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Reading Romans 5

Hey all! Welcome back to Romans 5; the focus point of the message from this past Sunday. However, on Sunday we focused on only a very small part of Romans 5 so today we'll spend more time investigating the larger scope and discuss some of the continuing themes that Paul has in this section. If you missed this past Sunday's message on Romans 5 you can view that here:


Scripture to Read


My Thoughts

5 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

This section of text feels poignant for our present situation(s) as a church body, as a nation, and as a global people. Our church faces declining membership and aging membership with less and less young families coming in. Then as a national and global citizen we face the reckoning of the pandemic and the climate crisis, to which we as a nation are the largest contributors by over two fold. Unfortunately, the damage of the climate crisis is impacting the poorest countries the most which comes across distinctly anti-Christlike behavior from the self professed "Christian Nation". To make matters worse our country leads in COVID-19 deaths (but also leads in global distribution of vaccines! So yay!) No matter which we spin it there must be a recognition that to live out and into our faith means that we have work to do. All of us! I like Romans 5 because it reminds us that God loves us beyond our biggest mistakes paving the way for us to live into our best selves. Secondly, the bolded section above is a reminder for me to not let the overwhelming forces of hopelessness on these large scale issues detract from my hope that we can and will overcome them collectively as a people. When you think about the pandemic, the political fight of 2020, cancel culture, **climate change, and the other buzzwords that capture our attention do you find yourself growing in hope as a result of your suffering or losing your hope as a result? Paul encourages us to stay positive, stay strong, and stay hopeful through it all. Without hope all action is dead.

**Curious on how you can offset your carbon footprint and fund really cool projects that help climate change? Consider taking the carbon footprint test and making a monthly contribution by partnering with Project Wren. McKinsie and I just budgeted to offset 50% of our carbon footprints for a little over $30 a month. A relatively small amount of money can make a big difference for our big world!

18 Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.

This section of Romans 5 continues Paul's discourse on the relationship between the OT and the NT by going back all the way to origin of humankind with Adam and the Fall of Genesis 3. Paul argues here that sin entered the world when Adam ate of the forbidden fruit but through Christ's death (and resurrection) sin was defeated. In other words, this is the Biblical evidence for the concept of Original Sin. Original sin is the belief that we are broken, flawed, sinful from the moment of our birth as a result of Adam's actions. It's somewhat debated among scholars or religious critics on whether or not this should be rejected, but, John Wesley, founder of the Methodist faith, was an advocate for Original Sin. The following excerpts from his sermon "Original Sin" will provide his stance on it.

"In the sermon, Wesley makes clear he understands human nature has been so thoroughly corrupted that we have no possibility of any goodness at all in ourselves or in our patterns of thinking, apart from God’s grace intervening.

“But was there not good mingled with the evil? Was there not light intermixed with the darkness? No; none at all: ‘God saw that the whole imagination of the heart of man was only evil.’ It cannot indeed be denied, but many of them, perhaps all, had good motions put into their hearts; for the Spirit of God did then also 'strive with man,' if haply he might repent … But still ‘in his flesh dwelt no good thing;’ all his nature was purely evil: It was wholly consistent with itself, and unmixed with anything of an opposite nature.” (Sermon 44, Original Sin, I.4)."

Further, he writes in conclusion:

"Know your disease! Know your cure! Ye were born in sin: Therefore, 'ye must be born again,' born of God. By nature ye are wholly corrupted. By grace ye shall be wholly renewed. In Adam ye all died: In the second Adam, in Christ, ye all are made alive. 'You that were dead in sins hath he quickened:' He hath already given you a principle of life, even faith in him who loved you and gave himself for you! Now, 'go on from faith to faith,' until your whole sickness be healed; and all that 'mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus!'"

Answers in Genesis (whom I largely would disagree with) has a really thorough blog on this exact question of Original Sin and whether or not Paul is talking about collective or individual sin here. I'll share some excerpts from that below that highlights it best. If you want to read the full blog you can view it by clicking here.

"The question we have to ask is this: does Romans 5:12 teach that we are guilty sinners in Adam and that physical death came about through him?

