Romans: Day 11

Death through Adam and Life through Christ

by

Today's Text: Romans 5:12-21, Genesis 3:17-19, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22

Scripture Reading: Romans 5:12-21, Genesis 3:17-19, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22

Sometimes, the weight of living this life just gets to us. It feels sticky and scratchy, less graceful and more gritty. We wander into and out of seasons that leave us asking where God is in the middle of grief or loss or emptiness.

A few weeks ago, I lost my grandfather slowly and suddenly. He was tired one day and hospitalized the next. Not three weeks later, he was gone.

In those days between admitting him to the hospital and him meeting Jesus, I couldn’t seem to rectify the fact that what was happening felt so foreign and yet so expected. Death is a terrible reality that we live with, an awful and haunting sort of event that wrecks us. But, as we learn early on, it’s inevitable: death is a part of life.

One night, as I was adjusting his oxygen mask, my fingers combed through his hair, damp with sweat because his breathing was so labored. It reminded me of my nieces waking from a nap, their fine hair damp and sticking to their foreheads. And then I thought of my grandfather as a young boy, running around, playing and sweaty. His mother must have pushed his hair off his forehead, just as I was doing now.

Later, after he was gone, a friend would remark to me, “You know, we labor into this world and we really labor out of it, too.”

One evening around dusk, I pulled him up to a sitting position, and together we shuffled over to a chair by the window. I sat in front of him, asking question after question about his life. The vesper light caught his eyes as he told me about a career of flying planes all around the world for the Navy. We both knew things were drawing to a close. Still, in that moment, I sensed a very real peace. We both did. It was as if we both understood that our bodies may break down, but Christ has given us life that will carry on for the rest of eternity.

Part of me couldn’t believe his earthly life was coming to an end. But another part of me knew better: this is what happens. Sometimes, we live so deeply rooted in our fallen, fragile reality that we forget there is another, better, truer one.

For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift which comes through the grace of the one man Jesus Christ overflowed to the many.
- Romans 5:15

When I’m in the throes of hospital visits and errands and trying to make the best of every moment, I can forget the truth. Because of Jesus, life is more than survival or death. It is eternal (Romans 5:20-21).

These days since my grandfather’s death, I’ve been thinking about how, as a Christian, I live a life marked by beautiful disagreement. Even when it seems death is the only option, the life and light of Christ finds a way to break through. Even when 21 shots are fired and a flag is folded graveside, there is still hope. Even as we watched the setting sun one last time together, we saw the beauty in the darkness.

Even in death, grace reigns.

SRT-ROMANS-instagram11

Melissa Zaldivar is a social in the world of academics and an academic in the world of socials. Ever the Enneagram Six, she likes to dream big, talk herself out of it, and then just do the thing already. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Bible/Theology as well as a Master’s in Theology. Her passions include eating Jimmy John’s sandwiches, showing people pictures of her nieces, and nerding out over biblical languages. If you ever need to know anything about obscure Puritanical American history or NASA, she’s your girl.

  • Lydia Romanin

    Wow, this was a touching and powerful post. @Melissa, thank you for your words that echoed the Truth I know in my heart, but have difficulty verbalizing. I was moved to tears by your poignant description of your last moments with grandpa. How true that sentence you wrote, ” Sometimes, we live so deeply rooted in our fallen, fragile reality that we forget there is another, better, truer one.” We live to die and somehow even though we know it in our heads, it is truly expected, yet foreign. The feelings that come along with it, the thoughts that come along with it. All new when it comes the first time. Thank you Jesus for being acquainted with death so that we have hope beyond the grave!

  • Both of my grandpas are dead, and neither one died a believer in Christs salvation. For me it was/is sometimes hard to understand why God wouldn’t save them, why “grace wouldn’t abound” to them? However, I know that as hard as it is for me to grasp, even in their deaths they hated God and he is still glorified through His perfect and righteous judgement that falls on them. It makes me all the more grateful for my undeserved and certainly unlikely salvation. Even in the deaths of unsaved loved ones God is still good and he is still glorified.

    • Laura Carlton

      Thank you for this….”God is still glorified through His perfect and righteous judgement”…..it helps!

  • Your words truly soothed a weary heart tonight. My grandpa passed away at the beginning of this month, and though we knew it was coming, I’ve been struggling with it greatly. Thank you for this reminder that light and grace still shine through in our darkest moments, whether we choose to believe it or not. Grace really does win.

