For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17
We can reign in life because of God’s abundant provision of grace—grace that isn’t just enough but abundant, and also because we have been given the gift of righteousness. God’s righteousness is a gift because we weren’t able to earn it. He freely gives it to us through Jesus.
The New Living Translation puts it this way: “for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.”
To reign in life is to live in triumph over sin and death. This doesn’t mean that sin and death have been eliminated, at least not yet. It means we aren’t paralysed by our sin since we know we have been enabled to live victoriously in the presence of sin and death. Even if there are times when we feel weighed down by our shortcomings we know that this is only temporary and ultimately we will triumph.
This promise is “for all who receive it.” Often we aren’t good receivers. To receive means accepting God’s abundant grace, and his gift of righteousness. We can’t do it on our own. Our own resources are inadequate to “reign in life” so we need to come to God and allow him to empower us, not as a one-off event but often.
As Annie Hawks wrote many years ago, “I need thee, O I need thee; every hour I need thee! O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.”