From Condemnation to Justification of Life.
We have been standing before the picture of our first parent Adam. What a sad story of sin and sorrow we read there. That story is a continued one, it is told anew in the life of every child of Adam.
We will turn from this picture to gaze upon the other. What a contrast! Here is a man, another man. Unlike the first man, He is shrouded in glory, and “grace abounds” wherever He goes. There are those who follow Him as He leads the way out of the dim shadows surrounding “Adam the first” into the region of life and light and blessing. The scene is flooded with the glory that radiates from His face and on His brow we read the Name of all names most precious
“Jesus Christ our Lord.”
As He stands before us thus in brightest glory, we notice that He has passed through the judgment of the first Adam. Those who surround Him triumph with Him; they all are victors over the tomb; they “reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” vs. 17. The longer we gaze on this portrait the more we long to linger there for the view is infinite. But we must content ourselves by singling out four of the manifold glories, and contrast them with what was before us in our previous study. The four times we read “of one” or “by one” as referring to Christ suggest the four panels:
Panel No 1—The Grace of God Brought to Man vs. 15
“For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God and the gift by grace which is by one man Jesus Christ hath abounded unto many.”
In contrast to the dark reality of sin’s entrance into the world there is GRACE.
The scene in this picture is a world ruined by the entrance of sin and myriads of Adam’s children sinking beneath its terrible weight utterly unable to deliver themselves.
Into this scene comes GRACE; the marvelous abounding grace of God. Like a great river it flows through the desolate wilderness world, spreading blessing everywhere. It reaches man wherever he is and justifies him just as he is. If we trace this river of God’s justifying grace we reach a place called Calvary and there upon an uplifted cross behold the bleeding form of the One through whom alone God’s grace reaches us, Jesus Christ.
Panel No. 2—The Reign of Grace
“By the obedience of one … grace reigns through righteousness.” vs. 19-21.
Sin enthroned death and gave it the power it wields over man. Righteousness has enthroned grace and given it its sceptre and sway. Dark Calvary looms before us in this picture. Amid heartless jeers and cruel taunts, forsaken by all, alone in its dread darkness, Jesus dies. There “sin abounds” for nothing could exceed the guilt of that act. The Son of God crucified and slain, is carried into the darkness and silence of the tomb. But “where sin abounded grace did much more abound.” Behold! The Man Who died on Calvary has left the grave, heaven receives him to its throne and beside Him is a trophy of grace, a sinner cleansed by His precious blood. From that throne, light streams into the dark world and the word of welcome greets every penitent sinner, for “grace reigns.”
Panel No. 3—The Gift of Life
“By the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” vs. 18.
Eternal life is God’s answer to the graves that dot the earth and the death that surrounds us.
One man led a vast army of followers in the grim march of death. This Man leads the way out of death into life, He has conquered death.
We all join in one glad burst of Hallelujahs as we gaze upon the Victor and hail Him our blessed Lord Jesus Christ.
Panel No. 4—The Consummation of Grace
“Shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ,”
The dark clouds are rolled away in this picture. Death and judgment are behind us. The glory shines before us and we have the hope of being in it with Christ.
1. Find in John 4 and in Rev. 22 verses that show that the water of life is the Gift of God.
2. Find three places in Romans where the full title Lord Jesus Christ is found.
3. Find the first verse in the Bible containing the word grace?
4. Where is the first and where is the last mention of grace in Romans?