The Gospel of Christ: The Problem

R.
P. Amos


This chronicle deals with man?s
need for God?s gospel. To desire the good news one must
understand the bad news. The sudden appearance of a fire truck
is not good news unless there is first the bad news of a fire.


The opening verses of Romans
1 give an overview of the gospel?s nature.




















































1:1 ?ORIGIN – God
1:2 ?AUTHENTICITY – prophetic
Scriptures
1:3 ?SUBJECT – God’s Son, Jesus
Christ
1:5 ?OBJECTIVE – obedience of
faith
1:5 ?SCOPE – among all nations
1:5 ?PURPOSE – for His Name
1:7 ?CAUSE – grace
1:7 ?EFFECT – peace
1:16 ?FORCE – power of God
1:16 ?PROMISE – salvation
1:16 ?CONDITION – belief (trust)
in the Lord Jesus
1:17 ?CHARACTER – righteousness
(justice) of God



Humanity has two major problems
before their Creator. One, the wrath of God against their committed
sins, and two, the wreckage of sin in their life-style because
of their inherent sinful nature.

For example, a person is speeding
in his car and hits a child. He flees the accident scene in fear
as he is chased by an officer of the law. He crashes into a tree,
breaking many bones in his body, ending up in the hospital. The
person now has two problems. Obviously, his body cannot function
properly because of the wreck, but there is a more serious problem:
the legal consequences of the law?s judgment.

God’s gospel deals with man’s
dual problem; wrath and wreckage. And this is the order in the
scriptural presentation in Romans. To experience the personal
power of God in one?s life from sin?s internal damage
one must first be legally cleared to be accepted by God.



Evangelical
preaching today often emphasizesthe wreckage of sin:healing broken hearts and alleviating pain. Romans first emphasizes the wrath of God toward our sin that offended Him.


Old Testament
Picture





In the book of
Exodus we find the children of Israel with two problems in Egypt.
They were slaves under the control of the hard Pharaoh. This
initially caused them to cry out to God. Also the judgment of
God was falling: death on the firstborn. God’s salvation would
save them from both slavery and judgment so they could serve
Him. God, however, will deal with them in the opposite order.
First God saved them from His judgment by sacrifice; the price
of passover blood. Then God saved them from their problem of
Pharoah’s controlling slavery by His power at the Red sea (Ex.
12-14).


While it is true that life?s
pain resulting from sin can drive one to seek God for a solution,
there is a bigger problem: God?s judgment against his sins.
Though his temporal problem may be an important one, he needs
to be aware of the more important problem of his eternal standing
before an offended God.












?Romans 1:18 – 5:11

Romans 5:12 – chapter 8

?Wrath of God Solved

?Wreckage of Sin Solved


In chronicle one of God’s gospel
we first want to emphasize what God’s salvation saves from. That
brings us to the problem of condemnation.


God’s
Court Case






?We will now consider God’s lawsuit
against the human race as found in Romans. Is man under God’s
judgment because God is some ?cranky old man? in a
bad mood? Does God have a ?favorite race? who will
escape judgment over others? Remember, this gospel reveals the
“righteousness (justice) of God” (Rom. 1:17).


A court case in a legal system
involves several basic elements.




























?Plaintiff the offended party who makes the charge of wrongdoing
?Defendant the one being charged with the wrong
?Charge the description of the alleged wrong done
?Witnesses those whose testimony of the facts will either
help or hurt the defendant
?Verdict based on witnesses? evidence will convey
guilt or innocence of the defendant
?Sentence if found guilty, the type of punishment given



It
is a positive thing that God is a legal God Who honors the rule of His law. One is not subjected to the whims and moods of a ruthless dictator but finds security of mind in the faithful actions of God based on legal justice.


The
Plaintiff


God is the plaintiff. As Romans
1:18 says: “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against
… .” God has creative rights over His creation which was
intended for His glory. When one’s rights are violated one has
a right to be angry and to prosecute.


The
Defendant


The human race is the defendant.
Rom. 1:18 also says: “The wrath of God is revealed from
heaven against … men.” Romans views man in two groups.

Jews. Those with the religion of God or those
with the Bible. The law revealed details of the Creator God and
His righteous standards for living. Romans 2:12 refers to Jews
as those “in the law.”

Gentiles. Nations and races other than Jews.
They were in pagan darkness without the revelation of God and
His law in the written Scriptures. Romans 2:12 refers to such
as those “without law.”

The
Charge


In the words of Romans 1:18: ?… against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” The charge is that
mankind has sinned. Not only that have men sinned, but they sinned
with a full knowledge of what they were doing; they held (suppressed
or held down) the truth in unrighteousness. In other words they
sinned while knowing better? not ignorantly, but intentionally.

For example, you redecorate your
house and change the mud room into a formal foyer with a beautiful
white rug. But you forgot to tell the children and they come
in as normal with their dirty shoes and walk on the new rug.
You are upset but have no right to punish them because they did
it in ignorance.

