For an introduction to this series, click here.
July 6, 2007
Paul continues to explain what it means to be justified by faith. First of all it means peace with God, and then it means that we are wonderfully blessed to be a part of God's plan: "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life." (5:6-10)
This is one of my favorite passages in all the Bible. God's mercy is overwhelming. He could have left us alone and given us all what we deserve: eternal punishment separated from Him. But God chose to bridge that gap between Him and us, His enemies, by sending Jesus to die in our place. What a humbling thing that is. I don't deserve God's love or even His consideration, but yet He paid for my redemption by the death of His own Son. That is why rejection of this amazing gift deserves the ultimate punishment. If God was an uncaring being somewhere, and we humans were all in the same predicament, then there would be no shame in rejecting Him. But He came down to us and became one of us so He could take the punishment that we deserve. To reject that love is an unspeakable evil, worthy of judgment.
Next Paul compares Adam, the first man, to Christ: "But the free gift is not like the trespass. 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. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ." (5:15-17)
Adam's sin brought spiritual and physical death on the whole human race. But because of Christ's sacrifice God's grace is able to overcome that death sentence.
In fact, God is able to overcome a multitude of sins: "Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (5:20-21, ESV)
God's grace is truly amazing. Even before Christ came, He never left mankind without a plan for redemption. He is able to break the heart of stone and give us a new heart.