Summary: God has not been stingy in sharing his love with us.
Did you take the time this year to return the envelope with Ed McMahon’s head on it? If you’re like me you did. I returned it not so much because I was confident that I would win, but thinking that if I didn’t return it that would be the time that my number would be drawn and because my entry was in the trash they couldn’t award me the $11 million. I’m willing to bet that many of you of us pick up that envelope from Publisher’s Clearing House and place all the stickers in their appropriate places and place the entrance certificate into the return envelope and stick it in the mail – just in case. Just in case the winning number is your number.
Have you ever dreamed what it would be like if you would be the winner of that prize? How would you react when the prize patrol came knocking on your door to award that check to you? Would you scream at the top of your voice, “I can’t believe it” over and over again? Maybe you would faint at the announcement of being a millionaire. Would you grab the members of that prize patrol and frantically give them hugs as you dash out the door to tell all of your neighbors that you had won? I’m guessing that most of us would do some rejoicing in the abundance of wealth that would now be ours, right?
I’ve got great news for you this morning. We have an even greater abundance of wealth, an overflowing abundance of wealth to rejoice in this morning. We can Rejoice in the Overflowing Abundance of God’s grace. We rejoice all the more in this overflowing abundance as we consider our natural condition. Our rejoicing increases as we consider Christ’s gift to us.
In order to begin to appreciate how great the grace of God is we need to do a self-evaluation. We need to examine who we are and where we stand in relationship to God. The Apostle Paul reminds us of an important truth in the text for this morning. Each one of us by nature is God’s archenemy. We are in cahoots with the devil himself. We are his slave. Our lives are ones that are filled with the filth of sin. That sin is first and foremost the sin of Adam that he committed in the garden of Eden. We are guilty of Adam’s sin of defying God’s direct command and eating the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We are just as guilty of that sin as Adam was because he is our father – and that sin has been passed onto us, his children. Hard to believe isn’t it? Almost preposterous to think that we could be held responsible for something someone else did! But it’s true. This is the case.
That’s not all we’re guilty of either. The result of our inherited sin is that we commit sins of our own. Paul points our attention back to the time after Adam’s fall into sin. From that time on until Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai Adam’s descendants weren’t given any direct commands from God. Even though the written Law hadn’t been given sin was still in the world. All of Adam’s descendants had the sin of their father passed down to them. Then on top of that they went and committed sins on their own. Even though God’s Law wasn’t there to lay their sins bare before all they were still sinning against God’s law which had been imprinted on their hearts, what we call a conscience. They made matters worse for themselves. It is true that they didn’t sin in the same way Adam did, that is they didn’t defy a direct command from God. But they did sin. They would be held accountable not just for the sin they inherited, but also for the sins they were actually committing.
Paul’s point is that it’s not God’s Law that has created sin. Sin is something that lives inside each one of us by birth. That’s why he points our attention back to the time before the written Law was given. It’s that sin which they inherited from their parents which shows itself in the sinful things that they did. That sin was every bit as bad as their inherited sin.
It wasn’t just the people from Adam until Moses who had this problem. All human beings have this problem. Each and every one of us has been born of sinful people tracing the root of our sin back to our first Father Adam. Not only do we inherit Adam’s sin, but we commit plenty of sins on our own on a daily basis. We too compound the problem. Our sins are made known to us not only by our consciences but also by God’s Law found in the Bible. Our wretched sinful nature wants to sin all the more when it sees God’s Law. That is the human condition.