Tag Archives: Jesus

The Effects of Sin

In the last few weeks we have been discussing the fact that we are all sinners, we are all guilty – No matter who you are, where you come from, or what time you live – All are guilty before God

Paul makes this clear as he writes the first chapters of the letter to the Romans

He tells us that we have all broken God’s laws – And because we have broken them we are all guilty – But even though we are guilty, we have been “justified” (declared not guilty)

He says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift” Romans 3:23-24

And this gift is not a result of doing good things, but is only received through faith

He says it this way in 3:28, “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” Romans 3:28

So, what Paul is saying is that the free gift of salvation is by faith and not by works (not by doing good things) – It was never by works, it was always by faith! – And if you were to argue with him, he would simply point you to the story of Abraham as found in the pages of Genesis

So, now, Paul wants to flush this out a little – He wants to communicate to his audience how this all came about – Why is it that all are guilty before God? And why is it that Jesus is the only way to be saved?

Romans 5:12-21

12 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. 

15 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. 16 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. 17 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. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

What I want us to consider tonight is this

What is the end result of sin, and what is the end result of the free gift?

If we are all guilty then we need to know why, and if we have salvation in Jesus we need to know why as well

This is what Paul does in this passage

12 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. Romans 5:12

Well, before I get into this, I would like to ask, “Who is the one responsible for sin in the world?”

Yes, It’s Adam – Now, the next question is, “How is Adam’s sin responsible for the sin of the world?”

This is a harder question, isn’t it?

So, we know the “Who” but we don’t really know the “How”

In other words, “How is it that Adam’s sin affects me, that I become a sinner like him?”

Well, there are two views on this, and they both come from this verse, “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” Romans 5:12

Now this may get a little academic but I think its important for us Christians to know these things – So, when people ask us about original sin we can tell them – When they ask, “How did sin enter the world? We can tell them

It’s also important because the whole world is asking this question – It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or an Atheist, everyone wants to know how sin entered the world – Where evil comes from – And whether they call it sin or something else, that doesn’t matter – What matters is that it is here and it destroys

The first view is called the Federal Headship view

In this view Adam is the representative for the entire human race – What Adam decided to do affects all of us, even though we were not there, even though we did not participate in it.

We may object to what Adam does, and if we were there we would never do as he did – But according to this view, this doesn’t matter, Adam is the “Head,” and we are not – So, what Adam does affects us, whether we like it or not

So, according to this view, we became sinners because Adam became a sinner

His actions affected us, even though we didn’t do anything

And you may be thinking, “Hey! That’s not fair, I didn’t vote for Adam!”

Well, according to this view, that doesn’t matter – Adam is still the “Head”

The second view is called the Natural (Seminal) Headship view

In this view Adam is not so much our representative as he is the first of many that would come after him – Adam is the first person of the human race, and we all come from him

So, this view says that when Adam sinned, we sinned too, because we were in Adam

And your thinking, “What? I wasn’t even there!”

Well, the logic is that even though we were not there in a physical body, we were there physically in “seminal” form – We were there in seed form in Adam

And if the entire human race comes from one man (which it does) that means we were all there with Adam (in seed form), we just did not have physical bodies yet

So, when Adam sinned, we sinned with him – This view says that we did participate in the first sin

And your thinking, “That’s kinda weird!”

Well, before you throw this view out, let me just say that there is biblical evidence for it, let’s read Romans 5:12 again, 12 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 Romans 5:12

The last three words say, “because all sinned” – It’s written in the past tense, and its referring to us while at the same time referring to Adam

So, Paul is telling us that when Adam sinned, we sinned as well – It was one act – When Adam disobeyed God, we too were disobeying God (we did it together, all of us) –  In this view we are not just passive observers but are participants in Adam’s sin

Another verse that could be quoted to support this is Hebrews 7:9-10, One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.” Hebrews 7:9-10

So, according to the Natural (Seminal) view we all disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, it wasn’t just Adam, it was me, it was you

And because we sin, it just proves that we became sinners like Adam when Adam became a sinner

Well, whatever view you take, the fact of the matter is, we are all sinners

We sin because we are sinners, and we are sinners because we sin – This is who we are

We may never know the “How” question, but without a doubt what we do know is that we are sinners

So…

What is the end result of sin, and what is the end result of the free gift?

