Amazing Grace: Where Sin Abounds, Grace Superabounds – Paul Says So!

The following is a transcript of a sermon given by  my uncle Santo Calarco at his church yesterday, who has been a minister of religion since 1981.  I feel privelidged that he has given me permission  to publish his article as it is his desire to share  his knowledge  with the  hope those who read it will receive some blessing from it. 

Where sin abounds grace superabounds: Paul says so!

 In Romans 5:20 Paul makes a radical statement that has been the thorn in the side for many believers throughout the centuries.  It basically sounds like Paul is creating a license for sin.  He says, “The law was added so that trespass might increase.  But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” 

 Although Paul has made it clear that grace is no license for sin (Romans 3:8) Paul is still maintaining that man’s sin cannot outstrip the grace of God.  Paul uses two important words in this verse that makes Paul’s intent clear.  He uses the word “increased” in reference to both sin and grace: where sin “increased” graced “increased” also.

 However the difference between the “increase” is not proportionate: where sin increased grace increased all the more!  How much more is the question: a little more, a lot more?  

 The Greek word for “increased” with reference to sin is not the same Greek word in regards to grace.  When Paul refers to sin increasing he uses the Greek word pleonazo and when referring to grace he uses huperperisseuo.

 According to Strongs Concordance the former means “abound” but the latter means “to abound beyond measure, to abound exceedingly, to exceed a fixed number of measure.”   In other words Paul is telling us that as sin increases grace increases disproportionately to cover that sin.  What amazing grace. Look at the way the Amplified Bible has dealt with the original language:

20But then Law came in, [only] to expand and increase the trespass [making it more apparent and exciting opposition]. But where sin increased and abounded, grace (God’s unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased the more and superabounded.

This is the gospel of God’s amazing grace according to Paul and admittedly it can seem to sound like license for sin.  Let me say this categorically and in no uncertain terms: unless the gospel we hear doesn’t “sound” like a license for sin then we have not heard the gospel of Paul.

 How do I know that?  In the very next verses Paul says, “shall we go on sinning that grace may increase”?  Although he is quick to qualify what he is saying Paul knows for certain that his message seems to sound like that very thing!

 As we read this verse we need to remember that Romans 5:20 is the climax of the message of the entire fifth chapter and needs to be understood within that setting.  Paul commences in verse 1 by telling us that since we are justified by faith we have peace with God. This is a summary statement of everything he just said in the book as a whole.  This verse also sets the scene for what follows in the chapter which climaxes in radical statement in verse 20.  In Romans 1-4 Paul has carefully set out to define what Justification by faith is.

 He tells us that to be justified means to be “declared righteous” not made righteous – in spite of all our failed attempts to keep God’s law. The word translated “declared righteous” in the NIV of Romans 3:20 is the exact same word as “justified” in Romans 5:1.

 To be justified by faith is not an ethical quality but a legal, relational standing one has with God through faith in the blood of Jesus. It has nothing to do with how righteous I become in regards my behaviour here on earth. To be justified means that God freely declares us righteous by faith in Jesus and then credits to our account all the good works of Jesus and credits all our sin to Jesus himself.

  See Romans 4:1-6.  It not only means “just-as-if-I-never-sinned” but it also means “just-as-if-I-had-only-ever-been-righteous”.  Although forgiveness of sins is included in justification (Rom 4:7) it goes beyond it: it also means acquittal which means we never committed any sins that need forgiveness. 

 The Revised Standard Version of Romans 5:18 translates the same root word as “acquittal” compared with “justification” in the NIV.   Forgiveness means we have committed wrongs but acquittal means we never have! 

 Because of all this Paul concludes that the believer has peace with God. Rom 5:1.  And just in case we still don’t get it, Paul continues to labour the point in chapter 5 by listing even more results that accompany this blessing. 

 Through a series of contrasts he speaks of the peace that comes through justification.  The key phrase in this chapter is “how much more” and climaxes with his radical statement in verse 20. 

 Paul tells us that we not only have peace with God as a result of justification but we also have a number of other things: continuing standing in the grace of God (v.2), hope for the future coming of Jesus (v.2) and meaning and purpose in trials (vv.3-4). 

 This hope that grows out of justification is grounded in the very love of God which has already been poured out into our hearts. Romans 5:5.   It is at this point that Paul commences his series of comparisons; his “how much more” statements. 

