Today’s Scripture: Romans 5:21
“Sin reigned in death.”
Think of a man sitting on death row, convicted of heinous crimes. All legal appeals to spare him have been exhausted. His impending execution looms nearer every day.
Suddenly the cell door is flung open. The judge who sentenced this man to die stands there with a full pardon in his hand. Moreover, the judge has now adopted him into his family as his own son, to be taken in and provided with all the love and care the judge lavishes on his own children.
We truly did live on God’s eternal “death row.” “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)—physical and eternal death. As believers we know that we have been delivered from eternal death. That’s not the final word, however, for “we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). Our redemption and our adoption into God’s family will reach ultimate fulfillment at the resurrection, when we receive our immortal bodies and dwell forever in the immediate presence of the Lord.
But think again of the pardoned and adopted murderer. Would you want to be a member of that family as they brought this killer into their home? Would you lie fearfully in your bed at night, wondering if you might be his next victim?
Again we reach the limitations of human illustrations. The judge who pardoned and adopted this murderer cannot change this man’s heart. But God can and does change our hearts. He promises to take away our hearts of stone that are spiritually dead and unresponsive to him and give us hearts of flesh that are spiritually alive and responsive to him (Ezekiel 36:26). We no longer have the heart of a criminal. This, too, is part of our redemption that Jesus secured for us. (Excerpt taken from The Gospel for Real Life)