Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote in the saints which were at Rome. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters four through six of this New Testament epistle. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? OF works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:21-31).
“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in your selves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath paromised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy: and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:1-13).
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:14-20).
“When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? OR when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirst, yand ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answered them, saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous unto life eternal” (Matthew 25:31-46).
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that akseth of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured again” (Luke 7:27-38).
FOR THERE IS NO RESPECT OF PERSONS WITH GOD! As I sit here tonight thinking about and considering the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the first six chapters of this New Testament epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Rome I can’t help but be directly confronted with one of the most dangerous and undetectable traces and forms of judgment within the heart of a Christian. If and as you read the words which are found within the New Testament you will find a great deal of language that is centered upon judgment and casting judgment upon others. In fact, when you read the narrative found within the New Testament gospels written by the apostle Matthew and the beloved physician Luke concerning Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount you will find a great amount of language found within the sermon concerning judging and casting judgment upon others. Essentially that which is found within the gospel narrative deals exclusively with our casting judgment upon another individual while we ourselves are unwilling to examine and take a look at our own hearts and our own lives. The words which we find within these gospel narratives point to the hypocrisy of judgment that is found in casting judgment against and upon another because of the sin that is present within their hearts and lives while completely and utterly ignoring the sin which is present within our own hearts and lives. Such a reality is most readily and aptly seen in the narrative of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and was brought unto Jesus the Christ in the Temple of the Lord by the Pharisees, by the scribes, and by the religious leaders of that day. This woman was caught in the act of adultery—perhaps by a member of the religious community—and not only was she caught in the act of adultery, but she was also brought from the place of adultery unto the house of God before and in the presence of Jesus the Christ.
The underlying truth that is found within this narrative of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery is that she was caught in the act of adultery which completely and utterly meant she could not deny that which she had done. If she had indeed been caught in the act of adultery then there was no denying that which she had done, and there was no way of her proving her innocence. [As a side note it’s incredibly interesting that Jesus never asked for, nor did He ever demand this woman prove her innocence. We have often heard within our culture and society that we are innocent until proven guilty, and this woman was indeed guilty—and not only guilty, but caught in that guilt and caught in that transgression. Nowhere in this narrative do you and nowhere in this narrative will you finding Jesus demanding to hear the woman’s side of the story, nor did He ever demand of the woman that she explain herself and her actions]. It is absolutely incredible to read the words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture and to find that this woman was indeed caught in the act of adultery, and this woman was caught in the act of adultery, but she was also brought from the place of adultery. CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF ADULTERY, BROUGHT FROM THE PLACE OF ADULTERY! This woman was caught in the act of adultery, and she was taken by the religious system and community during that day unto the Temple of the LORD and into the presence of Jesus. What’s more, is this woman was brought into the Temple of the LORD and into the presence of Jesus the Christ by the Pharisees who declared that according to the Law of Moses such a person should be stoned. What you find within this passage is Jesus neither condemning the woman of her sins, nor her transgressions, and you most certainly do not find Jesus accusing and condemning those who brought this woman unto Him in His presence. The only words Jesus spoke unto those who would accuse and condemn this woman was simply “Let he that is without sin cast the first stone.” How absolutely and incredibly powerful it is that not only did Jesus deliver this woman from the stones which would have been cast at against her, not only did Jesus deliver this woman out of the accusation and condemnation of her captors, but Jesus also delivered this woman out of the demand and penalty of the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses demanded that such a woman be stoned, and yet Jesus delivered the woman from those stones which have been hurled against her, and would deliver this woman from the punishment and judgment of the Law.
This narrative is absolutely and incredibly powerful for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and tremendous truth surrounding judgment, condemnation and accusation against another individual. Not only this, but this narrative brings us face to face with the religious leaders and the religious system preparing to cast judgment and punishment against and upon this woman—even according to the Law of Moses—despite the sin which was present within their own hearts and lives. We know that there was indeed and there was in fact sin that was present within their hearts and lives, for when Jesus emphatically declared and invited those who were without sin to cast the first stone those who would have accused and judged this woman would each depart from the court of the Temple one by one being pricked in their conscience beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. There is within this passage of Scripture an awesome and tremendous truth concerning our willingness to cast judgment upon another without being willing to carefully examine our own hearts and lives to discern and come face to face with the sin and iniquity that is present within our hearts and lives. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truth and reality, for it calls and draws our attention to the truly wonderful and powerful truth that one of the most dangerous acts we can commit as the saints of God is casting judgment against and upon another without being willing to enter into a time and period of self-examination of and within our own hearts and lives. It was Jesus Himself who would declare that we dare not judge lest we be judged, and it was Jesus who emphatically and boldly called those who would seek to point out the sin in another’s life without coming face to face with and acknowledging their own sin was indeed and was in fact a hypocrite.
