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Msindisi Newsletter # 123

January 5, 2015

SALVADOR AND DIANNES MSINDISI MONTHLY

Number: 123          Jan 2015

 P.O. Box 1481

Vryheid 3100

KwaZulu Natal

South Africa

 

+27 (0) 72 8311008

+27 (0) 72 3843786

 

Email: msindisi@gmail.com, salv.di@gmail.com

 

KwaZulu Mission Website: www.kwazulumission.com

 

KwaZulu Mission Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/kwazulumission

 

 

 

Praise the Lord! After doing the Care Bear concert Di’s application for renewal of Visa was submitted successfully and we are still waiting the finalisation of her application.

Salvador preaching at Care Bear Creche Concert

Salvador preaching at Care Bear Creche Concert

Parents listen at care bear concert

Parents listen at care bear concert

Care Bear concert

Care Bear concert

Salvador received his visa transfer from his old passport to his new passport and found that they had granted him an extension till 2016 so he does not need to apply for renewal of visa for another year. While on the east coast at the beginning of the month Salvador visited the church in Stanger, pastored by Calvin Josiah, and shared a short message concerning communion: and what Scripture means when it says that, in taking communion, we are sharing in the body and blood of Jesus. It is not that the bread and wine change substance, nor that His Spirit hovers over the emblems, but it is simply in our obedience to and faith in Jesus’ word. We also managed to catch up with friends from Coming King Ministries, the pastor Leslie Crickmay and his co-labourers Kevin and Michelle Edwards. We also met up with our friend, Marie Anne Van Niekerk for lunch the day after we went to the visa centre.

On our way home

On our way home

Our home

Our home

 

When we got home Salvador and Phumlani went out to KwamaThema with the gospel for the last two times this year. Salvador preached outside a drinking place and we had some interesting conversations with people though some did not like us being there.

Scenery of KwaZulu Natal

Scenery of KwaZulu Natal

Moonflower in local area

Moonflower in local area

 

That Saturday we had the last kid’s club of the year, which was a small party. We did not announce it before the time because we did not want word to get out. It was for the faithful children who attended because they wanted to learn and not because they wanted food.

Kids learning at kid's club

Kids learning at kid’s club

On the following Sunday Salvador preached at the congregation about conflict and its necessity in our walk with the Lord. It is part of the course and we must engage in conflict with the flesh, the world, the principalities and powers of the air and even with other people when necessary. Such conflict must be rooted in the unity of the Godhead and God’s eschatological purpose to manifest His glory in the Church before a wrath deserving and truth-hating world.

Helping Mkhulu fetching his bricks so he can build in the future

Helping Mkhulu fetching his bricks so he can build in the future

Mkhulu's bricks

Mkhulu’s bricks

Goodness, who used to work for Caleb and Sophie in 2002 is one of our new neighbours

Goodness, who used to work for Caleb and Sophie in 2002 is one of our new neighbours

After the meeting, we went to Gauteng for two weeks to house sit and attend to business and meeting with various people. Altogether, on our trip up there, we met up with and visited over 70 people. However, the main purpose we went there was to register our marriage with the Portuguese consulate in Pretoria so that we could receive a Portuguese marriage certificate, as Salvador is a Portuguese citizen. As we are not residents of South Africa we do not have a South African identity number and therefore it is difficult to obtain an unabridged marriage certificate because they cannot put our marriage on their computer system. Therefore the record of our marriage is lost somewhere in Bureaucracyville where Home Affairs struggle to find it. Having our marriage registered in Portugal means that we are on someone’s system and can prove the legal status of our marriage in the future if we need to.

While in Pretoria, we visited the home church on Friday evening that meets at Kingsley’s home with Mujuru and Clayton who leads the congregation. Salvador was asked to share the word and he gave the message on conflict. The fellowship has such an openness and the participation of the various members is strong.

Worship at Kingsley's in Pretoria

Worship at Kingsley’s in Pretoria

Fellowship at Kingsley's

Fellowship at Kingsley’s

Kingsley, Clayton and Salvador sing at Kingsley's house.

Kingsley, Clayton and Salvador sing at Kingsley’s house.

