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Rescued From Eternal Death Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
April 19, 2021 1:00 am

Rescued From Eternal Death Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 19, 2021 1:00 am

In the garden of Eden, an infection entered humanity. That infection has since spread to every one of us. The infection is sin, which means “missing the mark” of God’s standards, and we are unable to correct or repair this sinful state on our own. The book of Romans teaches us there are only two kinds of people in the world—those in Adam or those in Christ. Which are you?

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. In the Garden of Eden, an infection entered the human race.

That infection has since spread to every last one of us. The infection is sin, which means missing the mark of God's standards. Today, a short history of sin and what God did to save us from its penalty.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, is it true that any sin, big or small, is enough to condemn a person for eternity? First of all, Dave, I want to commend you for likening sin onto an infection that has afflicted the entire human race. You know, people think that the coronavirus is the worst thing that could happen to us, but actually, it's sin. And in answer to your question more specifically, yes, even one small infraction is enough to separate us from God, because God demands perfect righteousness, and we don't have any perfect righteousness. Everything that you and I do is tainted. But thankfully, we're accepted before God, all because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.

And that's why I like the book of Romans so much. You know, the ministry of Running to Win continues in more than 20 different countries of the world, and I'm holding a letter here from someone from Nigeria. I enjoy the messages on running to win. Through your program, I came to know that when I received Jesus Christ, I received a winner. Don't you like that?

Yeah, that's right. When you receive Jesus Christ, you receive a winner. And my prayer is for God to help me and give me His grace and mercy so that I will run to win in Jesus' name. I want you to know that you today, my friend, you participate in testimonies like that.

Have you ever considered becoming an endurance partner, somebody who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts? You want more information, here's what you can do. Go to That's

Click on the endurance partner button, or if you prefer, you can call 1-888-218-9337. Now let us open our Bibles and better understand God's answer to the virus of sin. You know, the Black Death, which is sometimes called the Bubonic Plague, began in China in about 1334, and then it spread to India, came to Russia, and finally Europe. One out of four Europeans died. 60 million people died. And it was a terrible way to die.

Your throat swelled up, you had black blotches all over, and eventually you had a very high fever and a few days later you died. 60 million people. But there is an epidemic, a plague if you please, that is far worse than that that has come to the human race. There is a plague that involves five billion people, and they all have it.

And five billion people have this plague upon them, and in their case, inevitably, in every instance, it is terminal. Of course I'm referring to the whole problem of sin, which has infected the human race and the plague that it brings upon us. And today we're going to be looking at such things as original sin, we're going to be talking about sin and grace, and at the end of this message, I hope that you are ready to sing Amazing Grace in a way that you've not sung it before, because we'll understand not only the doctrine of sin, but the doctrine of grace. Some people have said that Romans chapter 5, and that's the passage that I'm in today, Romans chapter 5 beginning at verse 12, and that's on page 942, if for some strange reason you forgot to bring your Bible to church. Some people have said that this is one of the most difficult passages in the book of Romans. Its general teaching is very clear even though there are some phrases that Paul uses that could give us some time and some time to think about and to give us some pause.

But today we're going to just hop into the deep end of the swimming pool. I want you to pay attention as you shut off your cell phones, your pagers, your fax machines, and all the other gadgets that we bring with us wherever we go today, and let's simply concentrate on what God has said, and in the process we're going to receive blessed enlightenment. Romans chapter 5, and I'm beginning at verse 12. Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. For sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who is to come. First of all, let's get clear that Adam's sin is our sin.

What happened in the garden was simply this. Adam opened the door and sin came into the world. You'll notice that Paul doesn't say that as a result of Adam, sin came into existence. He doesn't say that because sin was previously in existence because of Satan. But because of Adam, sin entered into the world.

Adam opened the door, sin came in, and then its twin that always accompanies it also entered, and that is death, and you have the universality of death in the human race. Now you might say, well, why is Adam blamed for this? Wasn't it Eve who participated and took of the fruit? Yes, it was Eve, but remember, number one, she was supposed to be a helper to Adam, and he was given ultimate responsibility for her and for the creation. And number two, it does say, in 1 Timothy chapter 2, that Eve was genuinely deceived. When the serpent came to her, she actually thought that the serpent's revelation superseded the revelation of God. Adam was not deceived.

He ate knowingly. It was a specific act of disobedience. Now what happened as a result of the sin is, of course, you know the story. Suddenly there was blaming, there was hiding, Cain kills Abel, and the whole dysfunctional family of the human race all has its beginning right there. But in addition to that, they died.

God says, in the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die. Now they died spiritually. Immediately they were cut off from God. Imagine God coming to them, and we don't know what form God came to them, but the scripture says that they walked with God in the cool of the day.

