By John Blase
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 daily may indeed reflect the kind of love that is deep and enduring, while the “I sure do love my Ford F-150” kind of love may not.
And here’s something. In today’s passage, the apostle Paul shows the kind of love that motivated Christ and is exemplified in His grace.
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift which comes through the grace of the one man Jesus Christ overflowed to the many.
Wait, isn’t there more than one kind of grace in the world as well? Yes, 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 translation renders it, “aggressive forgiveness” (v.20, The Message):
The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now consider 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 when it comes to love.
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”(Romans 5:19).
When all is said and done, a love that displays grace wins.