“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20–21, KJV 1900)
I had a discussion with a man one time about religion. He told me that he wished he was a Baptist. When I asked why, he stated then he would not have to go to purgatory. As we got into it further, he just could not understand why a terribly sinful person could repent just before the end of his life and freely enter Heaven. I answered his question this way. First of all, every person has transgressed the law of God and therefore there is none that are good. Yet this did not seem to answer the question.
Next, I went on to explain that forgiveness is only given by people who at that moment display a magnanimous character and that those who forgive much display something even greater. We would honor someone who would display such a magnanimous character. Then I explained that God is infinitely great and as He forgives the repentant sinner, He receives glory and honor. To forgive the worst of sinners displays the magnificence of God’s infinite grace.
Paul makes this point, that God’s grace is greater than all of man’s sin. Sin is limited to the acts of men, it is finite. Yet, God’s grace is unlimited, infinite. The word translated “much more abound” is huperperisseou, which means to abound beyond measure (Strong, G5248). God’s grace infinitely exceeds the sins of men. So, Paul makes the point, “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
Early in my evangelistic experience, I met a woman that was convinced that God could not forgive that which she had done. I asked for the pastor’s help and he calmly pointed her to 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, KJV 1900) He asked her, “When God says all unrighteousness, is there anything not included?” She said “No.” It was at this point she believed.
Friends, there is no sin or amount of sins that God’s grace cannot cover. When God forgives us despicable sinners and cleanses us from all unrighteousness, we become a display of God’s infinite grace for all eternity.
(Make sure you read tomorrow’s blog for the rest of the story.)