Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 5:18-21 (NLT)
Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.
God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Reflection: Romans 5:18-21 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
The two humanities, in Adam and in Christ (5:12–21)
b. Adam and Christ are compared (18–21)
Dr Lloyd-Jones: ‘Look at yourself in Adam; though you had done nothing you were declared a sinner. Look at yourself in Christ; and see that, though you have done nothing, you are declared to be righteous. That is the parallel.’
c. “The reign of grace”
Nothing could sum up better the blessings of being in Christ than the expression ‘the reign of grace’.
- For grace forgives sins through the cross, and bestows on the sinner both righteousness and eternal life.
- Grace satisfies the thirsty soul and fills the hungry with good things.
- Grace sanctifies sinners, shaping them into the image of Christ.
- Grace perseveres even with the recalcitrant, determining to complete what it has begun.
- And one day grace will destroy death and consummate the kingdom.
So when we are convinced that ‘grace reigns’, we will remember that God’s throne is a ‘ throne of grace’, and will come to it boldly to receive mercy and to find grace for every need. And all this is through Jesus Christ our Lord, that is, through his death and resurrection….
Ultimately our confidence is in the grace of God. Grace will ‘reign’ (21), grace ‘overflows’ (15), and much more will those who receive God’s grace reign in life (17). This repetition challenges our perspective…. Is this our vision?
In our view of ultimate reality, who is occupying the throne today? Are we still living in the Old Testament, with the whole scene dominated by Adam, as if he remained unchallenged and Christ had never come? Or are we authentic New Testament Christians, whose vision is filled with Christ crucified, risen and reigning? Is guilt still reigning, and death? Or is grace reigning, and life? To be sure, sin and Satan may seem to be reigning still, since many continue to bow down to them. But their reign is an illusion, a bluff. For at the cross they were decisively defeated, dethroned and disarmed. Now Christ reigns, exalted to the Father’s right hand, with all things under his feet, welcoming the nations, and waiting for his remaining enemies to be made his footstool.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen