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Scandalous Grace, Part 3: Understanding the Free Gift of Gods Righteousness June 20, 2010

Scandalous Grace, Part 3


Understanding the Free Gift of Gods Righteousness
Romans 5:12-19 and Selected Texts
Sunday Morning
June 20, 2010
Church in the Boro
Rob Wilkerson

Introduction
Im pretty horrendous at golf. I often joke around that when I play I have to rent a Park Ranger to come
with me because Im in the woods most of the time. The next to the last time I played, I lost thirteen
balls in one game, some to the water hazards, but most to the woods.

Thats why when I play golf I love playing what is known as best ball. Heres how it works. All four
people on the team take their shots, but the ball that fell closest to the hole is the only one that counts.
Everyone else goes and gets their balls and drops it where the best ball landed. So everyone else gets to
shoot from the best position of the best player on that hole. Naturally I always put my ball where the
other guy hit his. I think we might have used my ball in one out of eighteen holes.

I affectionately call this imputation golf. Imputation is a theological word that means, to ascribe or
attribute something to someone else. Surfing Dictionary.Com youll find the following listed there for
this word.

Bible Dictionary

Imputation definition

is used to designate any action or word or thing as reckoned to a person. Thus in


doctrinal language (1) the sin of Adam is imputed to all his descendants, i.e., it is
reckoned as theirs, and they are dealt with therefore as guilty; (2) the
righteousness of Christ is imputed to them that believe in him, or so attributed
to them as to be considered their own; and (3) our sins are imputed to Christ,
i.e., he assumed our "law-place," undertook to answer the demands of justice
for our sins. In all these cases the nature of imputation is the same (Rom. 5:12-
19; comp. Philemon 1:18, 19).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/imputation

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Scandalous Grace, Part 3: Understanding the Free Gift of Gods Righteousness June 20, 2010

The doctrine of imputation simply means that when Adam sinned, the penalty for his sin got imputed to
me. Likewise, when Christ obeyed God and died to pay the penalty for sin, those actions got imputed to
me also. So the imputation of Christs obedience and death had the effect of reversing the imputation
of Adams sin to me.

Lets turn to Romans 5 for an overview of how this works, and then Ill follow up with some applications
on what this means for you and what it looks like to live it out. This is crucial to understanding Gods
grace.

Overview of What it Means to be In Adam and In Christ (Romans 5:12-19)

Being In Adam = condemnation


o He led all humanity into sin
o All humanity are born with hearts of stone and disobedience
o All humanity are born under Gods wrath and judgment

Being In Christ = justification


o He led humanity into salvation
o All humanity born again are born again with hearts of flesh and obedience
o All humanity born again are under Gods favor and salvation.

In Adam and In Christ are about position. This is what is really true of me when it all comes down to it.
You are who you really are based upon what God has said about you, and not about what you have
done or have not done.

The scandal of the gospel is seen in this, that you, being an ungodly person, one of His enemies, and
completely helpless, was allowed to go free and never again be judged for your sins. How scandalous
would it be today if a judge were to allow a criminal who was guilty of multiple rapes, murders, and child
molestations walk out of the courtroom completely scot-free? It would be outrageous! So what do you
think it would be then if the judge expunged that criminals record and he was as free on paper as he
was in the verdict? That would be absolutely scandalous!

The people of the community if not the entire country would be hating this judge and seeking to do
everything they could to have him removed. But the good news of the gospel is that you are that
criminal, and God is that judge. And how is it that a just God could have let you go free? Thats part of
the good news, too.

There was a swap that took place. And it was all worked out before you ever stepped foot in
the courtroom.

On one side of the courtroom, you and every single other human being who has ever lived or ever will
live is standing behind the table labeled, Defendant. And you are all are seen by the judge as having
been guilty of disobeying every single thing God has ever commanded. James 2:10 teaches, For the
person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of Gods laws
(NLT). Romans 6:23 teaches that the payback for sin is eternal death. And thats what you face as a
criminal before God.eternal death. And all of this is true of you because of something someone else
did that you could not help. You see, When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adams sin brought

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death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned (Rom. 5:12, NLT). So even though you
werent even there in the Garden of Eden, you inherit both a sinful nature and the death penalty for it
from Adam.

On the other side of the courtroom, behind the table labeled Plaintiff, there is Jesus Christ, the Son of
God, who completely and entirely and perfectly obeyed every single thing God ever commanded in the
Old Testament. Jesus is the only one in this courtroom of whom it was written: Until heaven and earth
disappear, not even the smallest detail of Gods law will disappear until its purpose is achieved (Matt.
5:17, NLT). Jesus is the only one of whom this is true: But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in
heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:17, NLT). And a person like this deserves nothing but the highest honor and
title and position in the universe.

