For many the idea of reigning in life is a pipe dream, a total unreality, yet this is what the bible promises. We were created in the image of God to reign as co-regents in the earth. We blew it, sinned, and everything became distorted. But in the gospel we see not only salvation but restoration – as the old hymn puts it, “He maketh the rebel a priest and a king…”
Paul very clearly says this in his unpacking of the gospel in Romans. In chapter 5:17 as Weymouth translates it, “For if by the trespasses of the one, death reigned as king through the one, much more shall they who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign as kings in the realm of life.” Wow! That’s something! Note the words, much more, abundance, gift, reign. That’s the promise of the gospel. This is for now. Not a future promise.
Now many live in Romans 7 “the good I would I do not, and the bad I don’t want to do that I do…” That’s hardly reigning. Some believe it’s the normal Christian life. Short answer, no it’s not. When we take that approach it becomes a pillow on which to lay our defeated heads – in other words, if that was what Paul said about being a Christian, what hope is there for me? The result? No hope of victory, constant failure. No, the gospel is bigger and better than that. Reigning is hardly about resigning. Romans 8 is the normal Christian life. And no, it’s not easy, there’s groaning and suffering, there’s paradox – strength in weakness and triumph in trials. This side of heaven it’s messy in the now and not yet of the Kingdom. But we have His Presence and Power in it all.
1. God’s will for us is to reign in life – not for it to reign over us.
2. the power to do so isn’t dependent on education, finance, status, it is based on Jesus and his glorious grace.
3. It’s not about trying harder but simply trusting Romans starts with faith and ends with faith – Romans 1:5, 17; 16:26. Jesus plus nothing equals everything.
4. That doesn’t mean we simply ‘let go and let God’. If there’s something that the enemy wants to get us into it’s passivity and inability. In the gospel God comes not only to save but He comes in and alongside to equip and enable us. Its not a walk in the Park, it’s a battleground, we have an enemy who doesn’t want it, and there will be decisions and actions that we need to take – it requires us to take RESPONSIBILITY and be INTENTIONAL – that’s what reigning is about!
What does it mean for us?
1. Truth must be known and used. People die for lack of it. Paul sometimes says “knowing this…” frequently we don’t. Christians need the gospel. We need to drink deeply from the well of salvation. The gospel is the law of liberty. Truth must not only be known but it must appropriated daily – the enemy is daily out to rob us of all that God has given in Christ. Faith is obedient, it can’t be anything else. Gospel truth not only saves, but also enables us to obey.
2. Grace must be received – there must be a constant reception and standing in grace – the enemy of our souls loves to get us into a performance mentality. Such an attitude messes with our relationship with God – He loves me, He loves me not, He loves me, He loves me not…. Romans 6:14 – “sin shall not have dominion (reign) over you for you are not under law but under grace.” Don’t let the enemy wrong foot you. Jesus plus nothing equals everything!
3. The gift of righteousness must be received and appropriated – our sin was imputed to Christ and His righteousness imputed to us, a full and complete righteousness. We have been made the righteousness of God in Him! Do we only have righteousness as a gift until our next sin? No. The reason for the no condemnation statement of chapter 8 is because we have been made completely righteous in Christ, not simply that we have been pardoned until the next time. The hymn comes to mind:
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.
Bold shall I stand in Thy great day;
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.
This spotless robe the same appears,
When ruined nature sinks in years;
No age can change its glorious hue,
The robe of Christ is ever new.
4. We are in a new realm – the realm of the Spirit. Romans 8:9. This is not about two areas inside us, a sinful nature and a new one. It’s about two domains, that of the Flesh and that of the Spirit. Unsaved people live in the realm of the Flesh – that which has been judged and is passing away. Those who are saved and have been transferred to the realm of the Spirit.
5. We have His Empowering Presence. God is with us empowering us to reign and live in newness of life. In fact the leading of the Spirit in Romans 8 is particularly a moral leading, to quote the Psalmist, “in the paths of righteousness.” He leads us and enables us to say no to sin – ‘mortify’ as the old translation put it. We can know his strength in the midst of weakness. We can know his presence and help in times of trial and suffering. His will is that we are more than conquerors.
What a gospel!
Some Scriptural Statements whereby we can confess our Faith and learn to Reign in Life
I am made in the mage of God.
I am loved by God.
I am justified, forgiven – totally! Forever!
I am no longer condemned – ever!
I am God’s son.
I am adopted and sealed with His Spirit – His alone, forever!
I am a new creation!
I am dead to sin and alive to God!
I can walk in newness of life!
I am have the power to say no to sin!
God’s Spirit lives within and enables me.
I am a king and I shall reign in life (notice small ‘k’, He is The King).
To that end I receive His grace and the gift of His perfect righteousness.
In weakness he gives me strength.
In trials he enables me to triumph!
Indeed, I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ.
You can listen to a message on Reigning in Life here: https://soundcloud.com/gateway-church-ashford/who-am-i-reigning-in-life