There is another narrative concerning judgment that is found within the gospel, and it is found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke. This particular narrative would find Jesus being invited into the house of one Simon a Pharisee that He might sin down to meat with him. Within the city, however, there was a woman who was a sinner who upon hearing that Jesus was in the house of Simon the Pharisee dared come in uninvited and without any advanced warning and notice. Not only this, but this woman would come and stand behind Jesus anointing His feet with the fragrant perfume from the alabaster jar she brought with her, as well as with her tears. This woman would anoint the feet of Jesus with the perfume from her alabaster jar, she would wash them with the tears of her eyes, and would dry those same feet with the hairs of her head. When Simon beheld this woman’s actions before and in the presence of Jesus he thought within himself that if Jesus was indeed a prophet he would know who and what manner of woman this was who touched Him, and that she was a sinner. Simon would indeed cast judgment within his heart and within his mind toward and against this woman without knowing her story and without seeing the condition of her heart and soul in the presence of Jesus. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which is found within this passage of Scripture, for it brings us face to face with the judgment of Simon that would not be expressed verbally, and would only be expressed within his heart and mind. It’s truly worth noting and pointing out that although Simon merely thought these thoughts within his heart and mind Jesus was aware of it—and not only was Jesus aware of it, but Jesus would also draw and call attention to it. Not only this, but Jesus would bring Simon to the place where he would begin thinking about one who was forgiven much and as a result would love much. What’s more, is Jesus would go on to speak of that which this woman had done for Him in the house of religion which Simon who was the host of the dinner was unwilling to do. Even more than this, we find this woman experiencing peace, forgiveness, and salvation in the house of religion—this despite the fact that Simon sought to judge her within his heart and mind.
More often than not we think about judgment as being directly and solely linked to accusation, to condemnation, and to the casting of stones and the pointing of fingers at others. We tend to think that judgment is linked and expressed solely in pointing out the speck in someone else’s eye without and being unwilling to examine the beam, the plank and the log that is within our own eye. There are many among us who tend to think that judgment is solely linked and connected to accusing and condemning sin within the heart and life of another, and we fail to realize and recognize that there is perhaps a form of judgment that is more sinister, more deceitful, more dangerous, and more subtle than what we tend to think of and are most likely used to. There is not a doubt in mind that one of the greatest forms of judgment within our hearts and minds is that judgment we cast against and upon another because of the sin, the transgression and iniquity that is present within their hearts and lives. There are many among us within the house of the Lord who are tremendously guilty of casting judgment upon others simply and solely because of the sin, the iniquity, the transgression and the wickedness that is found within their hearts. Such men and women are quick to judge and point out the sin and the iniquity that is present within the heart and life of another without at all being willing to examine their own heart and life and come to terms with the sin that is present within their heart. We must needs recognize and understand that there is a form of judgment that is directly linked and connected to accusing and condemning another because of the sin and iniquity that is present within their lives, and which they have committed in the sight and presence of the Lord. Such a form of judgment is indeed the same manner of judgment that was found within the hearts and minds of the scribes, the chief priests, the elders of Israel, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the like.
There is another form of judgment, which is in my estimation and opinion a lazy form of judgment, and that is cynicism. If you look at and examine what cynicism means you will find that it touches upon the realm of our being skeptical toward the motives and intentions of another individual without understanding the story and without understanding the narrative of their lives and what they have been through. This form of judgment is based purely and entirely based on presumption and assumption and is rarely—if ever—based on any truth and facts. Cynicism as a form of judgment puts us in the place where we are essentially a fourth person in the Trinity where we are somehow able to discern and understand the thoughts, the motives, the intentions, and the reigns of the heart of another individual. Cynicism is a lazy form of judgment for it places us in the place where we are deceived into thinking we understand and know why others think the way they do, why they act the way they do, why they speak the way they do, and the like. Cynicism places us in the place where we think and believe we are qualified and positioned to understand the motives and intentions within the heart of another individual without understanding the facts and without understanding the history. Cynicism completely and entirely ignores any element of truth, all facts, and the story and history that is present within the life of another, and places us in the realm of thinking we can somehow judge their motives and intentions. We look at the hearts, the minds and the lives of others and we think that we are somehow qualified and able to speak to why they are the way they are, and why they act the way they act. Such a form of judgment is actually quite dangerous, for such a form of judgment allows us to completely and utterly ignore any element of facts, any element of truth, and any element of reality concerning and within the life of another individual. Oh it is absolutely and necessary that we recognize and understand just how incredibly dangerous cynicism truly is, for cynicism places us in the place where we presume to understand the story of another individual, and where we presume to think and believe we are qualified to interpret the context, the framework and the foundation of the life of another. Oh how absolutely and incredibly dangerous cynicism truly is, for it is that form of judgment that doesn’t necessarily focus on sin and iniquity, but instead focuses on motives and intentions.
