Our relationship with God is both simple and complicated, isn’t it? It’s simple in how clear it is about what God has done for us & what we are to do, but it is complicated (or rather can become complicated) in that it isn’t necessarily clear about HOW we are to do it.
This morning, I read Romans 5, and I saw the simplicity and complications right there in the text. It tells us that we have been justified by Jesus because of our faith, and that justification produces peace with God. It then tells us that we are to stand on His grace. Let me take a moment to explain something here: If you are standing on God’s wrath, if you stand on being critical of others, or if you stand on fear (for a few examples) then you will not have peace with God. Peace with God comes from standing on His grace, alone. So when people make mistakes, or when they do bad things on purpose to entice you, and you aren’t standing on God’s grace then you will be unable to forgive people or extend grace to them. Not only are we to extend grace, but we are to rejoice when suffering because we understand how God uses those difficult moments to teach us and transform us since we are standing on His grace. Standing on His grace allows God to transform us.
And then Paul began to really teach us. In Romans 5:6 he introduced the topic of sin. Most people know Romans 5:8- “But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were yet sinning, Christ died for us.” From there, Paul takes us into some amazing truths, but when I get to verse 12 I see something very profound: Sin entered the world through Adam, and because sin was rampant, death reigned because the wages of sin is death- sin brings death. Death reigned (past tense). The gift of God, which is Jesus, came because of grace came to all men.
In verse 16, Paul wrote, “The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.” And continued in verse 17, “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 of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” There is a lot of amazing things to address here! Death reigned because of Adam’s single sin. When are we going to realize that death doesn’t come from God? Death comes from sin… But if we can stand on the Grace of God, which is never in short supply, then death cannot reign in your life! You can only serve one master, either you serve God or you serve something that isn’t God. If you live on God’s grace, giving it freely and abundantly, then you will live free from sin and death. Righteousness comes from Faith. Grace comes from Faith. Righteousness and grace cannot be separated. You are considered righteous when you pour out grace willingly, freely, and abundantly to ALL who test your faith.
Do you see it? The Gospel is simple: give grace to all people, no matter what they do. Forgive them. Don’t hold their faults against them. Don’t allow yourself to be offended by anything people say or do because it is a sign that you are not standing on God’s grace. The Gospel is also very complicated because it is so difficult to always give grace to people, especially when someone has learned they can constantly get away with things because you will forgive them. People say to me often, “Jeff, if you always give grace and always forgive them, they won’t change. You have to hold people accountable.” They are right to an extent. We must hold people accountable when they aren’t standing on Grace. We are to help people who don’t know how to do that. But we cannot use that as an excuse to misrepresent God, who holds no sin against us.
Jesus already made you righteous. He already paid for your sins. He already made you holy. He already gave you His Holy Spirit. So you don’t have to do anything about these things, but to simply stand on His works and grace. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not “Do, do, do!” but is “Done! Done! Done!” Therefore rest in Him, and bless others with Joy and Hope.
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