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2021 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Good News That Is Good... But Not New - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Good News That Is Good... But Not New - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Good News That Is Good... But Not New - Part 2
Robert Jeffress - Good News That Is Good... But Not New - Part 2
TOPICS: Grace-Powered Living, Salvation, Grace, Gospel

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. The Bible teaches that God is unchanging, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. For that reason, some people are confused, understandably so, by the seeming divide between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Why is one system based on following laws, while the other appears to be based on grace? Well, today, we're going to see that salvation has always been based on grace, not works, even in the Old Testament. My message is titled "Good News That Is Good... But Not New" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

Let's suppose you're in the Market for a new television set. So you go to target, you see a flat screen on sale for $995, so you put the flat screen under your arm, you go to the checkout counter, and the most amazing thing happens at the checkout counter. The clerk says, "That'll be $995". So you whip out your MasterCard, and you give that clerk that little piece of plastic. She does a swipe with it, gives it back to you, and you're able to walk out of the store with a $1.000 television set. Now, why does she allow you to do that? I mean, that plastic in and of itself is absolutely worthless. But it's what that plastic represents that has value. That piece of plastic represents a promise to pay. Even though you're able to walk out with a television set immediately, for something worthless, 30 days later when the bill comes due, you have to pay the price, don't you?

Now, it's the same way with the death of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, the saints, people who wanted salvation, would offer an animal sacrifice. Those animal sacrifices were as worthless as that piece of plastic. But they were sufficient to obtain salvation right then, because the offering of a sacrifice represented a promise to pay. And hundreds of years later, when the bill came due, we didn't pay the price. Jesus Christ paid the price for us. And that's why, as he hung on that cross, some of his final words in John 19:30 were, "It is finished," in Greek, tetelestai, literally, paid in full. How are we saved today? The same way the Old Testament saints were saved. We're saved on the basis of Christ's death, his paying the price. In the Old Testament, they looked forward to it. They secured salvation immediately, but the bill came due at Calvary. We look back today on that event 2.000 years ago, but it's always the same way, through the death of Jesus Christ. Abraham was saved through faith, but it was based on the death of Jesus Christ.

Now, that oughta be a convincing argument to the Jews. Look at Abraham. But Paul knew if one illustration was good, two were even better. So he uses a second illustration to illustrate the fact that salvation has always been by grace and not works. It's the example of David. Look at verse six of Romans four. "For just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God accounts righteousness apart from works".

Now, if Abraham was like George Washington, then David was like Abraham Lincoln. He was considered by many to be the greatest king in all of Israel. But his reign was Marked by scandal. Just as you'll never be able to separate Richard Nixon from Watergate or Bill Clinton from Monica Lewinsky, it was the same thing about king David. In spite of all the good that he did, he's remembered for that one night of unbridled passion with Bathsheba. Not only was he guilty of adultery, but also, in the cover-up, he killed Bathsheba's husband Uriah, and yet, in spite of the stain upon his record, what does the Bible say about David? It says, "David was the friend of God". How could that be? How could God be friends with a sinner like David? It all has to do with grace. David's life is an illustration that God justifies not just godly people, but ungodly people. He said, "What shall we say about David"?

Then look at verses seven and eight. Paul quotes David's own Psalm of confession. This is a quotation from Psalm 31. David says in verse seven, "Blessed," happy, "Are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven and whose sins have been covered. Blessed," happy, "Is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account". There are three words I want you to write down there that again show what God is willing to do to us on the basis of grace through faith. First of all, the word "Forgiven". David says, "How happy is the man whose sins have been forgiven"! That word forgiven in Greek is a word that literally means to separate. When God forgives us, he separates us from our sin.

Now, for all of our talk about separating the sin and the sinner, you know, you've heard it before, "We hate the sin, but we love the sinner". We talk about that all the time. Most of us aren't able to pull it off, are we? We always identify people with their sin. For example, you parents, when you punish your child, are you punishing the sin, or punishing the child? I mean, you usually punish the child because the two are indistinguishable with one another. But that's not how God forgives us. God is able to separate us from our sin. You see a great illustration of that in the sacrifice of the high priest.