With this being said it is necessary that we recognize and understand that cynicism is one of the most dangerous and deadly forms of judgment because it is more often than not rooted and grounded in a place of distrust within our own hearts and lives. In fact—more often than not, cynicism has absolutely nothing to do with the other person, but it has everything to do with us and the context and framework of our own experiences, our own offenses, our own wounds, our own scars, and that which we have faced within our lives. When we give ourselves to cynicism we don’t judge another based on the sin and iniquity that might be present within their lives—or what we perceive and believe to be present within their lives—but it judges another person based on our own experiences and our own history. Would it shock and surprise you to think and consider that more often than not cynicism has absolutely nothing to do with the other person as much as it does with us and what we have gone through? Furthermore, when we give ourselves to cynicism we project our own hurts, our own offenses, our own bruises, our own wounds, our own experiences, and our own history onto and upon another. Cynicism views and judges others based on and through the lens of our own life experiences and what we have been through. It is this form of judgment that makes us highly skeptical and highly unwilling, unable and afraid to trust others because we feel as though we do not know and cannot trust their motives or their intentions. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this, for it brings us face to face with one of the most dangerous and destructive forms of judgment within our hearts and lives—that form of judgment when we not only view others, but also judge and condemn others based on our history and our experiences rather than their own story and their own narrative. Permit me to be bold and declare that it is a dangerous thing when we project our experiences, our narrative and our history on to another individual and seek to enter into fellowship with them. It is absolutely and incredibly dangerous to project our own expectations upon another individual based on our own life experiences and history, and are not only skeptical, but even judgmental as to whether or not they can and will even live and measure up to those expectations.
THE JUDGMENT OF PARTIALITY! THE JUDGMENT OF FAVORTISM! THE JUDGMENT OF HAVING RESPECT UNTO PERSONS! THE JUDGMENT BASED ON OUTWARD APPEARANCE! “What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seekth after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:9-20).
FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE! FOR THERE IS NO RESPECT OF PERSONS WITH GOD! HAVE NOT THE FAITH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE LORD OF GLORY WITH RESPECT OF PERSONS! BUT IF YE HAVE RESPECT TO PERSONS, YE COMMIT SIN, AND ARE CONVINCED OF THE LAW AS TRANSGRESSORS! “And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. And Samuel said, How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD. And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee. And Samuel did that which the LORD spake, and came to Beth-lehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peacably? And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the LORD: Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. And it came to pass, when they were come, THAT HE LOOKED ON ELIAB, AND SAID, SURELY THE LORD’S ANOINTED IS BEFORE HIM. BUT THE LORD SAID UNTO SAMUEL, LOOK NOT ON HIS COUNTENANCE, OR ON THE HEIGHT OF HIS STATURE; BECAUSE I HAVE REFUESED HIM: FOR THE LORD SEETH NOT AS MAN SEETH; FOR MAN LOOKETH ON THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE, BUT THE LORD LOOKETH ON THE HEART” (1 Samuel 16:1-7).
It is absolutely necessary that we draw our attention to the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for the words and language we find in this passage of Scripture help us confront and come face to face with another form of judgment—one that is more often than not ignored and largely disregarded among us within the Church today. More often than not when we speak of judgment we speak of judgment in terms of judging others as sinners or judging others because of sin and iniquity within their lives—whether real or perceived. When we speak of judgment—particularly and especially within the Church today—we tend to think of judgment solely in terms of that which is found within the realm of sin, iniquity and transgression. While I am in fact convinced that this is one of the most dangerous and deadly forms of judgment we can execute among us in our midst—one that places us in the same realm and sphere as the scribes and the Pharisees—there is another form of judgment that is just as dangerous and deadly as judging another based on sin and iniquity within their heart and life. This form of judgment is more than likely overt, concealed and hidden, and is otherwise not expressed from and with our mouths, and is presented before the LORD within our hearts and minds. It is this form of judgment which is one that must needs be considered and given great care and attention to, for if left unchecked within our hearts and our lives it has the ability to absolutely and utterly destroy us. This manner of judgment I am referring to is the judgment of partiality and favoritism within our hearts, within our lives, and within our midst. There is a reason why at the beginning and outset of this writing I chose to draw and call your attention to the words which are found in the epistle which was written by James, as well as the words which are found in the second and third chapters of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome. There is not a doubt in my mind that one of the most dangerous forms of judgment that can be found within our hearts and our lives is that form of judgment where we look upon the outward appearance of men and cast judgment upon them based on their appearance. Please note and please understand that I am not speaking about casting judgment upon another based on physical appearance due to height, or due to weight, or due to external appearance and looks as we think and perceive it as such. I am not speaking about judging someone as they would do to determine whether or not they are able to be on the cover of one of the many magazines that are present within the stores which are among us in our culture and society.
