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Pastor Brant Seacrist

March 4, 2018

"THE GIFT OF GOD AND ETERNAL LIFE"

TEXT: Romans 6: 15 - 23
READING:  2 Thessalonians 2: 1-17

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SUBJ: The manner of our servitude (slavery) compared with a view toward the active component in receiving the just reward as that which issues forth from the state of our natures and consequent actions.

AIM: That we might be sensitive to that which engenders and empowers eternal life and so be delivered from the presumptive thought that it is a done deal and I have no worries.

INTR: The passage before us connects the immensely practical with the spiritual identity we have in Christ and the hope that eternal life both brings and of which it consists.
1. While Paul may seem to be somewhat repetitive, his aim is to anchor our identity with Christ to action and expectation in this present world.
2. That he might do so, he resorts to simple illustration in the language that we all can understand, but with a view to claiming the full experience of life with Christ.
3. As a conclusion, Paul brings us to consider the contrasted outcomes of life lived here on earth and so we will do with one of the most quoted verses in pressing the Gospel and endeavor to see a common error by close examination of the context.

THESIS: The announcement of the gift of God and eternal life brings us to consider that life, as we know it in Christ, is more than mere existence and is certainly not characterized by the compelling pursuit of earthly things. It is rather an interactive vital and exciting existence that begins here and continues with ever increasing awareness of God and all His glory, world without end!

I. An absurdity restated and contrasted (vv. 15-17)
1. This chapter began with a similar statement
1) The suggestion being that sin made grace look good – more sin, more grace – God forbid!
2) Here the thought is that since grace has done all sin doesn’t matter – God forbid!
2. It is not a question of what is allowed or what one may get away with – it is a matter of whose servant we are
1) Paul uses strong emphasis again (see v. 3, v. 6, v. 9, and now v. 16)
2) His appeal is to common sense reasoning but with strong spiritual implications in that he points to the outcome of each manner of life or should we say servitude.
3) The question is given that we might be ever conscious of Him to whom our allegiance must be.
3. Paul is addressing believers and it is only believers who will truly understand and be submissive to such truth as this. (First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Romans 1:8).
4. Here again, the Apostle expresses thanksgiving to God that their status had been changed from servants of sin (on the course to hell) but obeyed from the heart the Gospel mandate to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and so follow Him.

II. A change of masters (vv. 18-20)
1. That change indicated here is as drastic as could occur:
1) The thought of being free from sin implies first freedom from the guilt and penalty, then from its power, and from its necessary consequence – death. Never to be condemned again.
2) This despite the lingering presence of an old sinful nature and it vain thoughts and deeds.
3) In becoming the servants of righteousness there is submission to Christ and all that pertains to Him – holiness as He is holy becomes the objective.
2. Paul’s resorts to human language and thought for the sake of clarification owing to them (and us) being weak in the flesh and then explains simply:
1) All the movements of the flesh in answer to a sinful nature engaged the whole person in thought and physical attributes – Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. Isaiah 59:7 and compare: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 1 Peter 4:4.
2) With even more zeal should all that we are given be employed in serving in the pursuit of holiness.
3. The thought of being free from righteousness: that is we had none, we wanted none and presumed to be free to do as was pleased (which is the nature of bondage by nature) and felt indebted to none.

III. The fruit unto eternal life (vv. 21-23)
1. A searching question is then asked: what fruit leads to the question as to what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?
1) Even so the pleasures of sin are but for a season and soon vanishes life all else and in either case
2) Becomes a source of shame as we think of all wherein we acted contrary to Christ – this is the stuff of repentance to the believer and the misery of hell to those who perish.
2. Now, free from sin and have your fruit unto holiness: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.
3. The wages of sin:
1) The term used here indicates a payment made after a period of service such as might have been the case with a Roman soldier – at the end of a year he collected all his wages and so the picture of
2) An accumulation of services to a wicked taskmaster, each thought and each act being strictly accounted and then the wages for each death, death, and more death as the payment never ends.
4. The gift of God:
1) Not eternal life per se but rather that which brings eternal life.
2) It is by the justifying grace of God in Christ that we are given entitlement to eternal life, sealed by the blood of Christ, and claimed by faith. The gift is Christ!
3) It is enjoyed by the grace of God in regeneration and sanctification whereby are made immediately sensitive to being alive in Christ and wherein we grow ever reaching to its infinite pleasure and glory with the Lord. Christ in you is the hope of glory!
4) I have that by which the joyous life reserved for the saint of God in Christ is both claimed and experienced which is far above the idea of merely being saved from hell. Christ is all and in all. Amen