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Daily Devotional | Right and Wrong - What the Bible Says About Sin and Righteousness. - Street Sign with arrows. Today in the Word September 2022 graphics

Daily Devotional | One Righteous Act


When a teacher punishes the entire class for something one student did, it seems unfair to us. We believe that only the guilty should be punished. Because of this, some people object to the Bible’s teaching that “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people” (Rom. 5:12). What they miss is the critical detail mentioned in the last part of the verse: “because all sinned.”

The Bible’s teaching is not merely that we were declared sinners because Adam sinned. It is that we sinned in Adam. Adam stood in our place, and we were so identified with him that his sin became our sin. It might also be said that as a true representative, Adam did what we would have done if we had been there in person. God’s decision to reckon all people to be sinners based on Adam’s disobedience was not ultimately about assigning guilt. The end game was redemption.

The fact that guilt passed on to everyone by the disobedience of one person meant that righteousness could also come to all through one person. In this way, Adam became “a pattern of the one to come” (v. 14). By allowing Adam’s sin to pass on to all humanity, God was setting up an exchange. It would be one for one. Adam’s sin for Christ’s righteousness. They both serve the same function as representatives but with opposite effects. The result of Jesus’ “one righteous act” far surpasses the effect of Adam’s sin (v. 18). Not only do the many receive righteousness through the one, but through “God’s abundant provision of grace” and “the gift of righteousness” they can “reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (v. 17).

>> Every person must choose between the two. We can either remain in death or choose the gift of life that comes only through Jesus Christ. Which is true of you? Have you chosen life or death?

Pray with Us

Father, today we choose bondage to You over bondage to sin. You have offered us abundant life and an eternal, tailor-made home. Forgive us for our sins and give us the life You have promised.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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