When I sit here and write and speak about judgment and this form of judgment which is just as dangerous and deadly as judging another based on sin, iniquity and transgression within their heart and life which is legalism and hypocrisy—that which I am writing and that which I am speaking about is judgment in the form of favoritism and partiality. James perhaps writes about and presents this in the most eloquent and powerful way, for James writes about one who comes among us with a gold ring and goodly apparel, while another comes among us with poor and vile raiment, and our giving preferential treatment to that one who has the golden ring, and that one which has the goodly apparel. Moreover, James writes about our giving this one with goodly apparel a place of honor among us while giving that poor one who comes among us a place of shame and disgrace. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written by James you will find him emphatically declaring and instructing us to have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand these words, for the entire second chapter found within the epistle which was written by James is a direct parallel to the words which are found in the second, third and fourth chapters of the epistle which was written by the apostle Paul. It is in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by James we find and uncover his command and instruction to have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with respect of persons, and it is in the epistle written by the apostle Paul we find the apostle emphatically declaring and proclaiming that the LORD our God does not have respect unto persons.
Pause for a moment and think about the fact that if we indeed have and if we indeed hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with respect of persons we neither have the heart, nor do we have the mind of the living and eternal God. What’s more, is that I would dare say that if we have the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with respect of persons we neither have the character and nature of the LORD our God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor even the character and nature of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for we dare not, we cannot and must not think and believe for one moment that we are men and women who have the nature, the character and the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ when we have and hold faith with respect of persons. Oh dear reader, I am absolutely and completely convinced that favoritism and partiality is one of the most dangerous and deadliest forms of judgment we can exercise within our hearts and within our lives in the house of God. We tend to focus all our attention solely and squarely on judgment in the form of accusation and condemnation of another individual based on and because of sin within their life, and yet time and time again we fail to recognize and understand that there is another form of judgment which is perhaps more dangerous and deadly than this because not only is not expressed verbally, but it is demonstrated discreetly and overtly. This judgment of favoritism and partiality is not as overt and not as blatant within and among us in our houses of worship and in our churches, and is more often than not largely ignored and never addressed. There is not a doubt in my mind that this form of judgment—this means of harboring favoritism and partiality within our hearts and minds toward others—is perhaps of greater danger than that of judging others based on sin because it is one that is not as easy to discern. While it is true that it does in fact have an external manifestation and demonstration among us within our circles of fellowship it is more often than not ignored and largely swept under the table and swept under the rug as though it is neither present, nor needing to be addressed.
It would be very easy to sit here and read these words and think about how this is not something that is necessary of any time and attention, and yet both James and the apostle Paul wrote and spoke of this concept of having respect unto and respect of persons. In the second and third chapters of the apostle Paul which was written unto the saints in Rome we find the apostle emphatically speaking, writing and declaring that the LORD our God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and we who are His brethren is no respecter of persons. Time and time again within the writings of the apostle Paul you will find that even though the nation and people of Israel are God’s chosen and God’s covenanted people He is no respecter of persons when it comes to Jew versus Gentile. Perhaps one of the greatest truths that is found within the New Testament writings of the apostle Paul is this description and this declaration that there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither bond nor free in the sight of the LORD our God. Time and time again the apostle Paul writes and emphatically declares and proclaims the powerful truth that there is no respect of persons with God and that God views all nations, all peoples, all races, all languages, all tribes and all tongues in the same light and in the same manner. The LORD has not drawn a dividing line, nor has the LORD drawn any distinction between Jew or Gentile, nor has the LORD drawn any distinction or difference between bond or free. Within the opening chapter of this New Testament epistle we do in fact find the apostle Paul emphatically declaring that he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation unto the Jew first, and also unto the Gentile. We do know that according to this verse salvation was first presented unto the Jew, however, eventually and ultimately the gospel would come unto the Gentiles—and not only unto the Gentiles, but unto Gentiles regardless of nation, regardless of language, regardless of tongue, and regardless of any type of ethnic background or origin.
We must needs recognize and understand this incredibly powerful truth and reality within our hearts and our minds, for it is very easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in having the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with respect of persons. It is incredibly easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in external appearances—perhaps according to race, perhaps according to gender, perhaps according to socio-economic class, perhaps according to partisan lines, perhaps according to language and tongue, and various other means. More often than not it is incredibly easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in this trap and temptation of giving ourselves to entering into this form of judgment which is not in the manner of legalism and hypocrisy, but rather is in the manner and form of favoritism and partiality. Within the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto James he goes on to write and present us with a powerful example of what this would and could look like among us within our midst, as James writes and speaks about someone coming unto us in our assembly who is one with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there also coming unto and among us a poor man in vile raiment. James would go on to write concerning our having respect unto him that wears the gay clothing, and speaking unto him, saying, “Sit thou here in a good place,” while saying unto the poor man, “Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool.” What’s more, is that James then goes on to write and speak of us by asking the question: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? RESPECT OF PERSONS! PARTIAL WITHIN OURSELVES! JUDGES OF EVIL THOUGHTS! Oh please don’t miss the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for what we find within this passage is something which must needs be recognized and understood when we truly take the time to think about what James is writing about. It’s actually quite interesting and astounding when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that not only does James write about having and holding the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with respect of persons, but James also goes on to writing about faith without and faith apart from works is dead. There is not a doubt in my mind that having the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with respect of persons, and attempting to have faith without and apart from works are intrinsically linked and connected to each other.
I have to admit that in all the years I have read and studied the words which are found in this chapter and this passage of Scripture I have never seen, nor have I noticed the intrinsic link and connection between having the faith of the Lord Jesus the Christ with respect unto persons, and holding, having and attempting to exercise our faith without works. I have read the words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by James and I have always seen and viewed these two realities as being separate and entirely different from each other, and yet there is not a doubt in my mind that they are absolutely, completely and utterly linked to each other. Stop and consider how in the first half of this chapter James writes and speaks about having respect of persons by inviting that person who is clothed in goodly apparel and who has a golden ring to sit in a place of honor while saying unto the poor person who has come among us that they ought to stand over there or sit under our footstool. In the first half of this chapter James writes about showing partiality between the rich man and the poor man which are found present among us, while in the second half of the chapter James goes on to write even further about that man who is poor and needy among us. In the second half of this passage of Scripture James writes and asks what it profits if a man says and declares he has faith, and has not works in addition to that faith. James then writes and asks if that man’s faith which is without and apart from works can indeed and can in fact save him. James would proceed to ask if a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of us says unto them, “Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled” if there is any profit in such an act. Essentially that which James writes about is our seeing one among us who is naked and destitute of daily food, and instead of offering unto them clothing, and instead of offering unto them food to eat we send them on their way with what might be perceived as “a Christian blessing,” or as “the Christian blessing.”
What makes the second half of this chapter so incredibly powerful is when you take the time to examine the words James chose to use, for James did not compare a saint versus a sinner, but James used the language of “brother” and/or “sister.” It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand this incredibly powerful truth, for there is not a doubt in my mind that James wasn’t speaking about our brother and sister in the faith and those who are disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that James was deliberate and intentional in using the words “brother” and “sister,” for that which James is doing is calling and drawing our attention to the tremendous fact that it is possible that we can not only have respect unto persons in our midst by showing distinction between the rich among us and the poor, but we can also attempt to exercise our faith without and apart from works. It is in the first half of the second chapter we find James writing and speaking of our having respect unto persons by showing favoritism, partiality and honor unto those among us who are rich, and those among us who are dressed well, and those among us who are perhaps of a higher status in our culture, in our society, and even within our own churches, while at the same showing disregard, dishonor, shame, and disgrace to those who are poor among us. In the first half of this chapter we find the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ being exercised, demonstrated and manifested with respect of persons by showing disgrace and dishonor unto the poor among us while at the very same time showing favoritism, partiality and honor unto those rich who are among us. In the second half of this chapter James takes this a step further when speaking about the demonstration and manifestation of faith without and apart from works and speaks to us of seeing a brother or sister among us who is naked and destitute of daily food, and instead of picking and taking up the burden to clothe and feed them, we merely invite them to depart in peace, and say unto them to be warmed and be filled. Instead of any type of action and responsibility within and upon our parts as the saints of God and the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ we send such individuals out of our midst naked, hungry, and I would perhaps even say thirsty, and in an even greater need than we might realize.
What I am about to write and present unto you might shock and offend you, however, I am absolutely and completely convinced it is necessary to call and draw your attention to. As I sit here and consider the words which are found in the second half of the second chapter written by James I am absolutely and completely convinced that there if those who come among us do so in need and with a physical need—regardless of whether it’s clothing, or whether it’s food, or anything else they might need in this earthly and natural life—and we choose to not only ignore that need, but also send them away without doing anything to meet and satisfy that need we are actually guilty of sending them out with an even greater need than the one which they brought before and unto us. I am absolutely and completely convinced that one of the greatest tragedies and atrocities being committed among us within our churches and houses of worship is that of sending those who enter into our midst with a physical and natural need away and apart from us with an even greater need—and not only an even greater need, but also perhaps an offense within their heart and mind. Pause and consider what that one whom we send out from among us with nothing more than a word of peace, and a statement of their being warmed and filled thinks within their heart and mind as they are forced to depart from our presence and out of our church building with nothing more than a “Christian blessing.” It is in the second half of the epistle written by James that we find his writing of faith and how not only can faith be shown with respect of persons, but so also can faith be had, held and exercised without and apart from works. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truth and reality within and among us, for it calls and draws our attention to one of the greatest dangers and one of the most destructive means of judgment among and within our midst in our church buildings. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that when we read the words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle which was written by James we are not only brought face to face with and confronted with one of the most destructive and deadliest forms of judgment among us within our midst, but we are also brought face to face with the tremendous truth that as if it wasn’t bad enough for our faith to be held with respect of persons, so also can our faith be held without and apart from works.
