Grace Trumps Original Sin

Return to Index

Rom 5:12-14 GW  Sin came into the world through one person, and death came through sin. So death spread to everyone, because everyone sinned.  (13)  Sin was in the world before there were any laws. But no record of sin can be kept when there are no laws.  (14)  Yet, death ruled from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin in the same way Adam did when he disobeyed. Adam is an image of the one who would come.

Every time I read this portion of Romans I am reminded of Peter’s comment concerning Paul in 2 Pet. 3:16....”some things in his letters are hard to understand......Right on Peter!

Many biblical commentators regard this section of Romans (thru v21) as an anacolutha. New word for you today. It means incoherence within a sentence. Please hold all comments concerning Pastor Matz’s anacoluthic sermons until after the service!

But it seems like Paul wants us to grasp this concept of grace trumping original sin so badly that he is beside himself with words! In the King James the word “one” is used 11 times in this section. The word “reign” is used 5 times and the phrase “much more” is also repeated 5 times.

Why all the repetition?  Because Paul wants us to get it! And quite frankly as he delves into the depth and wonder of God’s grace here, human language falls short!

The word “one”  is repeated so often in order that we make no mistake about our identification with Adam and with Christ.
“Reign” is emphasized to point out the two separate kingdoms of Adam and Christ. (one a kingdom of death, the other a kingdom of life)
And “much more” is emphasized so that we will see the superiority of the gift that God gives us through Christ.

Oh, that the Lord would keep me from anacolutha and use my words today to get these points across to your minds and hearts.  Let’s start with v12.

Rom 5:12 GW  Sin came into the world through one person, and death came through sin. So death spread to everyone, because everyone sinned.

Sin (disobedience to God) came into the world through one person....namely Adam.  Now, if you’re like me, you may have paused here to ask a very simple question.  “What about Eve? She’s the first one who bit!”  Didn’t sin enter the human race through her?

The answer to that question is, it’s true that sin made it’s initial appearance in the world through Eve, but it entered the world and the human race through Adam. Appearing and entering are two different things. Adam was the point of entry, and it had to be that way.

You see, Eve was derived from Adam, and it wasn’t possible for the derivative to infect the original. The original needed to be infected in order for it to be called original sin. Once the original had sinned, it was possible to say that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

To try to explain how sin has been transferred to creation through the sin of the original is folly. Somehow in Eden the death brought about by sin was transferred to God’s creation and every yet to be conceived  human being from Cain until our Lord returns.  God decreed it and it was so.

Do you think it was fair to condemn the entire human race because of the sin of one man? Be careful how you answer that. Warren Wiersbe states, “by condemning the human race through one man (Adam) God was then able to save the human race through one Man. (Jesus)

And this wondrous truth is what has Paul beside himself with words. It is too marvelous to consider that even though the human race was lost in original sin, God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to die not only for original sin, but for every other sin as well!

Let me tell  you something very interesting about original sin being connected to the human race. Something that should cause every believer to fall on his knees in thankful praise to God!

Fact! Fallen angels cannot be saved. Don’t pray for the salvation of Satan and his demons, they cannot be saved because they are not a race. Angels cannot procreate. So when they sinned, they sinned  as individuals, and they were judged as individuals with no hope for salvation because there can be no representative raised up from their seed to take their judgement for them. They have no seed!

They don’t have the gracious benefit that you and I have. The benefit that came when the second Adam (Jesus Christ)  lived and died as a member of our race and made it possible for our redemption from original sin.   

Now, what kind of death did Adam’s sin bring with it? When Adam sinned, he brought three forms of death with him. Physical, spiritual, and eternal.

Physical death is a wage paid by all people, (unless they are alive when the Lord returns.) This wage shows up ultimately here in the funeral home. As you view a loved one in the casket, know that they were placed there because of  Adam’s choice to disobey God in the Garden of Eden.   Ultimately, that’s what got them there. And it will get you and I there too should the Lord tarry.

This wage shows up in other areas of our lives as well. From Adam’s first sin death and corruption entered the world. In short, we began to age. You got thin hair, going bald? Blame it on Adam! You got bad knees or a bad hip? Blame it on Adam. Trouble hearing? Seeing? Remembering? Blame it on Adam.  Going broke on buying wrinkle cream? Blame it on Adam!
The second form of death is spiritual death. Spiritual death is the state of a soul without Christ. As we mentioned last week, because of original sin, we all come into this world spiritually dead, oh where would we be without God’s gracious act of baptism for us and our infants?

