The Blessings of Justification by Faith Part 4 – Romans 5:9-11
Pastor Mark Hardy June 3, 2012
In November 1973 a woman named Betty Eadie allegedly died after undergoing a hysterectomy and returned five hours later saying that she had the secrets of heaven revealed to her by Jesus. In her book Embraced by the Light, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 40 weeks, 5 of which at #1, the idea of hell and divine judgment is never discussed. Eadie said that while she visited heaven Jesus “Never wanted to do or say anything that would offend me.” She had merely relegated to the Lord Jesus Christ the role of a happy tour guide in heaven, instead of the Savior and Judge of the world.
Now we shouldn’t be surprised by this! Ever since the Fall of man in the Garden when Satan, the father of lies (Jn. 8:44), told Eve in Genesis 3:4, “You surely will not die!” he has disguised himself as “an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14) to deceive mankind into believing that divine judgment and eternal damnation don’t exist. He has spawned such false doctrines as:
• “Universalism,” which says that in the end everyone is going to be saved no matter who they are, for all roads lead to heaven.
• “Annihilationism,” which says that after people die their souls simply cease to exist.
• “Soul sleep,” which is where people are in a permanent state of unconsciousness.
• “Purgatory,” the Roman Catholic view that gives people a second chance to earn their way to heaven.
But none of these teachings are biblical! Hell is real and it is the destiny that awaits every Christ-rejecting person after this life. And yet, true believers are promised that they will escape hell! This is one of the things we will be looking at this morning. Turn in your Bible to Romans 5.
As we continue on in our study of Romans 5:1-11, we are looking at nine blessings given to every believer that are either a present or future reality. Thus far we have seen the first seven blessings that we presently experience as justified believers:
1) Personal peace with God (v. 1)
2) Privileged access to grace (v. 2a)
3) Continual standing in grace (v. 2b)
4) Joyful hope of glory [ultimate Christlikeness] (v. 2c)
5) Humble rejoicing in tribulation (vv. 3-5a)
6) The Spirit’s indwelling presence (vv. 5c)
7) Felt love of God (vv. 5b, 6-8)
This morning we will be looking at the last two blessings. The eighth blessing given to every believer is this:
VIII. Certain Deliverance from Wrath
A. Coming back to the topic of the Christian’s hope, Paul says in vv. 9-10: Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
1. As if the first seven blessings were not wonderful enough to completely overwhelm us with the security and assurance of our salvation, the words “much more” used twice in these two verses shows that what follows is even more overwhelming and significant than what has preceded.
2. While these two verses are parallel and essentially say the same thing, Paul is arguing from the greater to the lesser. In other words, if God did the greater thing, how much more will He also do the lesser thing?
3. In v. 9 the greater thing is our past salvation, “…having now been justified by His blood.” Salvation can be viewed as being past, present, and future: We have been saved from the penalty of our sins in the past [i.e. justification], we are being saved from the power of sin in the present [i.e. sanctification], and we will be saved from the presence of sin in the future [i.e. glorification].
4. At the moment of our salvation in the past when we placed our faith in Jesus Christ and received Him as our personal Savior and Lord we as sinners were instantly “justified,” which we have already seen means to be declared righteous by God and clothed in righteousness of Christ.
5. Notice that the means by which salvation is made available is “…by His [i.e. Christ’s] blood.” The “blood” of Christ simply symbolizes His sacrificial death on the cross whereby as our Substitute He paid in full the penalty for our sins (3:25; Eph. 1:7; 2:13; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:12, 22; Rev. 5:9).
6. Now having done the greater thing, how much more will God do the lesser things as well! Look again at v. 9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
7. The phrase “we shall be saved” refers to our future salvation. As Christians we talk a lot about being “saved,” which means to be delivered or rescued, but what is it that sinful people are really saved from?
8. If we don’t get this then salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ which alone saves means absolutely nothing! Notice that Paul says believers “…shall be saved from the wrath of God…”
9. The “wrath of God” here is God’s final judgment in the future, referring specifically to the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the Millennium when all unbelievers will be cast into the lake of fire, also known as eternal hell (Rev. 20:11-15; 6:16-17; 11:18; Matt. 3:7; Rom. 1:18; 2 Thess. 1:5, 7, 9).
B. Now hell is not a pleasant topic and no one likes to talk about it, but we see it in this passage.
1. As eternal beings, the Bible says that we will all live somewhere forever, either in heaven or hell. And everyone has only one life to determine their destiny.
2. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (NKJV). There are no second chances!
