For video teaching to these notes, click here: Romans 7 — week 17 — Separation From God?
Paul said in Romans 1:16: The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation
- the power of God unto sozo — wholeness in every area of life; nothing missing, nothing broken; wholly healed and delivered;
Problem is if the Gospel has the power to do that why aren’t more people living completely whole, healed and delivered?
- Maybe we’ve been preaching a different gospel
Romans 7 Paul continues with what he has been discussing
- their freedom from law and their new life in grace
- before we dive into Romans 7 verses, I thought it would be helpful to lay a foundation of grace
the purpose of Paul’s letter to the churches in Rome was to help them understand the relationship between law and grace
- Romans 7:6 says: But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that which we were bound, in order for us to serve in newness of the Spirit, and not in oldness of the letter.
- living under the law was bondage; it was slavery
- Paul wanted them to understand that grace alone was enough… because grace is not a doctrine or belief
- Grace is a person — His name is Jesus
The Gospel of Grace is all about our union with Christ
- Eph 1:4: just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world for us to be holy and blameless before Him, in love
- Col 2:12 (Mirror): your co-inclusion in Christ is what God’s faith knew when he powerfully raised him from the dead. (Hos 6:2)
II. Romans Is Not About Sin
- Sin (wrong behavior) was not the issue in Paul’s letters
Because of Jesus!
- Jn 1:29 — Jesus had taken away the sin of the world!
- He didn’t take away the sins of those who acknowledge their sins, confess their sins and repent of their sins
- He didn’t take away the sins of those who believe in Him and what He did
- He took away the sins of the WORLD – cosmos in Greek: universe, inhabitants of the world — ALL people!
- and He didn’t take away sins – used as a verb referring to wrong behavior
He took away the sin (noun) – relating to the old Adamic nature – Adam’s sin that all mankind was born into
- Romans 5:12: Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned.
Because of the terms of the New Covenant!
- Jeremiah 31:34 —…. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
- Hebrews 8:12 — For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Because of grace!
Romans 4:15: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression (sin)
- Romans 5:13: For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
- Romans 6:14: Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
So, sin (wrong behavior) was not the issue of Paul’s letter to the Romans or any of his letters
- sin (wrong behavior) was fruit of a deeper issue — a wrong identity; not understanding that we are sons — made in the image and likeness of God
that false identity started with Adam when he believed the lie that he wasn’t like God and continued with all mankind until the Cross
- at the Cross, all mankind died with Christ (co-crucified), and that old Adamic nature died with them;
- then they were raised up with Him (co-resurrected) into newness of life; a new creation; alive unto God with His nature – righteous and holy
- Eph 4:24: ….the new man, having been created according to God in righteousness and holiness of truth.
- 1 Jn 4:17: because as he is, so are we in this world.
- If sin (wrong behavior) and correcting it wasn’t Paul’s message, what was his message?
- What Gospel did he preach?
III. Paul’s message
Paul’s message was INSIDE YOU IS CHRIST!
- He only preached the finished work of the Cross
Acts 26:18 is the account of Paul’s commission: To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
- receive is lambano in Greek which means to receive, to grasp; to comprehend; to identify with;
- His commission was to open their eyes and turn them from darkness (blindness) to light (Jesus is the Light) and they would turn from the power or influence of Satan and turn to God, that they might comprehend and grasp the truth that their sins have been forgiven and comprehend and grasp the inheritance that is theirs because they’ve been sanctified… set apart and made holy by Jesus’ faith!
- The way their eyes would be open was through preaching the finished work of Christ (1 Cor 1:23)
- Col 2:2 (Mirror Bible) also tells us Paul’s mandate: The mandate of my ministry is for everyone’s heart to be awakened to their true identity, intertwined in love’s tapestry. This will launch you into a life of knowing the wealth of every conclusion and joint witness hidden within the mystery of God who fathered us and co-revealed us in Christ.
