A daily devotion for September 14th
11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
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.
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 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.
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! Romans 5:17
Paul's argument is that Adam's transgression permitted sin to reign over the whole race. This is talking about more than just the funeral at the end of your life. True, that funeral happens because of Adam's trespass, but there is more to it than that. Not only does death come to us at the end of our life because of Adam, but it reigns throughout our life because of Adam. Paul is talking about forms of death other than the mere cessation of life.
What is life? Life is love, joy, and excitement. It is vitality, enrichment, power; it is fulfillment in every direction, in every possibility of your being. That is life. Death is the absence of life. Death is emptiness, loneliness, misery, depression, boredom and restlessness. How much of your life is made up of death? A lot of it, right? Some people never seem to have anything but death in their lives. Death reigns because of Adam's transgression.
Paul is saying that Christ's death provides such abundant grace and loving acceptance, which are available again and again and again, that all who are in him can reign in life now. You can have life in the midst of all the pressures and circumstances and suffering and troubles. Your spirit can be alive and joyful — experiencing fulfillment and delight. Life in the midst of death! We reign in life now. Love, joy, peace, glory, and gladness fill our hearts even in the midst of all the heartaches and pressures of life.
Paul is drawing this parallel so that we might see how much more we have in Jesus than we ever had in Adam. What we lost in Adam, we regain in Jesus, plus so much more. Just as a climber on a mountaintop can dislodge a pebble which rolls on and accumulates others until it begins to launch an avalanche that will move the whole side of a mountain, so Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden dislodged a pebble that has built into an avalanche of sin and death that has swept through our entire race. But, Paul tells us, Jesus has launched another avalanche of grace, and in him there is ample counteraction against all that Adam has brought.
The point of all this is that the one who breaks through is Jesus. Adam ruins us all. Only Christ can set us free. Sin and death will never loose their filthy hold on us except at the command of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the one to whom we look is the Lord Jesus, the one who broke the terrible death grip on us and set us free — Jesus, the head of a new race, the beginning of a new humanity. Jesus is Lord. As we see him thus, we discover what the Scriptures say, that the blessed Lord, who broke through death and sin, has come to live within us, to give himself to us, and to infuse us with his strength and purity, his wisdom and power. All that he is is available to us. Thus we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
By your Spirit, Father, I rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ because he has broken the shackles of evil and death and sin that held me, and he has set my spirit free and has given me the opportunity to draw from him the grace and mercy I need every day.
Life Application: What is a dimensional description of death? Of life? As we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, are we living in fullness of Life in Christ which is our inheritance?
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