When man originally sinned, he declared war against God and all God stood for. Man encroached on a territory reserved for God – the knowledge of good and evil and, thus, trespassed against him. Through this, man committed the first earthy offense, which caused him to surrender his God-given dominion authority to the devil.
17 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:17-19)
Here we see two concepts illustrated – offense that leads to sin and death and obedience that leads to life and righteousness.
I don’t think it necessary to deeply explain how sin leads to death – I think we know that one already.
But it bears explaining that righteousness leads to life. And this is where it gets a little complicated…
Many Christians get on the treadmill of “living holy and righteous,” supposing that their efforts can attain either of these goals. The problem is – of your own efforts – you can do nothing to either attain them or sustain them.
The Scripture “Be ye holy for I am holy” becomes “DO ye holy for I am holy” in the sight of many believers. I’ve covered this before – in the Old Testament, it was a command; in the New Testament, it is a statement of truth.
The truth of the matter is sin offends God. The original sin offended God and all subsequent sin offended him. And left to our unregenerated selves, we would keep on offending God.
That’s why He sent Jesus. Because God knew, left to ourselves, we’d continually blow it. The Bible tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. It also tells us that the Law and sacrifices of animals could neither save nor perfect us.
That’s why Jesus – fully God and fully man – had to come and sacrifice Himself.
Because of Jesus, God will no longer remember our sins (Hebrews 8:12, Isaiah 43:25).
Here’s what the righteousness of man amounts to of its own effort:
For we have all become like one who is unclean [ceremonially, like a leper], and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God’s favor, hurrying us toward destruction]. (Isaiah 64:6)
That “filthy rags” refers to a cloth used by women during “that time of the month…”
Yep, that’s pretty nasty. And that’s bad news.
But, I’m a Good News preacher, so there’s Good News! Here’s what Paul wrote concerning those in Christ:
For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [ endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
We really need to catch this: in Christ we are MADE righteous. We are a new creature re-created in the image of Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I hate to sound like a broken record or a scratched CD, but I just can’t get past 1 John 4:17 – AS JESUS IS, SO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD.
Now, let me engage in an exercise of “connecting the dots,” here. God told Adam if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die…
Sin came into the world and brought with it all its excess baggage – sickness, death, oppression, and poverty…
Sin also led men to lord over other men which created the institution of slavery. The Hebrews found themselves enslaved but that was not God’s will for them, so He sent a deliverer in the person of Moses…
Moses delivered the Hebrews out of Egypt but couldn’t deliver Egypt out of the Hebrews, so God instituted the Law to teach the people how to govern themselves. But the law was imperfect and could not save anyone – Paul called it the ministry of death…
Therefore God, seeing all this beforehand, foreordained His Son to be the ultimate payment for our sin and the fulfillment of the law.
Through Jesus, the entire world has access to salvation, deliverance, healing, and prosperity – true liberty is made available to all who will believe and receive it!
1 THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. 3 For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [ the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [ subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], (Romans 8:1-3)
So, the long and short of this is that it is God’s righteousness alone that leads to life. He imparts His life and His holiness to us. We don’t have to work toward anything because our relationship with God is new life, not behavior modification. We receive this truth by believing this truth. And our right believing will produce right thinking, which produces right speaking, which leads to correct actions, which lead to proper habits, which lead to godly character, which culminates in divine destiny.
The offense unto death was dealt with so you don’t have to. Jesus paid it all! All we have to do is receive that free gift and we are made righteous unto life.
Sin was a stench in God’s nostrils, so He sent Jesus to be a sweet fragrance to displace the stink. Sometimes I think that’s why the tradition of flowers at funerals came to be…
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, (Deuteronomy 30:19)
© 2014 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)