As I continue on in my study of Romans I came upon a passage a few nights ago that taught so clearly the truth that Satan often twists into a lie.
Romans 5: 15-17 says “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! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!”
This passage is about the gift of salvation and the trespass of sin (specifically Adam’s sin that caused the Fall of man). I was surprised when I saw that Paul wrote that the Fall and Redemption are incomparable and then backs it up by reminding us that judgement came after a single sin whereas salvation came after a multitude of sins.
One is a simple cause to effect relationship: “Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Man disobeys. Man is punished.
The other is an illogical beautiful mess of love, power, and grace: “Choose good, flee from evil.” Man disobeys constantly for many thousands of years. Jesus Christ pays our debt and we stand blameless before the King of kings, man is reconciled with God and the relationship is restored, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and an eternity with God.
The problem comes when people’s ideas of man and God are faulty. God is holy and perfect, sin cannot stand Him, and since we are full of sin the relationship between man and God is broken. The only way it can be mended is if we are no longer sinful, something Jesus Christ decided to take care of for us who were His enemies. We were powerless, ungodly sinners! We are so undeserving of this grace!
We deserve an eternity separated from God because we are sinners and are incapable of changing that in our own power.
We do not deserve the God who loves and is a friend to us sinners, who humbles Himself to die for us, who offers up salvation to the very people who dare to disobey and sin against Him.
If you switch those, you’re in trouble. If you think that man is undeserving of judgement and Hell you will see God as cruel and unjust when He executes perfect justice. If you believe that man is deserving or can somehow become deserving of salvation and eternal life you will see yourself as equal to God because you can achieve perfection when we are really innately evil and can produce no good of our own accord (Romans 7:18), and certainly could never be sinless enough to stand before God who is all good all the time.
This is where many people fall into the trap that is pride and anger. This blinds them to the truth of who God is and who we are, keeping them from accepting the salvation that we so desperately need and are so graciously offered.
My eighth grade Bible teacher always had this saying that we need to keep the highest view of God and the lowest view of self. When we do this we may begin to faintly see the true places of man and God.
Can such depths and heights ever be understood by fallen man? I think not.