It is no secret that I am committed to a conservative political agenda and that I have even been active in that realm to some extent behind the scenes in elected party politics and leadership (though I am no longer serving in such a capacity). Whether you agree or not with my perspectives is not the point of this illustration, but rather I simply mention this to say that someone of my bent has an oft difficult time in the very blue state of Maryland. My representatives – particularly on the national level – do not often vote and represent me in the manner that I would wish. And those who serve in state government in my place, though they do represent my viewpoints rather well, are most often snowed under by a massive opposition majority. It is difficult and annoying, to be quite honest.
But maybe that is how you feel about Adam – you know, Adam from Eden, Eve’s husband – that guy! Man, he had it all! He lived in paradise, had a perfect relationship with God, no weeds grew in his garden, it never rained or was nasty outside, and all he had to do was stay away from one tree and not eat the fruit of it. How hard is that to do? But he blew it; he really messed up big-time! And that is what this Romans passage today is all about – comparing how big is the mess that Adam made, but how grand is the fix that Christ secured for those who trust in it.
But again – thinking about Adam … maybe you are just totally annoyed with the way that he “voted” on your behalf! If you were there, you wouldn’t have done such a stupid thing. So why should you have to bear the consequences of his idiocy? Look again at the end of verse 12 – “because all sinned.” Now don’t make me go explaining this to you right here right now, but, it is actually more than just Adam representing us (though that is true), we were actually sinning in him in an active way. Again – this is the stuff of books, not devotionals. But whatever, we are guilty.
This week we follow up from the sermon yesterday that taught about our next cross word – Imputation. This is a term that is like a banking word for the transferring of funds from one account to another. As was presented yesterday, there are three transfers/imputations: Adam’s sin to our account, our sin to Christ’s account, and Christ’s righteousness to our account.
The main sense of the passage today – which is admittedly very complicated sounding – is that though we had a huge debt of sin come into our account from Adam which results in a judgment of death, the righteousness of Christ that comes to our account upon faith and justification is a credit that is larger than the debt, and it leads to life.
If you really understand this, you really understand the very central idea of what salvation is about. Along with it, in my opinion, comes also the very best way to communicate what salvation entails. Everyone has had a bank account and knows about debits and credits. This presents a great picture for you to explain that we have the debt of sin (few will argue that) in our individual account, but that we cannot ever pay that debt with our deposits; and so we need the perfect deposit of Christ’s righteousness to pay our debt for us. So, stop trying to pay it off, and trust in the one who has done it for you.
Death through Adam, Life through Christ
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.
Cross Words for today (remember – all words will be released one week from today)…
Innocence – There is not much of this, apart from the perfection of God and the person of Christ. We think of infants as innocent, but the truth is that they too – from the moment of conception – have the imputed curse of Adam’s sin. The lamb sacrifice pictured innocence, but was of course an imperfect example of the perfection of Christ – our sacrifice.
Grace – This is more than a simple extension of mercy or someone choosing to be nice, which is how we might use the term. It is actually favor extended where wrath is deserved. It is getting mercy, when in fact, you fully deserved just the opposite.