Sermons

Ruin to Reign

March 14, 2021 Speaker: Chris Jessee Series: Romans

Topic: Sunday Sermons Passage: Romans 5:12–5:21

Romans 5:12–21

[12] Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—[13] for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. [14] Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

 

[15] 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. [16] 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. [17] For 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.

 

[18] Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. [19] For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. [20] Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, [21] so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Intro

Up to this point in our series we’ve seen, especially through a large portion of Romans 3 all the way through to today’s passage dealing with the subject of Justification.  Highlighting ways that the grace of God comes to us through Justification - that is, the basis on which we are acceptable to God - the past, present and future realities of this wonderful truth of righteousness through Christ Alone.

 

It’s wonderful to reflect on but you may be thinking… another week on this subject?  

 

To that I say… yes, another week.  We’re looking today, specifically at a portion of the truth of justification, that is, imputation.  Although this word ‘impute, imputed, imputation’ doesn’t show up in our text it is the concept that Pual is using to illustrate something about Justification that guides us in how to live this out rightly in our lives...

 

So, I want to define this for us right up front today because I want us to see how Paul basically uses a ‘T-Chart’ of Adam and Christ to show how Christ is greater than Adam and the effects on us as God’s Creation. - In Bible study, never underestimate the power of a good T-Chart… 

 

Imputation is an accounting and a legal term, it simply means this (yes, this is from Websters 1828 Dictionary - was there any doubt?!): 

 

  1. To charge; to attribute; to set to the account of; generally ill, sometimes good. 

We impute crimes, sins, trespasses, faults, blame, etc., to the guilty persons. We impute wrong actions to bad motives, or to ignorance, or to folly and rashness. We impute misfortunes and miscarriages to imprudence.

  1. To attribute; to ascribe.
  2. To reckon to one what does not belong to him.

It has been held that Adam's sin is imputed to all his posterity.

The Ruin of Sin 

[12] Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—[13] for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. [14] Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

 

Sin entered the world through one man

 

Genesis 1:27-28

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

 

Genesis 2:15-17

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.

 

Genesis 3:1-6

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

 

Romans 5:12a

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man…

 

Sin entered the world through Adam - Adam’s sin is imputed or counted toward us even today.  What are the effects of this sin on our lives, the same as it was for Adam in the garden: Death.

 

It’s important for us to realize that there are 3 types of Death that occur: Physical (wasting away), Spiritual (not connected to our source) & Eternal (cast into outer darkness of hell)

 

Adam is himself a type - struck as if a Die that is cast for replication

 

I was thinking back on Christian’s illustration a few weeks ago about the grimy penny and I know Shane referenced it last week as well - to help us understand this concept it’s worth considering that in saying that Adam is a “type” (some other theological terms for this are “federal” or “covenantal head”because of his original sin) - Adam as a type means that he was the dye that was struck for us all to be cast from.

 

Much like the US Mint uses a die to cast our coins and other currency - Adam was a type or a die that was cast and struck wrongly in his sin and as we are cast and formed we bear the marks of his imperfections.

 

This is not a new concept or truth that we learn from Romans 5 - it’s been celebrated throughout the church since - we see this in examples like:

 

Hark The Herald Angels Sing - Verse 5, 1739 - Charles Wesley

Adam's Likeness, LORD, efface,

Stamp thy Image in its Place,

Second Adam from above,

Reinstate us in thy Love.

 

Let us Thee, tho' lost, regain,

Thee, the Life, the Inner Man:

O! to All Thyself impart,

Form'd in each Believing Heart.

 

More than even something as helpful as church-history can be, when we turn to our true source of truth we see how scripture helps us understand the far-reaching effects of Adam’s actions… the sin and death we are all marked by now.

 

Romans 5:21a

so that, as sin reigned in death…

[NLT - So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death…]

 

Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

 

Colossians 2:13

You were dead because of your sins… Then God made you alive with Christ.

 

Ephesians 2:1

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,

 

Ephesians 2:2

You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.

 

2 Corinthians 4:4

Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

 

Genesis 8:21

And the LORD was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood.

 

Let me just pause here for a moment… in looking at something like the aspect of imputation in the theological concept of justification I don’t want us to loose the heart of God toward us as his children - 

 

The Gospel is not like an accountant that works to simply reconcile & balance figures - it is so much more beautiful than that.  It is born of God’s Love and actually tips the scales in our favor as recipients of grace!  

 

We see words repeated like so much more, how much more, abundantly more, etc.

 

The Gospel is incredibly simple in it’s receiving: we admit our need as a sinner, believe that Jesus is both Lord and the Savior we need then confess this with our words as well as through our lives. And this last part of the Gospel - living it out - is where is it simple in receiving but comprehensive, all encompassing, in its application to our lives

 

Adam is a type - not fictional, not fantasy, not made simply for illustration purposes, verse 17 tells us that this death reigned from “Adam to Moses…” - why would this matter?

