MOTIVATED BY ABUNDANT GRACE by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson
Romans 5-8 are the heart of this book. In fact, they are the heart of Christianity. Ray Stedman (Chuck Swindoll’s mentor) said that, “Romans 5 is a graduation exercise. It takes us from the elementary grades of Christian life into high school….”
Most Christians have massive gaps in their Christian lives because they have never truly understood Romans 5-8. Their Christian life is sporadic, defeated, and confusing. For the sake of all those who have joined in the past year, we will begin in Romans 5. For those who’ve heard these messages, I promise you that they will be richer and more developed.
Romans 5:18-21 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
Overall Background: If you ask the average Christian—what does it mean to be saved? Salvation means my sins are forgiven; salvation means I am going to heaven. Not I just have to do the best I can to be a good Christian until I get to heaven. I just have to read my Bible, pray, go to church, give, and witness. Nothing more. But when you come to Romans 5, you realize that there’s much more. 5 times we hear that phrase:
– 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (Meaning: No more condemnation)
– 10 much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Meaning: We are reconciled; never to be separated.)
– 15 much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. (We receive the Abounding Grace of God.)
– 17 much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (We live triumphantly.)
– 20 where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, (Sin is replaced by grace.)
In essence, the much more is that—Salvation is not just about Christ dying for my sins, it is also about Christ delivering me from the power of sin and giving me grace abounding.
This morning – if you want this much more, if you’re frustrated with your Christian life, if you’re tired of your constant battles with old habits, old hang-ups and old sins, if you’re ready for the much more that God has promised, then this message is for you.
There are 3 things that Paul wants us to understand about this much more of the Christian life.
I. IT COMES WITH THE FAMILY PLAN.
Nowadays, we hear a lot from phone companies about the share everything family plans.
All of us were born into the human family, sharing the Adams family plan. Adam, our father, sinned in the Garden of Eden, when he disobey God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When he sinned, a fundamental change came into his character and he became a sinner. Because of his disobedience, all his descendants became sinners by nature. Listen to the Adam’s family plan:
ADAM’S FAMILY PLAN
1. Verse 17a “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one,”Because of Adam, physical and spiritual death has come to every member of the family.
2. Verse 18a “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation”
Being born in Adam’s family brought judgment and condemnation to all of us.
3. Verse 19a“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,”
Being born in Adam’s family, we were made sinners. We did not have any choice.
That’s why lost people do the things they do. They are simply living by their father’s family plan. Sadly, even Christians, even though they are in God’s family, sometimes operate by the old family plan.
– They try to stop doing bad things and they do them even more.
– They try to be gentle and loving and they end up getting angry and bitter.
– They try to please God the old way and they fail every time.
– They try to live free but they are still bound by old habits and addictions.
What is the solution? You have to realize that you are no longer under the old family plan. You are no longer in the family of sin and disobedience but in God’s family. What does God’s family plan look like?
GOD’S FAMILY PLAN
1. Verse 17b “much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)”Being born in God’s family, we receive abundance of grace (not spotty, sporadic, limited) and the gift of righteousness, which brings life to all of us.
2. Verse 18b“even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”
Being born in God’s family, we are declared righteous by God. When I receive Christ as my Savior, God makes a transaction at that instant—it’s called Imputation. He takes my sins and puts them on Christ’s account and He takes Christ’s righteousness and puts it on my account. Meaning: Now when God sees me, He sees Christ.
3. Verse 19b“so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
Being born in God’s family, we are made righteous. There is a change in our nature.
All these benefits of being in God’s family have come because of the One Man – Jesus.
- Where the first Adam failed miserably, the last Adam succeeded triumphantly.
- The first Adam stood in the Garden of Eden and said—“My will be done,” the last Adam knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and said—“Your will be done.”
- The first Adam was cursed and kicked out of the Garden; the last Adam—Jesus—humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
All you can do is by faith share in your new family plan under Jesus Christ. Many Christians are trying to be righteous before God. You will never attain to the standard of righteousness that God requires. Jesus did it all for us. All you and I can do is receive by grace the adoption papers and start living by your new family plan. That’s the meaning of being born again—born into the family of Jesus and now you are all that He is. If we can only get that in our brains and our hearts, it will revolutionize the way we look at the Christian life.
II. IT CANNOT BE EARNED.
Now someone might say, “I am going to buy my own family plan.” Sorry, it doesn’t work like that.
20Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound.
Background: The moment you say with Paul “All you need is to look to the righteousness of Christ and not your own,” a hand goes up—“Why was the Law given if God did not expect us to keep it?” Paul says, “You misunderstood the reason for the Law.”
