12. In Christ Alone

Romans 5:17

How much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Adam, the first man, fell because he was not able by his own strength to confirm himself in righteousness. Similarly, if we were to attempt to stand in our own righteousness, assuming that we could attain to it in the first place, we would fall also. But we do not fall. We stand instead, and the reason we stand is that we do not stand in our own righteousness.

So we sing:

Jesus thy Blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

’Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

Moreover, it is not only that we will stand in that final day of divine judgment. We stand now, which is what the phrase “reigning in life” refers to. It means that by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion and empowering of the Holy Spirit, we are victorious now. In this way, the gift of God in Christ far surpasses the effects of Adam’s and all other transgressions. Right now, we have life and communion with God, and we live for him now.

We were in Adam once, and we fell in him. What then? Good news! We can escape the effects of Adam’s fall. More than that, we can rise above the position in which Adam first stood. We can stand in a divine righteousness, which is perfect and can never be taken away from us. It enables us to reign in life, triumphing over sin, as Adam, in his own human (though once-perfect) righteousness, could not.

Therefore we can sing:

On Christ the solid rock I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

Dear friend, you and I know quite well that our assumed goodness is no goodness at all. Our goodness cannot be therefore our basis for righteousness, especially righteousness before God. Are you “in Jesus”? Adam was not “in Jesus,” and he fell, even from his high pinnacle of human perfection. If he who was once humanly perfect fell, what chance do you have to stand, you who are corrupted by many sins and wholly disposed to unrighteousness? Your only hope is to believe in Jesus and be joined to him. So, are you “in Jesus”? If so, whatever happens, today or tomorrow know that you are Christ’s, and he will uphold you to the end. Therefore, live for him and give thanks to him. If not, then you will remain and die in your fallen state. The choice is before you. Call on him that you may be in him.

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