I’m a very poor car mechanic. In that, I’m sure I was a disappointment to my father. Shortly after Diane and I were married, she forbade me to work on the car. It was almost always more expensive when I tried to do the work. The operative word was “tried” to do the work. Probably the best example of ineptitude is the case of my 1966 Renault R-8. I was dirt-poor when I graduated from college. My parents had purchased a car for me when I was in school so that I could work. The problem was, I didn’t make enough money to maintain it. I eventually sold it to a junkyard for fifty bucks. My friend had a quirky old car that had sat for over a year on the street. It needed a clutch and a new battery. The junk yard would give him $25, so that’s what he sold it to me for. I had a friend who could speed shift it to a backyard mechanic he knew who would fix it. I bought a used battery at a junk yard – seems to be a theme here – and went to pick the Renault up after work.
Now I have to tell you a little bit about this car. The engine was in the rear, just like contemporary VW Bugs and Chevrolet Corvairs. It was fun to drive because the front end was so light. Very easy steering. Nice European upholstery. It was cool. But it had also been in an accident which damaged the front end and misaligned the driver’s door. Whenever you opened it, the metal would pop very loudly. And one of the front headlights would come lose from time to time and shine out to the side. Quirky; that’s the word.
Well, when we went to pick up the car, it was night. We took the old battery out and put the new junkyard one in. We didn’t pay much attention. As we drove to the mechanic’s house, I noticed there was a green light shining on the dash. I just figured that was the French way of saying the car was good to go. After a couple of days, the clutch was fixed and I picked up. It was great fun to drive. My first stick shift and I loved it. Until two days later when the battery was dead. Well, it was probably because I bought it at a junk yard, I figured. So I bought a new battery through a more prestigious retailer – Kmart. I thought all my problems were fixed. Until two days later, when that battery was dead. Bummer. I asked around and someone thought it might be the voltage regulator. So I took the regulator off and brought it to the auto parts store. Sure enough, it was bad. Got a new one and put it on. I was set. Until two days later. Dead battery. OK. Must be the generator. Took that off. Had it tested. Sure enough, it was bad and I bought a new one. There we go! I’m all set. Until two days later…
I went through two batteries, two voltage regulators, and two generators until I finally took it in to an auto electric shop. Stubborn and proud. Did I mention I was German? The first thing they asked me when they opened the hood was, “Is this car a positive ground?” I didn’t have a clue to what they were talking about. Since the night I picked up the car, I had been putting the battery in and connecting it to the wrong cables. I had reversed the polarity of the electrical system. Every time I turned the key, I fried the generator and the regulator. Genius.
Ever since Adam sinned, the world’s polarity system has been reversed from blessing to curse – from life to death. We spend all our efforts replacing parts and trying to fix it to no avail. Easter celebrates Christ’s Resurrection through which he opened the hood of the world and turned the battery back around. Everything has changed. The world has been put right.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:12-17 (NLT)