The last few weeks I’ve been reading through the book of Romans very meticulously. For me, reading and chewing on small bits of scripture for longer periods of time has been so rewarding. The latest treasure I unearthed from Romans was found in chapter 5 verse 16. Let’s see what we can learn about the character of God from this verse.
In context, verses 15-20 Paul contrasts the consequence of Adam’s “trespass” and the results of those who receive Christ’s “free gift” to the believers in Rome. These verses show that Adam’s trespass was (and is) absolutely devastating to the human race, but Christ’s free gift through His death and resurrection is the means by which we will be able to live and reign forever.
Romans 5:16 – And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s (Adam’s) sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.
The first half of this verse reveals 2 things about the character of God. 1) God judges and condemns. It’s plain as day in the verse. 2) God absolutely detests and abhors sin and has to do something about it. In the previous verses it explains that the judgement and condemnation is applied to all men and women who have and ever will live. And this is because one man sinned one time! Have you sat and thought about this for a second? Every single person you’ve read or heard about throughout history and every single person who will live until Jesus returns has been and will be judged and condemned by God. (This includes you)
But there is a second half to this verse. We learn things about the character of God. 1) God is abundantly merciful and bestows such mercy independently of us. If you read carefully you will notice Paul says the free gift followed many trespasses (not just one, but many trespasses). Let me set the scene for you – you and I have just come before the judgement seat of God, failed, and were condemned. Ball game over. We now have an eternity of condemnation to look forward to right? Wrong. God followed this condemnation up by freely sending His son Jesus to die and rise so that we could live. God didn’t have to do that! John 17:5 tells us that God and Jesus had glory with one another before the world existed. 2) God is the one in charge of justifying us, and did so through Jesus Christ. In other words, God set us right with him. We contribute nothing to this process. We do not worship and believe in a God who holds us responsible for connecting with and searching for Him. Romans 3:10-18 tells us that is utterly impossible. Instead, we worship and have faith in a God who searches and pursues us.
It’s amazing that we can dig up these significant and fundamental truths about God in just one verse. I suggest you go digging around the Bible some more – especially in Romans. You will be guaranteed to dig up treasures that you never thought possible.