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Sin and Death Dethroned; Grace and Life Enthroned (Romans Sermon 33 of 120)

Sin and Death Dethroned; Grace and Life Enthroned (Romans Sermon 33 of 120)

July 01, 2001 | Andy Davis
Romans 5:18-21
Imputed Righteousness, Grace, Original Sin, Federal headship

I. The Terrible Tyrant Dethroned

Please take your bibles and open to Romans Chapter 5. This morning, we're going to be finishi­ng our look at Romans 5:18-21. I think every Fourth of July is an opportunity for us as Americans to praise God for the blessings that we have. And one of the greatest blessings, I think, is the system of government, which has endured all this time. We talked about that last Sunday evening. I hope you were there to hear David Barton. I heard him this week on Focus on the Family.

I turned on the radio, and I heard someone talking about the original signers of the Declaration and how a letter was written from John Adams. I said, "This sounds familiar." And it turned out to be David Barton. But he was talking about the form of government that we've enjoyed these many years. And juxtaposed with that was a piece of current events. I don't know if you saw that Slobodan Milošević has been handed over to face a trial for his atrocities, war crimes, for he's called "the Butcher of the Balkans," and he was involved in ethnic cleansing. And it got me thinking just about the close of a chapter, namely, the 20th century. And how it really, the 20th century, you almost could write it as a history of tyranny. One tyrant after another in the 20th century. And Milošević, perhaps the final one, perhaps.

I don't know when you would say the first 20th century tyrant was, but Mussolini maybe began it, a Fascist leader in Italy. And Hitler picked up some things from him, and led Nazi Germany into World War II. Thousands, and hundreds of thousands, and eventually, millions of lives cost by those two. Along with them, Joseph Stalin, the tyrant and dictator of Russia. And Mao Tse-Tung, immediately after, in China, the devastation that's come through his policies and his tyranny. Pol Pot in Cambodia, the killing fields. Perhaps you saw the movie, Killing Fields. He's responsible for the genocide of perhaps as many as 3 million of his fellow countrymen. Nicolae Ceaușescu, and now, the Butcher of the Balkans, Milošević, one after another.

And it got me to try to understand what is a tyrant? What is a dictator? What is the nature of tyranny? And I came across this thing, this story about Joseph Stalin entitled "How To Be A Good Dictator. What an odd title, and it intrigued me, so I read it. And this is what it said: When Joseph Stalin was on his death bed, he called in two of the potential leaders that would follow him. And I think the idea was that he would choose one of the two of them to take over in communist Russia. And he ordered that two small birds be brought in, and each one of them was to hold the bird, and he wanted to observe how they would hold it. And he said that, the way that they would hold the bird would give an insight into how they would lead Mother Russia.

The first one, desiring not that the bird should get away, squeezed it too tightly, and the bird died. He was holding on to it so tightly that the bird died. And Stalin had a look of obvious displeasure on his face. The other one saw that look, and held on very loosely, and the bird slipped through his fingers, and flew out the window, and was gone. And Stalin was outraged at both of them and said, "Bring me a bird." So the bird was brought in. And he held the bird by its feet. And one by one, he plucked all its feathers until it had no feathers left. And he cupped it in his hand like that. And then he opened his hand, and the bird lay there shivering, and naked, and helpless in his hand. And this is what he said, "He is even thankful for the human warmth coming out of my palm. That's how you rule Russia." Brothers and sisters, that is the nature of tyranny, isn't it?

And praise God, we haven't had to put up with that in 200 years in America. But you have had to put up with it in your own lives. And what am I talking about? The tyranny of sin. Isn't that what sin does to us? Doesn't it strip you bare little by little until you have nothing left but the sin itself? And you lay there shivering, and cold, and naked in the hands of sin. You talk to somebody for whom perhaps alcohol brought them down, and they're out on the street now. They lost a spouse. They lost kids. They lost a job. They lost self-respect. And all they have left is the bottle. And at least they're grateful for the warmth the bottle gives them. You see? That's the nature of the tyranny of sin.

