Aggressive Grace Part 1
Romans 5:20-21 (MSG)
20-21All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.
The more law that is produced just means there is more breaking of the law. As we look more and more into the law of God and come face to face with His Holiness we can not help but see ourselves as utter law breakers, completely devoid of righteousness and completely incapable of obeying the law to its fullest measure. For example, if I am driving under the influence of alcohol but going the speed limit. Outwardly it appears I am obeying the law, but inside that car there is an open six pack that no one will see. Outwardly in our lives there are many laws that we seem to be obeying, but inwardly we are drunk on our selves, our sin, and our own agendas. We obey the small laws as best we can so we don’t get pulled over and have the cop shine the light into the car and see all the empty bottles and open containers and the minor we are trying to hide in the back seat. When he gets close he smells the alcohol on our breath and knows that our disobedience of the law has gone much further than what it appeared on the outside. That is so true in my own life. If I just show the world how well I obey the easier outward “rules” and standards, and live an outward life style that a Christian is supposed to have, then they won’t look further into my life and see all the ways I really sin, the things I think about when I am alone, the laziness of my heart when no one is watching. Even in ministry I see this. When I am out in public, serving the Lord is so easy because everyone is watching and it makes me look good. But take a look into my personal prayer life and you’ll see it isn’t nearly as deep as it appears when I pray in public. Sure I have my moments when I feel so connected to God and really in communion with Him, and I do praise Him that these moments are ever increasing, but I just find it really interesting that even when I am having a bad day and just not really abiding in the vine and treasuring Christ, when someone asks me to pray or preach, or lead worship, I am able to jump right in and make it look as if everything is fine; and I want it to look that way cause my heart is so prideful.
“But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace.”
When I read that I feel the light shining into my heart, but not in a condemning way. The light of Christ is far different from that of a cop trying to see what has been going on in the car. The light of Christ is so bright that it illuminates everything and brings us face to face with the reality of our sin and the utter shame of it. It brings us face to face with the fact that nothing can be hidden from God, and even when we drive around at night following all the outward rules as best we can so we don’t get caught, God still sees it all for exactly what it is. Our law keeping, and our misbehaviors are one in the same. Our morality and immorality appear before His Holy throne just as the High Priest Joshua in Zachariah 3 appeared before God, covered in filth.
God can’t be perfect and forgive sin. Sin can not be forgiven. It must be punished if we are ever to believe God a perfect God. If He is able to not punish our sin than He would not be perfectly just. That is why God created death in the first place. He said, if you break my law and eat from the tree, you will die. You will be eternally separated from all my goodness. That’s what hell is, utter and complete eternal separation from God. Any goodness of the Creator cannot be experienced in hell because we are completely cut off from God. Our hearts were created to be in fellowship with God and at the heart of every human being that is what we really desire, to know and be known by God. Hell is the complete absence of that. That is why it is eternal torment. In hell, our eternal souls are in eternal torment because we are experiencing eternal separation from the primary purpose of our existence. Jesus compared it to being eternally burned and your teeth being eternally nashed together.
I am going to stop here and continue the thought on this passage in my next entry.