The third form of death is eternal. This is the everlasting consequences of the person who fails to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. It is an eternity in the company of Satan and his demons in hellfire.  All three forms of death entered the world through Adam’s original sin.

The bad news is the first form of death and corruption is unavoidable, the Good news is the second and third forms are! Avoidable by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

(13)  Sin was in the world before there were any laws. But no record of sin can be kept when there are no laws.  14)  Yet, death ruled from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin in the same way Adam did when he disobeyed.

From the closing of the Garden of Eden until Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt Sinai, there was no law. There had been a law, but it was a blue law now, it no longer mattered, because the tree of knowledge of good and evil was no longer accessible, it was no longer an issue.  

Gen 2:17 GW  But you must never eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because when you eat from it, you will certainly die."
That was the first and only law until the ten commandments.  Adam disobeyed that law and sin entered the world. We know sin was around (even though Law wasn’t around) because death was around. If CSI were on the scene in the days before Moses and they came upon Abel’s body, they would’ve said, looks like sin has been here. Death is the first clue. Death and sin go hand in hand.

You want some sad reading sometime? Read Genesis 5. Almost every verse tells of Adam’s descendants and almost every verse ends like the sound of a drum in a funeral dirge. ...then he died....then he died...then he died.

Death, which is the effect of sin,  proves sin was there. The people living at that time I suppose had every right to say, “why are we dying? What sin have we committed? We don’t even know of this tree of knowledge of good and evil!”  How can you say I was speeding? There are no signs!”

There were no breakable laws on the books! So there was no record of sin. Yet we know that these people were unbelievably evil, so evil that we read in Gen 6:

Gen 6:11-13 GW  The world was corrupt in God's sight and full of violence.  (12)  God saw the world and how corrupt it was because all people on earth lived evil lives.  (13)  God said to Noah, "I have decided to put an end to all people because the earth is full of their violence. Now I'm going to destroy them along with the earth.
God had  no black and white court case against them. No specific sins, but they were evil and they were evil because they were infected with original sin.  This is how your children come into the world!

Who was saved from this destruction? Noah and his family and they were saved by a type of baptism as Peter calls it, and now baptism is the fulfillment of that type, in other words baptism does for us what the ark did for Noah. We’ll talk more about “types” next week.

The effects of original sin were felt everywhere and we will talk about some of those effects later on, but it was so bad that only Noah and his family were spared.

The only reason they were spared is not because they weren’t infected with original sin, but because they believed the promise of God concerning a coming Messiah, who would remove their sin, the Second Adam...Christ. And because they believed God, He did not let original sin rule in their lives.

God said to Noah, “I have seen that you alone are righteous among the people of today.” He alone had faith in the promise of God! He believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.

You want to know something amazing about this lawless time in history? In spite of the fact there was no law commanding him to do it, Abel brought a sacrifice to the God of promise.
In spite of the fact that there was no law regarding tithing, Abraham gave a tenth to the priest Melchizedek.
There was no law against adultery, but Joseph refused Potiphar’s wife’s advances because he knew it was an affront to God.

There was no law concerning forgiveness and yet Joseph forgave his brothers.

Some quick examples of life without Law among men who believed in the promise of God. And they are all types or examples of what it means to live by grace and walk with the Spirit. Godly living is possible without the Law! It is possible to please God today as we walk in the Spirit as these men did.

These men believed God’s promise concerning the Messiah and He honored their belief by guiding them to do God-pleasing things from their heart, without the Law!  He has promised the same thing to you and I today! He has given those who believe His Gospel promise the Holy Spirit.

This is what the prophet Isaiah spoke about:

Isa 30:20-21 GW  The Lord may give you troubles and hardships. But your teacher will no longer be hidden from you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes.  (21)  You will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way. Follow it, whether it turns to the right or to the left."
As Christians, we are no longer under the Law, we are under the voice behind us, we are under grace!

Rom 6:14 GW  Certainly, sin shouldn't have power over you because you're not controlled by laws, but by God's favor. (God’s grace)

We are to walk in the Spirit. Walk in the way He directs us!