 He reasons that if God has already poured this love into our hearts through the experience of justification by faith (which has resulted in peace) and since God demonstrated this love to us through the death of Jesus whilst we were still lost sinners, then how much more certain can we be now in our standing with God: if he loved us and Jesus died for us when we were lost sinners then how much more now can we have peace knowing that we will escape his wrath? 

 Read verses 5-9 in one sitting carefully to notice the contrast.   He continues with the next contrast and says that if God made peace and reconciled the lost world to himself through the death of his Son then how much more should we rest peacefully secure since we will [not “may”] be saved through faith in Jesus life? Romans 5:10. 

 He goes onto say that if through Adam’s one sin we were all wrecked then how much more peacefully safe are we now in God’s grace that overflows to undo and compensate? Romans 5:15.  Then Paul finally arrives at his radical statement on the grace of God.  He says that if the introduction of the law worsened our situation by increasing sin then how much more at peace can we be, knowing that our standing with God is never jeopardized since God’s grace superabounds our sin? 

 What amazing grace! We cannot out-sin the grace of God:  this is the essence of the good news of the Gospel.  We can rest assured of the peace we have for it is grounded in the marvellous and boundless grace of God demonstrated through the doing and dying of Jesus.

————————————————————————————————————————————————Author Bio:

 Santo Calarco has been a Minister of Religion since 1981. He has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts, receiving awards for academic excellence and is currently completing his Masters Degree.

 Santo has written articles which have been published in “Ministry Magazine-International Journal for Clergy” and “South Pacific Record”. During the course of his ministry Santo has received professional training in Management by Objectives, Conflict Resolution, Group Facilitating, Communication Skills and Pastoral Counselling.

Santo has completed post-graduate professional training as a Therapist and is registered with the REBT Institute in New York and Australia. Santo is currently a Life Coach and Strategist, Lecturer, Motivational Speaker and businessman. He has spoken to crowds of up to 5000 all around the globe.

Santo’s greatest qualification he says is his life experience.

“My life was a shambles. It was riddled with anger, hostility and depression for 20 years! I tried so many forms of therapy and self-help for so long with little or no success. I had nearly given up hope until I began to study various forms of Cognitive-behavioural Psychology. This was the catalyst that began my journey and transformation. From my research I developed a specialised approach to self-empowerment. I am a strong believer in helping people help themselves and others. As a result, not only have I radically and rapidly changed, but I have also witnessed the transformation of many lives. The greatest thrill I get is when people contact me and say thanks for the massive, enduring transformation they received at my workshops.”

Through Focus For Life Seminars and Workshops you will learn how to use the simple, proven strategies of “CET” to develop long-term control, empowerment and transformation of your life.

For more information or to contact Santo please go to: www.focusforlife.com

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Jesus Speaks About Women

In 1887 Russian anthropologist Nicolas Notovitch travelled to India in the hope to study Hindu culture.   Notovitch arrived in Ladakh which is located on the northern border of India, as this was the point from where he would make his journey back home – through Karakorum and Chinese Turkestan. 

During his stay in Ladakh, Notovich had been told about a Buddhist monastery where manuscripts recording the life of Jesus were to be found.  These manuscripts were in Lhasa and was prohibited to ‘white’ man, as was the entire country of Tibet at that time.   

During that specific point in time whilst Notovitch was in Ladakh, it was known that the British government were suspicious that any russian who set foot in India was suspected of being either an agitator or spy, hence Notovitch began his journey home as the British authorities were getting nervous about Notovitch’s presence there. 

Notovitch did not make it too far when he fell from his horse, broke his leg and this forced him to stay at the Himis monastery. 

It was here that Notovitch took advantage of his stay and asked for the manuscript on the life of Jesus be brought to him. 

Notovitch showed the text to leaders of the Russian Orthodox church and this was not received well.  In fact he was advised that printing it could cause a litany of ‘problems’ so to speak. 

And then a year later Notovitch presented it to a cardinal who offered to pay him for his efforts in exchange for the text to be suppressed. 

In time though Notovitch did publish his findings The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ.    The following is an extract of the original Text of Nicolas Notovitch’s Discovery in 1887 and is of Jesus speaking about women. 

