Archive for November 1st, 2007


That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:21

Grace Reigns…

This verse sets before us, in stark contrast, two reigns – two rules, two dominions, two powers – and the effects of their reign: the one unto death and the other unto eternal life.

The contrast could not be more vivid. The consequences could not be more opposed. Their importance cannot be overstated.

Yes, one reign is unto death, but the other is unto life – eternal life.

The first is the reign of sin. What a reign this has over men, and how devastating the consequence – death! How far reaching are the effects of sin, how vast is the kingdom over which sin has reigned, how many are its citizens! As we read in Romans 5:12:

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”

Yes, all have sinned. There is not one of us who has escaped the reign and the dominion of sin. It entered the world by one man, Adam, when he turned from God his Maker in disobedience and rebellion, and has been passed down to all his posterity ever since. We are all born with the same sinful, rebellious, selfish, wilful and disobedient nature into which Adam fell and by which the dreadful consequence of sin entered the world – death: “and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”. We can no more escape the consequence of sin – death – than we can escape or ignore the cause – our sin – and its permeating effects upon all we do and say.

Sin reigns, and mankind finds himself captive to this reign. Not only do we find ourselves captive to a decaying and death-filled world, not only do we see the effects of death in our bodies as we age, and suffer illness, weariness, pain, tiredness, sorrow and misery as the days of our lives pass by towards their inevitable conclusion, but we also find ourselves captive to a spiritual death. We find ourselves unable and unwilling to approach God. We have no desire for Him. Sin leads us in another direction. The true communion which man, in Adam, had with his Maker was shattered when he turned his back upon God. The LORD God once walked with Adam in the garden, but when sin entered the world God cast Adam out from His presence and a great gulf was fixed between man and God. That gulf was caused by sin and by its result – death.

When Adam chose to turn his back upon the Tree of Life which was in the midst of the garden and eat instead from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – by the eating of which he desired to become as a god (Genesis 3:5) – he chose a terrible pathway unto death. By choosing to put himself under another reign from God’s, by choosing to place himself under another dominion mankind became a captive to it. Man in his lust for power desired to reign himself, but in his folly, his own sin took reign over him and he fell captive to it. Sin’s lusts, desires, motives, intentions and resolves all drive man in a certain direction – away from God; away from the only One in whom is life; away from Jesus Christ, who to know is life eternal; away from God and into death, for “sin hath reigned unto death”.

What a reign sin has over us. How captive we are under it. But how captivated we are by it! Not only has sin reigned over us but we have lovingly embraced its reign! Not only are we unable to turn from sin to God, but we are also unwilling. We choose to go this way. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” Romans 3:10-11. Not one of us can claim innocence for like our father Adam we have willingly embraced the fall, we have said of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, “We will not have this man to reign over us”, and in our pride and lust for power we have sought to place ourselves upon the throne. We will reign, won’t we? Don’t our natural hearts speak that way? But in such foolish desire our sin takes hold of us and keeps us captive. Sin reigns… unto death.

But praise God that Romans 5:21 doesn’t end with just this one reign! Praise God that there is another reign whose power is so much greater and whose results are so gloriously different! Praise God that this verse has an “even so” in the middle!

“…even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:21

Even so. Even so despite the reign of sin. Despite its power and its awful consequences. Even so, though mankind has willingly embraced sin. Even so, though mankind willingly sinned and brought death upon himself. Even so, though mankind has chosen this reign of sin and deserves nothing better.

“Even so”. Even so, might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yes, though God would be just to leave man to himself; though God could justly destroy His creation and the rebellious creatures who turned against Him, nevertheless, even so, God has chosen to be gracious. He is a God who delights in showing mercy. A God who is longsuffering. A God who is love. A God who saves. A God who graciously sent His Son to save His people from their sins.

For there is a reign greater than that of sin: the reign of grace. What a contrast we see in Romans 5:21. Sin reigned unto death, but grace reigns unto eternal life.

The reign of sin was a reign of man’s rebellion and disobedience towards his God, which brought in death. But the reign of grace is that of God showing His unmerited favour towards man, in spite of his rebellion, in order to freely give him eternal life in Jesus Christ. The one is of man and the other is of God. The one brings death but the other brings life. The former was earned, merited by man’s actions, but the latter is unearned, unmerited, it is a free gift from God to man for no other reason than God’s mercy and loving-kindness to those whom He chose to have mercy upon. The one is chosen by man through his free will but the other is granted freely by God through His Sovereignty. The one abounds under the law which demands of man and condemns his offences, but the other abounds much more being freely given to repentant sinners and forgiving their offences. Oh, what a contrast we see in these two reigns!

