By Grace Through Faith
“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:12-15, NLT)
Lately, I’ve been reading through Romans and truly loving every minute of it. Each chapter and verse has so much depth and meaning and has encouraged me to draw nearer to God in all I do, and this morning I want to share what I’ve been finding with you.
I want you to take a moment to let yourself think of the worst thing you’ve done– the biggest amount of shame you’ve ever felt. Remember those feelings you may have felt of regret, unworthiness, or embarrassment. Try to feel the weight it put upon your shoulders; the burden it may of caused you.
Now, think of all that shame and stress in contrast with the work that Jesus did on the cross. Think of how that all pales in comparison to his great love and abounding grace. There’s nothing greater than the grace He has shown us, and today we are going to take that all in.
I remember about seven years ago, I went on my first youth retreat. I had just turned 12 and I was as nervous as could be. My youth group was small, all the kids were older than me, and I didn’t know where I would fit in. I had no idea what to expect going into it, but on our long drive to Pennsylvania, we ended up hitting lots of traffic and were late for the first service. I remember walking in and feeling completely in awe of the auditorium full of kids my age from Long Island; all of them worshipping God. Throughout that service, I had felt God tugging at my heart like never before.
The speaker had an altar call at the end of his message, and I remember going up and falling on my knees. Earlier that morning, I had gotten in a huge argument with my mom just because I was nervous about going on the trip. I remember feeling so convicted and full of shame. Then God’s abounding, matchless grace poured over me. His Holy Spirit counseled me, and that night I completely gave my life over to God. I will never forget the moment that God’s grace fully encompassed my hurts, and turned them into stories for His glory.
Even though me yelling at my mom might not seem like a big deal in the long run, in that moment, that sin made me feel like the cruelest person in the world, but God’s grace completely covered it. I’m telling you this story because that is the first time I felt the true comfort and power of God’s grace.
In Romans 5, Paul puts on display for us the power of sin versus the power of God’s grace lavished on us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The way in which he describes and compares these two things will leave you so in awe of who God is in your life.
As you see in our key verse, Paul talks about how the first man, Adam, brought death and sin into our world, and even though those two things are destructive, they stand no chance against the grace and forgiveness we find in God.
Romans 5: 6-7 says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—” (ESV)
For while we were still so weak, Christ died for us. He saved us from having to live in shame and repeatedly having to sacrifice animals for our sins. While we were still sinners– while we cursed his name– He still died for us because of His love for us.
I truly think we take for granted the grace we have been given and what God has called us to do with it. Don’t worry! You’ve caught me red handed. I take it for granted more than I’d like to admit. But today, I am challenging you and myself to fully soak in God’s grace. Let Him counsel you through your hurts and give you peace. Let His love fully surround you. Let Him remind you of who you truly are.
There’s nothing that compares or even comes close to the love and character of our God. His grace is our foundation and our resting place. It is what defines us.
I want to leave off with the last two verses of Romans 5 that ends all of this off perfectly:
“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 abounded all the more. Thank you, Jesus, for your love. Help me live my whole life through it.
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