  • Absolutely beautiful

  • I woke up to a call from my mom telling me that my grandmother passed away early this morning. It was unexpected and it cut deep into my heart. I got behind on my Romans devotional but put off catching up today because I had the sinking feeling that the reason I got behind was because Jesus knew I need this one on this day, and I didn’t want to face it. I’ve struggled today with the fact that we were going to visit them next month, and how I wished she could have lived just a little bit longer, but also know that Heaven is a much better place for her. I can’t sleep, and was lying here thinking about how sorrow and joy often walk hand-in-hand…the truth of which is so prevalent to me at this moment, so I decided to go ahead and open my SRT app and turns out I was right. I’m thankful for these words and that grace truly does reign.

    • SuzD

      Leaves a big hole in your heart. I am so sorry for your loss. I was close to my Grandma and 30 some years later I still hear her words of wisdom in my heart. You are in my prayers to find comfort in our Lord.

    • She Reads Truth

      Mel, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Grateful that the Lord provided exactly what you needed through His Word today. Asking Him to be your strength in comfort in this time of mourning and loss.

      – Stormye

  • I lost my mother a year ago yesterday. For 2 weeks I cared for her around the clock. I watched cancer steal her earthly life. I thought many of the same thoughts… Her heart spoke to mine without words. This was sweet Grace for me today.

  • Kasey Summers

    Needed this.

  • Cecelia Enns Schulz

    A life marked by beautiful disagreement. I love this line! And it truly is a Christian way of life. It’s living and walking in it that gets messy and difficult sometimes. But, ultimately, beautiful. Beauty from ashes. Joy for mourning. Power made perfect in weakness.

  • Love this! The devotion is amazing!

  • Thankful for this today. Thankful that grace and life conquers death and the brokenness of this world, it is often the only thing I have to hold on to.

  • I truly discovered the truth that God does not ever leave us or forsake us, even in death. As I sat at my mother ‘s deathbed I felt The presence of God and heaven so strongly, I could almost reach out and touch it. I felt that for a few weeks afterward. She was a believer and it gave me such peace to know that I would see her again. I felt such a relief that I was releasing her into the arms of Jesus after several years of illness and her suffering with dementia. I went through a period of losing her sister 8 months later and again being at my aunt’s bedside as she passed away, again feeling such hope and peace. I am so thankful to have Christ in my life and the hope of eternal life. Death is just as much a part of life as a baby being born. Through Christ we can welcome and release those we love.

  • “Sometimes, we live so deeply rooted in our fallen, fragile reality that we forget there is another, better, truer one.” Amen! That better, truer reality is also here on earth. I pray we can learn how to live in eternal love in this life and also in death. Praying for all my sisters grappling with loss. Sending you my warmest hugs.

  • Diane Huntsman

    “Sometimes, we live so deeply rooted in our fallen, fragile reality that we forget there is another, better, truer one.”
    All the yes in the world to this.. xoxo

  • Danielle McCoy

    This one made me cry. Thank you for this. Thank you for blessing my heart. Touching my soul. God bless she reads truth for blessing the life of this sinner! I am forever changed!

  • “Death is a terrible reality that we live with, an awful and haunting sort of event that wrecks us.”
    But “even in death, grace reigns.” AMEN
    There are days that the memories of holding my boys as they pass from this life wreck me. The memories of my brother in a nursing home at 39 years old because a brain tumor and radiation rendered him incapable to take care of himself still haunt me almost 5 years later. BUT GOD…..
    The Lord has given me so much grace over these last 5 years in wrestling with death. Before I experienced death, I didn’t understand eternity or desire it. I desired what I knew and that was life on this earth. I still don’t fully understand what eternity will be like but I now yearn to be with my savior in eternity because I’ve seen the painful consequences of sin on this earth. Though I yearn for eternity I wake up every morning thankful for another day on this earth. Thankful I’m alive to experience His grace today. I continue to learn this balance of being thankful for my life here on earth to embrace the story He is writing for me and use it to further His kingdom yet yearning for our home in eternity with Him without sin and death.

    • Holly

      Thank you for sharing. What a testimony to God’s grace your story is! Blessings to you.