We see here that however great the reign of sin might be, the reign of grace is greater! However powerful a force sin might be, it is nothing compared to grace. However strong a grip sin might have upon man, it can not stand before the invincible power of God’s grace in saving sinners. For we read that “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20) and that although through the offence of one (Adam) many are dead, “much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many”(Romans 5:15) and “…if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” Romans 5:17.

The reign, the power, of sin, however great is nothing compared to the power of God’s grace. When God sets his grace upon a sinner nothing stands in its way. When grace reigns all other dominion is cast aside. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14.

In fact the only way that man can be delivered from the reign of sin over him is by God’s grace. There is no other way. Sin is within man, it rules him, it motivates him, it reigns over him. Only by an act of God’s grace in delivering man from his sin, in taking that sin away, in blotting it out so that sin is no more, can man be free of its dominion.

No reformation of character or manners can achieve such a deliverance. No works or effort that man can make to live more uprightly can deliver him from the absolute tyranny of sin under which he finds himself. The very best deeds of mankind, the most noble exploits, the most charitable actions he can bring himself to do are still tainted by that sin which he finds within himself. He is ruled by it. “For even our righteousnesses are as filthy rags”. That’s right, even our righteousnesses. Our best deeds are marred by sin.

Some would turn to the law of God in an attempt to subdue sin and live a life pleasing to God. They think that if they can attain to its requirements they will find favour with God. But they couldn’t be more wrong because when sinful man puts himself under that law, far from subduing sin the law inflames it! Far from it leading man to life it simply shows man the vileness of his own heart, it stirs up sin within and so it condemns him. As we read “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.” Romans 5:20. Not subdue, notice, but abound. That is why God gave the law, to show man his sin. That the offence might abound, that man might be condemned and that he might be led to flee unto that one Deliverer from sin and death, even Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. The law might set forth a standard of righteousness which God expects of man and demands of man, but experimentally when man puts himself under that law, the knowledge he acquires, in experience, is not one of righteousness but of sin. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20. This experience of sin actually abounding under the law is what Paul knew and wrote about in Romans 7: “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.”  

There is nothing wrong with God’s law. The problem lies with the sin within us and the effect of that law upon sin. The law “is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” Romans 7:12-13. Yes, as Romans 5:20 shows, when the law entered the offence abounded. The law provided no deliverance from sin – it made it worse, in order to show us our sin.

“…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” Romans 5:20

But praise God that there is a deliverance from sin. There is another reign, a greater reign: the reign of grace! And how wonderful that where sin abounds – in those shown their sinfulness by God through the application of His law demonstrating to them their sin and inability to deliver themselves from it and its reign – that grace much more abounds! There is no sin too great, no sinner too sinful, for grace to overcome – for where sin abounded, grace did much more abound!

Yes, grace reigns – and what a reign! What a power grace is. How great is its kingdom, even the kingdom of heaven. How many are its citizens! But grace and its reign can no more be considered apart from the One who grants them any more than sin and its reign can be considered apart from the one by whom they entered the world. Sin entered by one man – Adam, but the grace of God comes by one Man – even Jesus Christ the Lord. It is this fact that makes grace so glorious and its reign so triumphant. The first man is earthy and brought in sin and death, but the Second Man, the Last Adam, is heavenly – a quickening spirit – and He brought in righteousness and everlasting life. Christ, the Son of God, is both man and God, both human and divine. As God He is sovereign over all, He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. Hence His grace reigns for it is the grace of a King, the grace of a sovereign. It is Sovereign Grace and as a King Christ gives it to whom He will. “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Romans 9:15. Oh! To be a recipient of such grace. Oh! To be under its reign!

Yes, grace reigns, but it does so…

…Through Righteousness

Grace reigns through righteousness. Grace does not reign in isolation. God’s mercy towards man is not at the expense of His justice. No, grace reigns through righteousness and God’s grace is seen in His righteousness, in His justice. Without righteousness, without justice, there could be no reign of grace for the reign of sin must be overcome. Sin must be dealt with in order for God to be just and the justifier of the ungodly. Grace reigns, yes, but it reigns through righteousness.

Righteousness and the revelation of God’s righteousness are at the very heart of the Gospel. They are what give the Gospel its power. Hence Paul writes “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation…” Romans 1:16. Why? “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith Yes, it is the revelation of God’s righteousness in the Gospel which gives it its power. Righteousness is that through which God judges the sin of His people in Christ their Saviour and delivers them from its reign and its power. It is through righteousness, by the revelation of God’s justice (righteousness) in Christ’s redemption that God justifies His people freely by grace.