Imagine that, having a chat with God. But after they sinned, they were expelled from the garden. Fellowship with God was cut off. It would be eventually restored, but they ended up spiritually dead. Now in addition to that, physically they began to die right away.

Now that took a little while. They lived a number of years, number of years that we consider to be a large number of years, but the process of death had begun its relentless journey, and Adam and Eve died. Now you'll notice what the Apostle Paul says is, through one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin for all sinned. In Greek, the tense is what is known as an erist. It means at a point in time, all sinned in Adam. And you'll notice it goes on, and it says the very same thing. Verse 16, and the free gift is not like the result of one man's sin, for the judgment following one man's trespass brought condemnation.

Over and over again, you can see the word one here. Through one man, sin entered. Through one man, death entered the human race, and people die. The Black Death did not increase the number of people who died. They would have to die anyway. What it did is it speeded up the process, but death is inevitable, as C.S. Lewis is fond apparently of saying, the statistics on death are very impressive.

It's one on one. Talked to my mother yesterday evening, as I do every Saturday. I was amazed at how strong her voice is, but she's longing for heaven and longing for death. Today, by the way, today is her 103rd birthday. And so, I assured her based on Romans chapter five, that she would someday die, even though she thinks that God has misplaced her address.

But eventually, it would happen. My mother's a very generous person, but also yesterday, I heard of a very wealthy person who died and was very, very stingy with his money. What a way to go. You remember that story of the man who was very wealthy and just loved money and absolutely insisted that he be buried with all of it. He made his wife promise over and over again that in the casket, he was to die with all of his money.

And eventually, he died. And as the casket was being closed, she took an envelope and she slipped it into the casket. And her friend said, are you going to keep your promise? You promised over and over again that you were going to have all of his money buried with him. And she said, absolutely, I'm keeping my promise. She said, in the envelope is a check for all of it.

I really, I think that was a very wise woman. Now when the Apostle Paul goes on, and this is one of those confusing verses that we won't spend a lot of time on, he says in verse 14, yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even those who had, whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam. Here's what's going on in the text. Paul is saying that Adam was given a very specific command, do not eat. And then after that, you do not have the law given. Now you have revelations to Abraham and so forth, but the law came with Moses and it increased sin because now people had more knowledge. So what Paul is saying is death reigned even from Adam to Moses, even though they didn't have the 10 commandments, death still reigned, even though their sin was not as great as it would have been if they had had the 10 commandments.

Bottom line. What Paul is saying is the reason that people died is because they were in Adam when he sinned and the scripture says that in Adam, all die. Could I just digress on a subject that Paul doesn't deal with here and that is infant salvation and the salvation of children. I'm thinking of this because yesterday on the news, I heard a terrible tragedy that I will not relate to you except to say that a little four-year-old boy did not die of natural causes. He was put to death in a horrid way.

It's so difficult for me to get my mind around that. I don't even like to think of what that little boy was thinking before he died so viciously. My only consolation is I believe that he is in heaven today, beholding the face of his heavenly father. But we have to ask ourselves the question, how can children be saved since they are born under condemnation also? That's why they die. Infants die because they are born under the condemnation of Adam's sin. And the word condemnation occurs a number of times here. Verse 16, later on in another verse, verse 18, it talks about the condemnation that passes to all people. Why are they saved? The only explanation we can give is that God takes them out of Adam and puts them into Jesus Christ because they have not yet had an opportunity to be morally responsible.

And so God does that. And we don't know when the age of accountability is. People ask, when is the age of accountability?

The Bible doesn't speak to it, and very wisely so, because after all, that age may vary from person to person. There are people who perhaps are mentally impaired, and they never really attain to any kind of culpability or knowledge. And so God will deal with each differently, and we must leave it with him.

But I have no doubt based on other scriptures that children who die go to be with the Lord, even though they are born as sinners. Now I have to deal with a question that is in your mind. It should be in your mind if you're following this. And the question is this. Is it really fair that we should be considered to be guilty for Adam's sin, that we are born guilty?

Let me answer that question by reflecting a little bit. We could look at it legally and say that, yes, there are times when, let's suppose that you were born into a family with much debt. Well, you know, born into that family, you would inherit that debt. And you and I inherited Adam's debt.

Let's look at it even biologically or medically, if we can put it that way. When Adam was there in the garden eating, we were all there. After all, if he and Eve had died before they chose to have children, there'd be no human race. I mean, in a sense, potentially all of us were in Adam as our great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather all the way back to that period of time.

