Here’s the outline from a sermon I preached on Romans 5:20-21 “Jesus, the Better Adam” at Cross of Christ Fellowship.
Romans 5:20-21 “Jesus, the Better Adam” (Part 4)
INTRO: Imagine it is the year 1939 and we live in Paris, France. After church, we can enjoy a nice French pastry and go for a walk up the Eiffel Tower. We can stay out late and make phone calls to one another. But life changes dramatically for us the next year. June 14, 1940 arrives and Nazi Germany has invaded France and arrived at Berlin. Now, we live under a foreign power; there is a curfew and our freedoms to stay our late and speak and act particular ways are taken away. Life is much more difficult and many of the joys we had are gone. We live together under the reign of Nazi Germany for 4 years, but then comes the joyful day of Liberation, and the Allied troops arrived in Paris. We have been freed and live under a different power; many of the dangers we faced are gone and life is much better.
Life is different depending on who is power. This is a fact of life, and one that God’s people have experienced over the years. Whether they lived under godly or ungodly kings in ancient Israel, or under the power of foreign nations who have invaded like Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, or Rome, life is different depending on whose reign we live under.
Today, we learn of the wonderful truth that Jesus brings us into the reign of God’s grace. Jesus is the better Adam, and life under him is a life under the reign of grace. Seeing this changing how we live today.
REVIEW: Let’s remember some ground we have covered in the book of Romans.
-Romans is a letter from the apostle Paul to the church at Rome.
-The theme of Romans is the GOSPEL “Good news from God to the world about what God has done in Christ”
-Romans 1-4 EXPLAINS THE GOSPEL: (Sin, Hopelessness of fixing ourselves, Redemption in Christ, FAITH)
-Romans 5-8 UNPACKS THE GOSPEL
-Romans 5:1-11 Speaks of the results of the gospel: Peace with God; Access to Grace; Hope of glory;
Joy in our suffering; God’s love poured into our hearts and on display in Christ; Assurance of a future salvation
-Romans 5:12-21 Gives us another reason to be assured of these promises: Jesus is a better Adam
-The first Adam brought sin and death into the world, but he was a type that pointed to another Adam
-Jesus is the better Adam, he comes to us with the gifts of grace, righteousness and life
-Jesus brings about our justification and makes us righteous.
Today’s passage completes this section and prepares us for chapters 6-7.
–The big takeaway is that Jesus is the better Adam because through him we experience the REIGN of grace.
-Grasping and believing this truth changes how we live today, bringing great joy and freedom as we follow God
STRUCTURE: 1st: A shocking truth. 2nd: A Clarification
1st: A SHOCKING TRUTH (20a) Now the law came in to increase the trespass
SHOCKING truth about God’s Law: in some way it came to increase the trespass
-Why bring up the Law here?
-Because it was so important to the Jewish people
-Because some Jews believed it had salvific potential—we could be saved through obedience.
-Paul helps us see that we should not place our hope in the Law, but in Jesus, the better Adam
UNDERSTANDING THE SHOCKING TRUTH: Now the law came in to increase the trespass
–LAW: Mosaic Law. The Law that God gave to Moses at Mount Sinai
–Came in to Increase the trespass: In some way it led to an “increase” of sin.
HOW? 1. Moo: “Intensified the SERIOUSNESS of SIN”
-Israel was already sinning against God, but having the revealed Law now increased the sin in that it was a sin
against a revealed Law: (Coveting: sin to covet and even worse to covet and knowing break God’s Law)
-The Law was good and God was good in giving the Law, but problem is our heart (Rom 7:7-13)
Moo: “this negative purpose in the law is not, of course, God’s final word. The law remains God’s law, a gift given to Israel with an ultimately positive salvation-historical role. In showing sin to be “utterly sinful” (Rom 7:13), the law reveals the desperate situation of people apart from grace”
2. It “Stimulated Sin.” Because of our sinful hearts, we hear the law and then sin even more!
VLACHOS: “the law is co-opted to stimulate sin. The punch line is the law of Moses with its do’s and dont’s was never meant to lead to life, any more than the prohibition in garden brought life. It’s purpose was to reveal and exacerbate the problem to lead to the sinner to a relationship conditioned by grace.”