3. Despite such arguments by man as “A loving God would not send people to hell” and “Hell is too sever a punishment for man’s sin,” the Bible makes it very clear that hell is a real place created by the infinitely holy and just God originally for Satan and his demons (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10). However, since all unbelievers have Satan as their spiritual father (Jn. 8:44) and are born in sin, live in sin, and rebel against God by rejecting Jesus Christ, they too will receive the same punishment (Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6).
4. Hell, more specifically called the “lake of fire” in Revelation 20:14-15 or eternal hell is where unbelievers will experience conscious everlasting punishment and separation from God. Robert Thomas states, “The lake of fire is a figure of speech to accommodate a limited human understanding of what eternal punishment will be, but it nevertheless corresponds to reality.”
5. Jesus talked about hell more than anyone else in the Bible. Speaking about the eternal destiny of the unsaved compared to the saved, He said in Matthew 25:46, “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
6. Here both of the words “eternal” are identical. Therefore, to get rid of eternal hell is to get rid of eternal heaven as well.
7. Throughout the New Testament hell is seen as a place of unspeakable conscious torment. Words that describe it are:
• “unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:10, 12; 5:22; 7:19; 13:42, 50; 18:8-9; 25:41; Mk. 9:43, 48; Heb. 10:27; Jam. 3:6; Jude 7; Rev. 14:10; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8).
• “outer darkness” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 25:30; Lk. 13:28)
• “where their worm does not die” (Mk. 9:48)
• “black darkness” (2 Pet. 2:17; Jude 13)
• The fact that the unbelievers will be bodily resurrected prior to being judged and cast into the lake of fire shows that their punishment is physical as well as mental. And they will suffer in hell in various degrees depending on their knowledge of God’s truth and rejection of it (Matt. 11:22-24; Heb. 10:29-31).
8. Hell is eternal and irreversible. We are told that it is a place of:
• “eternal punishment and judgment” (Matt. 25:46; Heb. 6:2)
• “eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess. 1:9)
• “…the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night…” (Rev. 14:11).
• “…they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Matt. 25:46; Rev. 20:10)
• In his famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, Jonathan Edwards declared, “It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God for one moment; but you [i.e. who have rejected Christ] must suffer it for all eternity.”
• Therefore, those who are confined to eternal hell have no way of repentance, no appeal, no parole, no escape, no relief, no hope, and no end! No wonder Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
9. But praise God all true believers “…shall be saved from the wrath of God.” We have certain deliverance from wrath!
10. If God did nothing more than save us from hell, that in itself is enough to wholeheartedly praise Him and serve Him with all our lives. But as we have already seen, He has given us so much more!
10. C.E.B. Cranfield accurately states, “The point made is that, since God has already done the really difficult thing, that is, justified the impious sinner, we may be absolutely confident that He will do what is by comparison very easy, namely, save from His wrath at the last those who are already righteous in His sight.” (pg. 266)
11. John MacArthur said it this way, “It is a greater work of God to bring sinners to grace than to bring saints to glory, because sin is further from grace than grace is from glory.” (pg. 287)
12. What a comfort and security it is to know for certain that we as believers will escape hell because God will not leave His saving work unfinished. Romans 8:29-30 states the unbreakable chain of salvation, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, he also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
13. Jesus said in John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (6:37) “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”
14. In 1 Thessalonians 1:5 we read that it is “Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” And 5:9 states, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 1:12)
15. And that’s exactly what Paul says at the end of v. 9, “…we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” The demands of God’s holy justice were completely satisfied by the atoning sacrifice of His Son on the cross.
16. Jesus Christ is the one and only way that anyone can escape hell and enter heaven. Jesus said in John 14:6, “…I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
17. And Acts 4:12 states, “…there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
C. Now saying essentially the same thing, Paul goes on to speak about reconciliation in v. 10: For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
1. Not only was our sinful state before Christ one of being “helpless” and “ungodly” in v. 6 and “sinners” in v. 8, but we were also continual “enemies” of God. The word “enemies” (echthroi) speaks of our hatred, hostility, and enmity toward God and alienation from Him.
2. Romans 8:7 says, “…the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.”
3. However, not only are unbelievers the enemy of God, God is also the enemy of all unbelievers, for John 3:36 says that right now “…the wrath of God abides on [them]. (Rom. 1:18; 2:5).
4. Charles Hodge accurately states, “There is not only a wicked opposition of the sinner to God, but a holy opposition of God to the sinner.” (pg. 138)
5. And yet, “while we were enemies” God took the initiative and “we were reconciled to God.” The word “reconciled” (katellagemen) here, used three times in vv. 10-11, means to restore an unfavorable relationship between persons to harmony and friendship.
6. The most immediate consequence of justification is reconciliation. It was we who needed to be reconciled to God, not God to us.