The following morning the couple that Salvador married in Jan 2014, asked Salvador to baptise them as they had never been baptised as born again believers. Bram and Bianca Van de Minkelis also had Bram’s sister and her husband visiting them from Holland. Bram’s sister had a testimony of salvation but was not baptised as, apparently, in Holland many churches will only baptise you into their own church and then you belong to that congregation. If you want to join another congregation you apparently must be baptised into the new church. So that morning we baptised the three of them in a local pool with friends of the family witnessing.

Worship at Bram and Bianca's.

Worship at Bram and Bianca’s.

Riaan reading to his kids

Riaan reading to his kids

During our stay in Gauteng we house sat for friends in Boksburg and thus, Bianca’s family came to stay with us for a few days. The following day, Sunday, we had the Roux family and Alan and Sue Wells and their children in the house for a church service. On the following day we went to visit the mother of our friend Mark Hibberd. Beth is battling with cancer but has a marvellous faith and the Lord has used her sickness to bring glory to Him. Sue went with two of her children Lizzie and Ernest. Lizzie played the flute and recorder and Ernest plays the guitar. Salvador also went with his guitar and together they ministered to Beth and her husband in song.

Beggar in Boksburg.

Beggar in Boksburg.

Wells and Roux family visiting us in Boksburg

Wells and Roux family visiting us in Boksburg

The following day was Di’s birthday and in the evening Salvador took her to a lovely Portuguese restaurant where we found the owner to be a Pentecostal Christian.

The restaurant we went to for Di's birthday

The restaurant we went to for Di’s birthday

The day after was Lizzie Well’s 21st birthday celebration, though her birthday fell on the 25th. We joined the family at a restaurant in Springs. For those who do not know, Alan and Sue Wells, have fostered and adopted 12 children. They have two naturally born grown up children called Adrian and Clayton. Clayton is married and in the UK. Their first adoption was an Afrikaans girl called Roxanne who is grown, married, and has two children of her own. Lizzie was their first black adoption when Apartheid was just over. She is very musical, playing recorder to grade 8 and piano and flute to grade 6 with grade 6 music theory and dabbles with the clarinet. Lizzie will be starting a teacher’s diploma in the future and she is also learning the violin and so, through the generous giving of one of the family’s friends Lizzie received a performance level violin. Sue had saved up all year to take the family out to treat the family to the all you can eat buffet. While there, an Afrikaans family asked Sue if she worked for an orphanage. Upon explaining, that they were a family and not an orphanage, the Afrikaans family donated R500 towards the cost of the meal. So Lizzie thanked them by playing an Irish composition on her new Violin.

Lizzie's Violin

Lizzie’s Violin

A couple of days later we went back to Vryheid to house sit and have some time out. But on the journey from Gauteng we received a phone call from Kevin Edwards who was heading towards Vryheid with his family from Mozambique where they had Christmas with Michelle’s family. They were on their way to Cape Town when their van began to lose power. Kevin wanted to know if there was a good mechanic in Vryheid. We told them about our friend Craig and Craig managed to fix the vehicle temporarily, which managed to get them near Cape Town. However, it was wonderful to see the Lord bringing brotherly encouragement between them.

We are back at home now and Phumlani preached a wonderful message on the fear of the Lord so Salvador has asked him to share it in English at the cell group. Last Friday we just met with Johnny and Kim as they had their family over and Salvador shared about the priestly garments in Exodus 28-29. Salvador’s parents will be visiting us in March this year for three weeks and so we are preparing for their visit. It will be their first time in Africa and we pray it will be a blessing for them. Salvador managed to get a little work done on his dissertation, having completed his research for it. But he is determined to finished his primary draft before they arrive even if he cannot complete it. We were given lots of toys and clothes while we were away. We have given quite a number of toys to a crèche today after church and some to our neighbours. However, the neighbouring children have already started knocking on the door asking for toys, clothes, even the cardboard box and anything they can get their hands on. There is a dependency culture here among some of the people and some of them perceive white people as existing to give hand outs to black people. Even though Salvador is not white, they see him as such and therefore we need to think carefully about how we distribute things like toys in the future.

Giving toys to Sicelo Creche

Giving toys to Sicelo Creche

Toys for creche

Toys for creche

Toys for creche

Toys for creche

 

So what does this year hold for us if Di’s visa is granted?

