In our passage from Romans today, Paul contrasts our first forefather, Adam, referred to in this passage as “one man” (small letter m), with our Savior, Jesus, referred to in this passage as “one Man” (large letter M). In this brief passage Paul tells his readers and us that it was through the sin of one man, Adam, that sin entered into the world, and judgment has come upon all people.
We are all descendants of Adam. Just as we inherit certain characteristics from our parents, we have all inherited one thing from Adam, and that is the stain of original sin and a sin nature, the tendency and desire to sin. It was one act of sin against God that started that whole ugly ball rolling. One act of sin, eating the forbidden fruit, that brought sin into the world, leading to more sins, and more. Sin brings judgment from God. That one act of sin, committed by Adam, which lead to more sins committed by everyone, brought God’s judgment upon us all.
This one man, Adam’s, one act of sin and disobedience in the Garden brought death into the world. This was both physical death at the end of one’s life, and also spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God in hell. This, too, is something that we have inherited as descendants of Adam.
This would all be very dismal and depressing if left just like that. Our forefather Adam sins, and we all inherit sin, disobedience, judgment, and death. That’s a rather hopeless picture. But that is only half of the picture Paul is presenting us here. The other half is that there is another Man who has brought something much more glorious. This Man is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. One man’s act brought sin, judgment and death. This second Man’s one act of obedience by dying on the cross for our sins has brought grace, mercy and life to us.
Jesus’s act of obedience through His death brought us just the opposite of what Adam’s act of disobedience gave us. Instead of condemnation we now have justification. Instead of the spiritual death, we now have grace and righteousness. Instead of being made sinners, we are now made righteous.
This is a gift from God. A gift is free, you don’t have to pay for it. If you did, it wouldn’t be a gift, would it? It would be a purchase. Why would anyone pay for something that they can get for free? Where I live we have much good, clean, safe water. Every house has several faucets, and there are plenty of drinking fountains, and yet people buy water. Why pay for something you can get for free? God has given us the gift of salvation. We have His gift justification instead of His condemnation, grace and righteousness instead of spiritual death. We don’t need to work for that. It is His free gift.
A gift is no good to the person it is intended for unless that person accepts and takes that gift. I can give a gift to one of my children, wrapping it up nice and setting it on the table. If they don’t take it, and leave it there day after day, it does them no good. Someone could give you money to pay a big bill you have, but if you don’t accept it, then the bill remains unpaid and you will suffer the consequences of that. God has given us a gift through His Son, Jesus Christ, that one Man. It is offered to everyone, but not everyone has accepted it. Many are either trying to work for it themselves, or just blindly go on their way, oblivious to their condition inherited from Adam. Have you accepted God’s free gift? If you haven’t, will you accept it now?