Ephesians 2:1-5 “ As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.”
We continue from yesterday’s lesson from our church's Wednesday night Study group on the New Testament from Kenneth Berding, a biblical scholar and college professor at
in Southern California. Berding
reminds us that God is love and desires to show love, but He is also holy and
just, so He must punish sin. God gives a way to show His love in Jesus Christ.
The only way that God can continue to be completely holy and righteous, and
still forgive us of our sins was through Jesus dying in our place. John 3:35-36 “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in
his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever
rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” He took all the punishment (the
wrath of God) that should have been ours upon Himself and offers eternal life
as a gift.
Romans 4:23-25 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
The resurrection proved that Jesus has the Right to forgive us our sins and that He has the Right to raise us up on the final day. Romans 3:24 “All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Romans 5:9 “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Justified or Justification means to be found innocent in Christ; just as if you had never sinned. Romans 3:25 “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood - to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.” Atonement is the satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury, and that atonement is by redemption by the blessed redeemer Jesus Christ. We have been bought out of the slavery of sin. Jesus paid the price to buy us back, out of slavery to sin and death. Propitiation means “an acceptable substitutional sacrifice to God”. Jesus was the acceptable sacrificial lamb without blemish that took the wrath of God upon Himself. The perfect lamb of God that took the place of one who was supposed to die … you and I.
Romans 3:26-28 “He did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”
Kenneth Berding explains that you and I enter the door of eternal salvation through faith. Romans 10:8-9 New But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. There is no other way to receive God’s gift of salvation apart from believing in Jesus. The gospel includes the bad news that we are sinners, deserving of wrath and merit death for our sins, but also the good news that Jesus Christ died on the Cross and rose again on our behalf, taking God’s wrath upon himself, so that we who repent and believe did not have to, declaring us not guilty and buying us out of slavery to sin.
Great messages take a little more time. Let’s conclude Professor Ken’s tomorrow.
In Christ, Brian