God willing, this year, we would like to start getting some materials published and put together. The New Tribes Mission Zulu material has been checked and we are looking forward to them printing it. After writing his dissertation, Salvador wants to get the discipleship material published.

Salvador studying

Salvador studying

We are receiving and have received some generous gifts from churches and individuals so, aside from covering outstanding and regular expenses; Salvador is seeking the Lord concerning the production of two DVD documentaries for the South African context. The first will be about ancestral traditions and the second about word of faith and prosperity teaching. Di will be helping out at care bear crèche for one week this month as a thank you for the love and support of Belinda. We were given two sewing machines and an ‘over locker’ and so it seems that Di will be doing some sewing classes for ladies in the local community.

Celani using her sewing machine

Celani using her sewing machine

Celani cuts her material

Celani cuts her material

Celani made dresses for her daughters

Celani made dresses for her daughters

We will have to visit the east coast again in January or February to pick up Di’s visa once it is finalised. While there, we will visit Coming King Ministries. Then in March, we will go up to Gauteng to pick up Salvador’s parents and our Portuguese marriage certificate. This year we should be doing another trip round South Africa to visit various churches and brethren. Our brother, Alan Mackenzie in Port Elizabeth, has asked us to visit the congregation there and do some teaching on eschatology so, as Port Elizabeth is half way round the country we will come back via Cape Town and Bloemfontein, then straight from Bloemfontein to Vryheid via Bethlehem. If you are along the way and would like Salvador to share then please contact us on the above contact details.

 

Thank you for your prayers, financial support and encouraging correspondence through email, letter and messages.

 

Please keep in your prayers:

  • Di’s Visa.
  • Wisdom in charity.
  • The Gospel to penetrate the area of KwamaThema and the other areas we have reached so far. For souls to be saved and discipled.
  • The preaching and teaching of the Word.
  • Salvador’s parents’ visit.
  • The production of ministry materials.
  • Our visits to various people and ministries in South Africa.

 

 

 

 

FIVE

 

THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION AND THE SUPREMACY OF CHRIST

 

ROMANS 5

 

 

Paul has given us Biblical evidence that God cannot impute righteousness to the Jew based on the Mosaic Law but only by faith. Paul has to go to the lengths that he does to give sufficient, biblical reasons for his claim. He does this so that the protesting Jew may be without excuse for his disbelief and disobedience to the Gospel message. Remember that we are dealing with how the new covenant fits in with and does not contradict the old covenant. We are also dealing with the term “Law.” These two terms, (Covenant and Law) are integral to the Jew’s identity. God gave everything bound up with the Mosaic Law and God never contradicts Himself. Paul has to show the continuation of the new from the old. He has to prove how he can say that circumcision is not essential, and in fact worthless, in regards to attaining salvation. He also has to show how he can include Gentiles as equals in the covenant when God made Israel separate from all the nations. We take many of these answers for granted, and so this letter may seem pedantic and wordy for us. Yet for a Jew of Paul’s day, his message would have seemed quite radical. As we continue through the next few chapters, let us take Paul’s advice in Romans 11:18. Let us not be arrogant towards the natural branches but recognize that the covenant is a Jewish covenant and the Church was primarily Jewish at its inception. We will look at Romans 5 in two sections. Firstly, the assurance of salvation through Christ and secondly, the supremacy of Christ over Adam.

 

VERSES 1 – 11:

THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION THROUGH CHRIST

 

In the last chapter, we saw Paul give specific biblical evidence for justification by faith and we also looked at what Abraham’s faith entailed. We looked at the nature of Abraham’s faith:

 

  • it was informed by God’s word and not out of his own imagination;

 

  • that it was objective, it did not trust in itself but in something other, that is higher than itself;

 

  • that it was personal, it was not placed in a force or a thing but in a person;

 

  • that it was subservient, it laid down its own desires and accepted God’s;

 

  • that it was effectual, because of it God counted Abraham as righteous;

 

  • And lastly it made its imprint on the outside world, in reality.

 

This faith is not limited to Abraham’s physical descendants alone but God’s invitation is also open to you and to me today. Moreover, this faith was not blind or merely intellectual. This faith faced up to reality, and it was convinced that the impossible was possible because God is able to give life to the dead. The evidence of this lies in the empty tomb. Jesus, in history, rose bodily from the dead.

