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romans5sermonaugust2006

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Brothers and sisters, I want to start of by making a statement – we live in a world where not many people accepts too much responsibility for their wrong doings any more.

What is more, for us as Christians, there seems to be distinction between doing wrong, and sin: the first being something that we can explain away and even make up for by our own good deeds; and the latter something that we as Christians don’t have to worry about too much, because Jesus has paid the penalty for my sins.

Either way, we should really just relax and get on with life. There really isn’t that much we should feel bad about.

To be sure we may do something wrong from time to time, like cheat on our taxes…or our wife or husband, but hey, it’s not as if we make a lifestyle out of it. And everybody does it, and as long as we are not caught out, there is no harm done. No, that’s not sin. Those are little slip-ups which are simply in mankind’s nature … thanks to Adam.

And in any case, God will reward us for doing good, won’t He? God is really well pleased when we do a good deed.

And we do do good sometimes, don’t we? In fact, as Christians, we do quite a bit of good – so, as Christians, those who actually make the effort to believe in Him, we should receive double merit points?

For instance: I was late for Church this morning, and so I drove about 16 kilometres an hour over the speed limit and made it nicely in time. (No! not 60 kilometres over the limit like that really bad P-plater they caught last week) just 16km/h over the speed limit.

I must say felt bad about it for a while, but you will be happy to know I have made up for it by travelling 16 km/h below the speed limit all the way to church this evening. You see, I’m really not that bad.

True, I skipped a robot this evening, but it was only because I was concentrating on my speed, and in any case … going home this evening, I have decided  I will stop at a green light – that will make up for going across the red light.

But did I sin?

Surely not. No one got hurt.

No, I am at peace with what I understand on the topic of sin. The way I have heard the some minister preach on the topic, the way I have wanted to hear the sermons on the topic, boils down to this: We are born with sinful natures. We are not perfect. God knows that. He understands.

Because of Adam we cannot escape sin, but that’s also no problem because Jesus has died for me on the cross and all my sins (which I can not do anything about any way) are forgiven by God. Jesus died for me. I am home free!

You see, thinking about it this way, our guilt, somehow, falls back on either Adam, who because of his sin made us sinful too, so we can’t help sinning and can’t  be to blame; or it falls on Jesus, who loved us so much that He died on the cross for us.

That’s the way we usually prefer to understand it.

Paul seems to think there is more to it.

Quite a bit more, it seems, because he writes most of Romans dealing with the very issue of our sinfulness and, more specifically, God’s righteousness and grace for us – as he does here again in verses 12-21 of Romans 5 where he is really saying we may still have it all wrong, the way we understand our sinfulness and God’s grace.

In a way, having developed his argument on the topic of our justification by grace alone through faith alone, all the way from chapter one to where Chapter five left us last week – in peace and joy for realising we have been justified by Jesus, (what a wonderful moment) Paul now seemingly feels it necessary to emphasise a point, before we misinterpret something very important.

It is as if he is saying: you may be at peace with the knowledge of God’s grace through Jesus our Lord and Saviour, but make sure you understand it correctly – it is only God’s righteousness through Jesus that has resulted in your salvation, not your own self!  

And to explain it in even finer detail, he now compares Adam and Jesus (although “comparing may not be the right word here, as you will see…

Please keep your bibles open…

On the broadest scale, this section of Romans may be divided into three distinct parts:

Verses 12-14, which introduce the two men of the comparison, Adam and Jesus (Adam having been a pattern of the one to come, Jesus);

Verses 15-17 - in which Adam and Christ are contrasted;

And verses 18-21 – in which Adam and Christ is finally compared – with a rather surprising outcome:

But to start with…

Verse 12: 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—

Paul leaves us hanging here. He starts of by saying “just as”… but he does not give us the comparison – well not immediately in any case.

He mentions the source of all sin in verse 12 (one man …referring to Adam, as we shall see) but he does not finish the comparison or does not tell us immediately who the other man is he should be referring to even now.

To find out what, or who Paul is comparing with Adam, the “just as”, we will have to wait until verse 18 to get to the…”so also” … “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.”

Why does Paul do this?

Because, again, he is worried that his readers may miss a few very important points.

So now he is going to use verses 13-17 to explain those points, those crucial points he does not want them to misunderstand.

And, one might add, if we may come to understand it, we might change our view on some of the things we mentioned in our introduction to this sermon… some of the most complicated theological issues in the Bible – but Paul is about to explain these points in a way that makes his theology understandable to all.

But, before he cuts himself short, he makes a powerful, worrying statement: the topic of verse 12, simply, brutally, is sin and death…and we all share in it, through the one deed of one man - Adam!

This has been so from the very beginning, Paul says. Forget about finding an easy way out. Just like Adam, we have all sinned, and just like Adam, we are all deserving of death! Did not God Himself say, in Gen 1:16, 17  16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” And did not Adam sin, by disobeying God, by being rebellious? Do we not continue to be rebellious? And are we not the offspring of Adam - Do we not see that death is till in the world proof that we live in a sinful world?

And even if we could stop sinning today, even start doing good from today onwards and never sin again – if we could – do we expect God to just sweep the sins of man over the ages under the carpet?

/////// God is a righteous God and he demands justice. The wages of sin is death… and the world will continue to die until the sins are paid for in full!

Can we pay the price for our sinful nature?

Surely not!

