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The Contrast Between Adam and Christ (Romans 5:12-21)

Romans 5:12–21 - 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What does today’s passage say? In today's passage, Paul explains that sin entered the world through Adam's disobedience, bringing death and condemnation to all people (v. 12). Though people sinned before Moses and the Law, it was not counted against them in the same way as after the Law came (vv. 13-14). However, death still reigned from Adam to Moses, proving humanity's fallen state in God's eyes due to Adam's original trespass. Then Paul contrasts how while Adam's sin brought death and condemnation, Christ's act of righteousness accomplished justification and life for all who believe (vv. 15-19). The Law increased awareness of sin's trespass and condemnation, but God's grace has overflowed beyond all sin, reigning through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ (vv. 20-21). How can I apply Romans 5:12-21 to my life? Today, Paul powerfully contrasts Adam and Christ, unveiling vital truths concerning sin, death, grace, righteousness and life. As we reflect on this profound passage, may our hearts and minds be open to receive and apply God's life-changing word. These verses highlight the tragic entrance of sin through Adam's disobedience, a reality that has shaped human existence from the beginning and still reverberates now. Yet by God's grace, Christ came to undo sin's deadly work, defeating death through His righteousness applied to all who believe. As recipients of this immense gracious gift, we gain far more in Christ than we ever lost in Adam! From this transformational passage, we must glean key principles for Christian living and proclaiming the gospel of redeeming grace. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Acknowledge How Sin Entered the World and Its Consequences (v. 12): Paul teaches that sin entered the world through Adam's disobedience, and death was the tragic result that spread to all people. We inherit a sinful nature even though we did not actively choose to sin as Adam did. The devastating effects of original sin are passed down through generations. When we understand sin's gravity and the death it ushers in, it should compel us to cherish and cling to God's abundant grace and Christ's gift of righteousness by faith alone. This truth should motivate us to share the Good News of salvation, and to help lead people from sin and death's grip into newness of life eternal. We must not downplay sin's tragedy but let it turn our eyes upward for rescue, grace, and life. Practically speaking, we can share the dangers of sin with others through kind conversations, leading by godly example, and pointing them to the Gospel. We can also examine our own hearts, asking God to reveal any areas not submitted fully to Him. Rather than hiding or rationalizing sin, we need to acknowledge its consequences in order to appreciate the magnificent grace Christ offers. As we do, we can walk more closely with Him, following His ways in obedience through the power of the Spirit living within us. Our journey may include stumbles, but our eyes stay fixed on the One who is able to keep us from falling (Genesis 3:6; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; John 10:10).

Food for Thought: What are some practical ways you can warn others about the dangers of sin this week? How might remembering the deadly consequences of Adam's disobedience encourage you to walk more closely with Christ daily?

  1. Receive God's Abundant Grace and the Gift of Righteousness Through Christ (vv. 15-17): As we read in these verses, the gracious gift of righteousness through Christ Jesus enormously surpasses the tragedy of sin and death ushered in by Adam. Where sin and condemnation once reigned as tyrants over humanity, now overflowing grace and the gift of justification reign, for all who receive this gift by faith in Jesus. His one act of supreme obedience at the cross accomplished far more than Adam's one act of disobedience. Christ's sacrifice overflows with grace to justify sinners before a holy God. Therefore, rather than downplaying the gravity of sin, may we use its tragedy to point more people to receive this greater gift of grace. As ambassadors of reconciliation, we can boldly yet humbly share the Good News, inviting others to be made righteous in Christ alone. We too must continue receiving God's grace by coming to Jesus daily in repentant faith, embracing all He accomplished through the cross. May deep gratitude for this gift compel us to walk closely with Him who loved us and gave Himself up for us (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Titus 3:7).

Food for Thought: What are some ways you can make the grace of God in Christ more precious to you this week? Why is important that we share this generous gift of grace with others?

  1. Rejoice in the Abundance of Grace Leading to Eternal Life Through Christ (vv. 20-21): In these verses, we find even more reason to rejoice - no matter how much sin abounds, God's grace abounds even more! It is poured out lavishly so that many will receive the gift of righteousness resulting in eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. Where tragedy and death once ruled mercilessly, now grace reigns supremely through the obedience of Christ! We get to participate in proclaiming this news - turn from sin, embrace grace, discover the riches of Christ! And as we fix our eyes on Him, may we walk closely, empowered by the new life He gives. His sacrifice accomplished far more than we could grasp, securing our justification and guaranteeing future glory. As we live in light of this truth, we can share God's grace with wisdom and gentleness, through acts of service, words of encouragement and Biblical resources that explain the Good News. We can also regularly pray for opportunities to share grace, ask about others' spiritual journeys, and tell our own stories of meeting Jesus. As we remember the lavish supply of grace given to us, our hearts overflow with praise and compel us to freely share with others (Titus 3:7; Romans 6:22-23; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

Food for Thought: How might remembering God's abundant grace encourage you this week? What specific actions can you take to share this grace with others? In closing, this critical passage spotlights the problem of sin versus the power of grace. Adam's historic disobedience let evil and death reign, devastating humanity. Yet Christ, the divinely obedient Son of God, sacrificed Himself to make righteousness and eternal life available to all, liberating those bound by sin and death's shackles throughout the ages. So we should mourn sin's corruption that has touched all people, while proclaiming with exceeding joy that Jesus' matchless grace has touched every corner of this sin-ravaged earth with redeeming mercy and love. May this truth lead us to humility, compassion, repentance and salvation, spurring us to worship our glorious Lord with ever-grateful hearts for the treasures of His grace imparted to us through Christ, His eternal gift. Let us not take lightly or downplay in any way the tragedy of humankind's fall or Christ's staggering sacrifice that has lifted us out of the ruins into His serene, gracious kingdom. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would help me acknowledge fully the tragedy of sin's entrance and death's dreadful reign over humanity, while magnifying in my heart always Your redemptive grace and righteousness given freely through Christ. Create in me a passion to warn my generation of sin's deadly poison even as I joyfully offer the glorious antidote of new life in Jesus' name. Make me wholly thankful for this gift and eager to share it with all people. Melt my heart with Your amazing grace, and shape my life through Your Spirit to walk obediently before You each moment of each day, treasuring Your lavish blessings in Christ. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Romans 5:17 – “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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