Today Pastor Choi speaks of God’s justifying grace in Christ. We God’s elect are saved and justified in Christ’s merit by grace, not by our own. Pastor Choi also urges the congregation never to believe Satan’s accusations, to remember Jesus the Defender and His constant intercessions on our behalf, and that God is the Judge whose verdict upon us is final and eternal.
Following is a summary of the sermon:
Who Will Accuse Us? Romans 8:33-34
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?
God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns?
Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Previously, we talked about our fears of opposition and privation. In the first week, I said that no fears or challenges in life are greater than God our Sovereign Protector. In moments of panic, let us declare “If God is for me, who is against me?” In the second week, I talked about God as our Sovereign Benefactor who doesn’t withhold anything good from us. In moments of worry, let us declare “God provides all my needs.”
Today, as part 3 of the series on the adequacy of God, we are going to think about God as our Sovereign Champion and the decisiveness of God’s justifying verdict upon us. More specifically, we will counter the fear of rejection by God. Say after me, “I am God’s elect. Christ is my Redeemer. God is my Champion. ”
Have you ever been in a situation where you did something wrong before God? Repeatedly? Do you feel so terrible and hopeless that you believe you don’t deserve God’s favor anymore in terms of salvation? After serious moral lapses, you feel God has rejected you; or worse, you feel that you deserve to be rejected by God.
E.g. There were days when I fell into the same temptation over and over again. I felt terrible. I went to the Lord for the couple of times for forgiveness of my sins. However, after three or four times, I began to hear Satan’s accusation telling me, “Shame on you. Don’t even think about going back to God, because He will not take you back this time!” For a while, I believed him and indeed stopped going to God for forgiveness and remained miserable despising myself. In those days of struggle, one thing I didn’t stop was reading the Bible. One day God spoke to me through Peter’s story. That day His word forever changed me, set me free from Satan’s accusation and doubting God’s forgiveness: 21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22, NASB).
If Jesus asks me, I reasoned myself, to forgive my brother who sins against me for 490 times, He would forgive me for the same number of times if not more! After this, I kept going to God for forgiveness and eventually overcame the temptation and Satan’s accusation no more! Praise the Lord!
Here is a typical pattern in our daily struggle with sin: sins committed, accusation follows, guilt and shame set in, forgiveness sought and granted, then new beginning. We sin, Satan accuses, Jesus redeems, God forgives, and we start anew.
In today’s verses, verses 33-34, we see some legal terms used in the days of Paul: bring a charge, condemn, justify, and intercede. Imagine the Heavenly Court: God the Judge sitting on throne, Satan the Accuser, Jesus Christ as the Defender. Satan the adversary brings a charge against us presenting before the court all the bad things we have done in life. We in vain try to defend ourselves by presenting all of our own deeds and achievements.
By the way, all our good deeds are considered in the sight of God filthy rags: For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; (Isaiah 64:6, NASB). Then, Christ the Defender comes in saying, “Father, I invoke Your mercy on this man/woman. According to Your will, I paid the wages of his/her sin through my own blood. I died for this man/woman. Therefore, forgive him/her, for he/she doesn’t know what he/she is doing.” God says, “Amen! The case is closed.” The gavel falls. Then, we go free spared from condemnation – the sentence to eternal judgment/separation from God.
The Bible calls this act of God justification—God’s act of accepting us sinners on the merit of Christ’s death (because through His death He paid the wages of our sins once and for all). The Bible also calls such God’s love justifying grace. Grace is the free gift of God that cannot be purchased or earned by human merits. The only thing we can do for such God’s saving grace is to accept it with gratitude.
