AND OF HIS FULLNESS HAVE ALL WE RECEIVED AND GRACE UPON GRACE (JOHN 1:16)
The events that are taking place in the world today are evidence of an increasing sign of the wickedness of man and that the earth is filled with violence. All one needs to do is to look at the things that are happening in our world at the present time and ask why is our world the way it is? There are millions of illegal immigrants in the United States of America, and their presence actually makes it more difficult for legal immigrants to enter lawfully. But, it's not merely the United States. Europe is flooded with immigrants from Iraq, Syria, and other Muslim countries, all purportedly fleeing persecution. Many undoubtedly are. However, there is a stated plan among many Muslims to enter all of these countries, including the United States of America, and turn them into Muslim countries. There are statements from ISIS that date back as far as 2014 and 2015 which reveal that that is the plan. There are other confirmations of the plan that have appeared from time to time since then. All of this, though not commonly reported in the liberal news media, should be apparent to almost anyone who is paying attention. These so-called caravans illegally heading toward and entering into the United States of America are being financed and driven – not necessarily by persecution, though there are some who are being persecuted – but by a motivation to overthrow the Government of the United States of America and all free governments and to establish ultimately a one-world government with a one-world church and a one-world economy.
Thus, we see confirmation of God's Holy Word as it appears in Genesis Chapter 6 which says, “then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5) This historic scripture from Genesis Chapter 6 is exactly the sign and the indication that the Lord Jesus Christ gives as to the time of his glorious appearing and the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Matthew Chapter 24, the Lord Jesus Christ says, “but of that day and hour no one knows, not even the Angels of heaven, but my father only. But as the days of Noah were so also will the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the arc, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the son of man be." (Matthew 24:36-39)
Many sound Christian commentators and expositors believe that the time of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is drawing near. We are told that we are in the last days. We are also told in 2 Timothy Chapter 3 from God's holy Word, “but know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
There can be no more important and critical time for Christians, and indeed, for others to know the truth which Jesus said shall set them free. In chapter 20 of the Gospel of John, the apostle John stated that he had written these things down at the direction of the Holy Spirit, “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:31) Therefore, we see in the prologue of the Gospel of John that he has stated that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal word of the living God, who was with God and who was God, “came to His own and His own did not receive Him. “But to as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:11-13) Then he states the mighty words which are set forth above, “And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for Grace." (John 1:16) We that have received the Lord Jesus Christ have received of all his fullness! Therefore our joy should be full.
There seem to be many professing Christians who are not evidencing this joy. Indeed, there are many sound Christians who are reporting the failures of many so-called “church leaders" including seminary leaders who do not believe the historical accuracy of God's holy Word in the early chapters of Genesis. Ken Hamm has written some excellent books and done some excellent work through Answers in Genesis to show the historical accuracy of the book of Genesis, which is the book of beginnings. Brannon Howse, through worldviewtimes.com has written and produced programs that can be seen at www.wvwtv.com and/or read, to show the so-called professing Christian leaders who are promoting communistic Socialism, progressivism, redistribution of wealth, reunification with the Roman Catholic Church, fellowship with Muslim leaders, and many other things that either intentionally or unknowingly, are promoting a one-world church, a one-world government, a one-world economy, all leading to and promoting the anti-Christ and his counterfeit program.
