Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came on all men to condemnation…
1. One of the chief glories of Christianity is this — it is the religion of facts. These facts are few, extraordinary, and eternal and universal in their aspects.
2. In the context we have two classes of facts.
(1) Dark melancholy facts.
(a) Sin is in the world; it has quenched its lights, destroyed its liberties, embittered its enjoyments. History, observation and our own consciousness convince us of this.
(b) Death is in the world. It has reigned from Adam to this day. Individuals, families, nations, the world are dying. Every sepulchre, funeral, illness, pulse, reminds us that the dust is to be our home.
(c) Both sin and death have entered the world by the same man, Adam. The origin of evil is a deep mystery, but its introduction to our world is a historical fact clearly stated in the Bible. God made Adam the father, the priest of the world, but Adam ruined it and himself. Adam was the original sinner, and we his children sin and die.
(2) Bright and animating facts.
(a) Grace is in the world. "Grace hath abounded." God was under no obligation to show or continue grace to this world. He might withdraw it; that would leave man a demon in character, who would soon kindle around himself the fires of an universal hell. Grace alone keeps the world from becoming the victim of its own transgression.
(b) There is a higher, nobler life than this. "Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life." Eternal life means freedom from sin, which is the destroyer of the innocence, happiness and utility of man; freedom from the penalties of violated law; and freedom from annihilation, It means an existence without sin, misery, or end.
(c) This grace and eternal life flow to man through the same channel, "Christ Jesus the Lord."
3. The apostle states these great truths —
(1) To convince Jews and Gentiles that both were equally indebted to Christ for salvation. The Gentile had the law written on his conscience, and the Jew had the law outwardly written, and both transgressed, so that both needed a Saviour.
(2) To set forth the nature and number of benefits derived through the mediation of Christ.
I. THE EXISTENCE OF THE HUMAN RACE RESTS ON THE MEDIATION OF JESUS.
1. "The Lord commanded the man, saying,...of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." A phrase which must have meant either absolute annihilation or the dissolution of soul and body, and the consequent punishment of both in hell. But Adam did sin. Was his existence quenched? Was he driven to hell? No. Was he spared on the ground of rectitude? No; for if justice could have spared him for one hour, it could have spared him forever. But he was spared; and as he could not have been spared on the ground of justice, he must have been spared on the ground of grace, and if on the ground of grace, then it was through the mediation of Christ, for grace reigns only through Him.
2. A new system was introduced, and Adam's forfeited being was spared, and his species was to be multiplied because the Second Adam had been appointed to be the Great Head and Saviour of the human kind. But if our very existence is an effect of the great mediatorial scheme, all the means, comforts, and hopes of our existence are also effects of the same scheme. In Him all things consist.
3. Under the government of the Son of Man the human race has already grown into extraordinary numerical greatness, and is to continue to augment in strength, moral and physical excellence, grandeur and happiness, for perhaps millions of years to come. It is natural to think so, if we consider the honour which God has already bestowed on our nature, by raising it to union with Himself; that four thousand years were occupied in preparations for the advent; the extensive provisions that have been made for the future accommodation of our race in another world; that the agency of the Church is in its infancy; that the sciences and arts, matter and mind, have hardly yet presented their first oblations to Christianity.
4. Christ is to be honoured here more than He has yet been. It was on earth He was born, died, first published His salvation, qualified Himself for His mediatorial crown. Here, also, He is to be acknowledged as the Lord of all. The mediation of Christ is the basis of human existence, and the means of restoration to light, purity and glory.
II. THE MEDIATORY AGENCY OF JESUS CHRIST PROCURES IMMORTALITY FOR MAN.
1. Man's existence is not limited to this narrow, dark sphere. Our immortality and the knowledge of it are the gifts of Christ. His existence in the invisible world is the greatest proof we have of its reality. His resurrection and ascension are the most convincing arguments for a future world. He lives. We shall live.
2. It is true that an endless existence will be a curse to the wicked; but let not the author of immortality be blamed for that. Remember —
(1) Existence is a blessing; history and consciousness prove that.
(2) Nothing can render existence a curse but sin. It is not in the power of any creature. The Creator Himself will not render a perfectly holy being unhappy.
(3) Christ is now able and willing to take away sin from us. Yes, He is willing, and if you are so too, your existence is safe forever.
III. THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST HAS FURNISHED US WITH A SYSTEM OF MEANS TO PREPARE US FOR A HAPPY IMMORTALITY. "Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Here is the essence of the gospel. This is —
1. A system of grace. The doctrine of human merit is at once unphilosophical and unscriptural. Man's salvation is all of grace. Its origination, discovery, application, and perfection in heaven is grace. Let us trust and triumph in gospel grace.
2. A system of righteousness also. It justifies man before God, and justifies God in doing so before His own intelligent universe. Here, then, is a scheme that is just to all. It injures none; it benefits the universe.Conclusion: From the whole we may infer —
1. That Christianity is infinitely superior to natural religion. It reveals more, and its revelations are warm, loving, transforming.
2. Christ is the most extraordinary and interesting Being in the universe. How vast His sphere! How benevolent His agency! How Divine His character! In all things He has the preeminence.
3. Let us rejoice in Christianity while parting with friends in death. Christ lives, they live. We shall also live.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.