Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Life in Christ (Romans 5:12-21)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

If you're able, please remain standing and let's give our attention to Romans Chapter Five, verses twelve through twenty one. Let us continue to hear God's word in this particular book, the Book of Romans, Paul's letter, now Chapter Five, verses twelve through twenty one. Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned, for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given. But sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass, for if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the Free Gift, by the grace of that one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man sin, for the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following Menne trespasses brought justification. 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 the Righteousness, of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience, the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass. But where sin increased, grace abounded, all the more so that as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness, leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Ay God bless his word to us. Please be seated well. This passage in Romans, Romans five twelve through twenty one, presents...

...us with a number of different challenges. One of them is simply reading it. I'm there is a kind of syntax here, a sentence structure, the way that Paul speaks that is a little bit difficult to follow. I think a lot of people tend to get discouraged right from the very beginning because Paul begins by setting up this contrast. He says just as and then you're sort of waiting for the other shoe, but it doesn't happen. Instead he moves into a parenthesis comment and verses thirteen through fourteen, then gets into a little discussion and then doesn't really come back to that contrast until the final verses. So you start out and you say okay, I'm tracking and then all of a sudden it's that I'm not tracking and you feel a little bit lost. So if you felt a little bit lost as we went through the passage, don't worry, you're not alone. But also don't worry because it is internally coherent. Though Paul doesn't follow all the strict rules of simple syntax and he's free to use Greek as he pleases her, so to speak, he does ultimately use it to communicate to us very clear and important truths. It's one reason I didn't break up this passage into smaller units, because the clarity really comes when you take it as a whole. There a problem. So, speaker, not the problem, but the challenge of verse twelve and other smaller issues like possible universalism in verse eighteen. These issues are not really challenges, are problems at all if we approach the passage in the way that it is written, with the context and with the emphasis where Paul places it. So that's a brief and perhaps overly technical introduction, so forgive me for that, but I say it to assure you that there will be clarity here, that there is clarity here, and I can prove that right away by just pointing out what I think you'll immediately recognize on the surface of this passage. At there is a great contrast and connection going on between two men, between Adam and Christ. That's very clear, isn't it? That's where these contrasts and comparisons come throughout the passage, for as this one, this one, as this one, this one like this, not like this. There's this back and forth that is going on all throughout, verse after verse, sometimes repeatedly, in right in a row. We have two people, Adam and Christ. Adam's sin led to two things, condemnation and then death. Christ's righteousness...

...leads to two things, justification and life. We have an action done by one person and an action done by another. There are similar in that way, but they lead in total opposite directions. So let's look at each one of those as Paul gives it to us. First Adam and then Christ. So we read of Adam's sin and are reminded of that in Verse Twelve, just as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin. This kind of the same ideas picked up then in similarly, in Verse Sixteen For the Judgment Following the one trespass brought condemnation. Look at verse seventeen. Because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man. Verse Eighteen, one trespass led to condemnation for all men. So you see this connection. But with this one man something happened. He sinned, he sinned the particular sin, he disobeyed the law of God and as a result several things happened. Death spread to all men, condemnation came to him and all men. Death reigned through sin, reigned over them. There was this powerful influence under which Adam and his posterity came, namely death. You remember the story right in Genesis. God makes Adam, he places him into the garden, he gives him this perfect setting, a very clear command. You can eat of all the trees that I have given you, except this one you shall not eat. And God says to Adam very clearly. He says to him if you eat of this tree, you shall surely die. And it was on that point that Satan brought God under question. Did God really say you shall surely die if you eat the fruit? Adam did sin. Adam did die. We when we look at rich at genesis, it's true he doesn't die and immediate death, but the genealogies that follow those passages make it very clear, Leer, that him and his children, one after another after another, died. They're powerful if you read them. So and so lived for so many years, he fathered so many children and he died. And then his son lived. Son So many years and fathered so many children and he died and he died and he died. This is the story of Man.

