Those who have received Jesus Christ are members of his kingdom. God has rescued us from ‘the dominion of darkness’ and made us to stand in ‘the kingdom of the Son he loves’ [Colossians 1:13].

In this kingdom grace reigns. In this kingdom grace is the operating principle [Romans 5:12-21].

This reign of grace is Paul’s theme from Romans 5:12 through to Romans 8:39. Indeed it continues right through to the end of Romans 11.

Here in Romans 5 to 8 we learn that this reign and rule of grace has terminated forever the powerful and inescapable tyranny under which we used to live before we knew Christ.

Before this reign of grace death reigned over all men [Romans 5:12-14,17; 6:23].

Before this reign of grace sin reigned over all men [Romans 5:21].

Before this reign of grace law, and the accompanying condemnation, applied to all men [Romans 5:12-21].

Under this horrific and ruling sin/law/death trilogy there was no way anyone could escape condemnation.

But now in the kingdom of Christ, where grace reigns:

We have justification/righteousness [that is, God has declared us ‘not guilty’ because of Jesus Christ] instead of accusation, judgment and condemnation [Romans 5:16-19; 8:1,30-34; 9:30-10:4].

We have life instead of death [Romans 5:17-21; 6:4-5,8-11,13,23; 8:2,6,10-11].

We have freedom instead of slavery to the law [Romans 7:1-6; 8:2].

We have freedom to serve God instead to being held down and kept back by our sin and guilt [Romans 6:13,22; 7:4,6; 8:5-8].

In this kingdom of his Son God never again relates to us on the basis of our performance but always, ever and only on the basis of his grace.

And in this are two challenges:

Firstly, that we who belong to Christ’s kingdom should never again see ourselves under the sin/law/death trilogy of condemnation but always, ever and only under the grace/faith/life trilogy of justification;

And secondly, that we who know this grace as the principle by which God relates to us, should relate to others always, ever and only by this same operating principle of grace.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2009