You see, Paul wants to make very sure we understand this before he continues to state the comparison between Adam and Jesus. He wants to say, in this section I am going to compare Adam and Jesus, so that you may understand God’s grace, but what I want you to understand before I do so is that although I am going to compare Adam and Jesus, Adam is really not like Jesus at all – on the contrary. And to understand this, Paul writes verses 13-17, with the section of us deserving of nothing else but death due to our sinful nature, clearly stated in verses 13 and 14.

And verse 14, of course, takes away our last bit of an attempt to find an excuse for ourselves. No, we can not plead ignorance as an excuse, Paul is saying. The punishment for sin is death…and man knew even before he had Moses’ law that he was disobedient to God, chose to be disobedient to God – did not even Adam try to hide in shame for his sinfulness before God -  so if anything, having been given the law of Moses, increases our sinfulness, for now we a written account of what we should and should not do; which really only spells out that which God has written in our hearts from the beginning, namely that we should not rebel against God – we should trust in Him wholeheartedly, obey Him unquestionably.

Brothers a quick reality check here might be in order…this past week, how much have we relied on God alone, and how often have we banked on our own strength to set the world right?

And I the bigger picture of things… How are we doing to bring about our own justification?

In verses 15-17, Paul now works towards this very question when he contrasts Adam and Christ Jesus:

Paul in verse 14, has called Adam a prototype of Christ, but again he back-paddles. It is almost as if he is saying …as if he feels embarrassed about this over-simplified statement … as if he is saying, “what I actually mean is this…

Yes, there is a sort of a similarity between Adam and Jesus. They are both historical figures, men who lived in a time and place; both did a single deed which had enormous repercussions for enormous numbers of people over the ages … but that is where the similarity really ends. Apart from that there isn’t really much of a similarity!

And now Paul points out that there is certainly no comparison between Adam and Christ Jesus as far as the product of their one deed is concerned, or indeed the deeds they are respectively credited for – Adam’s sinful rebellion for selfish purposes…and Jesus’ sinless act of sacrifice on behalf of everyone but Himself.

No, Adam and Christ, is presented here, writes Anders Nygren, as the respective heads of two drastically opposing ages: Adam is the head of the age of Death; Jesus is the head of the age of Life.

In that sense, verses 15-17 sums up… either how the product of Jesus’ deed is not like Adam’s trespass (verses 16, 16) or, in result, much more potent than was the outcome of Adam’s transgression. The life that Jesus brings, will overcome the death that Adam’s sin brought about.

So we could say, just like there is death for many in this fallen world through the one sin of Adam; there is life for many, for all who believe in the one act of salvation of Jesus the Christ.

Now notice how in verse 18, Paul changes from statements of “not like” or “how much more” as in the preceding verses, but now he writes…”just as….so also…”

It is as if he is saying… but there is a comparison after all!

That comparison, he says, is that, although the outcome of the one deed of each of the men in the comparison is contrasted, as in verse 16, verse 18 now draws our attention again on the result of the acts of Adam and Jesus, but it does so in a way that highlights the fact that it is the deed of the one man, in both cases, that resulted in the outcome for many – therein lies the comparison.

It was Adam’s deed that resulted in death…it is Jesus’ deed that resulted in our salvation!

And while we have all sinned, just like Adam, all deserving death, we have done nothing, can do nothing, that could be considered as pay-back for our sinfulness. That was achieved by Jesus alone who through His one act of mercy and Love has brought life to all who believe.

 

You can now probably see why this important – why it is most important. It underpins the very essence of what Paul has been teaching – that by the righteousness of God alone who gave His sinless Son, Jesus alone as offering for the transgressions of all of rebellious mankind, that we may live to glorify God in all that we do. By the one deed of Jesus, only Jesus, have we become justified in Him and as such our lives may glorify God for all eternity – the way it was before Adam decided he wanted to go it alone!

Can you see where it would have left us had Jesus not come? It would have been left to us. We would still have been living in fear that our time on earth may run out at any moment, and we would then have to appear before God on the grounds of our limited entries of goodness in the Book of Life, hoping that God would somehow accept it as full and final payment for page upon page of rebellion, of pride, of lust, of idol worshipping like greed.

No those are the product of the one deed of Adam.

Our salvation is the product of one deed of one man alone – Jesus the Christ.

Therefore our text:

  

Verses 18 and 19: 18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 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.”

Brothers and sisters, I came across this summary of the heart of this passage:

1. Every man should bow down before God, under the humiliating consciousness that he is a member of an apostate race; the son of a rebellious parent; born estranged from God, and exposed to his displeasure (We see that in verses 12, 15, 16).

2. Every man should thankfully embrace the means provided for his restoration to the Divine favor, "the abundance of grace and gift of righteousness," (verse. 17).

4. Those who refuse the proffered righteousness of Christ, and insist on trusting to their own righteousness, the evil of sin and God's determination to punish it, show there can be no reasonable hope; while, for those who humbly receive this gift, there can be no rational ground of fear, (verse 15).

All of this is enfolded in verse 18!

Is there any way that this means that if we really can’t do much about our sinful nature – blame it on Adam – and we can’t do much about our salvation – only Christ is righteous – it does not matter what we do in this life. Does that mean that all we have to do is say we believe – and then we will be saved.

When Paul refers to the Law in verses 19 and 20 he is at once also refering to those who think that by there keeping the law of Moses (in as far as that was really possible of course, or not possible, we should say) but, in their trying then, they are deserving of a special portion of God’s grace; more so than those who do not keep the law.

