II ROMANS 19
TRIUMPH WITH A WARNING
After expressing his aching regret that he has failed the Lord in being overcome by the physical man’s propensity to sin, Paul declares himself a wretched man, worthy of death. However, he does not close with this tragic conclusion but declares victory in Jesus Christ his Lord. Such is the wonder of God’s grace. He takes a miserable sinner, worthy of death, and offers him forgiveness and eternal life through faith in His risen Son. The gift is free, but it comes with a condition.
That condition is that the man who receives it recognizes that it requires a constant dedication to his faith, and a determination to maintain a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by letting Him be the Lord of his life.
I do not remember who it was that coined the phrase “cheap grace”. But he spoke to a real problem that the church has faced through the ages. The apathy, which characterizes too many “church members”, is the bane of Christianity. Some even try to justify their lack of persistence and dedicated actions by teaching that once you are saved you cannot be lost. Paul uses much of this book of Romans to combat such a disastrous doctrine.
At the beginning of chapter 8, Paul uses these words, “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”. But then he adds, “…who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit”. It is the same warning implied by John when he says, “IF we walk in the light, as He is in the light, THEN the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from sin”.
The preachers who preach a doctrine in which God supplies all our earthly needs and desires, but makes no difficult demands nor any discipline of the earthly man, insult the grace of God and degrade Christianity to a meaningless walk doing nothing to change or ennoble the person into one suited to be a prince in the household of God.
The original sin of Adam was triggered by a desire to please himself. This is the characteristic of the sinful nature. In verses 5 through 8 of chapter 8, Paul completely destroys this doctrine of “cheap grace”: “Those who live according to their sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires”. The televangelist says, “Be a Christian and you will get rich”. Do you see the contrast? Then
Paul says, “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful mind cannot please God”. The one who thinks God is going to supply all his needs and desires, in this physical world, is not thinking of the Spiritual life, which one prepares for in order to live with God. Such desires of the flesh do not coincide with the Spiritual nature of God, and therefore cannot allow Him to be the Lord of their life.
Becoming a Christian means dedicating one’s life to God. Because we live in this physical world with its desires and temptations all around us, it is necessary for the Christian to be diligent of Who his standard of behavior is, consult Him often in every decision, make Him your constant companion, of Whom you are always conscious. It is having a worshipful attitude toward Him all of the time, and feeling an overwhelming gratitude for His blessings to you, an unworthy recipient of His grace.