Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to take part in a fascinating school trip to Chongqing, China, the largest city on earth by area, with a population of over 30 million. One afternoon, while sitting on the school field watching our student sports leaders teach their Chinese counterparts tag rugby, I noticed white flakes in the air. They were small particles, but so vast in number that the overall effect was just short of fog. Not snow, as this was in the Autumn heat, but pollution. It was inescapable and impossible to breathe without inhaling a good lungful of nastiness! After just three days, all the children and staff in our party had sore throats and chesty coughs and we were glad it was time to travel on to our next destination. I felt for the residents, who had to live permanently under this blanket of poor quality air.
Sin is like pollution. Once it came into the world, bringing death with it, it was inescapable and all people came under its toxic power. This was particularly true once God gave Moses the Law, because the Law highlighted to men what sin was. Before Moses, sin was not counted against the human race because they had no bar against which to measure it, but all were still subject to death.
“Adam was a type (prefigure) of the One who was to come [in reverse, the former destructive, the Latter saving]” Rom 5:14b AMP; so Adam foreshadowed Jesus, the former making everything wrong and the latter putting everything right! The two events are not equal in measure, though. Despite the fact that Adam’s sin caused the fall of the whole of humanity, Jesus ‘free gift’ outweighs Adam’s act of rebellion, not just in terms of the vastly greater number of people who have been, are being and will be affected, but also in the extravagance of its reversal of the original sin. Jesus’ death and resurrection lavished grace, righteousness and justification on us. Through Jesus, we live under the grace of God, as opposed to His wrath. Whereas one transgression brought condemnation in Adam’s sin polluted legacy, Jesus gifted justification even to those who have transgressed multiple times. We are justified – ‘just as if I’d never sinned’. We have been made righteous – right with God – and can approach Him directly, because he sees Jesus in us. How much greater our restoration through Jesus than our desperation through Adam!
The disobedience of Adam which imposed sin and death, was spectacularly countered by the obedience of Jesus which released grace, righteousness, justification and eternal life! What an outrageously generous ‘free gift’ Jesus offers to those who are willing to believe! And all we need to do is take the gift and unwrap it! Do we want to live under the suffocating blanket of sin pollution or breathe the fresh clean air of grace in the name of Jesus?