Death and Resurrection by Design 3.23.08

Death and Resurrection by Design

Romans 4:17-21 (ESV)

For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.  [14] For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.  [15] For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. [16] That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring-not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,  [17] as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”-in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.  [18] In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.”  [19] He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.  [20] No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,  [21] fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.  [22] That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”  [23] But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,  [24] but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,  [25] who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Introduction-

As we look at Abraham we need to understand that his faith should be a model for ours. We must turn away from the modern idea that just having faith is sufficient to be saved. Salvation is by grace through faith alone but our faith must be in something or someone. Those little internet things that tell just have faith are born somewhere besides heaven. The world would want us to believe really hard in nothing. Or we could turn to a few decades ago to positive thinking or as a modern day spokesman of this type of heresy would say, “Believe in yourself”. What is more important than believing is what you believe or in whom you believe. Faith out there in some vacuum is worthless. Many people will believe very hard all the way to hell. It’s vital for us to believe in the truth not something someone has made up.

1. What Abraham Believed (Romans 4:17-21)

Abraham believed in the promise of God, namely, that redemption for the nations would come from his seed. He believed this even if it meant God raising Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill the promise.

Hebrews 11:17-19 (ESV) 

    By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son,  [18] of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”  [19] He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 

Romans 4:17-21 (ESV)

[17] as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”-in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.  [18] In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.”  [19] He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.  [20] No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,  [21] fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

Abraham believed God could bring dead things to life. He believed God could bring an old man and an old woman back to life sexually. God could cause them to have children when they were many years past this ever happening in a natural way.

“I have made you the father of many nations”-in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Abraham believed God had the power to raise the dead.

He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead,

Abraham believed God had the amazing power to do everything He promised even when things didn’t look as if He would. As Abraham considered the promise that God would make him into a great nation and that through his seed all the nations would be blessed, as he waited his faith was strengthened. Abraham’s faith became so strong over the years that when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, which would mean killing the son in whom God’s promises would be fulfilled, he went ahead knowing that God would fulfill His promise even if He had to raise Isaac from the dead in order to do it. Abraham knew God could bring his son back from the dead, because He had brought Sarah and himself back from the dead.

[19] He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.

God had planned redemption before the foundation of the world. It is a divine decree and it will come to pass. God had planned it and it is working exactly as He decreed it would. Everything going on around us is the outworking of God’s divine plan of redemption. His purposes are coming to pass. It is a plan coming to pass by divine design.

This should give us confidence in the goodness of God. As our heavenly Father He is working all things together for our good. Many times the world may seem out of control. Many times it may seem as if God is not working out His purposes because we cannot always understand why certain things happen the way they do. We may be in situations a lot like Abraham when things don’t make sense. We might ask, how can I believe God is in control and loves me as a child when this is happening? When we’re tempted to think like that we need to look to examples given in Scripture like Abraham. He waited while things didn’t make sense until they did.

It’s so important that as we wait, our faith is in the process of growing stronger and stronger with each passing day. We may be waiting on that lost loved one to be converted. We may be waiting for a wayward child or friend. We may be waiting in a hospital room. We may be waiting in a million other ways but we must wait in the assurance that God will keep every promise that He gives us in His Word.

Abraham believed God.

2. What We Believe (Romans 4:22-25)

We believe the promise of God, namely, that the redemption of the nations comes through Jesus Christ. We believe this because God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead to fulfill His promise.

[21] fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.  [22] That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”  [23] But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,  [24] but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,  [25] who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.  

Just like Abraham we are saved by grace through faith.

[16] That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring-not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.

As believers, we are Abraham’s offspring. As believers we are the great nations that were promised to Abraham. As we depend on grace and believe by faith we are grafted into the family of God. That’s why the text tells us, But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,  [24] but for ours also.

Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness as he believed the promises of God and that God had the power to fulfill them because God can raise the dead. In the same way we believe the promises of God and that because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, He can and will fulfill His promises to us.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was by divine design.

3. What God Decreed (Romans 4:25)

It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,  [25] who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.  

          A. Jesus Would Be Delivered Up for Our Trespasses.

If we took a poll and asked the question who delivered Jesus up to be crucified we might get some answers like: Pilate, he was the one who was responsible. He had the power to release Jesus but instead released a criminal named Barrabus. We might get an answer like this, it was the Jews, they’re the ones who tried over and over to kill Jesus. They’re the ones who kept pushing the Romans until they crucified Jesus. Or we might get that it was the Romans, they’re the ones who beat Jesus and hung Him on the cross. While these answers are correct, it was Pilate and the Jews and the Romans, however, ultimately it wasn’t any of these people. The One responsible for delivering up Jesus was God. The crucifixion was by divine design.

Romans 8:3 (ESV) 

    For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 

Romans 8:32 (ESV) 

    He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 

Acts 2:23 (ESV) 

    this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 

Our sin was paid for by Jesus. The wrath of God was poured out on Jesus because we have sinned. He took our punishment for us.

          B. Jesus Would Be Raised Up for Our Justification.

What in many ways began with God bringing to life Abraham and Sarah, in order for them to conceive Isaac, ends with God bringing to life His perfect Son, Jesus Christ. Everything Jesus says is true and everything Jesus does is righteous. God declared at the beginning of the Gospels, This is My Son in whom I am well pleased.

Once Jesus died and made the payment for the sin of God’s people, God the Father raised Jesus back to life as proof that His payment was sufficient to render sin’s debt paid in full. Jesus didn’t remain dead because He was and is sinless. Because Jesus was raised from the dead we can have confidence that at the right time God will also raise us from the dead as well.

Do you believe the truths of Scripture? While you wait is your faith increasing? I pray you can say along with Abraham that my salvation has come by means of the work of Christ who freely justifies the ungodly.

Lord’s Supper-

One means in which our faith is strengthened is when we partake of the Lord’s Supper. In the supper we focus our faith toward the Son of God who alone paid the debt for sinners and who alone is worthy of our worship.

Closing Song-

Closing Verses-

Hebrews 11:17-19 (ESV) 

    By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son,  [18] of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”  [19] He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 

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