Aug 2013


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Act 5 | Spreading the News of the King

This sermon on “Justified” from The Drama of Redemption was preached by Chris DeRoco at Redemption Hill Church on Sunday, August 11, 2013.

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The sermon notes are compiled and edited by a member of Redemption Hill from the pastor’s notes. It is designed as a resource for those engaging the sermon for the first time or those returning to it for further reflection. We pray this resource serves you well.

Sermon Text


Romans 8:28-39

Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.


Verse 28 begins with the words, “We know”.  There are two assurances that follow these words which are that all things work together for good and nothing shall separate us from the love of God. These are amazing promises but how can it get better? In many way these promises speak to our fundamental need for meaning and security. Who am I? What is my purpose? Why is this happening?  Romans is telling us that all these questions get answered and we can have assurance and joy through all the perils of life if we figure out life’s biggest problem.    Thus arguing from the greater to the lesser, if the one great problem is solved, then all the others fall into place.  As tough as life is: tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? It all pales in comparison with the problem of God.

“All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we as moral being must do about Him.” A.W. Tozer

What Tozer and Paul are suggesting is that the only way to get real lasting assurance, joy, peace is to go right back to the beginning. Look at the God of the universe and all that He is.  While the idea of God being Holy and all-powerful can be troubling, it is reality and as rational, thinking, modern people we should deal with him.  God created us to enjoy him and make much of him, but we choose to enjoy other things and make much of ourselves which is sin. This has made us enemies of God and separated us from him. We have committed treason against God and we are guilty.  Our biggest needs include forgiveness and righteousness in God through Christ. Forgiveness for what we done, but should not have and righteousness, for what we should have done but didn’t. The bible has a word that captures both which is justification. We need to be justified before God and it’s what our whole chain of redemption depends on.

God foreknew us; before the foundation of the world, He took note of us and set His favor upon us and chose us. He did not wait to see what we might be like but rather He chose us to make us what He would like. Before we had done anything good or evil He set His electing eye upon us and set us apart for Himself. We can know that He will complete this great salvation (glorification) because He chose us unconditionally. In light of this we know that we need Justification.

Romans 8:31-34 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 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? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died —more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  We can have assurance in our justification and assurance of our justification because Jesus died for us, took our sins, suffered our penalty and intercedes for us.  He knows our need for assurance, He knows our weakness, our doubts, our wavering and our faithlessness. This is why it is important (and commanded by God) that we speak the truth of God’s word to one another.

The Chosen

The chosen are called and justified by the blood of Jesus, which means that through His death on the cross God received Him as the sacrifice in their place. The blood is mentioned throughout the epistles as that (alone) which makes man right with God.

Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”

Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”


The question of when God does this for us is what is often misunderstood.  Some will say they are justified only by the blood of Jesus, but that something still remains for them to do to make movement toward God; not that they have to do all of it, but just a little. If I receive justification, I have to be better, or at least different from the guy that doesn’t.

Romans 5: 6 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

When we were helpless, ungodly, sinners and enemies, Christ died for us. In a sense our acquittal is wholly independent of anything in us.

Faith or Blood?

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 5:9 “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”


Which is it? By faith or by the blood? It’s important to see this, because it is very tempting to look at this (and other passages) and think that it’s our faith that makes the blood the ground of our justification. That it’s our faith that makes what Jesus did on the cross work for us and that the power of the cross depends upon our faith. The error that results if we believe such is a lack of assurance because we think faith is something we add to our justification and not something that is a part of it. Faith is necessary for without faith, it is impossible to please God and to be justified before God. Faith is the very move toward God we need. When we believe the justification that Jesus accomplished for us gets applied to us.  Before faith and without faith we all stand condemned. So then we understand that faith, along with everything else, is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

“Faith is the acknowledgment of the entire absence of all goodness in us. Faith saves, because it owns the complete salvation of another, and not because it contributes anything to that salvation. There is no dividing or sharing the work between our own belief and Him in whom we believe. The whole work is His, not ours, from the first to last.” – Horatius Bonar

“It is not faith that saves, but faith in Jesus Christ…. It is not, strictly speaking, even faith in Christ that saves, but Christ that saves through faith. The saving power resides exclusively, not in the act of faith or the attitude of faith or in the nature of faith, but in the object of faith.” – B. B. Warfield

Faith is the hand that receives and contributes nothing but need. And even it is included in the amazing gift of justification purchased by Jesus and given to those the chosen by the spirit. Jesus purchased both justification by faith and justification by the blood for man and they cannot be separated.  Paul omits them from his list of the grounds of our assurance because the object of faith is central and not faith in and of itself.  We will lack assurance if we think faith is something we add to our justification.



Romans 8:33 “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies”.  Jesus took the guilt and punishment of the particular and actual sins of those people God foreknew and called, the elect identified in the preceding verse. Paul is seeking to make it clear that Jesus did not just die for sins in general, but for the literal and specific sins of individual men and women.  He (Jesus) was aware of who and what He was dying for and not simply a theoretical idea of sin.  1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.”  II Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Jesus suffered the penalty for our sins. Romans 8:34 “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised.”

“When a prison door is opened for a criminal, by the very authority which sentenced him there, it is evidence that the debt of His transgression has been paid; and that he now stands acquitted of all its penalties. It was not for His own offenses, but for ours that Jesus was delivered over to death, and imprisoned in the grave. But when the angel descended from heaven and rolled back the great stone from the door of that grave, this speaks to us that the justice of God is satisfied and that the ransom for our iniquities has been paid. Jesus Christ has rendered a full payment of ALL that debt he took on as the great Surety (Guarantor) between God and the sinners who believe in Him.” Thomas Chalmers


Assurance of justification is that two people cannot be held guilty of the same crime.  Thus Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit”.  The cross did not partially save us or make us savable through something we bring to the table but rather His death on the cross actually saved God’s people.  This truth, this reality is assurance for our wavering hearts.  Jesus is interceding for us right now. Romans 8:34 “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”

“From whence this fear and unbelief? Hath not the Father put to grief His spotless Son for me?

And will the righteous Judge of men Condemn me for that load of sin Which, Lord, was charged to Thee?

Complete atonement Thou hast made, And to the utmost Thou hast paid Whate’er Thy people owed;

Nor can God’s wrath on me take place When sheltered by Thy righteousness, And covered by Thy blood.

If Thou my pardon procured, And freely in my room endured The whole of wrath divine;

Payment God cannot twice demand, First from my bleeding Surety’s hand, And then again from mine.

Return, my soul, unto thy rest! The sorrows of thy great High Priest Have bought thy liberty;

Trust in His  efficacious blood, Nor fear thy banishment from God, Since Jesus died for thee.” Augustus Toplady

Paul reminds us that Jesus has not just risen from the dead but He has ascended and sits right next to God the Father.  In the court of God’s justice, where we stand justly condemned for our sins, Jesus continues to represent us and intercede between us and God’s justice.   Hebrews 7:25 “Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

If you are a Christian and lack assurance and joy, ponder what Jesus has done:

Jesus died for us – while we were His still enemies thus so we don’t add faith to our justification.

Jesus took on himself not just the idea of sin, but our actual sins.

Jesus fully suffered our penalty and God has declared him innocent such that there is nothing left to pay.

Jesus right now is pleading on our behalf with His wounds and His perfect record before God

If you are not a Christian then recognize that before God you stand guilty and there is no one and nothing to justify you or intercede on your behalf.  However, Jesus has everything you need; He can take your sin and you give you His record.  He can intercede for you as well.


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