And Jesus, I believe, spoke of this when He said in John 10, "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy. But I have come that they may have life and might have it abundantly." And I believe that the passage we're going to look at today contrasts the tyranny of sin and death with the unshakable and unbreakable reign of grace and life through Jesus Christ. We go from a tyrant, sin and death, to an emperor, grace and life. And the amazing thing that Paul is going to teach us in this passage is that the determination, and the will, and the power of grace and life is even more powerful than the tyranny of sin and death.

Now, that might not seem to be the case. We've seen some terrible things even this week down in Texas, and other things about the nature of sin and death, and it's shocking, isn't it? And it's scary. And then we see the effects of sin and death in our own lives. Sin in our lives, death in the lives of loved ones, and it's scary. And we think, "How can anything be more powerful than sin and death?" If you look at the history of the world, not just the 20th century, but every century, we've seen the brutal imprint of sin and death. And how can it really be that grace and righteousness reigns even more? But that is exactly what Paul is teaching in Romans 5.

II. The Adam-Christ Parallel Restated

Now, we have looked at verses 12-21. I'm not going to read the whole section. I'm going to allude to it, but I'm going to begin my reading today at verse 18 of Romans Chapter 5. It says, "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law was added so that the trespass might increase, but where sin increased grace increased all the more. So that just as sin reigned in death so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Now, this is the culmination of a very elaborate and complicated argument that Paul is making, in which he is comparing Adam with Christ. And it's very deep, remember at the beginning of this whole section, I said that you need to not take a rake because if you rake across the top you'll get leaves. You need to get the pick and the shovel and dig down, and that's where the truth is going to be found. We have to understand the relationship between Adam and Christ. And he sets that up right at the start. In verse 12 it says, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man in death through sin, and in this way death came to all men because all sinned." And he stops there. Remember I said that logically we're waiting for a "so also." Just as this, so also that. We're going to compare two things, but he stops himself and doesn't complete the comparison until verse 18 that I just read. He interrupts himself, but he's setting up half of the comparison talking about how sin and death enter the world through one man.

And who was that one man? In verse 14, he tells us it's Adam who was a pattern or a type of the one to come. So Adam was the original man. God choose in His wisdom to create the entire human race through one man and his wife Eve, and through that one man came every nation on the face of the earth. God created all the races, all the nations through one man. And it says in Paul's sermon in Acts 17:26, "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." But it all came through one man, through Adam. And we know that God gave Adam a test. He said, "You can eat from all the trees, all the fruit-bearing trees in the garden of Eden but one. The tree in the center. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. From the day you eat of it, you will surely die." And so God at the very start linked together sin and death. Adam chose to disobey. He disobeyed that command. He threw off the reign and the rule of God. He would not have God rule over him. And the moment he did that, it wasn't Adam that took the throne, was it? It was sin and death that took the throne.

And until Christ threw sin and death off that throne, sin and death has reigned unchallenged as a tyrant in the human race. And all of us, all of us died that day. And this is a mystery, isn't? It's nothing we could have ever figured out. We're just born in a certain year, for me 1962. Some of you way before that, some of you after that, some of you way after that. All of us, though, no matter when we were born, we died the day Adam died. And how can that be? It's a deep mystery. So he interrupts himself in verse 12, "Because all sinned." He stops, lest you misunderstand. He does not mean because all sinned like Adam sinned, in other words we imitated him. He had a known command from God and broke it. We have known commands from God and we break that. That's not what went on there. That's not what he's saying. That is true, but that's not what he's saying. So he wants to clarify in verse 13 and 14. He talks about, "even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come." So there are those that did not sin, and yet they died in Adam. They died in Adam.

The Compare and Contrast Between Adam and Jesus Christ  

And so there's a comparison in verses 12-14, and the first half is set up with Adam, but then he can't go far, except that in verses 15-17 he says, "Yes, Adam and Christ are similar but oh, they're so different." They're so different. The things we receive from Adam, sin and death, are actually far less, no matter how powerful they may seem. Far less than what we received in Christ. The things that we got are different and what Christ did for us is far greater than anything we got in Adam. That's hard to believe, isn't? Don't you feel sometimes like sin has greater power over you than the grace in your life? We just accept this by faith. And when you look around in the world, doesn't it seem that sin's got the upper hand all the time, sin and death? And that grace sometimes seems nowhere to be found. We just have to accept this by faith. In the end, Christ and what we get through Christ will be obviously, clearly, infinitely greater than what we got from Adam, we just haven't gotten it all yet. We haven't received it all. So he's got to say in verse 15-17, that Adam and Christ are so very different. The gift is not like the trespass, he says. He says "not like" twice. And he says "how much more" twice. So not only is it not like, but Christ is much more greater than Adam, and what we get from Christ is much greater than what we got from Adam. So that's the unfolding.

