Romans 5

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The cross of Calvary is the single greatest demonstration of unconditional love the world has ever seen. While we were enemies, he reconciled us (Rom. 5:10). While we were sinners, he died for us. Surely Jesus loves us more than he loves his own life.

Some worry that God loves them only when they are good. “When I sin, God withholds his love from me.” Nothing could be further from the truth. God loves you when you’re up and he loves you when you’re down. He loves you when you get it right, and he loves you when you get it wrong.

You need to settle this in your heart: God loves you. Period. Whether you’re in the zone or the gutter, the one constant you can count on is your Father’s unwavering love for you.

Further reading: “Is God’s love unconditional?

Romans 5:17

For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

(a) The abundance of grace does not fully convey the extent of God’s grace. The original word for abundance (perisseia) literally means super-abundant or superfluity. It’s derived from a word (perisseuó) that means “goes above and beyond.” God has a superfluous, excessive amount of grace, far beyond what we need. See also Rom. 5:20.

(b) The gift of righteousness. The gospel of grace reveals the righteousness of God is a gift that is received by faith (Rom. 1:17). Under law, you act right to get right with God. But under grace, you believe right and are made right by the grace of God, and as a result you can live right. Those who are trying to make themselves righteous can never succeed, but those who receive the free gift of Christ’s righteousness experience peace and joy.

The gospel is not a list of things you must do to inherit eternal life. It is the blessed announcement that the righteousness you need to enter the kingdom of heaven—the righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees and law teachers—comes to us as a free gift through faith.

Romans 5:20

The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

(a) Grace abounded. These words fail to capture the full magnitude of God’s grace. The original word for abounded is the same word Paul uses in Romans 5:17 – the one that means super-abundant – except here he adds the prefix huper or hyper, which means over, above, and beyond (huperperisseuō). If you think God’s grace is super-abundant to the point of superfluous excess, you are halfway there. And if you think his grace is hyper, you’re getting warmer but still not quite there. In Biblical terms, God’s grace is literally hyper-super-abundant.

Throughout his epistles, Paul uses a variety of big words to describe God’s hyper-super-grace. The meaning of these words is not always clear in English, but read the original language and you will find Paul writing about the lavish wastefulness of God’s grace (2 Cor. 9:8) and how God’s supply of grace is super-abundant to the point of being excessive (Rom. 5:17, 1 Tim. 1:14).

We lack scales for measuring God’s grace, but God’s grace is comparable in magnitude to his wisdom (see Eph. 1:7). God is as gracious as he is wise. But then says, “No, there really is nothing we can compare with God’s grace” (see Eph. 2:7).

In describing grace, Paul used three words: huper-ballō (Eph. 2:7), huper-perisseuō (Rom. 5:20), and huper-pleonazō (1 Tim. 1:14). You do not need to speak Greek to recognize the common element in these words. It’s the prefix huper or hyper which means over, above, and beyond. To put it in context, Paul also uses hyper-words for describing God’s power and love. God’s grace is as great as his power. It’s as limitless as his love.

Paul was the first to use the word hyper when describing God’s grace, but he was hardly the only one to describe God’s grace as extreme and over-the-top. John spoke of receiving grace upon grace from fullness of God’s supply (John 1:16). Saying God is full of grace, is like saying the ocean is full of waves. “Grace upon grace” means God can bless you with wave after wave of grace and never run out.

Peter wrote about the grace that comes from “the God of all grace” (1 Pet. 5:10) and prayed that his grace would be yours to the “fullest measure” or in increasing abundance (1 Pet. 1:2). Just as you can’t travel to the edge of the universe, you will never find the limit of God’s grace.

James, one of the most misunderstood writers in the New Testament, had a wonderful grasp of grace. He spoke of a God who gives and gives, which is a picture of unending grace (Jas. 1:17). “God gives us more grace” (Jas. 4:6). The original word for more in this passage is derived from the Greek word megas. God gives us mega-grace. James is literally saying that God gives us “exceedingly, great, high, large, loud, and mighty grace!”

Further reading: “Who are the hypergrace preachers?

To suggest that God’s grace is less than hyper is unbiblical, even blasphemous. It’s like saying God is good but he’s not that good, he’s wise but not that wise. Diminish grace and you diminish God. Get your understanding of grace from Christian magazines, and you can be forgiven for thinking that hypergrace is bad, modern, and unbiblical. But read the Bible and you will see that hypergrace is a small word for describing an extraordinary reality: The One who sits upon the throne of grace is exceedingly rich in grace and he has poured out his measureless grace upon you!

Further reading: “Is hypergrace biblical?

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