how all our sin is forgiven through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
-We have accepted the Gospel and look forward to our salvation, but what about today, when I sin again?
-There are many folks like Jack that live in constant guilt.
-Some of the reason for that is that they mistake justification for sanctification.
-By that I mean that when they come to Christ, they think they should be perfect.
-When they sin again, or find out that they aren’t perfect . . . then what?
-What do they do with the guilt from new sin?
-Or past sin that they don’t think God’s grace is big enough to forgive.
-Or like Jack who have a lifetime pattern of sinful desire.
-Thankfully God has the most wonderful solution for guilt and shame.
Solution For Guilt – Grace
-There are a number of things in this chapter we could zero in on, but because of time, allow me to focus on the main points of v. 1-11 as they relate to God’s solution for guilt.
Peace with God
V. 1 “justified through faith . . . peace with God”
-Through faith we are justified in Christ.
-That’s the Gospel of grace.
-We deserved death but God gave us life in Him.-Justification means that we are forgiven of all our sin and given the righteousness of Jesus.
-Verse 10 tells us that we were enemies of God – at war with Him.
-Now, many unbelievers might not consider themselves at war with God.
-They may not be actively hating God and may consider themselves “neutral”.
-But we are either at peace with God through faith in Jesus or we are at peace with the things of this world, which is hostility toward God as Romans 8:7 states.
-Through faith, we are at peace with God, and that happened the moment that we trusted in Jesus’ payment on the cross, and is also a state of being, whether we feel like it or not.
-There is no outstanding debt between us and God as Jesus has paid it all – past – present – future sin, small, medium, and huge sins – all settled.
-In our justification, God, who was our enemy, becomes our Heavenly Father.
-You can’t be guilty and at peace with God at the same time.
Standing Before God
V. 2 “access by faith into this grace in which we now stand”
-Because of the guilt of sin, the Jews could not enter into the Holy of Holies.
-Only the High priest could enter in and offer the sacrifice.
-But as Jesus died on the cross, the temple veil was rent in two and access became possible for all who believe.
-Whether we are a despicable law breaker or we make every effort to keep it, we cannot enter in and stand before God because we are all guilty of sin.
-But we don’t stand in our understanding or our ability to keep the Law, we only stand in His grace.
-And in His grace, we stand perfectly and permanently righteous, not because of what we do, but because of what He did.
-That is not dependant on how much faith we have, because even that is a gift from God.
-His grace is sufficient for all sin.
-When we continue in our feelings of guilt, we are saying that God’s grace is not enough for my sin.
-We need to agree with that grace and stand tall in God’s forgiveness.
Character of God
V. 3-4 “Suffering, perseverance, character, hope.”
-This is the sanctification piece of our salvation which is ongoing through our lifetime.
-Sin always causes suffering.
-Some might wonder, PJ if we are justified and have right standing before God, then why is life so hard?
-The answer to that is simple – we still sin.
-Sometime we suffer because others sin or because this world is sin cursed, but the answer is the same – sin.
-In our thinking, trials work against us, but in this passage and in God’s economy, trials work for us.
-They are meant to grow us more like Christ – to grow God’s character in us.
-But the equation of suffering by itself might not help us.
-Meaning that we can go through suffering and not grow from it.
–That’s when trials produce bitterness, but trials plus Jesus (Biblical truth and thinking) produces growth.
-Suffering + Jesus=perseverance, perseverance + Jesus = character, character + Jesus = hope.
-As we apply Biblical truth to the suffering, we grow.
-Guilt is swallowed up in God’s provision and we grow in grace.
Love of God
V. 5-8 “Hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love . . .”
-God’s love has not been measured out by the drop, but in an immeasurable flood.
-In His death on the cross, Jesus emptied the love well.
-So much that He came to indwell us who are in Christ.
-John MacArthur says of God’s love.
“Our spiritual security is not in our ability to live godly, but in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to make us godly.”
-And what is even more amazing is the fact that “Christ died for the ungodly” v. 6 and “while we were still sinners” v. 8
-He didn’t wait for us to get our stuff together so we could justify ourselves and enter into His presence, but while we were His enemies, Jesus died for us.
-That is true love – doing what is best for the other person, no matter the cost.
-Guilt fades in the power of God’s love.
Reconciliation of God
V. 11 “Received reconciliation”
-The passage summarizes all of this in God’s work of reconciliation.
-As we have said, that is all His work and comes to us in the package of grace.
-We don’t have to prove ourselves perfect to be reconciled – God has reconciled us in Christ.
-He is the only perfect One.
These come together as the solution to our guilt – God’s great grace.
-And when grace comes to us in Christ, our guilt has been done away with.
-The feelings of guilt may or may not fade, but the guilt of our sin is gone.
A Different Way To Live – Grace
We return to Jack.
Jack has been reading through Hebrews 10.
-It spoke to the OT worship that couldn’t “make perfect” those bringing sacrifices.
-But how Jesus’ sacrifice “makes perfect” those who believe in Him.
-He began to realize that he had been worshipping God just like the Jews of the OT.
-Always left guilty and needing another sacrifice (another good work) to cover sin.
-That’s how he lived his life – always in guilt and never finding peace.
-But that began to change.
-Now, there was grace for a whole lifetime of worshiping heart idols of pride and acceptance.-He realized that his heart is a mess, but it’s only ever made perfect in Christ.
-It no longer mattered how others saw him, it only mattered how God saw him.
-And in his justification, God saw him as perfect in Christ.
-Peace with God was not just a future thing, but was true today.
-He was in right standing with God, not because he was anything, but because he was in Christ.
-His life took off in a new direction.
-Not that it was easy, but he began to grow more like Jesus because of the trials he was going through.
-He began to deal with the heart idols that plagued him his entire life, and began to find them fully satisfied in Christ.
-Those idols that were deceiving and enslaving him were now bringing freedom in Christ.
-He started to see the love of God as a complete love, and he was lacking nothing.
-Reconciliation was not just something that happened when he died and went to heaven, but he was fully reconciled now.
Jack was transformed from the deepest part of his soul.
-No longer living out of sin and guilt.
There was now joy as v. 2, 3, 11 speak of.
-So many brothers and sisters never agree with God’s Word or understand what God has done and continue to be weighed down in guilt that God has forgiven.
-They have accepted God’s grace for salvation, but then get discouraged about themselves and get stuck thinking that their growth in Christ is all up to them.
-Then the joy fades back into guilt and shame that they work hard to hide.
-Old patterns die hard.
-God has called us to live differently.-Jack has a new passion for serving in Church – no longer to look good to others, but now he serves just for God’s glory and in thanksgiving.
-He is serving joyfully instead of grudgingly.
-And when sin creeps back in . . .
v. 20 “where sin increased, grace increased all the more”
-I don’t know about you, but I join with Paul in seeing myself as the “worst of sinners” because then I get to celebrate all the more often and all the more deeply the wonderful grace of Jesus.
Life is different in grace.