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The Power of One (Romans 5)



Romans 5 opens with a beautiful statement from the Apostle Paul. He states, “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Often, we seek peace in this life. We seek it from family, friends, and loved ones. We seek it from hobbies, vocations, and even vacations. These things may very well bring about a type of comfort that is endearing. But to have peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ is the only peace that exceeds past the grave; thus, peace with God exceeds life itself. It is something that all of humanity should strive to attain.


Paul continues by informing us that just as we rejoice in the hope of God, we should also rejoice in our tribulations. This biblical teaching feels counterintuitive to most of us. It doesn’t feel natural to glory in suffering. It usually feels more natural to ask God to take away our suffering. We, like Jesus, often ask God to take this cup of suffering away from us.


But here Paul tells us that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and that character produces hope. And hope will not put us to shame (Romans 5:5). If we observe those who came before us in the faith, we see that sufferings ultimately leads to hope in God just as the Apostle Paul states.


The disciples endured more hardships than most of us will ever see in our entire lives. They were stoned, ridiculed, persecuted, and eventually killed. Yet, their sufferings taught them how to persevere. Their sufferings built their character and taught them to be more like Jesus. And their sufferings taught them how to wholeheartedly lean on their only hope, which was their hope in God through Jesus Christ.


So, today, although we might not remember to do so initially, we should glorify God when we are suffering because that suffering will only cause us to hope in God. As David wrote in Psalm 28:7 while he suffered through his own trials, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”


We should praise God for the hope we receive by way of sufferings. Paul says that hope does not put us to shame. I liken this statement to courting or dating. If someone believed that their date would show up for a planned outing, but that person doesn’t come, then their hope becomes shattered. Their hope for that person showing up for them turns into shame, and maybe even embarrassment due to being stood up.


But Paul confirms that our hope in God will not lead to embarrassment. We can trust that God will show up, and that our hope in Him will not lead to shame. We should thank God for Jesus’s sacrifice because if it wasn’t for us being justified and saved from God’s wrath, we would still be enemies of God. But because of the sacrifice, we are reconciled with God and our hope in Him is a hope that we can glory in.


 

Paul then explains an intriguing concept about the power of one. He explains that sin entered the world through one man, Adam. We all know the story. The serpent enticed Eve to desire what God forbad. She succumbed to her forbidden desire and offered Adam to succumb to what was forbidden as well. And he did. Thus, mankind fell into a continual fallen state.


That sin committed by one man lasted for centuries upon centuries. The impact that one man had on the entire world was colossal … but not in a good way. Men have worked by the sweat of their brow and women have travailed in painful childbirth since the fall of one man. Having the knowledge of good and evil destroyed mankind because having the knowledge of evil has given us the option to choose to do evil.


And many people opt to do evil rather than good. I imagine that the sin that came into the earth (and still remains in the earth) from Adam’s one act of disobedience is a displeasing aroma that rises into God’s nostrils—an aroma that would make God turn his face away from us… a scent so pungent that it would cause God to separate himself from us. And per Isaiah 59:2, that is exactly what sin does. Sin separates us from God. It reads, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you."


Adam’s one act of disobedience caused so much turmoil; and yet, Jesus’s one act of obedience brought salvation to the entire world. Paul states “for just as through disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous”.


When we have faith in God through Jesus, when we accept and believe in his sacrificial atonement, we are counted as righteous, and our sins are forgiven. And when our sins are forgiven, even though we are still in a fallen state, God can turn his face back towards us because when he sees us, he sees Christ. Additionally, when we like Paul, spread the aroma of the knowledge of Christ everywhere, we send a pleasing aroma into the nostrils of God. “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15).  


The disobedience of one man ruined mankind, but the love and obedience of another saved it. If Adam was only a man and he made such a huge impact on the earth, I wonder what impact you and I can have on the earth if we were to walk in obedience? Better yet, what impact can an entire body of believers make on the world if we choose to truly follow God?


The power of one man shook up the world. We see throughout scriptures what one person can do. We have read about how David took down thousands, we have read how Elijah prayed and brought down fire from heaven, we have read about how Esther aided in saving her people, and we are currently reading how Paul aided in the salvation of many.


If you will allow it, I pray that God will use you to positively impact the earth by the power He has instilled in you through his Son, Jesus Christ. Remember, Christ said in John 14:12 that whoever believes in Him will do greater works than He. There is a power that God has placed in all of us to make an impact for his kingdom.


The power of one exists and it is strong. May God guide you and show you what his intentions for you are. May you powerfully impact those around you while giving praises to God for sending the One who changed the world for us, so that you might change the world for others. May God bless you and keep you is my prayer.


 

Quin Arrington is a wife, mother, and author with Christian books available on Amazon at www.amazon.com/author/quinarrington

Thank you for your time and have a wonderful new year!



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