 

Romans 5:1

 

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

Because God delights in this manner of faith, we have peace with God. This peace is the Greek word ‘eirene,’ which has a meaning of quietness, stillness. However, the Hebrew word ‘Shalom’. Shalom speaks of wholeness and rest. The noun Shalom comes from the verb ‘le Shalem,’ which primarily means ‘to pay’. The peace that Jesus brings incorporates reconciliation. We offended God and it was necessary to pay this debt off. God had to vindicate His righteousness before we could come into fellowship with God. Why must God be like this? Why must He vindicate His righteousness? There are certain things that God cannot do. God is a limited God in the sense that He cannot go against His own nature.

 

 

PEACE EQUALS ASSURANCE

 

According to Hebrews 6:18 and Titus 1:2 God cannot lie. According to James 1: 13, God cannot be tempted of evil and neither does He tempt anyone. God must judge sinners. If God contradicts His own character, I do not think we could imagine the ramifications. For one the scripture would be untrustworthy for it claims that God’s work is perfect and all His ways are just. That is why some people believe that God is dead. Through their hardened heart, they see the contradiction of a good God with the permitted existence of Evil and think that God is either powerless or unwilling to do anything about it. Yet they are ignorant of God’s wisdom. The Bible gives genuine answers for this dilemma if we would only hear it. The main answer to the dilemma is contained in verse 1. God’s righteousness is in Christ and based on what Christ did. Jesus paid the price and therefore, because we have that secure, steadfast, immovable and deep-rooted faith in the promises of a God that cannot lie, that is able to bring life from death; because we have that same faith of Abraham; because we have been justified by this same faith of Abraham; we now have peace. Some scholars debate whether this verse is really saying, ‘let us have peace’, i.e. continue in the peace. However, one thing is sure, the peace is real and we are to have this peace now. We may rest in the One, whom we once despised and were enemy to. This is utter assurance.

 

I do not walk through my Christian life continually worried that I am going to lose my salvation. I am not saying it is impossible that I can be deceived or that I will not encounter real dangers. Christ is the basis of my assurance and when I am in Christ no one else can pluck me out Jesus’ hand or take me away from His love. I do not base my assurance in a doctrine that it is impossible to fall away. That is not assurance. My assurance is not in a doctrine but in a person. Jesus is my assurance and He is the one through whom I have peace with God. This means that when I sin, I have to go back to Him and own up to my filthy shame. I must humble myself before Him who despises my sin and must punish it, but He punished it on Christ. Can you see how much weight is behind this verse? This verse by itself tells us that we have utter assurance of salvation in Christ. Assurance is very important in the Christian life. We must not be as Roman Catholics who can never be sure if they have accumulated enough grace to get straight into heaven. We must not think that Biblical assurance is sinful presumption on the fact we are truly saved, as the Church of Rome would have us believe.

 

 

OUR INTRODUCTION INTO THIS GRACE

 

Romans 5:2.

 

2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

 

Sometimes we have the idea that salvation is receiving salvation and that is it. We will deal with this in Romans 8 but for the benefit of looking at this chapter, we will say it now. Salvation is not a one off event, but is a process and a journey. Salvation only starts with conversion. I believe a conversion experience is essential. If we are born again then God has converted us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. However, when I speak of the conversion experience I am not talking about a flash of lightning, or some miraculous voice out of the heavens. What I mean is that we were once in the kingdom of darkness and we changed and joined the kingdom of light. There was a time when you did not believe and then there was a time when you believed. You did not always walk according to God’s law. Or else how can we say with Jesus that we must be born again? How can we say with Paul that we once were darkness but now we are light in the Lord? How can we say that we were once children of wrath? We did not always walk with the Lord. Yet salvation is not a conversion experience. Nor is a conversion experience the sum of our salvation. Verse 2 says that through Jesus we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand. Our conversion experience is only the entrance but then there is the way.

