“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)” (Romans 5:17, NKJV).
This is a powerful passage of Scripture. There has long been the idea that there must be consequences for either the good or the bad we’ve done. Make no mistake, I believe in living responsibly and that we must be accountable for our actions. In today’s cultural climate, there is a strong push to entitle some and punish others and not necessarily on a fair scale.
What Jesus did on the Cross was totally unfair to Himself and completely for the benefit of mankind. He took what we deserved (poverty, sickness and death) so that we could have what He deserved (prosperity, healing and life). We might also say, “The King became a man, so that mankind could become kings.” Both of these statements are true.
Here is what the Bible says: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:8-10, NKJV).
Not one of us has escaped the feeling that we don’t deserve God’s love, which is true, but salvation is not about what is fair, it is about the free gift of grace given to each of us and nothing more. There is no way it may be earned. It can only be received. We tend to judge a person based on their successes or failures, and yet, God chose to forgive each of us our sins even before we were ever born. This is a powerfully, liberating concept.
Conversely, grace does not free us from the need to repent for sins we commit along the way. Grace actually empowers us to live righteously, but when we blow it, there is grace which, “Cleanses us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NKJV). We are not saved by trying to be good people, we are saved by His goodness; by faith in the complete work of the Cross, not by how we happen to handle a bad day. Grace takes the pressure off each of us to perform and allows us to rest in the promises of God and trust that His power will deliver us because He loves us.
A powerful statement to remember is this: “Grace gives, faith receives.” Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection made the unrighteous righteous. Galatians 3 says, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us… For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:13,26, NKJV). When Jesus came, He was the only begotten Son, but when He died and rose again, He became, “The firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29, NKJV).
Through faith, you are a son or daughter of God. That is a powerful identity!
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Rob Granger and his wife, Becky, serve as Executive Pastors of Grace Church San Marcos under Senior Pastors Brian and Melissa Bauer. Located at 855 E. Barham Drive, San Marcos, Grace San Marcos meets at 10 a.m. Sundays and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays with meetings for youth, children and other groups scheduled throughout the week. Visit www.gracesanmarcos.net for further information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.