THEME: Through the fall of Adam, all have died to God, but in First Sunday in Lent
the cross of Jesus Christ, there is grace and forgiveness Our Savior Lutheran Church
available to all mankind. Pagosa Springs, Colorado
TITLE: “The Curse and the Gift” February 12, 2002
(As we read God’s Word, the Bible, we come quickly to understand that there are two main teachings contained in it’s holy pages. The first is the teaching of God’s unyielding, unrelenting, unforgiving Law. The second is the graciousness of God expressed through the promised Messiah who demands nothing from us whatsoever and who gives us the forgiveness of sins, and life everlasting with Him in heaven freely and without merit. Our text this morning contains both of these teachings in the most clear of language. First there is the curse of sin, which is death. It happens to all mankind because we are all one flesh and our first parents disobedience brought us all face-to-face with the unrelenting and predictable results of lawbreaking: The result of sin is death! Death for all of us…every last one! As we remembered on Wednesday evening we are dust and to dust we shall return. Then there is the sweetness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
WE ARE CURSED BECAUSE OF ONE MAN…THE FIRST ADAM.
Think for a moment of all the potential of humanity contained in Adam.
He and Eve were all that we would ever be:
Within Adam and Eve rested all we would ever be physically.
Adam is the Father of all races.
Adam is the prototype of physical strength.
Within Adam and Eve rested all that we would ever be intellectually.
Adam was the possesser of all knowledge.
He was no “cave man” but the best humanity would ever be.
Within Adam and Eve rested all that we would ever be spiritually.
Adam was the perfect spiritual man at one with God in every way
Here too, we see humanity at its spiritual penultimate.
All of us are the result of Adam’s flesh and as such we are corporately one flesh with him.
He recognized this reality when he first beheld Eve. (Gen. 2:22-23)
Surely too, as we have all experienced, we recognize our corporate humanity when we see our own children born.
What belongs to human flesh belongs to us all!
humanity is corporate in Adam, so too is our sin.
Listen to the clarity of St. Paul. (v. 12)
Not one single human being is exempted from the righteous curse placed on Adam.
Those who deny the reality of original sin will have grave difficulties with this passage.
Sin and death are universal because in Adam’s sin we were all included.
who did not have the Law of Moses were held accountable and hence,
they died, as do we all.
To this very
day, we shudder when we see ourselves in the light of God’s holy Law.
We marvel at our own lawlessness:
Why do we do what we do not want to do?
Why are we so incredibly ornery?
Why do we so easily surrender to temptation?
Why is evil more appealing than the good?
answer is, and can only be, original sin – the curse of the
corporate human family!
WE ARE SAVED
BECAUSE OF ONE MAN…THE SECOND ADAM JESUS CHRIST!
baptism, Jesus is propelled into the desert wilderness for the very
purpose of being tempted by the Devil.
Satan knows, this Promised One is the one on whom the fate of mankind rests and he must do all in his evil power to repeat the First Adam’s mistake.
He knows if this One man succeeds is keeping the Law, those imprisoned by sin will be set free!
Here the wiles of the evil one will be brought to maximum force against this one who is the beloved Son of the Father.
And here, the evil one will utterly fail!
And while will
Satan fail? Because he is
no match for the Son of God!
Here is a man who can stand against the devil.
He can stand because He is the Son of the Most High God and will not surrender to temptation.
Here is a righteousness that cannot be broken or torn or dented or even scratched!
Not even He seeming defeat on a cross of execution can turn Christ’s head away from His mission to reconcile the fallen corporate humanity to the Father.
Not even the agony of suffocation, nor the pain of hell, nor the sting of death would dissuade this One from the rescue of the human race from its curse!
ILLUS: Imagine if you can the audible sound of a man falling off a
terribly high cliff. Now,
even though it may be painful to comprehend, multiply that sound by the
billions of humans who have fallen of the unclimbable cliff of
humanities corporate sin.
Now realize the reality of what St. Paul writes. (vv. 15-19)
The sin of the one man plummets all of humanity off the cliff of sin and death.
The verdict is issued: “Guilty…Lost…Condemned!”
No hope, no way for humanity to redeem itself!
the act of the one man, Jesus the Christ, we are redeemed!
To be redeemed is to be “bought back”.
We were in the bondage of slavery to sin, but we have been redeemed!
The price of divinity’s life breath and blood was the cost!
The penalty of death and hell has been rendered by the One who did not deserve it!
And we (all of humanity) have been corporately acquitted of our sentence.
The execution we faced and deserved is no longer ours, for Christ has endured it for us.
The Law keeping we could not achieve has been achieved on our behalf.
The death sentence we deserved has been commuted and we shall live!
How, then, can
such grace be known? Through
the Word and Sacraments that bring life!
God’s Holy Spirit speaks to our stony hearts and wooden souls to break down our resistance to Him.
Through His Word He takes the scales from our eyes and we can see and know Him.
Through the waters of Holy Baptism, His grace is poured out in our lives and the formerly indelible stain of our sins is no more!
Through the Sacrament of the Altar, He gives us to eat and drink of the very means by which He has redeemed us!
All of it, every last bit of it…is His doing! His Grace! His Spirit! His Mercy! His calling! His preserving!
the name of the New Adam! Let all
of humanity know that our curse is ended and our salvation is assured in Christ
Jesus! He again makes us one in Him
as the First Adam was in the beginning. Here
is the answer we must have and here is the only answer God has given!
Thank God that Jesus has come! In
His precious name. Amen.
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