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:24-26

In the Gospel God has revealed His righteousness by judging and destroying sin and its reign over God’s people in their Substitute, Jesus Christ, as He suffered and died in their place in order to deliver them from sin, death and condemnation and make them righteous before God in Him. Hence, God justified His people ”freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”.

God did this in His Son, Christ Jesus. Only one Man could die in the place of fallen sinners to redeem them from the reign of sin, and that man was Jesus Christ. Only He could deliver His people from sin because only He was without sin. Christ was perfect, righteous and holy. As God who took upon Himself human nature in perfect union with His divine person, as One who was made in all points like unto us, yet without sin, as the Incarnate God, Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice acceptable unto God in the place of sinners. God declared His righteousness by judging sin in His own Son upon the cross, in the One who was “made to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Christ knew no sin. For more than thirty years He lived and walked in this world as a man born under the law and He lived in perfection. He never sinned, He never disobeyed God the Father, He never disbelieved the Father, He never ceased to trust the Father, He never ceased to worship God with all His heart, mind and soul, He never sinned – He knew no sin. Christ was made under the law in order to redeem those who were under the law. The law tested Him in all points, the full rigour of God’s law and justice tested Him to the limit and found nothing in Him to condemn. He was perfect. Having magnified that law and made it honourable Christ then willingly submitted Himself to death upon the cross in the place of His people. Though perfect, though innocent, though without a single fault or cause of condemnation, Christ submitted Himself to the will of His Father and gave Himself up to be taken by the hands of wicked men and nailed to a cross to suffer and die in the place of transgressors.

But what happened when Jesus Christ was nailed to that cross and lifted up to die, what happened when the light of the sun was darkened at the ninth hour was a mystery which was hid from the natural eye. What happened during those hours of darkness as Christ suffered in the place of His people was a tremendous transaction between God the Father and His Son which no natural man could comprehend. This was no ordinary death. No ordinary suffering. When Christ suffered upon the tree it wasn’t the natural pain and suffering which slew Him, but the supernatural outpouring of the wrath of God upon Him and what He had become vicariously in the place of His people. At the cross Christ and His people were united together in death. As Eve was taken out of Adam’s side while he slept, so in Christ’s death, His bride – His Church – were united to Him and brought forth from His side washed in the precious blood of Christ which justified them and cleansed them from their sins.

At the cross Christ became one with His bride, united to her, being made what she was – sin. Her sin became His. Her transgressions became His as He bore them in His own body on the tree. And in response the wrath of God the Father poured down from the vaults of heaven upon Christ the sacrifice to judge sin in Him, to consume it, to destroy it, to blot it out. As Christ endured the cross, for the joy that was set before Him – as He looked by faith to His Father in hope of the glorious resurrection in righteousness with His people – He endured the full penalty of God’s righteousness, God’s unflinching justice, against all the sin and transgressions of His people. He endured it. He endured the hours of torment, the hours of unspeakable suffering. Why? “For the joy that was set before Him” Hebrews 12:2. At the last, Christ would see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. Isaiah 53:11.

Through death Christ justified His people, freely by grace. For grace is not cheap. It comes at a price. Grace reigns, God justifies His people freely to them  by grace, but it comes at a cost to Him. It comes through righteousness. Christ gave His life for His own. That was the cost. But why did He do this? Because He loved them. As we read:-

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Romans 5:8-9

Yes, Christ “loved the church, and gave himself for it” Ephesians 5:25. When Christ died for those He loves He placed Himself under the full justice of God. In so doing the righteousness of God was revealed in the Gospel and God judged the sin of His people according to His own righteousness. Not just according to the righteousness of the law, but according to the very righteousness of God Himself, to justify to life not just for this world, but for the next, for all eternity; to reconcile a people to God, to bring them unto Himself. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” Romans 3:21-22. It was this way, and this way only that God could justify His people in blotting out their sins and delivering them from the reign of sin. It was this way that the reign of sin was conquered and the reign of grace could triumph. Grace reigns, yes. But it is through righteousness.

At the cross God justified His people, freely by grace. His love was set upon a people who didn’t deserve it, a rebellious people, sold under sin, a people under the reign of sin and death. Yet at the cross God manifested His righteousness through the faith of Jesus Christ in order to destroy sin and its reign and deliver that people. God showed grace to a people who sought Him not, and that grace came at such a price – it cost the Saviour. He gave Himself for His own (Galatians 2:20). Grace is God’s free gift to His people, but it came at a great price to Him. It came through righteousness exacted upon the Saviour as He stood in the place of His people, united to them in order to bring them through judgement unto everlasting life, carried through by His faith in the Father’s promise . At the cross God’s mercy and truth met together. At the cross righteousness and peace kissed each other. What a meeting place! What a transaction. What a reconciliation between God and man was made when Christ laid down His life that His people might live, when Christ was made sin that His people might be made the righteousness of God in Him, that they might have peace with God!

“Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10.

Through the obedience of Christ, the obedience of faith, in giving Himself for His people, they are justified in Him, delivered from all condemnation, washed from every sin by Christ’s blood, justified freely by His grace. God in righteousness judged the sins of all His people in the Saviour, blotting them out through the shed blood, and, not only that, but He judged sin itself, that sinful nature His people inherited from Adam, by destroying it in Christ’s body on the tree, totally consuming it under His fiery wrath and indignation and taking it out of sight, so making that people perfect in Christ. In this way God could be just and the justifier of all those who believe in Jesus. In this way He could show His people mercy and grant forgiveness. In this way He could save His people from their sins by His grace. In this way He could deliver them from sin itself, Romans 6:6. In this way grace reigns – through righteousness. It is a victorious reign, a triumphant reign, a reign which overcomes all others, even that of sin and death which Christ conquered through His death as he took sin away and, having done so, rose again on the third day with everlasting life, victorious over all His foes. Nothing, not even death, could stand in the way of grace and its reign by Jesus Christ

Yes, grace reigns, and it reigns through righteousness…

…unto Eternal Life by Jesus Christ our Lord

Grace has an end in view, a triumphant end – even eternal life. Whilst sin brought in misery and death, grace brings eternal life in Jesus Christ. What a glorious thing this is, what a hope is set before the believer, what an end is in view – eternal life. Everlasting life. Life without end. Life free from death, free from misery, free from sorrow, free from suffering, and free from the reign of sin. Yes, eternal life.

And how is this life brought in? By Jesus Christ our Lord. Grace reigns unto eternal life by Jesus Christ, because He is eternal life! As John testifies of Christ, the Word of God, the Word of life in 1 John 1:2: “For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us”. To know Christ, is to know life, to have Christ is to have life, for Christ is eternal life. This is what grace brings – everlasting life in Christ Jesus.

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:12-13.

To have eternal life is to have Christ. To have Christ is to be in Christ. If we are in Christ we are made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21) for we are justified by grace in Him, and if justified then justified unto life (Romans 5:18). And if all this be true of us then we are under a new reign, the reign of grace, having been delivered from the reign of sin and death. Oh what a deliverance! What amazing grace that brings it. But at what a price! Grace reigns through righteousness. To save His people Christ died in their place, He endured the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2). Why?  “For the joy set before him”. What joy is this? To be glorified in the salvation of sinners. To be one with His people, His bride, united together in righteousness, in everlasting life, in eternal life around the throne of God. What joy! For grace reigns “through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord”!

Who are those who have eternal life? John tells us: ”He that hath the Son hath life”. And who has the Son? Those “that believe on the name of the Son of God1 John 5:13.  Such are those who are “justified freely by his grace” Romans 3:24, those which “believeth in Jesus” Romans 3:26.

And just who are those who believe in Jesus? All those whom God chose in Christ before the foundation of the world to be saved by Him (Ephesians 1:3-12). All those upon whom God set His electing love, all the “election of grace” Romans 11:5.

Adam through his disobedience brought sin, death and condemnation to all his posterity, but Christ, the Last Adam, through His obedience brought righteousness and justification of life to all His posterity, the election of grace, Romans 5:18! For where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:21

Now, let us ask ourselves the question: which reign are we under? The reign of sin, or the reign of grace? Which do we love – sin or grace? What motivates us? What rules our life? What governs our thoughts and actions? Where are we heading?

Do we know grace and its reign over us? Has it been bestowed upon us? Are we recipients of it? Not claimants of mercy but recipients? Have we cried out to God for mercy, for grace, having been shown by God the Holy Spirit our desperate need of it, being full of sin and death, being held captive by nature under another reign? Do we know the reign of grace in our hearts? Does it reign over all our life, from start to finish? Do we know the SOVEREIGN KING who grants it? Are we citizens of His kingdom? Do we know Jesus Christ as Lord?

Can we say from our hearts with Paul “even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord”…?

Oh, to be able to join with Paul in saying“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20.

May God bless His word to His glory,



“The just shall live by faith” Hebrews 10:38

“I have preached righteousness in the great congregation” Psalm 40:9

Read Full Post »


Here is one of those verses in the Bible that you just can’t run away from. It is addressed to us all.

It says “For all have sinned”.

“ALL have sinned”. Everyone (*). That means you and me.