Adam sinned, fell under condemnation for that sin and died. Contrasted to this is Jesus. We read of Jesus is obedience in many places. I'm all read to you just one place that sums up his life well and points out his obedience. From Philippians, Chapter Two, Philippians two, we read in verse six that Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant. Being born in the likeness of men and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God is highly exalted in Him and bestowed on him the name that is above of every name. So you see how different it was. Jesus was also born as a man, he took on human form, he became and was made a servant, much like Adam was. But at that point their lives take two totally different directions. Where Adam grasped at the things of God by taking that Forbidden Fruit and seeking to be like God, Jesus instead did not grasp for the very things that were already his, but instead, as a man, was obedient. He was not only obedience under the point of life, in gaining the glory and majesty that was his for his obedience, but that obedience, Paul says, was even unto death. Adams Obedience, and many ways wasn't so hard don't eat of the tree. Jesus, however, suffered many and strong temptations from Satan himself and had to even undergo the death of the Adam earned for all humanity. Will Return back to that when we consider how much better grace is and how good the free gift is. But I want to point out these two stories of these two men so that you can see very clearly the similarities in the differences. The similarity is is that both were called to obedience. The difference is that only one of them obeyed. Jesus obeyed and in doing so he brought life, but Adam and his disobedience brought death. So this is the story of these two men, but it's a story that's not disconnected from us in any way. This is one of the other major points in this passage. Paul wants us to understand that it's not just...

...something that happened to Adam a long time ago and something that happened to Jesus a long time ago and they're obedience is good. There's something much more, something much bigger, going on. As it turns out, we are wrapped up in this story. We belong to it, and not by pushing ourselves into it, not by making ourselves a part of it, but that is simply the nature of things, because that's how God has ordered it. Let me point out some of the connections that Paul makes between us and these men in this passage. Look again at verse twelve. Just as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. Paul in a sense says two things. They're not opposite things, but they are two things. On the one hand, he says very clearly that death came into the world through one man, through the one sin of the one man, death came into the world. That's a that's a point that is corroborated in many places, like in Verse Fifteen, many died through the one man's trespass, or in Verse Sixteen, the Judgment Following one trespass bought condemnation for all men, or verse I'm seventeen, because of the one man's trespass, death reign through that one man, or verse eighteen, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men. So you see the connection between us and Adam. Because of Adam, because of this one man, because of his one trespass, death spread to all, condemnation spread to all, judgment and death would reign. And yet at the same time we read in verse twelve that death spread to all men because all sinned. There is a way in which not only is Adam responsible for his sin, but we all are responsible for Usin one. The one and the many come together here in verse twelve. Now Paul doesn't explain why that is here. We have to look at other portions of scripture to understand that and I won't get into it now, but the point is very clear. There is a kind of federal solidity that we have with this man. When God created Adam, he didn't just make a man and have a particular relationship with him. He had a particular relationship with him and his children, which includes us,...

...which means that we, when Adam sinned, we also sinned in him. This is what Paul says in First Corinthians twenty two. In Adam all die. So while we consider Adam in the consequences that his sin brought, we are right to take on this, take the sin and understand it from our own perspective as being our problem. We can't just distance our ourselves from Adam and say, man, he really screwed up. This is us, this is our problem. We have sin and condemnation and death to deal with. This is one of the great misconceptions about the Bible. Many people will believe that the Bible is simply a bunch of kind of positive teaching and Nice truths to encourage you. And while there are many nice truths to encourage you, many great things that help, the Bible also takes so seriously sin, and that's a good thing, because you know sin. You deal with it each day. Every day you feel it in your heart, you feel the weight of it. You know what it means to ignore sin, to not pay attention to it, to let it go untended to. You know what it is to feed sin and the way it clings to you and grabs you and pulls you down. You understand in your own experience and in the things you see in this world how connected sin and death are. The Bible does not ignore that reality. The Bible doesn't whitewash it and pretend it all went away. The Bible takes us and makes us look at it directly in the eyes and say this is what the situation is. Death is reigning through sin because of this great fall, not only sin, as we confessed earlier, but all the miseries that are connected to it. But, of course, we call the Bible the Gospel, we call the Bible the good news, because it doesn't only speak to that part of reality, it also speaks to the reality that God has come into the world to deal with that problem, to take people, as Paul said in Ephesians, who were dead in their trespasses and sins and raise them to life, to wash away our sins, to cleanse us from unrighteousness, to make us reign in life, as he says, instead of reign in death. Our Unity With Adam is a unity...

