Who is separated from Christ? Sinners right? Well… come with me and explore one of the most important paradigm shifts ever. As you read, suspend judgment until you allow the Holy Spirit to massage your heart. The difference is between religion and life. The change of mind you will get is called repentance.
It begins by considering a way of seeing that I call legacy. A legacy is something that is passed down to people from one generation to the next. Sometimes it is a great legacy like character that is passed down. Other times it is something terrible like slavery passed down to generations. The key to a legacy is that someone else authored it.
The question for us is in whom are you looking for your spiritual legacy? So let’s look at a lengthy but important passage in Romans 5:
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1. The Legacy of Adam and Christ
The overall message of this text is a comparison between what Adam did, and how it affected humanity, and what Jesus Christ did and how it affected humanity. It is not a comparison between you and each one of them. It affects us but it isn't directly about us. So after reading those passages we should be asking:
How many people were in Adam? Over and over again he uses two phrases, “all men” and “the many”. All scholars agree he is talking about the same people. All were in Adam. (when we think "many" we assume it means most but not all, but it is simply a Greek categorization for everybody).
How many people were in Christ? It had to be all, not only because that is what it says here, but 2 Cor. 5:14 says, “If Christ died for all, then all died.” He was incarnationally taking the whole race in himself. That means all humanity had to be “in Christ.” There is no "limited atonement". Jesus IS the elect One carrying not just Israel but all humanity in him now... making ALL elect.
When was this grace planned for us? 2 Timothy 1:9, "who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and GRACE which was GIVEN TO US IN CHRIST Jesus BEFORE time began..."
Jesus is called in another place by Paul, the Last Adam. If there is a long line of birds throughout history but I tell you about the last one, what does that mean? It means it is about to go extinct. It means the end of the line. He took the entire Adamic race with him onto the cross representatively! If Jesus went to the cross as the Last Adam how much of Adam is left?
In Mark 15:37 it says in the AMP version, “and Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed out His life.” Just like God breathed the breath of life INTO Adam in the beginning, Jesus as the LAST Adam breaths the last breath of the Adamic Race. In other words, after the resurrection God sees all of humanity THROUGH Christ’s work on the cross and his resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:45, “Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam [then] became [after resurrection] a life-giving spirit.” (ESV)
How many people did Adam’s sin affect?
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for ALL people,
How many people did Jesus’ obedience affect?
so also one righteous act RESULTED in justification and life for ALL PEOPLE.
Paul references two legacies. One is the legacy of Adam… and Jesus became the last of all that Adam was and leaves you a legacy of all that the resurrected Christ is. You cannot be in Adam, you through no effort of your own were brought with all humanity into Christ.
Let me ask you a question: Did your obedience make you righteous? No. It was Christ’s obedience. That means your righteousness, has nothing at all to do with you, and everything to do with the complete and total work of Christ. You were included in the Last Adam’s death, and you were included in his resurrection identity too. We are called to compare Adam’s legacy and Christ’s then LOCATE OURSELVES BY GRACE in Christ's legacy. That is the point of this passage!
The truth is, that for most of us, we have more faith in the sin of Adam and its effect, than we do the superiority of Christ’s obedience and its effect!
See your believing doesn't make Jesus the Son of God. Your believing doesn't make Jesus go to the cross or make him die for your sins. Your believing wasn't a trigger to raise Jesus from the dead. You had no part in God making you right with himself. You contributed nothing. Your only part is to see it, and let the faithfulness of God produce faith in you. God cut a covenant with Jesus to take all sin and bury it and to raise him from the dead separate from it. He simply included you in what Christ did. Otherwise he would still be waiting for you to keep up your end of the bargain.
2. The failure to grasp...
But let’s read this in Young’s Literal Translation starting in verse 18:
18 So, then, as through one offence to all men [it is] to condemnation, so also through one declaration of `Righteous' [it is] to all men to justification of life; 19 for as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners: so also through the obedience of the one, shall the many be constituted righteous. 20 And law came in, that the offence might abound, and where the sin did abound, the grace did overabound!
There are actually about 33 different words in the NT for sin, but this word is not about sinning, an act, a behavior. This word for sin is used 174 times in the NT so it is a major word about sin. Did you notice in the literal translation it doesn’t say sin(s), or sin, but calls it THE sin. Why? It is because it is a noun not a verb. It is not an action. It is a person, place or thing.