What We Received in Adam

And now we get in verse 18. He finishes the comparison. Look at it again. In Verse 18, "Consequently just as... " We get that "just as" again. "Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men." Now we get the "so also." So also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men." Verse 19, "For just as... " There it is again. "Through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man, the many will be made righteous." And so we have this comparison "just as," "so also." What do we get in Adam? We get sin. We get death. We get condemnation. And how is that? Well, that's a mystery, isn't? But it seems in some profound way God saw us united together with Adam when Adam stood in front of that tree. You were there in Adam, all of you. Every person on the face of earth. We were all there. We were represented in Adam the day he stood before that tree and made that fateful choice. We were all somehow united. We were represented by him. He was a covenant head, an agreement head together, and he stood for us, and he made the decision for us.

Now, I know you think you would have made a different decision. If I had it to do, I'd have done differently. Is that the case? Think. God knows what He's doing. We've had that chance, again and again and again, haven't we? Clear command of God, and what do we do? We disobey. We've had that chance, but Adam stood as our representative. And everything that came down on Adam flowed through him to the entire human race. And so all of humanity immediately condemned with Adam because of Adam's sin. And in this way, I'm going to use a heavy, kind of theological word. Adam's sin was imputed to you, it was credited to your account. When God opens up your credit book, he sees the deficit as a result of Adam's sin, it was credited to you. That's not fair, we'll get to that. Because neither is your salvation either. We're going to talk about imputed righteousness in a minute. But that's what you got through Adam. You got imputed sin, something credited to your account, given to you, through no fault of your own, you didn't do it. You weren't even born, and yet it was credited to you.

What We Receive In Christ

And so also, through Jesus Christ, one act of righteousness justifies many. Jesus stood and represented you at the cross of Calvary, and His righteousness is taken wholesale and credited to your account. And when God opens up your account book, He is not looking for a bunch of good deeds that you do in righteousness. He is looking for the righteousness of Jesus Christ, credited to your account. You know, like a Swiss bank account, those numbered accounts, no one knows it. Open it up and what's in there? There's been a deposit into your account, from someone else, and it's credited to you and it's sufficient for your salvation. It's an alien righteousness, Luther called it, and it comes from Jesus Christ.

Now, it's interesting, it says, just as through one trespass, all of this happened, so also through one act of righteousness, we get justification. What is that one act? Do you ever stop and think about it? It's really kind of hard to figure out. Commentators and theologians say maybe it was the death of Jesus Christ. But the death of Jesus really wasn't one act, was it? It was really a series of acts. Think about it. In Gethsemane, Jesus decided to drink that cup, remember? The cup was handed to Him and He said, "Yet, not as I will, but as you will." And He was willing to drink that cup. But He didn't drink it in the garden, did He? He just declared His willingness to drink it. Was that the one act of righteousness? Or how about when He commanded Peter to put his sword back in his sheath? "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" Was that the one act of righteousness when He told Peter not to fight for Him?

How about when He stood before Annas or Caiaphas and did not revile back and did not answer a word in fulfillment of prophecy. How about that? Was that the one act of righteousness? Or when He stood before Pilate and made the good confession, was that the one act of righteousness? Or when they stretched Him out on the cross, and He didn't pull his arms off or strike back at the soldiers, was that the one act of righteousness? What was it? You see, it doesn't really work, does it? It's a whole collection of righteous acts, and not just there, but His whole life was one act of righteousness, wasn't it? And all of that righteousness, you remember when Jesus went to be baptized, John the Baptist went to stop Him, and Jesus said, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. " It was on His mind all the time. He lived for righteousness. He loved righteousness. At every moment He lived and breathed the righteousness of God, from birth until death, the righteous in God. And all of that righteousness has been given to you as a gift. Isn't that incredible? That whole righteous life is credited to your account. And you want to tell me that original sin is not fair? It's exactly the way that we get saved.

