- Sermon Notes
Born Again in Christ
In the first chapters of Romans Paul says he’s not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes. It’s
God’s answer to the sinner’s dilemma, “How can an unrighteous sinner have a relationship with the holy and righteous God?”
God’s answer to the sinner’s dilemma is to give righteousness to that sinner as a gift, but it must be received by faith. That makes faith the central
issue, which is why Paul brought us back to Abraham, the father of faith, to show us that it’s always been about faith. But where does faith come
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17. In other words, it’s about hearing the truth, taking hold of the
truth, and abiding in the truth that increases faith.
For example, here is a powerful truth that many have heard, they’ve heard it because Jesus said it; and when they take hold of it and believe it and
abide in it, they’re demonstrating faith; “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John
These words were given by Jesus just a few verses after He also said, “Truly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
These verses are so familiar to some that they just sort of skip over them; “I know this one,” someone might say, and they put this in the category
of, “Things everyone knows.” There are, of course, certain things everyone knows. To quote the famous American philosopher, Jim Croce, “You don’t
tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind; you don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger…”
Faith has everything to do with hearing the truth and understanding that the truth will set you free. God wants us to increase in faith and increase
in our understanding of what He has done for us. God wants us to say, “I get it; I understand, I see how what God has done for me. That’s amazing!
That increases my faith and makes me want to love Him all the more.”
In these verses of Romans 5 God tells us how a sinner can be set free from the condition he was born into. The answer has everything to do with being
The point Paul will make is that we were born in the sin of Adam. We were born selfish and self-centered and that’s what made us sinners to begin with,
but then Paul will explain that though we were born in the sin of Adam, we can be born again in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
The result of being born in the sin of Adam is death, but the result of being born again in the righteousness of Jesus Christ is life. Over and over
Paul will make the comparison between being in Adam and being in Christ.
This is the key to greater faith; when we understand what God has done for us when He gave a sinner the righteousness of Christ so a sinner can have
a relationship with the holy and righteous God.
I. Adam made You a Sinner
- Before you decide that you’ll have a few words for Adam when you see him in heaven, remember that we would all do the same.
- Paul has a lot to say about comparing who we are in Adam and who we are in Christ. That’s why he says in verse 14, “Adam is a type of Him who was to
- In other words, who we are in Adam is a picture of who we are in Christ, although it’s also a picture of opposites. A point Paul makes over and over.
A. You took it and ran with it
- You were born in Adam’s sin, but then you took it and ran with it; you acted it out. You did it yourself.
Illus – My dad was an alcoholic and I received a propensity towards alcohol from him. That’s why I can’t drink, my body doesn’t understand the whole concept of moderation.
- In chapter 4, Paul said that faith is reckoned to us as righteousness. He used an accounting term, “reckoned.” It means that God added His righteousness
to our account as a credit. That’s the power of the gospel.
- But Paul wants us to see that we were born in the sin of Adam and therefore at the moment of our birth, Adam’s sin was added to our account as a debit.
In other words, we were in trouble from the moment we were born.
- We inherited his sin, and therefore we inherited the selfishness and self-centeredness of the sin nature.
Illus – You don’t have to teach a child to be selfish, you don’t have to teach a child to lie; you don’t have to teach a child to throw a temper tantrum.
- In other words, a person sins because he was born a sinner; a person does selfish and self-centered things because he was born selfish and self-centered.
Illus – A sinner is by nature a sinner. A sinner does sinful things. In other words, a dog is a dog, a cat is a cat, a horse is a horse…
Illus – Please let me quote again from the Minnesota Crime Commission that describes it perfectly: Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants, when he wants it – his bottle, his mother’s attention, his playmate’s toy. Deny him these wants, and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which would be murderous, where he not so helpless. He is dirty. He has no morals, no knowledge, and no skills. This means that all children, not just certain children, are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in the self-centered world of his infancy, given free reign to his impulsive actions to satisfy his wants, every child will grew up a criminal, a thief, a killer, and a rapist.