 

God does not only want to save people from going to hell, though that is essential. God wants to make us like Jesus. God wants us to experience eternal life, which is to know God. That only happens if we stand in the grace we have received. The word to stand, in Greek, is ‘histemi,’ which means to continue and to abide. We must continue in the Grace we have been given. If we only accepted the Gospel to get the evangelists off our back, or from the fear of going to hell, but still want to be in control of our own lives, then our salvation is a shallow one. It is incomplete! We have to ask, “Are we really saved?” And as we encourage evangelism and witnessing to people, if we see people saved but do nothing to help them grow, to ground them in truth, to build up their faith, to disciple then we are lacking in our churches. Conversion is only the entrance into this grace. I wish we only had to die once. I put something on the altar and I think that it was dead and it comes up repeatedly. Romans 12:1-2 says that we are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice. Jesus called us to take up our cross daily.

 

 

THE HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD

 

In verse 2, we also have the word hope. We are to exult in the hope of the glory of God. This word hope in Greek is ‘elpis’ and it means to anticipate, usually with pleasure, expectation and confidence. Notice our standing and our exulting are in response to what Jesus did. Our hope is also a result of what Jesus did. Remember the first chapter and the attitude of Godliness. God initiates and we respond with an attitude of humility and servitude. This not only gives us the assurance of salvation present but also confidence of salvation future. This glory of God is something God is yet to reveal. In John 17:24, during the high priestly prayer, Jesus specifically prays for all believers; that they would be with Jesus where He is, that they may see Jesus’ glory. We will receive glory from God too when we are resurrected because we will share in Jesus’ sonship, though not His deity (1 John 3: 3). When He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is. This is a good reason for rejoicing. According to 1 Corinthians 15:19, if it was not for the hope of the resurrection we are of all men most to be pitied. The Christian life would be a miserable affair if it were not for this hope. How could Paul have endured the life that he led without that hope? Think about the present day suffering of the Church in China. How can the persecuted believers endure their suffering? As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4: 17 and 18. “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

 

What did Paul regard as light affliction? Read from 2 Corinthians 4:7. How can such misery be an experience of real joy? How do these people rejoice? Paul shows us it is because they were looking to the glory that God is still to reveal. Back in Romans 5 Paul ties this experience of rejoicing, of joy, with suffering in verse 3.

 

3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;

 

We have the entrance into this grace, which begins with hope but it also ends in hope. Paul shows us a progression, a course curriculum if you like, of the Christian’s walk with the Lord. We rejoice in tribulation. This is not natural to sinful man. However, the natural inclination is not to rejoice but to complain, even if we do not verbalize it. Yet to rejoice in tribulation is not the first step. Verse 3 is prefaced on verses 1 and 2, which speak of conversion. The first step is to be born again and to receive the hope of the glory of God. Then we can rejoice in our tribulations. This is not about having a martyr complex. This is not an illogical and unnatural love of abusing oneself, but the rejoicing is rooted in the product of tribulation and not the tribulation itself. Tribulation brings about patience, or long-suffering. So next time you ask God to make you more patient, to produce in you the fruit of the spirit, you know what kind of answer he will give you. The word for patience in Greek is ‘hupomoni,’ which means cheerful endurance or constancy. Job is the prime example of this as James indicates in James 5: 11.

 

 

PERSEVERANCE

 

Endurance is not about what is easy but about what is hard. You do not say of someone who did a five minute sprint to the local shop that he showed endurance. You say of someone who did a marathon that he showed great endurance. Why would James speak of this? Because James’ letter is speaking about the testing of faith, to show, which is true faith and what is mere mental and verbal assent. Paul says tribulation brings about, literally works fully, or accomplishes patience. Patience, or endurance, brings about proven character. God does not prove my Christianity in a meeting, or in the good times. God proves my Christianity in a fire. When they test airplanes for flying, they do not do the bare minimum. They do not fly it for ten minutes in calm conditions and say, ‘well this one works.’ They take it through things that it may never do in a normal flight. They take it to the limit.

 

God proves my Christianity in the work place, with non-believing friends, with needy brothers and sisters in the church, with my enemies, when the pull of the world is against me and I am being tempted. Then my Christianity is tested. How often I forget that in the heat of the moment! We expect it to be comfortable. We prefer armchair Christianity where we can remain undisturbed in our own little sphere. Yet patience brings about proven character and proven character brings about hope. We started with hope and we end with hope. God has imbued this whole passage with assurance. Nevertheless, this hope, though produced through experiencing the Christian life, does not depend on walking the Christian life. Verse 5 says the reason that hope does not disappoint us is because God’s love “has been shed abroad”, literally it runs greedily, it gushed out into our hearts, in plentiful supply. How do I know that this is what happened in my heart? Let us face it; we do not always feel God’s love. Sometimes we feel quite the opposite, never mind speaking of having Christ’s love in abundance!