God gave the Law for two reasons:
#1 Initially, he gave the Law to Israel in order to protect them from the Canaanites who were living in the Promised Land. In Genesis 15, it talks about the “iniquity of the Amorites.” He gave His Law to His people so that they would not become like their neighbors (Galatians 3:19).
#2 The second reason the Law was given was for what it says here—that the “offense/sin might abound.” Sin/offense was already there in the world. People were already guilty before God but by giving a checklist people realized how much they had sinned.
For e.g. Imagine a glass filled with dirty water. If that water has been sitting still for some time, it appears clean until you stir it. Now what happens? It shows all the dirt.
What happens when sin is stirred? Listen to the second half of verse 20 “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,” Literally in Greek it means—“where sin increased, grace super-increased.” God is not waiting for us to keep the Law neither is He waiting to strike us when we fail to keep the Law. To the contrary, He is eagerly waiting to pour His super-abounding grace on us. What’s the result? 21so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign (rule) through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Meaning: Where sin once controlled us, grace controls us. We no longer live in fear but in gratefulness.
Application: Many people are trying to earn God’s righteousness by keeping the Law. It is a free gift to be received by grace.
III. IT HAS TO BE ENTERED IN BY DEATH
Romans 6:1-4 1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
The moment you say – “It is all by grace,” it does not fail that someone will raise their hands and say—“People are going to misuse it/abuse it/take advantage of it. You have to have some rules to keep people in line with their Christian lives.”
What is Paul’s response to the question “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Meaning: Sorry, you are already dead. 3Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
What is Paul talking about? Here is the heart of our salvation. 2000 years ago Jesus died for us. We know that He died as our Substitute – He died for our sins. But, did you also know that He died as our Representative – He died in our place.
What does that mean? We’re all born in the family of Adam– the family of sin. We have two problems—sins (things we have done wrong) and sin (our sinful nature). Jesus took care of Problem #1 by becoming our substitute – taking my sins upon Him on the cross. He gave me His righteousness. What about Problem #2—my sin nature? The Blood cleanses us from the debt of sins but we still carry the family germ of sin that was in Adam and was passed down to us. What we need is to get out of the family. The Blood cannot get us out of the family. The only way to get out of the family is by death.
Remember: God never leaves a job half done. So 2000 years ago when Christ died, He died to represent our death in the family of Adam. In the foreknowledge of God we were also crucified with Christ. Not only that but listen to verse 4 4Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, When Jesus went to the grave, you went into the grave with Him. What’s next? that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Meaning: When He rose from the grave, you rose from the grave.
Listen to verse 5 “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,” It is all past tense. Your death, burial, and resurrection are applied to you the moment you are saved.
Did you notice the imagery that Paul through the Holy Spirit has used throughout? Baptism! The baptismal pool is really a coffin. It symbolizes our death, burial and resurrection with Jesus Christ. It tells the world that we have been united with Him in death, burial, and resurrection. It is a sign that I am now cut off to the old world and have entered into the new family.
So where are we now with our sin nature? 6knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Someone says—why do I still sin if my Old Nature has been crucified? When a person dies, it does not mean that they are eradicated. The body is gone but the Spirit lives on—either before God in heaven or in Hell waiting for judgment. Our Old Nature is no longer alive in the flesh. It is only alive in the Spirit. We have been set free. Listen to verse 7—For he who has died has been freed from sin.
Application: Most of us try to deal with sin by trying to strengthen the Old Man—suppress it, fight it, deny it, train it. I am not going to get angry; I am not going to be envious; I am not going to lust. Before you know it, you are back in it.
God deals with our sin nature by making us weaker and weaker; by removing the sinner; by putting us to death. But He doesn’t leave us dead. He gives us new life. Listen to verse 8—Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Application: God is not asking you to go crucify yourself or to go do penance for your sin. It’s all past tense. The place to begin is KNOW—this has been done for you. You have been set free. Open the eyes of your heart and see who you are in Christ. You may not feel it; you may not understand it but you have it. Just accept it.
For e.g. Nicole’s grandfather grew up with parents who were lost. When George (that was his name) got saved, he tried to tell his parents about Jesus and they laughed at him. But, there was a big change in his life. He just could not get enough of the Word of God. He went to a small country church and he just did not get what he was hungry for. After his daughter, Nicole’s mom, married Nicole’s dad, he would come and visit them in seminary. He would go to classes with him. Pastor Jerry, Nicole’s father and my mentor, would often share of how when he would look over at George in those classes, he had tears streaming down in face and he would say—“I knew there was more.”