(Article for publication week of 6-22-2011 AD)
“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).
God’s grace is indeed amazing! What an amazing thing- that God would save the undeserving, the ill deserving, the hell deserving. God goes not save the good folks, He saves sinners. Now, if you know yourself to be a sinner, that is most welcome news! (I know in good writing you are not supposed to use many exclamation points, but I am not trying to be an accomplished writer, I am publishing the gospel for sinners, and that gets me excited!)
First of all let us notice the context in which our verse is set. These are the conclusive words of Paul’s explanation of the doctrine of justification which runs from Romans 3:21 until the end of chapter five. In Romans 1:18- 3:20, Paul had shown that all men are justly condemned under the law. Then he explains that God freely justifies sinners by grace alone, through faith in Christ Alone. God justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5). OH! What a joyous message for sinners! God saves the ungodly, not the godly! How contrary to nature and opposed to everything that man thinks naturally! Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. God’s grace is amazing indeed.
Secondly, let us see how amazing God’s grace is by considering some of the wretches that God has saved through the merits of His Son. I think of King Manasseh (II Chronicles 33:12-13). He had been a horrible idolater and even sacrificed his own children. What a wretch. But God saved that old sinner and he is in heaven right now. Then I think of the woman in Luke seven that washed the Saviour’s feet with her tears. She had been a filthy harlot. But the Saviour’s grace was greater than her sins, and He said, “thy faith hath saved thee.” Then I think of the dying thief (Luke 23:39-43). All he had was a life of crime and sin to recommend himself to the dear Saviour. He could not go back and change anything. He was nailed to a cross, and he couldn’t go and get baptized. It was too late to reform and start living a good moral life. All he could do was beg the dear Savior “Lord remember me.” He did not try to pray a long elaborate prayer; he just said, “Lord, remember me.“ And the Saviour remembered him and that thief was a Christian for only a few hours at the most, but he has been in heaven for over two thousand years, and no one can throw him out. And then I think of that old self-righteous persecutor, Saul of Tarsus. He hated Christ and His gospel and His Church. But God had mercy on that blasphemer and saved him on the Damascus road while he was yet breathing out threatening and slaughter against Christ.
But mostly when I think of God’s grace abounding to me the chief of sinners, worse than all these I have mentioned, I see how amazing God’s grace is. I was as vile as sinner could be. I was worse than Manasseh and the harlot in Luke seven, and the dying thief and Saul of Tarsus put together. But God set His affection on me in the eternities and saved the vilest of the vile. The blood of Christ availed for me. “I once was lost, but now am found”!
Are any of my readers vile sinners who are in agony of soul? Is there some soul out there broken hearted because you know you have offended such a good and holy God? Well, I have the gospel for you. God’s grace is greater than all our sin. God justifies the ungodly. You may come to Christ as you read these words. You don’t have to wait until you get to the church this Sunday. You may be saved from your sin as Manasseh, the harlot in Luke seven, the dying thief, Saul of Tarsus, and millions of other sinners to whom God’s grace abounded. As dear Joseph Hart wrote, “come ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore. Jesus ready stands to save you, full of pity, joined with power.” Flee to the Saviour of sinners. Your sin is not as great as His grace and you will find that His grace is indeed amazing. May the Holy Spirit draw you to Christ this very moment.