In 1911, Julia H. Johnston wrote the text of the hymn Marvelous Grace (Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sin).
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!
The emphasis of grace is taken from the text of Romans 5:20b.
“but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,”
The apostle Paul, in writing to the church in Rome, compares the sin of man (which we inherited from the first man, Adam) to the grace of God (which is His means for our salvation through the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ (the second Adam).
Grace exceeds but is not excessive; no more than is needed. None is wasted. Grace wins over any sin of His children, overcoming sin and revealing His grace through us to others.
As I have sung this hymn through my childhood and into my adult life, in relation to Paul’s letter, God has revealed the power of His grace as paramount to the power of sin in my life. The truth of His grace to related to our own sins, and the sins of all believers (vs. 4).
This past week, He has shown me something even greater.
Grace Greater Thank Any Sin or Circumstance
What place does grace play in our relationships to other people, believers and unbelievers?
If His grace exceeds our sin and our guilt; if the blood of the Lamb was spilled; if His grace pardons and cleanses us within, what happens to this grace when someone sins against us, hurts or disappoints us?
Do we forfeit His grace when someone offends us?
Or does this same grace ~ grace that is greater than all our sin ~ remain strong and prove to be greater than anything man can do to us?
If a wealthy man meets a poor man, does the poor man, through his status, take away his wealth?
A wealthy man does not change. He may, in generosity, offer the poor man money, food, or whatever he needs, but the poor man has no power to make him poor.
In the same way, we who are born of the Spirit of God’s grace, made rich in heavenly blessings, do not give up our status as God’s children by allowing the person who offends us to take away our grace. Rather, we respond to those who offend us, or who sin against us, by remembering who we are, in Christ. We, in grace, forgive, pray for them, bless them as we would our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and return good for evil (Romans 12:21). Grace abounds through us, even beyond the sin of unbelievers.
Grace That is Sufficient for All Things
Paul also speaks of grace that is sufficient in weakness and infirmities. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
This is the amazing, marvelous, infinite, matchless grace of our loving Lord living and reigning within us. God’s grace rules and wins over all else.
Gracious, heavenly Father, whose love for us exceeds our expectations, and whose grace is greater than our greatest sins, continue to show the extent of your love and grace through us to others, even when they offend or betray us. Make our relationships and our circumstances the means of revealing your greatness and power in all things. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.