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Archive for the ‘Romans 16’ Category

In the closing chapter of Romans Paul concludes his epistle by sending greetings to the brothers and sisters gathered in the church at Rome and reaffirms his confidence in the message of the Gospel delivered to the saints.

Having addressed the saints in chapter 1 and commended their unity in Jesus Christ, in whom they were called through the Gospel, and thanked God for their faith which was “spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8 ) Paul again commends their conduct, their faith, their love, and their labours for Christ as he closes his epistle. Here is a people drawn from both Jews and Gentiles whose unity is found not in nationality, race, culture or earthly interests, but in Christ. They are knit together in Christ, by His Gospel – chosen by God in eternity with an everlasting election, redeemed by the blood of His Son at the cross and quickened into spritual life by the Spirit to live and walk by faith.

Yet, in verse 17 Paul warns the brethren against those who would cause division in the church through their opposition to the message preached. The well-being and unity of the church rests in this – the faithful proclamation and adherence to that Gospel, that message declared from the beginning and expounded in this very epistle. Division stands in departure from this message. Unity does not stand in the creeds and confessions, it does not stand in denominations, or church orders, nor in man-made authority, be it the Pope of Rome or any other, neither in the theology, traditions or organisations of men – however scriptural-sounding and however seemingly well-meant. No, unity stands in one thing, and one thing only, Christ and His Gospel as revealed by the Spirit, and anything and everything which departs from that message, in any way, merely encourages and maintains division. Mark it well – take heed what you hear. How vital then is this message, and how seriously Paul treats that which is “contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned” and especially those who would bring such contrary doctrine, by which divisions and offences come, though they “by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of many”.

How seriously then should we take the message of the Gospel. It must not be taken lightly. It cannot be compromised. 

But we thank God that the very Gospel which Paul declared to those at Rome continues to be sounded even to the present day. It remains the same. It is that ‘faith which was once delivered unto the saints’. It does not vary. It cannot be added to, nor subtracted from. It isn’t subject to the opinions or objections of men, it isn’t subject to the changing fashions of this world or the differences between cultures and peoples. It stands sure and certain. It is the faith which was once delivered.

This is the message we need to hear in our day and age – the same message preached from the very beginning, and as recorded in the scriptures.

Is this the message you have heard? Is this the faith you confess? The faith once delivered to the saints? Has God revealed this ‘mystery’ to you? 

For these things must be revealed to us. Until they are they remain a mystery. Though with the coming of Christ, and the writing of the New Testament, those things which had previously been hid as a secret, were now revealed, though those things which had only previously been known in types, figures and prophecy were now fulfilled in Christ, nevertheless, even now, until God opens our eyes to see them, they remain a mystery to us too. Until the Spirit of God takes the words of scripture and breathes them into our hearts, until He proclaims the Gospel unto us in power, the truth remains but words on a page. A hidden mystery. We may read the Bible, we may devour books, we may hear a preacher, but all is beyond our comprehension, all is confused, everything is no more than information. No matter how intelligent, how wise, how well-read we may be these things will remain hidden from us until God in mercy teaches us to bow before Him and His revelation with child-like humility, for Jesus said I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matthew 11:25).

Yet when God does reveal the truth to us, when He, as it were, takes the wraps off the truth, opens our eyes to see and reveals that Gospel unto us then everything becomes clear – then what was once hidden can now be seen, what was once a dark shadow is now revealed in the light of the day, in heavenly light, divine light. What may once have been but knowledge of the letter, knowledge about Christ, now becomes a knowledge of Christ – in experience – by the Spirit…

I ask again, has God revealed this ‘mystery’ to you? Has He revealed His Son unto you through the preaching of His Gospel – that Gospel which is ‘the power of God unto salvation’?  That “mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19) “which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints” (Colossians 1:26), which declares “the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). For “without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” 1 Timothy 3:16. Yea, has this Gospel, this mystery been revealed to you?

For salvation lies in no other message – for Christ, the Saviour, is revealed in no other message. Every variation from that ‘faith… once delivered’, however small, is by so much a departure from the truth and its saving power. Our great need today is to return to the truth as it was delivered in the beginning. Not to the ‘great days’ of the past in church history. Not to the Great Awakening, not to the Reformation, not to 1689, 1646, the 1500s, not to Lloyd-Jones, Philpot, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Luther or Calvin. But back to the beginning! Back to the Gospel as recorded in the scriptures, and as declared by Christ and His apostles. Back to the ‘faith which was once delivered unto the saints’. That faith Paul preached and expounded in his epistle to the Romans.

Has God taught you that faith? That Gospel? That message?

Has it been revealed unto you, in the heart, in the inward man, by the Spirit, through the word, by those sent to preach it – not in word only, but in power, in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance?

May God be pleased to sound this message in power in this day and generation. The message of Christ, of His salvation, of His justifying righteousness wrought by faith, of an eternal election, free justification, of salvation by grace and not by works. That salvation which is of God, not man, which is ‘from faith to faith’ – even the ‘faith which was once delivered unto the saints’.

This message. And none other. The faith once delivered to the saints.

The faith… of Jesus Christ.

 

 

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.”

Romans 16:25-27

 

 

RELATED AUDIO MESSAGES

 

“The Mystery” Colossians 1:26

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ” Revelation 1:1

“That Our Eyes May Be Opened” Matthew 20:33

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