But suppose you told them about
the new room and rug and they now said, “who cares,” and walked across the white rug with their muddy shoes. Would
your reaction be any different? You would have righteous indignation,
for they did it knowingly; that’s rebellion which merits punishment.

This is God’s charge?that
both those with the Bible (law) and those without the Bible (law)
have sinned knowingly. It will be the burden of the witnesses
to prove this.


The
Witnesses


The defendant submits excuses
why the charge and wrath of God does not apply to him. There
will be four witnesses called to testify to see if the plaintiff’s
charge stands.


Witness #1CREATION

This excuse comes from the Gentile without the law. “I’m
not deserving of the wrath of God, for while maybe I didn’t always
do everything right, I never had a Bible that told me there was
a God. I’m innocent because I was ignorant.”

Because that which may be known
of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation
of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things
that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they
are without excuse: (Rom 1:19, 20).

The excuse does not hold for
one knows about the existence of God apart from the Holy Scriptures.
An intelligent design communicates the existence of a designer.
And the brilliance and beauty of the design communicate the greatness
of the designer.


Yet knowing there is a God as
witnessed unmistakably by creation, people are not thankful and
will not give Him the glory. They knowingly hold the truth of
creation’s revelation down. The result: they become blind in
their reasoning. The fruit of their blindness produced by their
deliberate rejection is the developing of their own fantasies
and religions (Rom. 1:20-23).


Witness #2our mouths

This excuse claims
ignorance of right and wrong and yet at the same time judges
others for wrongdoing. They appear moral in their social system
of values.

Therefore thou art inexcusable,
O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that
judgest doest the same things. (Rom 2:1).

Some open their mouths in criticism
of those who do wrong. But by doing so, they have given themselves
away showing that they do know right and wrong after all – or
else they couldn’t have judged others. Thus, when they do wrong
themselves, it couldn?t have been in ignorance. They stand
condemned in God’s court.


Witness #3Conscience

How does a man without the Bible gain a knowledge of right and
wrong? This is revealed by this witness. As with witness #2,
this excuse also comes from the man without the law or God’s
religion. It too claims innocence based on ignorance. It reasons
that since one did not have the 10 commandments written on stones
like Moses gave the Jews then one cannot be responsible for breaking
a law.

For when the Gentiles, which
have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law,
these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show
the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts
the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; In the
day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according
to my gospel. (Romans 2:13-16).

Every person is born with some “standard equipment.” “Programmed” in a heart
is the basic moral knowledge of right and wrong; the knowledge
of good and evil. All societies have some level of law and order
demonstrating an inherent knowledge of basic moral values regardless
of not having the 10 commandments. The fact that our conscience
convicts or excuses us reveals that there is something activating
it. That something is the work of the law (moral awareness) written
not on stones but in the hearts of all humans.


God sees the secrets of a person?s
heart when he goes against his own conscience. This condemns
him.


Witness #4The law

This excuse comes from the man who knows God’s Scriptures and
has religion. He reasons that he has the Bible and hears it,
so he is accepted with God.

Behold, thou art called a Jew,
and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest
his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being
instructed out of the law; (Rom 2:17,18). Thou that makest thy
boast of the law, through breaking the law
dishonourest thou God? (Rom 2.23). It is not the hearers of the
law that are right but the doers of the
law (Rom. 2:13).

The law wasn’t given to give
man a free religious pass into heaven. It was given to a nation
chosen for special service to be obeyed. And when that law is
disobeyed, man’s sin is explicitly revealed.

– Thou shalt have no other gods
before me

– Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image

– Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain

– Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

– Honor thy father and thy mother

– Thou shalt not kill (murder)

– Thou shalt not commit adultery

– Thou shalt not steal

– Thou shalt not bear false witness

– Thou shalt not covet

To break just one constitutes
one a lawbreaker (James 2:10). (Only one crime can put one in
jail). The violator stands condemned for breaking the very law
they possess. The wrath of God stands.


The
Verdict


… what things soever the law
saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth
may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God (Rom 3:19).


Creation, criticizing and conscience
have proven that those without law are not innocent for they
are not ignorant. And the commandments show that those with the
law are lawbreakers by breaking it. Now all mouths are stopped
for all excuses are invalid. The whole world shares the same
verdict: guilty. As the verdict declares in 3:10: “There
is none righteous, no, not one.”



Most
will concede they have sinned. But God says we are guilty sinners. There is the difference.Guilty means to be responsible or accountable for what one has done and therefore deserving of judgment.


Humanity’s great problem is that
they are guilty of sinning against God in the first degree. Mankind
is not innocent for mankind is not ignorant. All need the gospel
of God?s salvation.


The
Sentence

“Who knowing the judgment
of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death,…” (Rom 1.32).

Death? sin is that serious! Eternal separation
from God in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15). Salvation?s attitude
should be humble repentance and faith alone in trusting the Savior
to ?be merciful to me a sinner.?

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