For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. (Rom 5:17)
I find this verse incredibly exciting! Those who “receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness” can actually, “reign in life through Jesus Christ!” God’s rule and reign come through His grace and the gift of His righteousness. This kind of life is above the natural plane, it is the essence of life that God Himself enjoys (Greek= zoe’). The same life that raised the dead body of Jesus, lifting Him above sin and death, is infused into the person who by faith receives Christ as their life and righteousness!
Paul wrote that, “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17) The life that is in right relationship with God, does not work from the outside in, but rather from the inside out! Paul shows us that righteousness (think: God’s kind of life and living) is a gift that we receive at Christ’s expense. And this gift makes all the difference! It’s a real key, not only to going to heaven when you die, but to fruitful and courageous living now!
Reigning in life through the gift of righteousness – this is the heritage of those who believe in Christ. Don’t settle for less. Intimidation, fear, insecurity, bondage, and the like are not part of God’s plan for you any longer. This isn’t pie-in-the-sky triumphalism. In this world we do face many trials, hardships, and tragedies. But the life from above overcomes it all. This is triumphant life now, even in the face of the worst circumstances.
So how does a Christian go about tapping into this? Well, it doesn’t come by pursuing it the way the Pharisees did. It’s not something you can produce by sheer will power and moral determination. Again, it is only received as a gift from God by faith. His resurrection life works “toward us who believe.” (Eph 1:19) Did you catch that? God’s power has a target audience! It’s like a guided missile. It doesn’t target those who seem to have it all together or who have been real good lately. It targets those who know their need and really expect God to be merciful to them on Christ’s behalf!
Consider this awesome promise from the book of Isaiah:
In righteousness you will be established; You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear; And from terror, for it will not come near you. (Isa 54:13)
Getting established in God’s kind of righteousness takes the believer to an entirely new level of living. To be established in something means to be firmly grounded and rooted in it. You must fill yourself with the truth of God’s grace and the gift of righteousness.
And the effects? You will be far from oppression! (To oppress means to exercise hard control over something.) You will live in freedom from the things that formerly controlled you, like sin and fear! Instead you will know peace and joy and confidence. Believe it. Believe Him! Receive God’s abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness in Jesus, and begin reigning in life!
For most people, receiving the truth of God’s word is facilitated by confessing that truth out loud, back to God. Why not confess what you believe right now?
Father, I praise You for the good news that in Christ You have lifted me above sin, death, and fear. I believe Jesus Christ has become my righteousness. I lay down my life and accept His! I receive the free gift of divine life in Christ and the glorious freedom that you intend for all your children. I am no longer a victim, casualty, or slave. I am a joint-heir with Christ and I reign in life through Him! Thank you Father! In Jesus’ name, amen.