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Romans 5:20-21


Darlene

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Heavenly Father,

 

The past few days have been a whirlwind. I haven't failed to notice that as soon as I pick up this Romans study, I open myself up to an intensified attack of the enemy. That never ceases to surprise me a little bit, but You are faithful and I somehow find the strength to push ahead.

 

The other day, I woke up to an email that tore me in shreds. It came from a baby Christian (why are the Christians the ones that many times hurt the deepest?), who somehow find a way through all my walls, to strike at the center of my heart, leaving me in tears. Thank You for being there...as I was crumbling, I could feel the power of Your Spirit, and thank You for the support group of friends that You have blessed me with that talked to me during this meltdown.

 

In the midst of dealing with that, I got the phone call that my divorce was finally final...it was over. While I know, after all these years of praying and seeking You on this area that it was the thing to do, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sadness at dreams dreamed so many years ago, that ended up with that ending. I do, however, want to take a moment for thanking You that he and I were able to discuss, as adults, the things that needed to be handled, in the best interests of the children. Thank You for the friendship that we will continue to have, inspite of this ending. I just pray that Your hand of blessing and protection will continue to be over all their lives, and that You will bless him in abundance for his kindness to me.

 

Needless to say, it was a horrible morning and by 2pm, I was totally drained and exhausted from it all. The reason I'm writing all this out though Father is because, as the day wore on, and I was praying throughout, and had others praying for me, I saw how Your hand kept everything from totally falling apart, and how by the end of the day, it ended in a manner that highlighted the important things in life...the meaningful, the beautiful things...

 

At some point late that afternoon, the person who had written me such a hurtful email, called, and we were able to at least communicate and clear up any misunderstandings.

 

That evening, I went with my youngest daughter to her awards ceremony, where she received the highest awards for her grade level...several awards, in fact, and a trophy. As I sat there alone, watching my daughter go up time after time to pick up another award, I couldn't help but think of You...of Your faithfulness to my life, in sorting out the mess that had opened up that day. I thought about how grateful I am that I have the children I have...how through my ups and downs over the past 25 years, that You have grown such beautiful children that I am so proud of. They've filled my life in more ways that I can express, so I thank You for each and every one of them.

 

So anyway Father, where do we go from here?

 

The last couple of years have been a bending, chipping, and at times breaking, as You've grown me from there to here. While we never 'arrive' till we're finally home with You, I have no idea what the days, months and years ahead hold. I don't know where You want me to go, or what You want me to do. I have no idea what is in store for me, but I do know one thing and that is You are my Heavenly Father, and I need You more today, than I ever realized I did in the past.

 

So Father, may Your perfect will be done in my life. I pray that You will bless me with Your wisdom and that I might have the courage and strength to walk out Your personal destiny for my life.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

 

 

 

20. And the law entered in alongside that the offense might abound; but where sin abounded, grace has super abounded,

 

21. In order that juast as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Watchman Nee comments on verse 20, and the word 'abound' and writes, "The law causes sin to abound, that is, to become evident and recognizable to man. In this way man's sinfulness is fully exposed."

 

The rvbv writes, "Law, moreover, came in alongside [of sin] that the trespass [of law] might abound - The reference to law here shows that Paul has justification from guilt, and not our state of sinfulness, in view. "Law entered alongside" (pareiselthen) no, in this connection, to reveal sinfulness, but that the trespass of the law, - the act of law-breaking might abound. (It is very striking to note that in verse 12 where we read "through one man sin entered into the world," the word for entered is eiselthen; and now law enters alongside, - the word being the same - eiselthen - with the preposition para, alongside, prefixed. And so, "through law is the knowledge of sin." Sin entered, and law, entering alongside, revealed the sin.) The Law, being given to neither Adam, came in alongside sin, - after sin had been there 2500 years, that vain self-confident Israel (as a public example for us all!) might see God's standard for those in the first Adam, and promising to obey it, fail; and thus know sin in order that Grace might overflow. That so, where sin had reigned, Grace might reign-as-king, through the righteous work of Christ on the cross, unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Thus neither our sins nor our "sinful nature" has, in this passage, anything to do with our condemnation: but Adam's act only. And not our new life in Christ, nor our walking in the good works unto which we were created (Eph. 2:10), has anything to do with constituting us righteous, but Christ's act of death only (vv. 18, 19). As we have said, law "came in alongside," - not as in any sense a means of salvation, but that Israel (and through Israel, all of us) might discover guiltiness by breaking law; for law gives no power to keep law!

 

But, where sin abounded, grace did completely overflow. Grace began to work for Israel immediately after the Law was broken! For instead of cutting off Israel as a nation, God appointed Moses a mediator; and when sin came to a climax with the Jews' crucifying their Messiah, the Lord's words were, "Father, forgive them" And as we shall read in Chapter Eleven, God will indeed yet forgive them, - will take away their sins and "bring in everlasting righteousness." Grace will yet over-flow for Israel, nationally, as it has not overflowed to us as individual sinners, both Jews and Gentiles.

