Peeling The Onion
Cowardly Lion Sermon Number 3
Romans 5:12-19 The Message
Sermon File Type
Guilt; Shame; Sin
Sept. 18, 2016
Last week we looked at the presenting problem of sin. Guilt and shame are the results of sin. But, sin is not a behavior, behavior is the presenting problem. Sin goes much deeper and is much more sinister than we realize. To fix this we need something even greater, something that will fix it for all time. That ultimate fix is Jesus Christ and we must trust in that fix. It seems easy on the surface, but as we saw from last week, our nature is not to trust in God but to trust in ourselves. Paul is addressing this in Romans. Some scholars believe this is the most difficult passage in the whole Bible to understand fully. Let’s see what we can do with it. We are peeling the onion today.
Paul makes the claim that Adam’s sin was so powerful that it actually altered reality. I do not mean an alternate reality which could be a parallel universe. I mean that in Adam’s sin ( I say Adam, because Adam really means human, easier then saying Adam and Eve) removed their holiness or moral perfection, removed the possibility for transparent fellowship with God and each other, which led to guilt and shame. God’s love for his creation would not end, but God would have to deal with disobedient creatures from a different frame of reference. Reality has been altered and God will have to do something humongous to restore it.
Paul claims that sin came into the world through Adam, bringing death with it. The nature of this sin is so grievous that you and I still to this day suffer death. This is not to say we are responsible for the sin of Adam, (we are responsible for our own sins) but that sin still has an effect on us today. Where in creation Adam and Eve existed in a reality where it was possible not to sin, now exist in a reality where it is impossible not to sin! Are you seeing that sin goes to the very root of everything?
So, what can be done about this? Well, if sin came through a human it can be fixed through a human. If a human’s sin altered reality, then a human can restore the reality that God intended. “ Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.” Jesus came so that we may have life! “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. ” It has to be abundant, extravagant! A priceless rescue. Imagine sin to be like shoveling a great pile of sand on the seashore. The grains of sand are innumerable! The pile is so great no one can move it. Then here comes the tide and surf. The pile is washed away! The ocean washes away the sand pile as if it never existed. This is what Christ does for us!
Christ restores the reality intended by God. It is restored by an overwhelming force of grace. As Julia Johnston wrote in the hymn “Grace Greater Than Our Sin” a hymn she wrote based on this chapter form Romans, “Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds, our sin and guilt! Yonder on Calvary’s mount out poured, there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.”
Julia says when that blood was spilled, God’s grace is greater than our guilt. You know, the death that entered the world from Adam was both spiritual and physical. Could it be, when we are still dealing with guilt when we know intellectually that Jesus took care of it, that we haven’t allowed ourselves to be spiritually resurrected? If Jesus came to give us life abundant, why are we still dealing with guilt that could be years old. If sin is gone and now grace is abundantly supreme, why is this guilt still haunting me? Listen again to Paul here: “Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?”
When you gave your life to Christ you altered your reality. Christ’s extravagant, life giving gift erased your guilt and shame. It is time you forgave yourself and be resurrected spiritually! It is time you let the past go! Embrace your new reality for all its worth. Let the extravagant grace wash over you. Claim that life abundant Jesus promises! Most often when we see the word abundant in the New Testament refers to the extravagance of our salvation! The greek word for abundance is used to speak of the fullness that is achieved in the age of salvation to a degree never known before! In other word’s this abundance is found in God and it is his grace that is overflowing! Like the sea!
We talked about trust last week. This is what you trust in. This is God’s promise. Grace that is greater than your sin. It’s not enough to know it, trust in it! Trust is confidence in the promise of God. Let me ask you when you put your foot on the brake in your car what do you trust will happen? When you set your alarm at night, what do you trust will happen? When you take your medication what do you trust will happen? Why do you have your money in a bank? If you can trust these things, can’t you trust in the promises of God?
There is an art form in Japan of mending broken ceramics with a special lacquer containing gold, it’s called Kintsugi. The belief is that there is a beauty in broken things, and fixed with attention and care made even more beautiful. “In a world that worships youth, perfection, and the new, the art of Kintsugi contains a particular wisdom as applicable to our own lives as it is to pots. The care and love expended on the shattered pieces should also encourage us to respect what is damaged and scarred, vulnerable and imperfect, starting with ourselves and those around us.” (Video)
You see, we are all broken and mended by Jesus Christ. There is a beauty in broken things. Let Jesus lays his extravagant golden grace over the spot that is broken. You see these wonderful broken vessels? (Slides) How beautiful they are. Ah, there it is, the broken heart mended. Jesus has mended our hearts. Isn’t it beautiful? That’s what Jesus sees when he sees you. You’re beautiful, You’re his child. He loved you so much he died for you. He remembers your sin no more. Why do you? Trust Jesus and embrace the gold of his grace!