When the definite article “THE” is in front of the word faith, (“the faith”) it refers to the faith of Jesus Christ that he exercised his whole life representatively on our behalf. So then what is THE sin? It isn’t the sin of Jesus because Jesus never sinned. It is the SIN of Adam.
This Greek word is made up of two words 'a-martia. One is the “a” with the ha sound and means “not”. And the other is martia which could have two closely related meanings. We have been told it means miss the mark of the prize. But the actual word itself is either “a part of, a share of” or it means “to grasp.” So the word means to not share in, or not grasp. So THE sin of Adam is that he failed to share in or grasp something.
What was it? The serpent said, if you eat of this tree you will become like God, and Adam was already created in the likeness and image of God. His sin was to, by his own effort become like God…when God had already made him in his likeness. He failed to grasp his own identity and likeness. He failed to share in God’s image and likeness and instead saw himself less than he was, and immediately it created a spiritual-blindness in him about himself and about God.
So why this talk about the Law being added?
Because the Law was never ever brought in to make us holy. It was never designed to make us right with God. On the contrary it was designed for the opposite effect. It was given so that the offense might abound and he calls this again THE sin.
Don’t get confused here. God didn’t give the law so that people would be stirred up and abound in killing more people, or committing more adultery. The law came in so that THE SIN would abound. It would bring to the surface that striving to become like God. It was to bring them to the end of works righteousness and religion. That is THE sin: not grasping onto their identity and separating themselves from Truth. But watch how Jesus solved this…
3. The Solution in Comparing Sin and HYPER-GRACE!
20 And law came in, that the offence might abound, and where the sin did abound, the grace did OVER-ABOUND, 21 that even as the sin did reign in the death, so also THE GRACE may reign, through righteousness, to life age-during, through Jesus Christ our Lord. (YLT)
Notice that just like THE sin, here Paul talks literally about THE grace, not grace in general, but a specific kind of grace. It is the same grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. It means the grace that was given to him. THE grace is THE grace that was given to Jesus Christ… the grace to endure the cross, but more than that.
THE GRACE is the grace that God extended to Jesus who became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him. When Caiaphas the High Priest confessed the sins of the nation and the whole world over Jesus, unwittingly, he was literally throwing the book at him (John 11:49-52). Jesus became the epitome of sin for us not only on the cross but into the abyss called Hades.
Jesus had nothing to bargain with. He simply trusted in his Father. And it was God who extended grace to every single sin and raised Jesus up anyway. Jesus was JUSTIFIED BY FAITH! (1 Tim. 3:16) It was God the Father who sent the Spirit of Holiness (Rom 1:4) to cleanse Jesus of every one of those sins by raising him from the dead. And it is THAT grace, the riches of grace, that have been given to you. YOU AND YOUR SINS WERE INCLUDED IN THAT!
He says sin abounded, but grace over-abounded. Do you know what the comparison is? Sin abounded but grace 5248 hyperperisseúō (from 5228 /hypér, "beyond" and 4052 /perisseúō, "abundantly, exceeding") properly, beyond what already exceeds," i.e. ultra (super) abounds. The very word here LITERALLY means HYPER-GRACE!
4. "GREAT BIG COSMIC POWER...ITY BITY LIVING SPACE"
But wait…there’s more! John 1:29, “…Behold the Lamb of God who takes away THE sin of the world!” Wow!!! Not sin(s), plural, but this is the sin singular, the sin of Adam’s failure to grasp that infected the world bringing separation. That word world is cosmos… the entire cosmic order of things. What Christ did involved the entire cosmos!
How can Jesus cleanse humanity of the sin of Adam…the sin of separation? He can infuse his victory into the entire universe! Colossians 1:
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for THROUGH HIM God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and FOR HIM.
17 He existed before anything else, and HE HOLDS ALL CREATION TOGETHER.
18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body.
He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and THROUGH HIM God RECONCILED EVERYTHING to himself.
He made PEACE with EVERYTHING in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. 21 This INCLUDES YOU who were once far away from God. (Colossians 1, NLT)
It is because in the incarnation GOD bound himself to humanity. Jesus Christ created everything that exists. Things in heaven and things on earth. Everything is literally held together by Jesus Christ. Everything consists in him, every molecule is held together by Him.
