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TEXT. — But where sin abounded, grace did much more abounr. — Rom. v. 20.
Sin and grace, are in our text, placed in contrast
with and in opposition^ to each other. Like two
mighty warriors in battle array, standing ready for
conflict, one seeking to vanquish, to destroy the
Every person, is either under the dominion and
• control of sin, or of grace. The apostle argues thus,
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves
servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye obey ;
whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto
righteousness," (Rom. vi. 16.)
Sin and Grace, are diametrically opposite TO each other.
, I. As to their origin.
Sin proceeds from the devil and fTom man. Grace comes from above, it descends gently like the early dew, from the Father of mercies.
II. They are different in their influence.
Sin 'reigns like a tyrant, with an iron rod and drives men against their better knowledge and con-
136 SUPERABOUNDING GRACE.
victions, from one degree of wickedness to another, until they are entangled like the bird in the net of the fowler, or like the wild beast in the trap, where all their struggles will avail them nothing.
Grace, constrains and leads with the cords of love, with the power of truth through the better feelings of the heart and the convictions of their minds, so that they become ready and willing captives,
III. Sin and Grace^ are different in the con^ sequences their service entails.
Sin darkens the understanding, perverts the judgment, hardens the conscience, draws the soul away from God, the only true source of peace and happiness, and entices men to the putrid fountains oi the world, its sinlul delights and indulgences^ where they in vain seek to slake the thirst and satisfy the cravings of the immortal spirit. Sin
leads to shame, disgrace, remorse and ruin here and herealte|L
Grace however, has quite an opposite influence, it enlightens the mind, directs the judgment, elevates and ennobles and fits man for the duties of life, leads to and brings us into fellowship with the virtuous and good, imparts peace and hope and joy, and secures the assistance and approbation of God.
SUPERABOUXDIXG GRACE. I37
IV. Sin and Grace are alike j a fid yet unlike in regard to their p(rwer.
Both abound, (the German says are mighty.) Of sin it said, it is mighty, but of Grace, it is mightier, both have a powerful constraining influence. But mighty as that of sin is, that of Grace is still mightier.
When we speak of sin, when it is made the subject of thought or reflection, there are many per4
sons, who imagine that it has only reference to gross immoralities, such as cursing, swearing, drunkenness, lewdness, murders, thefts anil the like, such crimes which blacken the character of the individual and are injurious to societ}'. They think not of the inordinate desires, sinlul aftections and thoughts of the heart, the opposition to God, His laws and especially the great plan of salvation, and yet these are not only equally sinful, but are the prolific source of ail outward sin. For the Lord says, (Math. xv. 19,) "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies." Ever since sin etered into the world, its power and influence, has been great. From its source, as from an exhaustless spring, it has spread like a might)^ flood, over the whole race of mankind. Many evils, which aflfect mankind, as for example,
pestillence, famine, the horrors of war, are restricted 10
13^* SUPERABOUNDING GRACE.
to particular nations, countries and localities. But this is universal. From the time sin entered into the world, it has flowed on the whole earth like a mighty flood, and reigned like a tyrant and brought kingdoms under its iron yoke of oppression.
But, it has also brought individuals under its
sway. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and it reigns with absolute sway in the individual, as long as he remains under its dominion, takes possession of the whole man, with all the powers and affections of his nature. The prophet says, (Isa. i. 5, 6.) "The whole head is sick, the whole heart faint. From the sole ot the foot, even unto the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrifying sores."
And the worst feature in the case is, that men are controlled by the power of sin, to such a degree, that they are led, contrary to their better
•knowledge and convictions, to live in a manner they know they ought not, and to do those things which they have seren in thousands of cases, have proved ruinous, and yet they blindly rush on to ruin. O ! how universal and how great the power of sin ! To what an extent does it not abound? To what a height of torgetfulness of God and wickedness does it not lead men ?
SUPER ABOUNDING GRACE. 1 39
We are not surprized to see the fearful reign of iniquity in heathen nations. Language fails us to describe it. The apostle gives a fearful account of it, as it existed in his day.
"Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, adultery, covetousness, maliciousness, lull of envy, murder, deceit, malignity, haters of God, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful, &c.''
Nor has their situation improved by the lapse of
Nor is the situation much better, in nominally Christian lands, though restrained somewhat by the influence of religion. Yet what iniquities abound in all circles, amongst the high in rank and the ordinary class of society, and all this against light and knowledge. Look at the robberies, murders, defrauding, incendiarism ; the heart sickens at the picture.
It' is however, only in the light of God's word, Jhat we fully learn to realize^ the extent of the reign and power of sin. But shall it always be so? Is there no remedy, no counteracting influence, no power greater than that of sin ? Yes, thank God, there is, our text says, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
140 SUPERABOUNDING GRACE.
V. Themightier influence and power of Grace.
The word grace in general, means unmerited mercy, bestowed by God. But here in the text, it means the great plan of salvation, wrought out by Jesus Christ, through which the individual and the world, are to be rescued from the power and dominion of sin. Thus the apostle uses the term, (Eph. ii. 8.) "By Grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."
Hence also the apostle calls it the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2nd Cor. viii. 9.) Because he purchased it. Hence the gospel, the religion of Christ, is called the Grace of God, (Tit. ii. 11.) "For the Grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto all men." Now of this Grace it is said; It abounds more than sin ; It is mightier.
This Grace is co-extensive with sin, the^ text says, "Where sin abounded Grace did more abound." It is intended to counteract the effects of sin, wherever found.
Wide as the reach of Satan's rage
Does thy salvation flow, Tis not confined to sex or age,
The lofty or the low.
It has proven its efficacy upon heathen nati^ons. Wherever it has been declared, it has modified the cruel laws of nations, banished superstition, raised
3UPERABQUNPING GRACB. I4I
the tone of morals, and thousands of individuals have by its power been freed from the dominion of sin. Yea, whole nations have been regenerated and become the followers of the Lord Jesus. Individuals, too, the worst o!' characters have felt its freeing and transtorming power. Those possessed of devils in the days of the Saviour, though raving, that no man could bind them, were delivered and were found sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in their right mind. Mary Magdalene, a notorious sinAer,
was freed from the dominion of sin and made an humble follower of Jesus, through this all sufficient
And thus in every age, many have been delivered from the power of sin and been transformed into new creatures in Christ Jesus. Slaves to their passions and lusts and to all manner of vices, long fettered and bound as by iron chains, have been liberated, raised from the degradation of sin, and have become useful members of society and active in every good work. And the same grace can keep them, through faith unto eternal life. Let not the individual, under the bondage ot sin, dispair of ever being delivered from its power. True, he cannot free himself, but Grace, more powerful than sin, can set him free.
142 SUPERABOUNDING GRACE.
Let no one dispair of his friends, of his^children,
but commend them to the Grace which is in Jesus, by fervant, believing prayer. Let not the Christian in his conflicts and trials despond, for unto him, the Lord says, "My Grace is sufficient for thee." Let us not imagine that the church cannot rise to a higher degree of activity and zeal, to a greater degree of holiness. Let us not dispair of the world, as though the tide of iniquity would overwhelm it.
For in due time the all conquering Grace of Jesus shall overcome. For the kingdoms of this world shall yet beicome the kingdom of our God, and Christ Jesus shall reign from the river unto the ends of the world.
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