January 17 - Romans 5:12-21

Friday, January 17, 2014

Romans 5:12-21 – Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ

Paul has just spent many verses discussing how the blessing that Christ offers us … is for all people because of the relationship that Abraham had with God in the beginning. Now, he moves even further back in time to the first man, Adam. He doesn't want to talk about creation, but the first sin and the transformation that made on earth. All of humanity was affected by that sin.

Adam is the Hebrew word for 'man.' He symbolizes the type of humanity that exists in the world … sinful. Paul reminds his readers that sin existed long before the Law and he introduces here the concept of death as being tied to sin. Death has been in existence from the time of Adam and Moses. It happened to those who had never broken a commandment, because they were yet to be codified. So it is Adam who was the pattern for all of us, not the Israelites who lived according to the Law.

In Romans 5:15, we read "But the gift is not like the trespass." The gift of God's grace is completely out of proportion to the sin that Adam committed. While that sin affected all of humanity, God's grace is greater than that.

Judgment occurred because of one sin and humanity was condemned for that. Before we go too much further with this, it is important to understand what this condemnation is. This singular sin separated humanity from God. The relationship was broken and no one person could fix. Only a person who was both God and man would bring reconciliation. The entire purpose of salvation is to renew the relationship we have with God – to release the hold that the sin which broke that relationship has over us all.

Now judgment came for one sin – the breaking of this relationship. This brought sin and death into the world. However, God's grace came to heal humanity of all its sin and to restore it to his original intention. From one man came death, from one man, Jesus Christ, the embodiment of God on earth, came the gift of grace and righteousness. One man was disobedient – Jesus Christ was obedient to the point of death so that many will be made righteous (Romans 5:19).