Romans 5:12-21, Genesis 3:17-19, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22
Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve heard the phrase “love wins.” It has become a rallying cry for a collection of voices, an umbrella-like conviction wide enough for many to stand under. But while inspiring, the phrase begs for clarification because there are a number of different kinds of love in this world.
C. S. Lewis highlighted four loves. Someone else might insist there are more or less, but the point is there is more than one kind of love. The sacrificial love a spouse practices on a daily basis may indeed reflect the kind of love that wins in the end, while the “I sure do love my Ford F-150” kind of love may not. So it’s not so much a wrong phrase as a vague phrase. Something more specific would serve we the people better.
And here’s something. In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul gives us an alternative for “love wins” that covers the necessary bases. In other words, it is just as powerful while at the same time rings even more clear. Paul’s phrase? Grace wins.
“Wait, isn’t there more than one kind of grace in the world as well?”
Yes, good catch, as there most certainly is. There is the grace the old hymn writer called “amazing” and there is also the grace said before supper. But leave it to old Paul and that thing called “context” to provide our needed clarity. When Paul uses the word “grace,” he is talking about, as one translator renders it, “aggressive forgiveness.”
Now chew on that for a second or two. Grace is God’s aggressive forgiveness. And if we fancy ourselves as people of grace, which we like to believe we are, then aggressive forgiveness will be a defining characteristic of our lives as well. But far too often we practice something along the lines of dragging-our-heels forgiveness, which is why far too often we are not winning.
So grab your used copy of C. S. Lewis and drive around in your F-150 and love everything and everybody, okay? But remember—“for just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
When all is said and done—when there’s a loser and a winner—grace wins.
Written by John Blase