For the past few weeks I have been working on my Christmas sermon series. The first one is next week and is entitled: Why Christmas? I have chosen to begin in Genesis and chronicle mankind’s original decision to sin and separate itself from God. I then move to Romans 5:12-21 where Paul compares and contrasts Adam and Christ. As I was reading various commentaries on the passage I came across an idea that stuck with me.
In Jack Cottrell’s commentary he discusses some of the theological potholes in this particular passage. He points out that many point to this passage as evidence for the doctrine of Original Sin. According to this line of thought, all of mankind inherited the sin of Adam in every possible way. Not only are we affected by the curses God proclaimed on Adam, we are actually born with his guilt as well. We come into this world sinful and damned, from the very beginning.
Cottrell takes some time to explain why he believes this is not the best way to understand the passage but it’s what he says afterwards that grabbed me. He suggests that it really doesn’t matter what you believe concerning Original Sin. Whatever your particular view on the matter, Cottrell says that Jesus’ actions at Calvary negated anything that may have happened at the Fall. Jesus’ blood retroactively covers and erases any sin that we MAY have inherited from Adam. It also frees of from the curse of death by promising us the resurrection. Cottrell calls this Original Grace.
I haven’t taken the time to research the concept to see where it originated. Cottrell is the first person I have ever encountered who suggested it. I am still wrapping my mind around it. I first heard Cottrell’s explanation in Bible college in a course on Romans, but I never really gave it much more thought. As I continue to study on my own and wrestle with various issues that cause division among the body of Christ, I am curious to look at this in more depth. Perhaps I will share what I find as I continue to study it.