Summary: A message encouraging people to live in the victory already given us by Christ.
The Trespass and the Gift
July 7, 2002
If you’re like me, you read the paper, listen to the news, or go to your favorite news web-site and you just wonder how our world survives the chaos we find ourselves in.
Not a day goes by that people aren’t senselessly murdered, kidnapped, blackmailed, or whatever.
And it would be easy to just wallow around in despair, if we would just allow ourselves to do it.
Why bother with trying to have a positive attitude when it won’t affect what goes on in Jerusalem, or Pierre, or Washington?
I’ll just be like the guy in Ecclesiastes who seems resigned to the hassles of life, and just let life take its course.
Well, I agree that it would be easy to just do that, and unfortunately, that’s the attitude of many Christians.
But I want us to walk out of here today encouraged about the fact that we don’t have to live in despair. We can live in hope and faith, even if is not always easy in our time.
Our passage is found in Romans 5:15-19. If you are using the Bibles in the seats, you can find this on page 798.
Let me give you some background here.
In this passage, the apostle Paul contrasts two things: the trespass and the gift.
The trespass is the sin of Adam and Eve, and the gift is the redemption we have through Christ.
And Paul tells us that the trespass brings some things, and the gift brings other things. Paul’s purpose here is to tell us that we don’t have to live in the trespass – we can live as those who possess the gift. And that’s what I intend to do as well. Let’s get started, shall we?
I. A Study in Contrasts…
I need a little audience participation during this first section okay?
It’s real simple: when I point to you like this, you say, real loud, “BUT…”
Okay, let’s practice (point) “BUT…”
I think you’ve got it. Let’s get going.
The first contrast is that…
A. The trespass brought death.
The gift brought grace.
Listen and follow along as I read verse 15:
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
We’ve all learned that Adam and Eve blew it in the Garden, right? But sometimes we forget just how much of an impact that act of sin had.
You see, their disobedience, their trespass, did more than just get them kicked out of the garden.
Their disobedience introduced sin into God’s creation. And you and I, by virtue of the fact that we are direct descendants of Adam, inherited a sinful nature.
In other words, we are inherently bent toward sinning in our own lives.
Unlike what society would have us believe, people are not inherently good. Just yesterday, Ann Landers, in her column stated that she believed all people are basically good.
But can you look at just the last 100 years of our country’s history and say that? We have just finished what many consider to be the bloodiest century in human history.
But there’s more, and here’s the worst part. Not only did the sin of Adam and Eve bring sin into our lives, it brought about the penalty for that sin – death.
You and I face the very real prospect of eternity in hell, because the sin of Adam and Eve brought sin, which brought death.
Are we being punished for their sin? No. While it’s true we inherited their sinful nature, we choose on our own, just as they did, to turn from God to sin.
The trespass of Adam brought death. And if that’s all we had to look forward to, then life would just be a matter of living only for yourself, because we die and suffer for eternity.
That’s not the end! While the trespass brought death, the gift brought grace.
The act of the one man Adam brought death. The act of the one man Jesus brought the possibility of life in heaven, by bringing grace, that unmerited favor from God, which in this case leads to eternal life in heaven.
The blood that Jesus shed for you and me covers all the sin in our lives, and makes it possible for us to live not under the threat of eternity in hell, but rather in the promise of eternity in heaven, in the presence of God Himself.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they tried to hide from God because they were ashamed of their sin. But when we are in heaven, we will not be ashamed – we will be declared clean and pure, with no need to hide. Rather, we will be constantly in His pure presence.