Summary: Part 17 of the Romans series dealing with our transfer from the line of Adam into the line of Jesus Christ

Chico Alliance Church

September 30, 2001

Pastor David Welch

“The Great Transfer”

Romans 5:12-21


The world has all of a sudden awakened to the need for a standard of right and wrong.

We have become aware of our need for God’s supernatural intervention in the affairs of men. Who determines what is righteous? To the Moslem extremist, their actions were an act of God and compatible with righteousness. Righteousness is a word that describes the character of one who conforms to a standard. Only God’s standard will count in eternity. There must be a return to both hear and heed his standard. True righteousness can only be found in God and his written word. We can only realize such righteousness through divine intervention and imputation by God. Paul wrote to the Roman people to enlighten them regarding true righteousness. He was convinced that the Gospel was the power of God for salvation to every one who believed in Jesus for in this gospel story God revels his both His righteousness and wrath.

So far we have tracked Paul’s argument up to chapter 5. After introducing his theme of righteousness in chapter one, Paul demonstrates the total inadequacy and inability of all men to measure up to God’s standard thus incurring the just penalty for rebellion – death.

Paul made it clear that no one, not even one person has ever or ever will live a life or righteousness necessary to relate to the Holy God. In light of such a dismal condition, Paul announces a most wonderful gift of God to all those who will embrace Christ. God promises to justify every sinner who comes to Him in faith. Biblical Justification goes beyond a declaration of innocence. Justification credits perfect character, namely the character of Jesus to every believer.

In the first 11 verses of chapter 5, Paul reviews some of the marvelous implications of justification.

Having been justified through faith in Christ…

Having had our moral account purged of our inadequate attempts to live up to God’s absolute standard and replaced with Christ’s perfect, eternal conformity to God’s standard...

We can enjoy peace with God

We can exult in hope of reflecting the glory of God in the future.

We can exult in present tribulations that produce future character

Our justification guarantees salvation or rescue from the coming wrath

Our justification guarantees your complete salvation or rescue to eternal life

We can exult in God through whom we have received the reconciliation

Notice the panoramic view from past to future!

We were justified at the moment of belief based on the once for all sacrifice of Jesus in the past, we are now reconciled, we now have peace, we can now exult in future hope of glory, we can now exult in tribulation knowing that we are in process toward that future hope of the glorious likeness of Christ, we will be saved from God’s future wrath, we will be experience our full salvation in spirit and soul as well as our body, we now exult in God through whom we experience present reconciliation with the God of the universe.

Paul transitions from this discussion of the truth regarding righteousness and justification by summarizing with a before-and-after shot. Before launching into principles regarding personal victory over the power of sin in our life, Paul once more touches on the work of God regarding the penalty of sin. In verses 12-21 he reviews the source of sin and death and the source or righteousness and life and contrasts the life of one connected to Adam as opposed to the life of one now connected to Christ. It is interesting to note a contrast in address in 1-11 and 12-21. Whereas we find numerous reference to “we” in 1-11 and 6:1-9 we do not find one “we” in 5:12-21.

It appears that Paul intends to reinforce the objective foundation of truth regarding sin and justification. This is a highly condensed passage and lends to a great deal of controversy and even confusion but I believe taken as a whole clearly presents one of the most powerful and liberating pictures and analogies in all of Scripture.

In verses 1-11 Paul traced the benefits of a fundamental change in relationship with God.

Whereas we were lost and doomed as ungodly, sinners, helpless enemies of God, we are now at peace with God, reconciled, destined for glory, saved from wrath and heirs of the full blessing of God.

In verses 12-21 Paul affirms once again the theological basis of such a transformation by contrasting our life in Adam as opposed to our new life in Christ.

He traces the source of our sinful condition and hopeless end as well as the source of righteousness and sure destiny. We exult in God through whom we have received the reconciliation. It is God who brought about the great exchange, the great transfer, the great adoption, the great new birth, the great reconciliation. The point of this passage is clearly one man and his sin and one man and His salvation. The context argues for the effects of the sin of the one man on the race as the source of the trouble not on the individual disobedience of the people. This contrasted with the effects of the righteous life of one man on the race as the source of eternal life no on the individual acts of obedience of the people. Paul uses the word “one” twelve times in this short passage. One man! One act!

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