Romans 5:17-21 (VOICE) 17 If one man’s sin brought a reign of death—that’s Adam’s legacy—how much more will those who receive grace in abundance and the free gift of redeeming justice reign in life by means of one other man—Jesus the Anointed. 18 So here is the result: as one man’s sin brought about condemnation and punishment for all people, so one man’s act of faithfulness makes all of us right with God and brings us to new life. 19 Just as through one man’s defiant disobedience every one of us were made sinners, so through the willing obedience of the one man many of us will be made right. 20 When the law came into the picture, sin grew and grew; but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there in fuller, greater measure. No matter how much sin crept in, there was always more grace. 21 In the same way that sin reigned in the sphere of death, now grace reigns through God’s restorative justice, eclipsing death and leading to eternal life through the Anointed One, Jesus our Lord, the Liberating King.
Here, in Romans 5, Paul is talking about what we often call ‘original sin’, that is ‘Adam’s legacy’. What this means is that all of us are born into a condition from which we can’t escape. Namely, that no matter how hard we try, how good we are, we will never be perfect. We will never be without fault.
That is a pretty depressing thought – that we are hopeless and helpless to stop ourselves from falling and failing and giving in to sin. You can almost feel the sullenness behind the words in verse twenty, ‘sin grew and grew’.
But as desperate as all of that sounds, it is only part of the picture. The reality is that our state of sinfulness, and the ‘law’ that serves to make us aware of that sinfulness is only devastating if we are trying to make it through this life, and to find justification and sanctification on our own.
But just as we hear about how sin ‘grew and grew’ in the first half of verse twenty, we have to keep reading, because in the second half of that verse is the good news of the gospel: ‘but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there in fuller, greater measure.
Hear these words and don’t underestimate their power or importance: No matter how much sin crept in, there was always more grace. That isn’t just good news, it is the best news. The simple truth is this, on our own we are hopeless and helpless – lost to sin and condemned by the law. But – BUT! – we are not now and never will be alone. Because of Jesus, God’s ‘grace reigns through God’s restorative justice, eclipsing death and leading to eternal life through the Anointed One, Jesus our Lord, the Liberating King.’
We were lost in sin, unable to help ourselves, but then in and through Jesus Christ, we have been found in God’s grace, justice and love liberated from sin and restored into the family of God.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer : On our own, dear Lord, we are lost. Thank you for the grace you give that finds us, saves us and calls us your own. Amen.