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#24 Differences Between the Curse and the Gift of God Examined

November 17, 2008

We come today to Romans 5:12-21 where we are going to see the difference between the curse of Adam and the blessings of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. And as we do I want for us to come at the text from the perspective of witnessing to the lost and I want us to try and figure out why sinful men would call this hate speech. You see, the Bible speaks of the origin of sin in no uncertain terms and we read in verse “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.

 

Ok, where did sin come from? I want us to really cover this subject clearly so that there will be no question as to its origin. We know from the scriptures that the first sinner was the devil. Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders of Israel in John 8:44. Now they were plotting and planning and scheming as to how they might destroy Him while at the same time spouting off pious platitudes to those who came to hear them in the synagogue. And Jesus leveled this condemnation against these murderous men saying “You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

 

Lets go back even further to the prophet Ezekiel in Ezek 28:13 where we have this statement of the devil…”You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.”

 

And finally look at Is 14:12-15 “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! 13 “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ 15 “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit.

 

Here is the original sinner. It is the devil himself. And it was the devil who introduced sin to Adam and Eve. We read in Genesis 3:1-5 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 

And finally, just so there is no room to doubt who this serpent is, look with me to Re 12:9 where we read “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

 

So we have the original sinner, the devil who was not satisfied to sin on his own but drew 1/3 of the angels away with him. And that was not enough; he had to come down and tempt Adam and Eve to sin which they did.

And as a result of that we see that “…through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

 

So I ask you, who should be hated? Who is the one who should be being loathed by all men? It is the devil. The devil instigated all of this. And yet, the masses blame all the ills of the world on those pesky Christians and their “Jesus” who goes around condemning people. The picture that is painted of Christians is that of a group of people walking around with a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. The definition for ‘holier than thou’ is “you think you’re better than me don’t you!” And unfortunately there are those ‘cultural Christians’ who have egged this antipathy along by their pharisaical attitudes.

 

What is a cultural Christian you ask? A cultural Christian is a person who takes the name Christian, who joins a church and does outward religious activities, all for personal gain. Bill and Hillary Clinton are members of churches. Christian bookstores are now carrying a book titled “The Faith of Barack Obama.” Homosexuals have their own churches where they are encouraged to continue in their sinful activities.

 

All this is cultural Christianity or Christianity in name only. The Bible speaks of such people in the opening lines of the letter to the church at Sardis. Look with me at Re 3:1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. In the same way, outwardly these people appear to be religious. They are church goers. They put money in the offering plates. They have fireside chats with the nation and they make speeches about faith and about people of faith and they season their speeches with scripture passages taken out of context or reworded to make the point that the speaker is trying to get across.  

 

All this is done as an outward show of religion, to make people respect them. And yet those who are members of the cultural Christian club have no faith. They do not know Jesus Christ and have no desire to know Him. He is merely a tool that they use to further their agenda. To prove my point let me say that these men and women are chameleons. They become whatever the crowd before them wants. If they are standing before Muslims they adopt Muslim rhetoric. If they are standing before a black church group they try to sound black. If they are standing before a Jewish audience they begin to wax eloquent about their love for Israel and their pledge to defend Israel at all costs. “But if they speak to a Muslim group the next day they stand with Muslims in their desire to wipe Israel off the map!”

 

Now what is the problem with cultural Christianity? It has no foundation. There is no foundational truth for those who adhere to its tenets to stand on. The laws of cultural Christianity are written on sand, open to amendment, qualification and erasure. And it really boils down to this; it is a lie! Indeed it is part of the lie of the devil who told Eve that she could become like God. But when we turn our eyes away from the only truth that can set us free we might as well just give up and chuck the whole deal.

 

I find it interesting that we are attempting to legislate morality. We have passed a constitutional amendment stating that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. Ok! That’s fine. But where do we find this rule? It’s in the Bible and that is a biblical foundational truth. But the Bible has been banned from the public square and so when someone asks, where do you get off telling me I can’t do something, we have no answer. Since we have banned the answer book we have nothing to back up our decrees.

 

It’s like our money. We used to have the gold standard to back up the value of our money. But then in a move of brilliancy that has few equals, Jimmy Carter removed the gold standard and replaced it with, I’m not sure what…”I owe you’s?” Promissory notes? Phone calls with “we’ll get right on that”? I really don’t know! And I’m sure no one else really knows either. The point is, with out a foundation, with out something to back up what we say or believe, then we really don’t have a leg to stand on do we! If we cannot refer back to a foundational truth, a foundational standard, then we need to shut up…we’ve got nothing to say!