Can I construct for you right now a great religion? I just want to put a good religion together. Let's say we put together a religion where it is preached that you are sinners, and you do things you shouldn't do, we all know that. And you have some struggles you shouldn't have, and we know that. And you need to turn away from those struggles and start doing good things and be really sorry for all the struggles that you had and start, step by step, to obey the law, and to do the right things that you're commanded to do. That sounds like a good religion, doesn't it? I mean, start giving money to the poor and care and not argue with your spouse or submit to your boss and not chafe again. Just start doing right things that God expects. That sounds like a good religion, doesn't it? Well, it does, it's just not Christianity. It's not Christianity. Christianity talks about us and Adam receiving something we never did, and then receiving in him a sin nature that compels us to sin. And then in like manner receiving from Christ a righteousness we don't deserve. And then a new nature in order that we may obey. That's Christianity, does that sound alien to you?

I'm not standing up here and proclaiming a system or morality and righteousness. I'm proclaiming the Gospel of an alien righteousness that's credited to your account through no blessing of your own, through no dessert of your own, but simply by grace. And God wants us to understand it. And therefore it says in verse 18, "Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men." Remember what I told you justification was? It's the judge looking at you as a judge and declaring you to be not guilty, and the gavel was down, case dismissed, not guilty. Wow! Is it possible on Judgement Day that the judge is going to look and know all those things about you and declare you to be not guilty, case dismissed? Yes, it will happen, but does it just hang in the middle of space? As though there's nothing there, He's just going to... As the sheer act of His sovereign power and will, just say, "You're not guilty, go and do whatever you want." No. He's going to do it on a basis. So also the result of that righteousness was justification, you see. And so that righteousness is credited, then the justification comes. Isn't that beautiful? So justification's a just thing. He sees the righteousness of Christ on you and declares you not guilty.

III. Original Sin: “Made Sinners” By the Sin of Adam

 So as we sum up all that we've been seeing in Romans 5:12-21, what we see is Adam and Christ, we see two covenant heads, two representatives. All of us were sin in Adam. He sinned for us all. We received from him the sin and guilt. So also in Christ we received righteousness through that justification and eternal life. That's the parallel. And as we compare them, what we get through Adam is sin and death and devastation. What we get through Jesus Christ is grace and righteousness and life forever more. And therefore Christ is far greater than Adam. That's the argument of Romans 5. But now I want to dig in a little bit more and try to understand original sin. What is going on here. In verse 12 it says, "Just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin and in this way death came to all men." Look, "because all sinned."

Now, look at verse 19, "For just as through the disobedience of the one man, that many were constituted or made to be sinners. So also through the obedience of the one man the many will be constituted or made to be righteous." The doctrine of original sin works this way. You get two things because you are united with Adam. You want to know what they are? This is what you get. By being united with Adam, you get two things. You get guilt and the condemnation that comes through that guilt, and you get a nature, a sin nature that pulls you toward unrighteousness. Do you feel that within you? Do you realize it's still there? You still have it? So what are we going to do about it? We'll get to that in Roman 6, 7 and 8. It's still there, pulling you. We get two things.

Now, suppose... Now, of course, this doesn't relate to any of us. I know the Southern Baptist Convention had its meeting in Las Vegas a few years ago. But none of you ever go to the crap tables, I'm sure, and none of you ever gamble. And so they went there to witness and to witness alone. I'm sure that not one messenger from any church went to the crap tables except to witness. But suppose you were there and maybe there was a gambler there and they were rolling out the dice and the dice came up sixes. Wow! Double six. Pick up the dice and roll them again, come up sixes again. Now, that's remarkable. Suppose they pick them up and for the third time double six, and the fourth time, and the fifth time, and the sixth time.

