In verse 8, Paul says that "Christ died for us" and in verse 9 he explains the result of this act. Those who trust in Jesus for reconciliation with God are "justified" as a result of Christ's death. The meaning of this Greek word communicates that their moral record is given a clean slate in the eyes of God. Believers are also saved from God's eventual judgment of humanity. This is because Jesus not only died to pay the penalty for our sin, but lives again and intercedes for us, an eternal "reminder" to God that our sins have been paid for completely. (v.9-10) In other words, our justification is an ongoing effect sustained by Christ. We don't need to be "re-justified" again and again. Any who genuinely trust in Christ for justification are given a clean slate for all past and future sins.
In addition, God does not grudgingly withhold his wrath from believers. We are in a position to celebrate this reconciliation with God because of what Jesus has done. God doesn't enjoy punishing anyone (2 Peter 3:9) and celebrates our restored relationship to him! (v.11) Believers have no reason to ever fear God's judgment and should live lives in grateful celebration of what God has done for them!
In verse 12, Paul begins a statement that he picks up again in verses 18 and 19 after a bit of a rabbit trail.
Paul teaches that sin entered the world through Adam, the one given responsibility over the Garden Of Eden and the man from whom every other human comes. It is because of Adam's sin that every human is born a sinner and is also destined to die. (v.12)
Even before God's formal law had been given in the Torah, sin still existed in the world, although people were not held accountable to God to the same degree. (v.13) As it was, though, sin still brought about death as the consequence promised by God for disobedience. (Gen. 2:17) Everyone who came after Adam inherited a corrupted, sinful nature and mortality.
The all-encompassing effect that Adam's actions had on humanity was mirrored by Christ, but with some fundamental differences. Primarily, the gift of justification from Christ is vastly more effective in saving than Adam's sin was in corrupting. Adam's one sin sent humanity in a downward spiral and placed all under the condemnation of God. But even after thousands of years and countless sins, each as corrupt and infectious as the single sin that started it all, Christ's single act of obedience to death on the cross was enough to "clean the slate" of every human in history that will ever place their trust in him. (v.14-16 and 18-19)
As a result of Adam's sin, death has a powerful hold over humanity. But those who trust in Christ for their justification will experience the favor of God in an even more powerful way as they live and reign in cooperation and relationship with God in eternity. (v.17, 2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 22:5)
Next Week- The purpose of the Old Testament law, and the "death" of Christians.
Coffee House Question- Currently, humans all have sinful tendencies and limited lifespans. What do you think the world might look like if all humans currently living were completely sinless and lived forever?