Our pastor started by explaining the structure of the passage (Romans 5:12-21) so that we could better understand it as we get into the tricky sentences. Verse 12 is an explanation of the one truth that was in the first eleven verses of the chapter-- all we are and all we have is due to the nature of the relationship we have with Christ. This is explained in the form of comparison between Adam and Christ; verse 14, "Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." What Adam did affected the entire human race and what Christ did affects all of the new race. Still discussing the structure, our text has parenthetical digressions and it helps to understand the passage to realize that verse 18 leaves off where verse 12 was interrupted and to look at verses 13-17 as a side note, but a very important one. This is the passage in the Bible on original sin-- let's be careful to understand it. Think of bowling. When you release that ball, you set it's trajectory. Nothing you can do after you let go can change it's course of action. This is why we've gotta get the basic (but often complicated) doctrines right- they set the trajectory of our Christian lives. :)
The main focus of our time was spent studying verse 12. "just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned" People don't want to believe what the Bible says about us, often, because it leaves us unable to save ourselves. Here are the four points to walk us through the passage:
1) Sin entered the world through one man. Not through Satan and not through the woman, although she partook first. Sin didn't come through "them", but through "him". (That's a loaded point and one we spent another half hour on in our afternoon Q&A time at church.)
2) Death entered the world through that one sin. The original text says, "Through the sin, the death". In Hebrew, "dying you shall die". Adam ate and it separated them from God.
3) Death permeated then through to all men. No exceptions. The text says "And thus unto all men the death came through". We have the death sentence for our sin. We die because we sin, it is our just sentence. We have earned it.
4) All men die because all men sin. Paul answers a question he knows is coming, "Why do all men die? Because all sinned."
Now, we need to understand exactly how Adam's sin is our sin. This is where our trajectory can get off and can destroy itself. There are three schools of thought regarding this:
1) We all sinned in the sense that we all imitate Adam's example. This is the Pelagian view. Some translations say, "all have sinned" but the verb there is singular, and "have" shouldn't be there. It lends itself to wrong interpretation of thinking "like Adam, we sin". Verses 15, 16, and 17 say that one offense resulted in condemnation. So it can't be that we sin because we are imitating Adam- it was his actual sin that condemns us. We sinned. To understand why this imitation idea is dangerous, let's look at the parallel of Adam and Christ. If we are following Adam's example in sinning, then we can follow Christ's example of righteousness to live. See how that breaks down? It's not the gospel if we believe we can simply live righteously to attain life. Pelagius was condemned as a heretic at the Council of Carthage in 418 A.D.
2) We have sinned in the sense that we have inherited Adam's corrupt nature. Jacob Arminius held this position. This is the idea that we are sinful, but not necessarily that we sinned (this is where the age of accountability debate comes in). Using our Adam and Christ test, let's see how this holds up. If we inherit Adam's sinful nature and then choose to exercise it, then in Christ we inherit Jesus's righteous nature and all we have to do is choose to exercise our holy nature. This sets us on a works-based trajectory.
3) The consistent-with-the-text view of original sin is that we all sinned in the sense that in some actual way we participated in Adam's actual sin. There are 2 ways this can be true, and the more I think about this, the more it helps the whole Bible make deep sense.
1) Adam is our federal head. Our covenant head. This is why it was Adam and not Eve who brought sin into the world. Hosea 6:7 says, "Like Adam, they transgressed the covenant with me..." Like a king declares war and the whole nation is at war, so Adam sinned and we all sinned. In our Adam & Christ test, we participated in Adams sin, so we participated in Christ's death on the cross and His justification.
2) Adam is our natural head. We all come from Adam-- we were in his loins when he sinned. Hebrews 7:9-10 talks about Levi giving tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham "for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him"... Levi lived 400 years after Abraham, yet it was all the same to God. Thinking of Adam & Christ, we were there when Adam sinned and we were there when Christ was crucified, buried, and raised.
This is why we need regeneration and new birth-- we were born in sin. Christ is our covenant head now and our natural head- we were rebirthed and adopted into His family! This is the basis of our relationship with Christ. We can have a real, living, actual relationship with Him because we were really, actually there. His grace is real. He is our all in all, our life. John 8:52 says, "If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death"-- In Christ, we no longer pay the penalty of death. In Adam we sin and die, but in Christ we live and obey. This is who we are.
This outfit showcases three items I will be reviewing later this week (with a giveaway!!) but I can't help sharing how well they worked with this dress for church yesterday. I needed something quick and easy (as is always the case on Lord's Day mornings it seems...) and these accessories really helped my plain dress. I wore it earlier this summer here.
This belt is actually a headband, but it happened to fit around my waist (barely ;)). I've linked to each of the products' specific pages so you can get one, too! :)
Dress: Handmedown, altered
Halftee: c/o Deborah & Co.
Belt: c/o Deborah & Co.
Shoes: Charity Shop ($2)
Earrings: c/o Deborah & Co.
Headscarf: Scrap of knit fabric :)
M'kay, I've gotta get my day started, but y'all have a fabulous day! What was your sermon about?
BTW, if any of these summaries make you wish you had heard the sermon, too, just email me at FreshModesty (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll send you an mp3. :) Blessings!