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Pastor Chris: In Christ Alone

No More Excuses, No More Accusing (SERMON NOTES)

  • In Romans chapter 1 we see that God has revealed His existence and His character through creation. In Romans chapter 2 we now see that God has also revealed His existence and His character through human conscience.
  • In light of what we have learned from Romans 1 and 2, how would we respond to atheist Richard Dawkin's who said: "In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference."
  • Dawkins makes many assumptions in his thinking: 1. The universe exists, who or what created it? 2. The human genome is inextricably complex, why is each one unique and who designed it? 3. Without a plumbline for morality, what makes genes "selfish"? 4. To recognize justice does not exist assumes some understanding of what justice is 5. Why does Dawkins even care?
  • This leads to the next question: where does the “OUGHT TO” come from? Where does the idea that the world ought to be better and people ought to live better? Every generation from the Garden of Eden has struggled with this intellectual tension and felt this emotional frustration. We naturally think the world should be better because we are longing for the perfection that was lost in paradise.
  • The Apostle Paul is saying in Romans 2 that even though the unbelieving world does not have the law in their hands, they have it in their hearts. Every human being, made in the image of God, has a natural law. Although sin has contaminated it, a sense of justice is in inherent to the human moral compass. 
  • For example, no culture hands awards for lying, cheating and cowardice. People might lie and steal to get the award, but the award is not given to celebrate lying and cheating. No, in every culture courage is esteemed over cowardice. In every culture justice is expected, while criminality is punished.
  • People in our society are a walking paradox – intellectually they claim there are no absolutes, yet emotionally they are absolutely ravaged by guilt. The reason we feel guilty is because we are guilty. Not just guilty in the human court of morality, but guilty because we have defied the will of our Heavenly Father.
  • Our consciences bear witness to the truth. We do not even live up to our own standards, much less God's law. We need to stop making excuses for our sin or accusing others to deflect the blame. On Judgment Day the secrets of our hearts will be laid bare. With a mountain of sin accusing of us of guilt, there will be no more excuses... Our only hope is justification.
  • Justification is one of the most foundational terms in Scripture and absolutely central to our salvation. Despite all the practical challenges you are facing in your life today regarding your health, your finances or your marriage, "justification" is the most important word you will hear today.
  • When we want a reason to defend the righteousness of our decision, we justify our actions. Justification in the Scriptures is also about righteousness. Justification is a legal term used to describe how God declares us righteous despite of our sin and because of our Savior. Even though we are hopelessly lost in our sin, because of the atoning work of Christ on the cross we are declared righteous. This great exchange happens by grace and is received through faith. Our sin is imputed to the cross, and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us! God not only forgives our past, but gives us the righteousness of Christ to cover us in the future!
  • While no culture hands out awards for lying, cheating and cowardice, God award us liars, cheaters and cowards with salvation! On the cross, Jesus took our sin so it would no longer accuse us. As he takes the guilt and shame of sin, he also gives us his "Medal of Honor" - his perfect, sufficient righteousness. Our consciences are clean. Our destiny is altered. Our excuses have ended... because as Jesus declared: "It. Is. Finished."