We spent most of our time together this past Sunday looking at Romans chapter 5. We spent a brief amount of time on verses 6-11. They are below:
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Francis Schaeffer commenting on these verses says: “The one comforting and overwhelming fact is that, when I was totally a sinner, without strength and without one good thing to commend me to God, it was then that Jesus died for me.” He goes on: “Who dies for the enemy? Well, who was the enemy? I was! I was the enemy of God. I was stamping through God’s universe, shaking my fist in His face. And in the very moment when I was shaking my fist in God’s face and tramping through the Creator’s universe, muddying all His streams, that’s when Jesus died for me. And if this is when Jesus died for me, what hope it gives me now! Now, even when I fall, the blood of Jesus is enough. He didn’t save me because I was strong; He saved me when I was weak. He didn’t save me when I was a pretty thing; He saved me when I was a mess. On the basis of this reality, I can have comfort.”
John Stott elaborates on the amazing fact that ‘while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ Stott says: “The more the gift costs the giver, and the less the recipient deserves it, the greater the love is seen to be. Measured by these standards, God’s love in Christ is absolutely unique. For in sending his Son to die for sinners, he was giving everything, his very self, to those who deserved nothing from him except judgment.”
In verse 9 Paul says that “we have now been justified by his blood,…” Francis Schaeffer says: “Justification is our reality in the present tense, based on the fact that, at some particular time in the past tense, Jesus died for us and we accepted His death on our behalf and therefore became justified.” Your week may not be going that well. I know I haven’t had the best week, but the fact that ‘justification is our reality in the present tense,’ should cause us to be joyful. Ian read from Psalm 145 during the worship service this past Sunday. The first three verses of Psalm 145 are below:
“I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.”
This again causes joy, that we will praise the name of God forever and ever. Matthew Henry says: “Praising God must be our daily work. No day must pass, though ever so busy a day, though ever so sorrowful a day, without praising God. We ought to reckon it the most needful of our daily employments, and the most delightful of our daily comforts. God is every day blessing us, doing well for us, there is therefore reason that we should be every day blessing him, speaking well of him…I will bless thee for ever and ever, Psalm 145:1&2. This intimates,…that he resolved to continue in this work to the end of his life,…That he hoped to be praising God to all eternity in the other world. Those that make praise their constant work on earth shall have it their everlasting bliss in heaven.”
Sin and Brokenness
Okay, lets get back to Romans 5:12-14:
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”
So, God made a perfect world, with no sin, no pain, and no death. Today all we have to do is turn on the news in the morning and we will find out fairly quickly that we live in a broken world. There is murder, violence, wars, tragedies, cancer, hurricane’s, tornado’s, corruption, and on and on. So, what is wrong with the world? Years ago the London Times asked this same question: “what is wrong with the world?” G.K. Chesterton wrote in a brilliant reply. He simply said:
Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”
Tanya Walker says: “This is no glib reply. In two little words, Chesterton points us to the profound reality that we are, each and every one of us, broken, and in desperate need of forgiveness.” We are all broken and we live in a broken world. Why are we broken and why is the world broken? Well the answer that Paul gives is that sin has entered the world through Adam. Once sin entered the world, death and suffering, and brokenness followed. Which death and suffering and brokenness is a just response to sin. As Mark said in his sermon this past Sunday, we just don’t realize how serious sin is. John Piper says that: “sin is infinitely offensive.”
Adam and Jesus
So, in Romans 5 starting in verse 12 Paul begins to show us the relationship between Adam and Jesus. He introduces them, then compares and contrasts them. In verse 14 Paul says that ‘Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.’ John Piper says: “What does “type” mean? The NIV says “pattern.” Adam was a pattern of Christ who was to come. He was an example, or a foreshadowing, or a prefiguring of Christ…In verse 14 Paul says he is going to view Christ in comparison and contrast with Adam. That makes Adam a type or a pattern. And the aim is to see more clearly and more fully and more deeply the work of Christ and how he became the foundation of our justification.”
How then is Adam a type of Christ? As John Stott says: “How can the Lord of glory be likened to the man of shame, the Saviour to the sinner, the giver of life to the broker of death?” Mark introduced us to the fancy theological term called federal headship. We were reminded of the story of David and Goliath. Goliath was a giant of man who was mocking the Israelite’s and mocking God. Teenage David comes along and asked why nobody is doing anything? So, he takes his stone’s and his slingshot and takes on the giant Goliath. He lets his stone fly and kills Goliath. In that moment the Israelite’s won the battle. David was representing the Israelite’s and if he would have been defeated, Israel would have been defeated. This is the idea of federal headship, and this is how Adam is a type of Christ.
R.C. Sproul further explains this idea of federal headship: “Adam acted as a representative of the entire human race. With the test that God set before Adam and Eve, he was testing the whole of mankind. Adam’s name means “man” or “mankind.” Adam was the first human being created. He stands at the head of the human race. He was placed in the garden to act not only for himself but for all of his future descendents. Just as a federal government has a chief spokesman who is the head of the nation, so Adam was the federal head of mankind.” So, we have all sinned in and through Adam. We in the West may not like this idea, but this is what Paul is saying in verse 18: “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”
Charles Cranfield said that it was perfectly understandable that Adam’s sin was answered by judgment. However what about the accumulated sins and guilt of all the ages, how should that be answered? Incomprehensibly, the accumulated sins and guilt of all the ages is answered by God’s free gift of salvation. As Cranfield says: “this is the miracle of miracles, utterly beyond human comprehension.”
So, we who have been poorly represented by Adam can be gloriously represented by the true and better Adam. As Sam Storms says: “only if Adam represents you in the garden can Jesus represent you on Golgotha. It was on the cross that Jesus served as your representative head: his obedience to the law, his righteousness, and his suffering the penalty of the law were all the acts of a covenant head acting in the stead and on behalf of his people. If Adam stood for you in the garden, Christ may also hang for you on the cross.”
Towards the end of the sermon Mark quoted a powerful quote comparing Adam and Christ. This is amazing and deserves our reflection: “The first Adam turned from God in a garden; the last Adam turned to God in a much more difficult garden. The first Adam was naked and unashamed; the last Adam was naked and bore our shame. The first Adam’s sin brought thorns; the last Adam wore a crown of thorns. The first Adam was a man substituting himself for God; the last Adam was the God-Man substituting himself for sinners. The first Adam sinned at a tree; the last Adam bore our sin on a tree. The first Adam died for his own sin; the last Adam died for our sin. In the first Adam there is defeat. In the last Adam there is victory. In the first Adam there is condemnation. In the last Adam there is justification and salvation. In the first Adam we receive a sin nature. In the last Adam we receive a new nature. In Adam we are cursed. In the last Adam we experience God’s eternal blessing. In Adam there is wrath and death. In the last Adam there is life, love, grace, and peace.”
That previous quote should really stir up our affections for King Jesus. What love, grace, and peace the true and better Adam brings! This past Sunday we celebrated God’s merciful grace in our lives as we sang these words:
Simply to thy cross I cling
Helpless, look to thee for grace
Vile, I to the fountain fly
Wash me Savior, or I die”