Case Closed!Romans 8:33-36
Whether it’s accusations from the enemy or our own troubled conscience, many of us feel like we’re living under a guilty verdict. On Truth For Life, as we continue our study in Romans 8, Alistair Begg provides biblical evidence that sets us free.
Nothing Else but Sin
If the leprous disease has covered all his body, he shall pronounce him clean of the disease.Leviticus 13:13
Although this regulation appears to be strange, yet there was wisdom in it, for the removal of the disease proved that the character was healthy. This evening it may be well for us to discover this principle to our profit. We, too, are in a sense lepers and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be completely lost and ruined, covered with the defilement of sin, with no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own and pleads guilty before the Lord, then he is clean through the blood of Jesus and the grace of God.
Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy of the soul; but when sin is seen and felt, it has received its deathblow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the afflicted soul. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are "nothing else but sin," for no confession short of this will be the whole truth; and if the Holy Spirit is at work in us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment—it will spring spontaneously from our lips.
This text affords great comfort to truly awakened sinners: The very circumstance that so grievously discouraged them is here turned into a sign and symptom of a hopeful state! Digging out the foundation is the first thing in building—and a thorough sense of sin is one of the earliest works of grace in the heart. Spiritual lepers, aware of their condition, should take heart from the text and come as they are to Jesus.
For let our debts be what they may, however great or small,
As soon as we have naught to pay, our Lord forgives us all.
'Tis perfect poverty alone that sets the soul at large:
While we can call one mite our own, we have no full discharge.
The Fifth Plague: Egyptian Livestock Die
1Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2For if you refuse to let them go and still hold them, 3behold, the hand of the Lord will fall with a very severe plague upon your livestock that are in the field, the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. 4But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that belongs to the people of Israel shall die.”’” 5And the Lord set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.” 6And the next day the Lord did this thing. All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one of the livestock of the people of Israel died. 7And Pharaoh sent, and behold, not one of the livestock of Israel was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.
The Sixth Plague: Boils
8And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the kiln, and let Moses throw them in the air in the sight of Pharaoh. 9It shall become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and become boils breaking out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.” 10So they took soot from the kiln and stood before Pharaoh. And Moses threw it in the air, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast. 11And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils came upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians. 12But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had spoken to Moses.
The Seventh Plague: Hail
13Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself,1 and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. 15For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. 16But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. 17You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.”’” 20Then whoever feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, 21but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the Lord left his slaves and his livestock in the field.
22Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, so that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man and beast and every plant of the field, in the land of Egypt.” 23Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. 24There was hail and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very heavy hail, such as had never been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25The hail struck down everything that was in the field in all the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And the hail struck down every plant of the field and broke every tree of the field. 26Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail.
27Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God's thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” 29Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord's. 30But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.” 31(The flax and the barley were struck down, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. 32But the wheat and the emmer2 were not struck down, for they are late in coming up.) 33So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and stretched out his hands to the Lord, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured upon the earth. 34But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.
Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees
1In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
Have No Fear
4“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.1 Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?2 And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Acknowledge Christ Before Men
8“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, 9but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
The Parable of the Rich Fool
13Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Do Not Be Anxious
22And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?3 26If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,4 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, seek his5 kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
32“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
You Must Be Ready
35“Stay dressed for action6 and keep your lamps burning, 36and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37Blessed are those servants7 whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he8 would not have left his house to be broken into. 40You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
41Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43Blessed is that servant9 whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Not Peace, but Division
49“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Interpreting the Time
54He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. 55And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. 56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
Settle with Your Accuser
57“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”10
Job Continues: I Will Maintain My Integrity
1And Job again took up his discourse, and said:
2“As God lives, who has taken away my right,
and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter,
3as long as my breath is in me,
and the spirit of God is in my nostrils,
4my lips will not speak falsehood,
and my tongue will not utter deceit.
5Far be it from me to say that you are right;
till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.
6I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go;
my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.
7“Let my enemy be as the wicked,
and let him who rises up against me be as the unrighteous.
8For what is the hope of the godless when God cuts him off,
when God takes away his life?
9Will God hear his cry
when distress comes upon him?
10Will he take delight in the Almighty?
Will he call upon God at all times?
11I will teach you concerning the hand of God;
what is with the Almighty I will not conceal.
12Behold, all of you have seen it yourselves;
why then have you become altogether vain?
13“This is the portion of a wicked man with God,
and the heritage that oppressors receive from the Almighty:
14If his children are multiplied, it is for the sword,
and his descendants have not enough bread.
15Those who survive him the pestilence buries,
and his widows do not weep.
16Though he heap up silver like dust,
and pile up clothing like clay,
17he may pile it up, but the righteous will wear it,
and the innocent will divide the silver.
18He builds his house like a moth's,
like a booth that a watchman makes.
19He goes to bed rich, but will do so no more;
he opens his eyes, and his wealth is gone.
20Terrors overtake him like a flood;
in the night a whirlwind carries him off.
21The east wind lifts him up and he is gone;
it sweeps him out of his place.
22It1 hurls at him without pity;
he flees from its2 power in headlong flight.
23It claps its hands at him
and hisses at him from its place.
The Way of Love
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,1 but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;2 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
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