Saturday, March 04, 2017

The Gospel in 33 words

Study this drawing. It is full of detail sketches from Christ's life.

: Romans 5:12-19

TO CHEW ON: "Therefore, as through one man's offence judgment came to all men resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life." Romans 5:18

I admire the writers of dictionaries for their abilities to state the meaning of words with precision and economy. Paul shows a similar talent in our reading today as he explains how all of humankind is implicated in Adam's sin and how Christ's incarnation, death, and resurrection was/is effective to pay the penalty of that collective sin.

His communication powers reach their height in verse 18 where he sketches out the Gospel as it plays out through history in a mere 33 words.

Therefore as through one man's offense: refers to the event of Adam's sin and how he became separated from God. (Genesis 2:17 followed by Genesis 3:1-8)

judgment came to all men: all of mankind is implicated in Adam's sin. (Romans 5:12; Isaiah 64:6)

resulting in condemnation: mankind is headed for death—not only physical death but the death of eternal separation from God. (Romans 6:23)

even so, through one Man's righteous act: that "one Man" is Jesus, God's Son. His righteous act is that He came to earth, lived a sinless life, died in our stead to pay the punishment our sin deserved, then rose to defeat death. (John 3:16).

the free gift: Jesus died in my place. I can escape the penalty my sins deserve because I believe and accept that fact as applying to me personally. I can't earn or pay for this—it's free! (Ephesians 2:8)

came to all men: this gift is available to all men everywhere (Romans 10:12; 1 Timothy 2:4-6) and covers the sins of people past, present and future (John 10:16).

resulting in justification of life: all of the above results in God considering the person who puts his/her confidence in Jesus to be vindicated, declared blameless, absolved, excused from death and delivered to life. (1 John 5:11-12)

What a grand, mind-boggling, worship-inspiring plan. (And I'm so glad that God inspired brilliant thinkers like Paul to express it concisely.) I have accepted this free gift - have you?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that Your plan for humankind involves justification - and that it's free for anyone who will accept it. Please give me the wisdom and the right words to communicate this good news to those who have never heard or understood. Amen.

MORE: Hillsong sings "Mighty to Save"

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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