When do you start wondering about the dice? How about after the 10th time? Maybe a little slow. The 100th time, the double sixes. The 10,00th time, the 10,000th times, the millionth time, the billionth time. Sixes every time. How about 6.3 billion times? Every single time, it comes up the same way. Sinner. Every single child born in every single culture will violate their conscience at some point if allowed to live long enough. They will violate their conscience and do sin, without fail. Now, how do you explain that? Do you deny that it's true? You know it's true. How do you explain it? Original sin. There's a nature, a character. It's not just environment. It's far more powerful than that.

Now, there's an ancient debate between Augustine and Pelagius. Augustine said, "Original sin, we're getting in nature. We're getting a pull toward sin." Pelagius said, "Impossible, that makes God the author of sin. Every single baby born in the world gets a clean slate. Absolute possibility to choose to do righteousness at all times. And that's true of all of us at all times. We can at any moment choose to do righteously, anytime you want." Now, which of those two more nearly explains both your experience and the experience of the entire world? Original sin. There was a study done by the police out in California. This is not done by Christians. This is just observation. I thought it was very interesting.

We tend to take babies and think of them as very innocent, don't we? If only we knew everything they were thinking and all of their worldview. What is the worldview of a baby? Do you ever wonder about that? Does a baby have a worldview? Well, this is what this police study in juvenile delinquency said, "Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants, his bottle, his mother's attention, his playmate's toys, his uncle's watch or whatever. Deny him these and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness which would be murderous were he not so helpless. He is dirty. He has no morals, no knowledge, no developed skills. This means that all children, not just certain children, but all children are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in their self-centered world of infancy, given free rein to their impulsive actions to satisfy every want, every child would grow up a criminal, a killer, a thief and a rapist." That's true.

Now, I know that Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and of such is the kingdom of heaven," but what was He zeroing in on? Faith. Justification by faith alone. The ability just to simply trust and to believe. Not the essential nature. I appreciate Andy reading about this sin nature in Ephesians 2:3. It says, "All of us also lived among them at one time. Gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts; like the rest we are by nature children of wrath." By nature, children of wrath. Now what I tell you is that this is not a big theme in Romans 5. He's focusing on the momentary sin, and we got the momentary sin, we get the momentary righteousness. But it's in there because we were constituted sinners and it flows out. Now, when does it flow out? I'll tell you when, as soon as you understand law from God.

"Once I was alive," he says in Roman 7, "Apart from the law, but when the law came, sin sprang to life and I died." Well, the beauty of the gospel is that it has a response to both aspects of original sin. Imputed guilt and sin from Adam, justification by faith alone through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Imputed sin nature from Adam, we get a new nature, a new heart, we are new creations in Jesus Christ with a bent toward doing right, a yearning to please. Interestingly enough, though, the two are left to struggle, aren't they? The rest of your life, that's called sanctification by faith, and we'll get to that in Roman 6.

IV. Sin and Death Dethroned; Grace and Life Enthroned

So what do we get ultimately? Sin and death have been dethroned, grace and life have been enthroned. And you may ask, why did God choose to do it this way? Why was the law added, for example? Why this river of sin? Why didn't He just live it at one command? Would it be better if we all just had the one command, don't eat from that tree?

The Purpose of the Law: The Increase of Sin

So then sin becomes very simple, but now we have lots of commands, don't we? We have the whole Mosaic law. We have the ten commandments. We have the two great commandments. We have all kinds of commandments. And therefore we can sin in lots and lots of ways, why was the law added? Verse 20 says, "The law was added so that the trespass might increase." But why did God want the trespass to increase? Well, understand what God's motive is. First that you may see just how wicked and evil sin is. When we get to heaven, are you going to want anything more to do with sin? Haven't you had enough? And if you still have a memory, we're not talking Hinduism Nirvana where you lose yourself, we'll still have a memory. We'll remember our history and we're going to say, "Forever I am done with sin, praise God." We've seen its career. We've seen it for millennia, and we've had it with sin forever.

