Sunday, June 24, 2007

God's Infinite Grace . . .

How often we say, "What is this world coming to?" in realization that sin seems to be growing worse with each passing day. Anyone turning on a television news program or opening a newspaper is confronted with it: Sin. It’s everywhere and often masquerading in far more complimentary terms. But sin is SIN. (We covered it in Romans Chapter 1. Remember?) And Paul points out that God's Grace is far, far more abundant than man's sins.

“. . . But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
- Romans 5:20(b)

But back-up to the first half of that verse: "Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound." Paul is telling us that one crucial function of the law (and remember, we’re talking about the Old Testament law here) is to turn Adam’s and Eve’s original sin into actual violations of specific commandments. Each of us is (#1) sinful by nature through Adam, and then (#2) the Law confronts us with our specific sins against God: "Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not bear false witness. Do not covet…” The Law of Moses was given to increase the transgression of Adam into millions of specific acts of transgression in all of us who resist submitting to the Law of God because of our rebellious nature. And the effect is that it turns men and woman who are sinful by nature into real bona fide sinners who commit very specific sins. One writer said it well: “the Law makes little Adams out of us all.”

Now back to God’s Grace: “. . . But where sin abounds, grace did much more abound.” This free gift of grace appears as a result of all these specific sins. It is not the law (i.e., specific sins: stealing, lying, gossiping, coveting…) which ushers in God’s Grace. Rather, the law reveals sin. The point of the opening pages of the Book of Romans is that people might become increasingly conscious of their sin when seen against the standard of God’s holy law—that sin might be seen for what it actually is! SIN! Remember how you felt the first time you read Romans Chapter 1? That’s the convicting power of SIN vs. GRACE.

So, how is God’s Grace personal to you? What will God’s Grace do for you? Can He truly be gracious enough to forgive you of your sins?Though we be like Rahab the harlot or King David of the Old Testament, or like Zacchaeus or Saul of the New, or like the worst of all sinners of all times - God's grace super-abounds where sin can only abound! Literally, in the Greek, the idea is fortified with the double occurrence of the word which means "super-abounds". Paul wanted to be clearly understood that God's grace is far more extensive than our sins. God’s Grace is INFINITE!

- Pastor Mark