The gift followed many trespasses and brought justification

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin,and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. 15 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! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 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 of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 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.

Here we see how through one man Adam all sinned and then how through what Christ did, through faith in Christ, many are made righteous.

Have you ever experience something similar to this? When one person makes mistake, then everyone suffers. I think they do that in the military, right?

Maybe we can call it a communal experience. Whether it’s through a class project, company work or family. Many of us experienced this, where someone else’s negative or positive action affecting the entire group.

Church is such a place.

1 Corinthians 12:12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

Paul here shows how we are all different yet we are all connected to one another. As a church. We are separate yet together.

This too applies by us being in Adam. We all sinned and in Adam. But then, in Christ, by faith, we all become righteous.

v. 19 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.

Adam’s disobedience made us all sinners.

But Paul presents the same principal working the other way around. Through Christ, through his obedience, we all can become righteous when we have faith in him.

That’s precisely the teaching of justification by faith alone. God doesn’t save me based on my good works and accomplishments. God saves me through what Christ did for me. When I accept God’s love that was freely given to me through Christ, that and that alone justifies me and makes me righteous before God.

Do you believe this?

Throughout church history, when the believers weren’t clear of this, it caused many problems.

On the one hand, when justification by faith alone isn’t clear, church becomes very stuffy. Suffocating place to be. You go to church and feel judged all the time. It’s all about what I must do or what I didn’t do.

But then, the other side is equally problematic. Believers fall into deep moral hazard. When justification by faith alone isn’t clear, people live as if they now have license to sin or to live only for themselves.

Imagine people reading Romans 5. Believers in Rome.

Jewish Christians were there. Although they were Christians, they still had that old habit of regarding the law and their performance as critical. It’s shocking for them to read how we become righteous by having faith in Jesus Christ apart from the law.

What about for the Gentile Christians? They didn’t really know the law or the OT. It is a surprising for them to see how, regardless of who they were, are all guilty and condemned sinner in Adam. And in Christ, by grace, they are all justified before God. And that changes them to live the holy life as shown through the law.

Let’s apply this to ourselves too.

Do you see yourself guilty and sinned in Adam? If I believe that, that means we are all the same. We all sinned. I can’t judge or condemn you. Because I am a sinner.

But on the other hand, do you believe it is what Jesus did that saves you? Do you accept God’s love by faith? Then I can’t live as if what I do makes me righteous before God. Because it is what Christ did that made me righteous before God already.

I honestly struggle with these two. I easily judge others and condemn others for their sins while I do the same or worse.

But then, I also still live as if there is more that must be done for me to get right with God. Only if I preached better, only if I did this more or that, then God will be happy with me and people will love me. Things like that. But it’s never enough. I always come short. It’s depressing.

Few days ago, I remembered this one song I used to listen. It’s by an artist named JJ Heller titled What Love Really Means. I want to sing this song for you.

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night, “Dear God won’t you please
Could you send someone here who will love me?”

Who will love me for me
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means What love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner
Then he would’ve stayed
And she says:

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me?
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love, what love really means

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said
“I know you’ve murdered and I know you’ve lied
I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you that I…”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew
(x2)

So, there is this big question. Why am I like this? Why am I acting this way, living this way and talking the way although I know it’s not right? Why?

That’s what Paul explained in Romans 5. It’s the original sin. It’s stained in the depth of my heart. It won’t go away. It’s in me and it’s been there as old as Adam is old. That I being in Adam, have this original sin, and I don’t have power to get rid of it myself no matter how much I try.

But that’s not everything. Paul goes on to say something we must never forget.

Romans 5:15 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! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 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 of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 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.

I believe that all of us here, we believe this. That we are sinners but we are saved by grace. So we want to fight with our old habits. Judging others or living as if I I must do more to be right with God. That old habit only leads us to be more self-righteous or depressed.

You are accepted. God loves you. In Christ, God loves you as you are. Then, the next big question is, how should I live now that I am accepted, that I am loved by the most high God?

I want to conclude today’s sermon by reading you a quote from what Rick Warren said during his appearance at Ted Talk.

This is what he says toward the end of his speech:

“And I guess that’s the main reason I came up here today, to all of you very bright people at TED — it is to say, “What’s in your hand?” What do you have that you’ve been given? Talent, background, education, freedom, networks, opportunities, wealth, ideas, creativity. What are you doing with what you’ve been given? That, to me, is the primary question about life. That, to me, is what being purpose-driven is all about. In the book, I talk about how you’re wired to do certain things, you’re “SHAPED” with — a little acrostic: Spiritual gifts, Heart, Ability, Personality and Experiences. These things shape you. And if you want to know what you ought to be doing with your life, you need to look at your shape — “What am I wired to do?” Why would God wire you to do something and then not have you do it? If you’re wired to be an anthropologist, you’ll be an anthropologist. If you’re wired to be an undersea explorer, you’ll be an undersea explorer. If you’re wired to make deals, you make deals. If you’re wired to paint, you paint.

Did you know that God smiles when you be you? When my little kids — when my kids were little — they’re all grown now, I have grandkids — I used to go in and sit on the side of their bed, and I used to watch my kids sleep. And I just watched their little bodies rise and lower, rise and lower. And I would look at them: “This is not an accident.” Rise and lower. And I got joy out of just watching them sleep. Some people have the misguided idea that God only gets excited when you’re doing, quote, “spiritual things,” like going to church or helping the poor, or, you know, confessing or doing something like that. The bottom line is, God gets pleasure watching you be you. Why? He made you. And when you do what you were made to do, he goes, “That’s my boy! That’s my girl! You’re using the talent and ability that I gave you.”

So my advice to you is: look at what’s in your hand — your identity, your influence, your income — and say, “It’s not about me. It’s about making the world a better place.”

I believe he perfectly said what Paul says later in 1 Corinthians 10:31.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.