Kingdoms in Conflict
This passage has a very large influence on theology as a whole. It is very difficult for us with our modern minds to understand. Because we have been brought up in a world that has taught us a very distorted view of independence. What is independence? An independence without interdependence
Simon and Garfunkel (reflected on a ‘self sufficient’ independence).
“A winter’s day, in a deep and dark December
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below,
I touch no one and no one touches me!
I am a rock, I am an island.”
“And a rock feels no pain and an island never cries.”
As if to say, ‘If this is independence why am I so lonely?!’
Our independence develops like this:
We are part of a nation that is independent.
· -national independence-
we’re an American different and superior
there is no solidarity between us and the (German, French, Italian, Brazilians, Chinese)
(draw the circle) of solidarity; we are not one with other nations.
· -racial independence-
Most of us are white. Sadly, we tend to think that we have little in common with blacks, native Americans, Spanish descent, (draw the circle)
learn to exclude those with an accent different from ours
(‘hillbillies’, ‘city-slickers’, suburbanites, Yanks, Rebs) -draw the circle of solidarity tight
· -politically independent-
democrat, Republican, Independent
· -religiously independent –
disagree in details of God’s revelation (no way can fellowship)
disagree in practice with some in your church (draw the circle)
just my family, (and we disagree sometimes) - so the only one that I feel a deep, unmovable solidarity with is myself.
This lack of solidarity with mankind we call “independence!”
This is all part of our make-up, that makes it very difficult for us to grasp the portion of Scripture we want to look at today.
Paul has said we’re condemned; yet we can be justified. In these verses he gives us the link between the two.
The very same path down which death, sin and condemnation traveled into humanity became the path that would make it possible for life, grace and justification to travel.
As we read notice how many times the word ‘one’ occurs (13 times) - emphasizing solidarity of all men.
v. 12 just as…
v. 18, 19 even so…
vss. 13-17 parenthesis between death (12) and life (18,19)
a bridge … as with death, condemnation came - so also with life comes justification.
Paul is contrasting two kingdoms
Kingdom of Death/ Kingdom of Life - and these are connected by a principle in the economy of God known as imputation.
|One Man (Adam)||One Man (Christ)|
|v.15 One man’s trespass® many died||One Man’s grace® gift of righteousness to many|
|v.17 through one man’s trespass® death reigned||Through one man, Jesus® believers reign in life|
|v.18 one trespass®condemnation for all||One act of righteousness®justification offered to all|
|v.19 disobedience of one®many constituted sinners||Obedience of one®many constituted righteous|
|v.21sin reigned in death||Grace reigns to bring eternal life|
I. The Reign of sin and death
I haven’t liked this – being raised on Independence
I have difficulty getting hold of this solidarity ‘ Why should Adam’s blunder be allowed to adversely affect my life?’ Is it fair? Yes! Fair, wise, and gracious
The Jews would have had no trouble with this solidarity
-they grew up never really thinking of themselves as individuals
-he would think of himself as part of a clan, a family, a nation; and apart from that society he had no existence, his existence was wrapped up in the nation.
Ex. Today, if an Australian aborigine is asked his name he will give the name of his tribe or clan. He thinks of himself as a member of a clan.
Ill.) tribal wars – a man is murdered, not a war between individual persons but 2 tribes.
Josh 7 – Achan sinned, the whole nation suffered. Achan’s sin was not one man’s sin, it was the nation’s sin.
The nation was not a collection of individuals it was a solid mass. What the individual did the nation did.
7:1 “The sons of Israel were unfaithful in that Achan sinned.
7:11 “Israel has sinned”
This is how Paul says we’re to see Adam
He was not an individual, He was part of mankind
Because of the solidarity of the first kingdom (Adam’s race) all mankind actually sinned in Adam.
The kingdom that fell under the reign of death.
Paul shows that this must be true in v. 13,14…\in that those who lived before the law also died without breaking a commandment
Ill.) the genealogy of Genesis 5 - Adam’s descendants “…and they died…”
Still Death reigns! (
Death is not a natural part of God’s created order. It is an enemy. The last enemy to be destroyed.
- still- nuclear build-ups, disease, holocaust, abortion, fighting, misery, murder, divorce – it’s always been like this in this kingdom of death.
Again – Is it fair that you and I should suffer so as a result of the solidarity of the human race?
Yes! And it is very wise and gracious
An example of Isaiah’s statement “God’s ways are high above our ways.
God has chosen to subject all his rational creatures to a probation
We don’t know what
Faced individually (some fell, some didn’t) they are not a race, they are individuals
We know a great deal about it
Very fair, only a slight prohibition with great freedom
He knew the outcome would affect his descendents
His communion with God had been intimate and delightful
He possessed knowledge, righteousness, true holiness
All kinds of inducements to do right were given
Adam fell, humanity fell with him
In the wisdom of god, since He was operating on the principle of imputation (one man’s sin imputed to many) he could provide redemption for the many (one man’s righteousness imputed to many)
Justification follows the same path that condemnation had walked.
Ill.) be thankful you’re not a fallen angel, there’s no opportunity for redemption (Pet.) bend the neck
Thus we enter the Kingdom of life
As Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:45
“The first man, Adam, became a living soul, The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
We now are given the power of a new man – Christ
Ill.) As a result of Adam’s sin, did it make any practical difference in your life?
- You didn’t know him, never seen him, yet your thinking, desires, physical body, everything has been adversely affected.
- As a result of Christ’s obedience did it make any practical difference in your life?
We now have the same relationship to Christ as we had before our salvation to Adam
There is a true change.
“Though the outward man perish, the inner man is renewed day by day.”
As we abide in Him our spiritual solidarity grows
Ill.) close letters “In Him”
Because I didn’t know the depth of that phrase
-not only toward God but also our fellow Christians
Jesus prayed, … “That they may be one even as we are one.”
May 1983 Moody Monthly ill.) Brother Andrew
“Many of us are praying for revival, but I believe God will not grant our request if we neglect the suffering church. He will not do so because He is evenhanded in His dealings. And whatever God does here in the free world, He will do in those countries suffering religious persecution.
This is my concern- that we stop our factionalism, the walls that we build. We talk about the Iron Curtain, yet we have walls, too – walls that protect our affluence, our privileges. But those walls kill us.”
As we abide in Him, the curse of death is reversed and the crown of death is replaced by a crown of life. There is spiritual vitality where there was spiritual death.