And then let's look at it personally. Let's suppose that God said, I'm going to give each person an individual opportunity to either believe or not believe or obey or not obey. Well, what happened then is almost all of us, I'm sure, would follow Adam and sin because he is representative of the human race. But furthermore, there would be really no way for God to redeem all of us.

Jesus would have to die for us individually. Now, what's happening in the fifth chapter of Romans is this. Adam is a representative man who represented us there in the garden, and Jesus is now the representative man who represents us in the new creation of redemption that God is bringing about. And just like Adam, one person represented the human race.

In the very same way, Jesus Christ, one person, can now represent all of us. To get clear about it, and I want you to follow me on this, the angels who fell, who are demons today, there's no possibility that they can be redeemed for a number of reasons, but the major one is this. They have no sacrifice for their sin, and they fell individually. Angels do not have cousins and uncles and grandparents and so forth.

They were individually created. They were not connected in a human family or a family of any kind. Therefore, in order for redemption to take place, there'd have to be a special sacrifice for this angel, this angel, this angel. And we know, by the way, that Jesus, it says in Hebrews, did not take upon himself the form of an angel when he died, but died as a man. So he only died for humanity. But the point is this, that just as Adam is the head of one race, Jesus is the head of another. We are condemned as Adam as our representative, but follow carefully. Just as we get the blame for Adam's sin, we get the credit for Jesus Christ's righteous obedience. Now, you might be tempted to say that it's not fair, but it's either not fair or unfair anymore that we should be condemned for Adam's sin as it is fair or unfair that we should receive the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. As you frequently have heard me say from this platform, Jesus got what he didn't deserve, namely our sin, and we got what we didn't deserve, namely his gift of righteousness.

And one man died for us all as a representative man because we are all connected together as human beings in the human family. So we are taken out of Adam and we are placed into Christ through faith. Now, what Paul emphasizes in this passage, and it's important that you look at it, is the fact that Jesus really outdoes Adam.

You'll notice the phrase of much more that takes place. For example, verse 15, just one man's transgression, as it brought transgressions to all of us, much more have the grace of God and the free gift of grace through that one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for many. You'll notice in verse 17, death reigned through one man. Much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through one man, Jesus Christ. And he'll go on to say, as I'll point out in a moment, that Jesus trumps Adam. Jesus trumps Adam.

Well, my dear friend, this is Pastor Luther. At the beginning of this program, we emphasize the fact that sin is like a virus that has inflicted the entire human race. And the Apostle Paul says that through one man, sin entered into the world and death by sin because all have sinned. And that's why we die. But the good news of the gospel is how Jesus Christ entered into our world that we might not be permanently diseased, so to speak. He came to rescue us.

And that's the message that Running to Win has proclaimed throughout all these many, many years. And I want to thank the many of you who have continued to pray for us to support this ministry. Some of you might want to think about becoming an endurance partner.

That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Of course, you need more information. Here's what you do. Go to Let me give that to you again,

Click on the endurance partner button. That's where the information is. Or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. Let's get this message of Jesus Christ to the whole world. Time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. It's tough to handle your past since you can't undo what you've already done. Carter is a Running to Win listener who wants to know this, Pastor Lutzer. Is there a bad decision we can make that God cannot forgive?

Well, Carter, in a single word, the answer is no. Now, at this point, many people get confused because they know something about the unpardonable sin. And there is an unpardonable sin. Jesus spoke about it. But I believe that the unpardonable sin is really a sin that the unconverted, they are the ones who commit that sin. I think in context, Jesus was speaking about the nation Israel that rejected him.

And there comes a time in a nation's life, as in an individual's life, where they simply cross a line. They've hardened their heart. The Holy Spirit of God withdraws. So from that standpoint, their sin is unpardonable. But if you are listening today, whether it is you or anyone else, always remember this, that if you desire forgiveness, that shows that the Holy Spirit of God is working in your life. And if you desire forgiveness, forgiveness is available. I find your question very interesting because this afternoon, I'm going to be meeting with a young man who sold his soul to the devil. And now, he wants to take the bargain back. So I'm going to walk him through counseling.

We're going to find out what happened. Certainly, he has gone into the devil's territory, even though I do believe he's a genuine Christian, making a very terrible decision. But even there, I will extend to him God's grace, but also God's power to break terrible decisions, even covenants with the evil one. There's always grace as long as you are alive.

There is grace of forgiveness, cleansing, and deliverance. Some wise counsel, as always, from Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear one of your questions answered, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or, call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. There is a way to recover from the damage done by Adam's transgression. Next time, more on how the sacrifice of Jesus saves us from that awful penalty. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-30 11:02:57 / 2023-11-30 11:11:23 / 8

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