Salvation: From Adam to Christ
– In this passage, Paul is drawing a comparison between Christ and Adam. He is showing how they are similar.
– They are similar in that one act of theirs (Adam’s sin and Christ’s death) determine the eternal destinies of the people who belong to them. These are the two most important actions in human history.
– Paul is telling the history of our salvation in terms of two kingdoms: the kingdom of Adam, in which sin and death rule, and the kingdom of Jesus Christ, in which grace and righteousness rule.
The Kingdom of Adam
- We are brought into this kingdom by sinning in and with Adam’s sin (v. 12-14)
– Adam’s sin – Genesis 3
– Original sin: Humanity is born into a state of sin because they are descendants of Adam. Adam brought sin into the world, and we participate in that sin.
– Naturally we belong to a state of sin and death.
– Sin and death was a part of our nature even before the law came in. People prior to the time of Moses sinned, but in a different way than those who sinned knowing what God commanded.
- The Curse: Everyone who belongs to Adam’s kingdom of sin will die (v. 15)
– “many died through one man’s trespass”
– Romans 6:23 – “the wages of sin is death”
- Belonging to Adam’s kingdom results in judgment and condemnation (v. 16)
– “the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation”
– The world and everyone under the dominion of sin are under the judgment of God.
- Death and sin reigns in Adam’s kingdom
– Everyone in Adam’s kingdom will die, physically and spiritually.
The Kingdom of Jesus Christ
- We are brought into Christ’s kingdom by an act of God’s grace, a free gift of salvation (v. 15)
– “the free gift” is justification and salvation (see Romans 3:21-26)
– We are a part of Adam’s kingdom naturally, but we are made a part of Christ’s kingdom by an intentional act of God.
- Reversing the Curse: Christ’s kingdom, being superior to Adam’s kingdom, overcomes sin and death (v. 15)
– “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.”
– “abounded” – Means to exceed, be more than enough. The kingdom of Jesus Christ has more than enough power to overcome the effects of Adam’s sin and rescue us from death and destruction.
– What about the law? Verse 20 says the law would not reverse the curse, but only increased sin, by making it more serious as a conscious decision to act against God. Only Jesus can overcome sin and death.
- Belonging to Christ’s kingdom results in justification and forgiveness (v. 16)
– “the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.”
– Those who are brought into Christ’s kingdom are put back into a right relationship with God, and they are forgiven of their sins, since they are justified by God’s grace.
- Life and grace reign in Christ’s kingdom (v. 17, 20-21)
– All of those who are in Christ’s kingdom have eternal life because of His one act of righteousness.
– Self-Examination: Which kingdom are you in? If you claim to be a part of Christ’s kingdom, is there still sin in your life? If you are in Christ’s kingdom, sin must go.
– Reflection and Thanksgiving: Do you remember the time when Christ brought you out of the kingdom of sin and death and into his kingdom of grace and righteousness? Reflect back on the things that God has done for you in Christ.
– Christian hope rests in the fact that while the rest of the world belongs to the kingdom of sin and death, we belong to a kingdom that cannot be overthrown. Take encouragement in the fact that you belong to the kingdom of God.