The book of Romans tells us how to reign as kings today, regardless of what’s happening to us or around us.
Reigning as Kings
In the previous post we were introduced to the abundance of grace that has already been poured out on us. We desperately need to heed Paul’s words as he urges his readers to walk in this grace so they can reign as kings, not only in the coming kingdom, but right now in the midst of the chaos. Here’s how Paul puts it in Romans 5:17: For if by the trespass of the one (Adam), death reigned (as king), much more those accepting the abundance of grace and of the free gift of righteousness, shall reign (as kings) in life through the One, Jesus Christ!
Life in the Risen Christ
I’ve already made my case that most Christians see their salvation as simply having their sins forgiven. If that’s all that happened, their standing before God would be as unrighteous guilty people who were allowed to go free because someone else paid the price for them. What is offered to them through Christ’s act of righteousness at the cross is not only a cancellation of their guilt (forgiveness), but life in the Risen Christ! This is what is offered to all of us.
Through our identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, our old life died with Christ and was replaced by the life of Christ Himself via the Holy Spirit.
Paul calls this a “justification of life” (Rom. 5:18). The risen Christ now residing in us has become our “standing” before God. We are complete in Christ (Col. 2:10) and He has become our righteousness-our standing. Do you see it? We have exchanged our sin for God’s own righteousness in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). This “exchanged life” is where all the action is. This is the life in which we reign as kings in the tough times as well as the comfortable ones.
Grade Your Quiz
At the end of this series, you will grade your quiz. Your answers will indicate whether or not you have grasped what Paul calls a “justification of life.” Please don’t let your pride keep you from admitting (to yourself and to God) that you’re not where you thought you were. Take comfort in the knowledge that you’re not alone.
Returning to our “reigning as kings,” we see that throughout Romans, Paul keeps making the point that where sin abounded, grace overflowed in super abundance. God lavished these gifts on His children (true believers in Jesus Christ) so that just as sin reigned as king through death, grace would reign as king through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 5:21).
God’s goal was that where death once had a kingdom,
grace would now have its kingdom.
We are, therefore, to reign as kings in this kingdom right now, dispensing to others the overflow of the grace which has been poured out on us. Our challenge is to move beyond understand to application. We must learn to reign in life as kings. Sometimes God must take us through prolonged seasons to teach us that apart from abiding in Christ, we can’t accomplish a thing of value to God.
Only then will we see the flesh as disgusting, vile, and reprehensible, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we must learn to walk in the Spirit every moment or our lives. The concept is clear. We will reign as kings in this life as we walk in the Spirit and deny the flesh. Doing it is the hard part. We may know that everything in our spiritual lives has already been done for us, but our flesh is always there, tempting us to do something to prove our worth, improve our standing, and be recognized for our accomplishments.
Not a Walk of Works
The reigning Paul is talking about requires no work on our part. It’s all about simply walking in the Spirit, but it’s not a walk of works. It’s more like the cable cars of San Francisco. Below the streets and out of sight are hundreds of cables that are constantly moving in a pre-determined direction. The conductors of the cars simply pull a lever to connect the cars to the moving cables. Each car simply gets pulled along. God is like the cable, always at work (John 5:17). We’re like the car, unable to fulfill our purpose on our own. As we choose to walk in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit connects us to our cable and we get pulled along wherever the cable takes us. We always have the ability to connect to or disconnect from our power source. Staying connected is the only way we can reign in life as kings regardless of what’s happening around us.
Reigning is staying connected.
Need a Pez?
As we try to grasp the whole process of how it works in real life, we must overcome our propensity to make it all about us and our new position. As Christians, our focus should be on others and our responsibility to be a dispenser of grace. I often hand out Pez candy dispensers when I’m trying to get this point across in my classes. In one of the Christmas versions, you push the button on the reindeer’s back and candy comes out its mouth. We’re to be like the reindeer when someone pushes our buttons. Instead of responding in the flesh, grace sweet as candy comes out of our mouths. Once the point has been made, whenever there’s a need for grace in the group, someone will ask, “Need a Pez?” As kings, we are in a position to ensure that grace is not only present, but that it reigns in the kingdom. Therefore, we can’t reign as kings without being dispensers of grace with Pez as the official candy of the kingdom and Ephesians 4:29 as the official Bible verse: Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Brought to Our End
I’m convinced that very few Christians have entertained the notion that they can actually reign as kings (or queens) in this life, right here, right now. Those few who consider it will quickly lose heart when trouble comes. They become like the seed that fell among the thorns (Mark 4:18-19). Until they are brought to the end of themselves, Christ will remain on the outside, a resource to be utilized when needed. Up to now, you probably refused to believe you were in bondage. You likely accepted your version of Christianity as the best that was available. After all, most of your Christian friends live just like you. You assume that those “greater things” Jesus spoke of must not apply to us today. It’s too convicting to think otherwise. Well, it’s time to think otherwise. It is possible to reign as kings in this life. It is possible to live your life as if in the eye of a hurricane. All around you storms are raging, but where you are, the sun is shining.
So, what’s your next move? If you still haven’t done it, surrender, holding nothing back. It’s time to climb down from the throne and let Jesus Christ reign in you, ruling over His kingdom through you. By now, the truth should be clear:
the more He will reign through us.
Please understand that Jesus isn’t before us blazing a trail for us to follow. This may have been the case before the Holy Spirit came to indwell us at Pentecost, but not now. He isn’t behind us, poking and prodding us to “stay in line.” He isn’t alongside us, helping when our load gets too heavy, nor is He under us, carrying us along, doing everything for us. The truth is that He is in us so He can be our life. He will carry out His will through us if we will just get out of the way. Once again, we need more than His help. We desperately need His life.
Won’t you come to the cross today and receive justification of life? Let grace reign in you as you enjoy your freedom from self-effort, knowing that through Christ, God has done everything for you. He desires your love, not your best efforts. Let His super-abundant grace flow through you to minister to those around you. There’s more than enough grace to go around.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
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