For many Christians around the world the question “Is Jesus Enough?” would be met with alarm, surprise, and some would liken such a question to blaspheme. Why would I pose such a question you ask? Recently I was one of many who made comments on a blog post at Jay Guin’s OneinJesus blog.
Finally, after a series of comments by several people, when I pressed the question in response to some of the respondents teaching of a works based salvation, two or three of the men finally admitted in print that in their view, No, Jesus was not enough! Even knowing how far off base they are theologically I was shocked to see them finally admit it.
Some months ago I bookmarked a text at biblia.com. I was reading some Scripture online as is my custom and this text really spoke to me in a profound way.
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and But the free gift abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I hope you will carefully read this passage and allow it to sink in. While it is staggeringly profound and meaningful it is at the same time not terribly complicated. When I read a great passage such as this one I like to organize it in my thoughts by trying to see what it says in a systematic way.
First, it is always a good idea to ask “What is the ‘therefore’ there for? Looking back to the beginning of chapter 5 you’ll see that it begins with the word “therefore”, taking the reader back to chapter 4. And in Romans 4 we learn how Abraham was justified by faith and not by what he did. What he did confirmed that his faith was genuine. And in the same way we are made righteous by believing what God has said about the person and work of Jesus. Our common salvation depends on faith so that it may be by grace and not earned.
Now in the previous section of chapter 5 there are some very important truths that I wish every Christian knew. Unfortunately, not many Christian leaders know these things, at least they don’t practice them.
For example, verse 9 informs us that we have already been justified and yet will be saved in the future. We have, like Abraham, already been counted righteous but we will in the future be saved from God’s wrath against sin.
Since, therefore,we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. Romans 5:9
Next we learn that we were actually reconciled to God long before we were born. It was the body of Jesus offered for our sins that reconciled us, and that body (and holy life) was enough!
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:10
Now, against this backdrop let’s look at verses 12-21
First there is the Problem of sin. It came through Adam and spread to every person born after him. Men are guilty sinners, not because of Adam’s sin, but because of their own sinning. However, the proclivity, or the nature to sin comes with the human body. All people sin and sin is against God and offends him deeply.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man…vs 12
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men…vs 18
The Problem of sin is its Penalty. It is a capital crime to offend God by sinning. Every sinner must die. That’s just the way it is. These verses make this principle crystal clear.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. vs 12
Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses. vs 14 & 15a
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man.. vs 17
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men. vs 18a
Condemned! Every person who sins like Adam, (that’s all of us) are on death row. Each of us is condemned and helpless to do anything to reverse the curse of the coming wrath of God. But, this is not the end of the story. It is bad news! But, good news is coming!
There has been a Payment for our sins. Jesus died “for us”, in our place. Now, having died for us, fully paying the owed debt, he now gives a “free gift”. Forgiveness of sins and eternal life is a gift. It is not given based on how good you are, or how faithful you are, but on God’s grace.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and But the free gift abounded for many vs 15
the free gift following many trespasses brought justification…vs 16
much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ vs 17
…so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. vs 19b
How can anyone miss this? Over and over it says “free gift”! Jesus has done all that needs to be done to secure the salvation of all who believe. Men do not “become” righteous, they are “made” righteous. Just as sure as the result of Adam’s disobedience all die, even so by Jesus’ obedience all in him will live forever.
One last Bible verse says it well, and with it I close this post. Jesus is enough!
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23