Tag Archives: Romans

To Demonstrate His Righteousness (Not Yours)

Romans 3:21-27

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the Law…

Some questions for you: Why does God want us to go to Heaven? Why does God want us to be saved from our sins? Why did he send his son to die for us? Why?

It is actually a harder question than you may have thought.

There are plenty of answers for it, but how does it work together? He died for us because he loves us. He died for us because he is merciful. He died for us because he wants to have a relationship with us. He died for us because he wanted to show us how to put others ahead of ourselves. The reasons go on and on.

But there is something that gets missed in all of this, something very important. The reason God wants us to be saved is not because of us. It is because of him. It has to be.

If God wants us to be saved because of us, it misses the core of the problem. You see, God does not simply want us to be saved from sin because he loves us. Yes, of course he loves us, but we are not the whole picture. God wants righteousness. God wants life, not death. God wants goodness and joy and peace, and so of course he wants us to be saved.

But first and foremost God wants what is best. And what is best is that his attributes would be clearly seen, demonstrated, manifested, revealed, witnessed, etc. He wants his glory to be known. In the process of doing this he sent his son to die and for us to be saved. But the story isn’t about us. It is about God and his righteousness, and we are the happy beneficiaries of it.

He demonstrates it to us so that we will see it, feel it, know it and experience it. He wants us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is righteous and good. He wants it to be clearly seen.

The entire book of Romans is about this. The words “Demonstrate,” “Manifest,” “Prove,” “Show,” “Witness,” and “Clearly seen” are all over the book. When you realize that what God has done for you is because of his righteousness, not yours, it removes all forms of pride, and puts the focus on God, where it belongs.

 

Cain, Abel, and God’s Impossible Command

5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Did you see that? Cain grew angry and bitter against his brother Abel and against God. God warned him. “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Question: Is that possible?

No. Its not.

Oh sure, sin is crouching at the door. That is certainly possible. Sin is a living thing that hunts us down and kills us. It will gladly crouch at your door. Read Romans 7:7-13. “Sin sprang to life.” “Sin took opportunity,” “Sin deceived me and killed me.”

Sin is alive, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. Sin is alive. You have to understand that first of all for anything else to make sense.

Sin isn’t something you do. Sin is something that does you. It crouches at your door. It deceives you. It looks for opportunities, takes them, and kills you. Sin has a desire. Its “desire is to rule you.” Sin crouched at Cain’s door; its desire was for him.

God warned him about it. God told Cain in plain words that sin was there.

Then God said something impossible for Cain to do. “But you must rule over it.”

That command is perfectly fitting with weak theology. A Buddhist, a Muslim, a Jew, a Wiccan, an atheist, and any number of other false religions will tell you that you must “rule over” the evil in the world. You must use your will power to stay away from it.

But that doesn’t work. Not in a lasting and meaningful way. In reality, Cain could have stifled his anger and avoided murdering his brother, but he could not have mastered sin. Sin lives inside each of us. We are born with it like a virus or a genetic disorder. You didn’t choose it, it chooses you and now its there inside you. We aren’t sinners because we we do bad things. We do bad things because we are sinners. Sin is always there, and always crouching at the door ready to take us further down into its death spiral. Cain cannot rule over sin any more than you or I can rule over our own hearts. You can kill it, but you will die in the process, and death is a result of sin, so even if you kill yourself to avoid sin, you really are playing into its desire to rule you.

The only way to defeat and master sin is to die and then come back from the dead. Cain can’t do that. Neither can any of us.

But Jesus can. And he did.

God’s command to Cain is impossible for Cain to carry out. It foreshadows and introduces the need for someone to come along and truly master sin and defeat it. That man was not Cain. It is Jesus. Cain did not know Jesus. Cain was a few thousand years ahead of Jesus. But Cain did know God, and if Cain had turned back to God and asked for God’s direct intervention in his life, I’m sure God would have gladly given it. But Cain ignored God and killed his brother. He did not master sin any better that you or I can master it. He wasn’t the man for the job. I’m not either. Jesus is the only one.

Death no longer is master over him; the death that he died, he died to sin once and for all; but that life that he lives, he lives to God.” Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Jesus Christ.” “For sin shall no longer be master of you.” “For he who has died is freed from sin.”

Stop trying to master sin in your life. Stop blaming it on others or calling it “a mistake.” Stop trying to fix yourself, stop relying on others to fix you. You can’t do it any better than Cain could. You may avoid killing someone, but you won’t “rule over” sin until you accept the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You must give over your life to him, the one who died, rather, the one who was raised from the dead.