“But I’m not a sinner!” you say. “Not like others anyway.”
“I’m not a criminal or anything like that” you say.
In fact compared to many people you probably consider yourself a pretty good, upright, honest member of the community.

But that’s in your eyes, looking on the outside, comparing yourself with others.

But in God’s eyes you’re a sinner. “All have sinned”.

God looks on the hidden things of the heart. All those things you think and imagine and feel inside that you manage to hide from everyone else. But He sees it. Everything.

Do you know your own heart? That it is “desperately wicked” and “deceitful above all things”? – that “out of it proceeds evil continually”?

And do you know that you have broken God’s law, the Ten Commandments? Not just some of it – all of it.

All men have stolen, committed murder, lusted, coveted, taken the Lord’s name in vain, told lies, worshipped idols.

“Not I!” you cry, “I’ve never stolen anything.”

Maybe not OUTWARDLY but you have inwardly – probably every day of your life. We have all had angry thoughts towards our neighbour, we’ve all lusted after possessions and people and power. We’ve all lied even to ourselves.

But you were created to worship God, not live for yourself. You have never loved God with all your heart and all your mind. None of us has worshipped God with all our energies and all our time, perfectly. We all seek the things which please us, the things of this world.

How often do you think of God? How often do you thank Him for all He has given you, life and health, friends and family?

Do you consider God’s majesty? His holiness? His almighty power demonstrated by the way He created the world and all things in it just by His word?

Have you considered the size of the Universe? That God is greater than that – that he is everywhere and knows everything that is happening at any moment in time? He knows everything about you, everything that has ever happened and ever will happen. He is completely righteous and just. He does all that He say He will. He knows the innermost thoughts and intentions of every man and woman on earth. Nothing is hidden from Him.

Have you ever considered these things? Ever worshipped God as you should do?

Then you have sinned. And you are guilty before God, because you’ve failed to keep the law in its entirety.

“Now we know that 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.”
Romans 3:19

You are a debtor before God. Your sins have mounted up a huge debt which you cannot repay!

Now do you see the hopeless state you find yourself in? Even if you attempt to keep the law all it does is condemn you – it shows just how sinful man is. How far short he falls.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Romans 3:20 reads, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

But sin is not just the breaking of God’s law. It is like a disease which affects our very being. It entered into man when Adam fell by disobeying God in the garden of Eden. And it affects everything that man does. He just CANNOT please God. The law shows us this sin within ourselves, and the utter impossibility of our meeting its demands, and satisfying God’s righteous requirements.

We are all guilty. We are all under the curse and condemnation of the law, unless God should deliver us.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…” Romans 1:18

In fact although our consciences may show us that these things are true, that we are sinners and there is a judgement that awaits us, yet sin has such a grip on us that not only do we continue in it but we wilfully enjoy it. As Romans 1:32 tells us:-

“Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

But God is not mocked. Continue in this way and the day of wrath will come sooner than you think.

And on that day all men will have to stand before God and give an account of themselves. And if they are found wanting then justice will be excercised and their sentence will be an eternity of separation from God. An eternity in Hell.

“The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Matthew 13:41-43

Do YOU have ears to hear?

–oOo–“But”, you say, “isn’t God supposed to be a God of love? Can’t he just forgive people their sins? Overlook them perhaps?”

Yes, God is a God of love. He is a merciful God and slow to anger. But he is also a righteous and a just God who cannot look upon sin. Sin must be dealt with – justly. The broken law demands a penalty which must be met, a price must be paid.

Is there no hope for anyone then? How can anyone stand before a holy God?
How can anyone be saved? How can anyone escape the wrath to come?

Only if they are righteous. “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” It’s all a question of righteousness. God’s law describes a righteousness for man, which if he was able to keep he would live. But he is utterly incapable of keeping it because of his sinful nature. No matter how hard we try to live a life pleasing to God, no matter how religious we try to be we will always fail to come up to God’s standards because everything we do is tainted by sin!

“Even our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”

“For ALL have sinned”, says the verse.

Then how can anyone be righteous?

How? When all have sinned?

Through another! We need righteousness in another. We need the price of the law to be paid, a ransom to be made. God’s justice to be satisfied. Sin to be washed away. We need our sinful nature to be dealt with, we need a new heart.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”, cried David in Psalm 51, when he saw just how sinful he was before God.

Praise God He HAS made a way!

In Christ – the sinner’s substitute – and in Him alone.

God sent His only begotten Son into the world to die in the place of sinners. To suffer the punishment that they deserve. To appease God’s wrath and provide a way for sinners to be just before a Holy God.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16

Oh what love this shows towards wretched, guilty sinners! That God should give His own Son to suffer in their place!

