In Romans 5:21 says “so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Grace is amazing topic and an amazing truth. There is nothing easier to discuss and share with others than grace. By definition grace is to “receive that which you do not deserve.” The Greek word for grace can be translated as gift in certain grammatical settings. Gifts are undeserved, by definition. (Having a birthday does not actually cause one to earn gifts. It is simply a celebration in which people choose to grace you with them.)
Much of what people in our world consider grace today is nothing more than a cheap substitute. Grace is also defined as “underserved favor.” Grace is God giving to us what we do not deserve simply because he is loving and gracious. I believe that many people understand that part. They get the definition of grace, what they don’t understand is what it looks like in life. People accept a cheap substitute in their own life and lower grace to a meaningless church word sung in songs that have lost their meaning to those that sing them.
Where too many people lose a right understanding of grace is found in Romans 5:21. Grace reigns through righteousness. Most of us believe that grace reigns through forgiveness. Grace is being forgiven. Grace does not simply cause the act of forgiveness…grace causes the state of forgiven. And there is a big difference.
When we cheapen grace we allow the path to become the product. We allow beginning to become the end. Too many people grab hold of God’s grace hoping and praying and even wishing that they might simply be forgiven…while God’s grace will most certainly forgive you…forgiveness is not the end result it is the beginning point.
Forgiveness is the path of grace…Righteousness is the product of grace. Grace does not produce forgiveness. Grace produces righteousness. The path to said righteousness is indeed forgiveness. Forgiveness is the stepping stone to obedience. God’s grace does mold within us more disobedience so that we might experience more forgiveness…it forges within us righteousness so that we might be more obedient.
I have heard a cheap rendition of grace concerning the moral disobedience of a church leader, “well, you know grace works.” The work of grace in the life of a leader is not simply forgiveness…it is obedience…it is righteousness. Sure, there will be times when each person – even spiritual leaders – will need to experience fresh grace and fresh forgiveness, but not at the cost of lowering the standard of grace. That forgiveness does not simply produce forgiveness for that leader to then sin again and grace “keep working” time and time again. Grace and forgiveness produces in that leader change…it produces in them righteousness.
If you are a person that has been saved by God’s “Amazing Grace.”….if you are a person that “once was lost but now is found”….if you are a person that “once was blind but now you see”…live as one who is found and one that sees.
Do not accept a cheap substitute for grace in your life that simply culminates in forgiveness. Accept only the real thing…the grace that changes the forgiven and produces righteousness. It is that righteousness that grace truly reigns.