Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

Walking Away from Truth

In Other Words . . . Refuse to Mourn Sin & You Sacrifice the Joy of Salvation

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 24 February 2009

s it possible we could experience the joy of our salvation

if we mourned [over our sin] as if someone had died?
We cannot experience joy without mourning.”
~ Pastor Robert Morris,
from Sermon: “Those Who Mourn Are Happy”

Here's the story:
. . . Jody (not her real name) says she left the church because the
pastor preached that you cannot be saved unless you read the book of Romans.

Jody disagreed and just up-and-left. Walked out in anger. She abandoned her ministry in the church, uprooted her entire family and changed churches. And -- of course -- people started talking.
You know how it is in churches.

Before long the story also included this: Pastor told Jody she wasn’t a Christian because she listened to Christian radio. Other rumors were even more absurd. And ridiculous. And completely false.
You know how it is in churches.

Here’s the truth. . . the pastor preached a series of sermons from the Book of Romans and -- as is the case whenever the Gospel of Salvation is presented -- some people were offended and turned resentful.

Instead of accepting the truth of Scripture, some people choose to make a pageant of their pride, they get others all stirred up, and they eventually just leave the church. Sometimes they take others with them. They would rather sacrifice the true JOY of Salvation than to MOURN their own sin and depravity.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
~ I Corinthians 2:14

Sadly, there are many people in churches today who are "without the Spirit." They simply cannot "accept the things that come from the Spirit of God" through Scripture because it is "foolishness to [them]."

. . . See, it's not until we reach the third chapter in Romans that the plan of Salvation is even presented. The JOY comes three whole chapters into the b
ook! It takes the first (l-o--n---g) three chapters to present the problem of SIN and depravity. SIN is the prerequisite to SALVATION. Without sin, what's the point??!!

Lost people do not want to hear that they're sinners! They just want to be "saved." They just want the joy and happiness and Love of God bestowed upon them. They skip the first three Chapters. They never really acknowledge their depravity and sin before God, yet they say they're saved. Are they? Are they really saved? Sometimes people hear the first three chapters -- get angry -- and just walk away.

Until we accept and mourn the fact that we are depraved sinners, we cannot experience the joy of salvation!

The truth is (and most of my readers will “get” this), Jody
did not want to accept and confront the fact that she was/is a sinner. . .

No. The pastor did not tell Jody or anyone else -- from the pulpit or anywhere else that you cannot be saved without reading the book of Romans. What he did was [quite eloquently and straightforwardly] explain that. . .

More than any other book in God’s Word, t
he Book of Romans changes people’s lives. And Satan hates this. Satan is alive and well and kicking with great force in churches where the Bible is opened to the Book of Romans because Satan does not want people to change.

For the most part, Satan does not have a problem with the Bible. In fact, he likes passages about God's great love and acceptance and mercy. . . He likes verses about joy and promises of a full life -- Matthew 11:28-29, John 10:10, John 6:35, John 6:37, Revelation 22:17. Satan likes it when people believe they can be happy and joyful in Jesus outside of true repentance and true salvation.

You must remember that Satan is an angel of light. He is a deceiver. And he can and does use Scripture to deceive. This is why it is so important that we learn to "rightly divide the word of truth." (II Timothy 2:15)

Whenever the Word of God is opened to the Book of Romans, where Real Salvation is available if/when we acknowledge and mourn our sinful and depraved state, Satan always goes into immediate action to hinder and impede the message.

Until we accept and mourn the fact that we are depraved sinners, we cannot experience the joy of salvation!

There is no other book of the Bible which has been so instrumental in changing lives and in impacting the church as Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Most, if not all, of the great revivals and reformation in the history of the church have been directly related to the Book of Romans.

In 386 A.D., Aurelius Augustine received Jesus Christ as his Savior after reading a passage from the Book of Romans. He went on to become one of the church’s most outstanding leaders and theologians.

A thousand years later,
Martin Luther wrote, “Night and day I pondered Romans until I grasped the truth. I felt myself to be reborn. This passage of Paul became to me a gateway to heaven.”

Several centuries later (May 24, 1738 to be precise), a minister named John Wesley wrote this about his study in the Book of Romans: “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for my salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins. . . .

In assessing the importance
of the Book of Romans, John Calvin said, “When one gains a knowledge of this Epistle, he has an entrance opened to him to all the most hidden treasures of Scripture.”

The famous sixteenth-century Bible translator William Tyndale wrote of Romans: “It is the principle and most excellent part of the New Testament... No man can read it too oft, or study it too well; for the more it is studied, the easier it is; the more it is chewed, the pleasanter it is. . . the more it is searched, the precious’er things are found….”

It has been said that Romans will delight the greatest logician and captivate the mind of the consummate genius, yet it will bring tears to the humblest soul and refreshment to the simplest mind.

Until we mourn the fact that we are sinners, we cannot experience the joy of salvation!

And Oh!
How Satan hates the Book of Romans!

Satan doesn't mind simple sermons about love and happiness and kindness and living our best life now. . . .

Satan doesn't even mind sermons about Biblical history because he can always use science to confuse people.

But the Book of Romans is primarily a book of doctrine - this is where Satan meets God! It's the battle ground of Scripture. And it answers all our questions:

► What is the good n
ews of God?
Is Jesus really God?
What is God like?
How can God send people to hell?
Why do men reject God and His Son?
Why are there false religions and idols?
What is man’s biggest sin?
Why is there evil in the world?
What is the standard by which God judges people?
How can a person who has never heard about God be held spiritually responsible?
Who is a true Jew?
Can any person keep God’s laws perfectly?
How can a person know he is a sinner?
Where can people find real peace and hope?
What exactly is grace?
Why is living a Christian life such a struggle?

If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, you need to study the Book of Romans. Especially the first three chapters.

"Is it possible we could experience the joy of our salvation if we mourned [over our sin] as if someone had died?
We cannot experience joy without mourning.”

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of . . . but the sorrow of the world worketh death."
~ II Corinthians 7:10

"Blessed are the poor in spirit:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
. . . ."
~ Matthew 5:3

What is "poor in spirit?" It is the opposite of the haughty, self-assertive, and self-sufficient disposition that the world so much admires and praises. It is the opposite spirit of someone who chooses to walk away from the truth . . . .

~ Esthermay Bentley-Goossen
©2009 the Heart of a Pastor's Wife

This installment of InOtherWords in hosted by Michelle at Because I Love You.


LisaShaw said...

Romans is one of our (my husband and I) favorite books in the Bible particularly chapters 1, 7 and 8.

You are right that satan is a deceiver and would love for us to focus solely on what a friend of mine calls the "goods" (the good stuff) but not focus on the need for repentance, a heart change, salvation in Christ and obedience to His word even when it stings, hurts or is hard to do -- actually all the more reason to obey!!

God bless you.

mholgate said...

Esther May, this is a great post!

I have a question for you. At what age do you think a child is old enough to understand that they are a sinner and what it means to accept Christ into their heart as Lord and Savior?

kalopoieo said...

You are a preacher, girl!
You can't sit on the book of Romans without the power of God affecting your life and motivating you to move for God. I'm sorry that "Jody" chose to miss out on the masterpiece that the book of Romans is. If this was your husband's church (I read between lines) I applaud him. Romans is the most complete explanation of what the gospel of Christ REALLY is. It is not a gospel of love and peace and grace. It is the gospel of sin and mercy and salvation by grace. Preaching it will divide a church no doubt.
But without it, there is no CHURCH.
Excellent post.

Betsy Markman said...

Yes, ma'am, that's the way to preach it!

Michelle Bentham said...

Preach it! Okay, and thank you. I loved reading this post - and tomorrow when my eyes are fresh I will come back and read it again.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Book of Romans.

Thanks for chiming in early! I have to post it the night before or I miss it in the morning - is that crazy or what!

BTW, when I read your comment over at my blog my heart was full. I was so humbled by your gracious response. Thank you so much. I know I am by no means "all together" but I also know that I am a work in progress and improving each and every day.

Thanks again. Love you.

LauraLee Shaw said...

Our pastor always says that (true) "doctrine leads to doxology." I can't agree more. What a well-laid out, powerful truth you've written here.

MiPa said...

Another beatifully written post! Bless you for sharing.

Karen said...

Really absurd isn't it that we are so willing to sacrifice a true joy for the sins we don't want to give up. Wow what you said today was so true, girl. Thanks a bunch.

Barbara said...

Very good. Are you the pastor? Or the pastor's wife. I'm confused cause this is so good, so full of wisdom and truth to soak up. It sounds trivial, but "you get what you pay for." The greater our mourning, the greater our joy. In churches today we don't teach this. We teach new Christians that joy is "praise music" while the truly joyful Christians are in nursing homes and we call them senile. Do you think this will ever change or is it a sign of the times?

Laurie Ann said...

Romans lays it all out, doesn't it? I love the truths shared here, Esthermay. I am so joyful for my salvation!

Patricia said...

Romans has always been my favorite book. My life verse as a teenager was 8:28. I have notes and underlines and circles throughout this book. If I had to choose only one book to keep in my possession without access to any other, I would choose Romans - for all the reasons you listed.

I copied your list of questions so I can study and answer them and share them with some dear ones who are wandering.

This post was out of the ballpark, my friend. Thanks for all your wonderful posts!

Kate said...

Preach on!
and etc.

Denise said...

Such a wonderful, wonderful post my friend.

Joan said...

I love your blog – your ministry is truly blessed. I know “Jody” And if I don’t know “Jody” I know someone just like her and others who don’t leave the church, but choose to bash the pastor by gossiping. My question is this? How do you confront someone like her? Pastor did the right thing. As a pastor, it’s his job and those who reject the preaching of sin have God to answer to and much repentance when they do. But what about non-pastors who want to reach these people? They just call us judgmental. In bible studies, “Jody: tells me I’m old law and that Christ abolished the law. It’s so frustrating. Churches are full of “Jodys” What do we do about peole who refuse to mourn sin?

JanMarie said...

Wonderful post.......gets right to the heart. Romans is a very powerful book of the Bible. True joy is not an item we pick up on the convenience shelf on the way home. It's a process.
Thank you for allowing God to speak so clearly through you!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

This is one of my fav posts of yours. I happen to love Romans, as well. I'll never forget when I was a teenager and I read "Who can save [me] ..." and the cry of the heart resonated so much in my own.

Blessed Mom of 8 said...

WOW! AMEN! Preach it sister!

That was one of the best posts I have read on the internet about His word! Great job!

I believe the most intimate book of the Bible is Hebrews. You can only get this intimate by acknowledging who you are in Christ through Romans and Galatians. My husband just finished teaching through Hebrews and I have read that book now more than any other in the Bible and it has changed my life! Romans touched my heart but Hebrews took a hold of my life and heart like no other book has. What a blessing the word is and how much our Father's love for us - that we can be touched every single time we step inside His house!

Hugs and blessings - thank you for sharing His wisdom so beautifully!

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