Sin --> death; Grace --> Life; Grace trumps sin: therefore UR.
Boy did I step into it today. At church this morning, (being a Sabbatarian, today is my church day) we discovered that our usual study class (what we call Sabbath School) had been moved/cancelled/other because of a Mothers day brunch being held where we usually meet. The teacher had been told it was cancelled so had not prepared. Plus he was frying pancakes for the brunch. So we decided, about 6 or 8 of us – to meet kind of impromptu – in the mothers room. The weeks lesson was titled “Sin” and, while this was NOT my week to teach, I found myself questioning how the lesson study guide was using the weeks memory text; Romans 5:18.
To date, I have not shared, explicitly, my UR convictions publicly. Just best not to label oneself that way and risk charges of heresy. Today, unplanned and unrehearsed, all that changed. I found myself formulating this thought out loud; We know that sin and death are linked. Sin leads to death; sin pays it’s wage, that wage is death. (That’s Phillips rendering of Romans 6:23) However, just as sin and death are linked, so too are Grace and Life; this is seen, among many places, in Ephesians 2:8. So, in a manner of speaking, Grace and Sin are in tension – in conflict. Then we come to Romans 5:20 and hear that where sin increases, Grace abounds all the more. So it seems obvious that Grace trumps Sin. And the obvious, logical results of this dynamic are simply stated right there in Romans 5:18. Sin comes to all (and thus death comes to all) through the one man, Adam. But likewise, and not only counter to but TRUMPING this is that so too does LIFE come from one Man; the Christ – through the Grace of God.
From that point, it deteriorated (from the perspective of my friends listening and countering) but from my perspective soared! I brought up many of the classic UR passages: 1 Cor 15, the notion of God’s TOTAL Victory through Christ in Colosians; the idea that for death to HAVE no sting OR victories, it could NOT been seen as retaining those held in death forever. Those blessed open gates in the New Jerusalem! It all just sort of tumbled out.
Now, in the weeks to come, I’m going to have to live with the fallout (if there is any) of my impulsive articulation of the sensibility of UR. (which was roundly rejected – as you might imagine)
In the meantime, I need to ask you all about the validity of my admittedly simplistic formulation of sin and grace in tension and the fact that grace always prevails over sin. Sin kills; Grace brings life. And Paul says Grace always abounds more than does Sin. That should mean – shouldn’t it? – that logically, Sin is defeated by Grace and UR must therefore be the eventual result. Thus it would be difficult to find a text more affirming of UR than Romans 5:20…