 

And that’s where the eternal word of God comes in. Our nation was founded upon the truth of the Word of God. Indeed, God moved holy men to come here and start a nation under God where men would be free to worship Him and live for Him under His laws. This was understood. Those who came here knew that they were fallen men who were finite and had no answer to any of life’s problems. But they also knew the One who had the answers to all of life’s problems. They didn’t issue new laws; they laid down God’s law as our standard. In all things they exalted God and His word. When our founding fathers stated in the first amendment that we had freedom of religion they were not thinking about Islam or Buddhism or any number of false religions. No they were stating that men were free to worship Jehovah God, the God of the Bible. Here is our foundation, God and His Holy Word!  

 

Men shout, “Exlusivism” and “Narrow Minded” and I say goody! Jesus Christ Himself said that He was the only way to God and that the way was narrow that leads to life and only a few find it. He said that men will stumble over Him, the chief Corner Stone because they don’t want to do things Gods way. I’m sure that the people of Noah’s generation were saying the same things. Noah preached righteousness for 120 years and in the end only he and his family were preserved in the Ark that could have held many more.

 

Today in our generation multitudes are shaking their fists in God’s face. The homosexual community is up in arms against, of all people, the Mormons because it seems that they were the chief backers of Proposition 8 in California. The homosexuals are attacking Mormon churches everywhere because of this. Now this is really sad because Mormonism is a cult, a false religion and yet they had the guts to take a stand against sin and they are now paying for it. Where are the Christians? I have no idea.

 

In Washington State the government is having to deal with nudists who want to have naked barbeques and other things. Illegal Aliens are being given fake S.S. numbers in Texas. And finally we have elected a man to the highest office in our land who has no experience at all. In short, the whole nation is upside down. Its nuts out there. And why? It is because, “through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

 

Everything we are experiencing as a nation can be traced back to sin! And it is interesting that instead of trying to do what they know is right, the people of our nation are mad at Christians for not allowing them to do those bad things freely, without restraint. “Those nasty old Christians are making me feel all condemned because I want to be a murderer or a homosexual or a rapist or a murderer of babies or…whatever!” You fill in the blank.

 

If you look at the Bible you can see the history of the Jews and you can trace the good times, the times of prosperity and you can also trace out the bad times, when things were rough. And it is interesting that it was only when the people of Israel were serving God that they were prosperous. This is not to say that trouble never came because it did. During the reign of King Asa, the nation was attacked by an army of one million Ethiopians. But God fought for them and wiped out this massive invading army. During the reign of King Jehoshaphat a combined army of Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites came to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. But God fought for them and caused the invaders to kill each other. And then during the reign of Hezekiah the Assyrian army invaded the land. They told Hezekiah that he was as good as dead because no one had been able to stand against the Assyrians. Not even Jehovah God could help him. But that night one angel went to the camp of the Assyrians and killed 185,000 soldiers.

 

This was during the good times. God was merciful and rescued those who loved Him, time and time again. He demonstrated His love by flexing His omnipotent muscles in defense of His people and by providing them with bountiful harvests. But then a king would rise who did not know God and suddenly the nation would be plunged into darkness and sin. Invaders would come against them but no matter how hard they prayed to their idols no help came. They were enslaved to sin and finally to a nation who would come as God’s hammer of judgment.

When a nation walks in sin, God’s hand is against them and His curse is upon them. But when they turn to Him in repentance they find in Him a merciful Father.

 

And here we see the difference as stated in verse 15 “But the free gift is not like the transgression. God’s gracious gift of salvation is not anything like the penalty for the sin that Adam committed against His holy command. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”

 

What is the result of sin? What are the wages of sin? Death! Death entered the world the moment those teeth sank into the fruit. God had warned Adam that on the day they ate of the fruit, they would surely die. And they did. Fellowship was broken as they were separated from life by their sin. To be separated from life is to be dead. Oh sure they were still alive physically. But the spiritual life that they had once known was gone. They were dead because of their trespasses and sins. In Adam all die.

 

But God! God had mercy on us. He knew our frame; that we are but dust. He knew that the thoughts and intents of our fallen hearts were only evil continually. He knew that it was as impossible for us to do good as it is for a leopard to change its spots or an Ethiopian to change the color of his skin. And so from Eternity Past, God had planned to send His One and Only Son into the world as a sacrifice for sin, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of God was lifted up on the cross to die. And just as the command went forth in the wilderness to ‘look and live’ so too are we commanded to look to Jesus and live. And for all who look to Jesus, they are made partakers of the grace of God which has abounded to many.

