Grace is Superabundant
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 519 For just as through one mans disobedience the many were made
sinners, so also through the one mans obedience the many will be
Adam disobeyed Jesus obeyed. Adam violated a plain, express command. What he did had been explicitly forbidden. The result involved disaster for our race.
To set us right, God chose used the way we went wrong–by one man. Adams disobedience ruined us Jesus obedience gives the means whereby we can be saved.
The root of our trouble is traced to someone other than ourselves. Hence it is appropriate that the source of our salvation is traced to someone other than us.
Our text reminds us of the solidarity of our human race. We are all inter-related, one family dealt with on the basis of our relationship to Adam and Christ.
Despite racial divisions, we are a union, kith and kin, all descended from one ancestor. No man is an island entire of itself every man is a piece of the continent . . . . Every mans death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee (John Donne).
Unfortunately, our camaraderie is based on bad blood. Our common sin gives evidence to our solidarity. The only good news about this shared dilemma is the fact that our universal, collective taint makes it possible for Jesus to deal with us equally.
Our race is regarded as a unit, equally in need of help, and equally in access of help. We are all affected by the disobedience of Adam and the obedience of Jesus.
God deals with the whole race based on what these two men did. Adam and Jesus represent us. One representing another is a common theme in the Scriptures.
God has often dealt with whole groups through individuals. Abrahams posterity was blessed due to his faith. Because of Davids devotion, he was promised his descendants would rule as the kings of Judah.
The Edomites lost their birthright because their forefather despised it. The tribe of Reuben withered into insignificance due to his sin of incest.
The idea of one standing in for the many is illustrated in Hebrews 7, where Abraham paid homage to Melchizedek, who was a type of Christ. In this act all of Abrahams descendants were kneeling to Christ and proving His superiority, even over Aaron and the Levitical priests. Representation is a vital teaching of the Bible.
Lest anyone scream, Unfair Dont put me at a disadvantage due to someone else I remind us, representation is a widely accepted principle among the human race. Fifty-six representatives declared three million Americans independent of Britain. Our lives are daily influenced by people who represent us in government.
Nowhere is representation more obvious than in war. An action by or against one is actually by or against the whole On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip of Serbia assassinated Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. The two nations were soon at war with each other. Due to treaties, these nations represented other countries. Before long the whole world was at war. Two men affected the entire world.
Why did our country declare war after the invasion of Pearl Harbor Because the soldiers killed there represented us, and the soldiers who did the killing represented Japan. We were all present in the persons of our representatives.
God also deals with us on this basis. We are affected by the sin of Adam, but can partake in the redemption of Christ. Dealing with us by representation proves the solidarity of our race, and makes all His dealings with us fair and equitable.
Romans 520 The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin
multiplied, grace multiplied even more.
Paul marveled at the superabundance of grace, but others were doubtful. In all this talk about Adam and Jesus, the religious leaders would want to know where Moses and the Law fit in. Pauls response would shock the Orthodox. The Law did not alleviate or lessen sin in the world. Instead, it made us even guiltier before God. Such reasoning would have infuriated anyone who trusted in the Law for salvation.
Pauls statement was heresy to the religious leaders, but it was overwhelmingly true. All people by nature know something about sin and have in them a sense of right and wrong (Romans 215). We all sense wrongdoing in us, but it remains only a vague uneasiness until the Law defines a particular evil as definitely being sins.
The commandments define sin. Once we know the Law, there is no longer any doubt. We no longer have to depend on the feelings of conscience. This results in an increase in the sinfulness of sin because it removes all excuses based on ignorance.
To whom more light is given, more is expected. A person who sins, knowing the Law, is guiltier than a person who commits the same sin, not knowing the Law.
Law in and of itself does not make us better. Even if we know exactly what God wants us to do, we still disobey Him. Anyone who breaks a known command is consciously rejecting Gods authority. They know Gods will, but disregard it.
Now comes the good news. Though we who have Gods Word are guilty of willful disobedience, and though the Law makes our offense abound in increasing magnitude, we nevertheless praise God, because His grace abounds much more. Even if we knowingly, willfully transgress, His grace can be extended to forgive us.
Though our sin is abundantly evil, Gods grace is superabundant. However far sin causes us to drift over the waves, grace can waft itself farther still and retrieve us.
God forgive us for taking the superabundance of grace so much for granted. A billion years from now, angels will still be looking at you and me in awe and wonder.
They will whisper to one another, There are two of the saints They were on earth during the rebellion and took part in it. They were helpless, ungodly, sinners, enemies of God, but He loved them, redeemed them, and brought them to this place.
We are blood-bought, yea God-blood-bought. Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow though they are red as crimson, they will be like wool (Isaiah 118). In Gods color-wheel, red plus red equals white. However scarlet or deeply crimson our sins are, when the blood of Jesus is applied to them, the result is a clean sparkling white. Our sins may abound, but grace super abounds.
John Bunyan wrote about his life of cursing, lying, and blaspheming God. He set loose the reins to his own lust and became a ringleader in vice, but he repented, and Jesus forgave him. As he looked back over his story, Bunyan chose as the title of his autobiography Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. When Bunyan met the Savior, his first impulse was to tell the crows in a field around him. He did more than tell crows. His writings still speak to people in every corner of Earth. He was living proof that God can change us so radically that we can scarcely recognize ourselves.
Romans 521 So that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Note the contrast in our spiritual struggle. Sin reigned grace will reign. Sin has established dominion where grace wants to rule. Sin is entrenched Grace is invading.
Sins palace is a cemetery. It bestows death and decay on its subjects. Sin is a ruthless tyrant that never abdicates voluntarily. It must be conquered, and only Jesus can strangle the monster, and cast it down from its throne.
Since only God can defeat sin, God is the only foe sin dreads. Satan knows the only force that can win away one of its subjects is the wooing love cry echoing from Calvary. Only the sunshine of Gods love can melt the icebergs floating in evil hearts.
Grace will not force itself on anyone. Heres the real struggle. Grace comes in only if it is invited. Hence, the difficulty is convincing people they need a Savior.