Romans 5:12-21

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Text: Romans 5:12-21

THE EFFECTS OF ADAM'S DISOBEDIENCE

AND CHRIST'S OBEDIENCE

INTRODUCTION:

The theme of Romans is the righteousness of God which is by faith in Christ. We find this in Romans 1:16-17 .

The first major division of Romans shows that all humanity lacks the righteousness of God and stands condemned before God because of sin. We find this in Romans 1:18-3:20 .

The second major section of Romans deals with God's provision of righteousness: justification by faith. It extends from Romans 3:21-5:21 . In Romans 3:21-31 we see God's righteousness provided by faith; In Romans 4 we see righteousness by faith illustrated in the life of Abraham. In Romans 5:1-11 we see that those who are righteous by faith are eternally secure.

In Romans 5:12-21 we see with the effects of Adam's disobedience and of Christ's obedience. The effects of Adam's disobedience are overcome by Christ's obedience. We see that sin and death entered into the world through Adam's sin (vv. 12-14). We also see that the free gift of righteousness was made abundantly available through Jesus Christ (v. 15). Whereas Adam's sin rendered men sinners and brought condemnation and the reign of death, the free gift brought justification and the reign of life (vv. 16-21).

We see that -

I. SIN AND DEATH ENTERED THE WORLD THROUGH ADAM'S SIN - 5:12-14

Romans 5:12-14 - (12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

(13) (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

(14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Wherefore is literally because of this. It has reference to what follows it in the context, i.e. to the contrast between the results of Adam's disobedience and of Christ's obedience rather than to what precedes it in the context, i.e. that Christ died for us and that we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.

As by one man sin entered into the world refers to Adam and indicates that Adam is a specific individual. It gives legitimacy to a literal understanding of the Genesis account of the fall of man. There was a real man named Adam who had a real woman named Eve. The story of Adam and Eve in Genesis is to be understood a literal historical fact.

Sin began when Lucifer rebelled against God, and sin entered the human race through Adam when he ate the forbidden fruit.

World here means mankind.

Death entered the human race by (or through) sin. Prior to Adam's sin there was no death.

However, the instant Adam sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, he died spiritually. Physical death followed some time later.

And so death passed upon all men.

Passed is simply came.

Death came upon all men; there were no exceptions.

Men is the generic term and includes females as well as males.

For that is for this reason that or because. The action of all men everywhere is summed up in one phrase, All have sinned, i.e. all sinned. The proof that all sinned is that all die.

Romans 5:13 (13) (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Verse 13 begins an interlude which extends through verse 17. This interlude begins with an opening parenthesis in verse 13, and the closing parenthesis is found at the end of verse 17. It is not until verse 18 that Paul returns to the thought he began to express in verse 12.

To understand the flow of the passage, let's reread verse 12 and then verses 18-21.

Romans 5:12 - (12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

Romans 5:18-21 - (18) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

(19) For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

(20) Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

(21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:13 (13) (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

For until the law means until the time when the Mosaic Law was given.

Sin was in the world indicates that sin existed even before the Law was given.

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to verse 12.

Sin is not imputed when there is no law means that sin is not charged to one's account, when (or if) there is no law.

No law indicates that the Apostle is referring to a period of time prior to the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai.

Romans 5:14 (14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Verse 14 provides a contrast to verse 13.

Nevertheless is understood in the sense of but or however. It introduces a strong contrast to the thought that sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Death reigned (i.e. was king or ruled) from Adam to Moses indicates that all persons died who lived from the time of Adam until the time of Moses, i.e. before the giving of the Law. Death reigned means that they died physically. They experienced physical death.

Even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression indicates that these people who lived from the time of Adam to the time of Moses had not sinned in the same manner as Adam. However, they still died physically. Adam had transgressed one of God's specific commands; they did not commit the same sin, even though they committed other sins.

Who is the figure of him that was to come is a reference to Adam being the figure (i.e. the type) of Christ.

Although sin and death entered the world through Adam's sin,

II. THE FREE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WAS MADE ABUNDANTLY AVAILABLE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST - 5:15

Romans 5:15 (15) But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

But indicates that Paul is introducing a statement in strong contrast with what has preceded.

Paul is using a negative comparison introduced by not as and so also. The contrast shows the dissimilarity between the transgression and the free gift.

Offence means false step, transgression, or sin. It is the specific sin that Adam committed.

The free gift is the gift (freely and graciously given). Its reference is to God's gift of salvation which was given through Christ's death upon the cross where He paid for sin.

