Living Testimonies Of Grace

Whenever we sin it creates a mess. The longer we allow that sin to grow through lack of confession and repentance, the mess gets bigger. We decide that we know a better way than God to handle things. We choose to be dishonest in our dealings or unfaithful in our commitments, and, instead of dealing with them properly shortly after the sin is committed, the carnage begins to grow. Animosity deepens. The desire to justify ourselves in our sin becomes greater. Pretty soon we are looking around ourselves and realize that to clean this mess up is going to take a great deal more effort than it would have just to do the right thing in the beginning. 

This is similar to what happened on a cosmic scale with Adam. He had a relatively simple task: guard and work the garden and stay away from the fruit of one tree. Easy. But he thought he knew better than God. He neglected is responsibilities and ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree. At that point sin entered the world and death through sin. There was no way he could clean up the mess he had created at this point. Sin-and-death spread and reigned in the world from that time forward. People were divided from one another. Violence filled the earth. God’s intention for man to reign in a way that life would give way to more life was perverted almost beyond recognition. The people God chose for himself tasted the life that God intended, but they lived on the defensive against this spreading and reigning death in the world. 

What a mess. For four thousand years the world lived under this death. Yes, there were glimmers of life, but the mess that had been created by Adam’s sin wasn’t undone. It wasn’t something that man living under this reign of death could undo. 

What the world needed was another Adam; not one who would wipe everything out and start all over afresh, but one who could come in, clean up the mess created by the first Adam and all of his descendants, and put the world back on track to what God intended it to be. 

In order to do this, this second Adam and his work would have to be much more powerful than the sin-and-death created by the first Adam. He would have deal, not just with the original Adam’s sin, but with all the sins that were spawned in all of humanity from Adam’s sin forward.  His work would not only have to bring the effects of sin to a stand still, but he would also have to overcome them so as to restore what sin had stolen as well as take man and the world around him to where God the Father intended them to be in the beginning. 

Enter grace. The grace of God demonstrated in Christ Jesus, the last Adam, does precisely this. God’s grace in Christ is the gift of his powerful actions toward man by which he overcomes sin and all of its effects. Sin condemned men to rot in death. Grace takes that death and overcomes it in resurrection, declaring that we are justified in Christ Jesus. God’s grace towards us in Christ is more powerful than all of our sin. 

This grace is operative in all of us who are in Christ Jesus. This is the “grace in which we stand” (Rom 5.2). Though we still live with many of the effects of sin in our lives (for example, decaying, dying bodies), Christ Jesus has broken the reign of sin and death over us. We will not experience the fullness of this until the resurrection of our bodies, but between now and then sin doesn’t need to allowed to reign in these mortal–dying–bodies that we should obey it in its desires (Rom 6.12). Our decaying and dying ears, eyes, mouths, hands, and feet can and should be used as instruments of righteousness (Rom 6.13). God’s grace in Christ operating in our lives is not defeated by the remnants of the effects of sin in us even now. We don’t have to submit ourselves to sexual immorality, bitterness, unforgiveness, malice, and evil speaking. We can be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave us. We can do these things because God’s grace in Christ is more powerful than the sin-and-death that remains in the world. 

Avail yourself of the grace of God. Digest his word. Feast at his Table. Pray with his saints. Be encouraged in the fellowship of God’s people. Live so as to be testimonies of the powerful grace of God.