Tomorrow, I start a new home school year with my fifteen-year old grandson. This will be our second year working together to equip him with the knowledge he needs for life. My teacher’s manuals are stacked on my dining room table and as I look at books on Chemistry, English, Algebra, and History, it crosses my mind that the most important thing he needs to learn for a successful life is found in Romans 5:17 which says, “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (NASB).
Look at this Scripture again. There are two things this verse declares that are needed if one is to reign in life. Those are the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. In other words, all of the knowledge found in these wonderful books my daughter has invested so much money in may prove to have purpose for his life, yet, on its own this knowledge cannot cause him to reign or have a truly successful life.
This Scripture is not just talking about salvation either. In fact, the word ‘receive’ found in Romans 5:17, is translated from a Greek word in the present active tense. This means we are to receive these two things every day. Every day, as Christians, we need to receive the grace God has for us. We need to receive the blessings of Abraham and the blessings promised believers in the book of Ephesians. These blessings are only a part of God’s grace. God’s grace is our strength and wisdom. It empowers us for every challenge in our life. God’s grace enables us to overcome sin. It is God’s provision for us physically, emotionally and spiritual.
God has also given us the gift of righteousness. But so often we forget we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Should we fall short on any day – failing to control our thoughts or falling to the temptation to sin, whatever that sin may be, from overeating, addictions, idolatry, gossip, or whatever, we think God must be disappointed in us. The truth is, He is never disappointed in us. Our failures don’t take Him by surprise. Christ died on the cross knowing our every weakness and He knew every sin we would ever commit. He gave His life for us anyway. But He didn’t stop there. He also gave us His righteousness. Righteousness is a gift and it cannot be earned by our works. If we are to reign in life, we must understand that we are righteous in Christ, even when we fail. This is the truth that will set us free to reign. Without receiving this truth into our hearts, we lack power for living life successfully.
These two things – the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness – are two things I intend to teach over and over again throughout this year until its truth is grafted into my grandson’s heart. I fully believe that it is only by right believing that one can begin to live rightly. I am not after outward conformance. No, I am after his heart. I desire to see his heart transformed by the powerful truth found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I desire to see that he has the opportunity to reign!
If you feel like you are constantly striving to be better and do better but are making little, if any, progress in your goal. Or, if you are weary in all your well doing, I would encourage you to meditate upon Romans 5:17 and receive the abundance of grace and gift of righteousness available for every believer. Then, you will begin to reign! And, don’t forget. You need to receive it every day. Remind yourself to appropriate these gifts into every area of your life daily. Perhaps put a note on your bathroom mirror or the side of your computer, “I am the righteousness of God right now – I am righteous!”
A great book on the gift of righteousness and God’s grace for the New Testament believer is Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince. He goes to great length and detail to proclaim the ongoing goodness of God towards all who believe in Christ! This book is available at Amazon.com.
For all of you homeschooling moms and grandmas, my prayers are with you as you go about educating your little ones. I would appreciate your prayers as well. And, don’t forget Romans 5:17.