Five Minute Devotions: Romans 5
With the case for justification now pretty much complete, Paul trudges onward toward what that actually means for the believer. Justification by God means peace with God and a restoration of one’s relationship with him, a reconciliation that he began while we were still sinners (Romans 5:1-8). Our reconciliation with God is what leads to our ultimate salvation. Our justification leads to our glorification (Romans 5:9-11). From here, Paul compares and contrasts Adam, through whom sin entered the world, and Jesus, through whom sin was conquered (Romans 5:12-17). While Adam’s sin brought death and condemnation, Jesus’ sacrifice brings life and reconciliation (Romans 5:18-21).
God Moved First
Of Paul’s two primary points in Romans 5, the first is that God’s move to initiate salvation came at a time when were his declared enemies. This is incredibly strong language. He does not say that we were ignorant of God or dismissive of God. He doesn’t even say that we disliked or disbelieved God. He straight up calls us God’s enemies. When we were actively hostile to God, God moved to save us. God’s movement to save us is not based on anything in us, but everything in him.
Twenty-first century Christianity overlooks that all too often. We know that as a fact so firmly that we’ve forgotten how incredible it actually is. God moved first. Having reconciled us to himself, the natural result is ultimate salvation.
Once we have been justified from sin, we are cleared for entrance into the Kingdom of God. All of this reiterates the message that mankind is not capable of self-salvation. We cannot work our way into a heaven we do not own. We cannot grant ourselves citizenship to a Kingdom in which we have no authority. Only the King can act in a manner to save the souls of men.
A Second Adam
Paul’s second point is that Jesus serves as a type of second Adam. Like the first Adam, he is born without a sin nature. Like the first Adam, he was tempted to sin. Unlike the first Adam, he did not give in to temptation. And therefore, while the sin of the first Adam brought death, the death of this second Adam brought life.
This is not just a restoration of life, it is a super-abundance of it. Christ does not just right the wrongs, he obliterates them. This is not just about restoring Eden, this is about recreating it in a much grander way. Jesus’ sacrifice does not revert believers to the Edenic status quo, but to a whole new plane of reality in the Kingdom of God. Adam brought perfection to the earthly kingdom. Jesus Christ brings it to the heavenly Kingdom.
Jesus is a type of Adam—the Hebrew word meaning man—but he is not only an adam, he is also Yahweh. He is not just a man. He does not only undo the damage, he turns those broken things into beautiful works of art.