...that is also parallel to our unity with Jesus. In the same way that Adams disobedience was for him and his children, Jesus is obedience is for him and his children, who are brought to life by the new birth of the spirit. We aren't Jesus is, a genetic ancestors, but, even more importantly, we are his spiritual ones, bound and connected to him, even like a head and a body, even like a branch and a vine, we are connected to him in such a way that his life is our life, that his obedience is our obedience. That kind of solidity that we have with Adam is also a unity, a solid unity that we have in Jesus. In Adam All die, but in Christ all live. This kind of immunity that I'm talking about in these parallel ways is so clear in this passage, also with Christ. I read you the passages on Adam. Here are the ones about Jesus Verse Fifteen. If many have died through one man's Trestpass, much more have the grace of God and the Free Gift, by that grace of that one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for many? or verse seventeen. Much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the Free Gift of righteousness reign in life through that one man, Jesus Christ? Verse Eighteen. So one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. Verse Nineteen. As by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. You see this glorious truth? Then we don't have just these two stories, two interesting stories about two men. We have these stories that describe for us the whole world they describe for us all men. We all are eat each and every one of us, each and every one of you, either is in atom or you are in Christ. It's that black and white, it's that simple. You belong to Adam and the condemnation and the death in the judgment, or you belong to Jesus, with justification, righteousness and life. You either go through life and experience life under the power of sin and misery and...

...under the wrath of God, finally ending with your own death, the separation of your body and your soul, the dissolution of these things and ultimately your resurrection to judgment and Wrath and hell forever, or you experience your life as being in Jesus Christ, of knowing life in Him and knowing that, even though you will die, if the Lord doesn't return before you do, you will be raised, and raised to eternal life, forever and ever, reigning in the blessedness of God. These are the two realities that scripture presents before us now. This it should be obvious, but just to clear up a little confusion, or possible confusion as a side note, there's sometimes some question as to whether verse eighteen teaches a kind of universalism because of this strong parallel. As one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. So by universalism I simply mean does the Bible teach here in Romans Five, verse eighteen, that every single person is saved, that every single person in the world dies under Adam and that every single person in the world lives in Jesus? Well, you may know the answer to that question already, but let me see if we can explain it here from Romans Five. Well, the answer should be I'm if you know your Bible at all, I'm should be very easy. Well, of course the Bible doesn't teach universalism. There would be no Romans if there was. If that was true. Or we have passages like second thessalonians one, eight and nine that when the Lord Jesus is revealed on the last day with his mighty mighty angels, mighty angels in flaming fire inflicting on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus, Paul says they will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. So Paul is very clear and tells us that exactly what it is to be an adom and he says that there will be those on the last day who, being found in Adam, will die in Adam, and the description is terrifying, suffering punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. So the Bible doesn't teach that every single person will reign in life, that there are some who disobey, some...

...who do not know the Lord, some who will suffer and punishment for their sins. So if that's true and clear, is there another way to understand verse eighteen other than Jesus has that Jesus is death was effectual for all men? There is another way and it's consistent with the passage. Paul teaches that there are particularly Paul's Focus, I should say, is not on the number of people in this passage. He's not sort of the great contrast here is not look at this number of people. Compared to this number of people. What's Paul's focus? Paul's focus is on the mode. How are people saved, how are those who are under Adam saved? Or, I'm sorry, how are those under Adam condemned? How are those who are under Christ saved and brought to life? Consider also the justification that is held out in Jesus. First of all, in Verse Sixteen, we read that that justification considers their many sins really all their sins. When God forgives us, he doesn't sort of wash part of the dirt away, he cleanses at all. Remember the psalms. As far as the East is from the West. That kind of degree of separation is the degree which God cleanses us and separates us from our sins. Justification, verse Seventeen, says we reign in life. It's not a part way kind of salvation, it's a complete salvation. It cons justification constitutes us as righteous people. Verse Nineteen says if we go back to verse one and two of this chapter, we read that since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God. We're no longer his enemies but his friends. And if we have any question about the permanent benefit of justification, consider the last verse, Verse Twenty One. We have been given grace that we might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life. The point, then, is that the justification that Jesus gives us is not a halfway justification or a part way justification or a possibly effectual justification, but it's justification. He justifies, he calls people righteous, he imputes to them his righteousness, he makes peace with them and he gives them eternal life. Because of these considerations, we see that the people that Jesus has saved, he has really saved. The people that are under Adam, that died on him, really died. That's the parallel that's being made here, and so the answer to...

