Summary: In Romans 5:12-21 the Apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus came to 1. Defeat Sin 2. Conquer Death and 3. Enable us to live a life in which we reign in righteousness
Title: More than a Reset
In Romans 5:12-21 the Apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus came to 1. Defeat Sin 2. Conquer Death and 3. Enable us to reign in righteousness
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world.
Have you ever tripped one of the circuit breakers at your house or apartment? Every so often at our house when we begin to use too much electricity outside we trip one of the circuit breakers. It happens because we have put too much of a load on our electrical system and so that a fire doesn't start the system is set up to "trip" and stop the flow of electricity. To fix it, all you have to do is to unplug something and then go and reset the button. Once you do that you can continue working outside provided you don't once again use too many appliances. Otherwise you will trip the circuit breaker all over again. There is a limit to how much electrical current you can use outside our house. Resetting that reset button is key. It's the only way to get the electricity to flow again.
It's similar to the re-set button that is on some computers or game consoles. You start playing a game or doing something on the computer and suddenly the screen freezes up and you find yourself locked out. Sometimes you can get it to come back on and begin to work but there are those times that you have to hit the reset button and restart your computer or your game. Sadly, it means also that you may have lost some data or the last game but until you hit that reset button you are frozen out anyway. That reboot or reset button is crucial.
Some people have viewed our Pauline passage this morning (Romans 5:12-21) in a similar vein. They believe that the Apostle Paul is referring to something like a spiritual reset button for humanity. They believe that what the Apostle Paul is telling us that God, looking at His creation and seeing all the dissolution, the decay of genuine humanness, the brokenness and the death simply through Jesus hit the "reset button". They believe that as a result of Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension mankind has been given a "reset" in which everything can be put back to square one so to speak.
They point out this out by referring to contrasting the work of Adam against the work of Jesus. In Adam they see a life of disobedience which led to judgment and ensuing condemnation. That condemnation resulted in the reign of sin, separation and eventual death. In Jesus Christ they see the very opposite happening. In Christ, they see obedience, grace and justification. In Christ they see a verdict of acquittal that leads to the reign of life, righteousness and oneness in Christ.
And while all of those things are in fact going on I would like to propose to all of us this morning a much deeper and richer truth. That deeper and richer truth being that what we see here in our passage and throughout the New Testament is abundantly more than merely a reboot or a reset of our spiritual button. That what we see here and can experience this life goes far beyond that type of dualistic thinking.
For if we are not careful here we can end up with a some kind of "yin yang" spiritual theology. A theology that says that believes in a type of cosmic balance or in the theory that for every light there is a moment of darkness. A theology that states that righteousness balances out sinfulness and holiness balances out wickedness. That type of theology is not the theology of the Bible nor is it what the Apostle Paul is alluding to in this passage.
Actually as you read this passage you discover that the focus on this passage is not even on Adam. Nor is it on the universality of sin. Both Adam's sin and the fact that all men have sinned is not some new thought for the Apostle Paul nor for the Early Christian Church. Almost everyone in the Early Church was well aware that according to the Torah sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam. Everyone knew that according to the Torah and the writings that sin began to reign in the hearts and lives of all mankind and that as a result spiritual death and physical death became universal.
What we see in this passage is that the Apostle Paul uses the story about Adam to set up and explain the life that can be ours through Jesus Christ. Paul believes that through Adam sin and death came into the world for all mankind, Jew and Gentile alike. He also believes that in Christ one can live a whole new life; a justified life in which one can have experience power over sin, conquer death and reign in this life and in the life to come. It is that life that both Jew and Gentile can experience now and eternally.