Robert Jeffress - One For All
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. At the beginning of the world, Adam and Eve were God's most treasured creations, then one bad choice would destroy their relationship with their Heavenly Father, and condemn the entire human race. Well, gratefully God had a plan to save mankind. And today, we'll turn to Romans 5 to see how Jesus Christ reversed the effects of Adam and Eve's transgression. My message is titled, "One For All," on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
Never underestimate the power of one person to make a difference. I'm happy to tell you that I found two historically, reliable instances, in which one vote actually did make a difference. One vote affected many, many lives. The first historical instance in which one vote made a difference was when one man, his name was Adam, voted for disobedience to God. And the result was every human being who ever lived was condemned to death. The other instance is when another man named Jesus Christ voted for obedience to God and his obedience has resulted in eternal life for millions who have trusted in him. And it's those two votes. The one vote for disobedience, the one vote for obedience to God that we're going to look at today.
If you have your Bibles, I want you to turn to Romans 5, Romans 5. Now we're in this section of Romans that talks about the right standing righteousness with God. A right standing with God is available to everyone who trusts in Christ. And remember, last time in chapter 4 we talked about four benefits of being in a right relationship with God. Now, when we get to 5, remember there's no chapter division. Paul is going to share a fifth, and perhaps the most important benefit of a right relationship with God. And that is it gives us union with a powerful Savior, a union, a connection with a powerful Savior. Look at chapter 5:10. "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his son, much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life".
Now that little preposition by you can underline it and write in the word in, that's a better translation. We shall be saved in his life. In some mysterious way, when you become a Christian, you are joined together with this spiritual organism called the body of Christ. You are in Christ Jesus. And that means because you are placed in Christ Jesus, whatever happens to Jesus is going to happen to you. And that fact guarantees us of three things, jot them down. It guarantees us first of all, of our justification, our justification. That means we never have to worry that God is going to become angry with us, that we're ever going to experience God's anger because Christ has already experienced that anger. He did so when he was on the cross. God took all of the anger that you and I deserved, and because we are in Christ, we never have to fear the wrath of God.
Secondly, being in Christ guarantees our sanctification, our sanctification. We are free from the power of sin once we are in Christ, because Christ is free from the power of sin. When we become a Christian, because we're in Christ, we are freed from the power of sin, that's the theme of Roman six and seven. And then thirdly, being in Christ assures us of our glorification. Just as Christ is now in the presence of God the Father in that brand new resurrection body, because we are in Christ, one day, we will be raised from the dead, and received that same body, and we will be in the presence of God forever.
Now the last half of Romans five that we're looking at today introduces this concept of our connection with our union with Jesus Christ. And the way Paul explains our union with Jesus is by contrasting it by our union, our oneness with Adam. Just as Adam's disobedience brought condemnation to everyone, Christ's obedience brought salvation to some. But let's see how Paul develops that thought beginning in verse 12, let's look at the first Adam. "Therefore, just as through one man," he's talking about Adam. "Sin entered into the world and death through sin and so death spread to all men because all sinned".
Now this verse answers two perplexing questions. Question number one, why do we sin? Question number two, why do we die? Well, Paul has an explanation for why we sin and why we die, but not only does he have an explanation, he also has a solution to sin and death. And notice what he does, he connects it back to Adam's sin. Paul says the whole reason for sin and death, can be traced back to the first man, Adam in the garden. Remember God had said to Adam and Eve, you can eat of any tree you want to, except one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, stay away from that tree, but every other tree is yours. So like moths attracted by the light, what did Adam and Eve do? They made a beeline to that one forbidden tree. And because of that sin of eating from that tree mankind was doomed.
Now look at the consequences of Adam's sin. What happened with Adam's sin? What was the consequence? In a single word, death. It was death to Adam first of all, God had said to Adam in Genesis 2:17, "In the day that you eat of the tree, you shall die". So Adam was going to die, Eve was going to die because of their sin, but it wasn't just death to Adam and Eve, Adam's sin resulted in death for all mankind, including you and me. Look at verse 12, again, "And death spread through sin, and death spread to all men because all sinned". So why do we die? Now, if Paul had stopped right here, here's how we would answer that question. We would say, "Well, we die because we sin". Adam died, he broke God's rules he died, you and I sin, and so we die. We die because of the sins that we commit.
