Sunday, March 13, 2011
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just 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.
Romans 5: 12-19
Books, movements, and causes often suggest that one person can make a difference in the world. It’s a powerful motivational statement. Many significant changes have indeed happened because of the actions of one person. In the scripture reading in Romans we read about two people who made a difference.
The first person to make a difference was Adam when sin came into the world. Like a chain of dominoes, Adam’s action became the first fall that caused all following him to fall. No one in the chain can escape the collapse because of the original fall.
However, even greater was the difference Jesus Christ made. One man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all (v.18) Because Jesus obeyed God and died for our sins, we are freed from the guilt by association with the human race.
Our effect on this world will not be of the magnitude of Jesus Christ or Adam, but we too can make a difference. It is up to us to choose what our impact will be. We can choose what we do and how we will go about doing it. What will you choose? Will you choose to follow the example of toppling others over, or will you stand up to the opportunity to make this world a better place? It doesn’t have to be something big or grand. A single kind word to someone can make their day better, but a hurtful comment can knock a person down. As John Fitzgerald Kennedy said, “One person can make a difference and every person should try.”
Thank you, God, for teaching me that there are consequences for my actions. I confess that I am in bondage to sin, but I give thanks for the opportunities to make choices which will help others. Help me to see where I can help and act the way Jesus would. Amen.
Marcy Miller is the Program Coordinator for the ACTS Doctor of Ministry in Preaching program. She is a mother and grandmother who taught elementary school for 20 years.