The controversy over the doctrine of original sin is found in the Apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 5:12:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.12

In Romans 5:1–11, Paul describes the reconciling work of God’s love in Jesus on behalf of sinners. This leads Paul to contrast (διὰ τοῦτο, dia touto, “therefore”) the work of Adam and Jesus. Paul opens up his discussion in verse 12 by stating that “through one man sin entered the world,” which of course is an allusion to Adam’s disobedience in Genesis 3. However, Paul does not stop there, as he adds that the entrance of sin brought death into the world. The punishment that God promised in Genesis 2:17 was fulfilled, and death came into the world.13 This leads to Paul’s focus in Romans 5:12–21: the reign of death. The power of death came through Adam’s sin, and that power affects all people: “thus death spread to all men.” This, as Paul states, is “because all sinned.”

Further, the author presents the case about collective vs individual sin saying:

Yet it is not necessary to view Romans 5:12 as either teaching that our sin is the result of Adam’s disobedience or that it is because of our own individual sin. It should be recognized that the text indicates that there is a primary and a secondary cause, as Schreiner acknowledges:

Paul does not deny in this text that the sin of individuals lead[s] to death. What he affirms . . . is that individuals come into the world condemned and spiritually dead because of Adam’s sin. The latter part of 5:12 must not be separated from the first part of the verse. Sin and death entered into the world through Adam, and hence people sin and die both because of Adam’s sin and their own sin, though the sin of Adam is fundamental and foundational.17

Therefore, the primary cause would be Adam’s disobedience, when death entered the world, and the secondary cause is the sin of individuals who through their own disobedience bring death upon themselves.18

Throughout Romans 5:12–21 Paul contrasts the sin of the one (Adam) and the righteousness of the one (Jesus). The whole argument of Romans 5:12–21 is the unity of all sinners in Adam and the unity of the redeemed in Christ. All through Romans 5:12–21 Paul speaks of the sin of one man (verses 15–19) and not individuals as the cause of the problem. It can be understood from Paul’s comments in Romans 5:19, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” that Adam’s disobedience (sin) made19 all of his descendants guilty by virtue of his first sin. Therefore “Paul is insisting that people were really ‘made’ sinners through Adam’s act of disobedience.”20 In context the “many” of verse 19 are the “all men” of verse 12. It is because of Adam’s disobedience we are considered sinners. This is not to deny human responsibility for sin as we “are not guilty for Adam’s sin; we are guilty sinners in Adam.”

Regardless of how you feel about Original Sin we cannot deny that Sin is alive in the world. People hurt one another, we hurt the planet, we abuse animals in mass farming, we lie, steal, cheat, kill, and exploit for maximum profits. We build our own Towers of Babel in the name of power, profit, and prestige. We worship idols in the forms of phones, celebrities, and brands marketed to us. Sin is alive and well, but focusing our attention on Christ and His ways can liberate us - slowly - but surely.


Praying with Praise

I can hardly think of a more appropriate hymn for Romans 5 than Amazing Grace - a story of being saved despite a horrific past (author was a captain of a slave trader ship.) I invite you to join in the traditional or contemporary version of the song below.

Traditional (behold the army of white mormons doing the only thing they are really good at. Singing)


Who breaks the power of sin and darkness? Whose love is mighty and so much stronger? The King of glory, the King above all kings Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder? And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder? The King of glory, the King above all kings

This is amazing grace This is unfailing love That You would take my place That You would bear my cross

You laid down Your life That I would be set free Oh, Jesus, I sing for All that You've done for me

Who brings our chaos back into order? Who makes the orphans a son and daughter? The King of glory, the King of glory Who rules the nations with truth and justice Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance The King of glory, the King above all kings

This is amazing grace This is unfailing love That You would take my place That You would bear my cross

You laid down Your life That I would be set free Oh, Jesus, I sing for All that You've done for me

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain Worthy is the King who conquered the grave Worthy is the Lamb who was slain Worthy is the King who conquered the grave Worthy is the Lamb who was slain Worthy is the King who conquered the grave Worthy is the Lamb who was slain Worthy, worthy, worthy

This is amazing grace This is unfailing love That You would take my place That You would bear my cross

You laid down Your life That I would be set free Oh, Jesus, I sing for All that You've done for me

All that You've done for me

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