Finishing up in Romans 5 this morning. Contrasting the sin and death brought into the world by Adam’s transgression with the justification and life made available through Jesus Christ our Lord and His finished work on the cross. The disastrous effect of the first man’s trespass contrasted with the unimaginable potential through the Son of God’s free gift. The condemnation of death through the law contrasted with the eternal life made possible by the abundance of grace.
But isn’t there still something in us, at least sometimes, which intuitively says that if the desired outcome, whether by law or grace, is that God’s people would be holy for He is holy, that the law might give you a better shot at it? That prescribing behavior might be more helpful and certain than providing freedom? That expectations written in stone might work better than relying on promptings from the Spirit? That expecting someone to do what’s on the “to do” list might have an advantage over counting on someone to respond appropriately to a free gift?
So, what’s the secret sauce that makes grace superior? What X-factor does the free gift possess?
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 5:20-21 ESV)
Grace reigns through righteousness. That’s the secret sauce. Sow the seeds of righteousness and you reap the crop of holiness.
But we’re not talking about our righteousness. No, it’s the gift of righteousness — the righteousness of Christ.
For 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.
(Romans 5:17 ESV)
Righteousness. That’s the free gift. That’s what’s received through God’s abundance of grace. Righteousness, for many men and women, through the one man Jesus Christ.
The free gift’s advantage over the law is that it imparts righteousness before demanding righteousness.
Our justification comes through another Man’s perfection.
Our ability to obey made possible because of another Man’s obedience.
And so grace reigns through righteousness, the righteousness of Christ credited to our accounts.
That’s the power to obey. That’s the divine reality which compels us to respond with heart-changed humility.
Grace reigning through righteousness, the wonderful work that evokes within us soul-sourced worship.
O might we be in awe of the power of grace to produce the fruit of righteousness because it is sourced in the righteousness of Christ gifted to us.
Let grace reign!
By His grace. For His glory.