18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For some time now this has been my favorite passage in all of scripture. Not just because verse 18 makes a pretty decent argument for free will, but because it (v18) provides hope and because 20 and 21 are my story. During the darkest times in my life I've found God right there with me. I have run from his love and he has pursued me. I often wondered how it was that the dirtier I got the closer he seemed to get. It seemed the faster I ran from him the more fervently he pursued me. In the face of an angry and deliberate rebellion God showed only mercy and love. Why was that my experience? Because that's how it works. Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.
I've been persuaded lately to read some Matt Chandler. He's no Isaiah, but he's not bad. He grabbed hold of every part of me and has absolutely ruined me for anything but Him. The process of sanctification has been and still is quite often a very difficult one. No one told me (or maybe they did) that Jesus wanted my heart. I thought there was going to be some behavior modification and some new friends but I didn’t understand how aggressively, ruthlessly and passionately He was going to search and destroy in me anything that wasn’t of Him. Nor did I understand how dark my heart truly was and how out of fear, pride and arrogance I would argue, complain and resist almost every advance of the Holy Spirit to reconcile every part of my being into holiness.I'm convinced this is what has been going on in my life. The process for me, up until now, has been quite painful. I have come to understand just how dark my heart is, and I think through my pain and anger god exposed those things in me that needed killing. I have complained and resisted most of what he has done, but his grace is ruthless and his blood is powerful. I don't think I've fully surrendered my heart to him (I'm sure I'll ever be able to) but I know now that he won't take anything less. I know that there is little I can do to stop it now. It's still painful at times, but I'm confident in his grace, I know I can't out sin him. Where sin increases, grace abounds all the more.