Summary: Sometimes you may feel like there's no hope of ever enjoying life again, but God’s grace provides more than enough life and blessings for you and for all people. There is hope and restoration because of Jesus' death on the cross.
We are counting down to Easter. It’s the highest day in the church year. However, there is only one way to arrive at the empty tomb of Easter Sunday. We need to travel to Jesus’ cross.
As we look at the cross and the blessings Jesus made possible by his death, I hope we come to two life giving conclusions about the gospel.
As pastor and author, Tim Keller points out, “Here's the gospel: you're more sinful than you ever dared believe; you're more loved than you ever dared hope.”
Citation: Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian and author of The Reason for God, in the sermon Treasure Versus Money, PreachingToday.com
God reveals how deadly our sins are and how deeply he loves us on the cross. All that Jesus did for us is often called by one name – the atonement. There are several explanations of how the atonement works because “there is an essential mystery about the atonement, so that men cannot know completely how it works.”
Citation: Leon Morris in Basic Christian Doctrines, edited by Carl F. H. Henry, Baker Book House, 1962
Jesus’ death on the cross paid the ransom that sets us free from slavery to sin and Satan. His crucifixion conquered the forces of evil and sets us free from the list of charges against us. On the Cross, as Jesus bled and died, he received the punishment our sins deserved.
When Jesus died for us he made it possible for us to become God’s children.
One of the early church leaders declared, “He became what we are that we might become what he is.”
Charles Wesley was a brother of John Wesley, the founder of our branch of the Christian family tree. He wrote a song that turns this blessing of the atonement into a victorious prayer.
O For a Heart to Praise My God
O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels Thy blood
So freely shed for me.
A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer's throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.
A heart in every thought renewed
And full of love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good,
A copy, Lord, of Thine.
Citation: Charles Wesley
O for a heart that’s a copy of our Lord Jesus’ heart. Is it really possible? How can God fill my heart with his divine love?
Paul talks about the restoration Jesus makes possible in Romans 5:12-21. Many theologians and pastors consider these verses some of the most difficult to interpret in the whole New Testament. I think if we can keep the main point in focus we will do well.
Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned — for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 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 was a pattern of the one to come.
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! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 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.
Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 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.
The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I. Paul begins by pointing to Adam as the source of sin and death in the whole human race. (5:12-14)
A. He makes two observable facts about humans the base of his comparison and contrast of Adam and Jesus.