Now, how many of you believe that's a good explanation? Raise your hand. You believe the Word of God that we die because we sin. Raise your hand. You don't act so sure of that. Well, Paul, didn't say that either. He didn't say death spread to all people because all sinned, present tense, he says, because all sinned, past tense. He is linking the sin that we inherit, and the guilt deserving death back to Adam. When Adam sinned, you and I were held accountable for Adam's sin. And that means we not only inherited the virus of sin, the inclination to sin, the power to sin, we also inherited Adam's guilt. Death spread to us because of what Adam did in the garden. That, and Paul anticipates a lot of people are going to object to that saying that's just not fair, that I would be held accountable for what somebody else did.
Well, he talks about our connection to Adam in verse 13, look at what he says. "For until the law," he's talking about the mosaic law, "Sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed," that means counted against you, "Where there is no law". God gave Adam a law, don't eat of this tree, but from the time to Adam, until Moses thousands perhaps more years afterwards from Adam and Moses, there was no specific law given to man. The law did not come until the time of Moses. Was there sin in the world during that time? Of course there was. But what Paul is saying is a legal truth, you can't charge somebody with violation of a specific command, if that specific command is not known and is not there. That's what he's saying. Where there is no specific law, you can't be held guilty for breaking the law.
But notice what he says in verse 14, "Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses, even those over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam". Even there was no law from the time of Adam to Moses, did people die during that time? Of course they did. Were people sinning during that time? Of course they were. Think of the people in Noah's day, they were sinning, but they could not be charged for any specific sin because there was no specific law from the time of Adam and Moses, and yet they continued to die. So Paul says, let's add up all the facts then, to come to this answer, why do we sin and why do we die, write this down, here are four facts.
Death is God's judgment for breaking his law. Everybody agree with that? The soul that sins shall die. Death is God's judgment for breaking his law.
Secondly, Adam broke God's law and died, no doubt about that.
Number three, not everyone since Adam, has broken a specific law of God's. That's true. From Adam into Moses, there was no specific law.
Number four, but everyone still dies. Even though they had no specific law, those from Adam to Moses still died. So why did they die? The same reason you and I die because of our connection to Adam. "For as in Adam," Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:22, "All die". But if you think that is unjust, Paul's going to show us something even more unjust. Look at chapter 5:14, "Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam," that is who had a commandment to break. "Adam who is a type of Jesus who is to come". In other words, just as Adam represented all of mankind, and by his one act of disobedience, death came to everyone so through another man, Jesus Christ, the last Adam, he made a decision that has the possibility of affecting millions and billions of people as well. It's the possibility of salvation.
Look at verse 15 of chapter 5, "But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ, abound to the many". Now some of you I can tell are a little bit angry about this. I can just see the mental emails being composed in some people's minds right now. I do not like this idea. It is unfair that I would inherit not only the tendency to sin, but I would absolutely inherit the guilt of Adam. That's not right to be held responsible for what somebody else does. What Paul is saying is if you think that's unfair, I'll show you something even more unfair that you and I should get credited with the righteousness of Jesus Christ because of what he did on the cross for us. That's an unfairness so to speak, that works for our benefit.
And so beginning in verse 15, Paul is going to contrast the disobedience of Adam that led to the condemnation of everyone, to the salvation that comes by Christ's obedience to God. And he does so by pointing out three contrasts between the condemnation that came from Adam's sin, and the salvation that came from Christ obedience. Write these statements down. Condemnation, condemnation came after one sin, salvation after many sins. Look at verse 16, "And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For on the one hand, the judgment arose from the one transgression resulting in condemnation. But on the other hand, the free gift arose after many transgressions resulting in justification". If you want to know how intolerant God is towards sin, just look at what he did to Adam in the garden. One little sin and God damns the entire human race.
Now isn't that a little bit of an overreaction on God's part? I mean, why can't God be more tolerant and more forgiving? I mean, we just don't understand why God would react in such a harsh way. You know, the reason we think that way? We think God is just as indifferent towards sin as we are. We don't understand the absolute holiness of God. God has a zero tolerance level for sin, and yet we continue to sin and sin and sin and think nothing of it, because we don't understand the holiness of God. It just took one sin to bring God's judgment against all mankind. But here's the difference, and here's the testimony to the grace of God. Condemnation came after one sin, salvation came upon many, many sins. And that is the message of hope for some of you today.
Some of you are not yet Christians. You think God could never forgive me because of what I've done. You don't understand the kind of sin that I've been involved in. God could never forgive me. Notice what he says in verse 20, "And the law came in that the transgression might increase, but where sin, increased grace abounded all the more". That word abounded literally means super abounded. As the sin of mankind increased, the grace of God even increased more.
