AND GOD SAID,
"IT NEVER HAPPENED"
Through much of this century, one of the common topics of discussion in the
church has been what is right. Countless sermons have been preached on what is right.
We could not estimate the number of arguments that produced confrontations about
what is and is not right. Many debates were conducted to defend what was right.
Any in depth discussion of the concept of "right" is lengthy and complicated.
However, we commonly approach our concepts of "right" as though "right" is simple and
easy to discuss. To the person defending what he is convinced is "right," "right" is
Our human concerns about "being right" commonly focus on what is correct.
"Right" is centered in correctness--correct organization, correct teachings, correct
practices, correct information, correct positions, correct reasoning, and correct
conclusions. In our devotion to correctness, we defend right organization, right
teachings, right practices, right information, right positions, right reasoning, and right
conclusions. This concept focuses on "right" as compared to "wrong."
So, from human perspectives, the discussion of what is right is a simple
discussion. We often think it is as simple as opposing and rejecting what is wrong.
God's concern about "right" does not focus on correctness. God's concern about
"right" focuses on much more important, much more serious than our human
preoccupation with correctness. God's basic concern regarding "right" involves guilt.
Specifically, it involves human guilt.
While Christians are commonly concerned about correctness, God is concerned
about human guilt.
- God is right; that is fundamental to God being righteous.
- His rightness and his righteousness are affirmed by the fact that God is free from
- No form of evil is in or associated with God.
- God is not right because of His power; God is right because there is no evil in
- Because we misuse our wills, all people are evil.
- Certainly, evil exists in people in different degrees and different forms; but all
people have an enormous amount of evil in them.
- But no person who possesses and uses his will is free from evil.
- Therefore, all people have guilt.
- Therein lies God's basic problem in His association with people.
- God is totally free from all evil.
- All people have evil.
- Because people are evil, they have guilt.
- So how can a God who is right because He is free from evil associate with
people who are guilty because they are incapable of being free from evil?
- This is the basic work of justification: making people who have guilt "right"
before the God who is free from evil.
- For God to make a person "right," God has to destroy the person's guilt.
- How does God destroy guilt when people are guilty?
- This is the condensed version of what God does to make guilty people right:
- God placed all evil committed (and to be committed) by people in the body
of Jesus as Jesus died.
- In that act, God made Jesus to be sin.
- Every person who will trust and accept what God did in Jesus as he died is
- Forgiveness provided through Jesus' blood literally destroys the sin.
- By destroying the sin, God destroys the guilt.
- Because the evil and the guilt of the forgiven person is destroyed, the
person is right before God because he or she has been forgiven.
- Every person needs this solution to guilt.
- God's primary concern in our becoming "right" centers in words and concepts that
declare the destruction of our guilt.
- We are cleansed from our sins; they are washed away by the blood of Jesus.
- We are purified, made free of sin, through the blood of Jesus.
- We received atonement through Jesus' blood; the function of atonement is to
- By using the innocent blood of Jesus, God:
- Redeems us--frees us from Satan by purchasing us for Himself.
- Sanctifies us--sets us apart from evil for himself.
- Justifies us--makes us right; looks at us as though the evil did not occur.
- We are right because our guilt and evil have been destroyed in Christ.
- We focus on correctness, the issue of right versus wrong.
- God focuses the destruction of evil in us; the issue of guilt versus
- God justifies us by destroying our guilt.
- I want to share some things with you from the book of Romans (and we could
share the same things from the book of Galatians).
- I have a very specific objective tonight.
- We are not trying to do an in depth study of these scriptures.
- I am encouraging you to deepen your understanding of justification in Christ.
- In the letter called Romans, you encounter the same problem that you encounter
in many of the New Testament writings: the enormous misunderstanding that
existed between Jewish Christians and non-Jewish Christians.
- In the first two chapters of Romans Paul demonstrated that every person
needs a means to be right before God that does not depend on human
- Paul did a fascinating job of showing that humans cannot make
themselves right before God.
- We cannot make ourselves right by morals or by keeping laws.
