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Romans 5:15-21


Intro: In our last study from Romans, we talked about how paradise was lost. We learned that Adam, the father of all humanity, sinned against God. As a result of his sin, the whole world was plunged into darkness. Adam's sin had dire consequences for the whole of humanity. As we move on in this chapter, we will see here how paradise is regained. What Adam gave away, Jesus bought back!

This passage is very difficult to understand. When it is read, it seems very confusing and fuzzy. This makes these verses extremely hard to outline. However, it may help to look at this passage as a series of contrasts. Paul is trying to show his readers the difference between what they received from Adam and what they have received from Jesus Christ.

There are three great contrasts that are mentioned here. For me, they untangle these verses and make their teaching clear. I would like to share them with you this evening. I do want to say that these verse comprise the central theme of the book of Romans. Everything to this point has been working towards this, and everything after this point works away from this. The whole point is that where Adam failed, Christ prevailed! What we lost in Adam, we get back, and much more, in Jesus.

Let's take some time this evening to look at three contrasts that are presented in these verse as we discover how Paradise Was Regained.


(Ill. To help us see this thing a little clearer, it might be helpful to know that of the forty billion people who have lived in this world, God looks at humanity and sees us in our relationship to only two men: Adam and Jesus. This is the essence of Romans 5:15-21! You see, Adam did something back in the Garden of Eden that affected the entire human race. Jesus also did something on the cross that affected the whole of humanity. Therefore it doesn't really matter if you know who Daniel is. It doesn't matter if you know about Moses or Mesopotamia, or Babylon or the Medes and Persians. It doesn't matter how much you know about the intricate history of the Bible. Now, all these things are important and you should take the time to learn them all. However, to get a grasp of the whole of the Bible, just remember that it all boils down to two men: Adam and Jesus! You also need to know that you are in one or the other this evening. To be in Adam is to be a partaker of all his gifts to humanity. To be in Christ is to be a partaker of all He had to give. It is important to understand the difference between these two men and their contributions to the human race. Let's notice what Paul reveals about them in these verses.)

A. Adam The Sinner - Verse 19 tells us that Adam was "disobedient". This means that Adam went against the command of God and committed a sin! Verse 15 tells us that Adam committed an "offence". That is, he crossed a line that God had drawn, Gen. 2:17. When Adam sinned, his sin did not just affect him, it also affected you and me, Romans 5:12. So, we see that Adam the Sinner transgressed against the Lord and brought sin to every human being.

B. Jesus The Savior - Verse 19 tells us that Jesus acted differently than Adam. While Adam disobeyed, Jesus obeyed the Father and gave His life a ransom for sin. This is made clear in Phil. 2:5-11. While Adam brought sin to all of humanity, the death of Jesus on the cross opened the door of salvation to "whosoever will", Rev. 22:17.)

(Ill. The contrast between the first Adam and the second Adam must not be missed! Everything we lost in the first Adam was regained by the second Adam. Everything Adam gave away in the Garden, Jesus purchased back on the cross! Verse 15 tells us that what Jesus did was "much more" than what Adam did! You see, Adam sinned one sin and it brought death to all men. Jesus died one death and it brought the possibility of life to all! In a real, mysterious sense, when Jesus dies on the cross, His blood paid for all the sins of all men who have ever, or who will ever live. Of course, this only becomes effective for those who exercise faith in Jesus and believe unto salvation. 1 Cor. 15:22 says, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." I think the difference in what these two men accomplished is very clear!)

I. Two People Are Contrasted


A. The Program Of Judgment And Death - Verse 15 tells us that because of Adam's sin "many be dead". This thought is carried even farther in verses 16-18. Here, the Apostle Paul tells us that because Adam sinned, every man is doomed to die. Not only that, but all men are also condemned. This means that we all stand under the wrath of God, Eph. 2:1-4; John 3:36. The bottom line is that the end result of Adam's trespass in the Garden is an eternity in Hell for all men! This is a horrible thing, but it is nonetheless true! It is bad enough to be condemned, but verse 20 tells us that because the Law was given, we can see how wicked we are. Men were sinners already by nature, but when the Law came, it added specific transgressions. Now, men have the ability to look into the perfect Law of God and see just how wrong they really are. The Law, like a great mirror, points out every imperfection and displays all of our wretchedness in glaring detail, James 1:22-25.

