First Sunday in Lent
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned- sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgement following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Summary – Paul expresses the core action of Christ over against the fall of Adam into sin. Earlier in the lectionary readings for this Sunday we saw the fall of Adam. Here we see the parallel in the salvation of Christ. As the one act of unrighteousness brought death, so Christ’s one act of obedience brings life to all. In the background of this text is Isaiah 53. The suffering servant’s actions will justify the many and he will be obedient to death. So in this passage Christ’s obedience is the obedience of his one act of forfeiting his life to justify the many on the cross. The result of this obedience is that instead of death reigning over the sons of Adam, now life reigns over the sons of the second Adam. We receive this life by faith in Jesus.
Insight – Many people struggle with the doctrine of original sin. This doctrine is that we are somehow guilty for Adam’s original sin of eating the forbidden fruit. In order to make sense of this, we must understand that there is covenant representation in the Bible. A husband may represent his wife or his children. A leader such as Moses may represent the people. A sacrificial victim on the altar represents the worshiper. And Adam represented all the human race in the garden. While this may seem unfair, our salvation in Christ rests upon the same principle. Unless Christ represented his people on the cross taking the wrath of God for them, there could be no salvation. So rejoice in the doctrine of original sin, but rejoice more in the doctrine of Christ’s representation and covenant headship of his people.
Child’s catechism – How are we made righteous? By the obedience of Jesus, the second Adam.
Discussion – What are some other examples of one person or thing representing another person thing?
Prayer – Almighty God, we praise you that you sent Jesus Christ as the second Adam to be obedient on our behalf, to do that which we could not do. Strengthen us as we seek to follow him , our covenant head, in all things even during this Lenten season. We ask this in his name, Amen.