2/5/23 – Greater Than My Sin (Vaughn Stafford)


Sermon: Greater than My Sin       (2/5/23)                                                      

Series: Grace is Greater


Main Scripture: Romans 5:12-21 ESV 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— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 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 was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


This is the Word of God…

It is always funny to me how quickly we see a new born and try to identify which parent or grandparent they most look like. We want to identify their family characteristics.

When it comes to looks, attitudes, giftings, and weaknesses we say, “Oh, that is so you or that is so me.” Today, I want to identify things about us that connect us to our ancestors.

Often, we say, “I have good news and I have bad news. Which do you want to hear first?” Usually, in my family, we say, “Go ahead. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.”

So, today, I am going to start with the bad news because…

Main Idea: The good news is such good news because the bad news is such bad news.

Death through one man-Adam (Romans 1:18-3:20)

Romans 5:12 ESV Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so deathspread to all men because all sinned.

Romans 5:15a ESV For if many died through one man’s trespass

Romans 5:16a ESV For the judgment following the one trespass brought condemnation

Romans 5:17a ESV For if, because of one man’s trespassdeath reigned

Romans 5:18a ESV Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men

Romans 5:19a ESV For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners 

It is clear from reading this list of trespasses, disobedience, and condemnation that humanity’s bent toward selfishness, sinfulness, brokenness, and death is universal and it comes from our distant Great, great, great, etc. grandfather Adam. You will notice in today’s Scripture that Eve gets a pass. According to Paul, we only identify Adam as the one through whom our bent toward sin comes. Everyone who is a descendent of Adam (which is all of humanity) is a recipient of his selfish sinful nature and is born into a sinful disposition.

As precious as children are (and they are). They do not need to be taught to be selfish and focus on their own needs over the needs of everyone else around them.

You let a child get hungry, tired, or have a dirty diaper for any amount of time and they will let you know that they have a priority need that quickly becomes a life-altering crisis for everyone in earshot. They move from hungry to hangry in 6.2 seconds. (Some adults do that too)

They do not need to be taught to want what they want and to take even what isn’t their own. (Again, some adults do that too)


God calls His mature children to walk in selfless, instant, and consistent obedience. When we obey part of the time or after some time we are not walking in obedience, we are walking in convenience. 


Our bent toward disobedience is related to our common human experience as descendants of Adam, but remember, I also said there was good news. Death came through one man-Adam, to be sure, but there is also available…


Life through one man-Jesus (Romans 3:21-5:11)

Romans 5:16b ESV the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.

Romans 5:17b ESV much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:18b ESV So one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

Romans 5:19b ESV So by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Adam took a gift that wasn’t His by disobedience of the Father, where Jesus gave a gift of free grace that we didn’t deserve in obedience to the Father.

Is your life characterized as taking gifts from or giving gifts to others?

A few centuries before Christ a man named Alexander conquered almost all the known world using military strength, cleverness, and a bit of diplomacy. The story is told that Alexander and a small company of soldiers approached a strongly fortified walled city. Alexander, standing outside the walls, raised his voice and demanded to see the king. When the king arrived, Alexander insisted that the king surrender the city and its inhabitants to Alexander and his little band of fighting men.

The king laughed, “Why should I surrender to you? You can’t do us any harm!” But Alexander offered to give the king a demonstration. He ordered his men to line up single file and start marching. He marched them straight toward a sheer cliff.

The townspeople gathered on the wall and watched in shocked silence as, one by one, Alexander’s soldiers marched without hesitation right off the cliff to their deaths! After ten soldiers died, Alexander ordered the rest of the men to return to his side. The townspeople and the king immediately surrendered to Alexander the Great. They realized that if a few men were actually willing to commit suicide at the command of this dynamic leader, then nothing could stop his eventual victory.

Are you willing to be as obedient to the ruler of the universe, Jesus Christ, as those soldiers were to Alexander? Are you as dedicated and committed? Think how much power Christ could have in our area with just a portion of such commitment.

In addition to writing today’s Scriptures to the church of Rome Paul wrote a letter to the church at Philippi. In his letter Paul wrote Philippians 2:8 which says, “And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Hope in Jesus abounds with grace

Romans 5:15 ESV But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for many.

Romans 5:20-21 ESV Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Here is the entire point of today’s message. The good news is such good news because the bad news is such bad news. The bad news is that we are all descendents of Adam. The good news is that by confessing our sins and asking Jesus into our hearts we can be adopted into the family of God through a life-transforming relationship with Jesus. The good news of being a heir of Christ’s righteousness is in contrast to the inheritance we received as descendants of the first man-Adam. As descendants of Adam, we all owe a debt we could never pay that stays in the family line. When we are adopted into the family of God through a relationship with Jesus we not only have a benevolent Jesus that pays our sin debt, but we have an inheritance that is eternal.

Imagine if you found that every human who has your last name owes a tax debt that is 10 million dollars each, but then you find out that if you are adopted into your president’s family there is a priceless trust fund that is valued at trillions and is shared by everyone in that family tree.

Christians believe that every person has access to what Christ’s obedience opened to every person, but we do not believe, as the universalists, that everyone is impacted equally by Christ’s free gift of grace.

If you want to receive the benefit of Christ’s free gift of grace you have to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Every human being is a sinful descendent of Adam, but only those who choose to be adopted into God’s family through a relationship with Jesus have access to the priceless inheritance offered through Jesus alone, but those who enter into His family find that their entire sin debt is completely wiped clean and they have a trust fund that covers all their future debts as well. In essence, wherever sin has abounded, God’s grace abounds all the more. The is no problem so big that God cannot solve it and there is debt so high that God cannot pay it.

Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden brought death and condemnation to every human, but Jesus’ obedience in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross brought life and justification to every human being that calls upon the name of the Lord. 

Adam’s priority was “My will over thy will”, but Jesus’ priority was “Thy will over my will.” Will you be one who follows in the ways of selfish Adam or selfless Jesus?

A small boy was consistently late coming home from school. His parents warned him one day that he must be home on time that afternoon or suffer the consequences, but nevertheless, he arrived later than ever. His mother met him at the door and said nothing. His father met him in the living room and said nothing.

At dinner that night, the boy looked at his plate. There was a slice of bread and a glass of water. He looked at his father’s full plate and then at his father, but his father remained silent. The boy was crushed. The father waited for the full impact to sink in, then quietly took the boy’s plate and placed it in front of himself. He took his own plate of meat and potatoes, put it in front of the boy, and smiled at his son. When that boy grew up, he said, “All my life I’ve known what God is like by what my father did that night.” Our sin is serious business. God’s grace is a costly gift.

It all comes down to this…Jesus paid a debt He didn’t owe to cover a debt we could never pay. The question is whether or not we will receive the abounding gift He has offered.

Let us pray…

Jesus thank you for paying our debt on the cross and offering us a free, but costly gift.

Thank you for seeing our fallen, broken nature and for making a way for us to be in right relationship with you.

Thank you for being obedient to the point of death so we would have the opportunity to live eternally with You.

Thank you for knowing us better, and loving us better, than anyone else ever could.

Thank you for paying a debt You didn’t owe to cover a debt we could never pay.

Help us to be consistently and immediately obedient rather than merely conveniently obedient.

Challenge Questions:

Where have you experienced God’s grace?

How is your life helping others abound in grace?

Who is God calling you to share the good news of what Jesus has done in you?