© Rosemary Bardsley 2022

Our world is sometimes

Filled with doom and dread

Not just globally, on the massive cosmic scale of wars and terrorism, but on the person level, in our inter-personal relationships, and deep within the inner regions of our own souls.

We don’t know how we can possibly go on.
We wonder what on earth God is doing.
We fear that maybe there is some causative connection between these dreadful despairing things and our own sin, that God is paying us out for our sin and our failures.

But once we start to wonder that, we are casting doubts on that amazing love of God at which we looked in previous talks. We are casting doubts on the effectiveness of the cross of Christ. We are taking our eyes off Christ, in whom we trust, and putting our focus on ourselves and our own performance.

The Christian's Confidence:

Romans 5:1: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:1: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.

Hebrews 4:16: ‘Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 10:19-22: ‘Therefore, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience …’

Does God’s love persevere?

Is there anything that can now cut us off from God?
Is there anything that can now make him turn his back on us?
Is there anything that can now interrupt his love towards us?

Is it true, this dark statement that we hear so often, that God will not hear us ‘if there is sin in our lives?’ which quotes Isaiah 59:2 and Psalm 66:18. [But Isaiah 59 is addressed to people who were engaging in idolatrous worship; and Psalm 66:18 is about treasuring sin in our hearts at the same time as praising God.]

Romans 5:1-11

[1] we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

[2] Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand

[3] and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God

[4] Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings …

[6] when we were still powerless Christ died for the ungodly

[8] God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

[9] Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

[10] For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his son, how much more , having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

[11] Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have received reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:14 - 6:1:

[14] For Christ’s love constrains us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

[16] So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer …

[17] Therefore is anyone is in Christ – he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ … God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. …

[20] We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

[6:1] As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.

The person who knows the love of God knows also that they are secure in that love.

Romans 8

The meaning of suffering … Is suffering God paying you out for sin?

No. Suffering is the expected lot of those who are aligned with Jesus Christ [verse17]

No. Suffering is the norm in this world between Genesis 3 and Revelation 21[verse18-23]

No. The whole of creation is waiting for that final day when suffering will cease.
No. If fact the Spirit of God helps us in our weaknesses. When we are so overwhelmed with the suffering of this life that we do not know how or what to pray, the Holy Spirit actually ‘intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express’ [verse 26]

No. Because it is actually God’s will that his Spirit intercedes for us in our suffering [verse 27]

The sovereign hand of God in suffering …

In fact God takes hold of our suffering and turns it into something ‘good’ [Romans 8:28]

Example: Joseph [Genesis 45:7-8; 50:20]

Romans 8 continued

God is for us … who can be against us? [verse 31, 32]

God is for us … who can accuse us? [verse 33]

God is for us … who can condemn us? [verse 34]

Who can separate us from the love of Christ? [verse 35-39]