Grace Short Meditations: 20. Grace to Reign
Rom 5:17 “how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace …. reign in life”
There is a problem in taking verses out of context, even if they genuinely can stand on their own. It is that you miss the big picture. Paul is talking about how the sin of one man, Adam, brought death to all and so now life becomes available to all through one man, Jesus. (see the rest of v.17) It is, Paul says, the receivers of God’s grace who now “reign in life” through Christ. One paraphrase speaks of the reigning bit as those who, “should live all their lives like kings.” That is an amazing picture.
But let’s back-pedal a bit and consider what life is like and then see what this says to us about the way we live it. People say bad things (it’s a fallen world). Bad things happen to us (it’s a fallen world). Do we let those words or those hurts dominate us? Problems and difficulties arise (it’s a challenging world). Do we let those things impose anxiety upon us that suppresses faith?
Paul spoke in our verse of an “abundant provision of grace” (and implied it was what we had already received when we came to Christ) and this grace is there to enable us to reign – be in control over – all these things so that we subdue, that anxiety, those hurts etc., and rise up with God-given resources and answers and live lives of peace and joy. That is the possibility with grace.
Let’s put it more bluntly: God’s provisions of grace – what He has done through Christ to allow the rest to be released to us, and His provision of all the resources we need that are now available through the Holy Spirit – all these things are designed to lift us up above the angst that the rest of the world experiences.
Consider the lifting up above I’ve just suggested. Paul said, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:6) Our feet may be well and truly on the earth but there is a sense whereby our heads and our hearts and our spirits are knitted to Christ’s. As he is in heaven seated at the Father’s right hand, so we can sometimes see what he sees from his vantage point, feel what he feels as he looks upon our circumstances, and know what he knows as he looks on, and thus with that knowledge and understanding we can be in control (remember the spirit of self-control – Gal 5:22,23 etc.), we can rule or reign over our circumstances, not letting them dominate us. It is God’s grace, all of His resources available to us, that enable us not merely to cope but to rise up and praise Him in the midst of all that is happening around us. Hallelujah!