ADVENT DEVOTIONAL FOR 2017
REIGNING WITH CHRIST
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world. . . . The gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:12, 16-17
Human beings are not, by nature, beings who reign with God. God is love, and any one who would share God’s life, not to mention His government, must love as He loved. The very expression “I’m only human” implies a general rebellion on our part against that love. For that situation to change we cannot hope to lift ourselves to that love by our own bootstraps. Instead, that Love must come down to us and lift us to Itself. And the Love must come down low indeed.
FJ HUEGEL: Some years ago (probably in the 1950’s) I was teaching a class in New Testament theology. I found the students dead set, as it were, against this Biblical concept. That all men should be involved in Adam’s sin and condemnation and death, seemed to them not only folly but a terrible miscarriage of justice. How could such a doctrine have divine sanction? However, I had little difficulty in clearing the matter up for them. A question was sufficient. They saw that it springs from the very nature of the universe, so to speak. I simply said: What about Hitler’s sin? He was only one, but they saw that his personal folly brought tears and pain and death to millions of innocent men, women, and children of the nations of the world. That is to say, there are those who are in such key positions and whose responsibility is such that an error on their part immediately, by an unescapable law of involvement or inter-relations, if you wish to call it that, takes millions if not the nations themselves into the same position with all that it implies.
Now into this picture of infinite pain and loss because of Adam’s sin which involved the entire race in the evil of rebellion against God, steps Another to constitute Himself the Federal (Uniting) Head of the Race. He is the Last Adam, for there will be no other. It is none other than the Son of God, or as it is in 1 Timothy 3:16. “God manifest in the flesh.” It had to be a miserable stable, a manger, the lowest of the low, the poorest of the poor, so that in all the world there might not be found a son of Adam to poor and so wretched that he could think that this One, Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, the Promised Redeemer, had not stood, as it were, in his shoes to share his lot.
PRAYER: Dear God, you sent your Beloved Son into poverty and degradation to bring your Love to us. By making Him one of us, you opened the possibility that we might be one with You. Thank you for that gift. In Jesus’s precious name. Amen.