 

How can I be sure that I have received His love?

 

Verse 6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

 

Christ died for you while you hated Him, while you cursed Him, while I backstabbed Him with double standards, while we regarded Him lightly as a joke, Christ died for you and for me. God’s love is a love that runs greedily into our heart and that is why our hope will not disappoint. It is based on objective truth that can never be revoked or changed. I am glad for this hope. As a friend of mine once said, “Expectations are funny things.” Life is full of failed expectations. Disappointed hope is hard to live with. That is why I think that dying to self is a commandment of love from God, because it frees us from the pain of dashed hopes.

 

Paul then shows us another proof of how great God’s love is toward us in verses 7 & 8.

 

7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

A righteous man is someone who is right: right in life, right in belief and right in speech. Even though we may think that a righteous person may be deserving of salvation, no one would die in his or her place because we are by nature quite selfish. A person might even die for a good man, for someone who has benefited others, or done good to others. Out of a sense of being indebted to him, someone might die for him. Nevertheless, no one would die for a criminal would they? You cannot imagine someone who is guilty and deserving of the death penalty being offered the kindness of someone else dying in their place so they can get off scot-free, possibly to repeat the offence! Yet that is what Christ did for us! Once again, in verses 9 and 10 Paul shows us that if we have assurance of salvation in the now, much more assurance is there for us concerning our future salvation.

 

Before Paul looked at salvation in terms of the future hope to come, but now he looks at it in terms of the future wrath to avoid. Paul shows us that assurance of salvation now is more fundamental than having the assurance for salvation future. This is so because, if we have the first, the second is automatically ours. However, if we lack the first then we neither have the second. Why does Paul major on the assurance of salvation in the here and now? Why does present salvation grant greater assurance of future salvation and not the other way round? Because, opposed to the logic of our unbelief, reconciliation with God is harder to accomplish, than salvation from damnation or the future wrath of God. To have our sins forgiven is harder to accomplish than salvation from death. The world sees it the other way round. They say that ‘salvation is okay but what about poverty, HIV/AIDS?’ ‘A man cannot believe on an empty stomach.’ These issues are very important for the believer but nowhere near as important as being reconciled to God. This is a much more difficult and devastating issue. Yet we are not simply to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, or in tribulation but also in God Himself.

 

 

VERSES 12 – 21:

THE SUPREMACY OF CHRIST OVER ADAM

 

In this passage Paul goes right back to the beginning, before Moses, before Abraham. He does this because the root cause of everything that Messiah dealt with was not the giving of the Mosaic Law or the fulfilling of the faith of Abraham. The scriptures do not start with the birth of Moses or the calling of Abraham but they start right back at the beginning. Moses is not the main issue. The main issue is sin. Note that Paul regarded Adam as historical. If the first Adam is a myth, then the concept of a second Adam is also a myth because He would be undoing something that was never done in the first place. The first thing to note is that sin came into the world, not by man in general and not by various people, but by one man. That is Adam. Though Eve was deceived, and was the first to eat the fruit, Adam received the commandment, for God gave the commandment before He created Eve. It was Adam who flatly disobeyed by listening to the voice of His wife. In Genesis 3: 22, God said that ‘the man’ became like God knowing good and evil. When God says ‘the man’ He is not referring to Adam and Eve as a unit because a few verses on in Genesis 4: 1 it says ‘Now the man had relations with his wife’, Eve. Sin came into the world by one man. Secondly, sin preceded death, not the other way round. We know that even though death means separation from God it means physical death also. This is attested by the genealogies in Genesis where Adam lived 930 years but at the time of Abraham, living to an age of 175 was classed as a ripe old age. Romans 8: 20 – 21 says that God subjected the creation to futility in the hope that it would be set free from its slavery to corruption.

