Romans 5:20-21 

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

We humans are suckers for the one, most dangerous lie. It has haunted us from the last day in the Garden of Eden, to the minute you are reading this right now. The lie was devised by the Devil, the Father of Lies (John 8:44), so no wonder it is so “good” and we keep falling for it. Like all “great” lies, it is half-true. This also is key to its power over us. 

The lie accuses us first, then tells us how to feel, then tells us what to do. 

  1. The lie tells us that you have done many, countless bad things. Just look back over your life, do you dare deny it? 
  2. Having proven this point, don’t you feel ashamed? You should! 
  3. Finally, what are you going to do about this mess you are in and this mess you have made? You must work harder to fix yourself and make things right again. 

We’re predisposed to believe all three parts of the lie. We’ve done many bad things (sin), we can’t deny it. We easily feel ashamed for it, if we dare look at ourselves. We would love to make these things right, but we’re also trapped in hopelessness by it – because it’s a cycle that is impossible for us to break on our own. Satan is so pleased with this lie and has found it so effective, that he has placed it at the root of all belief systems – they all spring out like different flavors of the same poison. Even those who have been freed from the cycle by the good news of Jesus, often climb back onto the spinning wheel of the lie and spend much of their time and energy on it – living like they are lost again. 

That is the lie, it’s not the reality. We need the truth! We need reality. Romans 5 gives it to us. 

The standard of perfection (the law) came in to show us how far from perfect we are and to force us to admit it. Hard, but it’s reality. “But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more”. Here, reality violently peels away from the lie. As your sin increased, grace increased even more. This is everything. This is the difference between sin reigning in death and having eternal life through Jesus. 

  • If you added more dirt, God added that much more detergent and bleach – you’re still clean! If you’re 100% clean, you can’t look down and see dirt anymore! And you can’t try to clean yourself, there’s nothing left to scrub!  
  • If you went further into debt, God added twice as much money to your account – you’re still rich! If you have an infinite bank account, why stew over that poor purchase? Why go out to try and make minimum wage on your own? Your debts have been paid in full, there’s nobody left to pay!
  • If you abused and killed another person, Jesus went to death row for you – AND DIED. It’s over, it’s been made right, there’s no point in you going back into prison, sitting down in your cell, and trying to pay for your crime. 

You should be skipping and dancing right now, but I’m afraid that the lie still has a grip on you. “Yes, God’s grace can cover my sins, but I should still feel shame,” you say. It feels like God will be more approving of us if we debase ourselves and live in the shadow. But look back at the three examples above. God did an earthly example of these things for Israel and God’s heart pours out through the prophet in Isaiah 61:7, “Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.” 

The LAST thing God wants you to do, after rescuing you from the treadmill of slavery to sin and the effort to fix yourself, is for you to climb back on! That doesn’t make him happy, it breaks his heart. Instead, soak in the reality and reject the lie! Stand firm in His everlasting joy and cast off the cruel and pointless habit of shame and of pushing God away until you are “good enough” or “better”. In Christ, he’s already made you perfect. 

Remember Galatians 5:1 

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.