“So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone. For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:18-21 Christian Standard Bible
I have two sisters, both are younger than I am, so obviously that makes me the firstborn. My sister next in age to me is 18 months younger, and the youngest is 5 years younger. My two sisters were quite bonded to each other for many years. I, on the other hand, was mostly estranged from my family. Why? Honestly, I have no answer except that we lived in what could often be described as a battle zone. Growing up in that atmosphere I learned to be “inside” myself, even though I am an absolute extrovert! When my mom died at the beginning of my senior year, it spelled the beginning of the end for my immediate family. For the most part we went our separate ways, except for a few months when we all lived with my dad and stepmom. After that short time period I spent most of my time alone until I married.
Have you ever found yourself wondering what you might have become if your family dynamics had been different? What could you have done if your history was filled with positive experiences, if you had been treated as someone with great potential? But perhaps this was your experience, growing up knowing your value in a safe and loving family. If it was I envy you, because it wasn’t mine, far from it.
Where might you be today if the dynamics of your family had been encouraging, convincing you there was nothing you couldn’t do? I have spent hours considering these questions as I drove along my route on highways, city streets, and back roads to meet my customers. Years ago I worked for a uniform supply company, and my route had plenty of driving which gave much time for contemplating the possibilities of the road not taken.
No matter how difficult life appeared for me growing up I was aware then as now there is always someone whose circumstances are such that my complaints pale in comparison. Just considering what Jesus gave up for me is mind boggling, and always leaves me filled with shame for the petty complaints coming from me. I still wake up next to the woman I love, the one God created just for me. My daughters are doing well; they still talk with us, enjoy being with us. I am blessed with friends who have given much to me, more than I am able to give in return. They are the friends who are my Iron Sharpening Iron, and keep me from “getting the big head”!
This post could almost be called the Tale of Two Kingdoms, for there are two kingdoms involved. One is the Kingdom of God established since before time itself existed. The other is a kingdom developed in the mind of one who sought to be greater then the Creator. In each kingdom there remains one very real similarity, they are both defined by the number one. However, how that number is applied is as different as night and day!
Let’s take the kingdom the usurper sought to establish in place of the Creator’s. Lucifer sought to elevate himself above God; in doing so he would establish his throne above God on Gods holy mountain. As I mentioned, the most important number in this kingdom is the number one, that number one refers to self. In the kingdom of the enemy of God, which is who Lucifer became. Self reigns supreme, there is no higher power than the self-centered one! It is the imperative of that kingdom that one be centered on the self!
This is the kingdom Adam and Eve chose when they believed the lie of the enemy! It was this kingdom from which God had to rescue humanity. For this kingdom of the self-centered one is detestable to God! “So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone.” God had an answer for the rebellion He knew would eventually reveal itself as an attempted coup in His Kingdom.
The kingdom of God, where Adam and Eve originally began their lives, also has One as it’s most important number. However, there is an extreme difference where the center of the one is found. In God’s Kingdom of Grace the One is always the other or others—those who are in need, hopeless, helpless, lost, full of fear, caught in the vortex of darkness, or in prison whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual! In the Kingdom of God the One is always someone else, the One God brings into our lives that we may learn the this basic concept of God, ministering to the needs of others!
“For just as through one mans’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” This reality was met at the cross of Jesus Christ on a Friday afternoon 2000 years ago. The only truly innocent man, Jesus, took the sin that was rightfully mine to the death that was definitely mine, giving me that which was impossible to be mine, eternal life.
Over and over God declares, “Is there anything impossible for the Lord?” Sarah laughs and God asks,”Is there anything impossible for the Lord?” The Angel Gabriel appears to a young girl in Nazareth announcing to her she has been chosen to become the mother of the Messiah. Gabriel declares, “There is nothing impossible for the Lord!”
I believe what gets in the way of God’s Grace in my life is me! It’s not really the enemy as much as he would like me to believe that. He was defeated a long time ago, on a hill where a man, the God of creation died for His created. Mostly the problems arise when I listen to the wrong voice: “The law came along to multiply the trespass.” And that’s where we stop as the enemy points his finger in our face mocking us! “But where sin multiplied, Grace multiplied even more…” This is what the enemy doesn’t you to know!
Consider how much God has invested in you, me, everyone who’s lived, is living, will live on planet Earth. There is no way He will allow any One to be stolen from Him! Did you get that? Listen, God has promised to fight for you! Reality Check: God is fighting for you every moment of every day. He is passionate about you, He has had plans for you from the nano-second He conceived you in His mind. He desires intimacy with you, He already knows everything there is to know about you and still He comes seeking you. That’s Love without strings because God isn’t a Puppet Master!
Today we begin a week-end focused on the most amazing gift ever offered in the history of this world. Its Creator chose to rescue His creation with the offering of Himself in our place! Nowhere do you find any other religions god offering themselves for their “worshipers”. It’s exactly the opposite. God so Loved He gave, Jesus so Loved He gave. Will we love enough to receive and then to give? Its all in the importance of being One!