17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
will those who receive [present continuous tense—ongoing character of grace] the abundance [surplus] of grace and the free gift of righteousness
The one qualifying action for justification is receiving the abundance of grace from Christ. The word “abundance” is a rare word (2 Co 8:2; 10:15; Jas 1:21) indicating something more than enough. God sends His grace wave upon wave.
God provides His very own righteousness as a “gift received.” We have an eternally right status before God. We carry the status of acceptance to God. He reached out to us as an act of His own initiative—this is surplus grace. The gift becomes our very own property without any merit of our own. Believing and receiving are two sides of the same coin.
“Righteousness” is a “gift.” This is God’s righteousness, not ours. It is at the heart of His essence; it is what He ought to be. The one who trusts Christ’s death to meet God’s righteous standard receives a right status or standing before God. This gift is entirely legal or forensic. The idea of gift means that we obtain God’s righteousness, not attain it.
“Grace” occurs five times in this section of Romans and three times in verses 15 to 17. Grace always comes through Jesus Christ. Grace is always free and abundant. Grace is more than God’s favor to those who do not deserve it. It is that but, more so, it is God’s free provision accomplished by Christ. The idea of grace is that God provides something and He does it for the ill deserving. All love between God and men originates in God. Man can take no credit in this.
1 Jn 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
God’s super-grace transcends any negative we may have before God.
Christ did not simply restore the position that Adam lost, but He gave us an eternal status before God. God imputed the very righteousness of Christ to our account. Adam lost his own righteousness but Christ gave us the status of God’s very own righteousness. That is the abundance of surplus grace. There was nothing in us that caused God to execute His grace upon us.
As non-Christians our spiritual bank account was empty. We had nothing to our credit before God. As Christians, we have super-grace to our credit. God reversed the situation. He paid our debt in full; we now possess the very righteousness of God Himself. We have that in our account. The prerogatives of royalty are ours. This is true when we appropriate God’s grace for our lives.