Well, let’s find out

12 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. Romans 5:12-14

What happens to 100% of the human race – What is it that we all have in common?

We die – Everyone dies, no matter who you are, where you live, how rich you are, how poor you are – We all die

Some of us will live longer than others, but eventually we all end up at the same place – We all end up in the ground

What Paul is saying here is that death is a result of sin – We all die, because we all sin – Sin is the primary cause of death

It’s not because we get old and our bodies wear down – It’s not because we live in a chaotic random world where freak accidents happen – It’s not even because there are diseases that kill our bodies – It’s because of sin

Yes, these things all happen, but the Bible teaches that they are a result of sin – If it weren’t for sin, they would not exist!

What did God say to Adam when He put him in the garden?

16  “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17

God is not only talking about spiritual death here, He is talking about physical death as well

And we know from the narrative that both of these happen – Adam and Eve die spiritually, and then they die physically

Their spiritual death was instantaneous – It happened the moment they disobeyed, but the physical death took some time to mature (like it does in all of us)

Adam and Eve died, Abel died, Cain died, Abraham died, Moses died…

We all die because we are all sinners; we are all sinners because we all die

And so we can say that if it weren’t for sin, we would not die, we would live forever – We would never die

You see, this is why the resurrection of Jesus is so important

Because Jesus is the only man who never sinned, this is why death had no power over Him – This is how He conquered death – This is how He was raised from the dead

You might say, “But Jesus did die, and if death is a result of sin, then Jesus must have sinned”

No, what did Jesus say before he died?

In John 10:17 He says, 17 “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, [not even sin] but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:17-18

Jesus’ death is the only death that was not a result of sin, He laid it down of his “own accord” – He gave His life, so that those that don’t have life can have His

You see, if death is the result of sin, and Jesus did not sin, then death had no hold on Him – But the gospel message is that He laid down His life anyway – He laid it down for us – He died for us

And because He did this great act, He is able to rise from the dead and give us life in Him

Listen to what Jesus says to Martha, as she grieves the death of her brother Lazarus, 25 “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Here, the people are mourning the death of their friend Lazarus, the fact that sin has taken another person – But Jesus, wanting to demonstrate His power over death does His greatest miracle – One that will point to Him as well – He raises Lazarus from the dead!

And this is what Paul is telling us, he’s saying that there are only two kinds of people – There are those that belong to Adam, and there are those that belong to Christ

Unfortunately, even though we belong to Christ we still die, but this is only sin running its course – If we belong to Christ we “will never die” as Jesus says

We will be resurrected as He was resurrected!

We will live as He lives

What an awesome thought!

Paul says in 1Corinthians 15:21-22, 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1Corinthians 15:21-22

What a great hope that we have! That even in death we will live once again – Death ultimately has no hold on us, just like it had no hold on Jesus

But Paul is saying that this is only for those that put their faith in Christ – This is only for those that have died to their own self already and are living for Jesus now! – That even though they die, they will live again!

In John 6 Jesus says, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” John 6:40

What a wonderful hope that we have – To know that this life is not the end – To know that even though death reigns in this world, we do not belong to this world – To know that even though we die, we will not stay that way, but will be like (As Jesus says) “The angels in heaven” Matt. 22:30

Link to Translations


Written on the Heart

In Romans chapter 1 the Apostle Paul begins his letter to the Romans reminding them of the condition of the world – The condition of all people

He reminds them that the world is broken – He reminds them that they too are broken – All of humanity is broken

He tells them that although everyone knows that God exists and know that they ought to worship Him – They do not

The creation is self-evident and points to a Creator, but humanity’s natural inclination is to ignore this evidence

Paul tells us that we do this by “suppressing the truth” that is plain to us (Rom. 1:18)

In chapter 2 Paul tells us that not only are the Gentiles guilty before God because of their suppression of truth, but the Jews are guilty as well

The Gentiles are guilty because they suppress the truth that is found in creation, the Jews are guilty because they suppress the truth that is found in the Law

The Jews are guilty because they know what God expects of them (because they have the Law) but they do not do it – Instead they judge the Gentiles and do the same things they do – They are Hypocrites

So, Paul tells us that the Gentiles are guilty because of their suppression of General Revelation (i.e. the creation and the conscience)

And the Jews are guilty because of their suppression of Special Revelation (i.e. the Law and the Scriptures)

Do you see what Paul is doing here?

