Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 5:15-17 (NLT)
But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
Reflection: Romans 5:15-17 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
The two humanities, in Adam and in Christ (5: 12– 21)
b. Adam and Christ are contrasted (15– 17)
How can the Lord of glory be likened to the man of shame, the Saviour to the sinner, the giver of life to the broker of death? The correspondence is not a parallel, but an antithesis…. ‘Adam and Christ stand there’, writes Anders Nygren, ‘as the respective heads of the two aeons. Adam is the head of the old aeon, the age of death; Christ is the head of the new aeon, the age of life.’
The differences concern the nature of the two actions (15), their immediate results (16), and their ultimate effects (17).
First, the nature of their actions was different. But the gift is not like the trespass (15a)…. Adam’s trespass was a fall (‘the fall’, as we call it) – a deviation from the path which God had clearly shown him. He insisted on going his own way. With it Paul contrasts Christ’s gift – an act of self-sacrifice which bears no resemblance to Adam’s act of self-assertion.
Secondly, the immediate effect of their actions was different. Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin (16a)….In the case of Adam God’s judgment brought condemnation; in the case of Christ God’s gift brought justification (16b)…. The secular mind would have expected many sins to attract more judgment than one sin. But grace operates a different arithmetic. ‘That one single misdeed should be answered by judgment,’ writes Charles Cranfield, ‘this is perfectly understandable: that the accumulated sins and guilt of all the ages should be answered by God’s free gift, this is the miracle of miracles, utterly beyond human comprehension.’
Thirdly, the ultimate effect of the two actions is also different (17)…. Formerly death was our king, and we were slaves under its totalitarian tyranny. What Christ has done for us is not just to exchange death’s kingdom for the much more gentle kingdom of life, while leaving us in the position of subjects. Instead, he delivers us from the rule of death so radically as to enable us to change places with it and rule over it, or reign in life. We become kings, sharing the kingship of Christ, with even death under our feet now, and one day to be destroyed.
Wonderful grace of Jesus, Greater than all my sin; How shall my tongue describe it, Where shall its praise begin? Taking away my burden, Setting my spirit free; For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.
Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus, Deeper than the mighty rolling sea; Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain, All-sufficient grace for even me! Broader than the scope of my transgressions, Greater far than all my sin and shame; Oh, magnify the precious Name of Jesus, Praise His Name!
Wonderful grace of Jesus, Reaching to all the lost, By it I have been pardoned, Saved to the uttermost; Chains have been torn asunder, Giving me liberty; For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.
Wonderful grace of Jesus, Reaching the most defiled, By its transforming power, Making him God’s dear child, Purchasing peace and heaven For all eternity — And the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen