We are Redeemed (Romans 5:7-8)

We are Redeemed (Romans 5:7-8)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, Nov 1, 2020

Do we realize that we need rescued?

G. K. Chesterton was once asked about what single book he would most like to have if he were stranded on a desert island. With typical wit, he replied, Thomas’ Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.

—Bruce Larson, Setting Men Free[1]

We need redeemed. Over the last few weeks we have been talking about a Biblical worldview.

A biblical worldview teaches that everything was created good. We saw that in Genesis chapters 1-2. But sin entered the world and we still live in a fallen world. For the last two weeks we talked about how everything in the world is fallen. Everything in the world is depraved. This has affected the media, the schools, the government, and each one of us. We all need salvation.

Some wish to live within the sound

Of church or chapel bell;

I want to run a rescue shop

Within a yard of hell.

—Norman Grubb, C. T. Studd: Cricketeer and Pioneer[2]

Today, my theme is:

Humanity is yearning for salvation and it can only be found in Jesus.

Let’s read Romans 5:8:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

  1. We try redemption through the wrong methods.
    1. We need redemption and I will come back to the verses about that in a bit, first let’s talk about how we are NOT redeemed.
    2. We have tried redemption through the wrong methods. All of humanity has tried redemption through the wrong methods.
    3. Most religions are based on works. Even modern Judaism is based on works. After the Jewish temple was destroyed in AD 70 the Jewish people had to determine how to live as Jewish without a temple. So, one Rabbi led them to works-based righteousness.[3]
    4. The problem with works righteousness is that we can never be good enough. One sin separates us from God. See Romans 3:23; 6:23.
    5. Materialism cannot save.
    6. Chuck Colson writes about this. He writes about all the marketing.
    7. This is no accident. According to sociologist James Twitchell, in his book Ad cult U.S.A., many of America’s early advertisers were Christians, often sons of clergymen. As they developed the art of modern advertising, they simply translated their understanding of spiritual need into the commercial arena. The spiritual sequence of sin-guilt-redemption became the psychological sequence of problem-anxiety-resolution. That’s why the typical television commercial is, in Twitchell’s words, “a morality play for our time.” We see a man or woman in distress. He has a headache; she has a cold. A second figure appears on the screen promising relief, testifying to the power of the product being advertised. The seeker tries the product, and, hallelujah, the problem is solved. Life is blissful. From on high, the disembodied voice of an announcer presses home the advantages of the product.
    8. Material things will not bring salvation.
    9. Humanism cannot save us. Humanism teaches that humanity can make the world a better place because this life is all there is.
    10. But that does not work.
    11. One type of humanism would be Marxism. Marxism teaches that we can develop a utopia through society. In other words, we can achieve salvation through society.
    12. Science is sometimes thought of as salvation. In other words, we will make enough discoveries to bring salvation, or like humanism, make the world a better place.
    13. This is a long excerpt from Chuck Colson’s book, but it is important. This was written in 2000.

In Marxism the universe is a self-originating, self-operating machine, generating its own power and running by its own internal force toward a final goal—the classless, communistic society. Marx’s disciple, Lenin, stated the doctrine in explicitly religious language…

Marxism’s counterpart to the Garden of Eden is the state of primitive communism. And the original sin was the creation of private property and the division of labor, which caused humanity to fall from its early state of innocence into slavery and oppression. From this follow all the subsequent evils of exploitation and class struggle.

In this drama, redemption is wrought by reversing the original sin: destroying the private ownership of the means of production. And the redeemer is the proletariat, who will rise up against the capitalist oppressors… Marx called not for repentance but for revolution. Why? Because, like Rousseau, he regarded humanity as inherently good. He believed that evil and greed arise from the economic structures of society (private property), and therefore they can be eliminated by a social revolution that destroys the old economic system and institutes a new one.

Finally, like all religions, Marxism has an eschatology (a doctrine of the final events of history). In Christianity, the end of time is when the original perfection of God’s creation will be restored, and sin and pain will be no more. In Marxism, the end of history is when the original communism will be restored and class conflict will be no more. Paradise will be ushered in by the efforts of human beings whose consciousness has been raised. Marx looked forward to this inevitable consummation of history as eagerly as any Christian anticipates the Second Coming.[4]

