Romans 5:15

Saturday, March 4

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

I recently attended a retreat focused on “Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.” One thing I noticed immediately was that the word “Equality” was absent from the title. But after exploring Romans 5:15 I have discovered why. Equality is not part of God’s economy. Equity is.

Equality has to do with making sure everyone receives the same amount of something; resources spread evenly among the group. Equity is making sure everyone has what they need to end at the same point.

Sin came into the world through one man, Adam. Adam made a choice. From that choice came judgment resulting in condemnation for us all. But the gift of grace, God’s loving response to humanities offenses, results in our justification. If, by a single person’s offense, death came to the entire creation, how much greater is the gift to all who openly receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness which comes through the one man, Jesus Christ, our Savior.

God’s dispensation of grace is completely unequal, which makes my encounter with Jesus here challenging. I thank God for that that equity for myself, but the old Adam wants equality for those who are “worse” than I am. It’s fine that they receive grace but it should obviously be less than what I receive! Maybe just enough to get them up from Dante’s seventh circle of hell to maybe the second or third level but not out of hell altogether. The drunk who killed a neighbor, who on their death bed confesses their sins, asks God’s forgiveness, and believes will be my neighbor in heaven? Is that fair? That someone who has lived in opposition to God all their life has the same hope of salvation that I do?

Equality would say no. My sinful human nature wants to say no. But God says a resounding YES! God’s love and grace, the righteousness we have through Christ is not a pie where we each get an equal slice but more like rain that falls on everyone with no regard for worthiness or belief. It is like the seed thrown to the wind. It lands where it will. This is not a meritocracy, but a kingdom based on God’s expansive love and grace. Thanks be to God!

Faithful God, thank you for your gift of grace. May I grant it to others in the same measure as it has been given to me. Amen.

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