“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)
I never cease to be amazed at how a seemingly insignificant act can have disproportionate consequences in the lives of other people. An unkind criticism can engender bitterness and resentment that may take years to overcome; while a word of praise and encouragement can boost lagging confidence and bring fulfillment to a worthy endeavor. We all tend to take for granted the possibility for impact we have on those around us, our thought being, perhaps, “After all, I’m only one person.”
As far as Adam was concerned, his disobedience was something between him and God. The broken fellowship was theirs alone; and the consequences would be his alone to suffer. But, of course, as we all know now, the far-reaching consequences of his defiance were staggering, and its adverse effect on you and I personally was devastating. We are sinners, not just because we indulge in the practice, but also because we are innately inclined to do so. It is part of our very nature, thanks to Adam…and his disobedience. So, too, our small, “insignificant” acts of disobedience have inordinate potential for great harm to those around us—now and in the future.
Oh, but now look at the blessed results of another Man’s obedience! The verse says that because of it, “shall many be made righteous.” (And I’m one of those many, praise the Lord!) I realize our obedience cannot accomplish anything as spectacular as this, but it can—and will—influence for good. For one thing (and this is not a small thing), our children will learn obedience far quicker and better, if it is not only taught, but exemplified, as well.
Never mind that you are only one. This verse teaches us that in some cases, that’s all it takes.
I am only one, but I am one;
I cannot do everything, but I can do something;
What I can do, I ought to do;
And what I ought to do, by the grace of God,
I will do.