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Daily Devotion for October 19, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
"In matters of style swim with the current; In matters of principle, stand like a rock."
~ Thomas Jefferson
Romans 5:18-21 (ESV)
Adam and Christ 
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 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.
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Notes on the Scripture
The first paragraph is a summation of the preceding section, comparing and contrasting Adam and Jesus. Whether one thinks of Adam literally as a single man, or more metaphorically to describe the way in which all people, by their nature, choose to disobey God's will, this universal disobedience condemns us to God's wrath. But Jesus was certainly a specific man, whose act of obedience made God's grace available to everyone.
The verses form a good example of how words may be read out of context of the entire Bible, resulting in a tragic misstatement of how salvation may be found. There were and are still people who believe in "universalism" and take the first paragraph of the passage to mean that Christ saved everyone, i.e., "one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men." They seek to equate Adam's curse, which later generations inherited whether they wanted it or not, with Christ's salvation. Therefore, they reason, everyone was saved.
But the Bible repeatedly tells us that Christ's salvation does not simply come to everyone. One must actively believe in Christ. The sentence just before (Romans 5:17) specified "those who receive" Christ's grace will be justified before God. Even more, Christ himself, many times, made it clear that only those who made a conscious decision to follow him would be forgiven. The easiest example is the very famous quote in John 3:16, "to the end that all who believe in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life."
The second paragraph, which states that the law "increase[d] the trespass", may seem a bit odd. The law of Moses resulted in an increase in sin? But this is exactly what Paul means. Adam only had one rule to follow, "don't eat the apple" (so to speak). But the law gave the Jews a multitude of rules to follow, resulting in a correspondingly great number of violations. (As we have learned previously, Paul's point is limited; in truth, the sins existed even before the law; God gave the Jews the law only to show them the extent of their sin. Murderer and adulterers were not ever righteous in God's eyes, even before the law.)
But grace still triumphs. The main point is, that God's grace is greater than all sin. No matter how much sin there may be, God's grace is sufficient to overcome it.