Epistle of Paul to the Romans 5: 18-19 (NIV)
18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
These verses conclude a longer piece in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans which begins: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned …” (Romans 5: 12). The Apostle Paul here contrasted sin and death entering the world through the one man, Adam, against God’s grace made available through the one man, Jesus Christ.
The disobedience of Adam set humankind on a course of continual disobedience towards God that humans alone have never been able to change. This consistent disobedience is evident in every part of the world today just as it has been over the past twenty centuries. People are incapable of conducting human affairs in the manner God intended when he created us in his own image. We are incapable of favouring others ahead of ourselves and we are incapable of honouring God above all else. Humankind’s search for utopia, whether through political systems or family dynasties will always prove futile. No matter how noble the dream, the implementation of a dream using flawed human beings ensures that the dream will never become reality.
We need to be reminded of the moral poverty of every human being. We need to be reminded, as nations and states prepare to go to the polls, that no set of pre-election promises will be implemented to perfection.
No candidate or group can live out its claim to moral rectitude. All candidates carry flaws. Every voter is flawed. Party organisations are flawed because these are made up of individually flawed human beings. All of us warrant the condemnation expressed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 5: 18.
We fail our Creator again and again and again. None of us deserves to be let off the hook. Our best intentions alone are not enough to prevent us from “trespassing”.
Christian men and women recognise our continuing sinfulness including by words and actions of repentance in our corporate and private worship. Christian men and women also know that our condition is not hopeless. Hope has been won back for us by Jesus Christ.
His “one act of righteousness” which led to his crucifixion, to his bearing the sins of the whole world, has been sufficient to “bring life for all men”. “Through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”
But what of those who do not profess the Christian faith? What do they know of the grace offered by Jesus Christ? Do they blunder along unable to perceive they, like Adam, are bound by sin and death? Do they carry on in assumed self-righteousness, unable to recognise their own plight? Do they believe they can elect a perfect Government or perhaps that, as candidates themselves, they will be flawless in their conduct and perfect in representing those who voted for them?
Woman and men who are “in Christ”, who know they “have been justified through faith, … have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5: 1).
God demonstrates his own love for all who are “in Christ” “in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5: 8).