2020 - Romans
Adam And Christ
The letter to the Romans is written in three parts…
--We have already studied the last part… The Rubber meets the Road section. This is Chapters 12-16. In this section Paul really focuses down on the interaction the Christians in Rome had with each other, as well as how they were to get along with the world. It is the application of grace to the world around us!
--The second part, chapters 9-11, is a serious part that explains the place of the Jewish people in the big picture of salvation history. This will be the last section we study.
--Currently, we are in the first part; the Theological part of the letter; chapters 1-8. This part explores the Gospel. This part touches on a variety of different themes like, sin and faith; death and glory; law and righteousness; wrath and reconciliation. It is one of the centers of our Christian beliefs.
Within part one, the theological part, there are two cycles. After the introduction, the first cycle reads from Romans 1:18-5:11. I think this cycle is primarily written to the Jewish Christians in Rome. It uses Abraham as an example. It moves from wrath for sin… to a God proving his love.
Then, there is a second cycle that begins in 5:12 through the end of chapter 8. This, I suspect is for the Roman/Gentile Christians. It uses Adam as an example. This second cycle also begins with sin and death. It explains what Jesus did to make us right. It explores how the Christian life works and ends with the love of God!
“Tim is there going to be a test on all this?” No, you don’t have to remember all that. There is not going to be a test. I think it helps me to understand the purpose of things when I can see the structure. Understanding the flow helps keep you in context as you explore the themes.
If you think like I think…and it helps you, here is the structure…
Part One – Theology – Chapter 1-8
Cycle One – The Gospel for Jews – Chapter 1:18-5:11
Cycle Two – The Gospel for Gentiles – Chapter 5:12–8:39
Part Two – Jews in Salvation History – Chapters 9,10,11
Part Three – Rubber meets the Road – Chapter 12-16 – This part includes the key verses to understanding what Paul wanted from writing his letter.
Romans 15:5-7 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Now, let me recap Cycle one of Part One, so that we can begin Cycle two this morning…
--Three Groups… hedonist, hypocrite and the arrogant are all under God’s wrath...
Romans 3:22-23 For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
--Three Good Newses… The hedonist is made right. The hypocrite is redeemed into family. The arrogant has the Mercy Seat to cover their sins.
Romans 3:24-25 “All” are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a Mercy Seat by his blood,
--These Good newses are received by sharing the Faith of Abraham! The faith that acted as if God’s promises had already happened!
Romans 4:23-24 But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,
--All this leads to the Seven blessings of God culminating in the climax of Romans 5:11!
Romans 5:11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
This is First Cycle of salvation…
--begins bad, but ends good…
--begins in sin, but ends in righteousness…
--begins short of glory, but ends in reconciliation.
That is Cycle one of Part One. Now, we are almost ready to begin Cycle Two of Part one!
Cycle two begins bad…in sin… giving up glory…
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.
“We already know that Paul. We haven’t forgot… all sin and fall short of the glory of God”
In this Second Cycle Paul takes us to the beginning. Paul takes us all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Let’s relive the highlights of the Garden story…
Genesis 2:1-17 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done... 7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Wow… The history of creation summed up in a few short verses. Creation; the universe; the earth, all living things, a beautiful Garden, and then Adam created and placed in the Garden. Several commands are mention… Keep the Garden… Eat of everything you want. Share the Tree of Life. Do not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden; the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I don’t know why the LORD God put that tree in the Garden. It seems odd, to me, to place a no-no there at all. Why give Adam a chance to disobey. Perhaps, it is to give humanity a choice. Without choice there is no choice to love or obey or do right. Why? I don’t know. But God did and said don’t.
Genesis 2:18-22 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
Wow… now everything was just right. Woman, the high point of creation, is made last. Imagine Adam’s first sight of Eve… I can feel his joy.
I don’t know how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden. Taking care of the Garden… naming the animals… taking walks in the cool of the evening with God. I hope it was a long time. I hope it was centuries, not 2 ½ days. I hope God experienced what he wanted in creating the universe… being together with his loved ones.
But the story immediately gets to the sad part…
Genesis 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So 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 to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Who the serpent is; where it came from; why it was there; what its agenda was? The Bible never clearly explains the serpent. Did all the animals talk? Who knows? But the sad point is the serpent lied. Adam and Eve disobeyed God. The serpent misrepresented God, “God doesn’t love you. He does not want the best for you. God doesn’t want you to experience the real world. God really sort of hates you.”
Perhaps, here is a heretical thought, God was going to let them eat of this Tree at some point. Perhaps, God was waiting until they were ready. Who knows what Plan A was? All we know is they did the one thing they were told not to do.
As with all sin… it leads to hurt.
Genesis 3:7-10 Then the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
One wrong, leads to another. They hid from God. They are afraid of God. They start pointing fingers…
Genesis 3:11-15 God said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
We have the first prophecy of Jesus here. There is coming an offspring of the woman who would bruise the head of the serpent.
We are getting closer to the beginning point of Cycle Two.
Genesis 3:21-24 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever-" therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
God’s love is not over. God makes them garments to clothe them. But because of their disobedience, they cannot be allowed to continue to eat of the Tree of life. The LORD God sent them out of the Garden and away from the Tree of life. But not away from his love.
Then, we have, in the very next story, in Genesis… violent death.
Genesis 4:1-8 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain… And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So, Cain was very angry, and his face fell… And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
Death came into the world.
We are not actually going to get deep into the Second Cycle this morning. I felt it was important for us to relive the story of the Garden to be able to place Romans 5:12-21 in its proper context. Let’s read the condensed version of cycle two to make the main point we will explore in detail next time.
Romans 5:12,15,18 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many… 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
Here is the simple point of the second cycle…
The grace of Christ is greater than the sin of Adam!
September 6, 2020
Los Alamos Church of Christ
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