Understanding God's Rich Mercy

“You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.“ (Ephesians 2:1)

 

INTRODUCTION

 Many people believe that most people are basically good. The Bible says that is incorrect. All people are born sinners. The Word of God says, without equivocation, that “wherein in times past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature children of wrath, even as others”.   (Ephesians 2:2-3) So all are sinners. All sinners are under the wrath of God. That's what we need saving from! Of course,  Ephesians echoes Isaiah which says that we have each individually sinned by choice. (Isaiah 53:6) However, when Adam disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the tree in the garden of Eden, according to scripture ,he died. He died spiritually. Moreover, not only did Adam die, but all his posterity died in him. (Romans 5:12-21)  This doctrine of original sin is not believed by all, but it is stated clearly in God’s word. It is sin, and therefore death, that is true of every one of Adam's descendants. It is what all need to be saved from.

I. THE HOLINESS OF GOD

God  states in His Word that He is holy and cannot tolerate sin. That is why He calls us to be holy, because He is holy. God is also majestic, omnipotent, omniscient, unchanging, omnipresent, merciful, and love. In Isaiah chapter one, God’s word  describes that “The ox knows  its  owner but my children do not know me”. However, God calls his  rebellious children to “Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool”. Though God knows us and all that we have ever done or ever will do, He loves us and wants us to know Him, and He is merciful, and in the Lord Jesus Christ, God gives us His saving faith to all who repent and believe in the Lord Jesus.

What we see repeated in scripture is that mankind is sinful by Nature. We find in Romans 3:23,  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” And in Romans 3:10,11,18, “….There is none righteous, no not one”. “....there is none that seeketh after God”.  “There is no fear of God before their eyes”.  The result is that all (that is everyone) are children of Wrath. All are under condemnation. The really good news is that God is merciful! We see in Ephesians 2 that “God who is rich in mercy has  made us  alive in Christ”. He has raised us up and made us sit together in The Lord Jesus Christ in heavenly places, in Him. By God’s grace alone we are saved. From what? From the wrath of God. It is God alone who saves. It is not just cleaning us up a little. In Christ, we are made  “a new creation” in Him. (Second Corinthians 5:20).

II. OLD MAN CRUCIFIED IN CHRIST

In Romans 6, God’s word explains that our Old  Man, which is the man we were in Adam, was crucified with Christ. This is the truth of God’s word, and He tells us that He, and He alone, has translated us out of Adam’s kingdom (the kingdom of darkness) and into the kingdom of God’s dear son that the body of sin might be destroyed or rendered ineffective or inert. The tense that is used there is the aorist tense which means it has been accomplished one time only. It happened in the past already. We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. (Romans 3:24) We have been placed in the Lord Jesus Christ, when we surrender our will to Him in true repentance, and He gives us saving faith. It is all of God. By the works of the law shall no flesh be saved. By the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20) We are in union with Him as “the branch is in the vine”. Joined with Him, and God has made Him to be for us, “wisdom, righteousness,  sanctification, and redemption”.

This is truth! We are told that every person born into the world is “born in sin and conceived in iniquity”, therefore, all are dead in trespasses and sins and under the wrath of God. It is God’s wrath that we need saving from, and thanks be unto God our Father that He so loved the world that he sent- “He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”. (John 3:16)

This is God’s rich mercy. No matter how much mercy you believe that God has- He has more!

Therefore, the call is to “Repent from our sin,”and “believe in, and receive The Lord Jesus Christ”. He calls us to “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Therefore ,we turn from our wicked ways and purpose and endeavor to live as becomes the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

God purposes to redeem all who repent from their sin and surrender their will to Christ, and  believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. He purposes to make us Holy! Even as He said to Isaiah. He also purposes to redeem us.