Yet here was the scandalous swap that was made before you ever entered the courtroom.

The judge stands up and orders you and Jesus to swap places. The judged ordered Jesus to the
Defendant table, and he ordered you to the Plaintiff table. The judge then stood up, pointed to the
Defendant table, and declared his sentence, I find the defendantguilty as charged, and I find the
Plaintiff innocent of all charges.

Outrageous!

Then the judge does one better. He continues standing and passes sentence. He says that the
Defendant will receive the death penalty, and that the Plaintiff maintains his current status in life. But
the difference, of course, is that you are now standing behind the Plaintiff table and you get to live the
life Jesus Christ would have resumed after the whole deal was over. And Jesus Christ is left to receive
the death sentence penalty that you would have received after the whole ordeal was over.

Insane!

Then the judge does one even better. He continues standing and passes the restitution part of the
sentence. This is usually the part of the sentence where the judge tells the guy whos guilty what he has
to pay back to the guy whos innocent. But since youve swapped places, the Defendant, now Jesus
Christthe real innocent one declared guilty because of the swap, has to pay restitution to YOU the
guilty one, now declared innocent because of the swap.

The judge says that everything the Defendant owned and possessed was to be given to the Plaintiff as
restitution. Included in this declaration was the total and complete expunging of your record so that
you are no longer looked upon or viewed by society as the guilty one. Youll never be prevented from
getting any job, serving in the military, or any other privilege normally denied those whove been
charged as a criminal in a court of law.

Scandalous!

Somehow, this whole ordeal has gotten turned on its head! Its all been turned backwards! Jesus Christ
gets what you deserve. And you get what Jesus Christ deserves.

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An innocent man walks out of the courtroom a guilty man, and the guilty man walks out of the
courtroom an innocent man.

The innocent man gets the death penalty and the guilty man gets to live life as the son of a king!

The innocent man gets handcuffed and is led out of the courtroom in a processional throng where hes
beaten, tortured, screamed at, mocked, punched, kicked, and his beard and hair pulled out by the
handfuls. And the guilty man is led out of the courtroom as if he were royalty. Yet no matter how
loudly or clearly the judge says it, reality tells us that this man will never be viewed as innocent.

The innocent man gets nailed naked to a wooden crossbeam in public where hes tortured and mocked
even more. Meanwhile, the guilty man gets escorted away in complete protection and a throng of
praise and honor. Yet no matter how loudly and clearly the judge declares this man guilty, reality tells
us that this man will always be viewed as innocent.

In Gods courtroom of heaven, all of this really happened.

If you follow Jesus, this whole thing has already happened for you. Except, this is where the earthly
analogy breaks down. For on planet earth, the guilty man is really still guilty man whos treated as
royalty, and the innocent man is really the innocent one who gets the shaft.

But in Gods world, the innocent man is mysteriously but genuinely made to be the guilty one. 2
Corinthians 5:21 teaches,

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become
the righteousness of God (ESV).

Likewise, in Gods world, the guilty man is mysteriously but really and truly now an innocent man who IS
in fact royalty. You are really and truly an innocent person now. Your record is expunged. The wealth
and royalty of heaven is yours. And you are free to go. No matter what anyone says about youno
matter how anyone treats you. Heres how he did it.

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.
So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we
sinners have. And in that body God declared in end to sins control over us by giving his
Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would
be fully satisfied for us (Rom. 8:3-4, NLT).

In short, trying to obey Gods Law was never, ever going to be able to save you or rescue you from the
fact that you were a guilty man. So God Himself did what you could not. He sent part of Himself, Jesus
Christ, to live on this earth in a body like ours. And as a human being He perfectly obeyed all of Gods
laws. That perfect record was swapped for your rap sheet. You got what Jesus deserved, and Jesus got
what you deserved. This fulfilled the requirement of Gods law, which says that the soul who sins should
die.

When Jesus Christ did this, the control that sin has over a person is finishedcompletely. Gods laws
were satisfied by Jesus Christ. You get what was coming to Him. He got what was coming to you.
Youre forgiven for all of your sins, past, present and future. And you are actually declared, from this

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day forth, as innocent and as royalty. This is Gods gracious gift to yousimply because He loves you.
Paul put it like this.

