Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons

Romans 5:12-21


Romans 5:12-21




Romans 5:12 "Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned": "Therefore": "The section which now follows summarizes the situation facing all people. Paul is setting us up for a comparison. Adam becomes one way for the race and Jesus another. 'In Adam' there is only condemnation and spiritual death, and 'in Christ' there is acquittal and life eternal."


"As through one man sin entered": Paul states that the woman (Eve) was deceived, and fell into transgression (1 Tim. 2:14). Some speculate that Adam may have indeed sinned first, by standing idly by and allowing his wife to be deceived (Genesis 3:6 "she gave also to her husband with her" 3:16-17). "Death through sin": It appears that the death under consideration in these verses is spiritual death (5:15,17,21). Besides, this death passed on to all men because all sinned. Babies die physically, and it has nothing to do with their being sinners (1 Corinthians 14:20). "For that all sinned"-"because all sinned" (NASV). Adam's descendants died spiritually, because, like their ancestor, they also sinned. POINT TO NOTE: Calvinists believe that all sinned, because all have inherited the guilt of Adam's sin. It would seem unnecessary for Paul to quote all those texts in Romans 3:9-18 to prove the Jew was dead in sin if he (and they) believed that they were all born dead because they had sinned in Adam's sin. We have all followed Adam's ways; we all made the kind of choice he made.


Romans 5:13 "For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law". "The law", that is the Law of Moses (5:14). Paul is speaking of the time period between Adam and Moses; those who lived under this period of time were not under the Ten Commandment covenant (Nehemiah 9:14; Deuteronomy 5:1-3). "Sin was in the world: Which means that laws existed prior to Mount Sinai. We can see some of these laws in Genesis 15:16; 20:9; 39:9; Leviticus 18:3, 24-25. "But sin is not imputed when there is no law"-"but sin cannot be charged against a man where no Law exists" (TCNT) (1 John 3:4). "Imputed", this term means to put to account so as to bring penalty (Vincent p. 62). Equal to the statement that would say, "where there is no law there is no transgression" (Romans 4:15). Before Moses came along there was sin in the world. People were breaking laws that were different from the law Adam violated (5:14), that is laws, which condemned things besides eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You only have to read the book of Genesis to know that there were laws in the world before Moses, see Genesis chapter 9. Sodom and Gomorrah were buried for breaking some (Genesis 13:13; 18:20). Noah's flood was sent because people were breaking laws. Man has never been without law! All men have been under law to God since the beginning, or seeing that sin is universal (Romans 3:23), so are the laws of God.


Romans 5:14 "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come". "Death reigned: Ungodliness gripped the world. "Held sway over mankind (Phi), (1 Peter 3:19-20). A mere reading of Genesis provides many examples of spiritual death reigning in the world prior to the Law of Moses (Cain, his descendants, the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Joseph's brothers). "After the likeness of Adam's transgression: Spiritual death reigned, even though men didn't sin exactly like Adam had sinned. The point is that sin, in any of its manifestations, brings death. Sins of omission kill as well as sins of commission. Violation of one law of God kills, as well as violation of another law. We can never adopt the attitude that says that God doesn’t care about some sins (James 2:10-11; Acts 5:1ff; Leviticus 10:1-3; 1 Samuel 15:22-23). POINT TO NOTE: Since these people died as a result of their own sin and it wasn't like Adam's, then they surely didn't die from Adam's sin. The distinction between theirs and Adam's would be non-existent if they had died because of Adam's sin. People die because of theirown sins. (Colossians 2:13; Eph. 2:1). "Who is a figure of him that was to come": Adam is the "who" in this verse and Jesus is "of him that was to come" (1 Corinthians 15:22,45). The term "figure" means: "type, counter-part". Adam was the father of the race as it fell under bondage to sin. Christ is the father of the race as it finds salvation from God by grace.


Romans 5:15 "But not as the trespass, so also {is} the free gift. For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many".


"But not as the trespass, so also is the free gift": "But the free gift is not like the transgression" (NASV) It is more contrast than parallel (Robertson p. 359). The gift through Christ was not merely, as some have said, "coextensive in application with the ruin wrought through Adam," (Whiteside p. 122). "Much more: The contrast doesn't exist in the number saved by grace as opposed to those dead through sin (Matthew 7:13-14). The expression much more stresses the superiority of grace over law; faith and righteousness over sin and death. However, the superiority doesn't exist in the number saved as opposed to the number lost. It lies in things like these: Life is better than death and grace brings life while sin brings death. Sin can kill with a single-sting (transgression) but grace can give life even after sin has "stung" again and again and again (assuming repentance follows each sin, 1 John 1:8-10). Grace has more than enough power and adequacy to offset all that sin is able to do. No matter how sin triumphed over men, grace had the antidote for it. Sin couldn't work so much havoc as grace couldn't set right" (McGuiggan pp. 172-173). "Abound to the many": The benefits of Christ's death are available to all mankind (2 Peter 3:9; Mark 16:15-16; 1 Timothy 2:4). And yet man must choose to accept this salvation (Acts 13:46; Acts 2:40-41).



