Tom: In our ongoing study of the biblical gospel of salvation, we’ve been discussing Romans:5:6-21. Dave, before we pick up with verse 19, I want to mention some of the—as my kids would say—awesome verses we’ve already covered, beginning with verse 6: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” That’s us.
Tom: That’s our qualification for heaven.
Tom: And unless you recognize…well, the verses go on…
Dave: We went into that in some depth. If you’re not ungodly, you don't need a savior.
Dave: The only hope of getting to heaven is if you’re a sinner and willing to be saved.
Tom: And, of course, verse eight underscores that: “But God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Dave: Mm-hmm, we didn’t have to clean up ourselves to be good enough for Him to die for us. We had to be bad enough to need Him to die for us.
Tom: Yeah. And it isn’t just a matter of schlepping off into some darkness or extinction or something like that. Verse 9: “But much more, then, being now justified by His blood [“without the shedding of blood,” Hebrews says, “there is no remission of sins], we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
Dave: Mm-hmm. John:3:36: Jesus said, “He that believeth on the Son has everlasting life. He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Romans 1: “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” God has a right to be angry with sin, and His judgment will come upon sin, and the only hope is if we accept the fact that Christ died in our place. He took the punishment that we deserved.
Tom: Dave, that’s the amazing thing about it. For those people who are upset: “Look, you’ve got a God that’s going to pour out His wrath!” But wait a minute! This is the same God who became a Man who would die the most horrible of deaths for us.
Dave: Beyond anything. Not just the physical suffering on the cross, but enduring the wrath, enduring the judgment His own justice decreed. And why not accept this? He’s made it available to everyone, so no one has a complaint.
Tom: Right. Dave, verse 10 is something that the world cannot fathom. It’s just so foreign. The verse goes: “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son…” Enemies! God died for His enemies.
Dave: Yep. Nobody would do that. We were all His enemies in our minds by wicked works, the scripture says. Opposed to God, rebelling against God, self-centered, wanting to build our own little kingdoms. And man would, in fact, tear God from His throne if he could, and enthrone himself. And you see that in some of the things we’ve talked about: the evolutionists, the atheists, who refuse, in the face of all reason and all evidence, to believe in God.
Tom: Mm-hmm. And verse 10 goes on, with incredibly…good, very good news: “Much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” I’ve mentioned, this is one of my favorite verses: “Jesus is come that we might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Dave: “Because I live, you shall live also.” He has come to live in us.
Tom: The problem was, verse 12: “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Again, going back to verse 6: we’re the ungodly…”while we were yet sinners.” We have to admit that we need a savior.
Tom: Verse 18: “Therefore, as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all man to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
Dave, it’s so hard for people to believe that God would do this, and it would be a free gift. Why is that?
Dave: Well, part of it, I guess, is pride. We don’t want to accept something for nothing. We don’t want to admit we’re that bad. We want somehow to merit salvation. But it’s a gift. We’ve gone over that a number of times. If I offer you a gift, and, say it’s worth 100 million dollars, and you insist on paying me a penny, you have insulted me. You’ve devalued the gift. Anybody that tries to pay anything to God for the infinite gift, bought with the blood of Christ, the payment of bearing our sins, and you want to pay anything to God it’s worse than a penny for 100-million-dollar gift, it’s an insult to God. Number two: You offer me something for this gift, you’ve refused the gift. And so a man’s self-righteous attempt to somehow merit salvation, which is a gift—it must be a gift—then he is rejecting the gift. And all religions, Tom, are an attempt to somehow pay for this gift. The priest is paying for it with a ritual, and somehow, all religions are man getting involved in this. And it’s a denial that Christ alone could do it and that Christ paid the penalty in full.
Tom: Mm-hmm. We’re in Romans 5, and we’re finishing…well, we’ve been going through—we started with verse 6, and we’re going through 21, so I’ll pick up with verse 19: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Now, we’ve been talking about faith in our earlier…and reason, and so on. But it is a little big hard to comprehend how we could be “made righteous.” Especially when most people think you’ve got to clean up your own act. You’ve got to do things. You’ve got to be purged, as we’ve mentioned before. You’ve got to go…some believe you have to go through purgatory before you finally can make that and be fully purged, completely purged, before you can make that step into heaven.
Dave: Well, even before we get to that, Tom, “as by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners,” why should I be tagged with the sin of Adam? Well, because Adam was made in the image of God—I believe that the Spirit of God indwelt Adam and Eve, and when they rebelled against God, the Spirit of God left the spirit of Adam and Eve. They were dead in trespasses and in sins. “Their foolish heart was darkened,” Ephesians chapter 4 says. And we inherited that. But we also, as the earlier verse said, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.” And we have proved ourselves to be sinners as well. So we have sinned, just like Adam sinned. So we can’t blame it on
Adam, but he was the one that started this.
“And so by one man’s obedience…” Obedience to the Father in the Garden—we’ve talked about it a number of times. Jesus wept: “If it’s possible that salvation could come any other way, don’t make me go through with this.” And the Father said no. So, Jesus, in obedience to the Father, “He bore our sins,” it says, “in His own body on the tree. He who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
So this is where our salvation comes from, and this is why Jesus, in fact, is called not the “second Adam,” but the “last Adam,” because He’s the progenitor of a new race of born-again people—born again by the Spirit of God into the family of God, and this isn’t going to happen a third time and a fourth time. So although He’s the Second Man, it says, He’s the last Adam.”
Tom: Well, let me pick up with verse 20: “Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
Dave: Well, “the law entered that the offense might abound.” It’s not that we were perfect before the Law. But the Law revealed our sin. It showed us God’s standards, and yet, no matter how great sin is, God’s grace is even greater. There’s no sin that God’s grace cannot forgive, but it is only through Jesus Christ. We have to keep making that clear. God can’t just make a bookkeeping entry. He can’t just say, “Well, I forgive you.” No, there has to be a righteous basis for it. The penalty had to be paid.”
Tom: Right. And the penalty was set in the Garden of Eden: “In the day that you eat thereof, you will die.”
Dave: Right. Separation from God forever.
Tom: Verse 21: “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
Dave: Mm-hmm. “By Jesus Christ, our Lord.” Only through Him. That’s what He said: “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.”
Tom: Dave, again, grace reigned through righteousness unto eternal life. This is what our program, these series, going through your book, this is what we’ve been talking about. Eternal life. What are the options out there? Are they just preferences that people have? Or is the view that they take based upon truth? This is all-important.
Dave: And every word is important here: "grace," reign through righteousness." Grace must be righteous. Otherwise, it's just encouraging sin. And "unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." I just need to emphasize that again. It's only because he paid the penalty. You know, we had that back in Romans 3. How could God be just and yet justify sinners? He can't just look the other way. He can't just say, "Well, I forgive you anyway." No! He has pronounced penalty, and that penalty had to be paid. And somehow we've go to get men and women to accept what God has said!