I am sitting here this morning thinking about this powerful and destructive form of judgment within our hearts and within our minds, and I am absolutely and completely convinced that we must needs pay close and careful attention to just how dangerous and deadly it truly is—not only within our hearts and minds, but also within our church buildings and houses of worship. Perhaps the single greatest question I must needs ask myself when reading and considering these words is when I ask myself whether or not I have been guilty of this form of judgment toward, against and upon another individual. If I am being honest with myself, if I am being honest with the LORD, and if I am being honest with you who are reading these words I must needs declare unto you that I know there have been times when I have been guilty of this form of judgment. In fact, I would dare say that it might very well be this form of judgment which is at the very heart of the words which Jesus spoke concerning the hour and time of judgment when He will separate the nations before Him—those on His right hand, and those on His left hand. If and as you read the words which are found in the final verses of the twenty-fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will be brought face to face with this distinction and this separation which would take place between the sheep and the goats being centered upon activity and action versus inactivity and inaction. It is within this passage of Scripture we find Jesus inviting the sheep which were on His right hand to enter into the joys of His Father’s house and His Father’s kingdom, and His doing so based on one simple and undeniable truth and fact—namely, based on their treatment of the poor, the naked, the hungry, the sick, and the imprisoned among them. Essentially all those whom the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of when quoting from the prophet Isaiah are those who are referenced here in this particular portion of Scripture. When Jesus invited the sheep which were on His right hand to enter into His Father’s house and His Father’s kingdom He did so based on their treatment of the poor, the hungry, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned, and those who were destitute and needy among them. Not only this, but Jesus would also go on to declare unto these who were invited into His Father’s house and kingdom when asked when they engaged Him in their generation, culture and society that as much as they did it unto the least of these they did it unto Him. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of that which is found within this passage of Scripture, for it calls and draws our attention to the truly astonishing and remarkable truth that how we treat those who are in need among, before and around us is a direct demonstration and manifestation toward Jesus the Christ.
The more I think about the words which are found within this passage of Scripture the more I can’t help but be brought face to face with the absolutely tremendous and powerful truth that what we find here is not only a powerful description of what was and what wasn’t done for the poor, the needy, the afflicted, and the destitute among us, but also how this action or inaction was directed unto Jesus the Christ. We dare not, we cannot, we must not miss and lose sight of this remarkable and astounding truth, for it draws and calls our attention to the absolutely incredible truth that at the very heart of such inaction and inactivity is that which we find written about within the epistle penned by and from the hand of James. It is within this epistle we find James writing of the danger of holding the faith of our Lord Jesus the Christ with respect of persons, and it is also in this epistle where we also find James writing concerning having and holding the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ without and apart from works. I have oftentimes declared faith without works as the apostle Paul wrote and mentioned as the vertical form of relationship, fellowship and community with the Father as we are instructed and commanded to love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength, while faith with works as James wrote about and mentioned is horizontal form of relationship, fellowship and community with our neighbor—yea, our enemies—as we have been instructed to not only love our neighbor as ourselves, but have also been instructed to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. I can’t help but read the words which are found within the second chapter of the epistle written by James and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that faith without works is directly linked to loving the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our strength, while faith with works is directly linked to loving our neighbor as ourselves. Dear brother, dear sister—we can’t afford to miss this, for in all reality it is a matter of life and death. What’s more, is that this isn’t purely and simply a matter of life and death, but it is a matter of eternal life and eternal death. These matters have at the very heart and center of them eternal fellowship with God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, eternal fellowship with Jesus the Christ, and eternal fellowship with the Spirit or eternal separation from the Father, from the Son and from the Spirit. We must needs acknowledge and allow ourselves to come face to face with this reality, for it brings us to terms and brings us to grip with the demonstration, the manifestation and the expression of faith within our hearts and our lives.
If and as you read the second, third and fourth chapters of the New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle Paul you will not only find him writing concerning the impartiality that is found within the heart of the LORD our God and within His Christ, but also how the LORD our God has never been and never will be a respecter of persons. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words written and recorded within these chapters found in the epistle penned by the hand of the apostle Paul, for these words directly confront us with one of the most important elements, characteristics and realities of the character and nature of the living God. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—when was the last time you heard a sermon, a teaching, and/or a message preached from the pulpit about the impartiality of the LORD our God, and how the LORD our God is no respecter of persons? When was the last time you sat in the house of the LORD and heard the minister, the pastor, the evangelist, and/or teacher preach unto you a message concerning the impartiality and lack of favoritism that is found within the heart of the living God? When was the last time you heard a sermon, a teaching and a message preached from the pulpit where it was publicly declared and spoken of concerning the LORD our God that He is no respecter of persons, and that there is no favoritism and partiality within His heart? I would dare say that you would be hard pressed to think about a single time when you have heard preached from the pulpit a sermon about the nature and character of God concerning His not having respect of persons—and not only this, but the intrinsic link and connection between the LORD our God not being a respecter of persons, and the tremendous possibility that we can be men and women who neither have the character nor the nature of the LORD our God when we ourselves show partiality, when we ourselves show favoritism, and when we ourselves show and have respect of persons among us within our midst. Please note that this isn’t necessarily limited to our church buildings, but it is also found within our places of employment, it’s found when we enter into the grocery store and supermarket, it’s found when we interact with the world before and all around us. We dare not and must not think and believe for a single moment that this is limited specifically and exclusively to our houses of worship and our church buildings, for it can even be demonstrated and manifested among us within the streets of our cities.
