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MUCH MORE
by Philip Owen

            Charles Dickens’ famous orphan in the novel by the same name, Oliver Twist, is legendary for invoking the wrath of the head of the orphanage where he lived by making one simple request regarding the skimpy amount of porridge he had received:  “More?”  Sometimes as a question, sometimes as a plea, often as an unspoken desire, that yearning has been the portion of the human heart throughout time.  The youngest child to the oldest adult has often found himself wishing for or desiring more.  Much of our desire for more is misplaced, a craving for something essentially worthless if not absolutely harmful to body, soul, or spirit.  On the other hand, the Lord is a God who abounds in goodness and grace, a God who delights to offer in appropriate ways “much more.”  That two-word phrase occurs twelve times in the New Testament, four of which occur in the fifth chapter of Romans, a chapter that might appropriately be labeled “The Much More Chapter.”  Let’s glance at the “much more” references found there.

            “Much more . . . saved from wrath” (v. 9).  Paul has observed that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (v. 8).  If God loved us enough in our sinful, rebellious state to give His Son that we might be justified, it ought to be clear that as ones justified through His grace, He will deliver us from the awful wrath that awaits the unregenerate in hell.  We are to rest in the rich assurance that “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).  Justification finds its fruition in deliverance from every genuine evil that might otherwise befall us.

            “Much more . . . saved by his life” (v. 10).  Paul continues in this marvelous discussion to note that if by Christ’s death we were reconciled to God, “much more . . . we shall be saved by his life.”  If Christ’s death effected the reconciliation of sinners to God and brought us into favor with Him, how much more will His life ensure our eternal security “seeing he ever liveth to make intercession” for us (Heb. 7:25).  Christ’s resurrection attests to the Father’s satisfaction with Christ’s payment for our sins.  Christ’s seat at the Father’s right hand assures us that the Father hears (so to speak) the voice of His Son who spilled His blood on our behalf.  He continues to save, sanctify, and protect us.

            “Much more . . . the gift by grace. . . hath abounded” (v. 15).  Paul has noted that by the offense of one man—Adam—all die.  And the certainty of death is starkly obvious.  But, Paul argues, what is even more unequivocally certain is that Christ’s death secured the gift of grace, namely, eternal life, to believers.  More certainly than the fact that every death proclaims the sin of man and God’s wrath upon that sin, the death of Christ promises the salvation of those who believe and God’s rich blessing upon them.

            “Much more they . . . shall reign in life” (v. 17).  Having remarked that “by one man’s offence death reigned,” Paul declares that “much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”  By Adam’s sin men became slaves to sin and death.  By Christ’s sacrifice, sin and death become slaves to men made righteous through faith.  Adam brought slavery and death; Christ bought rulership and life.

            This chapter ends with another “much more.”  “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (v. 20).  Since “much more abound” translates a single Greek word, it does not meet the criterion to be included here.  But we conclude with it anyway because it conveys in a spectacular way the same point that has already been made:  God is infinitely generous toward those whom He has called.

            Charles Hodge makes this provocative and encouraging observation on this passage.  The believer “ever lives below his privileges, and goes limping and halting, when he should mount up as with the wings of the eagle.  Still it is important for him to know that assurance is not an unseemly presumption, but a privilege and duty.”  Amen.  Before we cry for more, God has already answered.    

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