And the result of Gods gracious is very different from the result of that one mans sin.
For Adams sin led to condemnation, but Gods free gift leads to our being made right
with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam,
caused death to rule over many. But even greater is Gods wonderful grace and his gift
of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through
this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adams sin brings condemnation for everyone, but
Christs one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for
everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one
other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous (Rom. 5:16-19, NLT).

So heres the skinny now.

Jesus Christ really was made to be sin when He was innocent. And YOU have really been made right
with God when you were guilty.

You really are right with God now, and nothing can ever change thatnothing will ever change that. Its
as true of you as anything else you can touch and smell and see and taste. It is a FACT. And its called
justification.

Would God have been a just judge if He had decided to punish you for your sin? Of course! So is God a
just judge when He decided to punish Jesus for your sin? Of course! Because the payback for sin is
death, and in Gods mind the focus is on the payback. Gods holiness has been offended by your sin.
But as long as the sin is paid back and His holiness defended, in Gods world Hes completely happy
dying in payback for you.

In our world, if you owe a creditor say, $500,000, it matters little to the creditor whether you pay it or
someone else pays it all back for you. As long as they get their money, theyre happy, right? Similarly,
there is a payment for sin to be made to God. But unlike the illustration, it matters A LOT to God
whether you pay it or whether HE pays it, because it cost Him the life of His own SON to pay for sin.
Likewise, it should matter a LOT to YOU, because youre being given freedomand youre paying
absolutely nothing for it!

And when that freedom is given to you, it really and truly belongs to you. God isnt going to take it away
from you, because HE is the One who GAVE it to you! Forgiveness is really yours! Yours for the
takingyours for enjoyingyours for living out. God will never, EVER again view you as a guilty
personbecause you are NOT a guilty person. Your sins were REALLY forgiven. It wasnt a dream. This
isnt a game. God is NOT playing around here. He is as serious about this as He was when He gave His
only Son to pay for your sin for you. Hes deadly serious.

And my point in all this is simple. If God has gone to such extravagant and scandalous lengths of killing
His own Son to satisfy His justice and giving you the inheritance hes given His Sonif Hes gone through
all of this to ensure that you are truly forgiven and free, then it seems that the biggest sin you can
commit as a Christian is not living like this is true of you.

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In other words, when you live as a Christian not knowing whether or not God is really pleased with you,
whether or not you have Gods favor, and whether or not you are really right with God, we are
essentially calling God a liar. He has made it plainly clear to us that HE Himself has made us right with
Him, that He Himself has brought us into His favor, and that He Himself has made eternally sure that He
is pleased with us.

But there are two ways in which we live like God is a liar in this respect. The first is one Ive already
stated. We live our lives everyday wondering whether or not God is truly pleased with us, always in
limbo about whether or not we are truly made right with God. The second is listening to, embracing,
and swimming in guilt, discouragement, despair and depression over some sin weve committed. Being
really forgiven means God has really forgiven us for this and doesnt condemn us for it. Being really
made right with God means God has really made us right and nothing we do can make us wrong with
Him anymore.

Let me give three examples God has given us in His Word that I think will help show you how you are to
respond to accusations of guilt, when God has declared you NOT guilty.

Isaac and Jacob


o Jacob wore animal skin on his arm and doused himself with smells of the fields and woods
so that he would feel and smell like his older brother Esau.

o He did this so that when it came time to give the final blessing and inheritance HE would get
it instead of his brother.

o When Isaac did bless Jacob with the final blessing and inheritance, it made Esau furious
because he knew it was something that could never be undone for the rest of their lives.

o Esau didnt live the rest of his life as if his younger brother was a cheat. He lived the rest of
his life knowing that his younger brother had in fact received the blessing and inheritance.
That was the way it was and it could never be changed.

o Application 1: so when you go to the heavenly Father, are you going to Him in prayer feeling
and smelling like yourself? Or are you going in feeling and smelling like Jesus Christ? Are
you going to the Father through Jesus Christ or through your own efforts that day to make
Him happy?

o Application 2: Paul wrote in Galatians 3:15, Dear brothers and sisters, heres an example
from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is
in this case (NLT). When you read what God says about you, are you living like it is
absolutely and unchangeably true? Or are you living like you really dont know where you
stand? Are you living like you believe that God could take all of this away any second
because of how youve sinned? Esau is like Satan. No matter how loud he screams and yells
at you, he cant change the reality of whats happened to you.

