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“But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20–21 NKJV)
“In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:7–8)
Our sins have separated us from God, but the wonderful news is that God still loves us and has made the way for us to be reconciled to him. (See “Message”)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16–17)
God, who created the heavens and the earth, also created us to be in a loving, personal relationship with him.
God is also perfect in holiness and righteousness and cannot be in the presence of sin. Sadly, because we have all sinned, we are all alienated from him, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
God, who is perfect in love and justice, declares that the just punishment for our sins is death and hell, where we will be cut off from him eternally. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Thankfully God still loves us despite the fact we are sinners. He longs to redeem us so that we may enjoy a relationship with him. Therefore, he made the way for us to be reconciled. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6,8).
God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfect, sinless life we could never live. Jesus then took upon himself all of our sins and bore the punishment for them through his death on the cross. He gave his life to ransom us from our sins (Mark 10:45).
In order to be reconciled to God and to enter into a loving, personal relationship with him:
You must first repent (turn away from your sins). Second, you must trust in Jesus to be your personal Savior. That is, believe that Jesus has paid the punishment for your sins by dying in your place.
When you receive him in faith as your Savior like this, then all of your sins (past, present and future) will be forgiven and eternally removed. You will enter into a loving relationship with God that will last throughout eternity.
Even when our lives are abounding in sin, God’s grace and mercy has made full provision for it and abounds all the more. Black sin leaks out of the woman in this picture, going everywhere, but Christ’s blood fully surrounds her, enveloping the fullness of all her sin and washes it all away. Christ’s merciful, loving hand grants this repentant woman his mercy and grace as she prays to him in faith.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified [put into eternal right standing with God] by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6–11)
“Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1–2 AMP)
I sadly admit that when my faith is weak sometimes my sinful nature rages, and I commit many sins against God and against others. Like King David, I say:
“Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the haris of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased, O LORD, to save me; O LORD come quickly to help me.” (Psalm 40:11–13)
“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” (Psalm 51:2–4)
Sometimes in our battle against sin (as Christians), we can become so overwhelmed with sin and our awareness of it (Romans 7:14–25, 1 John 3:20), that we sink into condemnation and despair (though all our sins have already been fully condemned and punished in Jesus–Romans 7:25–8:4, 8:28–39).
Sometimes we think our sin is bigger than the blood and sacrifice of Christ (Satan would like to have us believe so). This, of course, is not true, for:
“…the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and will purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins…” (1 John 1:7–2:2)
“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20–21)
God’s grace and Christ’s blood is much bigger than the size and quantity of our sins. One of our greatest battles as Christians is against unbelief in this truth. It is when we lose sight of the fullness and completeness of our Savior’s work on Calvary that we tend to struggle with sin and get overwhelmed with condemnation and despair when we sin.
We have a strong tendency in our natural selves to try and earn God’s approval and prove our own righteousness to him. This is almost always rooted in our pride, and it is ultimately a rejection of God’s grace and a rejection of the Righteous One (1 John 2:1) who was perfectly righteous in our place and has granted his righteousness to us through faith (Romans 10:2–4). Remember Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9–14); it was the sinner who was honest to God about his sin rather than the self-righteous religious person who went home justified in God’s sight. (See “Events of The Bible Series: The Parable of The Pharisee and The Tax Collector.)
Fully accepting God’s grace and forgiveness (even though we don’t deserve it) is what sets us free from the cycle of sin and condemnation! Faith in Christ’s blood, not our good works, is the only thing God accepts as the basis of our forgiveness, “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22) We must fully embrace that, and when we do, we immediately know the blessedness of being forgiven and of peace with God.
Sometimes when we struggle with sin, we begin to view ourselves as dirty, condemned, defeated sinners rather than cleansed believers who are reconciled to God and are positionally at peace with him because of what Christ has done. When our perception of ourselves changes like this (because we are walking by sight, not faith (2 Corinthians 5:7)) we are losing sight of the completeness of the justification which Christ has achieved for us once for all. Remember that when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:1–17) he declared that, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean…” (John 13:10) and elsewhere, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3)
When we grasp the fact that we are completely clean (because Christ has justified us) and only need cleansing for the sin we have walked in, then grace works both peace and obedience in us. God’s love and grace is a much more effective restrainer of sin than fear and threats of punishment (which Christ already took for us) and the re-application of the Law (which Christ already freed us from). (See 1 John 4:13–19). God’s grace, kindness and love is what constrains us to obedience and teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness (See Titus 2:11–14).
We are also meant to live in fullness of joy because of these facts (Romans 5:1–2) ! When we live by faith in God’s grace rather than works, the fruits of the Spirit form all by themselves and obedience to God becomes gloriously easy, for God’s Spirit reigns in grace, “…for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6).
There is always abundant grace, mercy and forgiveness for those in Christ Jesus, even for those times when sin abounds, much to our godly grief. God has made provision for us in that place so that, like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32), we may come back and enjoy loving fellowship with our Father. (See “Events of The Bible Series: The Prodigal Son”).
God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness abounds for all sinners who come to him, despite their uncleanness. Come just as you are and he will cleanse you.
“Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31–32)
(See also “Believer’s Road Series: Unworthy, But That’s the Grace of God”, “Believer’s Road Series: Depths of Grace”, “Believer’s Road Series: Empty Hands”, “Events of The Bible Series: Forgiven Much” and “Believer’s Road Series: Look To Christ”).