Reigning In Life

For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) —Romans 5:17

We have often rehearsed this verse in our discussion on Yeshua Fulfilled The Law, in which we had an exegesis of Romans 5:12-19. The most important thing in that passage is that just as one man was sufficient to bring death upon us all, so one man is sufficient to bring life to us all.

Now, we received death from Adam as a free gift, whether we wanted it or not. But Messiah offers the free gift of his righteousness, and of eternal life, which is received by faith.

The reign of sin has been overthrown by the reign of grace.

Sin expressed itself through the “free gift” of condemnation and death.

Grace expresses itself in the “free gift” of righteousness and life.

Now, if grace is reigning in us then.....

We Are Called To Reign In Life
Nine (9) times in this one passage Paul uses the superlative “polus” = “much.” Verses 9, 10, 15 (three times), 16, 17, 19 (twice).

He is talking about abounding sin, and even more abounding grace. Paul stretches the limits of language in an attempt to convey the magnitude of the death sin brought and the even greater magnitude of the life grace brings. “Polus” might be translated as “much more” or “many.”

much more shall be saved from wrath through Messiah. —9 much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.— 10 many be dead, —15 much more the grace of God hath abounded unto many. —15 the free gift is of many offences unto justification. —16 much more shall we reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) —17 many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. —19

At this point we need to focus on “the much more” of God’s grace toward us in Yeshua Messiah.

The Much More Of Our Salvation —v 9, 10
Paul presents, side by side, two great aspects of the work of Messiah; his death and his resurrection. Along with these , Paul presents the two-fold benefit which has posted to our account: total escape from the wrath of God, and full access to his life and fellowship.

By the sacrificial death of Yeshua we gained a legal acquittal from all charges of violating God’s law. We are now justified by his blood.

But Paul is not satisfied to rest there. Paul is not content with a salvation offering only a right to acquittal in the day of judgment. He wants to experience the grace of God in his present life. And he sees that this is also part of the gospel.

If Yeshua’s death could achieve such a wonderful reconciliation while we were still his
enemies, how much more can his life achieve for us now that we are his friends!

Paul says:

For if we were reconciled with God through his Son’s death when we were enemies, how much more will we be delivered by his life, now that we are reconciled! —Romans 5:10

So, the death of Yeshua gave us access to the legal pardon of God: but the resurrection of Yeshua gives us access to the living power of God.

Death could not hold Yeshua, nor could the grave imprison him. Nothing could withstand him as he rolled away the stone and walked out of the tomb.

That same irresistible resurrection life is surging within ever man and woman who comes into union with Messiah through faith.

Paul says, “we shall be delivered by his life,” and he means TODAY as well as Tomorrow.

The word “saved” = “sozo,” and you may recall from earlier messages that “sozo” describes complete salvation of body, soul, and spirit. It means to completely rescue spiritually and physically. It refers to both spiritual and physical healing. It describes deliverance from any sort of personal bondage, freedom from every affliction of Satan.

When Paul says, “we are saved by his life” he must be understood as saying also “we are healed by his life” or “delivered by his life” or “preserved unharmed by his life.”

BUT...the effect of “sozo” can be nullified by unbelief.

You can refuse to shake off your chains and walk out of prison
You can close your mouth and refuse to shout, “I am being saved by his life.”

However, if you boldly take hold of God’s “much more,” knowing that it is true for you, knowing that you stand in the grace of God, and that you have obtained access to the fullness of Messiah, then you will rejoice in the hope of sharing in his glory (doxa...God’s good opinion of you in Messiah) and of the resurrection life of Messiah making you whole (sozo).

The Much More of Our Personal Victory —v. 17
As a people who are indwelt by the living Messiah, we are called to “reign in life.” That means we are not to be defeated by life, but to be victorious in every situation.

The Impossibility
It is not possible for the Messiah, who is in you, to be defeated. Therefore, as long as you remain united to Messiah through faith, it is ultimately impossible for you to be defeated.

There is simply no defeat for the people of God. Even when they lose, they win, as long as Messiah is in them. Their death becomes resurrection, their sin is drowned in the grace of God, their failures are stepping stones to a greater success.

The Conflict With Satan
Now, usually, this is the part where people begin wringing their hands looking for someone to step in and take over. Perhaps the clouds will part and Yeshua will come and make everything better. (sigh)

FAITH never looks for more to be ACTS on what has already been done.

