How the World Has Changed

Read Romans 5:12-21 to see the Biblical passage that the following commentary comes from.

In this section Paul continues to elaborate on Jesus the Messiah’s sacrificial death as the means to set the world at right and deal with sin. He compares Jesus and his sacrifice with the first man Adam and his mistake.

Here Paul explains how sin came into creation through humanity by the means of the first man who is humanity’s first representative. This sin enters the world and is not just what we do but spread to all humanity as a part of who each human is. Mostly we think of sin as an individual act, which it is, but it is also much more than that. It is the whole way in which humanity operates apart from God’s will or desire, and this way of operating apart from God is part of who humans are because of Adam. With sin entering the world and humanity comes consequences the whole world (people, animals, and environment) is out of whack and death comes into the picture. It is a result of sin that brings death’s existence into being. This death has continued to reign all throughout history we continually see this terrible cycle of sin in existence as we continue to see death in history and in our world around us. This sin and death has always reigned since Adam even before the law, and as such it is not dependant on the law nor can it be corrected by the law (more about this later).

However, in the midst of this terrible news as we read earlier in chapter five we see great hope. Adam as he was originally created was a type of the one to come, he was made in the image of God before sin reigned and the presence of God was with him. As such we see the one, Jesus, who is the fullness of the image of God that comes to deal with this problem Adam brought into the world. Adam messed up one time and as a result death came to all humanity, as such, if Jesus has come to deal with all of the sin and death that follows Adam’s mistake then His “free gift” is far greater then the one act Adam committed. We see that Jesus does not just take care of Adams one sin and revert the world back to the original garden model; Jesus comes and completely deals with all the sin that has occurred from the first to the last, his act is far greater. In the same way, just as all humanity faces death because of Adam, all humanity can be put in the right with God through faith in Jesus as a result of the free gift. Even more than that, if Adam’s one act brought death, condemnation, and separation; How much more will Jesus’ full life of obedience even to death on the cross lead to relationship with God and true life free of condemnation and separation? It might seem at the beginning that Paul would simply say that just as Adam did this Jesus did the opposite and all is good, but what Paul is saying is Adam did this one thing (an absolutely terrible one thing at that) but look at how huge this amazing thing of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Now Jesus has brought about a new life available to all people who by faith receive the free gift of Jesus being the faithful representative of Israel and all humanity. Jesus is the Messiah and claimed to be such, and as such He is the true representative, even King, of the people of God. What he takes on and what he does, he does as a representative for the people of God, and as we have already seen the people of God are not a specific race of people but all people who place their faith in the one true God. Unfortunately it was necessary for the Jesus to come as a man to take care of this. To pay the price that Adam (humanity) must pay you must be an Adam (human), and Jesus was the true faithful Adam. In addition, when God made his covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15 God takes Abraham’s part of the covenant which means if Abraham and his descendants mess things up God will not request Abraham’s life but God will pay with His own blood for them. WOW, just think about that for a minute.

Paul reminds us that the law could not take care of sin, but the law calls out our sin it illuminates like a projector the sin in our life on a big screen for us and the world to see. As result, we should resort to searching for God and as He says, “If you seek me you will find me if you seek me with all your heart”. In doing so we can meet God and faith be created and then as response from the awe of knowing God we would pursue to live out the righteousness (being placed in the right with God) we have received by actually pursuing righteousness in our lives. Such is the purpose of the Ten Commandments if read in light Exodus 19 and summed up in Exodus 20:20.

Paul then leaves us with the great hope that if God has placed us in the right with Him in this life then we can rest assured that He will also place us in the right in the age to come (some would refer to this as heaven).

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