(Ill. This is the program that all men are under in their natural state. It matters not how important or wealthy they are. It matters not how intelligent they are. It matter not what they believe. If they are outside of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, then they are already dead in sins, Eph. 2:1, and they are headed to eternal death in the lake of fire, Rev. 20:11-15. This is a terrible condition to be in this evening! However, millions all around us are lost and headed to Hell. They are living under the program of Judgment and Death!)

B. The Program Of Justification And Life - By contrast, the same verses tell us that Jesus offers a far different program! While the sin of Adam brings death, devastation and damnation; the gift of Jesus Christ brings, life, liberty and luxury! What a difference Jesus makes! In Adam, we are judged. In Christ, we are justified! In Adam we die. In Jesus we live! In Adam we face the wrath of God. In Jesus we enjoy the love of God! In Adam we burn. In Christ we reign! I Adam we are the servants of sin and Satan. In Jesus Christ, we are the Sons of God! Can you see the contrast? Notice again, Eph. 2:1-4! It is being in Jesus that makes all the difference in life!

(Ill. Notice verse 20. Paul tells us that the lost sinner is under a mountain of sin! He tells us that sin abounded. This word means "to abound in abundance." In other words, there was a pile of sins and they were all pressing us under their weight. Eventually, these sins would take our lives and we would be destroyed. However, look at the contrast! Paul tells us that where that mountain of sin existed, grace did abound. He uses a different word here. This word "abound" means "to abound above measure; to overflow." The first word speaks of addition. One sin was added to another. The second word speaks of multiplication. God's grace was multiplied over and over again! Simply stated, once we were being crushed under a mountain of sin, now, in Jesus, we stand on a mountain of grace! Yes, sin abounded, but grace super-abounded!

Certainly sin is a problem! After all, men die from it and go to Hell because of it. However, as extensive as sin is, there is far more grace available to over come it. Thank God there is a difference between Jesus and Adam! Can you see the difference?)

I. Two People Are Contrasted

II. Two Programs Are Contrasted


A. The Possibility Of Condemnation - verse 21a deals with the first possibility. If a person chooses to reject the free offer of eternal life and forgiveness through the Lord Jesus Christ, then that person will be condemned by God. Verses 16 and 18 all tell us the same thing. To refuse to come to Jesus is to choose to remain in death and it is to choose to go to Hell!

B. The Possibility Of Conversion - Verse 21b tells us that there is also the possibility of salvation. If a lost sinner will simply trust Jesus Christ by faith, he will be saved and justified by the blood of the Lamb. This person will go to Heaven when he leaves this world.

(Ill. It is very easy to see that Jesus makes a difference! Which of these two possibilities is true for you all depends on who you are in: Jesus or Adam. If you are in Adam, then you are going to Hell. There is nothing else for you but judgment and wrath. However, if you have trusted Christ and are in Him, you have passed from death unto life, John 5:24, there is nothing for you but eternal life and a home in Heaven. The question that must be faced is: who are you in tonight? Which matters very much.)

Conc: I want to say that I like what Jesus gave us far more than I like what Adam gave us. My friends, have you gotten out from under Sin Mountain? Do you stand on Mount Grace this evening? Does the truth of these verse reverberate in your spirit tonight? Do you know that you have traded families?

You see, according to this passage, all those in Adam are under the reign of death, v. 17. That is a sad thing! However, by contrast, all those who are in Jesus reign in grace, v. 17. One of two things is true about you this evening. Either you are a slave to death, or you have been raised from death and made a king in Christ. Which is it? After all, we are all just made men! Look at verse 19. Either we are made sinners by being in Adam, or we are made saints by being in Jesus Christ! Which is true concerning you this evening?

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