This post is dedicated to anyone who has ever made a mistake and lived to spread God’s grace.
I have a friend who has been heavy on my heart the past few days. Earlier this year, she made a bad choice and her final sentencing is less than a month away. While praying for her snippets of Scripture and song lyrics fill my mind. In the margin of my Daniel bible study I scribble:
-Where sin increased, grace increase (Romans 5:20) – Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin. – Not because we are righteous, but because of God’s great mercy. (Daniel 9:18) – Much (grace) is expected from those who have been given much (grace) (Luke 12:48) – He is able to do exceeding, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
I just received a new phone (my old phone finally gave out). I reach for my new phone to search the entire lyrics to the old hymn Grace Greater Than Our Sin and I wanted to find the exact location of the verse that says “where sin increased, grace increased.” This was the first online search with my new phone. As I typed “www.g” for Google something miraculous happened. The website to the lyrics of song I wanted to search appeared! And scrolling across the top of the page above the printed song lyrics was the verse I wanted to look up! WOW! Talk about freaky! This was totally God! I know my smart phone can’t read my mind, but I know God, who created my mind, can read my mind! I still get chills thinking about this!
Paul wrote the verse I wanted to find “Where sin increased, grace increased ALL THE MORE!” Those three little words stopped me in my tracks. How many times have I read and wrote the first five words to this verse, but overlooked the most important final three words: All the more?
All the more-those words became all the more important! Paul, was notoriously known for killing Christians in the days after Christ’s death and resurrection. Paul understood God’s grace. One day, while traveling to a town to kill more people, Jesus appeared to him and radically changed his life (and ours) forever. The book of Acts, written by Dr. Luke, records Paul’s miraculous transformation. Paul would go on to write over half the books for the New Testament and become a great champion for “grace given freely by Jesus Christ” Romans 3:24. But, don’t take my word for it, read all 13 of Paul’s books and read about grace in Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesian, Colossians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.
I open my bible to Romans 5:20 and there in black ink I see where I had underlined the words where sin increased, grace increased. I grab a purple pen (my friend’s favorite color) and circle the words all the more!
ALL THE MORE… -Reason to praise a Holy God -To fall on our face before God -To show compassion for others -To forgive -To extend mercy -To seek forgiveness -To ask Christ to be the Lord of your life
I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my life and I have made bad choices. And yet, where my sin increased, God’s grace increased all the more! If you notice, God did not extend just enough grace. No way, God provided all the more grace. He provides grace upon grace- a never ending supply of grace. He is not stingy with his grace- he provides all the more!
Grace Greater Than Our Sin -Julia Johnson 1849-1919 Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt! Yonder on Calvary’s mount out poured, there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt. Refrain: Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all our sin! Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold, threaten the soul with infinite loss; grace that is greater, yes, grace untold, points to the refuge, the mighty cross. (Refrain) Dark is the stain that we cannot hide. What can avail to wash it away? Look! There is flowing a crimson tide, brighter than snow you may be today. (Refrain) Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, freely bestowed on all who believe! You that are longing to see his face, will you this moment his grace receive? (Refrain) More song lyrics fill my mind. This time it is the R&B gospel artist J. Moss’s song “Good and Bad.” He writes “You love me through my good, you love me through my bad…you didn’t erase my future (hallelujah) because of my past (thank ya’). I’m glad you loved me through my good and my bad.”
Friends, I don’t know about you, but I have been blessed all the more!
Righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ. -Paul in Romans3:22-24
May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:12