Campfire Scripture: Uncommon scriptures, simple truth… For pondering over a warm campfire.
Author, Date and Context:
Paul of Tarsus, the Jewish Roman citizen who saw the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, wrote the epistle to the Romans. No one seriously denies this. Within the text are indicators that it was written around A.D. 56 – towards the end of Paul’s third missionary journey.
Roman’s is the quintessential book of doctrinal teaching in the NT. One of the longest epistles, it is thorough and eloquent. Paul was not the founder of the church in Rome and never got to see it. As a result he wrote this letter specifically to provide them with all the necessary doctrines and fundamental Christian truths to ensure their correct teachings. Roman’s is a real work of art.
The above verse sets off a passage demonstrating how sin entered through Adam and so, through Christ sin is dealt with.
What I Reckon:
This passage (Romans 5:12-21) begins with the verse above which explains emphatically that all men are sinners. Adam was the first, and the intangible sin nature entered into the world through him. But because sin was in the world, all men were now endowed with a sinful nature.
Sin brings death. Death is not a biological necessity. I study genetics and so far as I know, we do not yet know exactly why we die, or age. There are a lot of contributing factors, one of which is genetic decay. One professor of mine said that mutations occur in our mitochondrial DNA so quickly that every person, if they outlived all other sickness, would invariably die from some mitochondrial genetic disease eventually. Genetic decay, in principle, could not have been part of the original creation. At least not to the extent and severity that we observe today.
This and other potential causes of death, are a direct result of our sinful nature. We are all sinners, and so we all die.
Sin did not necessarily cause death, physically. Death is both a punishment from God for sin, and it is an act of mercy too.
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. – Genesis 3:22-24
If it were not for death, we would live eternally in our sin, in this fallen state. Physical death also marks the point of no return for either the believer or unbeliever.
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment – Hebrews 9:27
We all have one life. For some it is shorter than others, but compared to eternity, all lives are a dot. Within this dot you have the opportunity to accept Christ’s forgiveness.
Don’t waste it.
All Campfire Scripture passages are taken from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise stated.
John MacArthur, 2006, The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (1995 edition).