PARTIAL IN YOURSELVES, AND ARE BECOME JUDGES OF EVIL THOUGHTS! YE HAVE DESPISED THE POOR! IF YE FULFIL THE ROYAL LAW ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURE, THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF, YE DO WELL! Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for there is not a doubt in my mind that one of the deadliest forms of judgment within our houses of worship and congregations is that of judging others on the basis of partiality and favoritism. There is perhaps nothing more dangerous and deadly within and among us in our midst within our midst than having respect unto persons and attempting to hold the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with such a divisive practice and view within our hearts. The more I think about and the more I consider the words which are found in the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Romans, and the more I consider the words which are found in the epistle which James wrote, the more I am absolutely and completely convinced that we must needs pay close and careful attention to how we are holding and how we are demonstrating and manifesting the so-called faith that is present within our hearts. We must needs pay close attention to our hearts and truly be willing to examine them with all diligence that we not give ourselves over to having respect unto persons and somehow choosing one over another, or one people group over another. During days in which our nation, our culture, our society and countless men and women are so divided across partisan lines, across socio-economic lines, across religious lines, across racial lines, across gender lines, and the like, we must not add to nor compound this division by having and showing respect unto persons within our houses of worship and church buildings. If there is one place where favoritism and partiality should not be present it’s within our churches and houses of worship, for there is a great and tremendous need for us to truly understand and recognize that we cannot truly say we are walking in the divine character, nature, image and likeness of the LORD our God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ while we are showing partiality and favoritism unto and among those who come unto us in our midst. What’s more, is I would strongly suggest and emphatically declare that there is absolutely no room, nor is there any place within our midst, for if such a demonstration and manifestation is present among us it is not only an affront, but it is also an abomination in the sight of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were in Rome, for if there was one thing he sought and desired to demonstrate and reveal unto them it was that there is absolutely no partiality, nor is there any favoritism within the heart of the LORD our God. It would be very easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in the lie and the deception that there is somehow partiality within the heart and mind of God, and yet Scripture clearly states that there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, nor is there any dividing lines within the heart and mind of the living God. What’s more, is that it was with, through and by the cross of Jesus Christ that such lines were completely destroyed and eradicated as one of the most dominant narratives in all of Scripture is this uniting of parties and groups that were otherwise divided. It was in the Old Testament the LORD sought to reconcile as one group and one people the northern kingdom of Israel which was known as Ephraim, and the southern kingdom of Judah. It would be through the prophet Ezekiel the LORD would emphatically declare that He would not only unite the two kingdoms once more, but He would do so within and through the act of bringing them into the land after seventy years of captivity. It is in the thirty-seventh chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we clearly see and recognize that not only is the heart of God resurrection, but the heart of God is also restoration of that which was once divided and that which was once separated from each other. In all reality, the cross of Jesus the Christ not only unites and joins together that which was separated here on the earth among men and brethren, but the cross also unites and joins together that which was separated in terms of the living God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this truly tremendous and wonderful reality—the reality that there is no partiality, nor is there any favoritism within the heart and mind of the LORD our God—for it brings us face to face with what we must diligently guard ourselves from in this life. If we are truly willing to be honest with ourselves we must needs acknowledge that in this generation and in this culture and society the temptation to give ourselves to partiality and favoritism is at an all-time high, and the temptation has never been greater. If you and I were truly willing to be honest with ourselves, with others, and with the Lord Jesus Christ we must be willing to admit that we are constantly faced with the need to guard ourselves against having and holding the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with respect unto persons. One of the greatest traps and temptations we must guard ourselves from is that of having respect unto persons, and allowing ourselves to get caught up in showing favoritism toward others whom we perhaps feel are more “worthy,” or more “deserving,” or more “noble,” or more “honourable,” etc. There is not a doubt in my mind that there is a great need within our hearts and our lives to guard ourselves against somehow having and holding the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with respect to persons and thus allow ourselves to be divided—not only within our own hearts, but within our Christian circles and houses of worship. What’s more, is one of the single greatest ways to create division and schism within the Church and among the body of Christ and the brethren is to have and hold the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ with partiality, with respect of persons, and with favoritism. It is when and as we allow ourselves to get caught up in this dangerous trap and snare that we find ourselves failing—and perhaps even refusing to live out the second greatest commandment which is to love our neighbor as ourselves. I firmly believe and am absolutely and completely convinced that we allow ourselves to miss out on actually living out the second great commandment spoken of by Jesus and during that day when we choose to have and hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons and with partiality. One of the greatest dangers, one of the greatest affronts, and one of the greatest hindrances to actually fulfilling the second commandment—which interestingly enough James referred to as “the royal law”—is our having and holding the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons.