...these all questions here is that the focus is on these mediators, so to speak, these representatives. All who die in Adam die. All who are saved in Christ are saved. But those numbers are not exactly parallel, because we know what the Bible has been teaching us, what Paul has been teaching us in Romans. In Adam, we are born under him simply by virtue of being born. But how is it that we come to be borne by the spirit, only by the grace of God working in us? How is it that we come to receive this justification that's offered to Jesus by faith, by believing in him repenting of our sins. This is important to bring up and it is not just a side doctrinal issue because, as I said, each of us have to make a choice. We have to examine our own hearts and say where am I at? Am I in Adam, my ray at them being ruled and reigned by death, or am I under Christ, reigning in life? As we conclude, I want to point out one last thing from this from this passage. Paul presents this great contrast, these great parallels, but they are not equal. They're not equal like a like a two great warriors coming against one another and you kind of wonder who's going to win. Will it be a draw? Notice the great emphasis in this passage. Paul sets all of this up to make this particular point, that the grace of God is more, it abounds more, it covers more, it does much, much more than the condemnation Adam gives us. Ever did you see it in so many ways, like verse sixteen. The free gift is not like the result of that one man sin. It's not like Adams Sin, because the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift, following many trespasses, brought justification. See that Adam did one thing. I was terrible enough, but he did one thing. God revealed his law to him and he said, Adam, if you disobey this, you will die. And that's what happened to us all. But in Christ, not only...

...did we die in Adam, but then we pile on top of that all of our sins, more and more and more, so that when Jesus comes to bring justification, he doesn't just cover Adams one failure, he covers all of our failures, all of them. Many trespass us, and that makes gray as the grace of justification, much, much greater, doesn't it? Then then the rat than the than the penalty of condemnation, or consider verse seventeen. 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. Verse Twenty. Now, the law came in to increase the trespass. But where Sin Increase, grace abounded all the more. You see what happens. What God is reminding you here. When Jesus saves US, when we receive that gift that he's offering to us, we don't just get a clean slate. We don't just say, okay, I don't I'm not condemned anymore. It's not just you're condemned, you're not condemned, it's that you're not condemned, your pardoned of your sins, but you also receive this positive righteousness. You receive this positive righteousness of Jesus in such a way that your eternal life is secured forever. You don't just get to start over again. You don't get put back in the garden. All right now, let's see if we can get this right this time. Don't disobey. No, instead, God gives us the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is perfect, which is complete, and which gives us the very glory that Jesus earned that we read of in Philippians. Two. These are not equals, Adam and Jesus. There are similarities, there are things to be connected there in those two stories, but Jesus, as the second Adam, is supreme. His grace super abounds, and in it we have eternal life. So if you look and examine your heart and you examine your life and you say, I do not believe in Jesus Christ, if you are not trusting in Jesus, then know who you are under know that the sin that has its clause in you, the death that reigns in you, will not go away. There is only one solution that God has provided to this problem and it is Jesus. You have already died and you will die forever. Eternal death is yours. But if...

...you feel those sins and you know them in your heart and you hear what God is saying in his Gospel and he's sang to you, repent and believe, because here is a salvation that can do what Adam failed to do, it can do what you failed to do, and it's simply given to you. It's given to you freely, it's given to you by His grace, it's given to you by his love. If you believe that, if you turn away from your sins and trust in Jesus Christ alone, then what do you have? Super Abounding Grace, the amazing love of God, eternal life and reigning in it forever. And as Christians who know that and if experienced that, let's cling to it, let's remember it often and remember that, as the flesh and the spirit wage war against us, we have a battle that is not of equals. Grace is super abounding. God, in His mercy to us, is super abounding. The Holy Spirit within you is super abounding and one day will result even in your glorification and heaven forever. Let us pray.

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