- Eph 3:8-9 (Mirror) I am the lowest ranked saint by far and qualified purely by his grace to declare this unexplored treasure of Christ in the nations. (9) The mandate of my message is to make all men see. The unveiling of this eternal secret is to bring into public view an association that has always been hidden in God; Jesus Christ is the blueprint of creation.
- Col 1:26-27 tells us what that mystery is: the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: (27) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
His letters are not sin focused — although we’ve taken them and taught them with a sin focus.
- His letters were Christ-focused — specifically, Christ is in all, and all are in Christ
- and Romans was his masterpiece on this subject of grace!
But we have taken Romans and taught it something similar to this:
chapters 1-8 is about the doctrine and theology of grace which includes:
- the total depravity of mankind and their need of a Savior
- separation from God because of sin and God’s wrath against sinners
- we receive justification and forgiveness of sins because of OUR FAITH in Jesus
- and then we have freedom from that sin through our continual obedience to God.
- Biblehub (which I often refer to) gives the following in their commentary summary of chapters 1-8: Paul teaches about the sinful nature of all men in the eyes of God
- chapters 9-11 are about God’s plan for Israel, His rejection of Israel (albeit temporary) is warranted because of His justice, and His Sovereignty and predestination selection
- chapters 12-16 are then all about this new Christian life, our service to God and how to live a holy life.
- That kind of outline makes Romans not an exciting book to read and puts the focus on “sin” instead of on the finished work of Christ
What we come away with is:
- man is sinful
- God is Holy
- sinful man is separated from God until he has faith IN Jesus
- then is made clean and righteous
- anyone who doesn’t believe is separated from God and unrighteous
- and is subject to God’s wrath
And we call that the Gospel!
- in fact, we call it the Romans Road to salvation
IV. Isaiah 59:2 — Separated from God?
The problem is that’s not the Gospel that Paul preached, and his Gospel was given to him by Jesus so we can safely assume it’s the real deal
- Gal 1:12-13: For I certify to you, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not devised by man. (13) I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather I received it by revelation FROM JESUS CHRIST.
- That interpretation looks like this:
- It has man on one side and God on the other side… a big cavern of separation between them and Jesus as the bridge
This concept of separation from God uses the verse Isaiah 59:2: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
- this verse doesn’t say God has hidden His face from you and can’t hear you because of sin
but though for years that’s what I thought it said! I pictured God with His fingers in His ears and turning His head away from sinful man!
- How sad — that must grieve God when we think that about Him
Let’s read it in context
go to verse 1 of Isaiah 59: Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
- thank God for verse 1! What a beautiful description of God… His hand is not so short that it cannot save! And His ear is not so heavy (so burdened or dull) that it can’t hear!
- then verse 2 says: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
According to this what separates us from God? Sin!
- What hides His face from us? God? No sin!
- Who can’t hear? Man in sin… not God
In Genesis 3 man sins and God did not turn His face and can’t hear.
In fact, He shows up ready to fellowship with man just like always
- He doesn’t hide His face and plug His ears because of Adam’s sin…. He listens and talks with him.
But Adam, because of his sin, can no longer see God accurately
- sin has hidden God’s true nature from him… He now sees God through a warped identity
- he hears God, not accurately and by the Spirit, but through the filter of a wrong identity, through sin
Isaiah is not saying that God is separated from man… turning His face and plugging His ears
- He is saying that God is displeased with the whole situation … the injustice, the alienation in their minds, and the interrupted flow of blessings to His children.
And in Isaiah what does God do in response to man’s sin?
- God doesn’t reject or abandons us; we must keep reading
God springs into action.
- God initiates a saving act whereby he rolls up his sleeves and comes to us Himself through his Son, Jesus.
- And those who turn to God will find that he was already for them and toward them.
- In other words, our repentance does not cause God to come, but rather, God’s grace precedes and even generates our repentance.
- Isn’t that what Paul said in Romans 2:4 that God’s goodness (His covenant love for us) causes men to repent NOT men’s repentance causes God to be good!
This is how the New Covenant (announced in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea and elsewhere) works.
