So Much More in Christ!

Romans 5:12-21 concludes the first major section of this book. Alva J. McClain said about these verses, "A constant reading of this passage, under the leadership of the Spirit of God, never fails to bear fruit." It is a refrain of the blessings of justification in Paul's presentation of the Gospel.

John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." We celebrate this nationally on Memorial Day, remembering the sacrifices that have been made for our physical safety and freedom. This axiom is also true spiritually. How much more should we remember the sacrifice that Christ made for our spiritual freedom!

Romans 5:12-21 is full of repetition. Words such as "much more," "one," "reign," and "grace" highlight the comparison of Adam and Jesus Christ. Paul uses 6 contrasts to show that Christ's work is as deep as Adam's transgression, except to our favor, and much more effective.

The Death Process (Romans 5:12-14)

By nature, every human is an enemy of God because of sin. Blaise Pascal colorfully described us in this way: "Human beings are the glory and the garbage of the universe. ...With one hand, we create beautiful things, and with the other, we can violate all that is good."

The process of death's effects on mankind began with one man. Death entered with sin through the front door and spread to every room. Death is unnatural; it was not God's intent for humans. This is why it is called our final enemy.

The Law revealed and exacerbated sin already present in the human condition.

Contrasting Adam and Christ (Romans 5:15-17)

Adam and Christ are contrasted in quality and quantity. Whereas Adam's one sin affected all people, Christ's one sacrificial work is able to cover all sins with His righteousness. Forest fires caused by one stray match can destroy hundreds of acres and require personnel from multiple states to put it out. The raging destruction of sin was reversed by just one person, Christ, and His one death and resurrection.

Righteousness reigns in the life of the believer positionally, is working itself out practically, and one day will reign on earth politically. Furthermore, believers can have certainty that we will reign with Christ in His future Millennial Kingdom. By contrast, the wicked are reigned over by death.

Comparing Adam and Christ (Romans 5:18-20)

Both Adam and Christ affected the whole race of humanity with a single act.

The Life Process (Romans 5:21)

When the Church gathers, members of Christ are no longer defined by anything except Christ's righteousness.

"Grace" is the only word in this passage with no contrast, because there is nothing comparable to it. Jesus Himself is the gift we do not deserve.

Application Points

  • Reread this passage several times to fully absorb the riches of truth it contains.
  • Romans 5:17 says that salvation is for those who "receive" God's grace, not those who simply know of it. Have you made a volitional choice to receive Christ's work on your behalf?

A Hymn to Encourage: "Grace Greater than Our Sin"

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?