So that sin might become utterly sinful, it says in Roman 7, the law was added. And then sin just gets exposed for what it is. But that's not even the final goal, the final goal is the praise of His glorious grace, so that we see that no matter how big the sin unfolded, grace was even bigger. No matter how much sin devastated, grace restored and healed even more. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. It's incredible. John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim's Progress, he chose this title for his spiritual autobiography, his testimony, how he came to Christ. He was once a blasphemer, and a vile man, and God saved him by His grace. And the name of his autobiography was Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. Do you feel that Christian? Do you feel that God's grace has abounded to you, the chief of sinners? How many times have you gone to Him to confess that sin? What sin? Well, the one you're thinking about right now. Whatever is on your mind. How many times have you confessed it to Him and asked Him to forgive?

Grace abounding. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. You can't out-sin the grace of God. It is impossible to out-sin the grace of God. It's impossible. And you can say, "Wait a minute, should we sin lots and lots?" We'll get to that next time. But I want you to understand Chapter 5 before we get to the question, "Shall we sin all the more so that grace may abound?" Understand grace first, you can't sin more than God's grace. You can't get ahead of it. Sometimes you try and try. And those are grievous times in your life, but God is gracious and His grace covers all your sin. So what was God's purpose?

That we may see how wicked and evil is sin through a full history in career, but even more that we may be all of us for the praise of His glorious grace. That grace is far greater than any of our sin. But even more than that, he uses language here which is phenomenal. "Where sin increased [or abounded], grace increased all the more so that, just as sin reigned in death..." Remember, like Joseph Stalin, a tyrant, reigning over you, dominating you, in charge of you, right? "Just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

The Glorious Reign of Grace

Grace is a king. Grace is an emperor. Grace calls the shots. Grace is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Grace is in charge, and grace will get you home. His grace, it's grace that's brought you safe this far, and it's grace that's going to bring you all the way home. You have no other confidence or assurance than that. God's grace is going to get you home. Grace is a king, it's a sovereign. What do you think the word reigns means? Just as sin and death reigned like a tyrant, now grace reigns like a good emperor. Roman 6:14 says, "Sin shall not be your master, for you are not under law, but under grace." So who's your master now? Grace is your master. Grace is in charge now. Romans 8:9, "You however are controlled, not by the sinful nature, but by the spirit. If the spirit lives inside you." Grace isn't going to let you go. Grace will not let you be lost. Amen.

Praise God for that. And it's on that basis that we can have joy in our Christian life. It's on that basis that you're going to stand and fight sin through Roman 6, 7 and 8. It's on that basis. Total assurance and security. Just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Note the two "throughs," through righteousness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. That already answers the question we're about to get to. Shall we sin all the more? No. Grace reigns through righteousness. What grace does, is it makes you righteous. It won't let you, for long, stray. It's going to bring you back and say, no, that's not the life you should be living. You're going to be righteous. You're going to confess that sin, and you're going to repent and you're going to keep walking.

Grace is strong, and powerful, like a drill instructor sometimes. You know what I'm talking about, to keep you walking with Jesus until you come home. Grace is an emperor, a reign, a ruler. Through righteousness the grace reigns, but also, he can't help but say, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. We can never get far from Christ, can we? All of this has come because one day, a long long time ago, our second Adam, our second covenant head walked up that hill with our cross and died in our place. He shed His blood in our place that we might have eternal life.

V. Benefits of Understanding This Doctrine

Now, by way of application, I want to ask you, you say, "What benefit? Why do we have to go through this? What benefits come to us from understanding the doctrine of original sin?" Well, I got these from John Piper. I'm not smart enough to come up with these, so he helped me.

The first is humility. As you look at this, I believe right understanding of salvation always promotes or leaves you with two things, humility and security. Humility and security. Those two, you get humility, you get security, God gets the glory, not you. You get the joy. And so, humility, well, in what way? Number one, it's not the case that you just do bad things. I just do sin, it's kind of like one of my hobbies. It's that you are a sinner. It's deeper than that, it goes to the root of your nature, and not just you, but me, every one of us. We are not just... It's not just that we do bad things, we are bad, essentially. And therefore we need a savior, a great savior. So that's humbling, doesn't that humble you? And it also means that we are all constituted one family, so the terrible things that happen as a result of sin, like in Texas, I'm not essentially different from that lady. I'm not essentially different. We're kinfolk.

