March 31, 2011 - Abundant Grace

March 31, 2011 - Abundant Grace
Rev. Heather Reilly

Romans 5:12-21

God’s passion against sin is not to keep us from living some exciting, exotic life. God’s passion comes from protect us. He desires us to enjoy life fully, in abundance. Sin is defined as separation from God. We can live “forever” by choosing to take Christ into life. Adam was forbidden to do something in the Garden of Eden. We are instructed to do something. We are called to act: To take action and respond in love against sin and disobedience. This is a positive calling, not forbidding us to miss out on abundance in life.

It is God’s great love that draws us away from sin. He knows that life is hard and challenging. He wants to equip us for those days. There are hard days that aren’t anyone’s fault; the days that aren’t a result of sin. He knows we can face difficult things when our eyes are focused and devoted on him. When we are distracted by sin it’s much harder to face hardship head-on. His supreme love, the love that sacrificed the greatest thing in all the world, that gave his SON for us sinners; it’s that kind of love that prepares us for hardship and encourages us to run from sin. Christ didn’t sacrifice his life for just his friends, his followers. He loved perfectly: He gave his life for those who were powerless, for the ungodly, the sinners, and the very enemies of God. Our only hope is God’s grace. His grace is so powerful and encompassing, it could be considered irresistible. Prevenient grace counteracting original sin makes saving faith possible (Greathouse, 172).

At times we are without strength, unable to help ourselves. It is during those dark times that God’s love and grace is more magnified. The very opposite of sin is God’s abundant grace. We all come from sin. It is his grace, a free gift undeserved by everyone, that redeems sin and sets us free. It is the undeserved nature of Christ’s work on our behalf is impressed upon us. Grace is a power that reverses the consequences of Adam’s sin. Wesley describes Adam as shadow of sin; Christ is the substance of grace. Paul’s purpose in Romans 5 is to show the all-encompassing and surpassing glorious effect of Christ on those who belong to him. “Christ completely reverses the effects of the fall, making it possible for humans to live a righteous and holy life” (Greathouse, 171).

Father God, help us to remember your great sacrifice this Lenten season, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Greathouse, W.M., Lyons, G. (2008). Romans 1-8: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition. Beacon Hill Press.

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