Celebration of Salvation Part Two
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
15 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! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 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!
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What does Paul celebrate in our great salvation in Christ here in chapter 5?
- The peace we have peace with God.
- The hope of the glory of God even in our sufferings.
- The love of God poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
- We see the wisdom and love of God demonstrated in Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection
- And we have a living Jesus able to save us from all future sins as well!
In today’s passage, Paul looks back to the very beginning, to Adam and his sin and compares the impact of Jesus’ righteous sacrifice to the impact of Adam’s sin. And what we discover is one more example of how powerful Jesus is, how much ability He has to save people completely from sin!
Paul begins by looking at the power of sin and specifically the power of Adam’s original sin.
- Consider the Potent Actions of Adam v.12-14
- Sin and death through one man v.12
Death is a powerful aspect of every person’s life. We are temporary. Those that we love are temporary.
Our bodies, the environment, the universe are all experiencing entropy. We are breaking down. This is all the power of death. And this begins with Adam.
Adam’s behavior also brings about the curse of God. And in God’s curse we see that marriage is diminished. There is competition instead of cooperation. Child bearing and raising has become painful. Children must be commanded to honor and obey parents. Work becomes much more frustrating. All relationships have become more challenging. Work becomes frustrating as the entire universe and environment present chaotic challenges to our attempts at order and beauty. And our relationship with God is obscured, diminished and not by sight. All of this does not need to be that way. It is the result of life. That simple act of disobedience has changed everything.
This does not even bring up issues of shame, blaming other and a refusal to accept responsibility for our sinful state that has been around from the beginning.
And Adam’s kids and grandkids grow progressively worse. Cain kills Abel. And Lamech is a selfish, murderous chaotic disaster! God destroys the earth. All of this is death. All of this is the result of sin. This is what Jesus has come to fix.
Paul makes the point that… This is important if you are a Jew and need to trust in Christ and take part in the new covenant.
- Sin and death precede the law v.13-14a
God gives the law in Exodus 20. But in a very real way, our relationship with God starts with the law. If you see Moses as the author of the Torah, as the NT says he is, then you can also imagine the context for all of this information about sin being the need for us all to keep the law of God. That is the application for our lives. Sabbath is mentioned in Genesis 1. Why? The sun is created on day four. Why? What lies behind all of the Bible is our need to follow God’s commands for our lives! But that law following will not make us righteous!
Sin lurks in a dark festering dungeon of our hearts.
The law turns on the light so we can see it.
Sin is there all the time separating us from the life that God wants for us.
It is sin that keeps us from following the law even when we know what it is, that it is good for us and that it honors God.
We are infected by greed, love of pleasure, selfish ambition, bitter jealousy and denial. You can repress the impact of these attitudes on your actions if you have time and energy. But when you are tired, hungry, sleepy etc. here they come.
- Adam’s experience is my experience v.12b
Death came to me because I sinned. Original sin is a thing. Talk to a toddler! I will gladly own up to original sin because I want to own up to Jesus’ righteousness. It’s not an even trade. I am getting the better deal!
I John 1: 5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
- Consider the Potent Actions of Jesus v.14c -17
- Grace and righteousness through one man v.15
It is easier to pollute than purify. One jot of impurity spoils the experiment! And you can’t put the genie back into the bottle!
Adam sinned, sin came to all men, all have sinned, all deserve death. From one man’s sin comes death to all. And it would seem as if you would need an equal number of people to sacrifice and pay the penalty for those sinful people!
In Christ, we have moved to a whole different sphere of understanding. We have moved to a place where the law is completely satisfied in people’s lives! We have received righteousness: a right standing with God. And grace: that standing was a gift to us provided by someone else! And the righteous cannot be made unrighteous again!! Now, realize that if you are born into sin in Adam, the purpose of the law is to show you your sin. It is not going to make you righteous. It is too late for that!
- The quantity of grace in Jesus v.15-16
Many died by the trespass of Adam. That seems quite powerful. And there are now trillions of sins committed. If the power of one sin is so great, the weight of this sinfulness puts us in a completely hopeless situation!
And yet one act of righteousness reverses the situation for all who would believe. And not only that. We are not brought back to the beginning where we can fall again because of our sin. We are brought to the end of the issue. We are made completely righteous!
For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever. What are we made? Perfect. How long does our perfection last? Forever. Now, do you feel like bragging on Jesus!?
- The dead and condemned now reign in life v.17
Dead vs. Alive
Death is defeated by Jesus. We are given a Resurrection that cannot be touched by death. Resurrection is the last word!
I am the Resurrection and the life, he who believes in me will not die!
Condemned vs. Reigning
We were condemned by sin. But now, in Christ, we have life and we reign in life. What does the word reign mean? Well, it’s about the opposite of condemned! We have powerful authority to guarantee life!!!
III. Summary of Adam and Jesus v.18-21
- One trespass yields condemnation for all
What is true of you? The ultimate question is not how good you are or have been. The ultimate question is whether or not you are trusting in Jesus Christ. Are you following Jesus’ teaching and example for your life?
- One righteous act yields justification and life for all
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
- Where sin abounds grace abounds even more
Grace reigns in righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ. What kind of life? Eternal life!
How can an eternal God who knows the beginning from the end not forgive all of your sin? What would be the point? He grants forgiveness and then later condemns because of future sin? What a complete waste of time and effort. No, according to Hebrews 7:
25 Therefore Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Even more!!! It is a wonderful thing that God has saved us completely! My future sins expand the scope of God’s gracious forgiveness in my life.
What about people who would seek to take advantage of this forgiveness and sin because they just want to? That’s next week!