Lesson 2 – God’s Intervening Grace

God’s Intervening Grace 

Lesson Aim:     To show how God’s free gift gives Christians freedom from the problems suffered as a result of Adam’s offense.

Scripture:         Rom. 5:12-21.


This could be considered the second part of our previous lesson because we are using the same scriptures.  However, we will find it to be a very different lesson.  Remember, Paul is presenting Adam as “a type of Him who was to come.”  V. 14.  In our last lesson we studied the fall of man through Adam’s offense.  Now we will consider God’s grace through “Him who was to come.” To the people of the Old Testament it was the Messiah in the Hebrew language.  It is the Christ in the Greek language of the New Testament.  

Paul presents an unusual comparison in that there really is no comparison except in the difference.   This is why we will find Paul saying, “But the free gift is not like the transgression.” V. 15.  He repeats the same type of opposite contrast in verse 16.  There is really nothing with which to compare the grace of God “in Christ.”

God has always abounded to mankind’s need when they fell. The animal sacrifice and the law of faith were established immediately after Adam and Eve sinned.  The result of these graces was a partial reconciliation with promises of something better.  However, there never was an age in which God has poured out His grace as He has in these last days.  His grace is so complete for God, the Father, to socialize with His children “in Christ;” He dwells with faithful Christians by His Holy Spirit.  Please read Romans 8:1-17.   


In our scripture text we will find Paul pushing the point about God’s grace abounding to every problem “in Adam.”  He makes this point so strong he may have become concerned some might want to sin in order to receive more grace.  He asked, “What shall we say then?  Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?”  Rom. 6:1.

Let us start with verse 15 of our text and follow the momentum Paul built up in this great message on grace.  We will see God intervening in man’s problem with unmerited favor (grace).  It is true many died because of the transgression of one.  It is true all maturing people are destined to become sinners and die spiritually; however, God intervened with a very special grace gift.  He mentions this gift in verse 15 but does not name it.

In verse 16, he acknowledges the fact; condemnation came because of one single act.  Many transgressions came after this act because all people gained the knowledge of good and evil.  This knowledge functions with a mature conscience.  When a person does not do what he or she knows is the good, they will hold mind/conscience court on themselves.  They condemn themselves as a guilty sinner (Rom. 2:14, 15).  However, God intervened and gave this very special gift for Christians. 

It is not until verse 17 that Paul reveals the gift.  Once again he affirms the abundance of unmerited favors and the gift resulting in justification.  The gift is nothing less than a gift of God’s own righteousness.  Man had been counted as righteous before but never with so many accompanying graces.  This gift of righteousness “in Christ” and all of the other blessings we find in this Roman letter allows us to reign in life.  The great improvement in the doctrine of justification by faith was that the blood of Jesus became the atoning sacrifice in the place of animal blood (Heb. 10:1-3).  Jesus, our High Priest, uses His own blood as Christians’ atoning sacrifice.  The “in Christ” realm became the realm in which God and mankind can have fellowship.  Jesus’ atoning sacrifice provides a perpetual spiritual “mercy seat” for faithful Christians to live on while in this world.  His blood has the power to cleanse our conscience of guilt (Heb. 9:14).    

Much is said in our text about reigning powers.  Death reigned from Adam to Moses (V.14).   Sin reigns over those who are separated from God (V. 21).  God’s unmerited favors reign through righteousness “in Christ.”  Because of God’s gift of righteousness, grace now rules in Christians’ lives.  Because of the reign of grace we can maintain “self-control.”  I Thess. 5:4-8.  Verse 18 reminds us that it took one act of righteousness on the part of Jesus to give us justification of life.  This allowed God, by His own law, to establish the “in Christ” realm in this world and thereby we are justified to live a reconciled life with God.  This fellowship begins right here in this world by the presence of the Holy Spirit (II Cor. 13:14).

We learned in Romans chapter one, mankind suppressed the truth about God and was given over to the lust of their hearts.  In other words, the Adam nature dominated the spiritual man until sin took over the “old self.”  On the other hand, God’s gift of righteousness allows us to come back to God and reverse the process (Eph 4:22-24).  The inner man can now reign in life and control Christians’ potential for lust because we are still “in Adam.”

Verse 19 vividly points out our need of God’s intervening help.  We were made sinners because we got the knowledge of good and evil (Rom. 5:12).  If it had been possible to always choose good then some people could have been saved by their own strength.  Since this was not the case and since we remain in this same vulnerable position, we need to be made righteous by some power other than our own.  We have been born again “in Christ.”  We still have this knowledge in a fleshly body.  There is no way we can be righteous by our own strength; therefore, God counts us as righteous so we can reign in life.

Law came in and sin became rampant but this did not slow God’s grace (Rom. 7:13).  The more desperate man’s trouble became the more grace God made available for us.  It should be remembered that all men were created to dwell with God in eternity as His children (Rom. 8:28-30).  Anything that would stop God’s purpose from happening in our lives has been met with merciful grace from God.  Man could not stop being a sinner and a sinner cannot be placed under Law, so God’s grace freed us from the Law of Moses.

The last verse of chapter five leaves nothing more to say about God’s intentions toward those who walk by faith “in Christ.”  By our eye of faith, we see favors dominating our lives.  Even tribulations are favors from God to help us develop our character.  God’s favor rests on the righteous.  God’s wrath is upon the sinners.  God has given us His righteousness as a free gift by grace!   God is counting us as righteous. 

Let our prayer be for faith so God can dominate our lives with His grace.  Thanks be to God for His faithfulness to His righteousness so we can have His favors.  He freely gives us these favors so that we can reign in life now and live eternally as sons of God.  Let Jesus be our Lord.

Questions for Discussion

  1. How is Adam a type of Christ?
  2. What is unusual about the comparison made by Paul in our scripture text?
  3. What is unique about these last days and God’s grace?
  4. What point does Paul push forward for every problem mankind received “in Adam?”
  5. Why did Paul make the statement in Romans 6:1?
  6. How many acts of sin did it take to bring God’s condemnation on mankind?
  7. Why did many transgressions follow Adam’s act of transgression?
  8. Name the very special gift Paul built up and finally revealed in our text.
  9. What does this gift enable Christians to do?
  10. List the reigning powers from our text and discuss each one.

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