God’s Grace >> Our Sin
“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:18-21)
His grace isn’t simply greater than our sin, it is far greater than all our sin and guilt. He neither lacks grace nor the desire to apply it to us. He is not frugal with his grace, he is lavish with his grace. Why?
“So that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21)
How complete a victory does something have to be to be considered a “reign?” Reign means domination. So how complete has sin’s “reign” been since Adam? I would call it a domination. Sin is a dynasty. Every single human being who has ever lived has lived under its reign and has died.
To put this in perspective, Rome is considered the greatest kingdom ever because it lasted so long. How long? Rome was essentially the dominant world power for 500 years. The reign of Rome. We use this term in sports, a team is a dynasty if they win for a long time. So, UCLA under John Wooden was a dynasty. The Munster high school swim team has won the district swimming championship for over 30 years straight. The reign of Munster swimming. To reign you have to so clearly dominate your opponent that it’s not even close. You win once by one point, that’s not a reign. That’s not a dynasty. You win by a lot, all the time for a long time, that’s a dynasty.
What we see in the plan of God through the gospel is that God is not content to barely win over sin. To just barely win over Satan. He is not looking for a one-point win. No. He is not glorified by simply defeating sin. God is glorified by dominating sin. By destroying sin. By displaying his grace with such overflowing and clear domination that forever he will be praised for the dynasty of his grace. Or as verse 21 says, “grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
What this means for us personally is this, as the Law does its condemning work and we continue to struggle against the presence and power of sin in our lives, what we should never wonder is whether God’s grace can and will cover our sin. Pastor Steve, you mean our ordinary sins, our everyday sins, our attitudinal sins, our selfish words and actions type sins, failing to walk the old lady across the road. God’s grace is enough that it exceeds the guilt of our normal sins, right?
True. But Paul could have said, where sin abounds God’s grace abounds. But that’s not what he said. He said, where sin increases, God’s grace super-increases. God’s grace rises above the worst of our sins. Our worst moments, the embarrassing failures, immoral moments, the class A felony sins that men and women commit, even those sins God’s grace can and will super-abound over them. So much that it’s not even close. God’s grace is a dynasty grace.
Populating heaven will not simply be the old lady who didn’t give a penny to anyone, or the self-absorbed businessman who stabbed a few colleagues in the back along the way, or the gossipy church lady who ran her mouth when she shouldn’t. Heaven will have the worst of sinners. The murderer. The rapist. The thief. The prostitute and the man who hired her. You pick your sin or your sinner and you’re going to meet them in heaven.
Why? Because the worse we sin the greater God’s grace becomes as God will not give one inch of glory to sin or Satan or anyone else. His grace is higher, stronger, tougher, deeper, wiser, and greater than all our sins.
The encouragement is not just general but intensely personal. My sin. Your sin. Our specific sins. Think of the worst thing you’ve ever done. Think of the worst thing you could ever do. God’s grace is sufficient for even those sins.
How can I know? Who wrote the very verse we are studying? Paul. The man who assisted in the murder of Stephen the Martyr. God can’t save murderers. That’s too wicked even for God.
He can, he has, and he will extend his grace to you no matter how immoral you have been. He can even make a sinner into an apostle of the church! This doesn’t just count for sins prior to salvation but all the sins of our lives. God’s grace is greater than all our sin.
This is the gospel. The reign of grace. For all who put their faith in Jesus, his death for our sins, his resurrection for our eternal life, God’s sovereign and all-powerful grace extends to us.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© 2018 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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