Romans 5:12-21

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus 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.

Observation

  • Sin came into the world by one man, Adam.
  • Death came into the world by sin.
  • Death spread to everyone because of sin.
  • Sin was in the world before the law was given.
  • But sin is not counted where there is no law.
  • Death reigned from Adam to Moses
  • Death reigned even over those whose transgression was not like that of Adam’s sin.
  • Adam was a type of the one who was to come.
  • Adam was a type of Christ.
  • The free gift from God was not like the trespass of Adam.
  • Many died because of Adam’s sin.
  • The grace of God is much more than the Adam’s sin.
  • The grace of God and free gift by grace of Jesus Christ abounded for many.
  • The free gift of Christ Jesus is not like the result of Adam’s sin.
  • Judgment of the one trespass brought condemnation.
  • The free gift from Christ Jesus brings justification.
  • Through one man death reigned. For those who receive grace and gift of righteousness life reigns because of one man, Jesus Christ.
  • Jesus Christ is our Lord.
  • One sin led to condemnation for all men.
  • One act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
  • One man’s disobedience made us all sinners.
  • One man’s obedience made us righteous.
  • The law increases our sin.
  • Where sin increased grace increased more.
  • Sin reigned in death.
  • Grace reigns through righteousness.
  • Grace reigning through righteousness leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Interpretation

Sin entered the world because of Adam’s disobedience. Notice the order of events. Sin entered the world and then death followed. Death spread to everyone because of sin. There are those who would contend that we are lost because of Adam’s sin, as if we suffer consequences of sin through no fault of our own, he sinned for us. According to Paul, we all sin. We are lost as a result of our own sin. We are punished not for what someone else did but for what we do. We all sin and therefore we are all lost. Adam, by his disobedience, corrupted and ruined our nature. Just as your parents affected your genetics, so too, Adam affected our nature. Paul is referring to our innate and inherent depravity we bring from our mother’s womb when He refers to sin entering the world by one man.

Lest we forget the first 3 chapters, Paul quickly states, there was sin in the world before the law was given. We find many examples both within the scripture and external to it where men knew to do good and did evil instead. As a result of man’s sinfulness, death reign even before the law was given.

Paul says Adam was a type of Christ. He is saying, as we are all lost through Adam’s sin, so we are restored through Christ’s righteousness. Therefore, Adam, not inappropriately, is a type of Christ. Note: Adam is not said to be a type of sin. Neither is Christ a type of righteousness. They are not examples that we follow. Adam changed our nature. Christ imputes His righteousness to us. However, Christ’s righteousness and power to save is much greater than Adam’s power to destroy.

Even though there are similarities between Christ and Adam. There are also differences. There are those who believe that all Christ did was free us from original sin, that is, the effect of Adam’s transgression. But Christ did so much more. Christ’s gift brought justification and reconciled us to God. We are freed through Christ. We are freed not only from those sins which we commit before baptism, but also of new guilt we contract daily. This new sin justly exposes us to condemnation if it were not continually relieved by this grace.

One man’s action of sin, Adam, led us to death. So too, one man’s actions of obedience, Jesus Christ’s, leads us to life. Paul says we are made righteous though the obedience of Christ. It is Christ, who satisfies the Father and provides righteousness for us. Therefore, the righteousness we receive belongs to Christ. Christ’s righteousness was His obedience. Our sin is our disobedience.

How does the law increase our sin? Whatever is forbidden we desire and strive for all the more. We despise the lawgiver and degrade His majesty. Once the law is given we want to violate it all the more. So, sin is increased by the law since the authority of the lawgiver is rejected. But grace abounds more or super abounds. Grace not only overcomes the flood of sin, it completely absorbs sin.

Sin reined, past tense. The result of sins reign was death. While sin is still here, it no longer reigns. Grace reigns. The result of grace’s reign is eternal life.

Application

One man’s act of selfish indulgence brought sin and death to everyone. One man’s act of selflessness brings life to all who believe in His name. Believe.

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