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ROMANS 5

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ROMANS 5

Section 7 Romans 5:1-11.

The glory of God is central to the gospel

Structure of Section 7

7(a)

5:1,2

Rejoicing in hope of the glory of God

7(b)

5:3-10

Rejoicing in tribulations

7(c)

05:11:00

Rejoicing in God

Subject of Section 7

This section deals with the past, present, and future of the believer in the light of the glory of God. The apostle explains three things. First, how can one who formerly came short of the glory of God, 3:23, look forward to, and rejoice in, that glory? Second, how can a believer rejoice even though he is passing through tribulations? And third, how can a believer rejoice in who and what God is? The answers are found in the past, present and future work of the Lord Jesus on the believer’s behalf.

It is important to notice the various renderings of the same word “rejoice”. In verse 2, “rejoice in hope of the glory of God”; verse 3, “glory in tribulations also”; in verse 11, “joy in God”. See also “boasting” in 3:27, and “glory” in 4:2.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS CHAPTER 5, VERSES 1 TO 11:

5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

5:8 But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

5:9 Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

7(a) 5:1,2 Rejoicing in hope of the glory of God

5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Therefore- the passage develops the consequences of the justification by faith that has been explained in the previous main section, 3:21-26, before the parenthesis of 3:27-4:25.
Being justified- a past event with continuing effect.
By faith- that is, on the principle of faith. Faith has no virtue in itself, so is not the means of justification, but it is the condition laid down by God, the basis on which He is prepared to reckon men righteous.
We have peace with God- the anger of God because of our sins has been removed. This is judicial peace, arrived at in strict accordance with justice, and not as a result of the slackening of God’s demands.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ- nothing we have done personally has contributed to this position, it is entirely due to what Christ has done at Calvary. Peace with God is not conditional at all, whereas the peace of God is, see Phil. 4:6,7.

5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

By whom also we have access- as well as ensuring that there is settled peace between ourselves and God, the Lord Jesus is also “The way”, the One who introduces His people to the Father’s presence, John 14:6; Ephesians 2:18. It is one thing to be reckoned righteous by the Divine Judge, it is a further thing to have access into His immediate presence.
By faith- which lays hold of unseen things, Hebrews 11:1, and accepts without reserve the testimony of God’s word.
This grace wherein we stand- the word that describes the attitude of God in His unmerited favour towards His people is now transferred to the favour itself. Compare 2 Corinthians 8:6,19, where the word used for the attitude which gave a gift is then used for the gift itself. By the grace of God believers have a settled place (they “stand”) in the presence of Him who, were they still in their sins, would be their unsparing judge, and from whose face they would be banished.
And rejoice in hope of the glory of God- sinners have no interest in the glory of God, being occupied with themselves. Believers on the other hand eagerly anticipate the day when God will reveal Himself in all His beauty and majesty. Their hope is conditioned by God’s glory. Far from dreading the actual sight of the glory of God in Christ, the believer rejoices at that prospect, a sure sign that his sins have been dealt with. Hope in the Scriptures is not a doubtful thing, but a certain prospect. This is confirmed by the fact that in 1 Timothy 1:1 the Lord Jesus is said to be our hope, and there is no uncertainty with Him. Believers shall not only be in the presence of God in all His glory, Psalm 27:4, but shall radiate that glory, Rev. 21:11, and magnify it eternally, Rev. 5:13.

7(b) 5:3-10 Rejoicing in tribulations

5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And not only so- the apostle has established that peace with God ensures that we face the future sight of God with confidence, now he shows that it enables us to face calmly the trials of the present.
But we glory in tribulations also- this is not simply to glory (rejoice) whilst passing through tribulations, but to actually view the tribulations themselves as a reason for rejoicing.
Knowing that- glorying in trials is not on account of indifference to pain, but intelligence as to God’s purpose.
Tribulation worketh patience- the heavy log which the oxen dragged around the threshing-floor to press the grain out from the ear, was called in Latin a tribula. Tribulation is relentless pressure. The believer is able to rejoice in this pressure, because it is a means to an end. Patience is not simply a passive acceptance of the seemingly inevitable, but a positive resolve to endure to God’s glory.

5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

And patience experience- this word denotes “proof”; in other words, the trials, when passed through with endurance, afford proof of the genuineness of the believer’s profession. Compare the seed growing on stony ground, Matthew 13:5,6,20,21 with that which grew in the good ground, Matthew 13:8,23. The heat of the sun (explained as “tribulation or persecution because of the word”, verse 21), withered the rocky ground plant, whereas the ears of a healthy wheat plant were ripened by the same sun.
And experience, hope- far from causing the believer to be downcast, tribulations should produce a confident reliance on the faithfulness of God.

5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

And hope maketh not ashamed- to have confident expectations whilst in the midst of trying circumstances is not an embarrassment to a believer, nor will those expectations fail to be realised, causing disappointment, for the reason the apostle is about to give.
Because the love of God is spread abroad in our hearts- literally, the love is “deluged”, so that just as every part of the earth was flooded in Noah’s day, so every part of the believer’s heart is affected by the love of God. There is, in principle, no nook or cranny where bitterness can be harboured. Note the word “is” not “was”, as if only the moment of conversion is in view. The love of God is currently flooding the heart of the believer within, whilst tribulation is his portion from without.
By the Holy Spirit which is given unto us- note that there is no doubt that the believer has the Spirit of God within. Note also that He is given, not earned, see Galatians 3:2. The Holy Spirit does many things in our hearts, as chapter 8 will show, but here He assures us of Divine love, which has been demonstrated so clearly at Calvary.

5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For- there follows a commentary on the nature of the Divine love which is within the believer’s heart.
When we were yet without strength- being completely powerless to earn Divine love, like the impotent man of John 5. The “yet” suggests that we had tried to merit God’s love without success.
In due time- the “time appointed” and “the fulness of the time” of Galatians 4:2,4, when the Son came to display the Father’s love.
Christ died for the ungodly- Israel were looking for the Christ to reign in righteousness; in fact He came to die in righteousness and love; “Greater love hath no man than this…lay down his life…”, John 15:13. See also Song of Sol. 8:6,7. The ungodly are those who have no respect for God, and who represent the strongest possible test for the love of Christ; will He be prepared to die even for these?

5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die- because the life of a righteous man condemns the sinner’s life, there is little prospect of the sinner sacrificing his life for his sake.
Yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die- there is a slim possibility that a man will even go so far as to dare to die, (meaning, to bring himself to die) for one who has done him some good, “the good man”.

Special note
In verses 8 and 9, the apostle summarises the teaching of the epistle from the beginning, where he emphasises sinful actions, whereas in verse 10 he anticipates the teaching of 5:11-8:39, where he emphasises the sinful state. This may be set out as follows:

Verses 8 and 9 Verse 10
Actions State or condition
Sinners- guilty of sinful acts Enemies- nature and condition
Christ- free of sinful actions Son-nature in relation to God
Died- an act accomplished Death- a state entered
“Much more” “Much more”
Justified- action by God Reconciled- state before God
Saved- as He intercedes, 8:34 Saved by His risen state

5:8 But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

But- in contrast to those who are reluctant, or who only dare to die when they have been shown good.
God commendeth His love toward us- God’s love is not a peradventure or a dare, (which are worthless if not carried out), but has been fully demonstrated to be worthy by being put into effect. This is His own particular and special love, which is unique to Himself, for it demands nothing before it is shown, and is lavished upon the unlovely.
In that while we were yet sinners- we were neither righteous nor good, the sort of people that men possibly dare to die for, but rather those who are neither righteous nor good, 3:10-18.
Christ died for us- an actual, historic, accomplished event, giving expression to God’s intense love.

Note the features of Divine Love in the believer’s heart:

Unique

His own love.

Unhindered

Shed abroad.

Unrivalled

Scarcely, peradventure.

Undeserved

Without strength, no resources in ourselves

Sinners, no righteousness before God.

Ungodly, no respect for God

Enemies, no relationship with God

Unreserved

Christ really died

5:9 Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Much more then- Divine love not only meets us in our tribulations in the present, with the indwelling Holy Spirit constantly reminding us of it, but it safeguards us in the far more awesome Day of Judgement to come.
Being now justified by His blood- the death of Christ was not simply a demonstration of love, but met the claims of Divine Justice to the full, hence instead of death the apostle speaks of blood, for it is the blood which makes atonement for the soul, Leviticus 17:11. Divine justice demands that life must be forfeited if sins are committed, but God is prepared to accept the life of a suitable substitute. That substitute is Christ.
We shall be saved from wrath through Him- the eternal wrath of God which sinners shall know, believers shall not know, not because they have lived perfect lives since they first believed, but because they have One who makes intercession for them if any condemnation is brought against them either now or in the future, Romans 8:34.

Having enlarged, in verse 9, on the statement of verse 8, “Christ died for us”, with special reference to the justifying power of His blood, the apostle now emphasises His reconciling work, again based on His death. For sin not only makes men guilty before God, but also banishes them from His presence.

5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

For if, when we were enemies- as sinners we needed to be justified, but as enemies we needed to be reconciled, brought into a harmonious relationship with God.
We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son- death speaks of banishment, whereas Son speaks of nearness, but here the two are brought together; He who is nearest and dearest, dies for those who are furthest and enemies.
Much more- if God brought us near by the death of His Son, what will He not do now that He has been raised from the dead, showing that the work of Calvary is sufficient? See Romans 8:31,32.
Being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life- if Christ was prepared to die for His enemies, what will He not do for His friends? If He reconciled us to Himself when we were at war with Him, He will not banish us now that we are at peace with Him. Believers are preserved free of condemnation because Christ is in resurrection, the sure sign that His death at Calvary satisfied God, Romans 4:25.

7(c) 5:11 Rejoicing in God

5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

And not only so- we not only rejoice in hope of the glory of God, and in tribulations, but we joy in God too.
But we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement- atonement is the result of propitiation, and has to do with the fact that Christ’s blood has satisfied every demand against our sin, and on this basis sinners may be righteously brought near to God. By His death on the cross the Lord Jesus satisfied every demand that all aspects of the glory of God made upon us, and in so doing enhanced every one of them, see John 12:28; 13:31,32. Now that he is brought into harmony with God by Jesus Christ, the believer is able to rejoice in the glory of God that was magnified at the Cross. Every Divine attribute was brought into full display at Calvary. By gaining an appreciation of the work of Christ at the cross, the believer progresses in the knowledge of God in all His glory. Far from being terrified now by that glory, he triumphs and rejoices in it.

The work of propitiation has been shown by the apostle both in chapter 3:25 and now here, to be at the heart of the gospel. It is vitally important to try to grasp the immensity of what Christ did at Calvary, and to beware of thinking of His death only in terms of our own justification and forgiveness, blessed as those things are.

It is necessary for the Moral Governor of the universe to clear Himself in relation to every sin that has ever been committed. If He does not do so, He will be in danger of the charge of compliance with that sin. Outrageous as that charge would be, the Devil is evil enough to make it. To protect Divine Honour in this matter, Christ “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself”, Hebrews 9:26. When God made Him sin, 2 Corinthians 5:21, He bore the penalty for sin in His own person. This must not be confused with punishment for sin, however, which the unrepentant sinner will endure for all eternity. In strict justice it is not possible for one person to be punished for the wrongdoings of another, but it is possible for another to endure the penalty of another’s sins. It is perfectly possible for Christ to endure the penalty for sin, and yet the sinner bear the punishment for that same sin in the Lake of Fire.

We must beware of confusing the work of Christ with the effect of the work. The work was propitiation, which has its own effect Godward of course, but the effect manward for those who believe is reconciliation. There is no limit to the work of propitiation, for it is measurable only in terms of the infinite person who accomplished it. Reconciliation is limited, however, being restricted to those who in the language of Romans 5:11, “have received the atonement”.

We now embark on that section of the epistle which deals not so much with what we have done, (the word “sins” is only found once from 5:12-8:39), but what we are. In other words, the criminal, not the crimes he has committed. Now that his sins have been forgiven, what is the believer’s relationship with God? What of the nature that caused him to sin before he was saved? By what power is the Christian life lived? And is the security of the believer assured? These questions, and others besides, are answered in the next sections of the epistle.

Section 8 Romans 5:12-21

Christ and Adam compared and contrasted

Subject of Section 8
The apostle begins here begins a fresh section of the epistle in which he deals with what we are by nature, by tracing that nature to Adam. By nature is meant those essential features which combine to make a thing what it is. Through the sin and disobedience of the first man, who is the federal head of men as sinners, terrible consequences were passed on to all, which could only be remedied by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, who becomes the head of those who believe. The teaching of the previous section has prepared the way for what is presented to us now.

The apostle assumes we accept the testimony of the early chapters of the Book of Genesis, with its record of the formation of the first man, Adam, his disobedience and fall, and the descent of all mankind from him in a state of sin.

The whole of the purpose of God for mankind centres on the fact that His Son became man, and as such is the second man, the last Adam. He came to “restore that which He took not away”, Psalm 69:4, or, in other words, came to remedy the loss and damage that Adam had brought upon men by his sin.

Structure of Section 8
The passage is very complex, but may be clearer if we note its structure in the following form, where the numbers represent the verses of the section:

12 [(13-14) 15-17] 18-21.

In other words, the main subject is in verses 12 and 18-21, and verses 13-17 form a parenthesis. Inside this parenthesis there is another, consisting of verses 13 and 14.

Thinking generally about the passage, verse 12 introduces us to sin and death. Verses 13 and 14 show that death is as a result of the sinful nature within, and not normally because of sins committed. Verses 15 to 17 deal with death, and verses 18-21 with sin.

8(a)

5:12

The entrance of sin and its consequence

8(b)

5:13-14

The existence of sin before the law-age.

