Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“12 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–”
In our passage for the week we find Paul continuing to focus on the future hope for those who trust in Christ. It’s tremendously good news for the believer. News you and I don’t need to miss. But I have to admit, when I read the passage, I was a bit confused and I suspect you may have been somewhat confused as well. It can be hard to follow Paul, but if we slow down and let what he is writing sink in, we’ll grasp the beauty of what he is saying. Hopefully this week I can help you and I capture the truth found in our passage. So with all that said: let’s dive into it!
As we look at our passage you will notice it begins with the word “therefore;” it means “for this reason.” It brings up a logical question: what reason? The answer is the argument Paul just made in verses 1-11: Our hope of sharing God’s glory is certain because we are in Christ, who has guaranteed life for us who believe.
You’ll also notice Paul uses the term “just as.” In fact it is used five different times in verses 12-21; it’s used to make a comparison. This “Just as…so also” comparison seems to be the basic building block of the chapter. However, in our opening verse he never completes the comparison. That’s why you will notice a dash at the end of the verse. I point that out because it was so confusing to me when I first read it. It’s helpful to think of Paul making his point and then, before making his comparison, he has a thought that he want’s to make sure we get so he interjects with it right then before picking up on his original thought. We do this kind of thing all the time in conversations we have.
Okay, I know that’s a lot and we haven’t even talked about what is being said here in verse 12. So what is Paul saying? Paul tells us: Sin came into the world through Adam; with sin came death; death spread to all people, because all people sin. Adam’s fall introduced sin into the world and death came as result of sin. Physical death is the penalty for sin, but it is also the symbol of spiritual death, which is man’s ultimate separation from God. The sin that Adam introduced into the world has a grip on all of mankind. Because of Adam, we’re predisposed to sin. People may want to push back on the notion of our own sinfulness, but we can never go back as though we were never affected by the sin of Adam. Everyone is caught up together in sin because we have been born into a world where there is sin.
Here is an interesting comment I read last week: Chesterton famously pointed out that original sin is the only sin that can actually be proven. We may not like the idea that we can be guilty for something that Adam did; we may even feel it isn’t right for God to judge us because of Adam’s sin. But the truth is…each of us confirms our commonality with Adam by our own sins every day. We have this sinful nature inside of us that makes us prone to rebel against God; this rebellion makes us guilty.
But the fact remains—and when we’re honest with ourselves we admit it—the brokenness in the world starts with the brokenness in us. Because we are sinners, it isn’t pure justice we need—it’s mercy, It’s God’s grace.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Story of Reality, Gregory Koukl.