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What Do You Bring to the Table?

Romans 5:6–8 — “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Have you ever stopped to think about the human condition when the Son of God stepped from eternity into time to carry our sins to the cross and to die for us?

We often think today of the “good old days” when things were better, but our nostalgia deceives us.  At every point of human history, from the first sin in Eden’s paradise until now, mankind has been on a crash course with disaster.

It was in the midst of this disaster — in due time — that Christ died for the…

UNGODLY.

The Father did not send His Son to die for the righteous, or for the good, or for the worthy.  “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners¹” is the faithful saying of which the Apostle Paul reminded his son in the faith, Timothy, that was worthy for all to believe.  Christ died for the ungodly.  When we were at our worst.  This was at a time when the people that the Lord Jehovah called by His Name were living under the thumb of Gentile, ungodly, oppressors, by their own doing.  Those living by faith in God were precious few, and the religious system (that was supposed to be a system by God’s law) was at best lip-service, and at worst not even that.  The Gentile world power was a governmental authority that kept peace by the sword, and by their own doing gave up their republic for a dictatorship under a charismatic leader.

The Israelite people in bondage were promised a Savior, and those with faith were waiting on Him.  The greater number that were without set themselves against Him, or simply did not care when He arrived.  Those among them of any influence sought the stamp of approval from their oppressor to put the Savior to death because they had no king but Caesar.  And this was the due time, that Christ died for the ungodly.  If there was ever a time that the world’s crash course with disaster should have reached its destination, it was at this time.

Ephesians 2:1–4 — “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time 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 our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us…”

Yes, the ever-wonderful “but God”.  God showed His love to mankind by making a way that all who are on this impending train-wreck have a way off free and clear.  Not by begging and pleading and life-changing, but by simply believing what God has told us He has done for us.  Christ died for our sins and rose again from the dead² is the simple gospel message that is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes it (Romans 1:16).

No Greater Love

John 15:13 — “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

There are many voices making noise and much of it goes in one ear and out the other.  Too much of it mixes the essential with the noise and that which is truly important is unfortunately forgotten.  As I was listening to the radio in my car many years ago, however, there was a preacher telling a story about a conversation with his son while reading “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens.  He read about a character in the story willing to give his life for his friend in the story.  The preacher’s son said to him, that is like Jesus did, isn’t it?”  The pastor said, “Son, Jesus died for His enemies”.

Few words have had a greater impression on me from the radio, or from anywhere else.

While it is absolutely true that no man has greater love, or can show no greater love than that he would die for his friends, Our Savior did that and so much more.  Mankind could not deserve this love of God any less, but this is what God did.  Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.  We had absolutely zero ability to save ourselves or to make ourselves in any way more presentable to God.  We bring nothing to the table and God will not allow it.  God will not owe us anything.  But He will freely give salvation to anyone and everyone that will believe the gospel of Christ, that He died for our sins and rose again.

Romans 4:4–5 — “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

The Gospel and Eternal Security

There has been an on-going debate in Christian theology on the question of eternal security, or, in simple terms, whether one who is saved can once again be lost.  But this question is not one to be answered by the theologians.  It must be answered by the Bible.

Some might say that this is a secondary issue among the people of God, and others, while well meaning, will answer it something like this:

“Have faith like you can’t lose it, and live like you can.”

That is not a direct quote of anyone, but I, and probably many of you, have heard something similar to it.  But, “the just shall live by faith”.

If I believe, or have faith, like I can’t lose my salvation, then I will live according to my faith.  I will live like I cannot lose my salvation.  Is this a bad thing?  The one who believes that he can lose his salvation will live like it as well.  Is this a bad thing?  Is this a good thing?

Romans chapter 6 answers the question about how we who are saved should live, and the strength by which we can live that way.  But let us first get settled what the apostle teaches first in chapter 5.

Christ died for us when we were without strength and ungodly.  He loved us when were His enemies.  “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).  This is not to live in fear that God might cast me away, but it is to live in faith that He will not.  It is not faith to live in fear that God may someday cast me away for not living up to some expectation.  It is faith to live in hope knowing that He will keep me eternally secure.

We bring nothing to the table to save ourselves, we are justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24).  That redemption is through the blood of God’s beloved Son, and through that blood He has forgiven you all of your sins (Ephesians 1:7) when He justified you by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).   He did this when He saved you.

When He saved you.

In a world full of uncertainty, let us who are saved be sure of one thing, and say with the Apostle Paul:

2 Timothy 1:12 — “…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

If you are not saved, know this:  God wants to save you from this train-wreck that is the present course of this world and He will freely do it when you believe the Gospel of Christ.  Take God at His word.  What do you have to lose?

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”


End Notes:

  1. 1 Timothy 1:15.  The apostle adds to this “of whom I am chief”.  In this addition, many have personalized this to apply it to themselves recognizing the degree from which they were saved.  This, however, is not about the degree of sinfulness.  Paul did not say, “of whom I am the worst”.  It was a question of rank or position.  He was the man at the front of the line.  The epistle goes on to say in verse 16:  “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, THAT IN ME FIRST Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” The apostle shows here how God used his salvation as a pattern of how he would save anyone from this point forward.  He would save sinners as sinners.  “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us” is what we must remember.  He doesn’t save us when we finally get to our best.  He saved us when we were at our worst.
  2. 1 Corinthians 15:1–4 — “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…”

 

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Romans Study

Charles Miller View All

Husband, father, engineer...Enjoys fishing, archery, guitar, running, and lifting, but most of all reading and studying God's Word.

2 thoughts on “What Do You Bring to the Table? Leave a comment

  1. A most hearty AMEN my brother!!! We do all the believing and being saved and God does all the saving and keeping us!!! God made Christ to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him!!! What good news…when we were without strength, Christ died for the ungodly. While we were sinners He died for us. When you think of what Apostle Paul said in Romans 1 about the wrath of God being revealed against all unrighteousness and ungodliness clearly we have absolutely nothing to bring. We simply come and trust His work!
    What a beautiful reminder of our Savior!

    Like

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