    • She Reads Truth

      What a powerful testimony, Jess. I am so sorry for your loss but grateful for what the Lord has shown you through it. So encouraged by your words this morning and grateful to have you in this community.

      – Stormye

    • Kasey Summers

      Very encouraging! Praying for you Jess!

  • Such a beautifully written devotional! I could literally feel the emotion with which it was written. Thank you!

  • Tricia C

    I struggle with death sometimes. Not because I am afraid of it, because I know the joy that awaits. But I am an ICU nurse, and it breaks my heart when people die that I am pretty sure never knew Jesus. Then, on the other hand, I am able to sing with great joy when I know a man or woman of God has gone on where there is no more tears or pain.

    • Diane Huntsman

      Thank you for what you do.. a very challenging job and yet so impactful to your patients and their families .. may Jesus strengthen, sustain and bless you!

  • This may be my favorite She Reads Truth reading ever. Seven years ago my Daddy died in a random motorcycle accident on my sixteenth birthday (I always joke I could turn that into a Hallmark movie), and ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with death. He was an incredible man who was deeply influential in my 600 person “town” and the church, and so often I and others elevate who he was. Living in light of eternity has become a theme in my life, probably spurring from the realization that much of this life is completely insignificant and extremely fragile in comparison. Death is difficult, and infuriating, and so so painful. It never goes away, and it never truly “gets better”, you just learn how to readjust. But there is so much hope! “BECAUSE OF JESUS, life is more than survival or death. It is eternal.” Always thankful for “because of Jesus”

    • Kylee

      I write screenplays if you ever want to collaborate virtually on your hallmark movie!! But seriously, your attitude about death and life is an inspiration. Praise God for the sunny disposition He’s given you despite the storm you’ve lived through! I’m so thankful for “because of Jesus”, too — in Him all things are reconciled, He is where we gain our strength to weather this life and He loves us so. Thank you for sharing your story, may it spread and bring hope to hopeless hearts, and joy to the downtrodden!

      • truthseeker

        If this made it to the movie stage I would definitely see it -with a box of tissues at hand. Thank you for sharing.

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Han! Encouraged by your words this morning.

      – Stormye

  • Miranda

    This message was like balm to my soul this morning. Last year, on March 24, my best friend went on to Heaven before me. It was rather sudden and unexpected. Exactly one month later, on April 24, my great-aunt who was like a grandma to me also passed on. It’s almost as if it was easier to hold on to hope in the midst of the tough situation. Though both caught me by surprise, neither situation is without hope. The hope, earnest expectation, that this life is only just the beginning. That we are destined for way more than a short life lived in fragile bodies. That one day we will be reunited forever in the eternal life that is promised. I still cling to this hope even though it is hard.

    • She Reads Truth

      I am so sorry to hear of your losses, Miranda. Grateful to have you here with us and sharing this encouragement in the SRT community.

      – Stormye

  • I’m wondering how you all experience the idea of death (and resurrection for that matter) not corresponding one for one to the “responsible” party… I find that as an American drenched in the trappings of individualist thought, it’s pretty hard to resonate with how Adam’s sin so deeply affecting us all. Of course it’s a little easier to swallow the good side of the deal, me getting Christ’s reward, but still… I get it in theory, but feel I would have a hard time explaining the idea to friends and neighbors. Anybody relate?

    • Bethany Clark

      You have to press into the root of sin in Genesis 1-3. It transcends culture, time, and American individualism. Because, if in the beginning God…. then man fell, and by one man’s sin – sin entered the world then we are all under the domain of it’s power. Apart from Christ we won’t choose salvation. That is the reality the world has to hear. Even if they reject it because of a “modern thought” which isn’t new really – this is truth. That’s why the virgin birth matters, and the deity of Jesus matters. Those foundational blocks in our faith cannot be removed or the whole thing crumbles. Don’t get discouraged! The Bible says this will all seem foolish to those that are not in Him.