E.g. William MacDonald wrote as follows: “To seek to earn, merit, or purchase salvation is to insult the Giver. Imagine yourself invited to a banquet in the White House by the President of the United States. You are seated at a table that is filled with the choicest foods. Every effort is made to give you a most enjoyable evening. At the end of a lovely visit, the president stands at the front door to bid you good-bye. What do you do? As you leave, do you press a dime into his hand and say, ‘Thank you very much for your kindness. I have enjoyed the evening very much. I realize it has cost you a lot of money, and I want to help you pay for the meal’? Is that the proper response to his kindness? On the contrary, it is a rude and insulting gesture. So it would be with God’s grace.” [William MacDonald, The Grace of God].
Because of God’s grace, and because of what His son Jesus has done at the cross, even though we absolutely deserve to be condemned to eternal punishment, God lets us go free. We are justified in Christ by grace.
Remember no sin is too grave for God to forgive except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29) — to blaspheme means to speak evil of the Holy Spirit and what He does (2 Peter 2:2, Matthew 12:31). No matter how gross your sins may be, they cannot endanger your justified status. Rest assured that no accusation will ever disinherit you.
This time let’s think of our daily life. The same court scene in the spiritual realm happens right here on earth in our mind and heart: we get into daily sins, both intentional and unintentional. Then, our enemy Satan starts accusing us based on all the wrongs we have done. At this very stage, completely forgetting about what Jesus has done, many of us simply accept his accusations and admit that he is right. So ashamed of our deeds, we are filled with guilt. We begin to believe in Satan’s lie that we no longer deserve God’s grace and forgiveness. Stop right there. At that very moment of guilt and shame, we must remember where Jesus is and what He is doing for us. He is at the right hand of God (Romans 8:34). He fiercely defends us with what He has done on the cross. And, the final verdict is always the same: God the Judge says to us, “What Jesus has done is forever effective. The wages of your sin have been paid. You are my child. Grace is extended. Forgiveness is granted. You are free to go.”
The Scripture declares that our justification is final and eternal. God doesn’t change His mind switching on and off of our eternal destination depending on how good/bad we are. The election is a done deal. It is final. There’s no change. It is irrevocable: for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29, NASB). We are sealed with God’s grace for eternal redemption.
Therefore, go in peace today. Go in an unwavering assurance that God has called you to be His child and He never repents. His election of you never changes. So, when you sin against God and against people next time, and when you struggle with guilt and shame afterwards, simply go to God’s throne room in repentance and humility, stand before God, see Jesus standing by you as defender and call for His help. Then, go in peace and sin no more.
Never ever believe in Satan’s accusation no matter how true they may sound, because he is a liar from the very beginning of creation. Listen to what Jesus says about him: He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44, NASB). Rather, remember who intercedes for you 24/7. You have two allies: Jesus (Romans 8:34) and the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27). They both intercede for you day in day out. Trust in what Christ has done for you. He died on the cross for you once and for all. His death covers your sins in the past, sins in the present, and sins in the future. Never believe in Satan’s lie that you have lost your salvation in Christ due to your sins. Never believe in his lie that you don’t deserve God’s grace. Never fall into his tactic of shaming you into the guilt that keeps you from coming to God. Never fall into his deception that God has rejected you.
When you have sinned against God and people, come to God in humility, confess your sins, ask for forgiveness in Jesus’ name, thank Him for another chance to make up, and restore your relationship with Him.
- It is possible for God’s elect to sin. Understand that your enemy Satan constantly brings charges against you in vain. Never believe in his lies.
- Remember your defender Jesus the Messiah and what He did and does. He died on the cross on your behalf and paid the wages of your sins. Now, He makes constant intercessions for you. Cling to His merit not to your own because none of your own merits is sufficient to defend you from the accusations. Christ is the only one who can defend you permanently, because He is the perfect redeemer without sin.
- Remember God is the Judge. He is the Supreme Court of One in heaven and earth. No one is in a position to get His verdict reviewed. Once He declares that you are justified, that is final and eternal.
Say after me, “I will not believe in Satan’s lie! I am God’s elect. Christ is my Redeemer! God is my Champion! ”
Let us pray.