B. Sin and death reign in Adam
- Verse 14 – sin entered through Adam and the result was death, and death spread to all men and reigned because the result of sin is condemnation.
- Remember that there are two types of death;
- Physical death – God said that as a consequence of sin, man would return to the dust from which he was made.
- Spiritual death – separation from God.
Isaiah 59:2, Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
Illus – Adam and God walked together in the cool of the evening, but after Adam sinned, he hid from God.
- In verse 21 Paul says that sin reigns in death.
- In other words, sin has authority; that means that death also has authority, and the Law is no help at all.
- Sin has authority; it becomes the operative force from birth – in other words, selfishness and self-centeredness reign.
Psalm 119:133, Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
- Death has authority; when a person is born in the sin of Adam, death becomes the operative force.
- The world pictures it like an appointment with the Grim Reaper; not an encouraging picture.
- And death reigns in the body. Basically, you’re growing until about 22 and then it’s all downhill from there. You may not know it yet, but
your time’s coming.
- And the Law was no help – verse 20 – the Law came in that the transgression might increase.
Illus – Because we were born in Adam, we have an inborn desire to break the law.
Illus – When first adopted our boys, we wanted to give them healthy food. It didn’t work to make rules that they had to eat it, so we did the opposite…
Romans 7:7-8, I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind.
- Here’s a great verse that summarizes it all…
Romans 7:24, Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
II. Jesus made You a Saint
- You might say, “Wait a minute, that’s taking things too far. I totally got it when you said Adam made me a sinner, but to say I’m a saint? That’s too much. I know my life, I know what I’ve done, and I’m no saint.”
- In the Catholic Church there are four steps to sainthood. First of all, a person must be dead at least five years. A bishop must deem a person worthy
of such consideration, then an official must prove the person lived heroic virtues. Next, a miracle must be acquired through the person’s prayers.
Finally, a person must die as a heroic martyr or a second miracle received by the person’s prayers.
- In the Christian faith, every believer is a saint. You didn’t earn being called a saint, it was given to you by grace, as a gift, and you receive it
by faith. You’re only a saint because God gave you the righteousness of Jesus Christ and took away your sin.
- Your response is to thank Him for it and then to live the way you were made to live in your new birth.
A. Grace and life reign in Christ
- Over and over Paul makes a direct contrast to what we were because we were born in Adam and what we are when we are born again in Christ.
- Sin and death reigned over us in Adam, but grace and life reign over us in Christ – verse 17.
- Question – how do we move from being born in Adam to being born again in Christ?
- Answer – by being baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit.
- The word, “baptized,” makes people think of being baptized in water, but that’s only a picture of a far greater spiritual reality.
1 Corinthians 12:13, For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body (in Christ).
Galatians 3:26-27, You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
- One of the best illustrations of this comes from a recipe for making pickles.
Illus – The Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 BC, wrote that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be dipped (bapto) into boiling water and then “baptized” in the vinegar solution. Baptizing the vegetable produces a permanent change.
- There are a lot of puns that come to mind, but I don’t want to leave a sour taste in your mouth.
Romans 6:1-5 We have been baptized into His death, burial, and resurrection, that we might also walk in newness of life.
- When you were born in Adam’s sin, you took it and ran with it, you acted it out.
- Now that you’re born again in Christ, you’re born into His life and into His righteousness, now take it and run with it, live that out in your life.
- This is why Paul answers an objection he knows people might raise, “Since where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more, are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?” Paul answers the question, “God forbid!”
- You see, some people, when they hear about this abundance of grace that covers all our sin think that it’s cheap grace and so they speak flippantly.
- But there’s nothing cheap about it. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s cheap. It was actually very costly, you just didn’t have to pay for it,
Christ did; He paid for it with His life. Let no one dare call it cheap.
Galatians 2:20-21, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Romans 5:12-21 NASB
the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who
had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of
the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand
the judgment arose from onetransgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in
justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of
the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be
made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin
reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.