Remember last time, we talked about how on the day of atonement, the high priest would go into the holy of holies, and he would offer that sacrifice for the sins of the people? He did it once a year every year. Before he went into the holy of holies, however, he would do something out in the courtyard where the people were. They would bring a goat to the high priest. It was called the scapegoat. And the high priest would put his hands on the head of that goat, and he would confess the sins of the people. And after he had confessed the sins of the people, that goat would be sent out into the wilderness, never to be seen again. That's where we get that concept, the scapegoat, the one who takes the blame.

The scapegoat was sent out into the wilderness, separated from the people forever. And that's why the Word of God says when God forgives, he separates us from our sin. "As far as the east is from the west, so far God has separated us from our sins". That's why he said, "How blessed," how happy, "Is the man who has sins that have been forgiven". It doesn't matter what you've done. When God forgives you, he forever separates you from your sin. Did you know in the ancient times, if somebody was convicted of murder, you know what the punishment was? The victim, the corpse, would be placed, tied to the back of the murderer, and he would have to carry it around with him as that corpse decayed. He was forever tied to his sin. But when God forgives us, he separates us from our sin. That's why David said, "How blessed," how happy, "Is the man whose sin the Lord does not take into account".

Secondly, notice the word covered here. "How happy are those whose sins have been covered". What do we do when we sin? What's our first reaction? It's to try to cover over the sin ourself, isn't it? We deny that it happened, and then if we're caught, we try to rationalize why it happened. I remember reading this week about Chico Marx of the Marx brothers. Remember Chico Marx? One time, he was caught by his wife kissing a chorus girl. When he was caught red-handed, he said to his wife, "Oh, I wasn't kissing her. I was whispering into her mouth". That's called rationalization. And we try the same thing! If we're caught red-handed, oh, we come up with some excuse. David tried that. For six months, he rationalized, he covered over his sin.

He says in Psalm 32 about that time in his life, "For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me, o God". It was only when he was willing to confess his sin that God said, "I will cover your sin with the blood of my son". That's why in Psalm 51 verse seven, David says, "God, purify me with hyssop". Remember, that hyssop was the brushy plant that was used to paint the altar with the blood of the animal. "Purify me, and I shall be clean. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow". There's some of you listening right now who desire to be clean on the inside. You're tired of carrying around the guilt of your sin. You're tired of trying to cover it over yourself. You're tired of trying to play like it never happened. You feel that weight, that stain of sin. God says, "Quit trying to clean it up yourself. Let me clean up your mess. I can do it much more effectively than you can".

"How blessed is the man whose sins have been forgiven, whose sins have been covered," and notice thirdly, "Whose sin the Lord will not take into account". Now, there's that word again, take into account, that accounting term. In Greek, it's the word logizomai, to place to the account of. Listen, when Abraham believed God, what happened? Faith was accounted to him as righteousness. Righteousness got counted on Abraham's behalf. Ii Corinthians 5:21 says when you and I trust in Christ for our salvation, God performs two accounting transactions in your spiritual bank accounts. You know what he does? First of all, he subtracts, he withdraws all of your guilt, and he puts it into the account of Jesus Christ. Did you know that? The moment you trust in Jesus as your Savior, God made Jesus who knew no sin to become sin for us.

So when you trust in Christ as your Savior, God takes all of your guilt, all of your unrighteousness, and he charges Jesus for it. Jesus has to pay for it. When he died on the cross, he wasn't paying for his sin. He had no sin. He is paying for your sin and my sin. But that's not all. When we trust in Christ as our Savior, not only does God place all of our unrighteousness and charge it to the righteousness of Christ: he takes all of Jesus's perfect righteousness, and he credits you for it. He deposits it into your spiritual bank account, so that when God looks at you, he no longer sees your sin. He sees the perfection of his Savior. He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Those are the two transactions that take place, but you know what, there's a third transaction Paul says will never occur, and that is, God will never dredge up your past sin and make you account for it. God will not be like some irate bill collector who says, "Oh, by the way, I forgot a bill that you owe me. It's time to pay up". God won't do that. He will not take account of our sin. When God forgives, he forgets. Not only does he separate us from our sin, but Micah the prophet says he casts our sin into the depths of the sea.