    • Aimeejoy

      Carrie,
      The verses that stick out to me in today’s Roman’s reading are v13-14 ” To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come”. These verses support that sin is not simply breaking the law. If it was, then there would be people who never sinned. Sin occurred when Adam and Eve did not trust that God is who he says he is and believed satan’s temptation which inserted that God was “holding out on them” true freedom and power. The result of that sin was twofold- the first thing is shame. Adam and eve saw they were naked and felt ashamed so they covered themselves (shame infected their pure and vulnerable relationship with God). Whereas before sin, they were naked, and truly vulnerable before the Lord yet they felt no shame. Today, shame infects humanity even those humans who “follow all the commandments”. Second, Adam and Eve rejected the freedom God offered and humanity became slaves to a constant questioning God’s good character (this pattern is also seen among humans now). Thankfully, God’s story throughout history (pre and post Christ) is a one where He seeks to rid our individual narratives from shame as He asserts that we are valued in His sight. From birth, we are looking for someone looking for us, and God, over and over, seeks us out! Also, throughout God’s story of relationship with people, he constantly proves and reveals his good character (that He is who he says he is) via grace (even though He surely does not have to prove himself for his own sake). Thanks be to God that he wishes to rewrite my narrative to create a shameless story of freedom in relationship with Him! I am no theologian, but through reading scripture, books, listening to mentors, and experiencing Christ’s freedom in my life, this perspective make a whole lot of sense to me. I hope it helps you too, Carrie!

    • Lana

      Hey Carrie. I think there’s so many ways to look at this. Often, I see it as the butterfly effect. So when I’m disobedient, my friend sees this, and now she might think it’s okay to disobey a little too. This is how Adam brought sin into the world. His disobedience created a butterfly effect. The same can be said for love and grace. When you are generous to someone with a pure heart, whoever sees you or benefits from your generosity might be generous to another person because of your example. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice and now he inspires all of us to love like he did. We are very much impacted by the examples other people set. They can inspire us to sin a little or to love a lot.

      From an American perspective, it’s similar to slavery. America developed so rapidly and became an empire largely due to hundreds of years of slave labor. We both weren’t alive during this time, and we aren’t responsible for it, but the sin of slavery still deeply impacts us all. All of us in modern America benefit from how it rapidly developed our economy, and yet some of us are excluded in ways due to slavery’s legacy. We are all deeply impacted whether we were there or not.

      So what I’m trying to say is this: we are impacted by those in our lives currently and by those who came before us.

      As an American I am often individualistic, but the more I study scripture (and other topics as well), I’ve come to see individualism as a bit of a myth. We are individuals, yes. But we are hyper-interconnected individuals. And that interconnectivity is good! That’s how we as a bunch of individuals form loving communities (one body in Christ). That’s how I’ve been seeing it as least. Hope this makes sense!

    • Lizzieb85

      We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. It is in our nature. This helps explain it better than I can: https://www.gotquestions.org/sin-nature.html

      And a couple quotes from the above link specific to your comment:
      Even children have a sin nature. David rues the fact that he was born with sin already at work within him: “Surely I was sinful at birth, / sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). Elsewhere, David states, “Even from birth the wicked go astray; / from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies” (Psalm 58:3).

      Where did the sin nature come from? Scripture says that God created humans good and without a sinful nature: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). However, Genesis 3 records the disobedience of Adam and Eve. By that one action, sin entered into their nature. They were immediately stricken with a sense of shame and unfitness, and they hid from God’s presence (Genesis 3:8). When they had children, Adam’s image and likeness was passed along to his offspring (Genesis 5:3). The sin nature manifested itself early in the genealogy: the very first child born to Adam and Eve, Cain, became the very first murderer (Genesis 4:8).

      From generation to generation, the sin nature was passed down to all of humanity: “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). This verse also presents the unsettling truth that the sin nature leads inexorably to death (see also Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:1).

      There is only one Person in the history of the world who did not have a sin nature: Jesus Christ. His virgin birth allowed Him to enter our world while bypassing the curse passed down from Adam. Jesus then lived a sinless life of absolute perfection. He was “the Holy and Righteous One” (Acts 3:14) who “had no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This allowed Jesus to be sacrificed on the cross as our perfect substitute, “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). John Calvin puts it in perspective: “For certainly, Christ is much more powerful to save than Adam was to ruin.”

      It is through Christ that we are born again. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). When we are born of Adam, we inherit his sin nature; but when we are born again in Christ, we inherit a new nature: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

      We don’t lose our sin nature once we receive Christ. The Bible says that sin remains in us and that a struggle with that old nature will continue as long as we are in this world. Paul bemoaned his own personal struggle in Romans 7:15–25. But we have help in the battle—divine help. The Spirit of God takes up residence in each believer and supplies the power we need to overcome the pull of the sin nature within us. “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9). God’s ultimate plan for us is total sanctification when we see Christ (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 John 3:2).