For is used to introduce a conditional sentence used to explain this negative comparison.

The condition if through the offence of one many be dead, is, for sake of discussion, assumed to be true; and it actually is true. Therefore, if may be understood in the sense of because, since, or inasmuch as.

Through the offence of one is literally through the offence of the one. Specifically, this one is Adam.

Many is the many and refers to all the natural descendants of Adam. None are excluded.

Are dead is died. The deaths of the many are thus summed up as a single whole.

Much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ hath abounded unto many is the conclusion of the condition. Since the condition is true, the conclusion is also true.

Much more means to a much greater degree, even more, or still more

The grace of God, and the gift by grace - The grace of God is freely given to men completely apart from merit on their part. The gift by grace is the gift which is given by means of grace.

Which is by one man, Jesus Christ indicates that this gift which came by means of grace came specifically by means of Jesus Christ.

Hath abounded means was present in abundance. Its tense indicates that its action was completed at one time in the past. This time is the time of the crucifixion.

Unto many is unto the many and represents the same group that died according to the previous clause. Thus, the grace of God is available to all persons.

Next, wee see that -

III. WHEREAS ADAM'S SIN RENDERED MEN SINNERS AND BROUGHT CONDEMNATION AND THE REIGN OF DEATH, THE FREE GIFT BROUGHT JUSTIFICATION AND THE REIGN OF LIFE - 5:16-21

Romans 5:16 (16) And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

(17) For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

(18) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

(19) For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

(20) Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

(21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:16 (16) And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

The construction of verse 16 begins with a negative comparison as indicated by not as . . . so also.

The free gift is not like what happened through Adam's sin. Adam sinned and the judgment (i.e. judicial verdict) through Adam brought condemnation (i.e. punishment or doom) to all. The free gift of salvation results in individuals being declared righteous in spite of many sins.

By one that sinned is through one who sinned and refers to Adam.

So is the gift and refers to the specific gift of eternal life. The one who sinned is not like the free gift.

For introduces the explanation of the first half of verse 16.

The judgment (i.e. the judicial verdict) was by one (i.e. through one, specifically through Adam) to condemnation (i.e. punishment or doom).

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to the judgment was by one to condemnation.

The free gift is the gift (freely and graciously given) and refers to God's gift of salvation which He gave through Christ's death for sin on the cross.

Is of many offences is out of many sins or out of many transgressions and suggests because of many sins. Adam and his descendants committed many sins. In the Greek text this phrase is parallel to by one found in the previous phrase.

Unto justification expresses the end result of the free gift. The recipient of it will be justified. Whereas the result of Adam's sin is condemnation, the result of God's gift of salvation is justification.

Romans 5:17 (17) For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Verse 17 concludes the parenthetical statement begun in verse 13.

Verse 17 is a conditional sentence which is used to further explain verses 15 and 16. The condition is if by one man's offence death reigned by one, and it is assumed, for sake of discussion, to be true; and it is true. Therefore, if may be understood in the sense of because, since, or inasmuch as.

By one man's offence is by the sin (or trespass) of the one, and its reference is to Adam's sin (or trespass).

Death reigned by one means that Adam's offence, sin, or trespass resulted in death reigning or ruling over all humanity.

Much more is to a much greater degree, even more, or still more.

They which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness is literally the ones who are receiving the abundance (or surplus) of grace and of the gift which is righteousness.

Abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness are not two separate things but two references to the same thing. In other words, the abundance of grace is the gift of righteousness.

Shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

In verse 13 death reigned; here, however, those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life. The contrast is evident. When it says that death reigned, it means that they died physically. When it says that they shall reign in life, it means that they will live rather than die. This all comes about through the one, i.e. through Jesus Christ. It is through Christ exclusively that eternal life is received. This ends Paul's digression and the thought refers back to verse 12.

Romans 5:12 - (12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

Romans 5:18 (18) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Therefore translates two words which are understood in the sense of so then.

As . . . even so indicates that a comparison is being made.

By the offence of one is through the transgression (or sin) of one (i.e. Adam).

Judgment came upon all men. As indicated by the italics, the King James translators have supplied judgment came from verse 16. This judgment came upon all men. There were no exceptions. The term for men is the generic one for human beings; so that it includes females as well as males. Judgment came upon all humanity.

To condemnation indicates the result of the judgment, i.e. the punishment following sentence. It means punishment or doom.

The last half of verse 18 provides the contrast which is introduced by even so.

