The Man Who Changed Everything (Romans 5:15-21)
January 19, 2015, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags:

In our modern world, one quick way to make banana pudding involves buying instant pudding, wafers, and bananas and topping the mixture with a frozen topping. Since it is the way many make it, I eat it when I want banana pudding and settle for this ordinary dessert but long for the days of momma’s homemade pudding. So did my wife Teresa. She saw a recipe for banana pudding a few months ago and decided to try it. It was amazing! It took more time and a few more ingredients but trust me, it is well worth it. Comparing her banana pudding to most banana puddings isn’t fair because the only things in common are bananas, and the name “banana pudding”.
In Romans 5, Paul compares one man, Adam, and his one act to one man, Jesus, and His one act. The similarities between the two acts are one man and one act. Paul stated early in his letter to the Romans that he wasn’t ashamed of the Gospel because it was the power to salvation to all who believe in the “Good News” that Jesus Christ changed everything by His life, death, and resurrection. As one who had a first-hand experience with the change that Jesus makes when we believe the great news, Paul contrasts Adam’s act with Christ’s act. The similarity is that like Adam’s act, Jesus’ act was the single act of one man that had an effect on all. Paul then goes on to emphasize the differences between Adam’s act and Christ’s act in four areas. Jesus’ act was better in its success, its coverage, its heart, and its power.

One of the ways that we study God’s Word is to make observations. When reading the passage, here are a few contrasts between the two acts:
Adam’s Act                                                 Jesus’ Act
Trespass                                                    Free Gift
Death                                                         Grace
Many                                                          Much More
Condemnation                                           Justification
One trespass                                             Many trespasses
Death reigned through one man                 abundance of grace and free gift of righteousness through one

One trespass                                               One act of righteousness
For all men                                                   For all men
One man’s disobedience                             One man’s obedience
Many were made sinners                             many will be made righteous
Law increased the trespass                         Sin increased, grace abounded all the more
Sin reigned in death                                     Grace might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life

through Jesus Christ our Lord

I also observed that Paul seemed to repeat himself in the passage. Paul is both emphasizing the truth God has given him as well as trying to present it as fully as he can. It seems he is showing us this truth from as many viewpoints as possible.

The first contrast is seen in verses 15 and 17 and it is that Jesus’ act was better in its success. Paul starts off this section by telling us that the free gift is not like the offense. Although both are similar because they are both the one act by one man, but they are differ in the act itself. Adam’s act was a “deviation from the path” so it was evil and sinful. Jesus’ act was a grace gift, which expresses the mind and will of God. The outcome of the act was also different. Adam’s act brought death of many which means “all”. Christ’s act brought life to many which means “many”. Paul is using a literary device for the sake of keeping the analogy in this passage, so he uses “many” but shows a contrast. The affect of Adam’s act on all doesn’t require our decision because we all sinned in him. Although Christ’s act was on behalf of all, not all will receive the free gift that is offered. In the middle of verse 15, we read “much more”. Paul was teaching us that Christ’s act accomplished much more. Christ’s act had greater success. The free gift of Christ not only reversed the act of Adam, it did much more because it took them to the righteousness of Christ. The act of Christ is able to powerfully accomplish much more in bringing salvation to man than the act of Adam accomplished in bringing depravity. The act of Jesus also opens up the unlimited potential of eternal life while Adam’s act brought only an eternity of torments. The next “much more” found in this passage that relates to grace. Five times in verses 15 to 21, Paul uses “grace” and six times he uses “gift”. This grace is described by the word “abundance.” Jesus’ act is superior because it reveals an attribute of God to mankind. The unending grace of God is constantly applied to man because of the act of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the greatest “much more” that Christ’s act accomplished was that it overruled Adam’s act but it cannot be overruled. Christ’s act can’t be undone. The effect of Christ’s act is eternal. Christ’s act was better than Adam’s because it produced the desired result, salvation and justification. Adam’s act sought to have us be life God but resulted in our condemnation. Practically, we have the confident assurance that we are in Christ forever and there is nothing that separates us from that.
Jesus’ act was also better in its coverage. The act of Adam brought condemnation to the entire human race. The entire race was brought into judgment because of one act. The one act of Christ is much more because it covers all sins, or many offenses. So Christ’s act was much greater than Adam’s because Adam only dealt with one sin, but Christ’s act deals with all sins. Christ’s act removes the curse and blots out our load of sins. Christ shows that His act goes to the extremes in order to provide salvation to all for all our sins. His act provides the basis for all to be made right with God. Practically, this shows the love of God for the sinner. We also see that Christ’s act is the basis for an inner transformation that will end with us be Christ-like. The act of Christ provided the complete and final payment for all our sins because He loves us. His grace is also seen in the fact that while death reigned in Adam’s act, righteousness in Christ makes us right with God and we reign forever with an abundant life.
Jesus’ act was also better in its heart. The “all” in Adam experience the result of Adam’s act, death. The “all” in Christ experience the result of Christ’s act, a right standing with God that allows a relationship with Him. It is important to note that Adam’s act’s consequences are our because sin is passed to all but Christ’s act’s consequence is based on us making a choice by our free will. In verse 19, we see the heart of Adam’s act. It is disobedience. What was the result? Many were made sinners. The heart of Christ’s action is obedience and the result is that many shall be made righteous. The practical use of this truth God sees me “in Christ”. I need to see me free from the bondage and control of sin and released to live according to God’s will. I no longer bear the limitations placed on me by sin. I am right with God because of grace. Amazing grace that transforms.
The final way Jesus’ act was better in its power. In verse 20, the entrance of law gave power to sin. Law was the driving force of sin. The driving force behind righteousness is grace. God puts His grace into our lives and everything changes. Notice that this grace abounds. Grace is greater than our sin. It overwhelms our sin.
Here is how the chapter ends. Grace overcomes sin. How does it do this? Notice the last words in the chapter. The answer “by Jesus Christ our Lord”. We all should bow before God in humility because He changed everything.


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