Romans 5:16 "And not as through one that sinned, {so} is the gift: for the judgment {came} of one unto condemnation, but the free gift {came} of many trespasses unto justification"


Paul gives another contrast: "For the judgment came of one unto condemnation": "The judgment arose from ONE TRANSGRESSION resulting in condemnation" (NASV) Sin's horror is seen in that one sin is enough to bring on a man or woman condemnation. "But the free gift came of many trespasses unto justification": Grace's wonder and beauty is seen in the fact that even after MANY sins, a person can receive justification. It just takes one sin to condemn, and yet the benefits of Christ's death can justify one of many sins. Is there any good reason for not becoming a Christian (1 Timothy 1:15-16)? In addition, there is no good reason why anyone should remain enslaved to sin or end up eternally lost because of their sins.


Romans 5:17 "For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, {even} Jesus Christ".


"Trespass of the one: Is of course Adam’s sin, again note that condemnation came because of just one trespass. Let us resist the temptation to downplay sin or certain sins. For all practical purposes Adam and Eve sinned because they believed a lie (false doctrine) instead of the truth (Genesis 3:1ff). And being deceived or misguided doesn’t make sin any less sinful (1 Timothy 2:14). "Death reigned through the one": The Calvinists assume that spiritual death reigned through Adam, because we all inherited the guilt of his sins. But if this is the case, then how are we to interpret the rest of the verse? If all have inherited Adam's guilt, why don't we all inherit the gift of righteousness through Christ? If all are sinners in Adam, then all must be saved in Christ. Death reigned through Adam, because all men made the choice to follow in his steps (5:12 "because all sinned"). Likewise those who receive the abundance of grace/gift of righteousness and spiritual life through Christ, are those that CHOSE IT (Acts 2:41).


Romans 5:18 "So then as through one trespass {the judgment came} unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness {the free gift came} unto all men to justification of life".


"Unto all men to justification of life": The WHOLE RACE is on the receiving END OF BOTH guilt and grace (Titus 2:11). "Unto all men": Don't make the mistake of interpreting all men as of all men unconditionally. The benefits of Christ's death are available to the WHOLE RACE (which infers that the whole race is in need of a Savior). But Paul has already mentioned that conditions are attached to this justification (Romans 5:1; 4:6-8). Calvinism is wrong when it claims that Jesus only died for the elect, that is, He only died for those God had predestined for salvation, apart of their own personal choices. Paul asserts that the benefits of the death of Christ are available to as many who are also affected by the fact that sin was introduced into the world. One becomes a sinner or walks in the footsteps of Adam in the same basic way that one becomes a Christian and walks in the footsteps of Christ, that is, both are the result of human freewill. We choose to go into sin and we can choose to come out of it.


Romans 5:19 "For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous".


"Were made": They were made sinners by their own choice (5:12). As Adam's disobedience did not make the many sinners without their choice, so neither does the obedience of Christ make the many righteous without their choice. Calvinists claim that these verses teach that all are born automatically and unconditionally inheriting Adam's sin, yet such would have the rest of the verse teaching that all have unconditionally inherited Christ's righteousness, which would be universal and unconditional salvation.


Romans 5:20 "And the law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly".


"The law": The Law under consideration is the Law of Moses, Paul is now talking about the period of time from Mount Sinai to the cross of Christ. "That the trespass might abound": Paul makes it clear that "Law" isn't or wasn’t the answer to man's problem. The Jew might claim that, "Well, the problem was that they didn't have the right kind of law". But even with the introduction of the Law of Moses, sin didn't cease, IT ONLY MULTIPLIED! (Galatians 3:21). One of the purposes of the Law of Moses was to teach the Jewish people that more law wasn't the answer to their problems. God allowed/purposed such to happen that men might realize the need for grace/forgiveness, i.e. the need for a Savior. "This would help them to realize more and more their need of some other means of deliverance" (Whiteside p. 127).


"Grace did abound more exceedingly": "All the more" (NASV); "surpassed it by far'" (Mof). Grace was more than a match for sin, because grace can give life even after many transgressions.


Romans 5:21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


"That": "In order that" (TCNT). "As sin reigned in death": Sin is the reigning monarch in every man who is dead in his sins. Sin reigns when one is separated from God (5:14 "even over those", 5:17). "Grace reign through righteousness": Grace is given the chance to reign when one seeks God's method of making men righteous (Romans 5:1,17 "Those who receive").


Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Christ/(503)644-9017