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Part 30

08 Sep 2021

Peace From the Wrath of God Through Three Deaths

Romans 5-7

Part 1: The First Death

The topic of God's wrath is not a popular one in modern Christian circles. I remember while I was studying in Oxford there was a controversy surrounding the contemporary hymn ‘In Christ Alone’.

The controversy raged around the the fact that in one of the verses of this great modern masterpiece it states

“’Til’ on that cross, as Jesus died

The wrath of God was satisfied”

Well, the dissenters went mad, how could God be wrathful? Our God, the Christian God, is not wrathful but loving.

And so there was a movement through evangelical churches to have the offending line removed from the hymn, and many did and continue to sing it without reference to God’s wrath.

Whatever will they do with Romans chapter 5 (or indeed chapter 1).

Utter foolishness!

How utterly human (and by that I mean human as in our fallen state) it is to want to defang God, removing any notion that He might actually hold us to account for the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, let alone their resulting deeds in our lives.

No, we want to continually mould and shape God in our image until what we have made looks and sounds just as we do, and as such, would never bring any judgement upon me.

Well, the God of the Bible is a roaring lion who will not be caged by our whims or selfish flights of fancy.

As we spoke about last week, there is a time coming when He will break loose from the shackles which we have intended for His binding, and spit out the muzzle with which we’ve attempted to silence Him. He will break free of the mould made with hands in which we’ve tried to present Him, and a great terror and awe will overwhelm all who see Him as He truly is. His eyes will be a blazing fire that will expose all lies and misinformation, even the lies we tell about ourselves and to ourselves. We will be undone.

No excuses, no justifying ourselves or our behaviour will suffice on that day. We will be exposed. We will stand naked mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. We will be laid bare with no way to hide any of our darkest secrets, intents, and motivations. 


On that day there will not be one who is able to stand and say that they are worthy. All will know simply by looking full in the face of His holiness that we are every bit as guilty as the Bible has set forth, and more.

Imagine having all of your darkest secrets laid bare right there for all to see and know. All of the things that we keep from everyone else because of our secret shame. All of the selfish things that we have ever said or done, and worse, the wicked motivations of our hearts that flow out of our true character that we never want anyone else to see, or even  to admit to ourselves.


God’s wrath is poured out against all such things, and we deserve to drink the cup of His wrath to the dregs.

How then can we escape this judgement? How can we escape the inevitable wrath of God?

The answer is of course that, not only is God’s wrath being revealed, but so too is His righteousness in Christ.

On the cross of Christ, Jesus takes His place as the head and representative of humanity. This is a position that had once been held by Adam, who was the first human, and as such, the representative and head of all humanity.

Adam, however, did not represent humanity well. When presented with a very important choice, he made a hash of it.

Most of us think of the choice Adam and Eve were presented with as a simple choice between good and evil. To obey God is good, to disobey God is to do evil. However, that’s not really what’s at the heart of the issue here.

Both of the choices being presented to Adam and Eve were presented as if they were good. In other words, the choice that had to be made was a choice between two apparent goods, not between good and evil.

When faced with a choice between two options, both of which are being presented as if they are good, how is the choice going to be made? On what basis do we choose? On what basis did Adam and Eve choose?

The answer to those questions is that it will always come down to a question of who you trust, in whom shall I place my faith.

Adam and Eve chose to take the word of the Serpent, however, this is the result and expression of the fact that they chose not to believe (to put their trust and faith in) God. They did not believe what God had told them, that they would die. They did not believe that God had their best interests at heart.

These are however symptoms of something much deeper. Their choice not to trust God betrayed their underlying attitude towards God, their underlying summation of God’s character. They believed that He was lying to them. Eating from the fruit of the tree was an outward declaration through their action of their internal attitude towards God. In eating that fruit they were declaring God to be a liar, and as such, not worthy of their trust.

Their attitudes and actions were a violation of the character and nature of God. They were impugning His character in their thoughts, intentions, and actions.

Sin is the violation of God, a violation of His very character and nature. But this is what we see in the cross of Christ isn’t it? God violated, by, through, and because of sin.

Adam and Eve declared themselves to be enemies of God that day. They declared through their actions that He was a liar, not worth believing, trusting, or following, and so, our enmity with God began with us. The first shots in our war against God were fired from our side.

A separation from God has been the result of this first skirmish, and because Adam was our representative before God, we have all been separated from God. The human race represented by Adam has been in a state of enmity with and a resulting separation from God ever since.

There are some very deep consequences of our alienation from God. You see, God is the creator of all that has come to exist. Everything that has received life has received it from God. God is the source of all life. To be separated from God is to be separated from the source of all life. If you are separated from the source of life, death is the result, “for the wages of sin is death”. Just makes sense doesn’t it.

The human race represented by Adam is separated from God because of Adam’s refusal to trust in God, his refusal to put His faith in the Lord. As our representative Adam refused to put his faith in God, and so the whole human race is separated on account of Adam’s actions on our behalf. These actions have not only brought to us separation from God but the result of that separation, death.

You see, sin is a violation of the very character and nature of God, however, human beings are violated as a result of sin. We have become separated from God, from the primary relationship for which we have been designed and made. In our separation from God we are now living in a way that is contrary to our very design, and we are being damaged as a result. We all die.

But again, this violation of humanity is what we see on the cross isn’t it? One of us, the man Jesus of Nazareth violated by, through, and because of sin.

The cross of Christ is a vivid demonstration of the true nature and severity of sin, the violation of God and the violation of humanity. This is a far more serious thing than simply breaking some arbitrary rules set by some wooly bearded cosmic judge, which is how sin, and as a result God, are often portrayed.

As our representative, Adam has brought death to all humanity so that all who are in Adam die. That’s bad news. Oh, but wait, it gets worse.

