Agonizomai: Romans Chapter 3 - All Are Consigned to Sin<br>Part A - Jewish Sin (ii)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Romans Chapter 3 - All Are Consigned to Sin
Part A - Jewish Sin (ii)
But our failure hasn’t spoiled God’s purposes…

Romans 3:5-6 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world?

…so why are we still held to account? If it all turns out God’s way in the end despite our failure why not overlook the failure? The proper answer to this question is crucial to understanding the relationship between God’s sovereignty and our responsibility.

It is true that no matter what we do we cannot thwart the predetermined purposes of God…
Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD has them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, "I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill." Psalm 2:1-6

"Remember this and consider, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. Isaiah 46: 8-11
…He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. {Revelation 22:13} So neither the Jews nor we Christians ought to discount the idea that God does as He pleases and accomplishes all He purposes to do. God does not fail to do all His predeterminate will. If He did He would not be God.

But as God, He has the sovereign right to demand that we love, fear and obey Him. He requires that we expend effort – in fact our whole being – upon loving Him, and all that it implies. {Deuteronomy 6:5} God can do this because He is concerned with our hearts and not our results. Outcomes are entirely His. He judges the heart. This is why two people faced with an identical situation can make precisely the same choice, and to one it is sin and the other righteousness.

God couldn’t care less about our producing results - He wants our loving obedience. Result orientation is a vestige of our carnality. The thought that we were ever able to effect an end of ourselves is specious. We are only able to dwell in an end that God is effecting with either a right or wrong heart. Now, don’t make the mistake of thinking that this means we don’t have to do anything. We do – that’s why its called the obedience of faith. But when we do things in faith we understand that the result is entirely in God’s hands. (Proverbs 16:9, 33) It would be arrogant and foolish to think that because we obeyed God from the heart in His power, according to His will with whatever essence, resources, skills, gifts and talents the Omnipotent creator ex-nihilo of all things had graciously given us – that we were effecting anything at all. God is effecting it through us. His glory, our amazed adoration.

And conversely, when we do not abide in God, it is not our outward failure that condemns us, but our very failure to abide in Him. So God is righteous to judge the Jews, and all men, for their failures of the heart – their intentions – He does not demand results of themselves. Results are the fruit of abiding and obeying.


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