Advent: December 20
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned –
13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: the judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I left the passage intact because by now you are an expert in following Paul’s reasoning. It is a hard read! Paul does make (IMHO) a meal of the comparison between Adam and Christ, but it’s actually a contrast rather than a comparison.
Adam failed. We are talking about all of us, as Adam is the representation of fallen mankind. Sin existed in the world before the Law, and the Law only served to confirm its existence. We were done for.
Jesus was victorious. This Second Adam, the prototype of God’s redeeming grace, came to rescue us from the power of sin. The grace of God poured out more than outweighed the loss that had existed before. Justification is greater than condemnation, righteousness than disobedience. We are saved.
Paul compares the overwhelming abundance of God’s overflowing grace in restoring man to God in Jesus compared with the loss due to Adam’s sin. From the Fall to the Law death reigned. That’s quite bleak, but Paul suggests that those who died in that period had an account with God.
The way of Adam I has been replaced by Adam II – the Way, the Truth and the Life of Jesus Christ. Adam fell from grace. In Jesus Christ God has restored us, and poured out his grace upon us.
Did Adam actually exist?
How would you describe sin to someone who asked?
Do you have a story of God’s grace to tell to others?
Father God, I thank you for the contribution made by your chosen apostle Paul to understanding our faith. Let not his careful reasoning hide from us his burning passion to proclaim and share the message of Jesus Christ to his world. Amen.