By Brooke Holt
“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man's trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man's trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:15-17
Are you someone who prefers to hear the bad news or good news first? Whatever your preference, Paul begins with the bad news as he writes this letter to the Romans. In this section of his letter, Paul contrasts the work of Adam with the work of Jesus. Adam trespassed against the word of the Lord (do not eat of the tree of knowledge – Genesis 2:17), and the result of that trespass was death – death for him, Eve, and everyone who came after them. Not such a good gift, thus making it bad news.
Thankfully, the story does not end there. Paul then shares the good news. In Jesus, we receive another gift – the gift of grace. Whereas Adam’s sin brought judgement and condemnation, the work of Jesus brings justification. Through the shed blood of Jesus, every trespass can be forgiven. Instead of condemnation and guilt, we are offered forgiveness and the righteousness of Christ.
What is the key to leaving Adam’s bad gift behind and receiving the good gift of Jesus? Acceptance. You must be willing to see your need for Jesus. You began life in Adam’s sin and condemnation, but Jesus offers you his way of justification. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and receive his salvific work on the cross for you, then you will be justified before a holy God. Your sins will not be held against you. Instead of seeing your sin, the Lord will see the righteousness of his Son. That is the best gift ever! It is free; it is abundant; and it is yours for the asking.
Begin with the bad news. You fall short of the glory of God. Then, embrace the good news. Jesus Christ came that you may be forgiven. You are free from the death of Adam and alive in the life of Christ!
While Lent is a somber time to think of Christ’s journey to the cross and his sufferings on our behalf, it is also a glorious time to rejoice in the hope we have in him. Are you unwrapping this gift of righteousness? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique Easter-season small group Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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