Wednesday, May 24, 2006

An Exercise in Logic: Romans

The book of Romans is an intense exercise in logic. Most of us know Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death..." What about those who die without blatantly and willingly sinning against God? Who fits that category? Everyone chooses to sin, right? Everyone except infants. So, if death is earned by sinning, how can death claim infants?

Enter Romans 5:12-14 -
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.
This passage helps us understand the extent of Adam's sin. Verse 13 tells us that before the law was given to man, people could not blatantly and willfully sin like Adam did. For example, I cannot break the speed limit if no law governing the speed limit has been given. So, how did death reign "from Adam to Moses"? Verse 12 tells us that death entered the world via Adam's sin, and even for those among us who have no sin (infants), we cannot escape the consequences of our fallen state. Adam plunged the whole of humanity into unrighteousness when he chose to eat the forbidden fruit.

But wait! This seems terribly unfair! Why are we judged for Adam's sin?

Before we rule our condition under Adam as unfair, we need to realize that a parallel relationship exists for those who believe in Christ. Romans 5 equates the unbeliever's relationship in Adam with the believer's relationship in Christ. If we reject the truth of our condition in Adam, we have no right to embrace the truth of the believer's condition in Christ.

Romans 5:17 is great news;
"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."
Corruption is in our blood by nature of our physical birth. We must be "born again" to truly live.

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