 

Well, Abraham has been used up to this point in Romans to illustrate Righteousness by Faith alone - but Paul leap-frogs Abraham in the Genesis account to jump to Moses now - this is because Moses is the one who both received the Law (in the commandments being giving to him) and a covenant (which included much about the sacrificial and ceremonial acts of worship before the Lord).  

 

Before Moses, there was no Law - but there was death - in the Garden there was one rule and Adam broke that thus, sin entered and death began it’s ruinous reign.

 

Adam is a real man, a physical and historical being, that served as a type, federal or conventional representative for us.  His actions brought Sin, Death, Shame and a wrong identity, a distortion of what we were created for into the world for me and for you.

 

I want us to take a moment to consider something in addition to sin here, and that is Shame - I want us to consider it because I think to ignore it actually truncates the Gospel in an unhelpful way - we can often focus on Sin, we’re right to do so but we must deal with the Shame that entered the world in that moment as well.  

 

Doing so helps us begin to process differently why the world is the way it is, why it’s so difficult to align things we see in scripture with what we experience in our own lives and how distorted our view of our own identity can be.  Why it is that; death, pain, distortion and darkness exist in the world around us, or even in our own homes.

 

I believe that verse 17 in Romans 5 helps us do this today:

 

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man [Adam], 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.

 

Shame: it’s not named here specifically but it can become a core part of our identity (shame is erased through Christ HOW?!  as v.17 tells us through the abundance of Grace (that is, forgiveness of sins) -AND- free gift of righteousness (clothed now, covered in something far more glorious than our shame where we may even try to cover ourselves in self-righteousness or self-sufficiency)

 

Why can we rest that Death and Shame along with the effects of the fall isn’t the experience of those who are in Christ?  Because GRACE is what reigns now… not sin, not death, not shame… GRACE!  The unmerited favor and kindness as an expression of the Love of God is now what can rule and reign in our lives through Christ Jesus!

 

  • The word “grace” occurs 21 times in Romans 5—six times in Romans 5:12-21 alone. 
    • This chapter marks a high point of Romans’ teaching about grace. By God’s grace, the “free gift of righteousness” can be dominant in our lives (v. 17). - Gospel Transformation Bible

 

The Reign of Grace

[20] Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, [21] so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

V.14 tells us that DEATH was reigning… what reigns now for those who are in Christ?  GRACE!

 

We begin to understand that knowing more about Type, 1st Adam, Federal Head leads us to the Good News of the Gospel - how can this be?! If through one man sin and death can enter the world… then, as it says in verse 14, as a type of one who is to come, there can be through one perfect man salvation for us!

 

Adam imputed something to us: Sin, Death, Shame… Jesus Christ imputes something so much more powerful to us: GRACE!

 

Romans 5:20

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

 

Romans 5:21

[so that], grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

ILLUS: The Gospel is not like an accountant (apologies to my accounting friends, it’s just a caricature for illustration purposes) - The Gospel is more like Mr Bubble.  (yes, i realize you may be thinking… stay in your lane Chris, Shane’s so much better at these types of word pictures…) 

 

Stay with me here… example of a Father pouring Bubble Bath into the tub at the delight of his child… Bubbles everywhere, overflowing, messy, an abundance, an over-abundance - that’s the kind of grace being poured out toward those who are in Christ.  The water washes away our sin, the bubbles are a delight and overflow toward others!

 

-- HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?  HOW IS THIS GRACE IMPUTED TO US? --

 

Romans 1:7

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 3:22

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 3:24

Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

 

Romans 5:1

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 5:11

we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

 

Romans 5:15

how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ

 

Romans 5:17

how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Romans 5:21

Grace reigns through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Righteousness entered the world through Christ- Christ’s Righteousness is imputed or counted toward us today.  What are the effects of this righteousness on our lives? Life and grace… more abundantly!

Close 

As we come to the close of chapter 5 and this is section that Paul has been examining the subject of justification, before we move into chapter 6 where we're going to begin an extended section on sanctification, that is how the gospel changes and transforms us as followers of Christ over time, I think it's important for us to realize why it is that Paul has taken the time that he has with this subject of imputed sin in Adam and imputed righteousness in Christ.

 

5 parallels

  1. Contrast - (15) Adam’s trespass vs. free gift of God’s grace in Jesus.
  2. Contrast - (16) Adam bringing condemnation vs. Jesus, justification.
  3. Contrast - (17) Adam’s death vs. Jesus’ life.
  4. Comparison - (18) Adam’s condemnation & Jesus’ acquittal.
  5. Comparison - (19) Adam’s disobedience & Jesus’ obedience.

