Summary: God’s grace is at work in our lives restoring in us the image of God that was lost in the fall of Adam through the power of Christ in us.
The Abundance of Grace, Romans 5:12-17
A philosopher was asked by a friend to show him the splendid garden of which he was always boasting. He led him to a bare rocky space behind his house. “Where is your garden?” the friend asked. “Look up,” said the philosopher; “heaven is a part of my garden.” Every good gift in the garden really comes from above; should God command the clouds to send no rain, the earth would soon be like iron.
Heaven shields, broods over, and enriches every fruitful plot of ground. Turn, then, your whole being fully toward the sunshine of God’s grace, and pray that the garden of your soul may always be as ready to receive heavenly blessing as is the garden around your dwelling.
When, by God’s enablement, you become a planter, remember that the seed is God-made, and when you become a waterer; remember that the water is also God-made.
Everything we have. Everything we are is the gift of God’s grace. The eternal salvation of Christ is not contingent upon our good works, but Christ work. The faith through which we enter into covenant with Christ is not even our own, but even our faith is the gift of God’s grace poured out to us.
Nothing we have, nothing we have done, and nothing we will ever do proceeds from us alone. Our very existence, our very being, the very breath of life which courses through us, all of this and more, are the gift of God. We, who were once dead in trespasses and sin, have been made alive through faith in Jesus Christ.
This morning my thesis is straightforward and plain; We, who were once found in the image of Adam, dead in trespass and sin, have been transformed according to abundance of God’s grace, into the image of the second Adam; Jesus Christ.
Where there was once a legacy of sin through disobedience to God, there is now available a legacy of life through the obedience to God of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:8 says, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (NIV)
This morning, let us consider the overflowing superabundance of God’s grace that has been poured out to us, Solo Christo, that is, in Christ alone. As we do, I trust that we will begin to see ourselves in a new light; the light of Christ!
Romans 5:12, the first section of today’s Scripture reading says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” (NIV) There are two primary themes found in this passage that we’ll focus on this morning.
First, it was through Adam’s sin that death entered the world. It is important for us to realize that death was a part of God’s original design for this world. Death came through disobedience; disobedience sprung forth from the heart of Adam and Eve because they believed a lie.
In a very real sense, sickness, disease, and death – all products of the curse which sin brought upon the world – are the products of humanity having accepted a lie. In the garden the Satan, the serpent, sold humanity the greatest lie of all; “Surely God has not said. God does not want you to eat of the fruit because then you will be like Him.”
Vanity; Self-exultation; pride; laying aside worship of God worship and exultation of self; these are the driving forces of that lie. There is absolutely nothing in the text to indicate that when the Apostle Paul writes about the events of the Garden that he believes himself to be writing about anything other than historical events.
Paul is recounting to us in the book of Romans what was the common belief of his day. Sin entered the world through the sin of Adam, as He acted as our representative in the Garden. It may interesting to note that in the Hebrew language, in fact, Adam is both the name of the first man and also a word which speaks of all men. It is also the word for “human.”
Sins ultimate origin is to be found in the garden. When Adam sinned he did so as a representative of his progeny, his offspring, his descendants, us. But, we can not stop there. The second major theme in this passage is that sin reigned or ruled over the earth, because all sinned.
In the first half of this section of Scripture, the Apostle Paul is giving us the diagnosis of humanities “sin problem.” Sin entered the world through Adam and spread to all humanity; both in his acting on our behalf as the father of all mankind and also in his providing an example that we have all since followed.