The Safest Place in the World

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.
— Romans 5:19, ESV

Nothing is more certain than death and taxes. There is surely an alarming logic to this well-worn truism. April comes round every year, and we are born into death's waiting hands. Try as we all will, we cannot evade its dark embrace forever. On average, 70 times a minute, our heart stops. It might not restart. We live our lives 7 seconds away from unconsciousness, and 3 minutes away from eternity.  You understand those figures aren't guarantees: log-trucks, Great-White sharks, and thermonuclear weapons can all get the job done a good deal quicker!

Why do we die? Ultimately, we die because of God's faithfulness to Adam (Romans 5:12). As one of my Hebrew professors liked to say, "Men, God is faithful, and it will kill you!" Adam brought sin, and sin brings death. It's as simple as that. He is our representative before God. His choice seals our earthly fate. There is nothing we can do to work our way out of it. One thing is certain, unless Christ's coming interrupts our earthly course, the shadow of death will one day cross our path. Ready or not, our heart will not restart forever. 

To many in our culture, such a bargain sounds distinctively unfair. Why do we have to pay for Adam's actions? Wouldn't it be better if we all answered before God as individuals? No, it most certainly would not! Please do not try to renegotiate the deal on my behalf, thank you very  much! For while covenantal collectivism certainly has its downsides, it also has its ups. After all, the gospel works exactly the same way in reverse.

“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.”
— Romans 5:19, ESV

Do you see? God has designed the remedy to be just as certain as the curse. It works by the same inevitable, inescapable logic.

Once you are in Christ, there is nothing (let that word sink into your soul this morning!) -- NOTHING you can do to work your way (to sin our way) out of the destiny Christ has worked for you. The deal has been sealed for you by Another. For the Christian, heaven is now more certain than the grave. Notice the last two lines of Toplady's famous hymn,

My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heaven
— Augustus Montague Toplady

Did you hear that? Those who are in heaven might be happier than you, but they are not safer than you! With complete confidence, you Christian can sing,

Upon a Life I have not lived,
Upon a Death I did not die,
Another’s Life; Another’s Death,
I stake my whole eternity.

Not on the tears which I have shed,
Not on the sorrows I have known,
Another’s tears; Another’s griefs,
On these I rest, on these alone.
— Horatius Bonar

To the pious mind, such logic sounds risky -- to the carnal mind, it might even sound delicious! Any self-respecting sin-lover might well think to himself, "If heaven is more certain than the grave, let's not waste any more time living for God. Let's have it both ways -- hell on earth and heaven forever when we die."

Such thinking, however, betrays a profound misunderstanding of Easter morning gospel power. This is Paul's whole point in Romans 6. For the union that connects us to Christ connects us to all of Christ -- not just his sin-atoning, guilt-removing, shame-absorbing death, but also His sin-killing, heart-renewing, and heaven-preparing resurrection! It's a package deal. You can't have the one without also having the other.

As you begin your weekend: Fix your minds upon Jesus Christ. The Second Adam has gained for you more than the first Adam lost. Once He is yours, He is yours forever. Heaven is more certain than the grave, and for the same reason. Such certainty is best experienced as we pursue a life of holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord!

Christ Covenant Church