Contend Earnestly: Brothers...Preach More Grace

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Brothers...Preach More Grace

I was listening to some John Piper and he said something pretty striking that I had never thought of. He told the preachers in the audience that if people were not asking them the question posed in Romans 6:1 that they were not preaching the gospel. This is quite the claim by Piper, but as I think about it and read more into the epistle to the Romans, I believe he is completely correct. Romans is called the gospel according to Paul and it is not light in theology. What one will continually find through Romans, is grace. So much so, that it caused Luther to see the light of his sin and the fallacies of the Papacy. From that, Romans drew Luther to the conclusion that the Epistle of James was an "Epistle of Straw" where he ended up taking it out of his Bible. Now, this was definitely an overcorrection in Luther, but if you follow his life of being hammered on working for his salvation, one can see why he loved the book of Romans and James left a bad taste in his mouth.

The question posed in Romans 6:1 is stated as such:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?

This question, like Paul's other questions that he poses and answers, are ones that the Holy Spirit guided Paul to answer because his teaching would naturally lead to them. So, what causes one to ask this question of being able to keep sinning as much as they want?

Paul's preaching of the gospel. Specifically the grace found in the Son's death and resurrection where we gain our complete righteousness.

Throughout the epistle Paul focuses in on the finished work of Christ and righteousness found through faith in Him alone and on Christ's work alone. So much so that people simply will ask, "So can we just sin all we want because Christ will forgive and has done all the work for us?"

This comes off the heals of Chapter 5 in Romans where Paul shows that we have done nothing besides inherit and increase our sin debt, yet Christ has paid it all. He has just gone through such things as:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul keeps nailing this and just when one gets this impression of working and struggling with the faith in Romans 7, Paul brings it back again in Romans 8:1

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Paul continued to preach grace always, so much so, that people would come to the question of, "If it is finished and grace is poured out on me instead of wrath, why not just sin all the more."

The question then comes, "Is this the question you get when you preach?" "Is this the question you get when you speak to others about the gospel?" If not, you are not preaching the gospel but something else. By my gathering of hearing people preach, they preach more like a Pharisee or a Jewish Rabbi. They preach more on what you need to do throughout your week, and leaving the finished work of Christ out of the conversation. So many are worried about Lordship Salvation, which I agree with, that they refuse to preach the depth of grace and its abundance found on the cross and through the resurrection. I am not saying to leave out the idea of "a faith that works" as James so poignantly puts forth, but if grace is not on the tip of your tongue right afterwards, you are missing the point of the Gospel.

Preachers, brothers, sisters, please remember that Christ gives water that never runs dry. It is this grace that is the water, it is the knowledge that he is sufficient and like Jesus told the woman at the well, this water is given by the Father, through the Christ. The water is not the Law, the law only makes one thirsty, the water, the quenching of the thirst of the law is the grace of the gospel.

Do you only preach the dry tongue in the desert? Or do you preach the water found at the cross?
Never did a man sincerely seek but what he found the Lord willing to give. Go to your chamber, look at your past life, survey your mistakes and your sins, and confess them; and then lift up your eyes to the cross, and say, “O Jesus, given for sinners, have mercy upon a guilty one - have mercy upon me!” He cannot refuse you. As I read in an old Puritan this week, he says, “Come to Jesus, sinner; and if you are lame, come lame; and if you say you have no feet, come on your stumps. Come as you can, for he cannot reject you till he denies himself. He must cease to be faithful before he can reject any sinner that comes humbly to rest upon him.” Try him to-day, you aged people! Seek him, and he will be found of you. You young people, turn not your backs upon him! and you in middle life, O close in with him this day, and may he give you the water of life! Did not he say to that woman, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee,, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water”? Ask, and he will give. What! not ask when it is to be had for the asking? Ah! Lord, we ask. Grant it now for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Charles H. Spurgeon: Spurgeon's Sermons: Volume 15. electronic ed. Albany, OR : Ages Software, 1998 (Logos Library System; Spurgeon's Sermons 15)


Joe said...

I get to use this post and dwell on it. Meditate on His word and have Him go to work on my heart.

Thank you.

Seth McBee said...

Glad it could be of help Joe.

Anonymous said...

actually, romans was talking about politics.

christianity misinterpreted the hidden message of paul and blown laws and grace out of proportion to the point of absurdity.

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