But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
Romans 5:15 (NIV)
Read: Romans 5:1-21
Consider: In today’s reading from Romans 5, Paul speaks of Adam as being the one through whom sin and death entered the world, resulting in everyone being subject to death (Romans 5:17). In Romans 5:18 Paul says: Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. The ‘one righteous act’ Paul refers to is the death of Jesus on the cross to pay the price for our sins. We have been justified, as God declares us righteous (guilt free) in his sight, on the basis of Christ’s death on the cross (the penalty for our sin has been fully paid).
In Romans 6:23 Paul says: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. By using the word ‘wages’ Paul signifies that sin results in death, as a natural consequence of and payment for sin. When Paul speaks of the ‘gift of God’ he is seeking to make it clear that there is nothing anyone can do to earn God’s gift of salvation. God does not see us as righteous until we accept the gift he offers freely to us. Paul puts it this way: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (5:8).
This should make us question how we regard those outside of Christ. Do we expect them to live as we do and to have the same standards as us? Are we surprised when it is clear from what someone says and how they live that they have no regard for God? When Jesus was asked why he ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners, we are told: Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31). Jesus did not expect those he met to live ‘righteously’ because he knew the true condition of their hearts. He also knew that the appearance of righteousness (displayed by the Pharisees and Sadducees), was not the same as the true righteousness that comes from a repentant and forgiven heart. As mankind is ‘ill’ and in need of salvation, we should be praying that the message of the good news that we share is clearly heard. We also should be praying that the Holy Spirit will be working in people’s hearts showing them their need of forgiveness ands also their need for repentance.
Pray: Father, we know that the whole of mankind is tainted by sin and subject to death. We praise you for your gift of salvation that is freely offered to all. We ask that your Holy Spirit may work in the hearts of those you call to yourself; may they repent and seek your forgiveness. Amen