Which Will You Choose?August 15, 2021 Save Article
Romans 5:1-5, 17
Any Christian who hasn’t discovered the tremendous worth and power of kingdom authority is living beneath his privileges. You cheat yourself if you don’t learn how to discover, apply, and enjoy kingdom authority. The Holy Spirit is the one who teaches us how to do that.
Not one day in the sweet by-and-by, but now, God wants believers to deploy kingdom authority and have victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. Nothing is settled until the matter of authority is settled.
In this series on kingdom authority, we’ve said that to have authority, you must be under authority. God will never give you kingdom authority if you’re a rebel. But when you’re submitted to His authority, He gives you incredible authority.
We’ve talked about areas in which we ought to have authority and be under authority. We’ve seen the necessity of being under the Lordship of Christ and the authority of the Word of God. But the Holy Spirit is another authority we must be under, for how do the authority of Jesus and the authority of the Word of God come to us? They’re mediated by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is our advocate before the Father, but the Holy Spirit is the advocate to us. He’s the One who wrote the Scriptures and interprets them to our hearts so we learn how to live under kingdom authority. As Romans 5:5 says, “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” It is because of the Holy Spirit’s work that, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
He shows us the things of God, like God’s love displayed at Calvary, and it becomes love worth finding and sharing. He helps us understand, giving us the power of the King as He works in our lives—but only as we are under His authority.
In Romans 5, (See verses 9-20.) Paul keeps repeating three keywords or phrases: “one man,” “reign,” and “much more.” For example,
- · “Much more then, being now justified”
- · “Much more, having been reconciled”
- · “Much more the grace of God”
- · “Much more they which receive the abundance of grace”
- · “Grace did much more abound”
In verse 17, Romans 5 contrasts two rival kingdoms: “For if by the one man’s offense [Adam], death reigned through the one [Adam], much more [in a greater way] those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Bracketed information is added for explanation.)
Two kingdoms are at war for lordship over your life: the kingdom of darkness vs. the kingdom of light; Satan vs. God; life vs. death. A specific individual is linked to each one: Adam with the kingdom of darkness; Jesus reigning in the kingdom of light.
You’re either in Adam’s kingdom or in Christ’s.
When Adam fell, humanity lost everything we’d been given by God. But Paul points out that when you leave Adam’s kingdom by faith in Christ, you get much more in Jesus than you ever lost in Adam. Thus, Paul keeps saying, “Much more, much more.”
All this sets the stage for what we’re going to see: What we lost in Adam and what we gained in Christ.
1. What did we lose in Adam?
Everything: our fellowship with God, walking with Him in the cool of each evening, our relationship with Him and the Garden of Eden, our original home.
Romans 5:19 says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
Who disobeyed? Adam, the first man. Who obeyed? Jesus. When Adam sinned, he became the slave of Satan, who captured Adam’s dominion. We’re Adam’s offspring, and without the new birth, we remain with Adam in that slavery. We all have our roots in Adam.
What we inherited from Adam wasn’t good.
Weakness rather than strength
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).
God gave Adam power to be what He wanted him to be, but Adam lost it. God wants you to have authority to be what you ought to be. You may have the power to do what you want, but you don’t have the power to do as you ought. Admit it. All of us know we’re without strength.
Ungodliness rather than godliness
Sin manifests itself in three ways:
- Doing what you shouldn’t do, “transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4.)
- Not doing what you know you should have done. (See James 4:17.)
- Doubting God, “for whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Unbelief is the sin that will send your soul to Hell. (See John 3:18.) There’s no greater sin than to aim the gun of unbelief at Christ on the cross and pull the trigger.
Christ died for the ungodly. (See Romans 5:6.) We received ungodliness from Adam. That doesn’t mean you’re vile or an ax murderer, but you’re not in God’s image because of Adam.
Wrath rather than approval
Our sins deserve the righteous judgment of a holy God. The Bible teaches that if you die outside the Lord Jesus Christ, you will face the sure judgment of God; you will die and go to Hell.
The Bible does not teach:
- A second chance after death
- Annihilation, you’ll simply disintegrate.
- Universalism, everyone will eventually be saved.
I can’t put it any plainer than that. I don’t say it with glee, but I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I didn’t tell you that.
Warfare rather than peace
“For if when we were enemies…” (Romans 5:10).
You may say, “I may not have given my heart to Jesus, but I’m not an enemy.” But Jesus says “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Matthew 12:30).
Either you’re working for Christ or against Him. You cannot be neutral. Pilate tried and failed miserably.
2. What we gain in Christ.
Much more than we ever lost in Adam!
“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood….” (Romans 5:9).
“Much more” in justification
We’re more than innocent—we’re justified. In the cross we find:
- Justice: God giving us (through Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice) what we deserve (judgment).
- Mercy: God not giving us what we deserve (eternal separation from Him).
- Grace: God giving us what we don’t deserve (eternal life with Him).
All three meet at Calvary. God’s justice was satisfied. In mercy, we don’t endure His wrath. His grace makes us righteous.
“Much more” in reconciliation
“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).
When Jesus died on the cross, He gave Himself for you. But when He sent the Holy Spirit, He gave Himself to you. You have much more than Adam. He walked with God in the garden, but you have the Holy Spirit within you.
“Much more” in regeneration
“Much more” in righteousness
Through Adam, death reigned, but we “receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness [and] will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17).
There’s nothing you can do, big or small, that will save you. You must put your faith in the Son of God. When you do, God deposits Jesus’ righteousness into your account.
Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered, buried in the grave of God’s forgetfulness, never exhumed again. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.
Sins are forgiven, covered, not charged to your account.
If you’re hoping you’re living a life good enough to get you into Heaven—you won’t make it. I wouldn’t trust the best fifteen minutes I ever lived to get me to Heaven. And if you don’t make the right choice, you will die eternally. In Jesus, we have much more than we ever lost in Adam.
“Much more” of our reign
“As sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:21).
Adam had an earthly kingdom; we have a heavenly kingdom. God gave Adam dominion. He sold it out to Satan, losing his authority. But then Jesus came.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).
On the cross, Jesus paid Adam’s sin debt. He bought us and our ruined estate back. He gave it to us saying, “I’m giving you much more than Adam ever lost!” In Adam, all die. In Christ, all are made alive. You’re either in Adam or you’re in Christ.
Imagine you’re in a car stalled on railroad tracks. You hear the train whistle. A powerful locomotive is coming. There’s the door. You’re healthy. The seat belt has been released. You must open the door and get out. At this point, you’re faced with a choice. You can stay in the car and die, or you can open the door, flee, and live. The choice is yours.
You say, “I won’t make a choice.” Then you’ll die, because not to choose is to choose in itself. You see, in Adam, you’re already in the car, already under the condemnation of death. You didn’t have any choice about that. You were born in Adam, and in Adam, all die.
But you don’t have to choose to die. What’s your choice today? To choose Jesus. What you must do now, and what God wants me to tell you today is, you must choose life.
Choose Jesus. Choose kingdom authority. If I had a million lives to live, I’d give each one to Jesus.