By the righteousness of one is through the righteousness of one, i.e. through the righteousness of Christ. Righteousness is used in the sense of justification, vindication, or acquittal. It is the justification, vindication, or acquittal made possible by Christ rather than the justification of Christ Himself because He needed none.

The free gift came upon all men

The free gift came has been supplied by the King James translators in order to aid the understanding of the English reader.

Upon all men defines the extent of the availability of the justification provided by Christ. Men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males.

Unto justification of life implies unto justification which gives life. People attempt to obtain eternal life through many means, but it is only available through the justification provided by Christ.

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

For indicates that verse 19 is given to explain verse 18.

A comparison of two clauses is indicated by as . . . so.

As by one man's disobedience is through the disobedience of the one man and refers to Adam's eating the forbidden fruit which plunged all mankind into sin.

Many were made sinners is the many and is inclusive of all mankind. There were no exceptions.

So by the obedience of one is through the obedience of the one. This is a clear reference to Christ who obeyed God completely and ultimately died upon the cross for sin.

Shall many be made righteous indicates the result of Christ's obedience. It is literally, shall the many be made righteous. Its future tense indicates that the possibility for their being made righteous exists; but it is not something that automatically happened due to the death of Christ. By contrast, all mankind was automatically and actually plunged into sin by Adam's sin.

Romans 5:20 (20) Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Moreover indicates a continuation of the thought of verse 19 and is understood in the sense of now or and.

The law is law in the Greek text indicating that its quality as law is being stressed rather than its being some specific law such as the Mosaic Law. It is law as a principle or law in general and includes the Mosaic Law but is not limited to it.

Entered means slipped in or came in (as a side issue). Law did not have the supreme place in God's plan. He introduced it as a side issue in order that sin might be shown to be what it really is.

The purpose for the entrance of law was that the offence (i.e. the sin or the trespass) might abound.

Might abound means might increase or might multiply.

But where sin abounded is was present in great abundance, increased, or grew.

Grace did much more abound means was present in greater abundance.

Romans 5:21 (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

That is in order that or for the purpose that. The entire verse, therefore, informs the reader of the purpose for which grace was present in greater abundance wherever sin abounded.

As (i.e. just as) . . . even so indicates that two things are about to be compared. The first of the two statements being compared is as sin hath reigned unto death.

As sin hath reigned unto death means that sin was king (or sin ruled) in the sphere of death and defines the logical limits of the reign of sin. This passage is teaching that all those who have not received the gift of salvation are in the sphere of death, i.e. spiritual death as contrasted to eternal life.

Even so (or so also) might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life.

Whereas sin actually and already rules as king in the sphere of death, grace might rule as king instead. It is a potential that exists for every person, but only becomes actual for those who are saved through faith in Christ.

This grace reigns through righteousness as opposed to through sin or through unrighteousness.

This grace or unmerited favor results in salvation. Unto eternal life indicates the goal unto which grace reigns.

By Jesus Christ our Lord is added lest any reader misunderstand the Apostle Paul as indicating that all will be universally saved. It is Jesus who has made it possible, and there will be no salvation apart from Him.

SUMMARY:

Romans 5:12-21 deals with the effects of Adam's disobedience and Christ's obedience. The effects of Adam's disobedience are overcome by Christ's obedience. The effects of Christ's righteousness have overcome the effects of Adam's sin.

Note -

THE EFFECTS OF ADAM'S SIN

1. Sin entered into the world - v. 12

(12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

2. Death entered into the world by sin - v. 12

(12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

3. Sin reigned - v. 21; all sinned - v. 12

(21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

The proof that all from Adam to Moses have sinned is that all died.

(12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

4. Death passed upon all men - v. 12

(12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

5. Many were made sinners - v. 19

(19) For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

6. Judgment came unto condemnation - v.18

(18) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Contrast the effects of Adam's sin with -

THE EFFECTS OF CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS

The free gift of righteousness was made abundantly available through Jesus Christ (v. 15).

Whereas Adam's sin rendered men sinners and brought condemnation and the reign of death, the free gift brought justification and the reign of life (vv. 16-21).

1. Righteousness entered by (through) Christ

(15) . . . Much more the grace of God and the gift by grace which is by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

(17) For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

2. Christ obeyed the Law

(19) For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

3. Grace reigned

(17) For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

(21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

4. Many were made righteous, i.e. they were justified

(19) For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

5. Righteousness resulted in eternal life

(21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

CONCLUSION:

The conclusion of the matter is that everybody is under the power of sin and condemned to an eternal death in hell, except those who have trusted in what Christ has done for them at the Cross. Those who have believed in Him as personal Savior have been justified and have eternal life.