God in the person of His Son, co-equal with the Father took upon Himself human flesh. Christ humbled himself to the point of becoming a man. Born of a virgin he took human nature into union with His divine nature. He was completely human just as we are. He knew our state, what it felt like to hunger, to thirst, to be weary, to suffer, to be tempted as we are. But with this exception – he knew no sin. Completely sinless, perfect in every way He was the only sacrifice acceptable unto God to pay the price of people’s sin.

No amount of sacrificial lambs or goats offered up by human priests could ever atone for sin, because they were unequal to those for whom they were offered and the priests who offered them were themselves tainted by sin. But Christ, the perfect Lamb of God from the foundation of the world laid down His life on the cross once for all shedding His blood, the just for the unjust.

He was “wounded for our transgressions”. He was “brought as a lamb to the slaughter”.

When Jesus Christ the Son of God was crucified on the cross he laid down His life for His people. He died in the place of sinners to suffer for them. To actually take the punishment that was rightfully their’s – the innocent died in the place of the guilty.

Christ came into this world not to save the righteous but sinners!

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
Romans 5:6-9

Christ died to pay the price of His people’s sins, while they were yet sinners!

To take the punishment that was lawfully theirs. To suffer the curse of the law and deliver them from it. God poured out his wrath upon his only begotten son. What agonies He suffered! The separation of the Son from His Father – the awful torments of God’s just punishment of sin in His body. Oh, such love!

The Righteous died in the place of the unrighteous. Christ’s blood was shed to wash sinners from their sins. To make them clean before God – to make them righteous!

Yes righteous before God! People who are such sinners, so incapable of worshipping God as they should, made righteous, not through their own efforts or merits, but by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and his blood shed for them. By being clothed with the robe of righteousness that God gives them through the shed blood of His beloved Son.

By this means God is just and the justifier of the ungodly. Sin has been dealt with – justly. Not overlooked, not ignored, but punished and removed by Christ.

Jesus was “made sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”.

The righteousness of God! Not only are the sinner’s sins punished in Him, and they receive forgiveness of sins through His blood, but they are made the ‘Righteousness of God’ in Him.
Romans 3:21-22 tells us:-

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”

God has brought in a righteousness for sinners, even the righteousness of God to all that believe on His Son. There is no other way to find forgiveness of sins or to escape the wrath to come and an eternity of separation from God in Hell but to turn from your sin and believe on God’s Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

What love God has shown unto sinners! What grace he shows – what unmerited favour towards sinners that hate him and are at enmity to him.

Lost in your sin things may seem hopeless – how could God have mercy on you? The more you try to please Him the more into sin you fall.

But it isn’t hopeless! God has brought in a full and free Salvation through Jesus Christ the Lord. Through faith in His sacrifice on the cross for sinners such as you and I!

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 5:20-21

THIS is the Gospel of Christ. The Good News of Salvation through Him.

“And thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

Yes, it is a finished work. Christ did all that was necessary to save His people – there is nothing more to do, but look to Him and believe. What love!

What a Saviour!

And, “he rose again the third day according to the scriptures”. 1 Corinthians 15:4

Death had no power over Him – He rose again and is even now seated on the right hand of God the Father having made His enemies His footstool.

Praise God!

–oOo–Now, do you remember the verse?

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

ALL have sinned? All but one, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

Reader – are you a sinner? Are you still lost in your sins? If you don’t know Christ then the Bible says that you are, and that you need to be right with a Holy God!

But has God shown you? Has he brought you to see that you are a sinner before Him? If you confess that you are, then repent of your sins and believe on Christ, who alone can make you just, and grant you eternal life. Plead for mercy! Seek Him while He may be found and turn to Him who alone can forgive you and set you free.

“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of Salvation.”
2 Corinthians 6:2


[* It should be noted that the immediate context of Romans 3:23 is in reference to the all of verse 22, all that believe on Christ. For God has manifested His righteousness unto and upon all that them believe, for all (of them) have sinned. However, whilst that is true of the immediate context and is used to emphasise the fact that all for whom Christ died were sinners, it is nevertheless also true that Romans 3:23 is as applicable in the wider context of chapter 3 as it is in its immediate context. Chapter 1:18 through to 3:19 clearly demonstrates that all men, Jews and Gentiles, have sinned, as 3:10 tells us “there is none righteous, no, not one”.]

(Read in Portuguese)



“The Lost Sheep” Luke 15:6

“I have preached righteousness in the great congregation” Psalm 40:9

Read Full Post »


In the epistle to the Romans the Apostle Paul declares boldly that:- “…I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” Romans 1:16-17.

