2020 - Romans
Adam And Christ Part 2
Last time, we began Cycle 2 of Part 1 of the letter from Paul to the Romans. “We aren’t doing all that again are we?” No, just noting where we are.
In my previous sermon, we relived the Garden of Eden.
--We remembered the joy of creation. The beauty of the garden. The beauty of God’s relationship with his creation. The beauty of bearing the glory of God!
--We remembered the sadness of disobedience. Adam and Eve choose to break the command to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We remembered the sadness of hiding from God.
--We remembered the disappointment of being driven from the Garden, but not being driven from God’s love.
--We remembered the tragedy of the first death; the first murder; as Cain killed Able. Death came to the world because of sin.
--We remembered the touch of hope in the promise that a descendant of Eve would bruise the head of the serpent. This descendant; Jesus Christ, did indeed bruise the head.
We concluded, last time, with this statement… The grace of Christ is greater than the sin of Adam! That is the point of the first section of the 2nd cycle of Part 1 of the letter to the Romans! It is an amazing point.
This morning, I want to dig deeper into this amazing point. This part is a comparison between Christ and Adam. Let’s read this entire part. Start noting the likenesses and differences between Adam with his action, and Christ and his action.
Romans 5:12-21 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- for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 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. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
It’s like back in English class. English teachers love to give the assignment to “Compare and Contrast” two characters in some novel. That is what Paul’s assignment is… Compare and Contrast the actions of Adam from Genesis chapter 3 with the actions of Christ in his crucifixion. Now, that is an assignment Paul could get his teeth into. Paul lists 7 comparisons; 3 similarities and 4 differences between Adam and Christ. Let’s quickly look at each of these 7 comparisons.
Remember we are working back to our conclusion… The grace of Christ is greater than the sin of Adam!
C&C #1… Similarity: They both changed the world
Romans 5:12-15 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- for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 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.
The first comparison is a similarity between Adam and Christ… They both changed the world.
All big choices have big consequences. Certainly, that is the truth about sin. Our choices to disobey God lead to consequences in our lives… which often spill over into the lives of people around us… leading to unexpected consequences to lots of others.
--A lie leads to another lie… which leads to a destruction of character… to a broken relationship. Knowingly sinning leads to change.
Whether the sins are the breaking a specific law like Adam’s; (He knew the law he broke.) Or whether the sin is more generic… even unconscious, sin still has consequences
--Unintentional prejudice gets handed to the next generation perpetuating hatred. It’s like we inherit our parents disgust for others in our genes.
Sin perpetuates sin. Sin is passed on to the people around us. Adam’s sin was passed on to Cain. Cain disregarded his brother. Sin leads to death. That is why it is sin. Adam changed the world with his action.
But the opposite is also true… but more powerful!
An act of sacrifice; an act of grace; a selfless thing can become a free gift that changes the world!
Dewey Stidham met Minnie back in the early 1900’s. They were married on horseback in Hazard County Ky. Dewey became a Christian because of Minnie’s faith. Then, Dewey became a farmer/coal miner/preacher. That choice led to me being here this morning. Isn’t that an interesting phenomenon? One act of doing right ripples for years…
None more than the act of grace of Jesus on the cross. His act of grace abounded to change the world!
Actions have consequences…
--Adam’s actions changed the world.
--Jesus’s action changed the world.
Adam and Christ are the same.
C&C #2… Difference: One brought Death. The other brought Grace.
Romans 5:15 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.
Adam brought death. Not having access to the Tree of Life… allowed all to die. A terrible gift. Death drives our existence. Dewey, my grandfather, died of black lung from working in the coal mines. I was 10 years old. I remember the confusion. Not sadness, so much. But confusion. I realized, pretty young, that death waits for us… for all of us… for everyone we love. Adam brought the gift of death.
1 Corinthians 15:21-26 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Death is our enemy. Death is not part of life. Death is not a part of the natural process. Death is wrong. Death was never the intention of the creator. Death is not the ultimate answer.
The ultimate answer is that Christ will make all alive. Grace, the gift of God abounds for the many! The ultimate answer is life!
Adam brought death! Christ brings life. Christ’s life defeats Adam’s death. Life beats death!
Adam and Christ are different; they bring different gifts.
C&C #3… Difference: One brought condemnation. The other brings justification.
Romans 5:16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.
Adam’s action brought condemnation. The Greek is katakrima… according to judgment.
It is a legal term… “We find defendant guilty!” Adam brought guilt. Adam brought punishment. Adam brought death. Adam brought wrath. Adam brought katakrima… judgment!
But, but, but the free gift Jesus brings is justification. “Not guilty!” Freedom; life… You are right… you are made right… you will be right… all is made right!
