Costs More, Takes Longer, Lasts Forever (Lent 15-2013)

In the movie, Baby Mama, Tina Fey’s character, Kate Holbrook, is investigating surrogacy with Chaffee Bicknell,

Chaffee Bicknell: Our surrogacy fee is $100,000.  

Kate Holbrook: It costs more to have someone born than to have someone killed!  

Chaffee Bicknell: It takes longer.

Interesting, isn’t it, that a throwaway humor line can carry such truth?

Today’s lesson comes from Romans 5:12-21 and contrasts the legacy of Adam (sin and death) with the work of Christ (righteousness and life). Giving ourselves a legacy of death cost little compared to the immeasurably high cost of giving us life again.

In Genesis 6:5-7, we read this sad statement:

The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth– men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air– for I am grieved that I have made them.”

Adam’s legacy reflected wickedness–amplified with each generation–as we carried not only the pollutant of Adam’s sin in our nature, but we also added to it by rebellious acts of our own.  Every inclination…only evil…all the time—that, my friends, is what Adam accomplished with his human work of rebellion.

Even a flood couldn’t wash our nature clean.  But it did buy humanity some time.

Paul offers this contrast between Adam and Jesus Christ: 

“Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the 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.  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.  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.” (Romans 5:16-19, NIV)

In one foolish moment in the Garden of Eden, death arrived and it has infected every human being ever since.  But in one glorious moment on the Cross, death was conquered and Jesus’ death provided a cure for human sin that brings believers to eternal life.  Death could limit mortal life, cutting it short.  But Jesus showed us that while it costs more and it takes longer to give someone eternal life, this gift of His righteousness far surpasses the death and stain of Adam’s sin.  Bringing life to God’s people Costs More, Takes Longer, but it Lasts Forever.

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Give it up for Lent: Short-term thinking about eternity

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For futher study:

  1.  Have you ever thought that you might have done things differently than Adam and Eve?  How does the eternal work of Christ display God’s love far more than any individual, day-by-day decision that Adam and Eve could have made?
  2. In The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, he writes “‘Return, ye children of men’ (Psalm 90:3) was the word spoken at the Fall by which God decreed the death of every man, and no added word has He needed to speak.  The sad procession of mankind across the face of the earth from birth to the grave is proof that His original word was enough.”  If God isn’t real and if Adam didn’t sin, resulting in his death, how do we explain how this earth is populated by things that are in the process of dying?
  3. God promised He would never again flood the earth (Genesis 9:11).  Jesus was never “Plan B.”  Why did God destroy the earth once by a flood if Jesus was coming?  Read Matthew 24:38-44.  How does it set a pattern for faith?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 1, 2013

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