Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned- for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. (ESV)
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God is Begging
16 February 2015
|God pulls out all the stops to lead sinners to Godly repentance, so that they would not perish in their sins, but turn and be saved. "As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ez 33:11). He sends forth the prophets and the apostles into the world to call the wicked into the kingdom of His beloved Son. He offered the greatest price to save even those who would always despise the price offered; "never grudging for the lost ones that tremendous sacrifice" (LSB 851:1). I believe that even if no one would ever have believed God's gracious offer to save sinners, He would still have offered it. For this is what love is. Love offers itself without any hope of return or recompense. God is that love incarnate. "God our Savior desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1Ti 2:3-4).|
Those who are lost are not lost because God did not try hard enough or that His offer of the gospel was not serious as Calvinists have argued; as though God was just kidding when the damned heard the message of salvation in Christ. The lost are lost because they, through their own stubborn unbelief, have stored up for themselves God's wrath, which will be revealed at the consummation of the age. While God remains the judge eternal, He does not cause the condemnation of the damned. Those who are lost cause their own condemnation; and this becomes a revelation only on the Day of Judgment. It could be compared to smoking several packs of unfiltered cigarettes every day for forty years. You will store up for yourself heart disease, emphysema, lung cancer, and other maladies. While the doctor pronounces the verdict when this all catches up to you; you, the smoker, are the perpetrator of your own demise.
God pleads with sinners every way He possibly could. He Himself approached Adam and Eve in the garden and promised them the Seed. He met with Abraham over a supper. He divided the waters of the Red Sea to bring His people through on dry ground. He sent the prophets to Israel although the people abused and murdered His messengers. Finally, He sent His Son with the confidence that the world would respect Him (Lk 20:13). He took upon Himself the full store of God's wrath, not because He was constrained to bear it, but because He chose to bear it. How much more could He do for us (Is 5:4)? If we are not led to repentance and faith we are truly hard-hearted. Like an unrequited lover, God is begging us to relent and return to Him.
"When someone is neither softened by goodness nor turned back by fear, what could be harder than such a person? After Paul had shown the goodness of God toward humans, he then shows His vengeance is unbearable for anyone whodoes not return to repentance because of it. He chose his words carefully! 'You are storing up wrath for yourself' (Rm 2:5), he says, making it plain what is certainly stored up, and showing that it is not the One who judges, but the one who is condemned, that is the author of condemnation. For he says, 'You are storing up wrath for yourself' (Rm 2:5). God is not storing it up, but you. For God did everything that was fitting and created you with a power to discern between good and what was not, showed patience with you, called you to repentance, and threatened a fearful day, so that by every means possible He might draw you to repentance.
"If you continue in obstinacy, 'You are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed' (Rm 2:5). He adds, 'God's righteous judgment' so on hearing of wrath you should think of mere rage. And he said 'revealed' with good reason, for then is this revealed when each man receives what he deserves. For in this life many people often unjustly annoy and do harm to others. But hereafter it is not so."
John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 4
Lord Christ, You have offered Yourself to us in many and various ways. Send the Holy Spirit to us through Your Word, that we would trust Your salvation. Break our hard hearts with Your law that we might repent of our sin and trust Your word of grace to us. Amen.
For Walter Friend, that the Lord would send His holy angels to watch over him
In thanksgiving to Christ, who gives new life in baptism, at the baptism of Penley Loll
For those who are suffering inclement weather, that they might be kept safe
For those who travel for a living, especially over the road truckers, that they would find joy in their vocation
Art: AERTSEN, Pieter Adoration of the Magi (c. 1560)
© Scott R. Murray, 2015