The Gift of Righteousness Far Surpasses the Trespass—Romans 5:15
"But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!" (Romans 5:15)
In the same way that the world inherited sin on account of Adam, those who believe in Jesus inherit righteousness in the same matter. This is called the Law of Substitution. Paul stresses the importance of this principal in today's passage of scripture by mentioning it five times. Adam brought things from good to bad and Jesus brought things from bad to good, if one is true than the other is true as well. Adam may have brought destruction upon humankind, but Christ brought upon humanity righteousness and grace for everyone who calls upon his name and accepts this free gift.
In life, it is easy to downplay great success and victories by focusing on negative circumstances. We focus on the fall and what Adam did to creation in the garden by disobeying God. However the Apostle Paul reminds us that the result of what Christ accomplished on the cross far surpasses the trespass. Christ's sacrifice and payment for sin was so extravagant that it completely overshadowed the transgression in every way imaginable. The Amplified Bible puts it this way, "But God's free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass..." (Romans 5:15 AMP) The gift couldn't even be measured against the trespass because there was no basis for comparison. The gift overshadowed, outweighed, overcame and outshined it in every way imaginable. One drop of Jesus' blood would have been sufficient to pay the price, but instead it flowed out for us. And so did his love, compassion and grace.
Although we didn't deserve it, this grace benefited all of us. Jesus has completely undone what Adam did. Our sins have been completely paid for and completely forgiven. (Romans 6:10, I Peter 3:18, Hebrews 10:18) As born again believers, we have also been redeemed from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13-14, Romans 3:21-26) and are holy and righteous in God's eyes based solely upon Jesus' complete victory on the cross (Romans 3:22). Today I am so thankful for Jesus' extravagant gift, I am so thankful to know that what he did far surpassed the original trespass and that his gift is free and available for everyone who chooses to believe in him.
Original article published October 10, 2009.