Consider a glass full of color and water. Christ is the glass, the water is the Holy Spirit and the color is all creation. Everything that exists is literally inside of him. He is not the color, but he sustains it all within himself. How can anything or anyone that exists be outside of Christ? Therefore what he experienced in his incarnation, death, burial and resurrection secondarily affects all creation.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might FILL ALL THINGS.)(NKJV)
Weymouth New Testament, "...He who ascended again far above all the Heavens IN ORDER TO FILL THE UNIVERSE."
GOD'S WORD® Translation, "...went up above all the heavens so that HE FILLS EVERYTHING."
New International Version, "... IN ORDER TO FILL THE WHOLE UNIVERSE."
New Living Translation, "...so that he might FILL THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE WITH HIMSELF.
This is not pantheism, that says everything in the universe is God. It is not New Age, in that the One non-personal, non-trinitarian divine force of love is in everything. It’s not universalism that everyone will eventually say yes whether they like it or not. But it does mean that Christ has infused his life victory presence into the entire cosmos by removing any separation idea from humanity. Every fiber of your being is filled with the presence of Christ. Every "lost" person is simply blind! Every molecule is vibrating with his ascension. We belong before we believe.
Don't gloss over these scriptures and let their meaning impact you:
Ephesians 4:6, "one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all." (A latter addition added in "you" all, but apparently it wasn't in the original text)
Colossians 3:11, "where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and IN ALL." Did you notice that it says that Christ is in the barbarian and some scholars believe that the mention of the Scythians represent an example of the most barbaric? The most barbaric? It doesn't mean they have accepted Christ or even heard the gospel, but that in some way God has filled the universe, including unsaved barbarians with Christ's presence.
Or what about this one: John 14:20, "At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I IN YOU." They would discover Christ IN THEM.
How about Acts 17:27-29, "...so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is NOT FAR FROM EACH ONE OF US; FOR IN HIM WE LIVE (we as in all of us ...you pagans and us Christians) and move and HAVE OUR BEING, as also some of your OWN (pagan) poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of God..." Paul said to the Athenians that they too were the offspring of God even though they had not received that truth yet or believed unto the experience of life.
Finally notice what Paul said about himself in Galatians 1:15-16, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son IN ME, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles...” Did you catch that? It was not just that God revealed His Son to Paul, that is true. But he revealed his Son IN HIM! We think that the encounter that Paul had with Jesus on the road to Damascus was one in which the bright light that was brighter than the sun was outside of him. He had that. But the place where he found Jesus was IN him. Not only that, but without Paul's belief, permission, confession, or will, God chose Paul in the womb. (And of course let's not forget John the Baptist who was filled with the Spirit in his mothers womb.)
A Myth Buster's Conclusion:
SEPARATION IS AN ILLUSION. What God did for the Son included ALL.
“That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the SAVIOR of ALL PEOPLE, and especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10, NIV)
“And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD." (1 John 2:2)
"Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL people." (Luke 2:10)
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the WHOLE FAMILY IN HEAVEN AND EARTH is named” (Eph 3:14,15)
“There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father OF ALL, who is over all, IN ALL, and living through all.” (Ephesians 4:5-6, NLT)
That doesn't mean everyone has believed in Christ. That doesn't mean that everyone has been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. But it does mean that Christ’s victory is so extraordinary that everything AND EVERYONE IN creation was reconciled by it! It means that when you preach the gospel to a Muslim, every molecule in his body is resonating with a witness of the truth. That is why when you preach to the "worst of the worst", the presence of Christ at every level of their being is hearing a harmony with reality.
We aren't believing something to make it true. We are believing NEWS in the past of what is already true. Humanity is blind to the gospel but when we proclaim it, God commands light to shine in the darkness! Repent... change your mind. Believe... accept what he has done.
Myth busted! You are not separated from Christ.
I realize that creates a whole new set of questions, that there isn’t space here to answer. There are answers to the enigmas. (For instance, this work of filling the whole universe was completed at the end of the old covenant age in AD70 at the New Heavens and New Earth new covenant age).
If you enjoyed this message please share it with others.
To see the spoken messages: