Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Grace increased all the more

The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:20-21

I don't know if you remember having bath-time as a little kid (that was pretty far back for some of us), but if you do chances are that you remember taking a small cup and pushing it below the surface of the water so you could watch all the water rush in to fill it up. If you were anything like me you probably immediately dumped this cup out and did it again. There is a simple beauty in the way water rushes in to fill a void. It is quite mesmerizing in fact.

This is the image I get when I consider what Paul says about God's grace in Romans 5:20-21. “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more!” God's grace is like the water flowing into that cup. Wherever the void of sin appears in our lives, there is always enough of God's grace to fill it. 

Grace means "unmerited favor." It means that God loves us even though we don't deserve it. Paul has spent most of the first five chapters of this book convincing us that we could never be good enough to earn God's grace; now he tells us that we could never be bad enough to lose it. His point? God's love doesn't work on a bartering system. We don't attain it by being good or lose it when we are bad. This is what makes God's grace unmerited

This is a profound truth of the Christian faith with major implications for fallen people like you and me. We can never out sin God's grace. We have never done anything so bad that God won’t forgive us. In fact, it isn't possible for our sin to be greater than God's grace, because whenever sin increases, grace increases all the more. Our sin can never put us outside of God's grasp! Praise God for a love unlike anything other love.

This all reminds me of a passage that comes later in Romans. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) Nothing separates us from the love of Christ, not even our own sin!

For further reading this week...
   - II Corinthians 12:9-10: God's grace, our weakness.
   - John 1:14-17: Moses brought the law.
   - II Corinthians 8:8-9: For your sake he became poor.
   - Ephesians 2:1-10: Look at all that God's grace in Christ has
     accomplished for you.
   -  Notice that all of these books of the New Testament have “Grace” as
     the first thing that they say to their audience. That's pretty powerful.
     Galatians 1:3, I Corinthians 1:3, II Corinthians 1:2, Romans 1:7,
     Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, I Thessalonians 1:1,
     II Thessalonians 1:2, I Tim 1:2, II Tim 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 1:3,
     I Peter 1:2, II Peter 1:2, and II John 1:3.

1 comment:

Julie said...

good analogy, lance -- love the idea of grace rushing in to fill the void. :) thanks for the consistent encouragement in my faith mid-week. :)