When I read this excerpt for the first time, it brought tears to my eyes as I had always intuitively known that religions have played an integral role in keeping  many ‘truths’ hidden from us – especially where women are concerned and their rightful place- their divine inheritance.

 

An old woman, who had approached the group to better hear Jesus was pushed aside by one of the disguised men, who placed himself before her. 

Jesus said:  ” It is not good for a son to push away his mother, that he may occupy the place which belongs to her.  Whoso doth not respect his mother – the most sacred being after his God – is unworthy of the name of son.

Harken to what I say to you:  Respect woman; for in her we see the mother of the universe, and all the truth of divine creation is come through her.

She is the fount of everything good and beautiful, as she is also the germ of life and death.  Upon her man depends in all his existence, for she is his moral and natural support in his labors.

In pain and suffering she brings you forth; in the sweat of her brow she watches over your growth, and until her death, you cause her great anxieties.  bless her, and adore her, for she is your only friend and support on earth.

Respect her; defend her.  In so doing you will gain for yourself her love;you will find favor before God, and for her sake many sins will be remitted to you.

Love your wives and respect them. for they will be the mothers of tomorrow and later the grandmothers of a whole nation.

Be submissive to the wife; her love ennobles man, softens his hardened heart, tames the wild beast in him and changes it to a lamb.

Wife and mother are priceless treasures which God has given to you.  They are the most beautiful ornaments of the universe, and from them will be born all who inhabit the world. 

Even as the Lord of Hosts separated the light from the darkness, and the dry land from the waters, so does woman possess the divine gift of calling forth out of man’s evil nature all the good that is in him

Therefore I say unto you, after God, to woman you must belong your best thoughts, for she is the divine temple where you will most easily obtain perfect happiness.

Draw from this temple your moral force.  There you will forget your sorrows and your failures, and recover the love necessary to aid your fellow men.

Suffer her not to be humiliated, for by humiliating her you humiliate yourselves, and lose the sentiment of love, without which nothing can exist here on earth.

Protect your wife, that she may protect you – you and all your household.  All that you do for your mothers, your wives, for a widow or any other woman in distress, you will do for your God”

The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ

That Silent Place

Two of the most influential writers and speakers of my time, and who have inspired my life is Dr Deepak Chopra and Dr Wayne Dyer.     I had the absolute privilege of attending a seminar in Sydney some 20 years ago now and this was the beginning of the rest of my life.  So profoundly moved was I for having heard them both speak, that I walked out of the seminar transformed.  I cannot  describe it any other way.

One of  my more  favourite books that Dr Chopra wrote  is ” Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”.  In the chapter The Law of Pure Potentiality, Dr Chopra suggest practicing silence periodically to experience this Law of Pure Potentiality.  He offers meditation, ideally 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening to experience this field of pure silence and pure awareness.  This is where he says ” is the field of infinite correlations, the field of infinite organizing power, the ultimate ground of creation where everything is inseparably connected with everything else”.

It is through meditation, going within to find this silent space, a space that Dr W Dyer also refers to it as ‘the gap’- that place between thoughts that you will find absolute bliss and connection with our source.  In the Bible it is expressed as: ” Be still, and know that I am God” .

It’s in that silent space between your thoughts that  we find stillness and we tap into our creativity.  However Dr Chopra suggests that in order to find that connection to the field of pure potentiality we need to practice non-judgement.  this is where we are constantly judging things as right or wrong or good or bad.  This creates what Dr Chopra calls ” internal dialogue”.

Dr Wayne Dyer also peaks about meditating and its purpose is to get into the gap where we enter that sacred space that we know as the unlimited power of our Source- the place that takes us to “that awareness”.

In his book  Getting In the Gap Dr Dyer says ” meditating is a way of quieting our chatterbox thoughts and swimming below the surface.  This is where we can be still and know God”.  He mentions that we have about 60,000 thoughts every day so it would be almost impossible to find that space between our thoughts    ‘the gap’ during our waking hours.  So in order to find that silent space – the gap – to connect to our Source- to find the “place of pure potentiality” as Dr Chopra puts it or “the gap that the magic and the infinite possibilites await us” as Dr Dyer writes, we must learn to meditate. 

It is through the practice of meditation that takes us to that ‘gap’ between our thoughts to make conscious contact with our Source  that we find God.