 

Now let’s get back into the mindset of witnesses to the lost. All men are sinners and all are under the curse of God for their sins. There are many forms of sin, some more heinous than others. But all sin is sin in God’s sight and the smallest sin is enough for the sentence to be passed, “Depart from Me ye cursed ones into everlasting fire…” This condemnation is all inclusive, none are exempt and this is seen in the fact that all men die. This is the bad news. Paul tells us just how bad men are when he says in Ro 3:10-18  as it is written:  There is no one righteous, not even one;  11 there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, together they have become useless;  there is no one who does good, there is not even one. 13 Their throat is an open grave; they deceive with their tongues. Vipers’ venom is under their lips. 14 Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and wretchedness are in their paths, 17 and the path of peace they have not known. 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

 

And because of this mindset, this deeply engrained heart attitude, this evil nature that is our very being, we are under the curse of God and condemned to die for our sin. I find it interesting that certain groups rise up and demand their rights when they feel threatened by the truth of the Bible. And yet their sinful practices are killing them. Aids is killing the homosexuals. Adulterous women are murdering their unborn babies and contracting STD’s because of their promiscuity. And yet these are the two most vocal groups demanding their rights part of which is the eradication of Christianity, Christians and their pesky bible.

 

But they only listen to part of the message. They only hear that they are sinners just like the rest of mankind. And they take personal umbrage against those who would dare say that they are doing something wrong! When it is pointed out that their sinful desires are killing them they say “It’s my life!” And they turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the good news that there is salvation and freedom and mercy and grace to be found at the Mercy Seat of God’s Holy Throne. They plug their ears to the message 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17 They are like those in the wilderness who refused to look at the serpent and live.

Who are the real fools here? It is those who know the truth and yet suppress that truth in unrighteousness so that they can continue to wallow in the pigsty of their sin. It is just insane to me to think of wanting to live in a pigsty when they could live in a mansion. But such is the blindness of men that they would rather eat the vomit of their sin than enjoy the eternal blessings of a loving Heavenly Father.

 

Returning to our text notice verse 16 and I want you to notice that Paul is repeating the first statement in a different way. Remember what I have taught you about doubling something. It is for emphasis, to hammer home a vital truth. And the truth that Paul wants us to know is that “The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.

 

I think that this can be summed up by the words of Jesus who said that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10  

 

Follow the dialog in the remaining verses. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, (Adam) death reigned through the one, (Adam) much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 So then as through one transgression (the eating of the forbidden fruit by Adam and Eve) there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness (the sinless life, sacrificial death and justificational resurrection of Jesus) there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One (Jesus Christ) the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; The law came as our schoolmaster to teach us right and wrong, good and evil, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

 

I ask you, where is the hate here? I don’t see any! I only see love and grace and mercy and deliverance from an eternal place of judgment. The only reason that people would have any occasion to even consider that is because they love their sin so much that they would rather spend their whole lives in pursuit of it even if it means they will have to spend eternity in hell. And the reason they hate Christians and the Bible so much is because they have the same mindset as that of their father the devil. The devil is a murderer and it is only natural that his followers would want to murder those who would come between them and their fun.

 

But when we bear witness of the truth we are seeking to “Have mercy on some who doubt; and “save others by snatching /them/ from the fire; on others have mercy in fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” Jude 22-23 Where is the hate here? It is non existent. It is a figment of the imaginations of those who don’t want to hear the message of the truth so as to be saved.

 

The bottom line here is that Adam killed all his posterity with his sin. Every form of disease and misery that we know today can be traced back to the sin of Adam and its resultant curse. So if men are going to be railing against anyone it should be that dirt bag Adam. Jesus on the other hand has fully paid for all of our sins by His precious blood and has set us free from the tyranny of the devil. Do you find anything hateful about that? If you do it’s because you have a screw loose somewhere! There is no comparison between the curse and the gracious gift of God. The curse of Adam damns you to eternity in hell while there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

The difference between the curse of Adam and the grace of God through Jesus Christ is this; one brings eternal damnation, torment and agony while the other gives life and that more abundantly, a mansion in Heaven and eternity of peace, and love and joy before the glorious throne of God! Which one do you want?

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