Romans 5:19 – “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
Life and death have co-existed since the days of Adam. After the serpent did a number on them, they experienced death for the first time; but ever since that day, it is a fact that life and death are present together in this world!
Adam was the first man on Earth. I know that historians, archaeologists, and other scientists try and convince us differently, but according to Genesis, Adam was the first man on this side of creation. Adam was perfect, and so was his wife Eve. Immortality was in their DNA. They lived in the Garden of Eden, fellowshipped with God, and had no fear of any animal in the garden. Then one day they disobeyed God, ate from the forbidden tree, and sin and death entered the world.
Paul picks this thought up in Romans 5 and explains that through this one man, Adam, sin and death entered the world for all humanity. It took a long time for Adam to naturally die, but everything he had with God died that day. Not only that, it didn’t take long for murder to enter the picture of humanity, proving that sin and death are partners with one another.
We saw this truth, when Cain got angry with God because his offering wasn’t accepted. This is what God said to Cain,
“Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”Genesis 4:6 NKJV
God was basically warning Cain. He told Cain that if he did well, he would be accepted, and if he didn’t do well, sin was laying at the door, and its desire was for Cain. That is still true today! Then God told Cain that he should rule over sin. Yet Cain did not, because he could not. Sin had entered the world, and was therefore a part of his nature. Sin lies at the door of every human being, waiting for us to open the door to it, because its desire is for us to submit to its rule! But we too, should rule over it!
In the very next verse, Cain kills Abel! Did time elapse? Who knows? What we do know, according to scripture, is that Cain murdered his brother in the field, after God warned him that sin was lying in wait for him. How did Cain know that what he was getting ready to do would kill his brother? Maybe, he didn’t! Maybe, a thought came to him to hit his brother upside the head with a rock, and he did it, not knowing the effect of it. Or maybe, after watching Cain kill an animal for a sacrifice, he got the idea. However, the devil got the idea to him to kill his brother, it happened. Now death has followed sin into the world!
Paul said that even though sin and death entered the world through Adam and was spread to all men, because all sinned, it was the Law that brought their sins against God to the forefront. Death, Paul explained, reigned from Adam to Moses and the Law made us aware of that sin. In other words, sin didn’t become sin with the Law, sin was sin before the Law; but the Law made us aware of what sin was, and now we would be held accountable to it. The flood was before Moses, before the Law, and when God had had enough, He destroyed the world. But after the flood, He said He wouldn’t flood the whole earth again, but sin was still prevalent. On the flip side of the coin of sin, is grace and life! Many died because of Adam’s embracing sin, and many will live because of the grace of God given to us through the one Man, Jesus!
Paul continues to explain what the difference was between what we received from Adam and what we received from Jesus. From Adam we received condemnation, from Jesus we received justification. From Adam we received death, from Jesus we received an abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness which will reign in life! From Adam’s disobedience we were sinners, from Jesus’ obedience we were made righteous. Paul is not just comparing Adam and Jesus to each other to show that one brought evil, and one brought good, but to demonstrate that through one man sin entered humanity, and therefore, it took One Man to eradicate the power of sin, and to give us life!
Where sin does abound! Can you turn on the television today without seeing humanity’s sins on constant display? You cannot! Lying, sex trafficking, adultery, abortions, homosexuality, stealing, murder, hatred, and all of the other things that Paul introduced to us in Romans 1. It’s as if he saw our day in the spirit, for he accurately was seeing that sin is always on display in society! I think it was Pastor Bill Winston, of Living Word Christian Church in Chicago, who stated that you can’t legislate sin. And since the world wants little to do with Jesus, sin is running amuck in our society. And this is the point that Paul is really trying to make in Romans. The Law cannot keep us from sinning, it only makes us aware that we have sinned. The only solution to sin is in Jesus! He really makes this point in chapters 7 and 8.
But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.Romans 5:20b-21 NKJV
Grace abounded comes after sin abounding! Yes, there is a lot of sin in the media, in the streets, in our neighborhoods, but grace is abounding as rapidly, and even more so than sin. We see what is happening around us, and it can cause fear, or cause us to forget that God said, grace abounds the more; but as Christians, we are to not lose heart, because we understand that grace abounds! As Christians we are to realize that God’s plans for our lives, for His kingdom, for humanity, will come to pass. The more unrighteousness we see and hear, the more opportunities for the grace of God to be manifested. Should we pray that unrighteousness reign so that we can see God’s grace? Absolutely not! But it can cause us to have hope in the midst of the stuff we see and hear. And if we allow it, it will cause us to pray like never before!
I am truly enjoying Romans. It’s more detailed than I can go, but I am enjoying it nonetheless. Hope to see you next time as we begin chapter 6 of our study. Wonderful Jesus!