The existence of these things which are being disclosed by faithful men, but which you cannot read, learn, or hear about from the liberal media, is exactly the kind of thing which the Lord Jesus Christ addresses in the 24th chapter of Matthew. You can also see corresponding parallel passages in Luke 21 and in Mark 13. The Lord Jesus Christ warns his disciples, which include all of us who name the name of Christ to, “take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ. And will deceive many and you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will arise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:4-8) The elaboration is that these things are like birth bangs for a woman in travail with child. They will increase in frequency and intensity and will continue until the birth of the child. In this case, the analogy is that these difficulties will continue in frequency and intensity until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. So we can know that the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ and his eminent return draws near. While we do not know, indeed, are not meant to know, the exact day and the hour, we are expected to understand and to know that when we see all these things which are set forth in Matthew 24, that the return of Christ is near, even at the door. Christ states there that “this generation will by no means pass away until all these things take place." (Matthew 24:34)
In the apostle Paul's great epistle to the church at Rome, the Lord God through his Holy Spirit, calls Paul to write those things which are eternally beneficial to Christians everywhere. In the first chapter of the book of Romans, Paul makes it clear that it is the Gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. (1:16) He goes on to declare in v. 18 through 32 of chapter 1 that all are without excuse, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven now against all ungodliness and unrighteousness and those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. In chapter 2 and part of chapter 3, God's Word discloses that “there is none righteous, none, not one.” (Romans 2:10) Indeed, there is no fear of God before their eyes. The apostle Paul affirms that everyone, both Jew and Gentile, shall not be saved by the law. All need the Lord Jesus Christ, Jew and Gentile alike. Indeed, he says that “by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20) Nevertheless, the good news is that while “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in his forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that he might be both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:23–26) In Chapter 4 of Romans, God's Word tells us that we are justified by God alone; not by our works; not in anyway trusting in our record, but by faith alone. God’s Word says in Ephesians that we are justified “by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9) The Lord God uses the example of Abraham who believed God “being fully convinced that what He [God] had promised He was able to perform. And therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Roman's 4:21-22) Subsequently he sets out a mighty argument in the 5th chapter of Romans. I urge you to read and study this great 5th chapter of Romans, but a brief look at key portions of the first half of the chapter should assist us in growing in assurance of our salvation and sanctification, which should also assist in our joy being made full.
I. JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
In verse one of Chapter 5, we find the following: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Here we see stated affirmatively that we have been justified by faith. It has already occurred. If you have received the Lord Jesus Christ and believed in him by faith alone you have been justified. As a result, all who have done that have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We are no longer at war with God. We are no longer at enmity with God. We are no longer enemies of God.
Indeed, we are told also that “we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; And experience, hope; And hope makes us not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:3–5) Here we are assured that tribulation, which is really difficulties of all kinds, is to be expected. In the world, the Lord Jesus said, we will have tribulation. But we are to be of good cheer and to glory in and rejoice in the tribulation, for the Lord Jesus Christ says he has overcome the world. Indeed, perhaps as significant as anything is we see that there is a design and a purpose even to the difficulties and tribulations which we encounter; for they work patience which is really steadfastness. Steadfastness helps us to hold our profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ firm unto the end. We remain steadfast. That works experience. Experience comes from the Greek word for “approvedness”. It means that God himself is approving us and giving us evidence of the fact that he approves us. And that experience works hope, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory. Hope makes us not ashamed, for the love of God - that is God's love for us - is made evident and shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. The same Holy Spirit which abides in us by and through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the same Holy Spirit who empowered the Lord Jesus Christ.
II. THE TIMING OF CHRIST'S DEATH FOR US
In verse 6 Chapter 5 of Romans, we are told explicitly that “for when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Paul goes on in verses 7-8, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”(Roman's 5:6-8)
This is a great statement of the love of God for us. As we started in the gospel of John and set forth “of his fullness have all we received and grace upon grace”, we see this fullness poured out to all of us here. In perhaps the most familiar verse for most Christians, John 3:16, we see that, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." To affirm this, Paul also writes to his young protégé, Timothy, in First Timothy Chapter 1 and tells him, “This is a faithful saying … that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom [Paul said] I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." (1 Timothy 1:15–16)
Therefore, we see that the timing of the death of Christ was according to God's “due time". His appointed time! At this time it is clear that all were ungodly. That is who Jesus came and died for. While all were yet without strength, Christ died for us - for the ungodly.
In verse 8, we see that “God commends his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Christ died for us while we were yet ungodly sinners and before we had done anything that could even be arguably set forth as meritorious. We are without any merit. Of course, we are told in the Holy Scripture that by the works of the law shall no flesh be saved. Salvation is by God alone, by his great grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. These verses, verses 6 through 8, confirm that, and explain that, and further give exposition of that very fact. Salvation is of God alone. We receive the Lord Jesus Christ by God's grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, it is by God alone. It is while we were yet sinners, while we were yet ungodly, before we had ever been born, and before we had ever thought about doing anything, that God commended his love toward us, and Christ died for us.
Of course, the work was done by the eternal son of the living God, the second person of the trinity. He planned it with the Father, who sent the Son to do it, and the Son of God delighted to do it. In the 4th chapter of the epistle to the Galatians in verse 4, Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit, says exactly the same thing: “when the fullness of time was come (in due time) God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law." Salvation is not some kind of afterthought with God. It is not that God said well I have tried everything else I guess I better come up with something else. No! Before the foundation of the world He set forth the Lord Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sin by his blood, through faith in him, that he might be both just and the justifier of those who place their trust in Christ alone for their salvation.
