Summary: To proclaim the good news of Jesus.
If you’ve ever flown Southwest airlines you know how fun their employees can be during the flight. I’ve been on flights when the captain comes on the sound system and says something like, "This is your captain speaking. I have some good news and some bad news for you today. The good news is that we’re ahead of schedule. The bad news is that our navigational equipment has failed and we have no idea where we are."
I came across this one the other day. “So yesterday my son comes home and says he has good news and bad news. "What’s the good news I asked?” “The good news is that I got 18 out of 20 on my driving test." “That’s great son! So, what’s the bad news?" "They were pedestrians."
When it comes to the Scripture I’m going to read today there is some good news and then there is some bad news. Listen to what the Apostle Paul said to the congregation in Rome.
[S] In other words, just as it was through one offense that all people came under condemnation, so also it is through one righteous act that all people come to be considered righteous. For just as through the disobedience of the one man, many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the other man, many will be made righteous. And the Torah came into the picture so that the offense would proliferate; but where sin proliferated, grace proliferated even more. All this happened so that just as sin ruled by means of death, so also grace might rule through causing people to be considered righteous, so that they might have eternal life, through Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord.” (Romans 5.12-21, CJB) [S]
The word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
In Romans chapter 5 Paul reveals some good news and some bad news.
The bad news is that everyone is a sinner. And according to Paul we all have Adam to thank for that. Adam and his precious wife Eve committed the first recorded sin in the bible which was? Eating fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Something God told them not to do. They could eat of any other tree in the garden, including the Tree of Life, but not the Tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why? Because he knew it would bring about a death.
Adam and Eve had a choice, to choose life or to choose death. God wanted them to choose life so he told them not to eat of this other tree. But for whatever reasons, they ate of the fruit from the tree God told them not to. And they died. They didn’t die physically right away, though death was now definitely going to be part of humanities life cycle. But they died in the sense that they died to God that day.
You see their eating was an act of apostasy, an act of disobedience, an act of opposition, an act of pride, an act of rebellion, an act of the will to do what they wanted instead of what God wanted. The result was that they were cast out of God’s dwelling place the Garden of Eden. Their sin resulted in being separated from God.
The bible also tells us that ever since Adam and Eve ate of the fruit in the garden humanity has been infected with sin. Ever since then sin has become a part of life and a way of life for some. We learned in Disciple Bible Study this last week that Genesis chapters 3-11 highlight sin and its effect on the human population. Sin that began with Adam and Eve is seen in their two wonderful boys Cain and Abel when Cain kills his brother. Sin becomes rampant in the world so God has Noah build an Ark before he floods the world. And then there is the Tower of Babel where the builders are motivated to build a grand tower to make their names great, which is another way of saying to feed their pride.
Whether we like it or not, the bible teaches that we have a sinful nature. That means ever since birth we gravitate to sinning, we lean towards sinning, we are inclined to sin. That doesn’t mean we are not capable of doing some good, but our tendency is to live and love ourselves more than God. That’s why one of the great lines in Charles Wesley’s hymn Love Divine All Love Excelling is “…take away my bent to sinning.” Sin has defiled us. Sin has distorted us. Sin has disfigured us. Sin has damaged us. (Eddie Fox and George Morris, The Faith Sharing New Testament with the Psalms, NRSV)
The sin of Adam has acted like a mutated gene that has found its way into the spiritual DNA of humanity so that we now have a “congenital disease” (Jewish New Testament Commentary, David H Stern, pg. 360) A disease we’re born with and can do nothing about. Listen to the words of King David. King David wrote, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51.2). “Behold I was shaped in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51.7) We are born with a sinful nature and that’s not good news.