As Corrie Ten Boom once said, "Then he places a sign there that says no fishing allowed". God will cast your sin into the depth of the sea and remember it no more. That's why David says, "How blessed," how happy, not is the man who makes another billion dollars. How happy is the man who conquers another kingdom? No. How happy is the man who has another sexual conquest? No, David says, "How happy is the man who never needs to fear the coming judgment of God". Now, Paul has made his argument. He said salvation is a result of not works, but grace. He's given us two compelling illustrations of that from the Old Testament, both Abraham and David. What's the application for us? Don't miss this. If you've been asleep the last 30 minutes, wake up for this part. Because in verses four and five, Paul is going to share three principles about God's righteousness that we must understand. Verses four and five are really the hinge between verses one and three about Abraham and verses six to eight about David.

Paul uses verses four and five to link those two stories to us today. To whom does God offer righteousness? To whom does God offer salvation? First of all, to those who understand their sin. Look at verse five. "But to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned and righteousness". Will you underline that word ungodly? Whom does God forgive? It's the ungodly. God is in the business of saving sinners. Maybe you're one of those people. You've tuned into the broadcast today. You think, "Well, God could never forgive me, pastor. You don't know what I've done". That's right, I don't know, but God knows. And the reason God sent Christ to atone for your sins is not because of your goodness, but because of your badness. Jesus said, "It's not the healthy who need a physician. It is the unhealthy who need a physician". It's not the godly people who need God's forgiveness. It's the ungodly people who need forgiveness.

Now, don't miss the point. The fact is, we're all ungodly. We all need God's forgiveness. But it's only those people who recognize their unGodliness that are in a position to open their hands and receive the free gift of God's forgiveness. Who can receive God's forgiveness? First of all, those who understand their sin. Secondly, God offers his righteousness to those who refuse to work. Now, this turns our expectations upside-down. Look at verse five. He says, "To the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly". All the other religion say it's to the one who works. Not God. God says it's not to the one who's willing to work. It's the one who gives up the idea of work that God is willing to justify. Only those who refuse to work for salvation can receive it. Why is that? Paul explains the reason God does not allow you and me to work for our salvation in verse four of Romans four. Look at this. "Now, to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due".

Let me illustrate that for you. How many of you, when you get your paycheck at work, every two weeks or every month, the first thing you do is you go into your boss's office, you fall down before him, and you say, "Thank you! Thank you so much! I can't believe you would give me this money! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this totally undeserved gift"!? Have you ever done that before? If God allows us in any way to work for our salvation, then salvation isn't a gift from God. It's an obligation. God owes it to us. And ladies and gentlemen, God refuses to owe any man or woman salvation. That's why he gives it as a gift. That's why Paul says, "It's to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, that his faith is counted as righteousness".

Thirdly, God offers his righteousness to those who trust in Christ to save them. Look at verse five. "But to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned," it is accounted, "As righteousness". When you trust in Christ as Savior, listen to this, it doesn't matter how much or how little faith you have. The moment you trust in Christ as your Savior, God takes your little bit of faith, and in the accounting room of heaven, he exchanges it for his perfect righteousness. And from that point on, God forever declares you and me not guilty. As a young girl, Charlotte Elliott heard messages like this her whole life. When she was nine years old, her village pastor came to visit with her and said, "Charlotte, are you now ready to trust in Christ as your Savior"? She said, "Pastor, I want to come to Jesus. I just don't know how". And the pastor said to her, "Charlotte, just come the way you are".

So that night, nine-year-old Charlotte Elliott knelt by her bead, and this is what she prayed. She said, "Dear God, I want to come to you. My pastor says there's nothing I need to do to come to you, so tonight, I'm coming just the way I am, if you will accept me". Many years later, Charlotte Elliott used that experience to write that beloved hymn, "Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me and that thou bid'st me come to thee, o Lamb of God, I come". Charlotte Elliott as a nine-year-old understood a truth so profound that most wise men have missed it. That is, to the boy, the girl, the man, or woman who refuses to work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, God takes his faith and counts it as righteousness.
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