Most professing Christians would also claim, with Paul, not to be ashamed of the gospel. However in this day and age of great confusion the question we must ask ourselves is, Do we really know what the gospel is? Well Paul certainly did, and knowing the power of it he was bold and unashamed in its proclamation. I’ve heard one preacher break down Romans 1:16 into five helpful headings. Let’s consider the verse under these headings to draw out five clear aspects of the gospel which the Holy Spirit reveals which are essential to its character and important for us to see.

Firstly, the gospel is DEFINITIVE

It is the “gospel of Christ”. The gospel is not something abstract, something vague, something to be guessed at. It isn’t a collection of testimonies or subjective experiences. It is defined. It is the gospel, the good news of Christ. As Romans 1:1-3 states “the gospel of God… concerning his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord”. The gospel is God’s message concerning the Person and the Work of His eternal Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. It declares Him, it sets Him forth. And any message, any ‘gospel’ which fails to set forth Christ, in all His fullness, is no gospel, and has no power to save.

Secondly, the gospel is OBJECTIVE

Paul states “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation”. The Gospel is an objective message, not subjective. IT is the power of God unto salvation. What is? The Gospel is. For the Gospel, in and of itself, when proclaimed by God the Holy Spirit through those whom He sends to preach it, is the power of God unto salvation.

Paul here does not say that the Spirit is the power of God unto salvation, but that the Gospel is. It is of course true that except the Spirit apply the word inwardly to the hearts of His hearers, they will remain dead in trespasses and sins, yet nevertheless the Spirit does not work in isolation. The Gospel is the power of the Spirit, His sword, which He uses to save sinners, to quicken them unto life in Christ. The Gospel itself, as an objective message, is the power of God unto salvation, and it is by the preaching of this objective message that God is pleased to save sinners: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:23-25

Thirdly, the gospel is EFFECTIVE

Yes, the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation”. The power of God. It is effective, it saves. There is no other power like it, and yet to the world, to them that perish, to the wise in their own understanding it is ‘foolishness’. As 1 Corinthians 1:18 states “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness” and yet “unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

What makes the gospel so effective, so powerful? Romans 1:17 tells us: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith”. That makes it powerful. For here is a message that declares that though all men are sinners, though all fell in their father Adam into sin, death and ruin, though all sin daily being at enmity to God, though man stands in his fallen nature guilty before God, deserving of eternal wrath and damnation, nevertheless God, in His great love, sent His Son to take His people’s sins away through His own death, to deliver them from judgment and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and everlasting life, which He freely gives them by grace (2 Corinthians 5:21). And this justifying righteousness is what is revealed in the gospel, hence its power to save.

Fourthly, the gospel is ELECTIVE

The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation”. Not of man. The gospel is God’s – it is His message concerning His work in the Person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to “save His people from their sins” Matthew 1:21. This gospel was God’s to purpose, God’s to perform, is God’s to proclaim, and is God’s to apply. Consistently, and repeatedly, throughout its message the gospel clearly sets forth the salvation of that people of God, chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4) who have been “predestinated … unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”. This people, described in the scriptures as God’s “sheep” (John 10:15) are those for whom Christ died, and none else, and are those who are saved, not according to their will but God’s (John 1:13, John 15:16). Yes, the gospel, the power of God unto salvation, being God’s to apply to whom He wills, is by definition, elective (See Romans 9).

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9

And fifthly, the gospel is REDEMPTIVE

Finally Romans 1:16 declares the effect of the gospel – the redemption of God’s people. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation”. The Gospel saves, and it does so, because Christ laid down His life for His own in order to redeem them from their sins. His own blood was the redemption price He paid to deliver them from death and secure their freedom. He died in their place, bearing their sins “in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24), suffering under the outpouring of God’s wrath against sin, that through His death, by the shedding of His blood, they would be delivered from death, from sin, and from condemnation and have everlasting life in Him (Romans 3:24, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14, Hebrews 9:12).

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” 1 Peter 1:18-19

No wonder then that Paul was not ashamed of this gospel! For he knew its power, he knew what it was to be redeemed, to have his sins forgiven, he knew that it was God who saved him, by His will, not Paul’s (see Acts 9), he knew the glorious revelation of the righteousness of God in the gospel, put to his account, he knew what it was to be born again by the mighty operation of the Holy Spirit, and most of all he knew the Saviour who loved him, and gave himself for him, the Lord Jesus Christ….

But do you? Do you know this gospel? Has it been revealed to you? Do you believe it? Is this the gospel of which, like Paul, you can say that you are not ashamed?