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Old Testament Sacrificial System


o The one offering the sacrifice was not judged based upon how he looked, dressed, smelled,
or spokebut simply and only upon the condition of the lamb he was offering to be
sacrificed.

o That lamb had to be perfect, with no cuts, scrapes, bruises or wounds of any kind.

o Application: In same way, God does not judge you based on how you look, dress, smell, or
speakbut simply and only upon the condition of the Lamb of God who was sacrificed and
has taken away your sin.

Joshua the High Priest in Zechariah 3

o Verses 1-3: Satans accusation

1 Then the angel showed me Jeshua* the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD.
The Accuser, Satan,* was there at the angel's right hand, making accusations against Jeshua.
2 And the LORD said to Satan, "I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD,
who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been
snatched from the fire." 3 Jeshua's clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel.

o Verses 4-10: Gods provision

4 So the angel said to the others standing there, "Take off his filthy clothes." And turning to
Jeshua he said, "See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new
clothes."
5 Then I said, "They should also place a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean
priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the LORD
stood by.
6 Then the angel of the LORD spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, 7 "This is what the
LORD of Heaven's Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will
be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others
standing here.
8 "Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of
things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 Now look at the jewel I
have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets.* I will engrave an inscription on it,
says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day.
10 "And on that day, says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, each of you will invite your
neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree."

I recall October of 1991 like it was yesterday. Earlier in the summer of that year I had began pursuing a
relationship with Sherri. She had broken up with her boyfriend, and I was in hot pursuit. But in August I
had to leave for college. Wanting to go to college somewhere else besides the one that was 4/10 of a
mile from my house, but being forced to only go to a place I could afford (since my parents couldnt
afford to pay for my college), my choice was narrowed down Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola,
FL.

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It was a place I disaffectionately came to call Pensacola Christian Penitentiary, because of the intense
and immense legalism I was subjected to while there. By mid-term exams I had taken all I could
stomach. I went home in October of 1991 just before mid-terms, my first trip there since starting
school. There was all kinds of legalism surrounding my effort to go home that weekend, not the least of
which was my desire to see Sherri, because the school didnt want me going home if there were going to
be other women there besides my mother. No kidding. The Deans Assistant really said that to me. Like
they ever had any control over that part of my life anyway!

But thats just exactly how legalism seems to operate isnt it? Always trying to illegimately tell us what
we can and cant do, when it has no authority over our lives.

So I visited home, met with Sherri, fell in love all over again with her, and went back to Pensacola
determined to leave and come home. So I did just that. I drove back on a Sunday night, withdrew
myself from school on Monday, and packed my car ready to head back home the next day.

Monday night was pretty awesome. I was officially withdrawn from school. So I wasnt officially a
student any longer. Normally the rules were that students had to be in bed with lights out at 11 PM.
But that night I was huddled in the bathroom, sitting on the tank of the toilet, calling Sherri to tell her
the good news. She was shocked to say the least.

Suddenly the RA walked into the room, and told the other guys to turn the lights off in the bathroom
and get in the bed. They told him I was in there. So he heard me talking, opened the bathroom door,
and told me to turn get off the phone and get in the bed.

Oh what joy there was in my heart at that moment. Perhaps you can relate to it. I smiled with great joy
and declared the following truth to him: I am no longer a student here, so your rules dont apply to me,
which means I can stay up and talk on the phone as long as I want. He looked at me with a puzzled look
on his face and had only a one-word response: Oh. I loved that moment! I was talking to my beloved,
my betrothed, and nothing or no one could legitimately stop me from doing so! And what an awesome
illustration it is of the whole matter of the gospel.

I am no longer under the law anymore. I am no longer a slave to sin or Satan. I am no longer under the
authority of the Law, sin or Satan. I dont report to them any longer. I am not a servant to them. They
cant tell me what to do. I have only the utter delight of looking at all three and simply saying, Im
sorry, I see your lips moving but I cant hear what youre saying because Im dead to you all. Or, as my
friend is famous for saying, Talk to the booty, cause the hands off duty!

When you talk to your beloved, your betrothed in prayer there is nothing that can legitimately stop you
from enjoying Him, His favor, His presence, His love for you. Absolutely nothing.

o Application: Perhaps you can relate to Joshua? Satan is at my doorstep regularly pointing
out sins Ive committed, accusing me before the Father because of my failures. But his
accusing mouth is closed when God declares afresh what He declared before He created the
world. Rob isnt wearing any filthy clothes any longer! Hes wearing new fine clothes! Hes
got a clean turban on his head! Hes one of my servants. Hes a jewel to me. Ive removed
Robs sins! Hes at peace with me! Thats how we need to preach the gospel to
ourselveseveryday.

