Rejoice in Suffering {Romans 5}

4:06 AM

By Lisa Thayer

When I initially read this chapter, I thought, there’s nothing more to be said.  This is perfect!  So I read it again, looking for something that stood out.   Then I remembered why I thought this chapter was so good – I had studied it and written about it last year. 

I have been in a state of busyness at my home and having already written something previously has helped me out this week.  I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I have.

Many people feel it isn’t right for God to judge us because of Adam’s sin.  We confirm our unity with Adam by our own sins.  We are made of the same stuff and are prone to rebel, and we are judged for the sins we commit.  Because we are sinners, it isn’t fairness we need – it’s mercy.  

Paul reminds us in verses 13 and 14 that for thousands of years the law had not yet been explicitly given, yet people died.  The law was added, he explains in 5:20, to help people see their sinfulness, to show them the seriousness of their offenses, and to drive them to God for mercy and forgiveness.  This was true in Moses’ day, and it is still true today.  Sin is a deep discrepancy between who we are and who we are created to be.  The law points out our sin and places the responsibility for it squarely on our shoulders.  But the law offers no remedy.  When we are convicted of sin, we must turn to Jesus Christ for healing.

We see in 5:14 that Adam is the pattern.  If you’ve ever sewed or knitted, you follow a pattern.  Adam is the representative of created humanity.  Christ is the representative of a new spiritual humanity. 

In verses 15-19 we understand that we are all born into Adam’s family – the family line that leads to death.  All of us have reaped the results of Adam’s sin.  We have inherited the guilt, a sinful nature or the tendency to sin, and God’s punishment.  Because of Jesus, we can trade judgment for forgiveness.  We can trade our sin for Jesus’ righteousness.  Christ offers us the opportunity to be born into his spiritual family – the family line that begins with forgiveness and leads to eternal life.  If we do nothing, we have death through Adam; but if we come to God by faith, we have life through Christ.

What we have as Adam’s children:
* Ruin 5:9
* Sin 5:12, 15, 21
* Separation from God 5:18
* Disobedience 5:12, 19      
* Death 5:12, 16, 21
* Judgment 5:18
* Deliverance 5:10, 11
* Law 5:20

What we have as God’s children:
* Rescue 5:8
* Righteousness 5:18
* Eternal Life 5:17, 21
* Relationship with God 5:11, 19
* Obedience 5:19
* Deliverance 5:10, 11
* Grace 5:20

John Piper says, “1) First, it humbles us morally and intellectually.  Morally, because I must admit I not only do bad things, but I AM bad.  I not only need natural training, I need supernatural rebirth.  Something about me needs to die and something new needs to be created.  I am deeply in need for something beyond what I can produce.  And I am humbled because this doctrine of original sin, pushes the ability of my reason to the limit of its powers and leaves me behind.  Most of us will have to settle for a large dose of mystery here.  How are we connected to Adam such that it is just for his sin to be counted as our sin, and just for us to be condemned?  Paul does not make that explicit.  We do not doubt the justice of God; we doubt our own ability to explain it.  The doctrine of original sin is therefore morally and intellectually humbling truth.

2) It deepens our gratitude for salvation.  The more we know about our fallen condition, the more grateful we should feel that we are saved.  This is why Paul erupts with thanksgiving in Romans 6:17, “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart.”  Knowing that we are not just sinners but “slaves of sin” will make us sing for joy to be justified from sin’s guilt and delivered from sin’s power.”

Jonathan Edwards puts it this way, “This doctrine teaches us to think no worse of others, than of ourselves:  it teaches us that we are ALL, as we are by nature, companions in a miserable helpless condition: which under a revelation of the divine mercy, tends to promote mutual COMPASSION.  And nothing has a greater tendency to promote those amiable dispositions of mercy, forbearance, longsuffering, gentleness and forgiveness, than a sense of our own extreme unworthiness and misery, and the infinite need we have of the divine pity, forbearance and forgiveness, together with a hope of obtaining mercy.”

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