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Today as one of our readings, we look at Romans 5: 15-19:
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 16 And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17 If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. 19 For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Today’s reading from Romans hits on one of the most important things I believe that we need to be able to comprehend as Christians. The difference between sins and being sinful.
Today’s passage talks about how through one man’s disobedience, the many were made sinners. Just as through one man’s obedience, many will be made righteous. The first man is Adam, the second man is Jesus. Through the sin of Adam, all persons are now sinful. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, all persons can be saved.
We need to understand the difference between sins and being sinful. Sins are the things that we do. Being sinful is who we are. Sins are actions, sinful is nature. Our sins are things we do that we know we should not do, or the things that we should do, but we do not do. See what Paul says in Romans 7. Those are sins.
Being sinful is our nature. Paul also hits on this in Romans 7. He is at war within himself, he wants to do right, but there is something within him that keeps desiring to do the things that are wrong. Even if he doesn’t do them, there is something within him that keeps desiring those wrong actions. Wrong desires. Wrong thoughts.
That is our sinful nature. We all have it. When you hear me talk about our brokenness, that’s what I’m talking about it. All of us humans, we have. CS Lewis called us the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. We all inherit the broken nature of our first parents. All of us. We are all sinful. Sins are our actions, sinful is our nature. As we sing in “Come Thou Fount:”
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
You are sinful. I am sinful. It’s part of our human condition. To say you are sinful does not make you scum or unlovable or anything like that. It means you are human. In need of redemption. We are all in need of Jesus.
And here’s the good news. Jesus came to forgive us our actions (sins) and redeem our nature (sinful). We can know forgiveness of the things we have done and we can see our nature corrected and restored.
All through grace.
Today, you are sinful. You need Jesus. Me too. It’s because we are human. And because of the sacrifice of the second man (Jesus), we can be saved from the consequences of the first man (Adam).
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