Have a listen to God’s message of salvation in the gospel on the Video Page of Grace and Truth Online.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:6-7


(Read this in Portuguese)




“Unashamed of The Gospel of Christ” Romans 1:16

“Grounded and Settled” Colossians 1:23

“Listen” Isaiah 49:1


“Perfect In Christ Jesus” Colossians 1:28


“The just shall live by faith” Hebrews 10:38

“I have preached righteousness in the great congregation” Psalm 40:9

Read Full Post »


“So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Romans 1:15

We live in days where we seem to be showered with ‘How To’ books on how to be effective in evangelism, or how to see more growth in the church, or how to see more results from ‘outreach’. Christian bookshops seem to have their shelves filled with such titles as “Effective Evangelism” or “10 Steps to a Successful Church”, or “Dynamic Church Growth Methods”. Glossy books written by friendly ‘with it’ pastors, of full and vibrant congregations, aim to provide us with the all the advice we could need on how to get our message right, how to put it across effectively, how long sermons should be, how short sermons should be, whether we should have sermons at all, what language we should be using, what visual aids are needed, how to appeal to the young, the old, the short and the tall. With an ever-changing, constantly-updating, moving-with-the-times package of proposals and methods, such books, videos, courses and seminars attempt to ensure that Evangelicalism remains up to date, fresh, vibrant and ‘relevant’, and, most importantly of all it seems, that the congregations are filled, by whatever means it takes, with enthusiastic worshippers, keen to embrace such methods and through demonstration of their success encourage yet more sales.


What merit there may be in some of these books, it has to be said that more often than not, what is conspicuous by its absence is a strong emphasis on the centrality of the preaching of God’s word in all its truth. There is no doubt that the systems themselves can be very effective at filling congregations. Likewise the underlying wisdom behind them, and the methods employed, have a proven track record in many fields, especially in the arenas of business and marketing upon which so many of these ideas are modelled. If you wish to fill a meeting with enthusiastic people, keen to be in each other’s company, happy to gather to ‘worship’ a god who promises them much, especially in this life, then there are many effective ways and means of achieving that aim. I’ve seen it done several times.

However, to see sinners, “dead in trespasses and sins”, brought to conviction of their sin before a Holy God who holds their eternal destiny in His hands, to see them brought to the point of crying out for mercy and salvation from the only One who can save them, to see them born again by the mighty inworking of God the Holy Spirit in their souls, to see them delivered from death and the darkness of sin into everlasting life and light in Jesus Christ, to see them gathered in amongst God’s people as One Body united in Christ, as one people who worship “in spirit and in truth”, requires a very different method, a very different power and a very different message from that espoused by the sort of books I’ve just described. In Romans chapter 1 the Apostle Paul sets forth clearly his absolute and confident assurance in that which God has given as His one means of achieving “effective evangelism”. There Paul declares:-

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” Romans 1:16-17.


Yes, Paul was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It is that gospel, that evangel, which he preached (evangelised) at Rome, at Corinth, at Ephesus, at Galatia. It is that which he preached to the Colossians, the Thessalonians, and the Philippians. It is that which he preached to both Jew and Greek. And it is that by which God saved His people, adding them to the church, building the church, and sustaining the church. Why? Because it is the power of God unto salvation. It is effective. It works! It saves! It is God’s means of saving His people and building His church… and nothing else is.


Hence Paul could write in 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”


Whilst the ‘How To’ guides may effectively propose an evangelism without an evangel, whilst such guides may point us to any and every method of ‘evangelising’, other than the plain, simple preaching of the gospel, the evangel of Christ, whilst they may demonstrate that their authors are, in fact, ashamed of the gospel of Christ, Paul wasn’t. For Paul knew that the only thing which is effective in saving the souls of sinners is the preaching of the gospel of Christ. Why? Because it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. And whilst professing churches may, in their wisdom, in their prudence, effectively shut their ears to both the message of the gospel and to those whom God sends to preach it, may God yet be pleased to give us grace to see that there is no power on earth as effective as the preaching of the gospel of Christ, that IT and IT alone is the power of God unto salvation, and to gladly receive and open our ears to both God’s message and His messengers and be fervent in prayer that God would continue to open doors for His glorious Gospel of salvation to be preached in power, in the Spirit, in this day and age, to the saving of souls, the building up of God’s church and to the praise and glory of His Name for evermore.


“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ” Colossians 4:3.

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-7


(Read this in Portuguese)


“Listen” Isaiah 49:1

“The Word of Life” 1 John 1:1

“I have preached righteousness in the great congregation” Psalm 40:9

Read Full Post »