As I walked into his room, seeing me for the first time that day, my son became excited. He jumped at me and we fell crashing onto his bed as we wrestled each other. Unfortunately I was still wearing my glasses and they snapped in two as they bore the weight of his body against my face. His moment of joy turned into a moment of wide-eyed panic. But, all was well when he heard these magic words, “It’s ok, Pal, I’ll take care of it.” Grace covers over a multitude of failures for me, my kids, and also for you.
In Romans 5:12-17 part of what Paul’s sharing with us is Why Grace Is More Powerful Than Failure
Lets summarize his points about failure and grace…
1. Failure is familiar to us all
Romans 5:12, “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” NIV
In Genesis we read that Adam introduced sin into the world. Because of his (and Eve’s) failure every person since Adam has been failing (sinning).
The world was a very different place before Adam and Eve introduced failure into humanity. Because of that moment we share a gene-pool that makes us all failures.
Our greatest failure is a choice not to believe in Jesus and personally engage with God. We have all rejected God at some level. And, because of that, we will all be rejected by God unless we find a way to fix our failure.
2. Failure isn’t erased by ignorance
Romans 5:13, “Sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law” NIV
Paul reminds us that God gave us a set of Laws in the Old Testament. But, he also reminds us that sin (failure) existed before the Law was ever given. Just because we didn’t know the 10 Commandments doesn’t mean it was ok to murder or steal. Failure was still a problem in the absence of knowledge.
Ignorance doesn’t help fix the problem of your disengagement with God. Disconnected is disconnected even in the absence of knowledge.
We are without excuse for our failures.
3. Failure’s greatest champion teaches us something about grace
Romans 5:14, “Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come” NIV
Paul helps us to see a repeating pattern. Something that we see in Adam is also seen in Jesus. Here’s the pattern: one man did something and then everyone afterward is effected.
Adam introduced failure into humanity and now every one of us fails. Jesus, however, has a greater effect than Adam had, even though Adam’s action (introducing sin) effects every person, everywhere, in every time period!
There is a solution to failure. But it’s nothing that you or I can do on our own. It’s something that a champion of grace needs to do.
4. Failure has been completely covered over by grace
Romans 5:15, “The gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many” NIV
Jesus’ grace is infinitely stronger than our failure. Because of Jesus’ grace He gives us the gift of righteousness (declaring that we have perfectly fulfilled His moral Law) and life (personal engagement with God).
Nothing can reverse failure. Paying for a failure doesn’t mean it never happened, and it only pays for a single act. Jesus’ grace covers over every failure.
The solution to failure is forgiveness.
5. Grace is overwhelmingly effective
Romans 5:16, “Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin:The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification” NIV
Paul points out that we’re not comparing apples and apples when comparing Jesus and Adam. Adam’s sin effected one person (well, two, Adam and Eve, initially, and then their children one generation at a time). It had a small beginning, but snowballed into the current population of humanity. On the other hand, Jesus’ gift of grace effects every person from every generation all at once, covering over every sin (not just one) from many people (not just one, or a few). The gift of righteousness is far superior because it effects more people at once (and because it’s harder to give life than it is to take life away).
Jesus’ grace isn’t just mildly effective. It is overwhelmingly effective.
Why Grace Is More Powerful Than Failure
When you own up to your personal responsibility for failure and then receive the grace that Jesus has to give you then all of your failures are forgiven and you can move forward as though you have never failed at all. Jesus’ grace covers over all the failure that would disconnect you from God. And, Jesus’ grace gives you all the perfection you need to become connected with God and personally engage with Him.
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