I’ve been reading through Romans the past couple of weeks, and one thing that’s stood out is how sin entered the world and exited the world. Paul emphasizes this in the earlier chapters. What we’ve been talking about the last couple meetings regarding being dead to sin but alive in Christ is very difficult to wrap your head around… for everybody. But here’s something that may help:
We are told sin entered the world through one man — Adam. Likewise, we are told that sin exited the world through one man — Jesus. Because Adam was the first man created by God (in his image), it’s important to realize that he also sinned. Think about that: the very first creation in God’s likeness sinned. That means that every single person that was ever created up until Jesus was immaculately conceived was guilty of sin. This is important because it means that before Jesus, there was never a truly righteous person; even the first was a sinner. How much less of a sinner could someone be after Adam if Adam himself was a sinner. We are talking about original sin here.
In the intermediary, God hands down the law. Paul says in Romans that the law was given to make people conscious of sin; to know what it is and how and when they’re doing it. It was never meant to be upheld; only meant to make aware. He also says that sin cannot exist if no law exists. This is an interesting thought because up until Moses, the law was unofficial on earth. Adam and Eve knew they sinned — they were kicked out of the garden because of it. Perhaps this explains why God seemed so wrathful during this pre-Mosaic period (the flood, wanting to demolish and destroy his creations, etc).
Jesus then came. And he was the very first man that existed completely outside of sin. He was the first to be truly righteous. Paul says that surely if sin entered the world all through one man, it too can exit the world all through one man. And it did. This is the reason the death and resurrection is such a vital thing to our faith. It is symbolically and actually the source of why sin should not be an issue with us anymore; indeed, for our entire faith. This is why Paul makes such a point of saying that we need to be dead to sin, alive in Christ.
It’s a mentality, an attitude. There is obviously more to the picture here than what we can see tangentially. We can obviously still sin. But we are told God is no longer keeping a record of it. That’s because of Jesus. Thus, we need to change our mentality and attitude to be in line with this truth. We need to get over feeling guilty and sorry for ourselves. We need to enable ourselves to accept the love of our Father. Any dwelling on our sins will only hinder the love and joy and hope he wants for us. And this, I believe, is what’s meant by the cliche saying of “accepting Jesus into your heart”, ie, your conversion experience or “getting saved”.
I could go on, but I won’t. There are other things I’d like to say, but I’ll hold off for another time. Please share my words with the group as I hope it provides encouragement to them and maybe enables them to get over old mentalities to embrace the hope and faith we’re intended to have.