Vol. 3, No. 29 – July 22, 2018
Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:20b-21
How about when your favorite team is losing? They were a three-touchdown favorite; yet, they are blowing it! How could that happen?
Monday morning practice is full (sky-high) with tension as the coach gathers his team. He speaks: “OK gentlemen; today we are going back to the basics. Guys, look at this. This is a football!”
Back to the basics. In football, it is blocking, tackling, running, passing, catching, kicking, and teamwork. To be successful all must be done with 100% abandon.
The Apostle Paul is taking the Church at Rome back to the basics; grace. It is not a teaching of being under the law, but under grace. Grace is the foundation of God’s salvation. Grace is the hallmark of Christianity. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Grace is totally without a cause in the person who receives it.
Grace is more than simply getting everything good. It is mercy, the benefit of love. When one who deserves damnation, everything bad, is given everything good; and that for nothing on our part. That is our introduction to the grace of God.
In verse 15, Paul writes of grace: But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
Those who receive Christ are “borne” (the word is “carried” in the language of the South), to the “Palace” and have the royal blood in their veins, exclusively through Christ. It is what He has done and who He is in our lives that alone makes reigning in life a possibility. With Him all things are possible; without Him, we can but fail.
There is nothing that we contribute to our salvation except for the sin that made salvation for us an absolutely necessary. Salvation is not a self-attainable destination; salvation is not available through payment, church membership, creating a list of benevolences, serving as a deacon or church leader (even a pastor), giving to the church, or even teaching in the Sunday School (LifeGroup, or BGM). Salvation is a result of His grace (God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense).
There is an abundance of grace: For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (5:17)
God expects us to operate in the basics: the gift, the abundance, and the reign of grace.
All too often we get busy playing football in our churches. We try the new stuff, and we fail. We try loud theatric music, new lighting, new formats of so-called worship, new titles, and new programs to attract the younger generation. We wonder why our approaches do not work; the younger generation wonders what is wrong with the church; why the church wants to play outside of the basics. So they only attend major events – and frown when the church never gets to the playoffs.
The thing Christians and Christian Leaders ought to do is reintroduce their team to God’s foundations.
OK, gentlemen and ladies, look at this. This is a Bible.