Have you ever just been awestruck by a single statement? Maybe something you read in the newspaper just floored you. Maybe something someone said on TV made your eyes widen. Possibly it was a statement in a great novel or book that inspired you or really made you think. Sometimes these awesome short-statements come in the form of the spoken word, because how many times do we just need someone to say hello and ask us how we are? Plenty of times in life we come across these short, yet powerful statements. As I am beginning to read closely and meditate on the Letter of Paul to the Romans, I have been awestruck by one single verse tonight. As I sit on this couch listening to Hillsong, I am left with the worship of their voices and the conviction of God’s Word. He speaks through His Word and He has spoken through His Word. Our God is an active and living God and while I may be drawing near the end of my day as I become a motionless body in sleep, God never sleeps and He never grows weary or tired. He convicts at 11:30 in the dead of night just the same as He would at 2:00 in the afternoon. Maybe it is the serenity of this quiet room or just the focusing of my mind on this text, but I am drawn to its truth and I am seeing more beauties into God’s glory, namely in the person of Jesus Christ. I want to expose three things I think this text is saying about Jesus Christ and the glory of His grace.
The verse is Romans 1:5 and the theme that comes to mind is: Because of Jesus…
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ” – Romans 1:1-6
BECAUSE OF JESUS…
- Because of Jesus we have received grace. This is undoubtedly the most obvious and most agreeable truth and doctrine among almost all evangelical Christians. Paul says in Romans 1:5, “…through whom we have received grace…” Now, taking a look at the beautiful context of this text, it is obvious that it is through Jesus that Paul (and we) receives grace. “[Christ Jesus] was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4). Jesus’ lordship and power came into full effect when He victoriously rose from death to defeat sin, Satan, and death. It is by this power and through the power of the Holy Spirit that we receive this grace from Him. It is through Jesus, the Lord of lords and King of kings, that we receive grace. We cannot receive grace from God on our own merit. It is literally impossible for us to please God. Paul goes on to tell us in Romans that no one is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10-18). We stand before God as guilty sinners who slander His name on a daily basis at best. In light of His holiness compared to our sinfulness, there must be a miracle to reconcile the great break in this relationship. Praise be to God that Jesus is our miracle and He became our reconciler as He lived perfectly, died obediently and willingly, and rose from death victoriously to bring our faith into effect. Because of Jesus and particularly His resurrection, our faith in Him is not in vain, but brought to fruition. We have assurance because of His resurrection. Because of Jesus, we have received this grace and by His grace and our faith in Him alone, we are saved.
- Because of Jesus we are to disciple. Paul says in verse five that “…through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith…” Since we have received grace from God through Jesus Christ in His perfect atonement for our deadly sin, we now have a task. This statement from Paul coincides beautifully with the Great Commission as Jesus has commanded His followers to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Since we as Christ-followers have received grace freely, we are to give grace freely by preaching the gospel and teaching the Word to new Christians so as to disciple them to follow Christ closely and seek to make new disciples. This goes to the heart of the wonderful truth that all disciples are disciple-makers. Jesus gives no reservations and neither should we; primarily because He has promised to be with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20b). What a promise! So, because of Jesus, we are to disciple others. This will look different for everyone, but at the core of the matter, it should be the same for all Christians; in one capacity or another, we should be making disciples. Something else to notice briefly about this portion of Romans 1:5 is that obedience and faith are tied so closely together. The more I meditate on God’s Word, the more I see the common and strong bond between obedience and faith. I in fact do not believe you can truly have one without the other since Romans even indicates that anything done outside of faith is sin (even if we or our culture considers it to be “good”) (Romans 14:23). Faith in Christ brings about the ability to obey Him. By grace we have been saved and because of Jesus we have received grace; and by this grace, we are to “bring about the obedience of faith” of believers. This is a warning to all those who are in our churches and are not striving for holiness and are not standing firm against sin and fighting it each moment in faith. Pastors, teachers, church members: Teach your children, youth, and congregation to fight sin and obey God. Both of these are done in faith and both of these are done because of Jesus.
- Because of Jesus His name is honored and all nations receive joy. The greatest truth I find in all the Bible is that because of God’s sovereign grace and infinite glory, magnified in Jesus Christ, He chose a people for Himself from the foundation of the world to save by faith in His Son, by His atoning death on the cross (brought into effect by His glorious resurrection), in order to magnify His own glory and give undeserving sinners the gift of unimaginable joy and eternal satisfaction in Him. He is the Treasure and once He reveals His contents to desperate, poor souls, they respond in faith and trust Him as the greatest Treasure in the world. The most beautiful thing about this truth is that it is not limited to one certain people group. Christ has ransomed from all peoples. “For you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). Because of Jesus, He has ransomed a people for Himself from every people group for the sake of His name and the joy of all nations. “…through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:5). Yes! For the sake of His name He does this! It is not for the sake of those who are taking the gospel of grace to the nations, nor is it for the sake of lost sinners who hear and respond to the gospel with faith. It is for the sake of Jesus alone that we preach, teach, disciple, and proclaim the glory of God’s sovereign grace. Because of Jesus’ glorious resurrection, He has ransomed a people for God from all nations so that His name is greatly honored and His glory is magnified. Jesus is supreme and He is Lord. This last part of Romans 1:5 truly humbles me. It properly shifts my focus to realize that the scope of missions is global and that the cause is Christ, the purpose is Christ, and the praise, honor, and glory is Christ’s alone. Alone! It is for none other than Him! “For the sake of his name” we preach. For the sake of his name we teach. For the sake of His name, we go. For the sake of his name, we proclaim the glorious gospel of grace to all peoples of all nations. Not for the sake of my name or our name as a church, but for the sake of His name we exist to obey Him and bring others to the same obedience of faith. For His glory alone we worship and pray and gather. I sit humbled tonight under the grace of God, the reality of the power of Jesus, and the global mandate of world missions. We must be fervent in our churches to teach that all we do is for the sake of His great name. We must be clear and adamant in our churches that our scope is global for His glory and the joy of all peoples. Because of Jesus, His name is honored and representatives from all peoples receive joy. The praise of His name is the cause and purpose and the scope is global. Be humbled.
I am humbled tonight by King Jesus. I am humbled by the glory of His grace. I am humbled by the sanctification He brings about by faith in Him through His effectual work on the cross in His powerful resurrection. I am humbled by the global mandate of world missions and the honor and praise His name deserves. I feel small, because I am. I am not here to make much of Mathew Gilbert. I am here to make much of Jesus Christ; for the sake of His name!
2 billion lost souls. 6,650 unreached people groups. There is no time to waste! Be humbled and get going!
By His Grace — For His Glory — For our Joy