He is showing his readers that no one is righteous before God

God has “revealed” Himself to all humanity in some way – And instead of responding correctly and adequately, humanity suppresses this revealing – And in the process incurs the judgment of God

So, now we reach the second half of chapter 2, and Paul is going to elaborate on this (specifically he will be addressing the heart and the conscience)

We will be asking the question, “What role does the heart and conscience play in all this?”

Romans 2:12-29

12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. 

17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” 

25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. 

What I want us to consider tonight is this:

Is it better to hear and not do, or is it better to do and not hear?

Paul begins this section to continue what he has been saying in regard to the Jews and the Gentiles

He says, 12 “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law” Romans 2:12

In other words, no matter the who you are, either Jew or Gentile you will be judged on the amount of revelation that you were given – The amount of light that you were given – If you have been given the Law, you will be judged by the Law, but if you have been given the creation and the conscience (and not the Law) you will be judged based on the creation and the conscience

What Paul is doing here is telling us that there is no excuse before God

There will not be a single person, past, present, or future that will be able to say, “I didn’t know”

The ones in the jungle will not be able to say, “I didn’t know”

The Gentiles living in Old Testament times cannot say, “I didn’t know”

The Jews are not able to say, “I didn’t know”

And we today, are not able to say, “I didn’t know”

We may live our whole lives ignorant of the Bible, but not one of us can look up into the sky and not consider what God has done in the heavens – In the creation – In all that we see around us

Remember what Paul says in chapter 1, 20 “For his (God) invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived (understood), ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” Romans 1:20

Well, Paul goes on in chapter 2, he says, 13 “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” Romans 2:13

I believe this is the main verse for this section, Paul is referring to the Jews and he’s saying that just because you have the Law it doesn’t mean you are righteous, and just because the Gentiles don’t have the Law it doesn’t mean that they are unrighteous

What matters is if you do what the Law requires

14 “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.” Romans 2:14

In other words, it’s not the Law-holders that are right in the eyes of God, but the Law-doers that are right in the eyes of God

It’s the difference between someone always reading the Bible, but never doing what the Bible says, and the person who does not read the Bible but does what it says

So, is it better to hear and not do, or is it better to do and not hear?

I think what Paul is emphasizing here is that it is better to do – It is better to do what the Law requires than to know what it says

This is the problem the Pharisees had – They knew the Law – They knew it better then anyone  – But they did not do what the Law required

What did Jesus have to say about them?

In Matthew 23 we read of the seven “woes” directed to the Pharisees

Jesus said, 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24

Do you guys know what Jesus is referring to here? “You tithe mint, dill, and cumin, but have neglected the weightier matters of the Law” or “You strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel?”

He’s referring to the fact that the Pharisees had begun to major on the minors, when they should have majored on the majors and minor on the minors

Let me explain, the Law stated that the people were to tithe all of their possessions, this was supposed to be an act of faith – When I (if I was living in those days) harvested my crop I would give the first 10% of it to the Lord – This showed my trust in God for providing for my needs – Since God is the one who has blessed me with the crop, I would acknowledge this, and give 10% of it back to Him

But God doesn’t need anything, so this 10% was designated for the Levites (the Levites were one of the twelve tribes that did not inherit any land, they instead were put in charge of the temple, they were priests, so they had no way of providing for themselves)

You can find this Law in Leviticus 27:30 and Numbers 18:21-24

The Law was intended to supply the Levites with food so that they would not go hungry; it was primarily directed to the “field” – The crops of the field (wheat, barley, etc.)