Not only has death come to all of humanity as a result of Adam’s misrepresentation of us before God, but something about what Adam did in his declaration of enmity to God has left an indelible mark on us all.

As a result of Adam’s sin of impugning God’s character, we have all been twisted away from God and towards selfishness. Our original programming has been corrupted, so to speak, so that we are no longer in the state in which we were first created. And so we have this nature in us that predisposes us towards selfishness and sin, turns us away from God and what He has revealed to be true, and towards the self. Our desire is to have everything our own way all of the time and on our terms.

We are now sinners by nature and by choice. Our character and nature, our programming has been corrupted so that we are predisposed to reject God and to pursue selfishness and sin. As a result, we choose to fulfil the evil desires of our hearts that flow out of our  corrupted character and nature, choosing to behave selfishly in pursuit of our own self fulfilment and pleasure.

This is the flesh.

Now, some might say that it’s not fair that all human beings should become separated from God and twisted towards sin, being counted as sinners on the basis of the actions of one man. How can that possibly be fair?

Well, it just so happens that, in God’s justice, the solution to our problem also rests on the actions of one man, the man Jesus of Nazareth.

At the appointed time Jesus steps up and takes His place as the Second Adam, taking headship, leadership, responsibility, and accountability for a new humanity.

As the true Son of Man He took upon Himself responsibility for all of the sons of man, took upon His shoulders the penalty and punishment that we all deserve, and went to the cross so that the punishment could be meted out and the price of our guilt paid.

God the Father laid upon the shoulders of God the Son the penalty and wrath that we have each earned in our lives on account of sin. Because the penalty has been laid on Christ and paid by His blood, God’s justice has been served. God is therefore seen to be righteous and just. He cannot and will not let sin slide, give a free pass to sinners. Justice must be done and has been done on the cross.

However, in the same act, God is shown to be the saviour of sinners, the one who is not only just but the one who justifies the sinner, pardoning us for our actions and setting us free from our sin, guilt, and shame (Romans 3:26).

So now there are, in a sense, two humanities, two kinds of human, those who are under the representation of Adam and those who are under the representation of Christ. All who are in Adam die, but, as we shall see, all those who are in Christ will live (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Just as in our refusal to trust God, to put our faith in Him we were united to Adam and his headship over us, so through faith in Christ and what has been accomplished through Him at the cross we are united with Christ.

Through faith we are united with Christ, we are in Christ. His death is considered to be our death.

At the cross Christ died to sin, not His own, but as the representative of humanity, to ours. He died as the penalty of our sin.

When we put our faith in Christ, God counts it as though we have died with Christ, and as such, the penalty of our sin has been paid. It is on that basis, and on that basis alone, that we have been set free from sin and the penalty of sin which is death. Because of this death we may live a new life, an eternal life with our God and Saviour.

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in the newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Romans 6:3-5

“Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” Romans 6:8

The death of the first Adam brought death and the wrath of God upon all humanity, however, the death of the second Adam brings peace with God, saving us from His wrath.

Because we now have peace with God and are saved from His wrath by the death of Jesus, we can now have life, and life in its fulness. This is a promise made by God the Father and demonstrated through the resurrection of His Son. His resurrection to life is a promise that all those who put their faith in the work of Christ, whose death on the cross stands as the sacrificial price paid on account of our sin, will also experience victory over death in a resurrection to life just as He did.

His death brings us life.

“Just as I live, you also shall live.” John 14:19

Part 24

28 Jul 2021

John 1:4-18. As we come out of those incredible opening stanzas of John 1:1-3 with all that they imply, we come full noise into hot theological water, very deep stuff indeed, which will require a good deal of thinking through, so, here goes…... continue reading...

Part 23

21 Jul 2021

John 1:1-3. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. and without him was not anything made that was made.... continue reading...

Part 19

23 Jun 2021

Matthew 5:27-30. Deep breath… I’m going to need to take this slow, this is a hard, biting passage of scripture. Jesus lays out here a challenge that can’t be ducked, dodged, or evaded in any way.... continue reading...

Devotional Part 6

25 Mar 2021

Mark 9:24.   “I believe, help me in my unbelief”   The cry of the heart of every disciple, I believe, but there’s a constant battle between my belief and my unbelief, between the flesh and the spirit.... continue reading...

Devotional Part 5

17 Mar 2021

Mark 8:34-9:1. “Take up your cross” We must lose our lives in order to save them.   Christ’s call to the disciple is to come and die. Take up your cross… so visual, so visceral.... continue reading...

Devotional Part 4

16 Mar 2021

Mark 7:6-23.   Left to his own devices, Man always attempts to worship God out of his own flesh, which always ends up as nothing other than self worship.   In setting up doctrines of his own making, Man also creates the god to whom these doctrines are directed and supposed to appease.... continue reading...

Devotional Study Part 3

10 Mar 2021

  Mark 1:14-20.   Jesus comes out of the wilderness experience and comes to Galilee preaching the Gospel with power and authority. He then calls His disciples.   What has this to do with overcoming the flesh you might well ask? I did, however, I think it is important.... continue reading...

Devotional Part 2

08 Mar 2021

In the Wilderness? Jesus is baptised not merely with water but also with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:10-11). Whatever Jesus relationship was with the Spirit prior to His baptism, this event marks a change in that relationship and a turning point in Messiah’s life and ministry.... continue reading...

Devotional - Part 1

28 Feb 2021

  The Flesh and How to Overcome it By the Spirit. A Devotional Study.   By way of introduction:   I resolve this morning to make a study of the New Testament, searching God’s word as to what He teaches regarding the flesh, by what means it is overcome, and what practices I/we can implement in life in order to do so.... continue reading...

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