017: What The Law Teaches You About Grace

Devotional on Romans 5:18-21

I know I’m sometimes naive, but I think I’ve known for a long time that Canadians have it pretty good. Nothing, though, really reveals that more clearly than seeing how badly life has become in other places of the world. Here’s something that I’ve found to be true: contrast brings clarity. That’s not only a practical truth, it’s also a spiritual truth. You, a person who is blessed with God’s grace, come to understand how great God’s grace is when you contrast it with the Old Testament Law.

In Romans 5:18-21, Paul’s words reveal What The Law Teaches You About Grace

Paul makes at least three comparisons that will help you contrast God’s grace with the Law so that you’re able to clearly see the best option available to you.

1. Grace yields far better results
5:18, “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people” NIV

First, Paul compares the results of a single action performed by Adam and by Jesus.  When Adam committed the first sin it resulted in the condemnation of the entire world.  When Jesus acted righteously (by his perfect life and then His death) it resulted in justification for the whole world.  Both men had just one action each.  Jesus’ action was far greater than Adam’s because it reverses the effect.  Jesus’ action brings justification for everyone who has believed God from the time of Adam to the time of the second coming when God closes history.


2. Grace produces far better quality
5:19, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” NIV

Second, Paul compares the quality of the single action performed by Adam and by Jesus.  Adam acted in disobedience.  Adam’s single act of disobedience resulted in many disobedient people (sinners).  Jesus acted in obedience.  Jesus’ obedience will result in many obedient people (righteous).  Jesus’ action is greater because it reverses both the effect and the quality.  Jesus’ act of obedience results in righteousness, and also results in changed hearts for all those who will believe.


3. Grace ends with a far better outcome
5:20-21, “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” NIV

Third, Paul compares the outcomes of the two single acts.  Because of Adam, individuals would be condemned and would die because of sin.  “Death” refers to separation from God.  Because of Jesus, individuals would be justified and would be given eternal life.  “Life” is an eternal, personal engagement with God.  Jesus’ action is greater because it eliminates judgement with grace. Now the message is no longer “death,” but “grace” for all humanity.


What The Law Teaches You About Grace

Grace comes through Jesus. Judgment is the result of trying to be good enough. Please don’t try to be good enough. If you haven’t yet, please choose Jesus, and then thank God that He has given you an unlimited measure of His grace.


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Did you receive some insight from today’s post?  If so, please join the conversation by leaving a comment below.  Please consider sharing what you heard, what it means to you, and what you’ll do about it.

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