Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 6
May 23, 2006
Lincolnton, N.C.

<222> Thesis: The distinctiveness of the free-gift. Introduction: In our last study we attempted to follow Paul's thinking as he set about to enable us to understand the distinctiveness of the "grace" gift. We saw that the "offence" of Adam was countered by the "grace" of God. This means that God acted on our behalf. Perhaps the greatest problem we have at the closing of the "Age of Grace" is in not seeing "grace" as "actual divine action on our behalf". We tend to view it as a "divine attitude" of significant tolerance so that we do not have to be overly concerned about "sinning". But it was never presented to produce that particular notion. The "problem" we have is not "ultimately" having to pay for our sins so that the "solution" we get is a divine attitude in which our sins are no big deal. This is, indeed, a huge "problem", but it is not the "ultimate problem". The "ultimate problem" we have is "sinning". Even if we never have to "ultimately pay for them", our sins still cost us. That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but the fact is that the Bible never teaches that a person can sin with impunity. It does teach that Justice will never have to be satisfied by the one who sins, yet trusts in Christ. But it does not teach that sin produces the same benefit as righteousness does. Though there is no imposition of active penalty upon the sinner who trusts in Christ as a matter of "Justice", there is a significant loss of benefit that occurs by every sin that a believer commits. There is no reward for sin; there is only loss. Therefore, our greatest need is to get a handle on how we "stop sinning" and "begin to do righteousness". There will come a day when we no longer have to even think about it. Just as we do not have to "try" to do evil because we have the impact of Adam upon us, there will be a day when we no longer have to "try" to do righteousness because the full impact of Christ upon us will be ours. But, we are not there yet and what we possess when we do get there is directly tied to what the active grace of God produces both in, and through, us in this present time. Thus, it is crucial for us to understand "grace" as far more than a "benign divine tolerance". So, this evening we are going to move a bit further into Paul's explanation of the "difference" between the "type" and the "Antitype". We have looked at, at least a part of, the "difference" between the "offence" and the "abounding gift" as we looked into 5:15. The point of that verse is that the grace of both the Father and Christ has "abounded" so that "death" is not going to be the end result for those who receive the "abounding gift". Now we are going to turn our attention to the second "difference" between Adam and Christ as it is expressed in 5:16. The point of this verse is that the "abounding gift" is far superior to the impact of Adam's sin.