We see in this section how the actions of two men, acting as individuals, have changed the fates of all humanity. One brought death and destruction to all of mankind. The other promises reconciliation and life to all mankind.
Both of these men began in similar circumstances but the outcomes of their lives and the impact of what they did were vastly different. Both began life as perfect creations of God. One fell from Gods grace and so doomed all of mankind to a life of sin and death. The other brought a process of reconciliation and transformation to lift man from the depths of this doom and to be able to walk in the glorious light of gods love, grace and salvation.
I am of course speaking of the first man Adam and Jesus Christ for the fate of the world as we know it rests on the actions of these two men. Adam, through whom we inherited the nature of sin and death and Jesus through whom we receive grace and the promise of life.
Power of One
In this section we see the power of one person in both of these men and how the power of what they did affected all of mankind. This situation of the power of one is quite a common theme through out the bible and wee it in many other places as well.
If you think about Noah who was rescued from the flood with his family. He was the only one of all who dwelt across the face of the earth at that time who found favour with God. No one else pleased The Lord except Noah and so God in his terrible judgement and retribution destroyed all of His creation except for the power of one man, Noah.
Consider also the lives of the twin brothers Jacob and Esau. Esau was the eldest of the two by just a few minutes and he was entitled to the greater share of the inheritance and the blessing of their father Isaac. But that was not the will of God and we see that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a single meal. The power of one act driven by the human passion of hunger for food cost Esau his rightful inheritance and Jacob received the blessing instead and became the father of the nations of Israel.
Think about Abraham too and the power of one act of faith on his part when God came to him and told him he would be the father of many nations and many peoples numbering more than the sands of the seaside or the stars in the night skies. And for his faith Abraham was declared righteous and established the principle of righteousness by faith by which all mankind today has the opportunity to be made right in Gods eyes.
Too often people consider that they are powerless or that their decisions and actions have little or no impact. And yet from the few examples listed above, and there are many others, we see that the power of one act of faith or the power of one decision or the power of one person can have vast and far reaching consequences.
It is for this reason that we must carefully and prayerfully consider our decisions and actions. We must take our ideas, thoughts, projects, and so on to The Lord to seek His will and His blessing so that we can powerfully walk in the way that He wishes us to go.
And in this section we see how the power of one, Adam who brought sin into the world and the countering power of one, Jesus provided the way of escape. One came as condemnation, the other comes as a free gift. One chains and binds all men to doom, the other lifts man out of bondage to freedom and life.
Free Gift is Not Like Sin
The free gift of God that comes through grace and faith in The Lord Jesus Christ is not like the bondage of sin. There are several distinct differences that we should recognise.
Sin is universal. Every person receives the sin factor from birth. Every person receives death and will die because of the sin that came into the world through Adam. There is no escape from this reality in this world. It does not matter who you are or what you do, your body will grow old and you will die in the flesh.
But God through Jesus Christ has given us a way to be redeemed from this sentence of death. The free gift He gives us will lead to life if we seek and receive His free gift of righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
Now unlike death, the free gift of righteousness is not universal. Every person receives death automatically as a consequence of just being born, but they do not automatically receive release from death in this world. However when they are reborn as new creations through entering into the death of Jesus Christ through baptism, when they take on His death as their own by faith and when they accept the grace of God that releases them from sin, death and the law they do automatically receive the free gift of righteousness by faith.
You must have faith to be able to receive the free gift of righteousness and you must follow the porcess The Lord established to be able to enter into the free gift given under the grace of God.
The free gift also is not like the power of sin we live under for death is not optional for mankind. But the free gift of life is optional. Everybody receives the death that came through Adam, but not everybody receives the life that came through Jesus Christ. Only those who choose to come to Jesus Christ and seek His life will receive it. If a person chooses to reject the free gift of God and the life that comes with it, then they will die.
Now the other big difference between death that came through Adam and the life that comes through Jesus Christ is that the death of Adam is death of the flesh. It is a physical death of the body that removes a person from the face of the earth.
But the free gift of life that comes through Jesus is a gift to the spirit of man, and even though the flesh will still die because all mankind dies in the flesh, the spirit of the man will live forever. And the spirit will return to the body at the second coming of The Lord and so both flesh and spirit will live forevermore. Jesus often spoke of death as we know it as a kind of a “sleep” and when we understand that both the spirit and flesh of the righteous will reign in His kingdom we can see that death as we know it is nothing to be feared.
But if a person chooses to reject the free gift that comes through Jesus Christ then not only will their flesh die, at the final judgement they will be rejected by God and the spirit will die also. Both the body they live in here on earth now and the spirit that is their life here on earth will be rejected and die and after that there will be nothing.
Receiving the free Gift
So it is important to seek and receive the free gift of life that comes from God through His amazing grace and by faith in the power of one man who bought us this opportunity by dying for our sins, Jesus Christ. It is essential that we learn how to receive this free gift and ensure that we take hold of it with our whole body and heart and spirit and never let it go.
We receive the free gift of God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. We recognise and believe that He died for our sins and that He bore our sins so that we do not have to die. We take on His death and are born anew as new creations in Christ Jesus by going through process and waters of baptism.
It is by baptism that we symbolically die with Jesus and are resurrected with Him so as to become new creations in Christ and to be able to receive the free gift of righteousness by faith and to enter the kingdom of God.
That is why baptism is so important to Christians. That is why of the three primary and fundamental commands that Jesus gave the disciples in the Great Commission when He left the earth he told them to baptise the disciples in his name. That is why when the Gentiles first received the gift of the Holy Spirit Peter COMMANDED that they be baptised. That is why Paul re-baptised the small group of disciples he found in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-6) when he discovered that they had only received the baptism of John the Baptist, which is not the same as the baptism into Jesus Christ, and so Paul baptised them all again.
Baptism is the path and the process by which we enter the kingdom of God initially by faith and through which we receive the grace of god in Jesus Christ. So do not ignore it and seek to find out all you can about what baptism really is, what it means and how it provides a foundation of freedom in Jesus Christ.
(Image sourced from the Sweet Sleep blog which can be found at this link
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