    • carrie

      Thanks for all the thoughts. I always love hearing different people put these basic truths in their own words. And Aimeejoy, you ARE a theologian. Keep it up. :)

  • “Sometimes, we live so deeply rooted in our fallen, fragile reality that we forget there is another, better, truer one.”
    This was so convicting to me this morning! If I truly believe there is eternity and Jesus is who he says he is, I would share my faith more. God has been speaking about stepping out and being bold because I know so many people around me who don’t know our very great God. I stay at home with my kids and get caught up in my own little world! Forgive me Father.

    • Emily B.

      God’s been speaking that to me lately, too. I have several family members who aren’t Christians, and it’s hard to be bold with them. You’re not alone! We can do this with God’s help and Spirit acting in us. :)

  • Sarah D.

    Well, today’s the day! Today I graduate from highschool!! It’s been a long time coming, after being sick with dizziness for five years now…and having doubts that I would even make it. but I have learned so much about persevering and trusting that God will take care of me, and He did. It’s been hard, but I’m thankful for how God used it for good. He brings life out of the darkness. Thank you all for your support and prayers, love you all!! :)

  • churchmouse

    The reality of this world, with all its violence, can freeze us in fear. We dare not even imagine what life for future generations might be like. BUT GOD… It’s so comforting today to read the Scriptures and devotion. And this, from Alicia Brett Cole, came across Twitter this morning also – “If we really believe that eternity waited for us on the other side of this brief life, we would fear less and risk more.” Lord, let me live here and now in the reality of eternal life. Help me to be a fear – less Christian. Give me the courage to risk my comfort in order that more might know You. Amen.

  • Michelle Baier

    Thank you so much for this. In April I lost my brother and it has been so hard. I too ran my fingers through his hair while he was dying. I also watched my parents heart break. I am worried my Dad is broken and I continue to pray for him. I am so grateful Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice so we will have eternal life. God in his love and mercy did not leave us to die. Blessing to all today.

    • Cindy

      Michelle, I cannot imagine the hurt your heart feels…. Just please know that prayers and praise go up to our Heavenly Father for peace for you and your parents while you stand I. This very hard place….

    • Michelle

      Praying for your family.

    • She Reads Truth

      So sorry for your loss, Michelle. Grateful to have you with us.

      – Stormye

  • Haley Pimental

    I lost my boyfriend of 4 years a little over a month ago. I’ve been struggling daily, and heavily relying on Christ to see me through. A girl on my Facebook shared this app and I just downloaded and saw that this was today’s reading. It could not have been more perfect to bring me some peace tonight. I love how God shows us what we need when we need it most. Thank you for this!

    • Karen

      I pray, Haley, that God will continue to meet you and teach you in a special way that His really will transcend your suffering and loss. He is our Rock and Hope. Suffering has a wonderful way of drawing us to Jesus and to learn to look to eternity as our anchor. Our home is not here. Jesus has so much more for us than we can grasp. Let’s hold onto our faith as Jesus will not disappoint. ❤️

    • Tina

      Oh Hailey I am so very sorry for your heartache and loss. Praying God be with you through these early days and continues to be with you as you face life without your boyfriend…
      Sending comforting love and hugs… xxx

    • Emily B.

      I’m thankful God led you here, and I hope this space will be a blessing to you as you learn how to go through life without someone you love. I’m so sorry for the pain you’re going through, and I pray God covers you with His rest and peace.

    • She Reads Truth

      So glad to have you with us, Haley. Praying for you in this time of loss and asking for the Lord to bring you comfort through His Word.

      – Stormye

  • Melissa, I am truly sorry for your loss… Praying you continue to know that peace you shared with your grandfather… God is near. Praying He wraps His arms around you in comforting love and grace, that fills your heart with sweet memories of your grandfather.
    Sending you love and hugs.

    Even in death, grace reigns.

    Amen.

    Thank you Lord God.
    Thank you that your grace goes beyond beyond…
    Thank you Lord God.

    Sending love wrapped hugs to you all this wonderfully sunny morning here in England…xxx

Further Reading...