Christ’s gift of justification beats Adam’s gift of condemnation. Bam… It is said!
Adam and Christ are different; katakrima or being made right!
Still got some more…
C&C #4… Similarity: Both bring a Reign.
Romans 5:17 If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Everyone is under some reign. Everyone is ruled by something. All are ruled!
Either you will be ruled by death or you are ruled by life.
Adam brought the rule of death… fear of death, desperation of the ending coming, doom of death!
Christ brought a reign of life… You can be ruled by life; freedom; hope and expectation of an abundance of grace! Living, now, a life of the “then” age!
Adam and Christ are the same they both bring a reign… but you get to choose… death or life!
C&C #5… Similarity: Both Changed All Men
Romans 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
Adam brought wrath to all humanity. Christ brings justification to all humanity. If, under Adam, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Under Christ all will be made right to share that glory.
I don’t know what to add to this verse. Paul says all men; all humanity; will be made right by the one act of righteousness!
The grace of Christ is greater than the sin of Adam!
“This is getting a bit redundant; Tim. Paul is repeating himself.” He is. Here is some more redundancy. I guess he knows we will be slow hearing it.
C&C #6… Difference: Many made sinners. Many made righteous.
Romans 5:19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.
Adam through disobedience makes all sinners. Christ, through the obedience of the cross, makes all right!
All who are sinners under Adam, will be made right under Christ.
Keep going? Only one more…
C&C #7… Difference: Grace triumphs trespass.
Romans 5:20-21 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Under the law of Moses, humanity began to understand what sin is… exactly. The Law of Moses lists hundreds of sins. But, the awareness of more sin does not change the formula. Even with increase awareness of our wrong… it simply makes grace abound all the more.
Grace defeats sin… Every time! Christ is different than Adam because grace triumphs over trespass! Christ wins!
Let me end this sermon with an odd story. I tell you this story instead of repeating what I have said at least 10 times already in this sermon… The grace of Christ is greater than the sin of Adam! So, instead of saying that again. Let me tell you a story about a monk and a demon. It is apocryphal. Which means it is most likely not true. But there may be truth in the story. I tell you this story to cause us to think. To see if we believe… The grace of Christ is greater than the sin of Adam.
Here is the story of Abba Joseph and the demon.
Once upon a time, there was an old monk named Abba Joseph. He was thrown into prison for his faith. He was kept a prisoner in a dark cell. Along with the monk, in his dank cell, was a terrible demon. A demon who had been sent to tempt and torment and tease the devout monk. It was a contest of wills. Who would prevail? The faithfulness of the monk or the treachery of the demon. It was quite the contest.
The story begins with the monk winning the contest. After days and days of the demon pushing the monk to denounce God for his suffering… to seduce the monk into cursing his captures… to create a root of bitterness to grow in the monk’s soul. All of the demon’s old reliable tricks had been used upon Abba Joseph, but none had worked!
After endless days, of the teasing, the tide turned. The monk captured the demon. The monk was holding the demon as his prisoner. The demon finally realized the futility of tempting the monk… “Release me, Father, and let me go,” plead the demon, “I will not come to tempt you again. Please let me go!”
“I will gladly do that, but on one condition,” replied Abba Joseph. “You must sing for me the song that you sang before God’s Throne on high, before your fall.”
The demon responded, “You know I cannot do that. It will cause me cruel torture. And besides, Father, no human ear can hear its sweetness and live, you will surely die.”
“Then, you will have to remain here in my cell,” said the monk, “Bear with me the full struggle of repentance. Your choice.”
“Let me go, do not force me to suffer. Have mercy,” begged the demon.
“Ah, but then you must sing to me the song you sang on high before your fall with Satan.”
So, the miserable demon, seeing that there was no way out, began to sing. Haltingly, barely audible at first, groping for words long forgotten the demon began its song. As it sang, the darkness which penetrated and surrounded the demon began slowly to dissipate. The song grew louder. The song increased ever stronger. Soon, the demon was caught up in its sweetness. The demon’s voice was fully lifted up in praise. Boldly, the former-demon sang of power and honor and glory to the Most High God, Creator of the Universe, Master of Heaven and Earth, of all things visible and invisible. As the song reached it fullness, a wondrously glorious light penetrated the monk’s cell. The walls, which had enclosed the monk, were no more. Unstoppable love surged into the very depths of the being of a now glorious angel.
Then the used-to-be demon did a precious thing. The angel gently stooped down, covering, with his wings, the lifeless body of the old monk who had liberated him from the power of hell.
Grace defeats sin… Every time!
September 20, 2020
Los Alamos Church of Christ
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