This past Sunday, we conclude the 5th chapter of the book of Romans in which Paul talks about the practical benefits of being saved by grace through faith. In this passage, Paul mentions that “those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17) Despite our sin and brokenness, Paul claims that the ability to reign in life is possible for anyone found righteous in Christ!
As great as a promise that is, how does one reign in life? And how can someone be sure that this reign will sustain them through all the various trials that life has to offer? Paul gives us three principles that are fundamental in the life of a believer:
· The human condition (our sinful and broken nature that prevents us from fully connecting to God)
· The free gift (the death of Jesus Christ for our sins)
· Abounding grace (the grace and guidance of God that sustains us in this life)
A complete understanding of these three principles is necessary to freeing us from condemnation and finding security in this remarkable promise of God.
The Human Condition (Romans 5: 12-14)
Paul doesn’t shy away from the certainty of sin and death. He mentions how Adam (the first man and representative of mankind) is responsible for why we constantly struggle with sin. His sin passed down through the generations and we are left to pick up the pieces of a broken creation. Because we are born sinners, we naturally rebel against what God deems as good. As a result, we are often dissatisfied, disappointed, and discontent with what life has to offer.
Through our own moral efforts, we try to make ourselves better through our own works. But we often fall short, never able to fulfill God’s perfect standard for what is objectively right. This creates a cycle of self-justification and condemnation that defines the human condition. As a holy and just God, He alone has the authority to judge sinners and punish evil. Since none of our works will save us from His righteous judgment, there has to be a solution outside of ourselves.
The Free Gift (Romans 5:15-17)
The problem that Adam caused because he was our representative had to be fixed by another representative. This representative had to be sinless, obedient to God’s perfect law, and die a sinner’s death in order to fulfill the wages of sin, which is death itself. (Romans 6:23) Paul identified the second representative as Jesus Christ, whose triumph over sin and death canceled out the consequences of Adam’s disobedience.
The sin, condemnation, and death that came through Adam would now be replaced with the righteousness, justification, and life that comes through believing in Jesus Christ. One man’s sin brought sin and death to all. One man’s righteousness brought life to all. Jesus, the free gift of God, is the only solution to the human condition. This free gift is made available to all those who believe in Him.
Abounding Grace (Romans 5:18-21)
Sin and grace are not equal powers. Regardless of how powerful sin may feel in your life, Jesus brought about a reign that conquers both sin and death. His grace abounds in the midst of all the condemnation and shame that the law brings. God doesn’t see our failures and shortcomings. He sees the blood of the precious Son washed over you.
Paul encourages the reader to not forget the greatness of God’s grace. In order to reign in life, we look to the One seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1) We rely on His abounding grace to cover and keep us in all the complications of life. His reign will lead us beyond death and into eternal life. Allow grace to reign in your lives today.