And ladies and gentlemen, the good news of the Gospel is you cannot outsin the grace of Jesus Christ. His blood is sufficient to cover you of all of your sin. Now listen to me, this is not an excuse for a Christian to keep on sinning. One man said, "Well, of course God's going to forgive me of my sin, that's his job". No! In fact, Paul anticipates that response when we get to chapter 6 next week, he says, "Shall sin increase, that grace may abound"? In other words, if I enjoy sinning and God enjoys forgiving, why don't we both have a good time? I'll just sin more and God can forgive more, and we both get what we want. Shall sin increase so that grace may abound more? He says, "May it never be, for how can those who have died to sin still live in it"?
Now we're to have as Christians the same attitude towards sin that God has, a zero tolerance level for it. But this is a passage that talks about before we become a Christian, you cannot outsin the grace of God. Condemnation was result of one sin, salvation came after many sins. Secondly, contrast between Adam and Christ. Condemnation resulted in death, salvation results in life. Through Jesus Christ, we have not only been restored to where Adam was, we get a promotion from Adam. Did you know that? See Adam was sinless but he wasn't righteous, to be sinless means simply he hadn't sinned yet. But if Adam had not sin that first time, he could have sin any time after that, he was sinless, but that didn't mean he wasn't going to sin. He had the choice. But when we become a Christian and trust in Christ, God declares us righteous. That's different.
Righteous means we are in a right standing with God, and nothing can ever change that position with God. And not only are we declared righteous, notice he says in verse 17, we have been elevated to reign through the one Jesus Christ. God promotes us to be a co-ruler with Jesus Christ over this entire universe. Condemnation it result death, salvation results in life. Third, and this is the most important contrast, condemnation is automatic, salvation is optional. Look at verse 17 again of chapter 5. "For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and a gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ". But listen to me, if you read this passage today, and don't read it carefully, here's the conclusion you could come up with, and it's a deadly conclusion.
You could say, "Okay, through one man, Adam, everybody was condemned, through Jesus and his death on the cross, everybody is saved". Adam's sin resulted in condemnation for everybody, Christ's righteousness results in righteousness for everybody. And many people actually use this passage for universalism or inclusivism that everybody is going to be saved, everybody's going to go to heaven. Seems like a logical conclusion until you read the text. Notice in verse 17, he says, "Much more those who receive the abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness will reign through Jesus Christ". Here's where Adam's actions, and Christ's actions are contrasted. Everybody is affected by Adam's sin, but only those who receive God's gift of forgiveness are affected by Christ righteousness. Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:22, "As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive".
Who is in Adam? Who's connected to Adam? Everyone. We're genetically connected to Adam. So we are automatically condemned because we are connected to Adam. In Adam all die, but only those who are in Christ shall be made alive. Who's in Christ? Not everyone, only those who receive, verse 17 says, the gift of righteousness. Let me illustrate it for you this way. This principle that condemnation is automatic, salvation is optional. When we used to live in Wichita falls, if you wanted to fly anywhere other than Dallas, Texas, you had to come to Dallas first in a little puddle jumper of a plane. Then you would switch planes, and you'd go to wherever you wanted to go, and the same thing coming back. Everybody on that plane was going to land in Dallas. But if I wanted to go someplace else, other than Dallas, I had to unstrap myself from that plane, I had to walk down the concourse, I had to get another ticket, and I had to get on a much smaller plane to take me where I really wanted to go, home.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's the same way with your eternal destination. Whether you know it or not right now, you're headed to a destination called hell. Every one of us who is ever born into this world is automatically on that plane, so to speak, headed to that destination. It's because of our connection to Adam, we are in Adam. If you don't believe that, the fact that you begin to die the moment you're born is proof that you've inherited Adam's corruption, and his guilt as well. We're all headed there. In fact, if you want to go to hell, you don't have to do anything, but if you've come to the point that you want a different destination, a different home, you need another ticket that will take you to your intended destination heaven.
Here's the good news of the Gospel, that ticket has already been purchased for you. There's no way you and I could ever earn it. There's no amount of money, no amount of good works we could ever perform to merit it. It's available to everyone who receives it as a gift. And that's what he says in verse 17, "Those who receive the abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness will reign through Jesus Christ". Condemnation is automatic, salvation is optional. John said it this way in John 1:12, "But as many as received him Christ, to them he gave the power to become the children of God, even those who believe on his name".