Summary: Name it. Whatever it is, Christ is much more
Mankind has been effected as groups and cultures by numerous people throughout history. There have been influential people; great people and not so great people who have influenced societies, whether for good or for bad.
But mankind as a whole has only been affected by two men; the first, Adam, and the second, Christ.
Adam brought sin and therefore death to all; Christ brought redemption and therefore life to all who believe.
In every area where the first Adam parallels Christ (the second Adam), we find that what Christ brings is MUCH MORE.
Not only has He lifted us from the fall, but He has raised us up to a higher plane than we ever would have stood had the fall never taken place.
Let’s read the verses of our study; Romans 5:12-15 (read)
Now, I have to start today by backing up some, because our understanding of what I’m going to talk about is dependent to a great extent on our understanding of Justification by Faith.
We have been studying Romans on Sunday nights, and those who have been in that study have heard this definition numerous times; but so that no one here is left behind, I want to go over it again here.
Justification by faith is a term we see used quite often in the scriptures; and it isn’t just a catch phrase that Paul has thrown out there to grab attention.
Justification by faith means something in particular; and what it means is that the believer in Christ has right standing before God...declared right. Declared just. Declared right by God, through faith in Christ.
It is not by anything we can do; it is not by our works...not by our merit or any attitude we can conjure up within ourselves; it is simply by faith.
In Romans chapter 3 Paul lays out very clearly the level that man has sunken to in sin. He talks about the potential that all men have for sin, and he says it as though every person is capable of the things that he lists in that chapter.
Paul lays that foundation, and then he says, “But now, apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even, the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ for all those who believe. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift, by His grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed, for the demonstration I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
That’s kind of long portion to read, and I can’t break it all down for you today, but I want it understood that God did what He did, so that He might be JUST; that is, He has to hold us all accountable. God can’t just wink at sin and say, “Ah...it’s ok. Just don’t do it anymore”.
He has to hold mankind accountable for sin. Therefore, He has shown Himself to be just, in that He sent His only Son, who was sinless, to pay the penalty for all.
ALL have sinned. ALL now come under this provision He has made, when they believe.
But He’s also the justifier. He is just, but He is the justifier. He now says, “Anyone who has faith in the atoning work of my Son on the cross stands before Me right. Just. Justified. That’s what justified means.
Now, in verses 9 and 10 here in chapter 5, he says, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, MUCH MORE, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
It’s not just a ‘starting over’. It’s not just ‘wiping the slate clean’; it’s putting us in a position before God, higher than we ever would have stood had the fall not taken place.
In the section of Romans 5, verses 12-21, Paul sets forth a truth very necessary to the understanding of the doctrine of Justification by faith. The wording in these verses is, at points, a little confusing if these fundamental truths are not understood; and that’s why I wanted to lay that groundwork first.
Nevertheless Paul, through these verses, abolishes all arguments against every man’s need for God’s grace, and establishes once and for all the fact of our natural, sinful state.
It is only when man realizes that he is by nature sinful and in rebellion against a holy God, that he can appropriate to himself God’s free gift of grace.