What is it like to walk without the Law? Let’s turn to Galatians to find out.

Gal 5:19-23 GW  Now, the effects of the corrupt nature (the effects of original sin) are obvious: (They were obvious before and after the Law, and still very much obvious today because original sin has not gone away! What are the effects? ) illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity,  (20)  idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions,  (21)  envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things.

Original sin brings all these things to the table as evidenced throughout the Bible.

“I've told you in the past and I'm telling you again that people who do these kinds of things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (They will be wiped out just as sure as they were wiped out in the flood, and in Sodom and Gomorrah, because they allowed original sin to gain the upper hand)
Not believing the promise of God concerning a Savior.
(22)  But the spiritual nature (the new nature given to all who receive Christ in baptism) produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  (23)  gentleness, and self-control. There are no laws against things like that.

Walking in the Spirit, trumps the Law! So do we throw the Law out and live as we please? Of course not! For the Law is part of the Bible, and it’s in the Bible  that we find out those things which are pleasing and displeasing to God.

The more we know of the Law and God’s Word, the clearer  the voice behind us becomes and we learn to walk confidently in His ways, just as Abel did, just as Joseph did, just as Abraham did. They didn’t need any Law Book to tell them how to please God and how to avoid displeasing God.  

We talked about this in our Thursday night Spiritual Travel Guide class and it reminded me of our old clothes dryer.

There was a time when Joanie and I were in a tight financial situation. Our clothes dryer was old and dilapidated and the belt would break and the heaters would burn out and anything else that can go wrong with a dryer would go wrong.

I didn’t know the first thing about fixing a dryer, but we couldn’t afford a new one,  and so I got out the owners manual. By following the steps in the manual I was able to fix the dryer. I learned how to change the belt. Through time I got so good at fixing it I could do it without the owners manual.

My brain was able to tell me, “this is the way Pastor Duane walk in it. Take this screw out, then that one. Lift the drum here, release the belt there, this is the way, walk in it!

If my dryer broke today I would not be able to do that. Why? Because I haven’t done it in a while. I haven’t been spending time in the owners manual!  I would need to get the owners manual out, but once I got it out, it would all come back to me, and I know I could work my way through it.

Oh friend, God has given you an owner’s manual and it’s called the Bible. Get to know your owners manual. In it, you’ll find the mind of Christ, and the mind of Christ will tell you which way to walk.

1Co 2:16 GW  "Who has known the mind of the Lord so that he can teach him?" However, we have the mind of Christ.

As you become familiar with the mind of Christ you won’t have to stop and constantly check the directions. As you put the directions in this owners manual into practice in your life, they’ll become second nature to you and you will hear Him behind you, “This is the way, walk in it!”

And the more you walk in His way, the fruit will come, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  (23)  gentleness, and self-control

 The Bible is a lot more than a manual though, it is your very life.

Joh 6:68 GW  Simon Peter answered Jesus, "Lord, to what person could we go? Your words give eternal life.

Therefore it is wise to keep refreshing your mind. You don’t know when the next belt is going to snap in your life and it would be much better to be prepared than to be clueless in Seattle. And quite frankly many times the belt snaps because we have not engaged in preventative maintenance. our problems are brought on by our own lack of diligence in following the owners manual.

Grace trumps original sin, but you won’t learn to walk in it until you have surrendered everything to Jesus Christ. Some of you have acknowledged that Jesus is your Savior but you have stopped short of surrendering to Him as Lord.

You’re so caught up in your own agenda that when the still small voice comes to you, you brush it off, even worse sometimes the still small voice is your own flesh or the world or the devil himself and you follow it blindly without checking it against the owners manual.

Later on in this worship service we will say the Lord’s prayer. When we get to the part that says, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” I want you to think about something Martin Luther said about the will of God. He said, “God’s will is done when our will is broken.”

God’s will is done when our will is broken. Are you lacking love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control? You lack because you are still hanging on to your will!

All that stuff that’s happening in your life now, today, is because you are clinging to your will, or you’re too busy pointing to others who are clinging to theirs. “Thy will be done oh Lord in my life, break my will o Lord” is what we pray for in the Lord’s prayer.  May He hear our prayer today. May we experience His victory of grace over our original sin! Amen