 

We want these truths to prevent us from falling to the left or the right in our understanding - getting outside of what God has for us in the truth of the Gospel. 

 

In the gospel We Believe two things to be true: God is Holy and God is gracious.

 

God is holy, so our sins require that we be punished. The gospel tells us: You are more sinful than you ever dared believe. To forget this leads to license and permissiveness. 

God is gracious, so in Christ our sins are dealt with. The gospel tells us: You are more accepted in Christ than you ever dared hope. To forget this leads to legalism and moralism. - Tim Keller, Romans for You

 

In our lives it's important to keep these two truths before us so that we don't fall into legalism, moralism, license or permissiveness -  doing so could remove the “joy and release of the Gospel” as Keller goes on to put it.

 

I realize what we’re learning from scripture today goes against our world’s way of thinking, especially today - to take time and think about the gravity, weight, even the extremes of our sin - goes against radical individualism we can be so pumped up in - the audacity that we would be lumped in with Adam: I didn’t do those things, I wasn’t given a chance… I demand a different representative!  

 

Remember this: God is, and always has been, active in His creation, He wasn’t far off and surprised by what happened with Adam, He saw what was in Adam’s heart and in His omnipresent ability to see through time, HIs omniscient ability to see into our heart’s loves and motives He saw this -  that you and I would choose the same lack of trust given the chance, we would choose ourselves and doubt in his promises.

 

Having a type in Adam doesn’t rob us of our individualism, it confirms our status as a child of God.  How does it do that?  

 

If through one man we are guilty of sin… that gives us hope that through one man sin will be overcome - today, right now - through one, perfect, sinless man - Jesus Christ - we can receive the sin washing, relationship restoring, presence bringing, promise keeping grace of God into our lives in a tangible way.  

 

The good news is that we are no longer lumped in with Adam, we’re far-more-scandalously lumped in with Christ and his righteousness - when we simply believe.

 

What’s reigning in your life today?  Is it the ruin of sin -or- is it grace through Jesus Christ?  What would those around you say?  How can they be a help to you to understand?

 

When you walk into a room, does the ruin remain?  Does the temperature of the conversation with your friend, child, spouse, co-worker, etc. wallow in ruin -or- does it trend toward GRACE?  Grace you’ve freely received and that you can now, by the power of the Holy Spirit display and offer to others...

 

I wonder what it would look like, not just throughout this gathering today but where this matters most to live out - our homes, campuses or workplaces - to have these truths so near to our hearts that it absolutely transforms the ways that we interact with others and the world around us - not wrestling as Adam did in the garden with the temptation to think: “Did God really say that about…”

 

Think of all of the things that God has given us 

 

  • Life and it’s dignity
  • Circumstances we’re facing
  • Friendships and relationships
  • Career, gifts or calling
  • Marriage
  • Sex
  • Children 
  • Finances
  • Truth, Time, Talent, Treasures...
  • The list goes on and on because Jesus’ Lordship is over all and Grace is there to Reign over all of our life, not just some of it...

 

As individuals who have responded to the Gospel we can live out of the good of these truths as one whose lives are marked by the reign of grace - that simply means that we acknowledge and affirm:

 

  • God is Holy and God is love
  • We freely receive God's love and perfect righteousness
  • The things around us in this created world can be good even though we are Fallen -  even physical enjoyment is good but we are called to live wisely
  • Sin is powerful in how it entered and spreads throughout the world and it affects individuals as well as systems in our world -  we are called to evangelize and be a part of doing social good
  • People can change, we as individuals can change but there are no quick fixes
  • We can acknowledge our guilt and work through that but not have to remain there -  we can find our rest in Christ
  • We can repent of sin yes, but we can also repent of any form of self-righteousness or self-sufficiency that tries to hide our shame

 

Perhaps you’re here today and you haven’t responded, it’s as clear as the same good news that I need to remind myself of often: admit our need as a sinner, believe that Jesus is both Lord and the Savior we need - then - confess this with our words as well as through our lives. And this last part of the Gospel - living it out - is where is it simple in receiving but comprehensive, all encompassing, in its application to our lives

 

Benediction:

Consider these words from Hebrews 9:11–14 as we think about the covenantal instructions for worship - all the trappings that went along with that - given to Moses along with the Law

 

Christ Is the Perfect Sacrifice

So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.


Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. - Hebrews 9:11–14

More in Romans

August 1, 2021

Judgment at an Olympic Scale

July 25, 2021

A Life Of Love

July 18, 2021

Heavenly Ambassadors, Earthly Citizens
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