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March 29 – The Spotlight Is On

March 29, 2012

“The law was added 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.” – Rom 5:20-21 (NIV)

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” – Rom 3:20 (NIV)

Paul was not offering encouragement to those who were unwilling to discipline their lives and follow after righteousness.  The context in which he wrote was purpose of the Law: to throw a spotlight on sin and to increase man’s awareness of its consequences.  The Law increased the sinfulness of sin by bringing it into sharp focus.  To bring it home personally, Paul is simply saying that God increased the guilt of sin by increasing my knowledge of its evil.  That in no way put me, while convicted by the law, beyond the reach of grace.  As verse 20 of chapter 5 just said, “Grace increased even more” in able to reach my sin.  God’s grace is sufficiently abundant to cover the most sinful life if that heart turns to Him.  It’s a paradox… that just when I become fully aware of my sinfulness is the moment when I most realize my desperate need for His grace.

The Prodigal Son had to reach the depths of degradation and realize that he had no resources; nothing with which to reverse his ruin before he decided to throw himself upon his father’s mercy.  I have noticed how that with a child, everything rocks along just fine for him until Mom and Dad starts teaching right from wrong.  The moment I tell my child no, the temptation is there for him to do it regardless.  I’ve seen this principle in all of my children.  You see, it brings the temptation into focus, and if they violate the rules, they suffer the punishment.

I am daily reminded of just how weak I am.  Like Paul, the things I want to do, I find myself not doing; the things I do not want to do, I find myself doing.  But I am so extremely thankful and humbled by the grace and mercy of my God.  He has committed Himself to me and loved me so much, He punished His Son upon the cross as a sacrifice for my sins.  Justice is served while mercy is offered… all in a single act.  All I can do is bow down and worship Him.  May I do so every day of my life.  May I know fully the life of righteousness and godliness which He has planned for me.  Furthermore, may I be confident in His promise of everlasting life promised to those who have accepted His grace on His terms.

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