Thursday 14 April 2016

Bible Book:

“Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.” (v. 18)

Romans 5:12-21 Thursday 14 April 2016

Psalm: Psalm 71:15-24


Today's passage is one that has been enormously influential inthe history of Christian theology. Paul turns from his celebrationof what God has done to an exploration of how and why God has doneit.

Paul assumes that his readers will understand that the breachbetween God and humankind that Jesus died to heal was recorded inthe narrative of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). The Genesis account of Adam'sdisobedience is explained as somehow involving all humankind. Thehuman condition was one in which sin and death had the upperhand.

God addressed that by sending a 'second Adam'. The idea of thework of Christ reflects and undoes what happened with Adam dependson a reading of the Hebrew Scriptures known as 'typology'. Adam is'a type of Christ' - that is to say, Adam shares the features ofJesus and somehow prefigures him. It is an idea that Paul useselsewhere (in 1 Corinthians 15 and implicitly in Philippians 2); these sorts of typologies wereto be extremely important in Christian writing in the early Church.Here Paul does not discuss the detail of what Adam did; whatmatters is the consequence of the action of both the first andsecond Adam. As Adam caused alienation from God, Jesus broughtabout reconciliation. Adam left a legacy of sin and guilt; Jesusoffers forgiveness and grace. But Paul is clear that the two arenot equal. Grace is much more abundant and much more powerful thansin; the results of Adam's disobedience have been more thanoutweighed by Jesus' obedience.

To Ponder

  • We presume that Paul thought that Adam was an historical figurebut that is not a position that many modern Christians would share.How does your own understanding of the historicity of the firstchapters of Genesis affect your reading of this passage?
  • Have you heard preaching that depends on typology? To whatextent do you find it a helpful way to relate the Old and NewTestaments?

Previous Page Wednesday 13 April 2016
Next Page Friday 15 April 2016