- Every human attempt to do so is based on human achievement, and all
attempts result in our becoming extremely wicked or very judgmental.
- The first scripture I call to your attention is Romans 3:19-25. Please take a
Bible and read the verses as I paraphrase the central thoughts of the verses.
- Many Jewish Christians were deeply offended by the true teaching that all
people are saved by God's grace.
- "We have known the living God for 1400 years, and we had God's law
all that time."
- "If now God saves people by grace, what was the purpose of all that?
It is not fair. Being God's people all those years means nothing."
- Verse 19: The primary purpose of God's law was to make every person
accountable before God. The focus of law is accountability, not
- Verse 20: No one can be made right before God through law; law can only
make us aware of the evil in us.
- Verse 21: God created a means for people to be "right before God" that
has nothing to do with law; in fact, the law itself declared that God would
- Verse 22: This new means of being right before God came into existence
through Christ, and every person who trusts Christ can receive it.
- Verse 23: Every person has failed God, every person is guilty of evil, so
every person needs this new means of being "right before God."
- Verse 24: This new means of being right before God perfectly expresses
God's grace through the redemption that is possible in Christ to justify any
person--make any person right before God.
- Verse 25: That is precisely why God sent Jesus--Jesus came to die in our
place so his blood and our faith in him could make us right before God.
- The second scripture I call to your attention is Romans 4:1-8. Paul was still
talking to the Jews attempting to help them understand.
- Verse 1: The beginning of the Jewish nation was Abraham: why was
Abraham right before God?
- Verse 2: If Abraham was right before God (justified) because of his acts of
obedience, then he had reason to take credit for his righteousness.
- Verse 3: But Genesis 15:6 states that God considered Abraham to be
righteous because of his faith.
- Verse 4: If a person is right before God because of his deeds, then he
earned righteousness; it is not the gift of God's grace.
- Verse 5: But if a person is right before God because he trusts God's
justification, then he is righteous because God made him righteous.
- Verse 6-8: This is not a new understanding; it is as old as King David who
wrote in Psalms 32:1,2:
- Blessed is the person whose sins are covered through forgiveness;
- Blessed is the person that God refuses to hold accountable for his sin.
- The third scripture I ask you to examine is Romans 8:31-34.
- Being a Christian brought many hardships and suffering to those people.
- Paul wrote that no matter how much they suffered, they could be
absolutely certain that God never stopped loving them or deserted them.
- Verse 31: God is greater than anything that exist; there is no enemy of the
Christian that is greater than God.
- Verse 32: God proved that He will do everything necessary to secure our
salvation when He allowed His own son to die for us.
- Verse 33: No one can use your guilt to separate you from God because it
is God who justifies you. If God makes you right before Him, no one can
make you wrong before Him.
- Verse 34: If God refuses to condemn you, you cannot be condemned. It
cannot happen because Christ died and was resurrected to return to God
and intercede for you.
- Romans 8 is the most powerful expression of the importance of justification for
each of us.
- God destroyed our guilt when we surrendered in faith to Jesus Christ.
- Our guilt does not exist because we are justified; we are guilty, but God
used Jesus to make us right before Him.
- Satan cannot accuse us as he accused Job because of what God does for
us in Christ.
- Though we are not and never will be perfect, though we will always make
mistakes, Satan cannot charge us or condemn us.
- Why? Because God justifies and Jesus intercedes.
- When Satan attempts to charge or condemn us, God's response is simple:
it never happened.
- This is only reason that God refuses to see our sins: God destroyed our
sins and our guilt with forgiveness in Christ.
Never, never, never think that you are right before God because you are good or
that you are obedient. If you want to know the reality of your guilt, ask Satan. If you
want to know the proper consequences for the evil in your life, ask Satan. You are not
right before God because you have not sinned. You are right before God because God
destroys your sin. He forgives you. He justifies you.
If God has washed your sins away with baptism, stop worrying about guilt.
Turn loose of it.
Focus on serving God.
Have your sins been destroyed?
Have you discovered this freedom?
Have you given yourself to Christ?
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 15 March 1998
This sermon is also available in French.
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