Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
In this final verse of Romans chapter five, we note Paul comparing sin to grace, and the death that sin produces to the eternal life that grace yields.
Most of us know what sin is, but very few know what God’s grace is.
To most Christians, when grace is mentioned, the standard definition is the unmerited favor of God.
Though this is right, it’s only half of God’s grace.
Look at the next scripture.
1 Cor 15:10 But what I am I am by the grace of God, and His grace bestowed upon me did not prove ineffectual. But I labored more strenuously than all the rest — yet it was not I, but God’s grace working with me.
A careful study of the verse demonstrates that grace, is God laboring or working in, and for us.
The grace of God, as His labor, comes when we become exhausted of striving to do God’s will and failing, through fleshly efforts and “good ideas.”
It’s at this point that we say. “Lord, I can’t do this anymore, you take over.”
Gradually, we see the wonderments that God bring to us by His grace.
Notice then that Paul is careful to compare sin to grace.
Our striving to please God through our flesh produces sin because we will sadly fail.
Think of the person who is motivated to quit smoking, or diet outside of the grace or the labor of God, miserably falling back into more eating and smoking, hence more sin.
However, when the labor of God comes, Christ overcomes the sin in us through His life.
In the new creation that we are in Christ, the sinful nature has been nailed to the cross and the consciousness of sin in us is gone.
Many times Christianity put the focus only that we are sinners, and that we need to get rid of sin.
But the truth of the matter is that the sinful nature was nailed to the cross, though God is constantly purifying us from the habits of sin.
God sees us through the eyes of a righteousness consciousness, rather than a sin consciousness.
Where the focus is on God’s labor, Christ overcomes the sinful habits.
However, if we are focused to serve Christ through our flesh, more sin will be produced.
Hence the comparison between sin unto death, and grace unto eternal life, and the other half of God’s grace.
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By Joseph Couture (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons