Roscoe and Bubba were killing time one day when they discovered an abandoned well. Roscoe asked, "So, how deep do you think it is?" Bubba leaned over the edge of the well and spit, and they listened for it to hit bottom. When no sound emerged from the well, Bubba threw a rock in and listened for a splash. Nothing. Now really curious as to the well’s depth, Roscoe began searching around for something larger to throw in. He found a cross tie in the weeds, drug it over to the well and heaved it over side. Both men leaned over and listened for a sound, but they never heard the cross tie hit bottom. While leaning over the well, the two men were surprised to see a goat suddenly run up to the edge of the well, jump up on the edge and then jump down into the well. They stood there slack-jawed in amazement. A little while later a local farmer arrived on the scene and asked if the men had seen his goat. Roscoe said, "Sir, you are not going to believe this, but just a little while ago a goat ran to the edge of this well and jumped in." The farmer said, "Nah, that could not have been my goat. My goat was tethered to a big ‘ol cross tie!"
Often our Christian experience is like the episode of Roscoe and Bubba. Our lives are occupied with meaningless activities that lead us into trouble. The text in Romans 5:17 asks the question, "How much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life." Have you experienced the overflow of grace in your life? Is the gift of righteousness reigning in you?
Many believers operate from a sin management philosophy. They live in guilt and shame because they fail to live up to the standard of holiness associated with following Christ. Their faith becomes a never-ending effort to reduce the bad stuff in their life instead of reigning in life in Christ. We wind up attempting to manage our sin (so that it doesn’t get out of control) rather than victoriously reigning over life in Christ. Like a football team in a prevent defense, we live trying not to lose a game instead of pressing on to the victory that has been promised. The first half of Romans 5 describes our union with Christ, and in the closing verses of the chapter and the first part of chapter six we discover principles for transferring the spiritual reality of eternal life to reigning with a new heart on a daily basis.
CONCLUSION: A few years before his death, Edward Windsor, known better as the Duke of Windsor, gave an interview to BBC television. Asked about his upbringing as the Prince of Wales and heir to the English thrown, he said, “My father [King George V] was a strict disciplinarian. Sometimes when I had done something wrong, he would admonish me saying, ‘My dear boy, you must always remember who you are.” The Duke of Windsor could trace his lineage back centuries in England’s history in order to discover who he was.
To discover who we are, the believer in Christ has two lineages to trace. One lineage is in Adam. That lineage insures that we were slaves to sin, destined for death. But the other lineage is traced back to Christ—the Second Adam—who has give us a new identity, a new lineage, a new heritage—that of Jesus Christ himself. As Christians, we must always remember who we are. We are a new creation with a new heart that dwells in overflowing grace.