15 But the free gift of Christ isn’t like Adam’s failure. If many people died through what one person did wrong, God’s grace is multiplied even more for many people with the gift—of the one person Jesus Christ—that comes through grace. 16 The gift isn’t like the consequences of one person’s sin. The judgment that came from one person’s sin led to punishment, but the free gift that came out of many failures led to the verdict of acquittal. 17 If death ruled because of one person’s failure, those who receive the multiplied grace and the gift of righteousness will even more certainly rule in life through the one person Jesus Christ.
now the righteous requirements necessary for life are met for everyone
through the righteous act of one person, just as judgment fell on
everyone through the failure of one person. 19 Many
people were made righteous through the obedience of one person, just as
many people were made sinners through the disobedience of one person.
It is almost too amazing to think that we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ! What does that really mean? Let's look at the passage above to really see the meaning:
What is the free gift? Christ is the gift, given for free from God's hand! What is being compared to the free gift of Christ here? Adam's failure. So we are going to compare two things in this passage: Adam's sin and Christ our gift.
What was the big thing that occurred because of Adam's sin? Death - many people died. Ever since the fall in the garden through Adam's disobedience, death entered the world and people have died. Each person that has been born descended from Adam has eventually died; even though they didn't sin by taking the fruit of the tree like he did, they still suffered the result of what he did: death. As the head of or representative of the human race, he passed down that result or effect to every person.
But what is compared with Adam's sin and its far-reaching effect of death? The abundance of God's grace and the much farther-reaching effect of the gift of Christ! Sin had a deathly effect on the human race, but God's grace was bigger than that effect, His love was more powerful than the sin, the gift of His Son's life was more effective and powerful than sin ever could be! Sin is no match for God's grace and Jesus' life!!
A free gift is different from a deserved penalty/consequence for sin. What came from Adam's sin? Judgment that led to punishment. But what came from the grace springing forth even in the midst of humanity's many failures since the time of Adam? The free gift of Christ that led to a verdict of acquittal! Let's think about this: sin has a penalty - the judgment that comes when someone sins is 'guilty' and the penalty or punishment is 'death.' Yet despite all our sins and how great they were, God's grace was greater still, and without us deserving it, He sent Jesus as a gift to us, and His work for us led to a verdict on us of 'acquitted/righteous' and the result is 'life'!
Because of the one sin of Adam, what did death do? It ruled people's lives. But those who receive grace and the gift of Jesus' righteousness will do what? Rather than death ruling over them, THEY will reign in life! When Adam sinned, judgment of 'guilty, wrong, deserving punishment and condemnation' fell on every person; but because of Jesus' righteous act, the verdict of 'righteous, meeting the righteous requirements for life' comes upon us!
Through the failure of one person, what were we made? Sinners. Through the obedience of One Person, what were we made? Righteous! Did we take the fruit in the Garden? No, but we still suffered the results, because Adam was the representative of all of us, and what he did came to us and affected us. Because of his wrongdoing, we were all made sinners, judged guilty, and ruled by death. But then God's grace swept down like a mighty flood, far more powerful and far-reaching than Adam's failure had been. He in grace sent Jesus as a pure gift. Did we do anything to make that happen? No, except that we were stuck in the ruin of sin! Jesus lived a perfect life and did one amazing act of obedience: He died on the cross, the righteous for the unrighteous! He took all our sins away! Did we do any obedient act to help out Jesus? No, He did it ALL with no help from us, and He was completely successful!
Without our merit, without our deserving, without our having to do anything right, before we were even born and therefore able to do anything at all, Jesus came and gave us His own life and righteousness as a totally free gift - now THAT'S grace! It didn't depend on us at all. This gift of righteousness is a perfect righteousness, brought to us by a perfect sacrifice. What Jesus does is perfect. He completely took away our sin and completely gave us His righteousness. There's nothing deficient in His work. And it is complete for all time, a permanent fix. He took away your sin for all time, and He gave you a permanent state of righteousness! You won't go in and out of this righteousness when your behavior or even your faith level goes up and down - why? Because it's HIS perfect righteousness, not your own wavering, shaky righteousness, that you now have; moreover, it is yours because of HIS work that is perfect, finished, and unchangeable, not your imperfect, deficient work! Since everything is based on Christ and HIS perfection, rather than YOU and your imperfection, it makes everything sure and certain forever!
Thus, you are home free! You have been put in a state of perfect righteousness, or being right with God, that is permanent and unalterable. All because of Jesus, wow!