Andy preaches about the meaning of grace and how it offensively (to some!) means we are made a new creation in Jesus and our old selves are dead. Praise be to God our Saviour!
Grace Resurrection Identity
Hi People, I want to share some wonderful essential truths of Christianity today and thats grace and resurrection, grace and resurrection are absolutely essential to our faith, you can’t have Christianity without grace and resurrection, and I today I want to focus on Grace, Resurrection and identity, Grace, Resurrection and YOUR Identity !
Most of You who know me know I’ve really fallen in love with Gods word this yr and I’ve been reading a lot.
A lot of what I’m going to speak about today comes from the book of Romans here’s a quick Romans 101
After Jesus was resurrected and death was defeated and Jesus ascended to heaven and left us with the holy spirit (book of acts) God hired a chap called Paul to really hammer home the fact that salvation was for the gentiles in Acts 9 God whoops Saul on the road to Damascus and declares (Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the gentiles), later on in the book of Acts he becomes known as Paul and Paul went on to write around two thirds of the new testament
Some have said that Pauls letter to the Romans is the greatest theological document ever written, it is one of the most theological books in NT the letter was written in 57AD to Roman Christians.
So I’m gonna hit ya with some scriptcha, lets crack open those bibles in Romans 6.
Then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Wow ! Quite an opener eh ? Lets read on from verse 5:
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Verse 11 “So you must consider yourselves……”
Verse 5 a death like his, (picture Christ death and resurrection) do we understand how huge and scandalous it was that the holy righteous son of God, the king of kings came and died as a criminal ? Do we realise how powerful it was that glorious day when the lamb was slain ? That God paid the highest price for us and sent out a revelation of love that will reverberate through all creation for all eternity ? (it’s the reason we’re here today) Christ Jesus hanging on that cross, death was defeated !
We have been united with him in a death like his and so are united with him in a resurrection like his(Romans 6:5 I hope you guys will commit this piece of scripture to memory), for us it was a painless death because he took all of the pain and all of the shame, we are now called to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ Jesus (verse 11).
verse 6 and we know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing
Do we know or have we forgotten (verse 3 of the NLT) how big this is, have we let the truth of this go a bit dull ?
Have we added some disclaimers to this or taken it with a pinch of salt, some people say we’re dead to sin but y’know we’re all still sinners, always gonna be a sinner !
But that’s not what the gospel says, yes we have all sinned and yes we have all fallen short of the glory and yes we all need to repent but once we are in Christ our sinful nature is dead ! and we are a new creation, yes you can still sin if you want, you still have free will, and sin is still sin but your old sinful nature is dead ! What I’m trying to get at is sin It’s not your identity anymore, you no longer have an obligation to sin, when we focus on Christ and trust in this gospel reality we start to manifest newness of life that we have been called too.
11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. 12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit(which you have received) you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
Sounds scandalous and too easy doesn’t it ? Grace given freely to us, a free gift and the very spirit of God joining with ours, the finished work of the cross of Christ.
Some may say “Hmmmm is this really what st paul meant, whats the context here ?” and context is hugely important when reading the people isn’t it so let me give you the context
It’s called the gospel ! Gospel Which means good news remember (I think some Christians have forgot) ! The good news is a the scandalous message of the righteous son of God coming down and dying for you in your place, paying the price on your head and defeating death with a revelation of love so that through faith in him and by his spirit you can walk and rest in his grace before God the father, we don’t deserve it and we can’t earn it (that’s why it’s scandalous, especially to religious ppl who try to work for their salvation),
It was so scandalous that its what got paul in trouble for preaching it (Gal. 5:11-12 If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended.) religious people were offended by the message of grace.
I’m not trying to build a theology here on one verse or one chapter or even one book, this extreme message of grace is at the heart of the new testament, and the new covenant lets look
at Romans 4:4-5 When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. 5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.
We don’t work for our salvation it is a free gift.
Another book that really speaks of grace and resurrection is the book of Galatians, 2:20 on grace My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. the apostle even uses the exact same language in Colossians 2:12
NLT 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
If you want some even more stronger and more graphic scripture on how dead and separated your old sinful nature is then check out Colossians 2:11
Colossians 2:11 snip snip !
11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.
So our old sinful nature and our old obligation to sin is dead, so what does it mean to be raised to new life and share in the resurrection of Christ ?
2 Corinthians 5:17
English Standard Version (ESV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
You are a new creature ! Your spirit has been joined with Gods spirit and you are now in union with God ! – Physically you may look the same spiritually you are very different !
In the place where we have our retreats in the friars there is a big mural on one of the walls with I think two angels with trumpets and it has the text “Behold I am making all things new”, that’s a quote from revelation 21:5, God will make all things new and he’s already started with you !
My prayer for everyone here today including myself is that we know more and more in our hearts just who we are in Christ and that we would start to acknowledge the fullness what the cross has done.
Don’t underestimate what God has done for you !
Don’t underestimate what being a Christian means !
Don’t underestimate who you are in God !
Don’t underestimate what has already happened by the power of the resurrection !
When you become a Christian something absolutely amazing happens, something literally out of this world !
Your old self dies and you become a new creation.
You are Gloriously Undead !
Say I’m a new creation !
Some of you might be thinking well some days I certainly don’t feel like a new creation and sometimes we may feel like these scriptures aren’t true, or aren’t true for yourselves but lords word is his truth.
Are we going to let circumstances and feelings change our theology or let our theology change our circumstances and feelings ?
I’m not talking about mind over matter, I’m talking about God over matter and acknowledging the truth of the cross and the resurrection that has already happened !
We are enabled and closer to God than we could ever know.
We have been given a Spirit of adoption not a spirit of fear, we are in union with him, our spirit has been joined with his (Romans 8:16).
We as the church should be rejoicing in what’s been given to us, this scandalous amazing grace is a wonderful free gift bought for us at the highest price so lets accept it and embrace it and not try to take it with a pinch of salt or water it down or add religion and disclaimers too it.
The only disclaimer I am going to give on grace is the same one that St Paul gave and that’s that grace not an excuse to keep on sinning Romans 6:1 (What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?)
Like I said before grace is scandalous and sounds too good to be true(that’s why Paul got in to so much trouble for preaching it), and if it’s taught incorrectly people will take it as a license to sin.
Remember grace is freedom from sin, not freedom to sin, whenever you preach the gospel without limiting it, because it is so good some people will start to get angry and confused and accuse you of preaching license to sin just like they did to St Paul but all we have to do like St Paul did as highlight that grace is not freedom to sin, it’s freedom from sin.
This is the good news ! Jesus died to bring you into union with God, when we evangelise lets tell people that God wants to make them a new creation and give them a new heart.
Some of you may be thinking oh no are You saying this is as good as things are going to get ? No I’m not saying that, we are still in these earthly bodies and I know that some or all of you have struggles and pain and I’m not trying to say that isn’t real or doesn’t matter but what I am saying is that as we stand here today the truth is most probably better than you thought it was and you are a new creature and that’s what matters, lets remember to boast in the good things !
One last bit of scripture
I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hasbeen crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation” (Gal. 6:14-15, NIV).
Bro’s and Sisters my prayer for you today is that you would have a greater sense and understanding of what Christ has already done and what has already happened to you that wonderful day when christ came into your heart, that your old self and you old obligation to sin is dead and that your resurrected in Christ so that you may walk in newness of life.