Grace reigns through righteousness
Romans 5:6-21 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
In today’s text Paul takes all sin back to the original sin of Adam. In our society and culture; in today’s philosophy and psychology we tend to blame bad behavior on things that happened to us or things that happened before us. We justify bad behavior by placing the blame on someone or something else. Should we then excuse our sin because it was Adam’s fault and not ours? Paul previously put that argument to rest in Romans 3:23, saying: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Psalm 14:1-3 says: The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one. Adam is not responsible for our sin. Each of us has the same choice that Adam had, whether to be obedient or disobedient to God.
Look at Genesis 3:1-7 to see the sin of Adam and Eve, and what truly was released through their sin. Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.Then the eyes of both of them were opened… First, we need to recognize the deception. God’s commandments are always intended for our good; to protect us and make things better for us. Jeremiah 29:11 says: I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. God’s commandments are intended to help us to attain all that God’s plan has for us. The devil’s deception is two-fold. First, he tries to get us to question what God actually said. The result, if we take his bait, is that we often either add to what God said, or take away from His commandments. The second part of the deception is that he tries to get us to question God’s motive. Rather than it being for our good, the devil wants us to believe that God’s commandments are restrictive; hindering us from becoming like God, even though He created us in His image and likeness. In truth, what Adam and Eve passed to all mankind was that they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and their eyes were opened. That is what was passed to each of us, not that we must sin because they sinned, but that we have the knowledge of good and evil. What we do with that knowledge is our choice.
In the text Paul says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. In John 3:16-21 Jesus says this about the demonstration of God’s love: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” Having the knowledge of good and evil, judgment comes when we choose evil over good. We escape judgment by believing in Christ.
Paul says: So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. James 1:13-17 says: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. Paul began today’s text saying: While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. We may have been helpless to overcome the temptation of the devil, but we are not left hopeless regarding sin. By God’s grace, through Christ, we have been delivered from sin. We are no longer helpless because of God’s grace. Sin reigned in death, even so grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, thank You that Your plans and Your commands are for my good. May I never fall to the deception of questioning Your word or Your motive. May I know that every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above. Because of Your love, I choose good over evil. Because Your grace abounds, I choose to walk in Your righteousness. I am no longer helpless because You are my helper. Amen.