He says in John 17:3 that “this is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent”. This is a creation of God. Therefore pray for all you know to repent and place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

III. THE UNION WITH CHRIST

In the sixth Chapter of Romans, Paul is confronted with the ignorant question, “....shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” (vs 1) God’s revealed purpose for His people is to make us, and all His people, “Holy”. (Ephesisans 1:3-4) We (our “old man”, the man we were in Adam) “was crucified with Christ” and we have been “planted together in the likeness of His death [and] we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection”. This is true now for all of God’s children! We don’t “feel” this, we take it as true because God has said it in His Word! As Abraham believed God because he said it, so are we to believe God because He has spoken it. We walk in “newness of life” now. We have been placed in union with Christ. We are “baptized” into Him by the Holy Spirit and essentially, what has happened to Him literally has actually happened to us spiritually (Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The New Man, Commentary on Romans Chapter 6).

This is an essential union engrafted into Christ. As He says, in John Chapter 15, He is the vine and we are the branches in Him. In verse 11 of Chapter 6 of Romans, we find this: “Likewise reckon….. yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” This is now. We are dead unto sin and alive unto God that He will make us Holy.

Therefore, we are in union with Christ. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says on page 60 of his commentary, The New Man, on Romans Chapter 6, “Let there be no doubt or hesitation about believing it and living upon it. It is one of the absolute certainties of our Christian faith.” We are united to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are under the reign of grace. (Romans 6:14)

Moreover, this is God’s Holy Word. It is Truth! It is not something experimental according to Dr. Llyod-Jones and we see this Holy Truth stated clearly here in this 6th Chapter of Romans. This is the knowledge of faith resting on and grounded and revealed in Scripture. This is an objective statement in God’s Word. We are in union with our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says on pages 66 and 67 of his commentary on Romans Chapter 6 (The New Man) that God told Abraham (Romans 4) that he would be the father of many nations.

“God made that statement to Abraham, and Abraham did not say, ‘I am nearly a hundred years old and Sarah is ninety; what you are saying is therefore impossible’. He did not stagger, he believed God’s word. He saw all the difficulties, and he felt nothing experimentally. There was Abraham standing under the stars. And God said to him ‘Look at them, can you count them? So shall thy seed be. Can you count the sand on the seashore?  So shall thy seed be’. To a man aged ninety-nine with a wife of ninety! Abraham felt nothing. How could he? There was nothing experimental about it, indeed his natural feelings were all against it. It was just a statement made by God to the effect that that was what was going to happen. And Abraham on the bare word of God believed it! 

You and I have to do the same with this statement. I would not know that I was in Adam if God had not told me so in His Word. I would not know that I have been baptized into Christ unless He had told me. This is an action of the Holy Spirit, which is non-experimental. The Holy Spirit ‘baptizes’ me into Christ. It is not a baptism of or with the Spirit, it is a baptism by the Spirit, He baptizes me into union with Christ. I know that because I find it in this Word; and I know that I have died to sin because the Word tells me so. It is not experimental at this stage at all; it is the bare statement of God, and I must believe it as Abraham believed that Word. I may feel that I am a sinner, that sin is in me. That is certainly true, But on the bare Word of God, I believe this, that I died with Christ. I am no longer in Adam. ‘There is therefore now no condemnation’ to me, because I am in Christ. Whatever feelings may be, whatever the devil may suggest to me, however much the facts may seem to be flying in the face of the statement, faith sees the promise, holds on to it and believes it. And as a result glorious experiences follow. You first believe the Word, then you will have proof that it is true. But at this stage we must regard it objectively, and take it on the bare Word of God.

That is what the Apostle is concerned about here, If ‘we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection’. Let hell say ‘No’, let everything within you and without you say ‘No’ , it does not matter. Stand on the foundation of God, plant your feet on this great and glorious promise, because it is true. This is the very essence of the faith position. I am not ‘taking’ an experience ‘by faith’, I am taking and believing by faith what God tells me He has done. He tells me that He has put me into Christ, and that because I am in Christ I have died with Him, I have risen with Him, I am walking in newness of life with Him.”

 

CONCLUSION:

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty dominion and power, both now and ever,. Amen.

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