GOD’S PURPOSE: Lead us to GRACE! SCHRIENER: “God intended the law to increase the gravity and number of human sins, so that the power of grace would be seen for what it is.”
-C.S. Lewis: “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.”
SUMMARY: The Law cannot save us from sin. In some ways, it led to even more sin.
2ND: A CLARIFICATION (20b-21)
Paul now gives a clarification. Even though God’s law brought about an increase in sin, there is hope, because of grace.
1. A Grace that ABOUNDS (20b) but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
-WHERE SIN INCREASED: -Sin is rejecting or ignoring God in the world he created (NCC def)
After Israel received the Law, they sinned more.
-We do the same: sin increased in our lives.
-GRACE ABOUNDED ALL THE MORE (SUPER-Abounds): -Grace is God’s undeserved kindness to us in salvation and all of life.
-Saved by grace (Eph 2:8-9); Trained by grace (Titus 2:11-14)
Moo: “his point is simply that the law’s negative purpose in radicalizing the power of sin has been more than fully met by the provisions of God’s grace. However deep in the power of sin Israel may have sunk, God’s grace was deeper yet.”
-Children’s toy rocket illustration (Toy, firework, Nasa rocket)
SONG LYRICS: “Grace that is greater.” God’s grace really is greater than ALL of our sins! 2. A Grace that REIGNS (21)
-REIGN OF SIN: so that, as sin reigned in death,
–Reign of sin: Sin is personalized here; pictured here as a power—It reigns, it is in control.
–Sin reigns in DEATH: Spiritual and physical death
-Domain of sin is death
–REIGN OF GRACE: grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
–Grace also might reign: Jesus brings in a new reign, the reign of GRACE
–Reign through righteousness: Jesus is the righteous one and gifts to us His righteousness in the gospel.
-RIGHTEOUS LIVES OF GOD’S PEOPLE: Lives transformed by the gospel.
-Jesus leads to righteous lives now!
SCHRIENER: “Grace manifests its rule by conquering sin so that people are no longer condemned before God but stand in the right before him. The reign of grace also produces righteous living. The gift of righteousness inevitably involves a changed life”
–Leading to eternal life: This reign leads to eternal life
-ETERNAL LIFE: Soul made alive to know and enjoy God, now and forever
-Jesus leads to life, now and after we die!
–through Jesus Christ our Lord: Jesus is the way into the REIGN OF GRACE and eternal life
-Only Jesus can bring us into the kingdom of God
*Jesus is the better Adam, because through him we experience the reign of grace!*
AS CHRISTIANS, WE LIVE UNDER THE REIGN OF GRACE! Sin, Satan, the flesh, are no longer in power. We belong to the king of grace who loves us and has set us free. This is where we live now and into eternity. Seeing this changes everything, and brings fresh hope and joy. Our problem, we fail to believe it or have forgotten it.
6 Diagnostic Statements to help us see if fail to believe or simply have forgotten the glorious truths of this passage: You might not believe or may have forgotten Romans 5:20-21 if…
1 You are bored with Jesus. Jesus is not boring; he is the better Adam who brought in the reign of grace! He came to liberate us from sin and bring us back to God.
2 You believe you can get to heaven by obeying God’s law. We are sinners and sadly, because of our sin, the Law often leads to more sin. Our only hope is in Christ and the life he offers to us in the gospel.
3 You think more about how awful you are of a Christian rather than how amazing your Savior Jesus is. You are in the reign of grace now. His grace covers ALL of your sin, not just some of it.
4 There is little righteousness in your own life. Those who have experience the reign of grace will live a life of righteousness. This will be seen in increasing righteous acts, attitudes, behaviors (marriage, singleness, workplace, alone, friendships).
5 You doubt the promises of God (eternal life; righteousness; future salvation). Because you are in the reign of grace, the gracious promises of God will surely come to pass.
6 You don’t think much about eternal life. Grace reigns for ETERNAL LIFE. This is where we are headed. *END: Jesus is the better Adam because he brings us into the reign of grace.*