The truth is of course that none are capable of keeping the law.

In Romans 3 verses 9-11, Paul writes:  What shall we conclude then? Are we any bettera? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

11 there is no one who understands,

no one who seeks God. (Please look at Psalm 14: 1-3)

Such is the nature of man, even from the time before Moses received the Law.

But it was not always so.

God did not make the world like that, no…He made the World good.

It was man, Adam, of whom we are all like him in that we even today rebel against God, that made the world a broken place where sin and death reigns.

But, thanks be to God, God did not give up on mankind after that one transgression, nor after the many transgressions, nor did he write of the many sins of mankind, no, God is just and rigtheous and demands that sin be paid for.

And so, for those who understand this…for those who believe this and because they believe want to sin no more; for those who confess that Jesus is Lord, God sent a second Adam – Jesus!

And now we may be restored to life! To a perfect life!

And is that not reason to be glad, to celebrate life?

And how will we show our gratitude?

By continueing to sin? Or by doing good in an attempt to win some favour with God?

No, brothers and sisters, we do good not because we might achieve some heavenly grace through it – we do good, we live our lives by God’s prescriptions as a small token of our gratitude, as our feeble attempt to do the job God gave us from the beginning, to look after His creation.

Or, as Leo said recently: we do good because it offers a small foretaste, an entre, so to speak, of the new Kingdom of God, to which we have all – all who believe – have already been invited.

Our Lord Jesus is in heaven even now preparing our accomodation with Him.

Did we do something to pay for a lifetime in the presence of the glory of God? On the contrary!

Only one who is without even a blemish, without even a spot of sinfullness could do that – Jesus.

Verse 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.

Adam has come and gone; but Jesus has come and reigns forever, and through Him and with Him we may finally join in bringing glory to God, our maker, in a world that will one day again be as God intended it to be.

For that, a second Adam had to come. For that, Jesus has come!

And through Jesus, Jesus alone, mankind is restored to the glory God once instilled in him as the crown of His creation.

How low have we fallen since then, from Adam and onwards!

And yet, how high has God risen us up again - in Jesus!

Let our lives bear testimony to this glorious gospel!

Our Lord and Saviour lives – glory be to God!

 

You can now probably see why this important – why it is most important. It underpins the very essence of what Paul has been teaching – that by the righteousness of God alone who gave His sinless Son, Jesus alone as offering for the transgressions of all of rebellious mankind, that we may live to glorify God in all that we do. By the one deed of Jesus, only Jesus, have we become justified in Him and as such our lives may glorify God for all eternity – the way it was before Adam decided he wanted to go it alone!

Can you see where it would have left us had Jesus not come? It would have been left to us. We would still have been living in fear that our time on earth may run out at any moment, and we would then have to appear before God on the grounds of our limited entries of goodness in the Book of Life, hoping that God would somehow accept it as full and final payment for page upon page of rebellion, of pride, of lust, of idol worshipping like greed.

No those are the product of the one deed of Adam.

Our salvation is the product of one deed of one man alone – Jesus the Christ.

Therefore our text:

  

Verses 18 and 19: 18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 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.”

Brothers and sisters, I came across this summary of the heart of this passage:

1. Every man should bow down before God, under the humiliating consciousness that he is a member of an apostate race; the son of a rebellious parent; born estranged from God, and exposed to his displeasure (We see that in verses 12, 15, 16).

2. Every man should thankfully embrace the means provided for his restoration to the Divine favor, "the abundance of grace and gift of righteousness," (verse. 17).

4. Those who refuse the proffered righteousness of Christ, and insist on trusting to their own righteousness, the evil of sin and God's determination to punish it, show there can be no reasonable hope; while, for those who humbly receive this gift, there can be no rational ground of fear, (verse 15).

All of this is enfolded in verse 18!

Is there any way that this means that if we really can’t do much about our sinful nature – blame it on Adam – and we can’t do much about our salvation – only Christ is righteous – it does not matter what we do in this life. Does that mean that all we have to do is say we believe – and then we will be saved.

When Paul refers to the Law in verses 19 and 20 he is at once also refering to those who think that by there keeping the law of Moses (in as far as that was really possible of course, or not possible, we should say) but, in their trying then, they are deserving of a special portion of God’s grace; more so than those who do not keep the law.

The truth is of course that none are capable of keeping the law.

In Romans 3 verses 9-11, Paul writes:  What shall we conclude then? Are we any bettera? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

11 there is no one who understands,

no one who seeks God. (Please look at Psalm 14: 1-3)

Such is the nature of man, even from the time before Moses received the Law.

But it was not always so.

God did not make the world like that, no…He made the World good.

It was man, Adam, of whom we are all like him in that we even today rebel against God, that made the world a broken place where sin and death reigns.

But, thanks be to God, God did not give up on mankind after that one transgression, nor after the many transgressions, nor did he write of the many sins of mankind, no, God is just and rigtheous and demands that sin be paid for.

And so, for those who understand this…for those who believe this and because they believe want to sin no more; for those who confess that Jesus is Lord, God sent a second Adam – Jesus!

And now we may be restored to life! To a perfect life!

And is that not reason to be glad, to celebrate life?

And how will we show our gratitude?

By continueing to sin? Or by doing good in an attempt to win some favour with God?

No, brothers and sisters, we do good not because we might achieve some heavenly grace through it – we do good, we live our lives by God’s prescriptions as a small token of our gratitude, as our feeble attempt to do the job God gave us from the beginning, to look after His creation.

