Day 1 of 6 • This day’s reading


It’s Worse Than You Thought

I bet you can relate to this.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15 

It’s like there are two of you. There is a “Here is what I ought to do: I’d be better off if...; I’d be healthier if...; I would be a better person if...” part of you. And then there is another part of you that just does what you should not do.

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Romans 7:18–19

So here’s the question: Why don’t we just do what we’re supposed to do? The apostle Paul offers us an explanation and a solution that we will explore over the next few days.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— Romans 5:12

This is Paul’s explanation as to why we do things we don’t want to do: we were born in Adam, and in Adam there was sin and condemnation, and sin ruled over all of us. When Adam sinned, sin entered the world like a disease. In the next few days, it’s important for us to understand that Paul doesn’t describe sin as just an activity or a verb; it’s a noun that results in verbs. There is sin that results in sinning. He says sin—this thing, this virus, this power, this force—entered the world through one man. 

The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. Romans 5:16

Because we were born in Adam, we were born condemned, but when we are taken out of Adam and placed into Christ, we are given the gift of a right standing with God. We are given the gift of justification, which means we go to heaven when we die. However, the implications of moving from in Adam to in Christ are not just about what happens when you die; it’s about a way of living and a lifestyle here and now.

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! Romans 5:17 

If you understand the implications and the significance of this, you can reign in life. You can reign over the power that seems to overpower you because you were born a condemned sinner in Adam.

But what does he mean “through Christ”? Having been placed into Christ, you have a new mode of operation in this life. It’s possible to live through Christ in a way that overpowers and supersedes what happened to us when we were living through Adam.

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 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 5:18–19

Adam did one thing, and it resulted in condemnation for all that were born in Adam. Jesus, in one act of obedience that mirrors but overpowers the one act of disobedience, has provided a way for us not simply to go to heaven when we die but to live a new kind of life.