The more I think about and the more I consider this truly awesome and powerful truth the more I am brought face to face with the fact that within the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by James we find this author directly linking having the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with respect of persons to a failure to fulfill and keep the “royal law” which is found within Scripture. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close and careful attention to this awesome and powerful truth, for it brings us face to face and confronts us with the fact that not only do we give ourselves to being judges of evil thoughts, but it also places us in a place of judgment we were never created, nor ever intended on being found in. These words which are found within this chapter must be carefully considered and understood when reading the second, third and fourth chapters of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Rome, for within this epistle—not only do we find the apostle Paul rebuking and chastising judging others when we ourselves do the same thing, but we also find him emphatically declaring that the LORD our God is no respecter of persons. It’s interesting to note that when we judge others based on whatever sin we may “perceive,” “discern” and “see” within their hearts and lives we are actually preferring ourselves above and over them. When we have and hold the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons and show partiality in our judgment we are actually preferring certain individuals over and above others. Oh that we would recognize and understand this tremendous truth, for we dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this reality within our hearts and lives. Two of the most dangerous traps and snares we can find ourselves in is entering into that form of judgment where we prefer ourselves above others, and that form of judgment where we prefer certain individuals over others. Moreover, we dare not think for one moment that we somehow aren’t exempt and aren’t immune from such dangers, such traps, such snares and such temptations within our hearts and lives. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Rome unto those who would dare give themselves to judging others:
“Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approves the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide to the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not yhself? Thou that preaches a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:17-29).
WHAT THEN? ARE WE BETTER THAN THEY? These are the words which are found in the ninth verse of the third chapter, and this question must not only be directly confronted with how we view and perceive ourselves in connection to others, but it also directly touches how we view certain individuals in light of others. While on the one hand we might ask the question “What then? Are we better than they?” we might also the question a little differently as we ask the question this way: “What then? Are they better than them?” ARE THEY BETTER THAN THEM? Please do not miss the importance and significance of this, for it directly confronts who the “they” are within our hearts, within our minds, and within our lives, as well as who the “them” are in those same places. It is absolutely imperative we allow these words to resonate within our heart and our spirit, for when you come to the fourth chapter of the epistle which was written by the apostle Paul you will find the apostle writing concerning the demonstration of faith before and in the sight of God outside of and apart from works, while in the fifth chapter you will find the apostle Paul writing about how there was no distinction within the heart of Jesus the Christ when He came as a sacrifice, for the apostle Paul wrote and spoke of while we were yet sinners, and while we were yet enemies of Christ He died for us. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—please pay close and careful attention to the words which are found within the third chapter of this New Testament epistle, for the words we find in this epistle directly confronts this “them” and “they” mindset and mentality that is found within our hearts and minds. Oh we dare not think and allow ourselves to be so naïve to think that this is not manifested among us within the house of the LORD and among many of our church bodies and Christian circles, for such thinking is both false and deceiving.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary and imperative that we allow ourselves to recognize that we fulfil the royal law of loving our neighbor as ourselves when we do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus with respect of persons, when we show no partiality toward others within our hearts, and when we keep ourselves from judging others with and by means of favoritism. What’s more, is that we must needs recognize and understand that there is a great need within our hearts and lives to come face to face with the fact that in Jesus there was no partiality and there was no favoritism, and that Jesus died for sinners alike—despite and regardless of what race, what ethnicity, what class, what tribe, what language, what nation, what gender, and what socio-economic group you were found within. The Lord Jesus the Christ showed absolutely no partiality nor favoritism when He walked upon this earth as the Word made flesh which dwelt among us, and through the cross upon which He died He died as one man for all. When Jesus died upon the cross there was no “they,” nor was there any “them,” and there weren’t certain individuals who were viewed as being more noble, more honourable, more worthy, and more needing of salvation than others. Oh we must needs pay close and careful attention to this, for these words directly confront perhaps the most dangerous form of judgment within our hearts and lives, and confronts the greatest need we have within and among us if we wish and desire to allow ourselves to enjoy fellowship with others. What’s more, is that it is absolutely necessary that we understand the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the sixth chapter of this epistle, for it is in the sixth chapter where we encounter the truest and surest way to deliver ourselves from all forms and all manner of judging—namely, putting to death those evil members of our body, and to allowing ourselves to die and be crucified with the Lord Jesus the Christ. It is with this in mind I leave you with the following words which are found in the fifth and sixth chapters of this epistle:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:1-11).
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:1-14).