  1. The problem with this ideology is it does not address the sin issue. Humans are fallen. We cannot fix ourselves; we need Divine intervention.
    1. We cannot create a utopia. It is not working, and it has not worked and it still does not deal with life after death.
    2. I am not debating that certain social, government help programs are helpful. I am saying that they do not bring redemption. They do not bring salvation.
    3. From the humanist worldview this is all there is and that is why they focus so much on utopia in this world.
    4. Still, that does not address the sin problem.
    5. We need redeemed.
    6. You may have heard of Larry King who plans to have his body frozen. He said: “I want to be frozen on the hope that they’ll find whatever I died of and bring me back…”[5]
    7. There is no salvation in knowledge. Sometimes we think if we learn enough that will bring us salvation, but it won’t.
    8. There is no salvation in pleasure. Hedonism will not bring salvation.
    9. There is no salvation in nihilism. Nihilism rejects all moral and religious principles and teaches that life is meaningless. In a way, that could be the logical path from naturalism.
    10. We have a sin problem and need Divine intervention.
  2. How are we redeemed?
    • We needed reconciled to God.
    • Simply put to reconcile means to restore friendship or harmony. In Genesis, Adam walked with God in the Garden of Eden as friends. But then sin came, and this separated him from God.
    • Have you ever had a time when you have a dispute with someone? We all have. When we are reconciled with God it makes God have peace with us. The dispute is gone. God has a dispute with us. He has a rightful dispute with us. We have offended Him. In a Biblical sense we have offended God’s holy law.
    • Romans 5:6: For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.[6]
    • We were ungodly when Jesus died for us. Verse 8 says that we were still sinners when Christ died for us. If you read verse 9 it says because of this, we are enemies of God. Ungodly! Sinners! Enemies!
      1. We need reconciliation.
      2. We need to be reconciled to God.
      3. We had offended Him. We still offend him.
      4. We had and still do cross His perfect law.
      5. Review Romans:
      6. In Romans chapter 1 Paul spent most of the chapter writing about our ungodliness. In verse 18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…
      7. You may say that that is not you. But it is. It is all of us.  
      8. Romans 3:23: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
        • We all sin.
        • It is amazing that for most of history people have tried to reconcile themselves to God, or the gods. It’s true. For most of history there have been pagan religions making sacrifices or doing other religious things to try to appease the gods. We can see this in Native American religions. We can see this in Eastern religions. We can see this in Egyptian religions. We can see this in the Middle Eastern religions. You know that there were Israelite kings in the Old Testament that sacrificed their own children to Baal? They did this because they got into the pagan religions of Palestine.
        • It took blood to cover sin.
        • There is a movie “Kicking and Screaming” which is about a children’s soccer team. The team is trying to win and then they realize these Italians are their secret. So, they use them all the time, but they work for their uncle cutting meat and their uncle says, “Meat comes first.” One day they had too much meat to cut so they would miss the game. So, a part of the team all goes to help cut meat. They show up just in time for the game with blood all over their uniforms. The other team forfeits after seeing all the blood.
        • That is what happened in the Old Testament. They would have been covered in blood because of the sacrificial systems.   
        • But really if you read through the Old Testament, they had several animal sacrifices to make in order to attempt to reconcile the relationship with God. But Hebrews says it doesn’t work. It wasn’t enough.
        • Heb 10:11: Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins
        • In Christianity Jesus came to us. We couldn’t do this on our own.
    • We can be redeemed by Jesus and only by Jesus. While we were sinners, Christ died for us.
  3. Remember the order of cosmic history
    1. Creation,
    2. Fall,
    3. Redemption,
    4. restoration.
    5. We are saved, but we are not restored yet. We still live in a fallen world.

A man was driving an old Ford on a lonely road when it chugged to a stop. He was at a loss about what to do since he didn’t know much about cars. But he got out, put the hood up and began to tap here and there, jiggle this wire and that when he heard the roar of a car coming toward him. As it got closer, he saw it was a brand new Lincoln. And the fellow was nice enough to pull over. He stepped out, walked up and said, “What’s the trouble?” “Oh,” he said, “I can’t get this old Ford to go.” “Well,” replied the Good Samaritan, “let me see.” So he began to tinker inside and asked, “Do you have a screwdriver?” He adjusted something, then got inside, started it right up. “Say, thanks a lot! That’s great. Who are you?” Putting his coat back on, the man said, “Well, I’m Henry Ford. I ought to know a little bit about that car we made.”

—Billy Graham, World Aflame[7]

Our creator has saved us! There is salvation only in Jesus.

Salvation is only in Jesus. Trust in Him.

Prayer


[1] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 483.

[2] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 483.

[3] Dr. Rydelnic, professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute has shared this on Open Line.

[4] Colson, Charles. How Now Shall We Live? (p. 233-234). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition

[5] https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/larry-kings-corpse-alcor-life-extensions-wont-say-whether-former-cnn-host-has-plans-to-freeze-dead-body-6640217

[6] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ro 5:6.

[7] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 488.

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