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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Current thoughts create your future

 In James Allen’s book As a Man Thinketh, he refers to the effect of thought on circumstances as such:

” A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth.  If no useful weeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”

If we are seeking to change anything in our lives, be it in our finances, health or relationships, we need to firstly comprehend the underlying principle that led us to our current set of circumstances. 

So then, the underlying principle is that  “thoughts have a frequency” and “what we think about we bring about”.  We manifest in our lives the circumstances and situations that reflect our thoughts or what goes on in our head!

Our current circumstances are a direct result of our past thoughts.  We attract that which we secretly harbour or hold in our minds.  Be it our worst fear – that which we don’t want to happen or what we love. Circumstances grow from this!

Our outer world shapes itself according to our inner thoughts.  Before we change change or improve our circumstances, we need to be willing to improve ourselves. 

We begin this by:

1.  Stop looking outside of ourselves for the cause of our circumstances.

2.  Look for the underlying law that regulates our life.

3.  Accept that whatever our conditions, they are brought about by ourselves and not by someone else.

4.  Become aware of our thoughts.  Reprogram our mind by controlling our thoughts via meditation.

You Get What You Think About

The Law of Attraction is something we see evidenced in our every day ordinary lives.  It is not something you need to believe in for it to work in your life.  It is quite simply a Law that IS.

To utilise the Law Of Attraction in your life, you need to understand it first.  For without this understanding of HOW it works, you can’t fully utilise it .  The Law Of Attraction responds to our thoughts – what we’re thinking.

so everything you have experienced thus far and what you attract into your life, you have done so and continue to do so through your own thoughts.  Even the experiences you seemingly don’t want to show up in your life do so because somewhere in your thinking you have drawn it into your life. 

Focusing on what you don’t want has as much attracting power as focusing on what you do want.  Have you ever thought about a job hated?  The more you thought about the job you hate going to, the more you thought about how desperately you wanted to get out of that job that you hated going to every morning,  the more your circumstances demanded that you stayed in that job?

Why?

Because focusing on what you disliked and didn’t want kept it ever so closer to you.  Whatever you don’t want will keep showing up in your life.  whatever you don’t like will keep re-appearing in your life.

So how do you change this?

Let us say for instance that  you don’t like your job, or hate it in fact.  This is where your thinking needs to change.  Remember that old adage ” what your resist persists?”.  Find a way to love your job- even if it isn’t the job of your dreams or where you want to be in 2 or 5 years from now.  Accept that you are where you are right at this moment.  Appreciate that it is for now providing you with a financial reward at the end of each week, or fortnight, or month. 

Be grateful you have a job where so many do not.  Once you have freed yourself the emotions of  disliking or hating your job start to visualise and think about what you would really love to do.  Have a plan.  Write it down.  Make a collage of pictures if it helps you to visualise where you want to be  in a year or so from now.

Think about your ideas, tell yourself that you will draw to yourself all the resources, people and situations that you need to help you fulfill your goals. 

Put all your attention to it.  And through doing this, you will draw it into your life.

Empower Yourself Through Any Setback by Tamara Vaughn

Here is an article by Tamara Vaughn ( pictured above) who began a transformational company known as SuccessNRG Inc, to foster growth and personal development in others.

Tamara Vaughn,  BA  JD  LLM, has been practising law since 1991 and life coaching since 1998. Her gift as a coach is to motivate and inspire others, despite their challenges, to find the energy and power to do the same. 

 

Everyone faces challenges in business and in life. And even positive experiences such as getting a promotion or finding Mr. or Ms. Right can present you with challenges. For example, a new position brings new responsibilities and sometimes new headaches, and a new love interest poses the challenge of having to compromise with another person when you’re used to doing things your way. The key to overcoming any challenge is to empower yourself through the event.

In fact, life’s challenges and adversities can be one of the most inspiring, creative, and resourceful periods of your life, if you only take the steps to focus on the positiveand not the negative. Unfortunately, most people have a pre-programmed, download of emotions that dictates how they react to challenges, changes, and transitions. And the majority of times these emotions are not positive. Rather, they are based on resistance and fear, and they put people in the position of reacting and not being able to turn around and direct the situation.

For example, let’s suppose you just got fired from your job unexpectedly. You honestly thought you were doing good work, you actually liked your job, and you had planned to stay there for a long time. Then one day your boss taps you on the shoulder and shows you the door. The natural emotions you probably feel are fear, sadness, and anger. “How am I going to pay the bills?” you lament. “What will happen to me and my family?” “How could they do this to me?”