But the Pharisees went as far as to tithe from the spice gardens

Now this is not bad in and of itself – But it is bad when you neglect the more important things that the Law says to do – In this case provide “justice, mercy, and faithfulness”

You see, what they were doing is “straining out a gnat but swallowing a camel”

A gnat is a bug – Bug’s are small – We don’t like eating bugs! – But according to Jesus they were swallowing a camel (something very big)

They were majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors

Jesus tells them, “These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others” Matthew 23:23

Before the seven woes, in the beginning of the chapter Jesus told his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.” Matthew 23:2-3

In other words, do what they tell you,because they know the Law, but don’t live your life like them

It’s better to not know what the Law says and do it, then to know what it says and not do it!

I think this is what Paul is saying here

13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them. Romans 2:13-15

What Paul is saying here is that when Gentiles do what the Law says to do (even though they don’t have it), they are doing what God requires of them – They show that the “Law is written on their hearts”

What does Paul mean by this? – Now stay with me, this may get a little heady

Well, when the Bible uses the word “heart” most of the time it doesn’t refer to the organ that sits in our chest – But is talking about something else

It’s the Greek word kardia – Does it sound familiar? This is where we get the English word “cardiology” – The study of the heart – Or the word “cardiologist” – A doctor that specializes on the heart

Anyway, along with “heart” it could also be translated as “inner self” or “inside”

And it refers to three things: 1. The Mind 2. The Will 3. And the Emotions

So, when Paul says, “the Law is written on their hearts” what he is saying is the Law is written on their “inside,” on their “inner self,” – Their mind, their will, and their emotions

If you think about it, these three things comprise who we really are – This is the real us – This is the us without the body

If we were to leave our bodies, we would be conscious, we would be able to make decisions, and we would be able to feel (Mind, Will, and Emotions)

So, what Paul is saying is, the Law is written on the Gentiles true self (inside) – They are able to understand it because the heart thinks – They are able to act, because the heart is able to make choices – And they are able to discern what they are doing, because the heart is able to feel

In other words, the heart is the control center of the whole person

And the conscience helps to make right decisions in the control center – The conscience is what tells us what is right and what is wrong

Paul says that “the Law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness” Romans 2:15

So, what does any of this have to do with anything?

I think that God is telling us that He has given us a very powerful tool to make right decisions – And the one big decision that we must make is concerning His Son Jesus Christ

Will we use our heart to seek after Him?

Will we use our heart to live a godly life?

Will we use our heart to do what God has created us to do?

Or will we suppress the truth?

Will we suppress our conscience?

You see, the Jews thought they were okay with God simply because they were Jews – Because they were the chosen people

And what Paul is doing here is telling them that this is not the case, that it doesn’t matter whether you are a Jew or a Gentile – What matters is that you do what God requires

It doesn’t matter what’s on the outside – It’s what’s on the inside that matters

In verse 28 Paul says, 28 “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.” Romans 2:28-29

You notice the words Paul uses here?

He says, “No one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly (physical), nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart

We see the inside nature here

The Law of God is written on the heart – It’s written on the inside

I think what this passage is teaching us is that all people must have the Law of God written on their hearts – It is not enough to have the Law or the Bible in our hands – It must be in our hearts

It has to move from our head down to our heart – If it never makes it to the heart it will never change us

So, how do we make it come down to our heart?

Well, first of all, before it can make its way to our heart, it must first make its way into our head

How’s this going to happen?

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out –It happens by reading

It’s not going to get there any other way! – If we love God and we want to know who He is then we should be reading His Word all the time – We should be seeking Him with our whole heart

King David is a good example for us – He knew this – He lived this – What is the name that God gave him? – “A man after my own heart” Acts 13:22

In Psalm 119 (the longest Psalm in the Bible) David says these words

Verse 2: “Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart

Verse 10: “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments”

Verse 11: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you”

Verse 34: “Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart

Verse 36: “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain”

Verse 58: “I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise”

Verse 69: “The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts”

Verse 80: “May my heart be blameless in your statutes, that I may not be put to shame”

Verse 111: “Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart

Verse 112: “I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever”

Verse 145: “With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes”

So, I hope and pray that we would be a people like David – A people that follow after God with their “whole heart”

I hope and pray that we would be a people that have our command center totally focused on Jesus – That our hearts would be inclined to the Lord – That all that we do in this life would bring Him glory!

Link to Translations


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