Today’s bible study is Romans 5:15: 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!
Trespass is a word we use frequently when we say the Lord’s Prayer. We ask to be forgiven our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. This seems to imply that trespass is like sin – something we should try to avoid and something that we need to ask forgiveness for.
So what does it mean when Paul, in his letter to the Romans, says, “But the gift is not like the trespass?” What gift? What trespass? Who are the many who died for the trespass of one man? This is difficult to think about.
In Chapter 5, Paul expounds the meaning of the gift of righteousness. Whether Jew or Gentile, those who trust in the redeeming work of God in Jesus Christ will have “peace with God,” and they will love free from the wrath of God. They will be freed from the penalty and power of sin, but will still struggle experientially with reality of sin and the power of the law. Moving on through Chapter 8, Paul gloriously describes the believers’ freedom from death.
In Chapter 5, verses 1-21, the main theme is that grace abounds. Paul argued that by the impact of this righteous gift believers are given salvation from the wrath of God. God has reconciled godless and unrighteous enemies to Himself. Thus, they have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul, by way of a typology, demonstrated that sin and death came to men and women through Adam; righteousness and life, through Jesus Christ. Sin had been intensified by the transgression of the law. Thus, greater grace was needed. But where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more.
This may still be a bit difficult, but it is also extremely reassuring. No matter what the sinfulness or transgressions or trespasses may be, the love and grace of Christ will be far greater and will not only nullify it, but also abound. May we trust in this goodness and love as we live each day in the steps of our Lord and Savior, the only son of God the Father.
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If you enjoyed this bible study, you can find more at Sharon's Columbia Biblical Studies Examiner homepage.