Or, as Leo said recently: we do good because it offers a small foretaste, an entre, so to speak, of the new Kingdom of God, to which we have all – all who believe – have already been invited.

Our Lord Jesus is in heaven even now preparing our accomodation with Him.

Did we do something to pay for a lifetime in the presence of the glory of God? On the contrary!

Only one who is without even a blemish, without even a spot of sinfullness could do that – Jesus.

Verse 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.

Adam has come and gone; but Jesus has come and reigns forever, and through Him and with Him we may finally join in bringing glory to God, our maker, in a world that will one day again be as God intended it to be.

For that, a second Adam had to come. For that, Jesus has come!

And through Jesus, Jesus alone, mankind is restored to the glory God once instilled in him as the crown of His creation.

How low have we fallen since then, from Adam and onwards!

And yet, how high has God risen us up again - in Jesus!

Let our lives bear testimony to this glorious gospel!

Our Lord and Saviour lives – glory be to God!

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

On the broadest scale, this section of Romans may be divided into three distinct parts:

Verses 12-14, which introduce the two men of the comparison, Adam and Jesus (Adam having been a pattern of the one to come, Jesus);

Verses 15-17 - in which Adam and Christ are contrasted;

And verses 18-21 – in which Adam and Christ is finally compared – with a rather surprising outcome:

But to start with…

Verse 12: 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—

Paul leaves us hanging here. He starts of by saying “just as”… but he does not give us the comparison – well not immediately in any case.

He mentions the source of all sin in verse 12 (one man …referring to Adam, as we shall see) but he does not finish the comparison or does not tell us immediately who the other man is he should be referring to even now.

To find out what, or who Paul is comparing with Adam, the “just as”, we will have to wait until verse 18 to get to the…”so also” … “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.”

Why does Paul do this?

Because, again, he is worried that his readers may miss a few very important points.

So now he is going to use verses 13-17 to explain those points, those crucial points he does not want them to misunderstand.

And, one might add, if we may come to understand it, we might change our view on some of the things we mentioned in our introduction to this sermon… some of the most complicated theological issues in the Bible – but Paul is about to explain these points in a way that makes his theology understandable to all.

But, before he cuts himself short, he makes a powerful, worrying statement: the topic of verse 12, simply, brutally, is sin and death…and we all share in it, through the one deed of one man - Adam!

This has been so from the very beginning, Paul says. Forget about finding an easy way out. Just like Adam, we have all sinned, and just like Adam, we are all deserving of death! Did not God Himself say, in Gen 1:16, 17  16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” And did not Adam sin, by disobeying God, by being rebellious? Do we not continue to be rebellious? And are we not the offspring of Adam - Do we not see that death is till in the world proof that we live in a sinful world?

And even if we could stop sinning today, even start doing good from today onwards and never sin again – if we could – do we expect God to just sweep the sins of man over the ages under the carpet?

/////// God is a righteous God and he demands justice. The wages of sin is death… and the world will continue to die until the sins are paid for in full!

Can we pay the price for our sinful nature?

Surely not!

You see, Paul wants to make very sure we understand this before he continues to state the comparison between Adam and Jesus. He wants to say, in this section I am going to compare Adam and Jesus, so that you may understand God’s grace, but what I want you to understand before I do so is that although I am going to compare Adam and Jesus, Adam is really not like Jesus at all – on the contrary. And to understand this, Paul writes verses 13-17, with the section of us deserving of nothing else but death due to our sinful nature, clearly stated in verses 13 and 14.

And verse 14, of course, takes away our last bit of an attempt to find an excuse for ourselves. No, we can not plead ignorance as an excuse, Paul is saying. The punishment for sin is death…and man knew even before he had Moses’ law that he was disobedient to God, chose to be disobedient to God – did not even Adam try to hide in shame for his sinfulness before God -  so if anything, having been given the law of Moses, increases our sinfulness, for now we a written account of what we should and should not do; which really only spells out that which God has written in our hearts from the beginning, namely that we should not rebel against God – we should trust in Him wholeheartedly, obey Him unquestionably.

Brothers a quick reality check here might be in order…this past week, how much have we relied on God alone, and how often have we banked on our own strength to set the world right?

And I the bigger picture of things… How are we doing to bring about our own justification?

In verses 15-17, Paul now works towards this very question when he contrasts Adam and Christ Jesus:

Paul in verse 14, has called Adam a prototype of Christ, but again he back-paddles. It is almost as if he is saying …as if he feels embarrassed about this over-simplified statement … as if he is saying, “what I actually mean is this…

Yes, there is a sort of a similarity between Adam and Jesus. They are both historical figures, men who lived in a time and place; both did a single deed which had enormous repercussions for enormous numbers of people over the ages … but that is where the similarity really ends. Apart from that there isn’t really much of a similarity!

And now Paul points out that there is certainly no comparison between Adam and Christ Jesus as far as the product of their one deed is concerned, or indeed the deeds they are respectively credited for – Adam’s sinful rebellion for selfish purposes…and Jesus’ sinless act of sacrifice on behalf of everyone but Himself.

No, Adam and Christ, is presented here, writes Anders Nygren, as the respective heads of two drastically opposing ages: Adam is the head of the age of Death; Jesus is the head of the age of Life.

In that sense, verses 15-17 sums up… either how the product of Jesus’ deed is not like Adam’s trespass (verses 16, 16) or, in result, much more potent than was the outcome of Adam’s transgression. The life that Jesus brings, will overcome the death that Adam’s sin brought about.