 

What Paul is doing here is showing us that Jesus ties up the whole of the Tenakh, the Old Testament, together. He has shown us that Moses highlighted sin but did not take it away. Christ makes people righteous according to the same faith as Abraham. Christ solves the problem that Adam created when he sinned and reverses it. This is something that Abraham and Moses never did. Verse 12 summarizes the whole of the letter, which has preceded it because the entire letter has been arguing justification by faith in Christ’s sacrifice. Therefore, we may say that what Adam messed up…

 

 

WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO SINNED BEFORE THE LAW?

 

Then Paul stops half way through sentence to address something else. The continuation of the train of thought of verse 12 continues from verse 15. Now this becomes frustrating for us reading this as believers but for Paul it must have been essential. I can well imagine while Paul was writing this, some voice in his head was saying ‘Have all men sinned? What about the time when there was no law? How can you say they sinned because they did not break any law?’ This phrase ‘death spread to all man because (or in that) all men sinned’ has been a controversial point. Some people say that the words ‘in that all have sinned’ should be translated ‘in whom all men have sinned’. What they mean is that as Adam was representative of the human race and as we were ‘in Adams’ loins’ so to speak, when Adam sinned we all sinned and therefore we all die. With this doctrine would come the doctrine that there will be aborted babies, or babies that have died in infancy, that will go to hell. This is also related to the belief of infant baptism. Some believe that when a baby is baptized they become a part of the church and therefore they have some kind of assurance of salvation. But I do not believe this is what the text is saying.

 

How can we know that the text is not saying that when Adam sinned we all sinned? The next verse gives us the clue. Verse thirteen, shows us the reason that all sinned, even those who did not have a law. Though there was no law, sin still existed. Though sin is not imputed without a law, sin will still bring death. This is because sin is not primarily breaking rules. Sin is not killing someone or stealing. Though these are sins, these are not sin itself. Sin is the animal that wants to be satisfied, that lives within us and that tries to enslave us. Sin is at the door and its desire is for you but you must master it. Sin is within us, inherited from Adam. According to verse 14, these people had not sinned in the same way as Adam. They had not gone against an express commandment but death still reigned over them. Paul has already shown us that tribes and peoples who do not have the Law still have God’s law in their consciences, no matter how diluted it is. He showed us this in Romans 2. They may not have sinned in the likeness of Adam but they still sinned at the end of the day and therefore it still warrants the consequence of death.

 

However, Christ undoes what Adam did and because of this, Adam was a type or a picture of who Messiah would be. Their similarity does not lie in what they did but how they acted, or the way they did what they did.

 

Verse 15. 15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

 

Notice that the grace of Jesus and the gift of life are greater than the death given by Adam. This word abound, ‘perisseno,’ means to super abound, to be in excess, enough and to spare, to exceed, over and above. Christ’s grace is greater than Adam’s sin.

 

Look at verse 16. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose through the one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many trespasses resulting in justification.

 

One transgression brought judgment, which resulted in condemnation. Yet from many transgressions the gift (that charisma; that divine deliverance, or that spiritual qualification of righteousness; that free gift) resulted in justification. Paul’s argumentation is very clever, because in it he shows the similarity between Adam and Messiah, especially in their effect on humanity. Yet we know all of humanity was made sinners but not all of humanity will be made righteous. In verse 15, Paul uses the word many. In verse 18, Paul says that condemnation resulted to all men by one act of transgression. Yet by one act of righteousness there resulted justification to all men. That is one reason why I believe that Jesus died for the sins of all men. Justification of life has been rendered to all men, but that is where it stops with many. The difference between the two is that man has succumbed to the sin he has inherited from Adam and so is condemned. Nevertheless, not all accept Christ’s gift of salvation. This does not make Adam’s sin greater than Christ’s sacrifice. The fact that Christ reverses what Adam did is proof enough that Christ is superior to Adam. Jesus’ grace is bigger than any sin, or all the sins that you have and ever will commit. It has to be greater in order to cover them. Nevertheless, grace has a purpose. Quite often, we think that grace is there simply to get us off the hook. Not so! Sin reigns in death. If we want death, sin is the course we should live by. We should hate sin and always recognize that its consequence is death. Grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life. Grace has its strength in righteousness. This same righteousness is revealed in us from faith to faith, as we believe in the Gospel. Do we want righteousness? If we do not want righteousness then we cannot be beneficiaries of God’s grace. Sin reigns in death but Grace reigns through righteousness.

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