Ever make a mess? I don’t mean a moral mess or a mess in the kitchen necessarily. I’m thinking of having broken something valuable or meaningful to someone. I remember breaking, as a child, a doll that was lying around the house. It could not be fixed and was thrown out. But suppose there had been a person who could fix a broken doll and we took the toy to him. Suppose, too, that when I picked up the doll, it was not repaired but remade – better than it had been before.
Paul is writing about a mess – the biggest mess ever. Adam – our first parent – sinned big time. As a result we were thrown out of Paradise and caused to suffer, to die, and remain caught in the mess forever. Moses’ response to the mess was the Law, but that only defined sin, not cleaned up the mess. Jesus, writes Paul, cleaned up the mess. He countered Adam’s disobedience with his own perfect obedience. With Jesus, God did more than clean up the mess, though, he restores us to where we were before Adam sinned. In other words, he remakes the doll.
Most people read this section as being about “Justification by Faith” and move on. Actually, it is about who is part of Abraham’s family. The point of Abraham’s covenant was to undo Adam’s sin, and this covenant is fulfilled, completed, brought to completion, in Jesus through his faithfulness to God’s will. Therefore those persons who trust in Jesus and rely on his faithfulness are part of Adam’s family – the family God promised him in the covenant.
To quote Charles Wesley: He breaks the Power of cancelled sin, He sets the prisoner free. His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood avails for me (Oh For a Thousand Tongues to Sing).
For us the passage means we are members of Abraham’s family if we live by faith in the Lord Jesus, which means trusting in Jesus’ faithfulness to God’s will makes us heirs of Abraham and heirs of all Gods promises to him.
We no longer have to wallow in Adam’s mess. We may still fall short of God’s glory but are deemed righteous because of our trust in Jesus. We are reconciled to God (the word ‘reconciled’ can be translated ‘hugged by’) and are considered his children.
We are the doll remade – a new type of creature. For this, we praise God.
— George Burnett