So we could say, just like there is death for many in this fallen world through the one sin of Adam; there is life for many, for all who believe in the one act of salvation of Jesus the Christ.

Now notice how in verse 18, Paul changes from statements of “not like” or “how much more” as in the preceding verses, but now he writes…”just as….so also…”

It is as if he is saying… but there is a comparison after all!

That comparison, he says, is that, although the outcome of the one deed of each of the men in the comparison is contrasted, as in verse 16, verse 18 now draws our attention again on the result of the acts of Adam and Jesus, but it does so in a way that highlights the fact that it is the deed of the one man, in both cases, that resulted in the outcome for many – therein lies the comparison.

It was Adam’s deed that resulted in death…it is Jesus’ deed that resulted in our salvation!

And while we have all sinned, just like Adam, all deserving death, we have done nothing, can do nothing, that could be considered as pay-back for our sinfulness. That was achieved by Jesus alone who through His one act of mercy and Love has brought life to all who believe.

 

You can now probably see why this important – why it is most important. It underpins the very essence of what Paul has been teaching – that by the righteousness of God alone who gave His sinless Son, Jesus alone as offering for the transgressions of all of rebellious mankind, that we may live to glorify God in all that we do. By the one deed of Jesus, only Jesus, have we become justified in Him and as such our lives may glorify God for all eternity – the way it was before Adam decided he wanted to go it alone!

Can you see where it would have left us had Jesus not come? It would have been left to us. We would still have been living in fear that our time on earth may run out at any moment, and we would then have to appear before God on the grounds of our limited entries of goodness in the Book of Life, hoping that God would somehow accept it as full and final payment for page upon page of rebellion, of pride, of lust, of idol worshipping like greed.

No those are the product of the one deed of Adam.

Our salvation is the product of one deed of one man alone – Jesus the Christ.

Therefore our text:

  

Verses 18 and 19: 18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 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.”

Brothers and sisters, I came across this summary of the heart of this passage:

1. Every man should bow down before God, under the humiliating consciousness that he is a member of an apostate race; the son of a rebellious parent; born estranged from God, and exposed to his displeasure (We see that in verses 12, 15, 16).

2. Every man should thankfully embrace the means provided for his restoration to the Divine favor, "the abundance of grace and gift of righteousness," (verse. 17).

4. Those who refuse the proffered righteousness of Christ, and insist on trusting to their own righteousness, the evil of sin and God's determination to punish it, show there can be no reasonable hope; while, for those who humbly receive this gift, there can be no rational ground of fear, (verse 15).

All of this is enfolded in verse 18!

Is there any way that this means that if we really can’t do much about our sinful nature – blame it on Adam – and we can’t do much about our salvation – only Christ is righteous – it does not matter what we do in this life. Does that mean that all we have to do is say we believe – and then we will be saved.

When Paul refers to the Law in verses 19 and 20 he is at once also refering to those who think that by there keeping the law of Moses (in as far as that was really possible of course, or not possible, we should say) but, in their trying then, they are deserving of a special portion of God’s grace; more so than those who do not keep the law.

The truth is of course that none are capable of keeping the law.

In Romans 3 verses 9-11, Paul writes:  What shall we conclude then? Are we any bettera? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

11 there is no one who understands,

no one who seeks God. (Please look at Psalm 14: 1-3)

Such is the nature of man, even from the time before Moses received the Law.

But it was not always so.

God did not make the world like that, no…He made the World good.

It was man, Adam, of whom we are all like him in that we even today rebel against God, that made the world a broken place where sin and death reigns.

But, thanks be to God, God did not give up on mankind after that one transgression, nor after the many transgressions, nor did he write of the many sins of mankind, no, God is just and rigtheous and demands that sin be paid for.

And so, for those who understand this…for those who believe this and because they believe want to sin no more; for those who confess that Jesus is Lord, God sent a second Adam – Jesus!

And now we may be restored to life! To a perfect life!

And is that not reason to be glad, to celebrate life?

And how will we show our gratitude?

By continueing to sin? Or by doing good in an attempt to win some favour with God?

No, brothers and sisters, we do good not because we might achieve some heavenly grace through it – we do good, we live our lives by God’s prescriptions as a small token of our gratitude, as our feeble attempt to do the job God gave us from the beginning, to look after His creation.

Or, as Leo said recently: we do good because it offers a small foretaste, an entre, so to speak, of the new Kingdom of God, to which we have all – all who believe – have already been invited.

Our Lord Jesus is in heaven even now preparing our accomodation with Him.

Did we do something to pay for a lifetime in the presence of the glory of God? On the contrary!

Only one who is without even a blemish, without even a spot of sinfullness could do that – Jesus.

Verse 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.

Adam has come and gone; but Jesus has come and reigns forever, and through Him and with Him we may finally join in bringing glory to God, our maker, in a world that will one day again be as God intended it to be.

For that, a second Adam had to come. For that, Jesus has come!

And through Jesus, Jesus alone, mankind is restored to the glory God once instilled in him as the crown of His creation.

How low have we fallen since then, from Adam and onwards!

And yet, how high has God risen us up again - in Jesus!

Let our lives bear testimony to this glorious gospel!

Our Lord and Saviour lives – glory be to God!