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Final Applications
Here are three things I would leave with you in light of this truth of Gods gracious gift of Christs
righteousness given to you.

1. Make your best defense Gods best offense in Christ.

Be strong in the Lord and in HIS mighty power not yours. Put on all of Gods armor so that you will
be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil.Stand your ground, putting on the belt of
truth and the body armor of Gods righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the
Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to
stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God (Eph. 6:10-17, NLT).

This whole armor thing is about justification by faith. Its about the righteousness of Christ that really
and truly belongs to you. Its about using this truth to defend yourself against the accusations and
attacks of the devil, who will stop at nothing to make you disbelieve what God has really and truly said
to you and about you.

You can only defend yourself with truth. But the moment you stop and listen to him and his
accusations, thats the moment you are no longer a useful warrior and servant in Gods kingdom. You
are only useful so long as you actually believe what He has said about you and said to you.

2. Dont slip back into following the Law as a way of staying close to God.

After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own
human effort?...It is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the
Scriptures say, It is through faith that a righteous person has life (Gal. 3:3, 11 NLT). Too often people
are led to Jesus by someone else with the real gospel, only to be immediately led back into legalism by
being told what they must do now in order to maintain fellowship with God.

o Read your Bible everyday, preferably with a plan that will have you finished in a year.
o Spend a certain amount of time praying everyday.
o Consider changing the style of your clothing, or cutting your hair.
o Consider changing how you spend your time.
o Consider discontinuing the practice of entertainment, like going to see movies, playing poker, etc.
o Dont drink beer or alcoholic beverages anymore.

Terry Virgo has nailed it when he wrote, The rules vary from place to place and church to church, but in
reality many people on the day of their conversion meet with a mixture of freedom and implied
bondage, the lightening of their load, quickly followed by the imposition of a new load. Yes, you have
found freedom but you have also found a lot of new rules to live by. Sadly for many, they sense that
their enjoyment of Christianity will have a lot to do with their ability to keep the rules. The new
Christian quickly becomes acquainted with the burden of unworthiness and inadequacy. In many
churches this is very much the norm among existing Christians. Unless a church has been invaded by
clear teaching on the grace of God it can often breathe an atmosphere that lacks joy and seems far
removed from the ethos of the early church (Gods Lavish Grace, p. 34).

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3. Enjoy your freedom and be slow to add principles and rules.

So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back
again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world?...Dear
brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these thingsSo Christ has truly set
us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and dont get tied up again in slavery to the law (Gal. 4:9,
12, 5:1, NLT).

If youre new to following Christ or if youre new to embracing scandalous grace, take time to enjoy it.
Taste your new freedom and enjoy it. Dont be scared of it. And heres the marker you will come to at
some point which will tell you that you are enjoying the real gospel: you will be scared at some point of
whether or not you are using your freedom as a license to just enjoy sin. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, one of
the most famous preachers in the 20th century at Westminster Chapel in London, once wrote,

The true preaching of the gospel of salvation by grace alone always leads to the possibility of
this charge being brought against it. There is no better test as to whether a man is really
preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might
misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really amounts to this, that because you are
saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you
like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace. If my preaching and presentation
of the gospel of salvation does not expose it to that misunderstanding, then it is not the gospel.
Let me show you what I mean.

If a man preaches justification by works, no one would ever raise this question. If a mans
preaching is, If you want to be Christians, and if you want to go to heaven, you must stop
committing sins, you must take up good works, and if you do so regularly and constantly, and do
not fail to keep on at it, you will make yourselves Christians, you will reconcile yourselves to God
and you will go to heaven. Obviously a man who preaches in that strain would never be liable to
this misunderstanding. Nobody would say to such a man, Shall we continue in sin, that grace
may abound?, because the mans whole emphasis is just this, that if you go on sinning you are
certain to be damned, and only if you stop sinning can you save yourselves. So that
misunderstanding could never arise . . . . . .

That is my comment and it is a very important comment for preachers. I would say to all
preachers: If your preaching of salvation has not been misunderstood in that way, then you had
better examine your sermons again, and you had better make sure that you are really preaching
the salvation that is offered in the New Testament to the ungodly, the sinner, to those who are
dead in trespasses and sins, to those who are enemies of God. There is this kind of dangerous
element about the true presentation of the doctrine of salvation.

(D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans: The New Man: An Exposition of Chapter 6,


Banner of Truth Trust, 1972, pp. 8-9).