Here we see that Christ DIED for the ungodly. Notice that were not talking about Christ's teaching; nor the miracles. It is because Christ died. Thus, we see that it is the death of Christ (the shedding of his blood – which we will see a few verses down) that affirm that Christ had to die in order to save us. This is amazing! Why did Christ come into the world? In order “to taste death for every man” according to the 3rd chapter of Hebrews. He died for the ungodly. He died for sinners. He died on the Cross. Isaac Watts talks about surveying the wondrous Cross:
“When I survey the wondrous Cross
On which the Prince of glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.”
That's it, we are called to “survey”, not just merely give a glance to the Cross of Christ, but to survey it. Study it intently, and when we do, we, as did Paul, count our richest gain as but loss, indeed dung or rubbish, and pour contempt on all my pride.
III. THE RESULT OF CHRIST'S DEATH
In Romans 5:9, God's Word states through the apostle Paul, “much more then being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” This tells us that this is an even greater matter. We learned back in the first chapter of Romans in this epistle to the Church at Rome, that the wrath of God is already revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness and against those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. These are liars! Here we see that not only has God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, but now MUCH MORE – even more so that we have now been justified by his blood. In verse one of the 5th chapter, the great apostle said, “therefore, having been justified by faith…" Here, however, we see him saying, “being now justified by his BLOOD." In verse 10, he said we have been “reconciled" unto God. What is the difference? Faith is the channel through which justification comes. But it is not “faith” that saves us. What really procures justification for us, that is the ground of our justification, is our Lord Jesus Christ's righteousness and obedience to God's holy law, including his death. It is his blood shed on the Cross that is the crucial focal point. So all of these matters are linked together. God solved the problem of justification and reconciliation by his grace alone so we can say that we are justified by the grace of God. The grace of God comes to us through this channel of faith, but God has dealt with the problem of our guilt, our sinfulness, our ungodliness, in and through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross and the shedding of his blood. So Paul can say that we are justified by his blood, we are justified by his death.
Next in this magnificent passage of scripture, we see the Lord's Word telling us that “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:10) We have been reconciled unto God by the Lord Jesus Christ by his blood – by his death. When we realize that we have already been reconciled unto God and that our sins are therefore already forgiven, and, we have been made a child of God through the Lord Jesus Christ, we glory at and rejoice in God our Savior. In 2 Corinthians Chapter 5, we find this written; “Now all things are of God, who has RECONCILED us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:18–19) Thus, because our reconciliation – our justification – our salvation, even while we were ungodly, sinners, indeed, even enemies, is all of God, we can and should glory in him and rejoice in God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the 2nd half of the 5th chapter, the apostle Paul uses the great argument that declares that because Adam sinned we all sinned. We were all “in Adam". He was our federal head. Because we were all in him when he sinned, we all sinned. Now, indeed, scripture tells us that we have all committed individual sins. It is because we have this sin nature which we received from Adam that we commit individual sins.
God's Word here contrasts this with the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is also our federal head. He is indeed the “second man,” the beginning of a new humanity. He is called the last Adam. Because of his obedience, even so by his righteousness the free gift of reconciliation, justification, and salvation came upon all men unto justification of life in the Lord Jesus Christ. What a great plan. What a great purpose. It is all of God! He has saved us in and through the Lord Jesus Christ even while we were yet sinners, ungodly, yes, indeed, even enemies to God and God saw us as enemies. He set forth Christ as the propitiation of our sin that he might be both just and the justifier of those who place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. We are saved, reconciled unto God by the death of his son and saved from God’s wrath by his life. Hallelujah what a Savior! Therefore we can say:
“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’s blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lien on Jesus’s name;
On Christ, the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand”
Therefore, we can place no confidence in the flesh. It is my prayer that God himself will help all of us to mortify every tendency to trust in our own record, or to place confidence in the flesh. The apostle Paul said he places no confidence in the flesh. In Philippians Chapter 3, Paul says, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but lost for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means, I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." (Philippians 3:7–11)
May that be our prayer for each other, for all of our children and grandchildren, and others with whom we come in contact or know.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect unto every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory for ever and ever amen.
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