February 26, 2023   Romans 5:12-19

What is a major theme you hear when you listen to the news? What is a major theme you see when you look at the world? When you look at your own life? Is there a theme?

One common theme is this – problems. When you watch the news, the theme is problems. Disasters of all sorts. Terrorism upon helpless people. Hunger, Disease, Wars, Problems of all sorts right there before us. When you look at your own life, you often see problems – perhaps they are financial problems, family or personal problems, health problems.

There are two things that no one wants to speak about Politics and Death.  So what is the biggest of all the problems we have? It’s the one problem that no one likes to talk about -–the problem of death. Death is really everyone’s problem. Death doesn’t care who you are – regardless of your job, your physical condition, your family responsibilities, the number of people who depend on you – death doesn’t care about those things. It’s a problem that everyone has, regardless of who they are.

What is the death rate in the U.S., compared to Afghanistan? It’s the same - 100%. Death doesn’t care where you live, or how healthy or technological you are.

Why doesn’t anyone want to talk about the problem of death? Two reasons, I believe. 

Reason number one: because there is no solution. No one will ever come up with a cure for death, a way to prevent it. 

Another reason people don’t want to talk about death, is because no one really knows for sure what happens next. 

Some question is there really a heaven? 

Is there really a hell? 

Or, is it like in the movies or TV– after you die you become a ghost and float around the earth?

Or are you reincarnated and become a cat, a cow or a tree? 

There is great confusion, there is no solution, and because of that, no one wants to talk about it.

We live in a culture of denial. We pretend that death doesn’t exist, but it does. Rather than live in denial, let’s face this problem head-on this morning. Let’s look in the Bible, and as we do, you might be surprised to find that there is a solution to the problem of death.

Our text for this morning acknowledges that death is a problem In verse 12, it says that “death comes to all men.” In verse 14, it says that “death reigns.” But the Bible also tells us the cause of death. Perhaps if we knew the cause, we could find the solution. In verse 12, it says, “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.” Sin is ultimately the cause of death. And it all began with one man – Adam.

In the Old Testament, we see the biggest disaster in the history of the world – the fall into sin. Adam failed to obey God. And when that happened, sin entered the world. I don’t think people really understand the magnitude of what happened that day in the Garden of Eden.

When Adam sinned, thousands of years ago, it was as though he had opened a package he shouldn’t have opened. When he disobeyed, sin entered his body, entered the world, and affected everything and everybody. Billions and billions of people have been affected by that one moment in the Garden of Eden. 

From that moment on, people were born with the problem of sin. There is a test you can perform on yourself to see if you’ve been infected. Let’s do that this morning. 

Here it is – ask yourself – have I made any mistakes in the last week? Have I been selfish, even for a moment? Have I had any unkind thoughts? If you are honest, and answer yes to those questions, then you have been infected with the deadly disease of sin.

And physical death is the least of our problems – Verse 18 tells us, “The result of one trespass was condemnation for all men.” When Adam sinned, he not only brought sin and physical death into the world. He also brought condemnation. What happens after a person dies? Here we are told, “Condemnation.” In the Bible, “condemnation” means hell – eternal punishment for sin.

My friends, this problem is bigger than any of the financial or personal or health problems that you might have. The problem of death and eternal condemnation. Spiritually, we are living at ground zero, we are suffering the effects of Adam’s sin from many year’s ago. Do you see why most people don’t like to talk about this subject? Where is the solution?

We find it right here. God intervenes. God is not some sort of aloof, faraway God that doesn’t care. He comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Christ, our God, looks down at the world. He sees our problem. He loves us too much to let us suffer and die eternally. And so Christ our God steps into our world as a human being. He visits our ground zero as one of us. He sees how we all have been infected by Adam’s sin. And he offers a solution, a way out, a way for you and me to escape. And here it is…

He faces the Devil head-on, as we see in our Gospel lesson for this morning. He does what Adam and Eve couldn’t do, and what we have failed to do all our lives. He resists temptation, as our Savior. And then he takes upon himself all of our sins and the sins of the whole world.

Jesus came into our world, and took all of the sins of the world and placed them on himself. And then he suffered the consequences.  That condemnation that is described here – that’s what Jesus suffered when he went to the cross. Instead of us being condemned for our sins after we die, Jesus is condemned instead.

Instead of us being condemned eternally for our sins, Jesus is condemned instead.  That’s the solution to the problem of sin and death! We read: “Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification for all men.” Because of what Jesus did, you are justified in the eyes of God. God looks at you and says, “Not guilty!”

Adam’s sin was the worst mistake in human history. But what Jesus did – his death on the cross – that is the best thing that has ever happened in human history. The single most important event in the history of the world – right here – Jesus taking on our sin and dying on the cross. How many people are affected by this? Billions. Our text says: “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.” God offers this solution to all people. Because of one man, Jesus Christ, and what he did, all who believe are made righteous in the eyes of God.

Your sins have been taken away.  You no longer have to wonder about the purpose of your life. Your purpose is to help others in this world, to help others to find Christ, that they too might have the same comfort that you have.   You no longer have to feel despair that life is helpless and hopeless, that you’re on your own. You can feel peace and confidence, because you know that God will strengthen you and guide you. He has proven this to you by his death on the cross for your sins.  He gets rid of your sin. He even promises you that on Judgment Day, you will stand on the winner’s platform with him.  May God bless you, as you continue to walk with your Savior throughout our Lenten Journey. Amen.