That's kind of hard, that's humbling, isn't it? I'm essentially like somebody who'd bomb an office building. I'm essentially like that. I'm not essentially different. And second of all, it's humbling because this brings us to the edge of what we can handle intellectually. How is it that God can give us somebody else's sin and somebody else's sin nature and yet not be the author of sin? I don't know, but I know that it's true. So it brings us to the edge and it humbles us. And secondly, it deepens our gratitude for salvation. You should be thankful, grateful. Roman 6:17 says, "Thanks be to God that though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted." Thanks be to God that you obeyed. That's what he says. Thank you, God, that I obey. It deepens gratitude for salvation. Look that one up, if you don't think it's there. It's there, Roman 6:17, we'll get to that. Thanks be to God that you obeyed. Take no credit whatsoever for your salvation.

Number three, though we want to fight against this doctrine, doesn't it explain the world we live in better than any other system? Isn't that what's going on? We have Adam's sin, and Adam's sin nature, every one of us. And that explains it, and we get sin and death, as a result.

And number four, for the Fourth of July, it gives us insights into human government. To concentrate power in the hands of one person is dangerous. Why? Because of original sin. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, unless it's Jesus Christ who has it. He can't be corrupted, He's incorruptible. So He's got this power, and grace has the power, and it's incorruptible. But humans, you need to spread the power out, as wide as you can, and it's not to pat ourselves on the back that we know how to rule ourselves, democracy. No, it's to minimize the effects of original sin.

And also this doctrine should produce compassion for others. When you read a story of a lady who kills her own children, I'm not condoning that, it brings me to tears. I don't understand it. But at the same time, I can say there's still hope for somebody like that. It's still possible… You can't say you've sinned so much that grace can't reach that. And so that no matter what any of you who are hearing me today are into, any of the ways you've expressed your sin nature, there's still forgiveness possible. And also, we are able to look out to a sinner and say, "I'm not any different than you. There's nothing I don't see, there's nothing I see in your life that I don't see a reflection in my own nature." Because we're kinfolk.

And it also motivates us in evangelism, because there is no other answer for the world. Is there any other answer than Jesus Christ to this? There is no other answer but Christ alone. We need to get out and share the gospel, all of us. And we need to have our eyes on the whole world, because there is one gospel for the whole world. And one final word before we close, I want to know, I'm so... My only desire is that everyone in this room here, this is my field today, right now. All of you would be seen by God, in Christ, not in Adam. There's only two possibilities. You're either going to be seen on Judgement Day in Adam, or you're going to be seen in Christ, there's no third option. Does God see you right now in Adam, or does He see you in Christ?

Some people take Romans 5 and push it too far into universalism, just as every single solitary person in the world sinned in Adam, so every single solitary person in the world will be saved in Christ. Is that what it's teaching here? Not at all. Look at verse 17, Remember, "For if by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." Have you received it? Have you received this free gift of Christ's righteousness? Have you received Christ? And if so, you're in Christ now. You're in Christ today, and nothing can take you out. But if you have not yet received by faith Jesus Christ, please don't leave this room. Please don't, don't go away until you know you've received grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

We're going to sing a closing hymn, in a minute I'm going to pray. And if you want to talk to me, if you don't know whether you have received grace, please come and talk to me. Talk to me while the hymn's playing, talk to me afterwards, I go up to the back, come and say, "I need to talk to you. I need to talk to you about my soul." Don't put it off. Please close with me in prayer.

Heavenly Father, we can only bow in amazement at what you've laid before us. We don't understand your ways, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are your ways higher than our ways, and your thoughts than our thoughts. But we do see the wisdom to what you're doing, in that we are utterly humbled by the gospel, and we all, all of us, feel the gratitude, the praise of your glorious grace that we are saved by grace alone. And that means, oh Lord, if we're in Christ today, we're going to see you someday face to face. Holy and blameless, without sin, on that final day. Father, I pray now, for any who have heard me today, who do not have assurance of salvation, they've never looked to Christ, to Him crucified, they've never trusted in Him to take away their death penalty, they've never trusted in Him, that they would today put their trust in Christ. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

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