- Grace to His children who in their sin can no longer see God for who He is or hear Him…thinking He has hidden His face and closed His ears to them!
- And his New Covenant, according to Isaiah, also assures us that God’s Spirit will not depart … ever.
This concept of separation from God because of our sin was not the Gospel that Paul taught
- and, it’s not what he taught in Romans
V. One God
- As we’re going to see next week, there is Greek thought, and Hebrew thought and true Christianity (teaching that came from the Apostles) came from Hebrew thought.
The central idea of Judaism (Hebrew thought) involves a commitment by the Jewish people to One God, who is the Creator and Ruler of the universe;
- Gen 1:1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Jesus is not a separate god — He is part of the One God (Trinity)
- John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
- John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
- Col 1:16 For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created
The central idea of true Christianity (flowing from Hebrew thought) is also one God. It’s called Trinitarianism (One God – Father, Son, Holy Spirit);
- John 14 Jesus said if you’ve seen Me you’ve seen the Father
- John 10:30 Jesus also said the Father and I are one
The picture we have above
- with sinful man on one side and a holy God on the other unable to look upon sin and Jesus as the bridge between the two
- implies that Jesus is different from God because He can look upon sin and become sin for mankind but God is too holy to do that — Is Jesus less holy?
- they are no longer One God
So here in this picture of separation we’ve made Jesus’ nature different than the Father’s
- Jesus is more loving, kind, merciful and forgiving — full of Grace
- and so what we’re left with is an angry God, a wrathful God, a God who needs to be appeased by having sin removed so that He can even look at us!
that doesn’t make the Father and Jesus ONE
- it puts a split between the Father and the Son
- it paints the picture of the Father being different from Jesus
- Because it has the Son able to embrace man’s darkness; able to do something about sin
and the Father not able to look upon sin
But in 2 Cor 5:19 we’re told: God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not reckoning their trespasses to them, and having put into us the word of reconciliation.
- God was in Christ on the Cross reconciling us to Himself
Jesus and the Father have always been ONE
- Jn 14 — BUT Jesus said if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father
- the whole basis of the Christian message is Hebrews 1:3 says Jesus is the exact image of the Father
- you don’t meet Jesus and a different God (Father) — that would be two Gods (also known as dualism)
Jn 17:6 says I have revealed Your name to those You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
- name is the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character… their nature
v. 4 says that Jesus brought glory to the Father by finishing the work He gave Him to do
- finished is teleo in Greek which means to bring to a close, to fully end; to fulfill; to perform the last act that completes the process!
He revealed the nature of God — He came and showed us who the Father is, what He’s like. 100%. He left no part out!
- There was no part of God that we didn’t see in Jesus! God the Father looks JUST LIKE Jesus!
All that you love about Jesus you can safely love about the Father….the mercy, the grace, the compassion!
- All that you thought you knew about God because of wrong teaching…. the anger, the wrath, the judgment is not true.
- Jesus perfectly revealed God — and He revealed none of that as His nature
In fact, in Luke 4 He left off the part about the vengeance of God that is mentioned in Isaiah because that wasn’t God’s nature — it was a misinterpretation of His nature by men who didn’t understand what God was like.
- Matt 11:27 and Luke 10:22 both say: All things have been delivered to Me by My Father. And no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and to whom the Son might choose to reveal Him.
Jn 1:18 No one has ever yet seen God. The only begotten God, the One being in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known.
- Mirror: Until this moment God remained invisible; now the authentic, incarnate begotten Son, the blueprint of our design who represents the innermost being of God, the Son who is in the bosom of the Father, brings him into full view! He is the official authority qualified to announce God! He is our guide who accurately declares and interprets the invisible God within us.
Without a correct understanding of God’s nature — which is only revealed by looking at Jesus — we will have a misunderstanding of this Gospel of Grace that Paul preached.
- And we will construct a Gospel not rooted in the finished work of Christ
- Col 2:8 Take heed lest there will be anyone taking you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the principles of the world and not according to Christ.