7. Alan Johnson said, “God is not Himself reconciled but removes the obstacles to fellowship (God’s holy wrath against our rebellion) in the death of Jesus and now offers to sinful humans this reconciliation as a free gift through faith (2 Cor. 5:17-19).” (pg. 107)
8. It is this removal of God’s wrath toward us that enables us to have “peace with God,” which we saw in v. 1. And notice that God makes this reconciliation possible only “…through the death of His Son,” which is a parallel statement to “by His blood” in v. 9.
9. Reconciliation, like justification, is accomplished once for all only through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Colossians 1:21-22 states, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.” (2 Cor. 2:19a)
10. Paul then goes on to say in v. 10, “…much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Once again “we shall be saved” refers to our future salvation.
11. But not only is this accomplished through the death of Christ, it is also accomplished “by His life.” As we saw back in 4:25, Jesus’ death and resurrection are inseparable in effecting our salvation.
12. Christ’s “life” is the security for the life of all His people (Jn. 14:19; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:23). Now this doesn’t refer to His perfect earthly life but to His priestly heavenly life whereby He right now carries out in heaven the ministry of intercession for us.
13. We see this in Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
14. Also, in Romans 8:34 we read, “…Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
15. After His resurrection, Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth.” And He continually exercises His powerful authority for the salvation and preservation of His people over the power of sin and Satan.
16. John said in 1 John 2:1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
17. And Jude 24 states, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.”
18. Once again Paul has been arguing from the greater to the lesser. His point is this: Since God has already done the greater thing of reconciling us to Himself while we were His enemies, we can be confident that He will also do the lesser thing of preserving or keeping us saved by Christ’s life since we are now His children and His friends.
19. In other words, since Christ’s dying could reconcile us to God, surely Christ’s living can and will keep us saved. Since Jesus’ death took away the penalty of sin, His life will continually take away the dominion of sin over us.
20. Therefore, because of what Jesus Christ has done for us we are absolutely secure in our salvation—past, present, and future. What a wonderful blessing it is to have certain deliverance from wrath!
21. The ninth blessing given to every believer is this:
IX. Unshakable Joy in God
A. Look at v. 11: And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
1. As the climax to all that he has said in the previous ten verses, Paul concludes by saying, “And not only this, but we also exult in God…” The word “exult” (kauchomenoi) here is the same word we saw back in vv. 2 and 3, and means joyful jubilation and rejoicing in God alone.
2. Although life in this fallen, sinful world is often full of tribulations, trials, heartache, and pain, the believer who fully understands all of these present and future blessings that God has granted him in salvation and truly believes it has a deep inner unshakable joy in God because of all He has done for him.
3. This joy in God is completely unassailable no matter what happens in our lives when we stay focused on Him and don’t allow the circumstances of life to overwhelm us. In any and every circumstance of life we can truly say, “It is well with my soul.”
4. This is why Paul told us in v. 3 to “exult in our tribulations.” And in Philippians 4:4 to, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
5. James said in James 1:2 to, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” And Galatians 5:22 states that “joy” is one of the “fruit of the Spirit” when He is allowed to control our lives.
6. This joy in God is sung and shouted out by the various psalmists throughout the Psalms. For example, Psalm 33:21 says, “For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name.” (34:3) “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.” And (43:4), “Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God.” (70:4) “Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God be magnified.’”
B. Now once again notice in v. 11 how this blessing of joy in God is made possible, “…through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1. As we have seen throughout these first eleven verses, all of our blessings come to us only through the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross (v. 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11). It is to Him that we are eternally indebted.
2. Paul then goes on to say at the end of v. 11, “…through whom [i.e. Christ] we have now received the reconciliation.”
3. As believer’s, our reconciliation to God was a gift of grace to us from God through Christ, and our only human response was simply to receive it by faith.
4. Douglas Moo accurately states, “Reconciliation in Paul has two aspects, or ‘moments:’ the accomplishment of reconciliation through Christ on the cross (cf. 2 Cor. 5:19) and the acceptance of that completed work by the believer (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20b).
5. We see both of these in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
6. Therefore, because of all that God in Christ has done for us, if there is one heart attitude that should dominate our lives as believers it should be an unshakable joy in God. We should be the most positive people in the world.
7. But instead, often we are negative and pessimistic prophets of doom who see only the dark side of everything and moan and groan our way through life. But in doing so, we have lost sight of all we have in Jesus Christ.
In closing, God intends that these nine present and future blessings given to every believer cause us to know for certain just how secure we are in our salvation in Jesus Christ. We have absolutely nothing to fear and everything to be excited about.
May we truly believe who we are in Christ and all that is ours in Him, so that we can more faithfully live out these truths to bring glory to God in our daily lives.