Reigning in Life

Life can sure come at you hard.  If we aren’t careful we’ll get caught up in the whirlwind and find ourselves lonely, exhausted, and wondering what happened.  Christians aren’t immune to this.  Recently, I read some startling statistics which showed Christians are struggling with addiction and divorce on a similar percentage as the unchurched world.  God has so much for us!  I find myself in the place where I hunger to experience all He has for me.  Truly, transformation doesn’t come from more learning.  Historically, I’ve made the horrible mistake of thinking that if I could just teach people the truth and get them the right information they would experience transformation.  The scriptural reality seems to be quite different though – transformation only comes through weakness, failure, brokenness.  We were meant to reign in life but that only becomes our experience when we’ve exhausted our own resources and live from our union with Christ.

Romans 5:15–17 “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”

But the free gift is not like the trespass. The sin of Adam brought death to all.  By contrast, the gift of God brought life to many.  By the act of one, sin, death came to everyone and by the act of Jesus life, redemption is offered to all.  Left to ourselves the cause is hopeless.  In Christ there is hope.

For if many died through one man’s trespass, trespass, offense or transgression is from the Greek word, “Paraptoma” which has the meaning of straying from the path, going where one should not go.  Adam and Eve had only one command –  not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and they disobeyed.  Judgment followed this sin and brought condemnation, but the Jesus’ gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. What a gift!  It is apart from works, apart from the Law, apart from ordinances, apart from worthlessness – an out and out gift of righteousness from God!  Christ’s one act of salvation had immeasurably greater impact than Adam’s one act of damnation.  Christ is much more powerful to save than Adam was to destroy.  Not only is Christ greater than the one original sin of Adam that brought death to all, but He is greater than all the accumulated sins men has ever or will ever commit.

 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. Adam’s sin and its consequences were passed on to all of us without exception: Christ’s obedience and righteousness are passed on to all who believe in Him.  Adam’s one sin was not the only sin Christ died for though.  Adam, having become a sinner, sinned many more times before he died.

For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, Adam’s sin was what brought God’s judgment and its resulting condemnation.  God judged Adam and his descendants because of only one transgression.  God’s holiness made it impossible for even one sin to pass un-judged and condemned.  But hold on, we aren’t to the Good News yet!

but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. It only took one sin to mess the whole thing up but now there are multitudes of sins needing forgiveness.  Adam’s sin separated us from God but we had all sinned countless times and needed forgiveness.  God’s love is so great He forgives and restores us from the original sin of Adam AND from our entire sin.  He not only forgives – He justifies us.  Being justified is to be made right before God and His law.  Jesus’ own perfect righteousness is given to us.  Now this is Good News!  If your Christianity is more about you (and other Christians) than about Jesus you’re in trouble.  It’s an incredible gift given to us in our weakness, failure, brokenness.  As long as we think we’re ok but all those other people are messed up –  we’ll miss out on transformation.

 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, What reigns in your life?  To reign is to have dominion and power.  Neither Adam nor Eve sinned because they wanted to die; they sinned because they believed the lie they could become like God and KNOW everything.  Their sin produced the opposite result.  Sin produced death, which was not part of their created purpose.  Then death began to rule over them, and their descendants.  Death was unavoidable because of sin.  Adam and Eve were created to live forever and never know evil or the sorrow it produced.

much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.  The effects of sin were enormous but the result  of Jesus’ gift of grace is far superior!  Jesus’ death brought us forgiveness and so much more!  In Christ we have an abundance of grace.  The idea of abundance is an overflowing amount.  Much more than an abundance of grace it is the gift of righteousness.  More than just being forgiven and made right with God, there is now a new force reining over our lives – the abundant life of Jesus.  He lives in us!

Christ’s destiny is for you to reign with Him.  His wants you and I to experience all He’s prepared for us.  Too many Christians are slugging it out, waiting for heaven, faking it until they make it.  God’s grace has so much more for us right NOW.  He wants us to reign victoriously –  but that only becomes our experience as we surrender all of our self effort and self improvement projects to Him, confessing, “I can’t but you already have!”

Looking forward to seeing all of you on Sunday

You are loved!

Pastor Tim