Two authorities lay claim to reign over all the earth. One is the reign of sin and the other is the reign of grace (Rom 5:21). The god of this world (2 Cor 4:4), the devil, uses the power of sin to rule over the sons of Adam (Acts 26:18). The God of heaven and earth, Yahweh, rules in righteousness through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who has been given all authority (Mt 28:18).
The personification of sin and grace helps us to understand their respective realms. King sin rules in unrighteousness. This means that anything and everything that is contrary to God’s Law of righteousness is acceptable. King Jesus rules in righteousness. This means that the standard of the Law of righteousness is met and satisfied only by Him (Mt 5:17).
Adam, the first man and federal head of humanity, sinned against the Law of God (Gen 3). Through him, sin entered the world and entered him (Rom 5:12). Sin polluted the world and also polluted Adam’s soul (heart, mind, will). Adam’s nature was now controlled by sin (Eph 2:3). Every thought, every affection, and every decision was distorted from the standard of righteousness (Gen 6:5). Adam rebelled and defected his allegiance to Lucifer and his domain of darkness (Col 1:13).
The spiritual death of Adam’s soul ruined his relationship to Yahweh (Rom 8:7; Eph 2:12), and Adam’s offspring (humanity) inherited sin in their nature from conception (Ps 51:5; Rom 5:12). Because all sinned in Adam, all die (Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:22a). Sin and death continue their reign, today, as sin continues to pay its wages, which is death (Rom 6:23).
The dominion of sin is powerful, deceitful, and destructive. Men are ignorant of their status as children of the devil (1 Jn 3:10), bearing the image of the devil, who was a liar and murderer from the beginning (Jn 8:44). Men must obey sin, and they do so by sinning. They love sin (Jn 3:19), despite their being condemned by it (Jn 3:18). Sin reigns by deluding its subjects. Sin kills every man, but it is, “death by chocolate,” if you will. Simply put, sin is made pleasurable, as it destroys sinners.
The reign of grace began in the eternal council of Almighty God. In His predetermined plan (Acts 2:23), God wisely purposed in Christ (Eph 3:11), who was foreknown before the foundation of the world (1 Pet 1:20), to save a people for His own possession (Mt 1:21; 1 Pet 2:9). It would be grace that would save them from their sins (Eph 2:8).
As chosen people received God Himself in Christ (Jn 1:12), reconciliation was made by grace (2 Cor 5:18–20), from the throne of grace (Heb 4:16). The character of grace is always righteousness. Grace reigns through righteousness (Rom 5:21), and righteousness comes to men by imputation of grace — not Law (Gal 2:21).
The reign of grace is much more than the reign of sin (1 Jn 4:4). It supersedes it. Grace overrides sin (Rom 5:20). This is no ying-yang playing field of balance and equality. Only grace competes with sin, and only grace triumphs over sin (Jn 16:33; 2 Cor 2:14; 1 Jn 5:4).
Men under sin are known by their bad fruit produced (Mt 12:33; Gal 5:19–21). Sins of the flesh flow from the choices conceived in the wicked heart and mind (Jer 17:9; 1 Cor 2:14; Eph 4:17), controlled by one’s sin nature (Eph 2:1–3).
Men under grace are known by their good fruit produced (Gal 5:22–23). Works of the Spirit flow from the Spirit (Is 26:12; Eph 2:10; Jas 2:14–26), willing and working His grace, in the regenerate heart and mind (Phil 2:13).
Grace is not peddled like a product or service for men to accept or reject. It is also not an enablement or empowerment to merely aid people in their bodies of sin and death. Grace is a divine action from an omnipotent government, to reign in the recipients of God’s Spirit (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; Gal 4:6; 2 Tim 1:14; Jas 4:5). Just as sin demands obedience and provides irresistible allure, much more does irresistible grace cause God’s people to walk in His statutes (Ezek 36:27).
Salvation of God’s elect, redeemed, regenerate, holy nation is by grace from beginning to end (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1). Grace initiates, and grace completes (Phil 1:6). Grace authors and it perfects (Heb 12:2). Only grace is on the throne (Heb 4:6), and the kingdom of grace operates within the bounds of God’s covenant with Himself (Mt 26:28).
God retains His righteousness, as He extends forgiveness of sins to His beloved saints (Col 1:14; Eph 1:7), who He has adopted into His family (Rom 8:15, 23). These justified sinners have been given the right to call God their Father (Gal 4:6; 1 Jn 3:1), having received His love poured out in their hearts by His Spirit, given to them (Acts 2:38; 10:45; Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 5:5).
There is no Gospel preached, unless there is sovereign grace present and clearly presented. The good news of grace is that our Triune God has done it all (Ps 37:5; 57:2; 138:8; Is 26:12; Phil 2:13). It is all from Him. It is all through Him. It is all to Him, so that all glory is ascribed to God (Rom 11:36; 1 Pet 4:11), not to us (Ps 115:1; 1 Cor 1:29). God has made the way to be grace, and Jesus is the way of grace (Jn 14:6), by which God accomplishes what concerns us (Ps 138:8), and which is always sufficient for us (2 Cor 12:9).
The God of all grace, who called you, Christian, to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Pet 5:10). For this we must rejoice in the only God our Savior (Titus 1:3; 2:13; 3:6), through Jesus Christ our Lord, the King of grace, to whom belongs glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen (Jude 1:25).
Spokane Valley, Washington
June 3, 2022