Which Side of Calvary?
Romans 5:20 – 6:1
5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Years ago I was studying Romans, and was deeply struck by Paul’s statement that God’s grace was to “reign” in our lives; be the king, be that which we always bow to etc. In my opinion, God’s grace IS the foremost message of New Testament scripture. It IS what Jesus Christ came to introduce to us. It was the end of living under the law; the beginning of living under God’s grace!
God’s grace is THE most life changing truth there is. God so wants us to know that right standing with Him (righteousness), has been DECLARED unto us, not because of anything we’ve done, but because of what Jesus has done. We are to receive by faith this great truth, that He that knew no sin, became sin, so that we MIGHT BECOME the righteousness of God in Him!
Today, by virtue of the new birth, any of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord are to live a life full of confidence towards God and heaven, knowing that Jesus Christ tore down the dividing wall that separated us from God, and has through His death and resurrection caused us to sit down beside Him, at the right hand of God Almighty! We ARE right with God, not based upon our behaviour, but based upon Jesus behaviour. His righteousness has been imputed, deposited, into our lives and we can now walk boldly to the throne of Grace anytime we choose to.
Sadly very few in the body of Christ do so, as they continue to live under the mind-set of being under the law. They continue to see themselves through the lens of their mistakes rather than through the lens of Jesus Christ’s victory. They’ve not yet come to the truth that their sins are truly under the blood and no longer visible to God and heaven. The message of acceptance is just too good to be true to them and they fail to walk confidently in life. As it says in Hebrews 4:2, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”
While studying these things the Lord spoke to me with this question, “Which side of Calvary are you living on?” It was loud in my hearing that I thought it must have been audible. It struck me so deep that it was my choice as to where I was going to live, on the “law” side of Calvary or on the “grace” side of Calvary? I realised that in my free will, I could go to either side, and often did. I understood much more clearly why we were warned against “frustrating the grace” of God as it says in Galatians 2:21. Scripture warns that we through insisting on living under the law still is a declaration that Jesus’s death and resurrection was of no purpose and all in vain!
When you begin to teach the true grace of God there will always be many who will accuse you of saying that its okay to sin then. That’s why Paul said in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say to all this? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid.” When I read that, I asked myself the question, “What was the ‘all this’ that Paul spoke of? Of course it referred to the entire revelation of the previous five chapters of Romans, that declares how right standing with Almighty God has been purchased for us through the cross of Christ. It spoke of all this GOODNESS that has come to us who believe! Grace is the great liberating truth of the bible! And yet some say that when we preach Grace we’re justifying people’s sins.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer introduced the words, “cheap grace,” as a warning against such indulgence. However we need to understand exactly what he meant by this. “Cheap grace” justifies the sin rather than the sinner. True grace on the other hand, justifies the sinner, not the sin. Hallelujah! This is what the blood of Jesus did for us! All of us had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but through the cross of Christ all have been justified by His grace! (Romans 5:21-24).
Why don’t we actually see what God did? I think the major area we miss it is in not understanding that it’s the GOODNESS of God that is intended to change us and enable us to say no to sin. Look at Romans 2:4;
Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)?
If we truly believe and preach the grace of God, again there will be many who will accuse us of not sharing enough about sin. What they don’t seem to see, is that you can’t speak to people about sin, without first sharing with them the grace of God, because scripture teaches that it IS the revelation of the grace of God, THAT EMPOWERS them to say no to sin! If all we do is preach sin, people will live in a state of sin-consciousness, but God’s will is that today on this side of Calvary we live in the state of righteousness-consciousness! We’re to boldly say, “I am right with God! Not because of my behaviour, but because of Jesus behaviour! I am now one with Him! God sees me as IN HIM!”
Libraries can be written regarding this truth of God’s grace, but let me finish with this wonderful statement from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who was the Pastor of Westminster Chapel from 1938-1968.
First of all let me make a comment, to me a very important and vital comment. The true preaching of the gospel of salvation by grace alone always leads to the possibility of this charge being brought against it. There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really amounts to this, that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound to the glory of grace. That is a very good test of gospel preaching. I would say to all preachers: If your preaching of salvation has not been misunderstood in that way, then you had better examine your sermons again, and you had better make sure that you really are preaching the salvation that is offered in the New Testament to the ungodly, to the sinner, to those who are dead in trespasses and sins, to those who are enemies of God. There is this kind of dangerous element about the true presentation of the doctrine of salvation.”
What a statement, if we’re NOT preaching a gospel that causes misunderstanding by some that causes them to think we’re saying its okay to sin, we’re probably NOT preaching the truth about the work of Jesus Christ!
Ask yourselves the question, “Which side of Calvary am I living on?” If you’re still living under laws about this and that, you’re on the wrong side, the death side of the cross. Come on over on the life side of the cross! The living is MUCH better over here!