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Conclusion
Last night we had the joy of celebrating the coming birth of Hannah Edmiston at a church-wide baby
shower. One of the games we played involved placing a necklace around our necks with some baby
charm, like a pacifier, baby stroller, or rocking horse. The rules were simple: dont say Hannah, dont
say Baby, and dont say Girl. If you said one of these words you had to surrender your necklace to
the person who tricked you into saying one of the forbidden words. The one who was left standing at
the end of the evening with the most necklaces around their neck won the game.

I was tricked pretty quickly by Alan Ballard. I said the forbidden word, Baby. But can I tell you what I
felt afterwards? Complete and utter joy. Do you know why? Because for the rest of the night I felt
completely and utterly free to say those words all I wanted to! And I did! I walked around and said
them with such confidence and boldness because I had no fear of any consequences. I had absolutely
nothing to lose. When I would say a forbidden word, someone would look at me and act as if they
caught me doing something devious or perverse, and say, Ahh! I caught yougimme your necklace! I
just responded, Im not under law!

This is the way legalism works in our lives. It adds rules, principles, laws and standards upon us that
Jesus does not. It makes us feel special when we have more of them hanging around our necks. It
makes us feel like were winners. But when we mess up and break some forbidden rule, we lose the
necklaces and charms, making us feel that we will have somehow lost fellowship or relationship with
God if we do those things or if we dont refrain from those things.

The reality, however, is that you and I are free from these charms around our necks. And we are free
to enjoy Gods grace however we choose, without any fear of consequences, because we have nothing
to lose. No one can take our right standing with God away from us, just like no one could take away my
joy of saying the forbidden words yesterday.

Dont let anyone take away your joy and freedom in scandalous grace.

When I was in High School a lady in our local church was teaching me how to paint with acrylics. The
first day was especially difficult. I had chosen a cool wildlife scene I wanted to paint. It was a mallard
duck flying over some river vegetation. But the first task seemed almost too simplistic for me. All I had
to do was paint the background. I chose a mixture of colors to match the blue sky in the picture, and
painted it on the canvas as my teacher instructed.

Then, when I finished, she hopped from her chair and said, Alright! Great job! Thats it for today!

I remember feeling strange and gyppedlike Id been ripped off. I have to wait until next weeks lesson
to finish painting the picture?, I asked. She responded by explaining that we had to wait for the
background to dry completely before painting anything else on it. If I didnt wait, but tried to go ahead
and apply the colors for the duck, it would all blend together and make a mess, not to mention create an
unrecognizable finished product.

But because I was a meat head, I took it home, didnt wait for it to dry, but went ahead and began
sketching my outline of the mallard duck anywayright on the wet paintand basically ruined the
painting.

Church in the Boro 11 | P a g e


Scandalous Grace, Part 3: Understanding the Free Gift of Gods Righteousness June 20, 2010

Too often this is what we do with grace. We hear the scandalous good news. But out of fear for the fact
that it may lead us to feel like we have a license to sin, we begin immediately thinking its too good to be
true. So we start sketching out the other rules and standards and laws we tell ourselves we have to
follow. We feel rushed to complete the picture, before allowing the background to drybefore we let
grace have a chance to set in and have its work in our lives.

Dont rush sanctification. Enjoy grace. Enjoy the freedom it brings and gives. Dont give in to the rush
to create all manner of standards, principles, rules, and laws to follow. Let the paint dry. Let the
background of grace set in and have its way in your heart and mind first. Otherwise, grace will not be
dictating what standards you set for your life. YOU will set those standards with your fear and
impatience.

Be patient. Let grace work. Enjoy it. And live in your freedom of this scandalous grace.

Ill close with the words of the hymn, Before the Throne of God Above.

1. Before the throne of God above


I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
Who ever pleads for me.

2. My name is graven on His hands,


My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me to depart.
Can bid me to depart.

3. When Satan tempts me to despair


And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Made an end of all my sin.

4. Because the sinless Savior died


My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
Look on Him and pardon me.

5. One in Himself I cannot die.


My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,

Church in the Boro 12 | P a g e


Scandalous Grace, Part 3: Understanding the Free Gift of Gods Righteousness June 20, 2010

With Christ my Savior and my God!


Christ my Savior and my God!

6. Behold Him there the risen Lamb,


My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
King of glory and if Grace.

Source: http://www.rvgrace.com/hymns/Before_the_Throne_of_God_Above.htm

Amen.

Church in the Boro 13 | P a g e