Now...about that conflict with Satan...the Bible only ever uses three words in connection with that, “
they overcame him.” (Revelation 12:11)

Believers may lose a battle, possibly many battles, but in the end they must inevitably win the war! The reason for that inevitable victory is simple...

The weapons they use are those which unite them with Messiah, and in alliance with him, it is utterly impossible for them to be finally defeated. These weapons are, “the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony.”

Therefore, being in Messiah, you are a man or woman who ultimately cannot be defeated. No weapon that is used against you can ever finally prosper (Isaiah 54:17). Your declaration will be that of the prophet Micah:

Rejoice not over me, O mine enemy, when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me...He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his deliverance. Then my enemy will see and be ashamed. —Micah 7:8-10

There is no need for your victory over Satan and circumstances to be reserved entirely for the future. Since you must eventually triumph, why not start conquering now? Since you must eventually reign, why not reign now? Since you know that you are unconquerable, why not impose that victory upon your enemy now?

This Life
If Adam’s sin had power to make me a slave (Romans 5:17), how much more does Yeshua’s obedience have power to make me a king!

For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. —Romans 5:17

It was in THIS life that I was made a slave to sin and death, it is in THIS life that I can reign in righteousness. And knowing that I have access to abundance of grace in Messiah, I can never tolerate any kind of defeat.

My goal must be to fully enjoy the “much more” of the personal victory God has given me —a victory so much greater than any the enemy has gained over me.

The Two Approaches
If we really do have a victory that is “much more” powerful than our former defeat; if we have received abundance of grace; and if we are called to “reign in life,” then it follows that there are only two approaches we should take in any situation:

Change it by faith, or
Control it by faith

These are the only two modes of action that God approves of. He most assuredly does not condone a defeatist attitude. God calls on his people to rule their circumstances, not to be ruled by them.

Some things we can neither prevent nor avoid. But we can maintain inner mastery no matter what is occurring in the world around us. Then there are also times when God is willing to grant his children faith for a miracle which may shake the earth and change the course of history; either to control each circumstance, or to change it — faith will always find scope to do one or the other.

One night Yeshua sent the disciples across the lake in a fishing boat. At midnight a terrible storm sprang up and the disciples were overwhelmed with horror as they felt their boat sinking. They were slaves of the storm. It had shattered their faith and they were entirely at its mercy.

Just then, Yeshua came walking to them on the water. The disciples were so victimized by the storm they failed to recognize him and, thinking it was an evil spirit, they cried out in still greater terror. But yeshua was in full mastery both of himself and of the storm.

As the wind and waves howled around him, he walked calmly on. His faith was exercising
control over the circumstances. Later, when he had joined the disciples in the boat, and eliminated their fears, he acted even more strongly and commanded the storm to cease. Immediately a wonderful peace covered the whole lake. His faith had changed the circumstance. —Matthew 14:22-32

God’s Challenge To Reign
In every circumstance in life, God challenges us to act in faith either to control or to change the things which are happening. Men may bind your hands and feet, they may rob you of your possessions, they may threaten your life; or chance or accident may overshadow you with disaster; or you may find yourself imprisoned by stone walls and iron bars which no hand can break; but within that prison, or under that shadow, or despite that persecution, you can call upon God and get a word from him which will enable you to gloriously “reign in life.”

Perhaps, by faith, God will enable you to triumph magnificently in your spirit so that even crucifixion will become a redemption and a marvelous crown. Or he may give you a word of faith that will move mountains, break open prison doors, call down fire from heaven, and create a stupendous miracle of deliverance.

So Paul and Silas were not subdued by the cruel Roman lash, nor by the aching pain of the stocks, nor by the cold strength of their prison walls. They showed that they were still free men; in control of the situation, when, at midnight, they boisterously sang the praises of God. —Acts 16:20-26

This was faith exercising
mastery over circumstances. In their case, God resolved to do more. So he acted in response to their praise and tore the prison apart by a great earthquake. This was faith causing a miracle which changed the circumstances.

It is worth pointing our that Paul and Silas were free men before the earthquake loosed their chains and the jailer sent them away. They were just as free inside the prison as they were outside it. Their freedom lay within themselves. It was the freedom of faith, the triumph of men in Messiah who had learned how to “reign in life.”
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