An exposition of Romans 5:12-21. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, January 10, 2010.
Sermon Notes »
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 by 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 that those who are deserving of God’s judgment and wrath can be loved and accepted? The answer is found in the gospel.
Near the midway point in the first century the apostle Paul picked up his pen and wrote a letter of introduction to the church at Rome. It was his desire to preach the gospel in Rome as he had done in Athens, Corinth and Ephesus. What better way to see the gospel spread than to bring the gospel to the cultural, political and economic capital of the world? Paul said, “I long to come to you. I want to encourage you and be encouraged by you in the work of the gospel. I want to see fruit among you for I am confident of the power of the gospel.” In laying the ground work for his arrival he laid out the gospel as it was given to him by God’s grace. Thus we have in this brief letter the most detailed outline of the gospel to be found in Holy Scripture. Chapters 1-3 hammer home the reality of our guilt before God. We are sinners deserving of God’s wrath. But, in grace and mercy, God has manifested a righteousness, apart from the law, that is ours by faith. Chapter 4 speaks of God’s gracious provision in Christ. This righteousness is given, as a gift, to those who trust in God and God alone. It is the result of a faith that has dealt honestly with all objections and obstacles and choices to believe God’s promise. A faith that has as its goal the glory of God and a genuinely righteous life. In chapter 5:1-11 we learn what this gift has done for us. It has secured for us a glorious standing before God – peace with God and access to His grace in which we stand. This gift came at great cost – Christ died for us. This standing assures us of a glorious future. Now Paul pauses to reflect on the wonder of this gracious gift. In our text we are reminded of just how amazing this grace of God is. Our text is found in Romans 5 beginning with verse 12.
Text: Romans 5:12-21
This is, without a doubt, one of the greatest theological passages in the entire 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.
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 grace’s sovereign and victorious reign 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.