Summary: This series is based on A. M. Hills book "Holiness in the Book of Romans."

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Do you remember “that kid” in school who always messed things up for everyone else? One spit wad and the whole class was in trouble. One person can ruin a good thing for everyone.

Read Romans 5:12-21.

* Messed up for EVERYONE

This is a bad news/good news situation. Paul is saying, “Hey I have some bad news, and I have some good news. Which do you want first?” He gives the bad news first.

Paul is referring to Genesis 3, where we have the account of Adam’s sin. Some speculate that mankind was immortal prior to the first sin. We don’t know for sure. God did say to Adam, “For dust you are and to dust you will return” (Gen. 3:19b).

- The result of the mess: DEATH

Because of Adam’s sin, death came into the world. What kind of death was it? Was it physical death? Was it spiritual death? The answer is “Yes” to both. We’re born. We live. We die. That is the fact of our physical existence.

There is also spiritual death. Spiritual death is quite simply separation from God. Adam’s sin caused separation from God.

- Another result: LOST RELATIONSHIP

The word “depraved” or “depravity” is often used to describe sinful human nature. To say that someone is depraved is to say that they are sinful. The reason we are depraved is because we are deprived of a close relationship with God. Adam and Eve had incredible fellowship with God. When they sinned, God removed his presence from them, and consequently from all of us.

This is what messed it up for all of us. Our sense of justice says that it’s not fair for us to be held responsible for someone else’s action. Individuality is a relatively new concept. We are not islands unto ourselves. Besides, we have all shaken our fist at God. That is the crux of sin anyway.

We are relational creatures. We need that relationship with God to be fulfilled.

* Standing at the FORK in the ROAD

Baseball great Yogi Berra said, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.”

We are all in a mess. We don’t choose to be born in sin. We simply are. The penalty for sin is death, and is imposed on all of us. We can’t choose to the consequences of our actions. A criminal standing in front of the judge can’t choose whether or not he will be punished.

- Option 1: GUILTY

We are all under the sentence. Sin brought judgement, condemnation, a sentence, a pronouncement of “Guilty.” Paul has said in this letter, “All men have sinned and are far away from God’s saving presence” (3:23, TEV). We are all in the same boat.

Our first option is to keep walking the same path. Our option is to stay under the death penalty.

- Option 2: NOT GUILTY

The Good News is that we don’t have sit on death row. We can get off of death row.

Adam messed it up for all of us. Jesus Christ has set it right. It is a free gift from God. God will declare us not guilty if we accept the gift.

The benefits of the plan of salvation vastly outweigh the negative affects of sin. Paul talks about the “much more” gift. Death was the result of sin, but life is much more than death and life comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

While the penalty is imposed on all of us, the gift is not imposed. It is our option to whether or not we accept it.

A prisoner has a sentence imposed on him by a court, and he has no choice about the sentence. If the governor or president decides to pardon the prisoner, the prisoner has to accept the pardon. The pardon is not imposed on the prisoner. He could reject it.

* It’s your CHOICE

We are at the crossroad, and we have to choose which way we will go.

What kind of prisoner would reject a pardon from the governor? We would think that he was crazy. We have the same choice: pardon or prison.

- We must ACCEPT it

Jesus obedience to God leads to our salvation, if we accept it. The key is that we have to accept it. A gift can be rejected.

- Salvation TRUMPS sin

I like to play Pinochle. During a hand, one suit is named trump. That suit “takes” the trick, even over the ace of some other suit. When the time is right, you play your ace of trump. No matter what’s on the table, the ace takes the trick.

Jesus’ death on the cross is the ace of trump. No matter what we have done, or how long we’ve done it, Jesus one act of obedience trumps it.

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