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Saturday, June 25, 2022
Today’s Scripture Reading | Romans 5:12–21
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— for sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam, who is a pattern of the one who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. But law came in, so that the trespass might increase, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so grace might also reign through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NRSV)
When I read this passage, I have images of Charlie Brown in school. You remember—the teacher is at the front of the classroom and all Charlie hears is, “wha-wha-wha, wha-wha.” My hat is off to all pastors who must wrestle with this one! What in the world is Paul trying to teach us here?
I think Paul is trying to tell us that sin, and thus death, originated from Adam. Adam individually committed a sin; however, because all people are from Adam, his sin flows down to all people whether they individually commit sins or not.
Likewise, forgiveness flows to all people from God through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. If people believe in Jesus, then their sin is overcome even if they don’t individually do righteous deeds as Jesus did.
We don’t have to do anything to earn this free gift from God. Grace, the forgiveness of our sins and freedom from death, flows to us from Jesus’ righteousness because we are in him when we believe in him.
I find it amazing that God gave us grace through God’s Son Jesus Christ!
God of grace and mercy, thank you for Paul’s teaching, and thank you even more for Jesus! Your love and forgiveness are amazing. Help us to remember that every day. Amen.
Written by Anthony Hipp, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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