God is love (1 John 4:8), and we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27). To be truly human and live out our call to be image-bearers, we are to love and be loved. That is why God made us. For us to fulfill our created purpose of loving and being loved, the law of cause and effect must be at work. The good we do must be able to impact those whom we serve. The love we express must be able to work in the lives of those we love.

Unfortunately, the law of cause and effect is a double-edged sword. When it works in harmony with God and His will, it fosters the everlasting flowering of love and goodness. When used contrary to God’s will, it unleashes death and destruction. The reality is that any world made for love must be a world where our actions can have actual consequences. If good actions can have good results, evil actions must be able to have harmful effects.

Many people question the justice of God in permitting the whole world to be plunged into death because of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:14, 15, 17). They wonder how God could be good in a world where one wrong action can create so much pain. Their questions notwithstanding, there is no injustice with God, because Adam’s sin brought death to all humanity. A world where love can flourish must be a world governed by the law of cause and effect. That is a risky world that could and did go wrong, with terrible consequences.

In the same way that one man’s evil action could bring so much pain, however, one man’s right action can justly start the dominoes falling in a new direction. That is just what Jesus did. Through Jesus’ obedience, many will be made righteous (Romans 5:19) and many will find everlasting life (Romans 5:18, 21).

Have you ever looked at your life and thought, “I’m moving from one mistake to the next, and my sins seem to be multiplying at such a fast rate I’ll never get them under control”? This is the reign of sin exercising its dominion in your life. Sin’s rule will culminate in death (Romans 5:21). Fortunately, Jesus has intervened! He has made a new reality through His death and resurrection. Because of Him, in the same way that sin abounded, grace can abound (Romans 5:20). Jesus’ grace is greater than all our sin! Just as sin reigned in death, grace can reign through righteousness and lead to eternal life (Romans 5:21). When we put our faith in Jesus, we receive the gift of righteousness, and this unleashes the reign of grace in our lives.