Thursday 15 March 2012

Bible Book:

"Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned." (v. 12)

Romans 5:12-21 Thursday 15 March 2012


Examination essay titles often begin 'Compare and contrast ...',and that is what Paul is doing here with Adam and Christ. He beginsa bold statement in verse 12, which he hardly dares to finish untilsome explanatory work has been done, and so the assertion is notcompleted until verse 18.

In brief he claims that in the same way as death came into theworld through the disobedience of one man, Adam (Eve seemsforgotten), so life has come through the obedience of one man,Christ. If the question is 'Can the actions of one individualaffect the standing of all people?', Paul's answer is 'Yes'. And heuses the example of Adam bringing death to provide a foundation onwhich to assert that, in the same way, Christ brings life. Oneman's act of disobedience has affected the entire human race,because as a result death came into the world and death is auniversal experience. Now, in the resurrection of Christ, death hasbeen overturned and this too has universal consequences (seealso 1 Corinthians 15:21-22). It is significant thatPaul has moved from talking about 'us' and 'we' to talking aboutall humanity; what Christ has accomplished does not just concernbelievers, but is as universal in its effects as was the sin ofAdam, only in this case, the effects are to bring life, rather thandeath. Frequently in this letter Paul uses expressions such as,"How much more?" (egRomans 11:1224). He points out the similarities between Adamand Christ; both archetypes for humanity, but also that there arevast dissimilarities, Jesus Christ was "one man" (vv. 17, 18, 19)but is also "Jesus Christ our Lord" (v. 21).

Paul is aware that his readers may be thinking, 'What about Moses?'Wasn't Moses the one to rescue Israel out of the chaos ofdisobedience by the bringing of the law? Paul's conclusion is aheartfelt 'no'; the law given through Moses was not the answer tosin, rather it made a bad situation worse. Whereas Adam only hadone command to obey, those under the law had 613 times theopportunity for disobedience, "trespass multiplied" (v. 20)! Thelaw could not bring life, rather it contributed to Adam's "dominionof death" (v. 21); only in the life, death and resurrection ofJesus Christ can eternal life be obtained.

To Ponder

Many Christians now do not believe in a literalAdam (or Eve). To what extent is such a belief important toyou?

"Jesus Christ is Lord" was perhaps the earliestcreed of the Christian Church - is anything more important thanthis for Christians today? If so, what, and why?

If the law only causes sin to abound, what regardshould we pay to the law, and even to the Ten Commandments?

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