 

"Where sin abounded, grace overflowed," for such is ever the result of the work of the cross. Paul, who had been Christ's greatest enemy, the chief of sinners, declares himself to be the great example of mercy and grace: "I obtained mercy," he says, "that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all His long-suffering, for an example of them that should hereafter believe on Him unto eternal life." And again: "By the grace of God I am what I am" (I Cor. 5:10; 1 Tim. 1:16).

 

We might turn to David and Manasseh in the Old Testament as examples of the overflowing heart of mercy of God. Or we might call up such examples in Church History as the reckless profligate Augustine, whom God made a shining light in His Church; or John Bunyan, the profane tinker, who wrote his wonderful experience of the Divine goodness in "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners"; or John Newton, once a libertine and infidel, "a servant of slaves in Africa," as he wrote of himself for his epitaph, - whom God transformed into one of the great vessels of mercy of the eighteenth century....

 

...We might multiply examples like these: but these words, "Where sin abounded, grace did completely overflow," with the salvation of Saul of Tarsus as the Scripture example, will suffice. I stood on the bluff at Memphis, Tennessee, and saw the mighty Mississippi, normally a mile wide, stretch over forty miles in flood, covering deep under its multitude of waters the land as far as I could see. So where sin abounded, the grace of God overflowed everything."

 

In verse 22 Watchman Nee comments on the word "sin" writing, "Sin reigns by the authority of death and brings in death by its reign. Thus, a sinner must die."

 

In regard to the word "righteousness", he wrote, "Righteousness is the footing, the base, and the means for God to dispense Himself to us as grace. This righteousness gives us the ground to claim Christ as our grace. By giving grace to us, God manifests His righteousness (see 1:17). Furthermore, the power of this grace operates in us and produces subjective righteousness, making us right with God, with others, and even with ourselves; and it not only subdues sin but also overcomes Satan and death in our being. Thus grace reigns through righteousness, resulting in eternal life."

 

The rvbv writes, "In order that, just as sign reigned-as-king by means of death: grace might reign-as-king, through righteousness, unto life eternal, through Jesus Christ our Lord." This verse unfolds God's great object: that Grace should have a kingdom where Death had had its kingdom: and that, of course, through righteousness, - that is, that all Divine claims should be first righteously met at the cross, and thus that all should be "through Jesus Christ our Lord."

 

The question of justification is still on in Chapter Five, and not until Chapter Six is "our old man" - all were from Adam - brought in. Furthermore, to bring into Chapter Five our sinful state by nature, is to confuse our sinful condition with that condemnation which over and over God says was brought about by Adam's single act, and by that only. "The judgment came of ONE TRESPASS unto condemnation," etc.

 

Now if you and I were condemned in Adam's sin, it is plain that to be justified we must be cleared not only of our own sins, but of our condemnation in Adam: our justification must cover all our condemnation.

 

Our justification, is, therefore, in this great passage, related not to our personal sins, as in Chapters Three and Four; but to our guilt by and in Adam, from which we are cleared by Christ's death. And Christ being now raised, we, connected with Him at the cross, now share His life: so that our justification is called justificaiton of life" (vs. 18).

 

It is true that we are not spoken of as "in Christ" until Chapter Six, where death which Christ is unfolded and our history in the first Adam, and our relation to sin, ended. But Paul speaks of being "justified in Christ" (Gal. 2:17). And certainly the subject in the last section of Chapter Five is justification: condemnation by Adam's trespass, and justification by Christ's righteous act of death.

 

Thus, not until we come to Chapter Six is our walk, our sanctification, taken up. It is true that the doctrine of the two men (5:12-21) makes possible of understanding the great fact of Chapter Six, - that we died with Christ. But the subject of the latter section of Chapter Five is condemnation by Adam, justification by Christ."

 

Heavenly Father,

 

I dunno what to say after doing this study today. I feel like I'm just absorbing it all, letting the pieces begin to fall into place.

 

I have a peace in my heart that is only from You and I'm grateful for that. I pray that as the rest of this day unfolds, that Your will be done.

 

I do love You and need You.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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That evening, I went with my youngest daughter to her awards ceremony, where she received the highest awards for her grade level...several awards, in fact, and a trophy. As I sat there alone, watching my daughter go up time after time to pick up another award, I couldn't help but think of You...of Your faithfulness to my life, in sorting out the mess that had opened up that day. I thought about how grateful I am that I have the children I have...how through my ups and downs over the past 25 years, that You have grown such beautiful children that I am so proud of. They've filled my life in more ways that I can express, so I thank You for each and every one of them.

 

 

Awwwwwwwwwwwww..... Way to go, Madison!!!!!! :cheer::woohoo:

 

 

 

 

MtRider

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