Look at Genesis 1:26…

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth,b and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

And

(See Gen 2: 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. …and then 19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

This is the pattern of man – the ruler over all of God’s earth, caring for it; enjoying it in responsibility according to God’s commands.

At the same time, as representative of God, we bear the image of God within us – we are rulers; kings; carers.

But mankind does not want to be the representative – he wants to be the Represented. Adam is not satisfied with having the garden to look after, he wants to be the owner of the garden;

If we try and trace our representation back as far as we can go, it is obviously logical that we have to say that we are all represented by Adam.

Adam is the first born of human beings, and from the Bible we know that we even today share in his sin (as we find it in Genesis 3) because we all stem from Adam.

Now what we need to think about, on the same level, is that Adam, was God’s representative.   

And then we are reminded of something else we read…Romans, chapter five, verse

12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—

 And Paul just leaves us hanging there…

Has this verse ever left you feeling: but is that fair? Why should all men die because of the sin of one man – obviously Adam.

I mean, all we have to do is look around us and se that the one sure thing is that all humans are still dying, after all these thousands of years…is that fair? All for the sin of one man?

And why does Paul just leave us hanging on this question?

The answer to why he leaves us hanging, as you will discover when you read the whole passage, is that he wants to answer the very question of the fairness that might be raised before he concludes the obviously open-ended first verse…

In the end, however, the ship still needs a whole crew, and anyone who no longer trusts the captain; even though it may not have been them in the first place to hav instilled the distrust in their hearts, are no longer representatives of the captain. And so these men are executed and the captain starts looking for a new crew.

And not only is the leader of the uprising put to death, all who participate in the mutiny (even though it was devised by a single man, who we may call the laeder of the mutineers- all are put to death.

Human beings

We were all born from parents

Death

We are representatives of the human race

But representation works in two ways:

We represent the person or persons or cause, that commissioned us (the emphasis is on me)

We carry in ourselves the qualities of those who commissioned us (emphasis on the person who sent us

God sends us to earth to represent Him

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth,b and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

And

(See Gen 2: 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. …and then 19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

This is the pattern of man – the ruler over all of God’s earth, caring for it; enjoying it in responsibility according to God’s commands.

At the same time, as representative of God, we bear the image of God within us – we are rulers; kings; carers.

But mankind does not want to be the representative – he wants to be the Represented. Adam is not satisfied with having the garden to look after, he wants to be the owner of the garden;

And so there is a mutiny!

Lets explore the image of a mutiny on a ship: why is it that when the sailors of a ship rise up in mutiny against the captain, if found guilty, they are put to death.

Why? Because to sail a ship, the captain needs to be able to depend upon and trust all of the sailors each to do his bit. The many men are the hands and the strength of the captain who is really the one sailing the ship – they are his representatives; so when he shouts, up the ancor, a man, by extension of the captain does exactly that; and when he shouts “raise the top mast!” another man does etc etc

True, the one man might hoist the sale; the other pull up the anchor; one person steers the boat; one keeps a lookout, but

We all confess Christ Jesus as our Saviour - Not Buddha, or Allah

do we understand about the word representation?

Would we exist if we did not have parents?

Would we have rationality if we were not people?

Would we be here if we were not Christians, believers in our Lord Jesus.?

Now if we

Representation

I want to start of by making a statement – we live in a world where not many people accepts too much responsibility for their wrong doings any more.

What is more, for us as Christians, there seems to be distinction between doing wrong, and sin: the first being something that we can explain away and even make up for by our own good deeds; and the latter something that we as Christians don’t have to worry about too much, because Jesus has paid the penalty for my sins.

Either way, we should really just relax and get on with life. There really isn’t that much we should feel bad about.

To be sure we may do something wrong from time to time, like cheat on our taxes…or our wife or husband, but hey, it’s not as if we make a lifestyle out of it. And everybody does it, and as long as we are not caught out, there is no harm done. No, that’s not sin. Those are little slip-ups which are simply in mankind’s nature … thanks to Adam.

And in any case, God will reward us for doing good, won’t He? God is really well pleased when we do a good deed.

And we do do good sometimes, don’t we? In fact, as Christians, we do quite a bit of good – so, as Christians, those who actually make the effort to believe in Him, we should receive double merit points?

For instance: I was late for Church this morning, and so I drove about 16 kilometres an hour over the speed limit and made it nicely in time. (No! not 60 kilometres over the limit like that really bad P-plater they caught last week) just 16km/h over the speed limit.

I must say felt bad about it for a while, but you will be happy to know I have made up for it by travelling 16 km/h below the speed limit all the way to church this evening. You see, I’m really not that bad.

True, I skipped a robot this evening, but it was only because I was concentrating on my speed, and in any case … going home this evening, I have decided  I will stop at a green light – that will make up for going across the red light.

But did I sin?

Surely not. No one got hurt.

No, I am at peace with what I understand on the topic of sin. The way I have heard the some minister preach on the topic, the way I have wanted to hear the sermons on the topic, boils down to this: We are born with sinful natures. We are not perfect. God knows that. He understands.

Because of Adam we cannot escape sin, but that’s also no problem because Jesus has died for me on the cross and all my sins (which I can not do anything about any way) are forgiven by God. Jesus died for me. I am home free!

You see, thinking about it this way, our guilt, somehow, falls back on either Adam, who because of his sin made us sinful too, so we can’t help sinning and can’t  be to blame; or it falls on Jesus, who loved us so much that He died on the cross for us.

That’s the way we usually prefer to understand it.

