“But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:15-17.

And the river of grace flows on and on and on!

One man; one sin, condemnation; death – the tragic story of humanity. It took just one act of disobedience to release a Pandora’s Box of terrible consequences on the whole human race and the universe itself which God created perfect to sustain man’s earthly home. Once out of the box, those consequences could never be retrieved and stuffed back.

However, we not only have to live with those consequences; we also continue to add to them by agreeing with and perpetuating Adam’s rebellion. And so, through one trespass, condemnation and death came on the human race… but into our sorry plight stepped another man…

Paul was quick to explain that what God did to rescue man, not only rescued us from the consequence of sin but also elevated us to a position even greater than we had before the fall. That is so much like God!

Before Adam’s disobedience, the first pair, who were created in His image to share a unity with their Creator, with each other and with the world in which they lived, were the visible expression of the unity in the Godhead. But sin came in, disrupted the unity and brought chaos into the harmony of God’s creation. Not only Adam and Eve were condemned but also the whole human race because each succeeding generation was born with the nature of Adam. And the crux of it all is: we deserved it!

Now here comes the “how much more” bit!

Through the gift of God’s grace (the favour He lavished on us regardless of us), the effects of what Jesus did on the cross flow to all who receive Him and we don’t deserve it. This is the majesty of God’s grace. We deserve nothing but condemnation and death because we have confirmed God’s judgment on us by our own sinfulness. Yet God has provided, not only forgiveness but also much more – righteousness through grace, underserved favour that releases upon us a new status – children of God, and all the privileges and benefits of being God’s kids!

However, Paul said that it’s even more than that. Not only are we God’s sons and daughters, but we are also on the same level as His Son – kings, reigning in life through Him and with Him. What does that mean? Jesus showed us what it means to reign in His earthly sojourn. He was never the victim of anyone or anything. He lived in absolute submission to the Father, and carried out the Father’s will in everything He said and did.

“Reigning in life” is not about lording it over other people; it’s about being in control of ourselves by being in submission to God. Now that takes grace! Our natural bent towards selfishness and self-will is still there, wanting to be in charge but, because the Holy Spirit is now resident inside us, representing Jesus to us and giving us the power to submit to Him, we are able to overcome our natural bent and live under His authority.

As we are being set free from our fears, our inhibitions, our misunderstandings and our unbelief to embrace the truth that Jesus, not us, is Lord, so we are able to say “no” to ourselves and “yes” to Him, more and more. The “old man” is dying and the “new man” is coming alive. Circumstances no longer control or terrify us because He is in charge. His peace guards our hearts and minds; His word fills our thoughts and mouths.

Now that is reigning in life!


THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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