“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
What does it mean exactly to “reign in life”?
I would like to propose to you that it means exactly what it sounds like: that Jesus intends for us to enjoy the benefits of every blessing He has given us.
He intends for us to be without anxiety, to be satisfied, to experience joy, and to be saved, healed, delivered.
How are we to receive these benefits? What do we do in order to get them?
That is the best news of all; we don't have to do a single thing. Jesus paid it all! All we have to do is receive. Read it for yourself in the passage above from Romans. Who is it that reigns in life?
It is, quite simply, “those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness”.
Grace is the unmerited favor that Christ offers to everyone who will simply say “yes”. The fact that it is unmerited should be a source of great joy to us; it means not only did we not earn it, but also that we can't lose it! If we did nothing to gain it to begin with, how could we possibly do anything to lose it?
Even more exciting is the gift of righteousness. Righteousness means “right standing with God”. It means that when God looks at us, and we have accepted the gift of eternal life through Jesus, God sees us as righteous. It means that even when we stumble, we are still “right with God”.
Remember that when Jesus died to pay for your sins, all your sins were future sins! So you're not just “okay for now” – you are “perfected forever”.
What the law could never do, and what we could never do through trying to adhere to the law, Jesus did for us.
And now, we are told that once we have received this abundance and this gift that we will “reign in life”; not in the mystical hereafter, but in life! In the here and now.
So what does it mean if we are not experiencing this thing called “reigning in life”? What does it mean when we are faced with sickness, or lack, or adversity? Should we be discouraged?
By no means! We should know that these circumstances are the work of the enemy. They are not God's way of “teaching us a lesson” and they are not His will for us. Believing otherwise is the opposite of “receiving the abundance of grace”.
Now be cautious, because this is the point at which it's easy to fall into feelings of guilt or self-condemnation. If you are experiencing sickness, pain, or adversity, don't blame God-and also don't blame yourself.
Simply step up, and receive that which has been freely given to you by the Son of God: the “abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness”. If you are facing any kind of suffering in your life, you might want to pray something like this:
“Father, thank you for the abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness that you granted me through your mighty work on the cross. Thank you for taking all authority over death and hell. Thank you for the gift of eternal life, and for the privilege of reigning in life through the one, Jesus Christ.”
Watch what God will do for you when you accept his gifts!