Paul seems to think there is more to it.

Quite a bit more, it seems, because he writes most of Romans dealing with the very issue of our sinfulness and, more specifically, God’s righteousness and grace for us – as he does here again in verses 12-21 of Romans 5 where he is really saying we may still have it all wrong, the way we understand our sinfulness and God’s grace.

In a way, having developed his argument on the topic of our justification by grace alone through faith alone, all the way from chapter one to where Chapter five left us last week – in peace and joy for realising we have been justified by Jesus, (what a wonderful moment) Paul now seemingly feels it necessary to emphasise a point, before we misinterpret something very important.

It is as if he is saying: you may be at peace with the knowledge of God’s grace through Jesus our Lord and Saviour, but make sure you understand it correctly – it is only God’s righteousness through Jesus that has resulted in your salvation, not your own self!  

And to explain it in even finer detail, he now compares Adam and Jesus (although “comparing may not be the right word here, as you will see…

Please keep your bibles open…

On the broadest scale, this section of Romans may be divided into three distinct parts:

Verses 12-14, which introduce the two men of the comparison, Adam and Jesus (Adam having been a pattern of the one to come, Jesus);

Verses 15-17 - in which Adam and Christ are contrasted;

And verses 18-21 – in which Adam and Christ is finally compared – with a rather surprising outcome:

But to start with…

Verse 12: 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—

Paul leaves us hanging here. He starts of by saying “just as”… but he does not give us the comparison – well not immediately in any case.

He mentions the source of all sin in verse 12 (one man …referring to Adam, as we shall see) but he does not finish the comparison or does not tell us immediately who the other man is he should be referring to even now.

To find out what, or who Paul is comparing with Adam, the “just as”, we will have to wait until verse 18 to get to the…”so also” … “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.”

Why does Paul do this?

Because, again, he is worried that his readers may miss a few very important points.

So now he is going to use verses 13-17 to explain those points, those crucial points he does not want them to misunderstand.

And, one might add, if we may come to understand it, we might change our view on some of the things we mentioned in our introduction to this sermon… some of the most complicated theological issues in the Bible – but Paul is about to explain these points in a way that makes his theology understandable to all.

But, before he cuts himself short, he makes a powerful, worrying statement: the topic of verse 12, simply, brutally, is sin and death…and we all share in it, through the one deed of one man - Adam!

This has been so from the very beginning, Paul says. Forget about finding an easy way out. Just like Adam, we have all sinned, and just like Adam, we are all deserving of death! Did not God Himself say, in Gen 1:16, 17  16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” And did not Adam sin, by disobeying God, by being rebellious? Do we not continue to be rebellious? And are we not the offspring of Adam - Do we not see that death is till in the world proof that we live in a sinful world?

And even if we could stop sinning today, even start doing good from today onwards and never sin again – if we could – do we expect God to just sweep the sins of man over the ages under the carpet?

/////// God is a righteous God and he demands justice. The wages of sin is death… and the world will continue to die until the sins are paid for in full!

Can we pay the price for our sinful nature?

Surely not!

You see, Paul wants to make very sure we understand this before he continues to state the comparison between Adam and Jesus. He wants to say, in this section I am going to compare Adam and Jesus, so that you may understand God’s grace, but what I want you to understand before I do so is that although I am going to compare Adam and Jesus, Adam is really not like Jesus at all – on the contrary. And to understand this, Paul writes verses 13-17, with the section of us deserving of nothing else but death due to our sinful nature, clearly stated in verses 13 and 14.

And verse 14, of course, takes away our last bit of an attempt to find an excuse for ourselves. No, we can not plead ignorance as an excuse, Paul is saying. The punishment for sin is death…and man knew even before he had Moses’ law that he was disobedient to God, chose to be disobedient to God – did not even Adam try to hide in shame for his sinfulness before God -  so if anything, having been given the law of Moses, increases our sinfulness, for now we a written account of what we should and should not do; which really only spells out that which God has written in our hearts from the beginning, namely that we should not rebel against God – we should trust in Him wholeheartedly, obey Him unquestionably.

Brothers a quick reality check here might be in order…this past week, how much have we relied on God alone, and how often have we banked on our own strength to set the world right?

And I the bigger picture of things… How are we doing to bring about our own justification?

In verses 15-17, Paul now works towards this very question when he contrasts Adam and Christ Jesus:

Paul in verse 14, has called Adam a prototype of Christ, but again he back-paddles. It is almost as if he is saying …as if he feels embarrassed about this over-simplified statement … as if he is saying, “what I actually mean is this…

Yes, there is a sort of a similarity between Adam and Jesus. They are both historical figures, men who lived in a time and place; both did a single deed which had enormous repercussions for enormous numbers of people over the ages … but that is where the similarity really ends. Apart from that there isn’t really much of a similarity!

And now Paul points out that there is certainly no comparison between Adam and Christ Jesus as far as the product of their one deed is concerned, or indeed the deeds they are respectively credited for – Adam’s sinful rebellion for selfish purposes…and Jesus’ sinless act of sacrifice on behalf of everyone but Himself.

No, Adam and Christ, is presented here, writes Anders Nygren, as the respective heads of two drastically opposing ages: Adam is the head of the age of Death; Jesus is the head of the age of Life.

In that sense, verses 15-17 sums up… either how the product of Jesus’ deed is not like Adam’s trespass (verses 16, 16) or, in result, much more potent than was the outcome of Adam’s transgression. The life that Jesus brings, will overcome the death that Adam’s sin brought about.

