This message from Romans 5:12-21, by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 27, 2014.
It’s what stirred the heart of the old sea captain as he wrote, “Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” It was the thing that broke the shackles that bound the sin-laden heart of Martin Luther. It is that which loosed the pen of the apostle Paul as he wrote to a world held captive by ritual and superstition, “…by grace are you saved through faith” and “…it is not to the one who works but to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” The gospel. God’s gift of forgiveness, life and righteousness to all who believe. It is an amazing message. One that seems too good to be true, in fact it seems foolish to those who are perishing but it is life to those who believe. How can sinful men be made right with God? How is it that those who are deserving of God’s judgment and wrath can be loved and accepted? The answer is found in the gospel.
Today we gather around the Lord’s Table. Central to our faith is the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible is clear, Jesus is uniquely the Son of God (John 1:1-4, 14). As Jesus entered into public ministry (around the age of 30) John the Baptist pointed to Him and declared, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” For three years Jesus lived and ministered in Palestine. The Gospels record His teachings and miracles. After years of mounting threats and increased hostility He is finally arrested, charged and executed. Three days later He rose triumphantly from the grave. This Table is a celebration of the work of our Savior.
But why does it matter? Is it worth celebrating? To answer these questions I invite you to turn to Romans chapter 5 and we will begin at verse 12.
Text: Romans 5:12-21
This is, without a doubt, one of the great theological passages in the Bible. In a sense Paul is summarizing the theology of the preceding chapters dealing with man’s lostness and his rescue through God’s provision.
It is also a very difficult passage. Paul’s thoughts seem to rush on one to another without leaving a clear or carefully formed expression. Anders Nygren says Paul’s thoughts flow like a “torrential mountain stream.” Or you might say, “It’s kind of like drinking from a fire hose!” But, if you break it down and work your way through it, this is a glorious restatement of the truth Paul has been driving home.
Note the progress in thought from the misery of man’s ruin in sin to the wonder of God’s deliverance through Christ to the sovereign and triumphant reign of grace. All of which reminds us that…
Thesis: The Gospel is the glorious good news of God’s loving rescue of hell-deserving sinners.
As we work our way through this passage I want to point out three things along the way.
- First, I want you to see sin’s universal and devastating ruin. (5:12-14)
- Second, note Christ’s amazing and overwhelming reversal of sin’s ruin. (5:15-19)
- Finally I want you to see that this is all because of the sovereign and victorious reign of grace over sin. (5:20-21)
This is the gospel. No matter how great your sin – God’s grace superabounds to you! No one is beyond the grace of God. You can come to Him. You can know His grace. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.