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Romans

5:6-15

 

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

 

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- for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 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.

 

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.(ESV)  
 

 

 

 

 

Adam and Christ

Monday of Pentecost 18

23 September 2013

Many people suspect that the doctrine of original sin is an invention of a crabby Christian church and its spoilsport theologians. How can it be said that we are liable for the sin of an ancient ancestor who fell into sin obligating all future humans to bear the penalties that accrue to sin? Indeed, many people have taught that this Adam is merely a fictional character who is a mythical projection of an ancient mind trying to explain the existence of sin and immorality. Why, the doctrine of original sin is just not American, where we believe that everyone has the power to pull himself up by his own bootstraps no matter what his ancestry might have been. It is down right oppressive to teach people that they are sinners because they were born of sinners. How are we supposed to recover from that? It's just not fair!

 

The problem for many people is that they can only consider the doctrine of original sin from their own definition of fairness and equity. Their views are fundamentally human centered. They are only concerned with how they are going to get themselves out of the pit of sin into which original depravity puts them. Instead of looking to Christ, they simply deny that they are in the pit at all. The contention that there was no Adam, no Fall, and no original sin leaves people sunk in the pit without any rescue. They are like the man who after suffering a flat tire on the interstate denies that there is anything wrong with his car, eventually flattening the rims of his wheels, destroying his suspension, and finally careening off the road with a sudden stop at the end. Denying reality is not a very productive strategy for any human endeavor, especially given the nature of our spiritual relationship with God. As is typical of humans, we spend more time arguing that it is unfair and wrong for God to declare us guilty of someone else's sin, rather than admitting that we are complicit in this sin by inheritance and that God has done something spectacularly gracious to solve this problem, hauling us out of the pit, and putting new tires on life.

 

Adam's original sin is no problem for us when we believe what God has done for us in the second Adam, Christ. Indeed, if I believe that I am one with Adam in his sin, then I am also able to believe that I am one with Christ in His righteousness. If I share solidarity with the first Adam, then I can share solidarity with the second Adam, Christ. If when I was a filthy beggar sleeping in the gutter a great prince leaped out of his golden carriage and grabbed me up, embracing me, taking me to his palace, and making me the prime minister of his glittering court, why should it be hard for me to admit that I was once but a filthy beggar who was elevated to every blessing by the gracious compassion of his lord? Such a confession would honor the prince and would in no way diminish the gracious and blessed nature of the rescue I had received from him. So it is for those who in Adam were perishing in their sin and filth, rescued by the Lord Christ and elevated in Him to His righteousness by grace. God's grace fully puts us into the new Adam, Christ. I can say what I am in Adam and what I am in Christ.

 

Martin Luther

 

"St. Paul places Adam and Christ in juxtaposition, when he declares: 'Sin came into the world through one man.' (Rm 5:12). As grace follows upon grace in Christ, so sin follows upon sin in man. Through his disobedience and transgression of the divine commandment Adam fell into sin, which polluted his body and soul, so that he was full of sin, wrath, and ungraciousness. This misery and abominable corruption he transmitted to his descendants, that is, to the entire human race. Just as Adam fell into sin and became subject to death, so we all who descended from him must bear sin, sorrows of all kinds, and death, sin's penalty, simply because we were born from the sinful flesh which was Adam's since the Fall.

 

"Thus sin follows upon sin. St. Paul expresses it thus: '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' (Rm 5:12). And David declared: 'Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me' (Ps 51:5). This means: All children are conceived in sin in their mother's womb, and are carried and born in sin; for they are begotten of seed that is poisoned with sin. Sin follows upon sin inherited from birth. We are procreated from sinful seed and tainted flesh. This sin is ours, not by commission but by reason of our birth from him who sinned once upon a time.

 

"St. Paul goes on to say: 'For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience (Jesus Christ's, who was the only person with grace) many will be made righteous' (Rm 5:19). He wishes to say that Christ alone is holy and righteous, full of grace and truth. He fulfilled the Father's will, as we read in the Psalm, 'I delight to do Your will, O My God' (Ps 40:8). And He became 'obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.' (Phil 2:8). We all benefit from this grace, truth, holiness, and righteousness of our Lord. He places His Word in our mouths, and faith into our hearts, so that we adhere to Him and are certain that He cleanses us 'by the washing of water with the Word' (Eph 5:26). He also imparts to us His grace and righteousness. As Adam is the fountainhead of sin, misery, and death, and transmits all these to us, so that we now speak of sin upon sin, so Christ is the fountainhead of all grace, truth, and life, from whom we derive a fullness of grace, life, and truth. This is 'grace upon grace,' that the Father takes delight in us for Christ's sake, and that through Christ we receive the Holy Spirit and are justified."

 

Sermons on the Gospel of John, 1.16 
 
Prayer

O Lord Christ, You are the fountainhead of all grace, truth, and life, from whom we derive a fullness of grace, life, and truth. In You our Father takes delight in us. For Your sake we receive the Holy Spirit and are justified. Help us to live with the confidence that though in Adam we have fallen, You have raised us and made us heirs of Your kingdom. Amen.

 

For Tyler and Sara Payne, that both mother and child would be kept safe until Tyler can be brought to God's kingdom through baptism

 

For Juanita Duffala, who fell, that Christ would be her strength and consolation and that her family would be upheld as they serve her

 

For all parents that they might not become weary in their service to their children, that they might be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord

Art: Eyck, Jan van  The Adoration of the Lamb (1425-1429) 

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