So we could say, just like there is death for many in this fallen world through the one sin of Adam; there is life for many, for all who believe in the one act of salvation of Jesus the Christ.

Now notice how in verse 18, Paul changes from statements of “not like” or “how much more” as in the preceding verses, but now he writes…”just as….so also…”

It is as if he is saying… but there is a comparison after all!

That comparison, he says, is that, although the outcome of the one deed of each of the men in the comparison is contrasted, as in verse 16, verse 18 now draws our attention again on the result of the acts of Adam and Jesus, but it does so in a way that highlights the fact that it is the deed of the one man, in both cases, that resulted in the outcome for many – therein lies the comparison.

It was Adam’s deed that resulted in death…it is Jesus’ deed that resulted in our salvation!

And while we have all sinned, just like Adam, all deserving death, we have done nothing, can do nothing, that could be considered as pay-back for our sinfulness. That was achieved by Jesus alone who through His one act of mercy and Love has brought life to all who believe.

 

You can now probably see why this important – why it is most important. It underpins the very essence of what Paul has been teaching – that by the righteousness of God alone who gave His sinless Son, Jesus alone as offering for the transgressions of all of rebellious mankind, that we may live to glorify God in all that we do. By the one deed of Jesus, only Jesus, have we become justified in Him and as such our lives may glorify God for all eternity – the way it was before Adam decided he wanted to go it alone!

Can you see where it would have left us had Jesus not come? It would have been left to us. We would still have been living in fear that our time on earth may run out at any moment, and we would then have to appear before God on the grounds of our limited entries of goodness in the Book of Life, hoping that God would somehow accept it as full and final payment for page upon page of rebellion, of pride, of lust, of idol worshipping like greed.

No those are the product of the one deed of Adam.

Our salvation is the product of one deed of one man alone – Jesus the Christ.

Therefore our text:

  

Verses 18 and 19: 18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 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.”

Brothers and sisters, I came across this summary of the heart of this passage:

1. Every man should bow down before God, under the humiliating consciousness that he is a member of an apostate race; the son of a rebellious parent; born estranged from God, and exposed to his displeasure (We see that in verses 12, 15, 16).

2. Every man should thankfully embrace the means provided for his restoration to the Divine favor, "the abundance of grace and gift of righteousness," (verse. 17).

4. Those who refuse the proffered righteousness of Christ, and insist on trusting to their own righteousness, the evil of sin and God's determination to punish it, show there can be no reasonable hope; while, for those who humbly receive this gift, there can be no rational ground of fear, (verse 15).

All of this is enfolded in verse 18!

Is there any way that this means that if we really can’t do much about our sinful nature – blame it on Adam – and we can’t do much about our salvation – only Christ is righteous – it does not matter what we do in this life. Does that mean that all we have to do is say we believe – and then we will be saved.

When Paul refers to the Law in verses 19 and 20 he is at once also refering to those who think that by there keeping the law of Moses (in as far as that was really possible of course, or not possible, we should say) but, in their trying then, they are deserving of a special portion of God’s grace; more so than those who do not keep the law.

The truth is of course that none are capable of keeping the law.

In Romans 3 verses 9-11, Paul writes:  What shall we conclude then? Are we any bettera? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

11 there is no one who understands,

no one who seeks God. (Please look at Psalm 14: 1-3)

Such is the nature of man, even from the time before Moses received the Law.

But it was not always so.

God did not make the world like that, no…He made the World good.

It was man, Adam, of whom we are all like him in that we even today rebel against God, that made the world a broken place where sin and death reigns.

But, thanks be to God, God did not give up on mankind after that one transgression, nor after the many transgressions, nor did he write of the many sins of mankind, no, God is just and rigtheous and demands that sin be paid for.

And so, for those who understand this…for those who believe this and because they believe want to sin no more; for those who confess that Jesus is Lord, God sent a second Adam – Jesus!

And now we may be restored to life! To a perfect life!

And is that not reason to be glad, to celebrate life?

And how will we show our gratitude?

By continueing to sin? Or by doing good in an attempt to win some favour with God?

No, brothers and sisters, we do good not because we might achieve some heavenly grace through it – we do good, we live our lives by God’s prescriptions as a small token of our gratitude, as our feeble attempt to do the job God gave us from the beginning, to look after His creation.

Or, as Leo said recently: we do good because it offers a small foretaste, an entre, so to speak, of the new Kingdom of God, to which we have all – all who believe – have already been invited.

Our Lord Jesus is in heaven even now preparing our accomodation with Him.

Did we do something to pay for a lifetime in the presence of the glory of God? On the contrary!

Only one who is without even a blemish, without even a spot of sinfullness could do that – Jesus.

Verse 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.

Adam has come and gone; but Jesus has come and reigns forever, and through Him and with Him we may finally join in bringing glory to God, our maker, in a world that will one day again be as God intended it to be.

For that, a second Adam had to come. For that, Jesus has come!

And through Jesus, Jesus alone, mankind is restored to the glory God once instilled in him as the crown of His creation.

How low have we fallen since then, from Adam and onwards!

And yet, how high has God risen us up again - in Jesus!

Let our lives bear testimony to this glorious gospel!

Our Lord and Saviour lives – glory be to God!


----

a Or worse

a Or worse

a Or worse

b Hebrew; Syriac all the wild animals

b Hebrew; Syriac all the wild animals

a Or worse

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