While these are normal initial emotions, you have to realize that you getting fired from your job could be a blessing in disguise, because there is always something better out there for you…you just have to look for it. The following tips will helps you gain the confidence to face life’s challenges head on and turn them around into opportunities for growth.

 1. Accept that challenges are a learning tool. Challenges educate you about yourself. They define your values and clarify what’s important to you. During any challenge is the perfect time to re-create your life, because challenges force you out of your comfort zone. When people get into a comfort zone, they don’t like to mix it up.

Most people will stay in their comfort zone because although there’s not a lot of pleasure, there’s not a lot of pain either. But when you get uncomfortable, you find that you have resources, gifts, and talents that you haven’t even tapped yet. During times of challenge you havethe ideal opportunity to turn the events around and create the life or professional situation you truly want to live.

2. Be mindful of your self-talk. When overcoming your pre-programmed, download of emotions and re-creating yourself, you need to watch how you speak to yourself. For example, if you got fired from your job, you may hear yourself saying, “I’m a lousy employee.” “No one will ever want to hire me.” “I haveno marketable skills.” Such negativeself-talk will only keep you in a negative state and will cause you to sabotage your own efforts.

Therefore, focus on building yourself up through affirmations. Some good examples of affirmations for our job loss example are: “I am a committed, dedicated employee.” “I have an excellent employer with benefits.” “I am a knowledgeable person with a great deal of experience in my field.” “I am honest and have integrity and maintain that in the workplace.” Make sure your affirmations focus on the skills or traits that will help you overcome your current challenge. Write your affirmations down on 3×5 cards and keep them with you at all times.

Say them first thing in the morning and before you go to bed at night. Also, anytime during the day when a negative thought enters your mind, start saying your affirmations. Soon you will believe your new self-talk and you’ll have confidence in yourself again.

3. Visualize where you want to be or what you want in life. The human brain does not know the difference between that which is real and that which is imagined. So visualize the perfect scenario for yourself. Since we tend to draw to us things that we think about, you can start to re-create your life by simply visualizing what you want.

 As an added benefit, visualization also helps you define your values and beliefs. When you visualize the new job position you want, for example, you can create a picture of the type of company you want to work for and get a better idea of what’s important to you. Now, if an opportunity arises that puts you in a place that’s opposite of what you visualize, you can better decide whether it’s a right move for you.

 4. Surround yourself with a supportive environment. Face it, some people in your life are toxic to your success: people who are negative, who frustrate you, who sabotage your efforts, and who try to hold you back. You need to distance yourself from these people, even if it means hurting their feelings or damaging the relationship permanently. If the toxic person is a close family member, this step can be difficult, but it will free you to experience positive things in life. After all, when you’re trying to come back from a challenge, the only resource you have is your mind.

Therefore, you have to protect your thoughts and your speech, and you do that by getting rid of people who are negative and toxic. Remember that some people love to complain and want company for their misery. And as much as they seem to love you, they will sabotage you because your success intimidates them.

It’s easier for them to keep you down on their level. But this is your life and you have to live it for yourself, not anyone else. So focus on the positive people in your life and ignore the negative ones. Once you do, you’ll see a marked improvement in your current situation.

 5. Open yourself up to new possibilities and paths. Remember, a challenge can be one of the most creative times in your life. Therefore, give yourself permission to think beyond the obvious. After a job loss, for example, you might think to start your own business or to do something you’ve been putting off for years, like take a year off and hike through Europe.

Look beyond what you’re accustomed to and let yourself dream for once. As you do so, just ponder the new experiences and realize that you don’t have to act on the first thing you think of. Use your positive support network as a sounding board for ideas.

You may just stumble upon a new life path that leads to greater fulfillment and success than ever before.

Shift Your Situation Today

The bottom line is that challenges don’t have to make your miserable. When your confidence has been shaken due to a sudden turn of events, following these five tips will help you make it through the rough time and maintain your confidence. After all, you can’t go from surviving to thriving if you’re stuck wallowing in self-pity.

So put these five tips to work today. When you do, you’re bound to have a more enjoyable tomorrow…no matter what the situation.

About The Author

Tamara Vaughn is a speaker and author of the upcoming book, “The PowerShift Principle: Empowering Yourself through Life’s Challenges.” She is the president of SuccessNRG, Inc., a transformational company designed to foster personal growth and self-empowerment in others. Her experience includes 17 years practicing law, and 10 years of life coaching, seminars and workshops. Tamara has weathered the storms of adversity, personally and professionally, and her expertise is helping others do the same. For more information, contact Tamara at 866-64-Success or visit http://www.SuccessNRG.com.