8(c)

5:15

The effect of sin and God’s attitude

8(d)

5:16,17

The ending of death’s reign

8(e)

5:18

The extending of a gift to all

8(f)

5:19

The experience of justification by many

8(g)

5:20

The enhancement of sin by the law

8(h)

5:21

The ending of sin’s reign

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS CHAPTER 5, VERSES 12 TO 21:

5:12 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:

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

5:14 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.

5:15 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.

5:16 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.

5:17 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.)

5:18 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.

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

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

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

 

8(a) The entrance of sin and its consequences

Overview of verse 12, an initial doctrinal statement

The apostle immediately traces the origin of the sin principle right back to Adam, and then shows that “Him that was to come”, verse 14, is God’s answer. The Last Adam alone is able to deal with that which the first man Adam brought in. When he fell, Adam became a sinner by nature and practice, and when he begat a son it was in his image and likeness, to represent him as a sinner, Genesis 5:3. Thus sin entered into the world. Like a poison being put into the spring that gives rise to a river, so the river of humanity has been poisoned at source. Hence the apostle’s use of the words “all men”, and “world”. Not that sin originated with Adam, for Lucifer was the first to sin, Ezekiel 28:15, but he used Adam as the door through which sin might enter into the human race.

The consequence of the sin of Adam was that its penalty, death, passed on all. If any question whether this is the case, then the apostle has the answer. All have sinned, and thus is proved the fact that all have a sin principle within inciting them to sin. But since that sin principle inevitably results in death, then both sin and death have indeed passed upon all men.

5:12 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:

Wherefore- a logical connection, (“therefore”, on the other hand, means logical consequence). 5:12-21 is not a logical consequence of the preceding chapters, but it does answer the questions that those chapters might raise. It is important to notice that the counterpart of “wherefore as” is the “therefore as” of verses 18, hence the parenthesis of verses 13-17 is required by the grammar of the passage.
As by one man- that is, Adam, the first man, and the federal head of the human race as sinners, for “God… hath made of one blood all nations of men…” Acts 17:26.
Sin- the principle of revolt against God, expressed in disobedience.
Entered into the world- sin existed in Satan before he introduced it into the world of men by means of Adam’s trangression. Adam was the door by which we perish, Christ is the door by which we are saved, John 10:9. Sin found an entrance into Adam’s heart, and through him to the rest of the world of men, for men were constituted sinners by Adam’s fall, verse 19. The man is singled out, even though the woman sinned first, for it was by Adam begetting children that the sin-principle entered into the world of men.
And death by sin- physical death is a direct consequence of Adam’s fall. Because we are sinners we have forfeited the right to continue on the earth, but in the mercy of God we are allowed a period to repent.
And so death passed upon all men- this happened because death is the penalty for having a sinful nature, (“the wages of sin is death” 6:23), and that sinful nature is shared by all in the world because of their link with Adam the sinner.
For that all have sinned- “For that” means, “on the basis of the fact that”. The consequence of the sin of Adam was that its penalty, death, passed on all. If any question whether this is the case, then the apostle has the answer. All have sinned, and thus is proved the fact that all have a sin principle within inciting them to sin. But since that sin principle inevitably results in death, then both sin and death have indeed passed upon all men.

Summary
The sin and death which are in the world are the result of the sin of Adam the first man.

8(b) The existence of sin before the law-age

Overview of verses 13, 14, the proof that death is the result of the sin-principle within.

It is important for the apostle to confirm that death is the result of sin within, and not, in general, as a result of particular sins committed. He does this by referring to the period of time before the law was given at Sinai through Moses. Before the law-age the principle of sin rested in the hearts of the descendants of Adam the sinner. But when they sinned, that sin was not put to their account as demanding an immediate penalty. They did not physically die the moment they sinned. (The word “reckoned” is not the same as is used in previous passages such as 4:3,4, where it means that God takes account of a person in a certain way. Here, it means to put a sin to someone’s account for immediate payment by death. This does not mean that sins committed during the pre-law period are ignored by God, for “God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil”, Ecclesiastes 12:14). Nevertheless, men still died in the period between Adam and the giving of the law at Sinai, which proves that they did so because of the sin-principle within them, and not because they had transgressed against a known law.

The consequence of this is very far-reaching, for it shows that even if an unbeliever managed to never sin, (a hypothetical situation, of course), he would still be liable to death because of what he is by nature. So the gospel is not just about having one’s sins forgiven, but is also about being a new creation, so that there is no obligation to sin.

The consequence of the sin of Adam was that its penalty, death, passed on all. If any question whether this is the case, then the apostle has the answer. All have sinned, and thus is proved the fact that all have a sin principle within inciting them to sin. But since that sin principle inevitably results in death, then both sin and death have indeed passed upon all men.

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

(For until the law sin was in the world- the principle of revolt against the rule of God that sin represents was in the world up until the formal giving of the law to Israel at Sinai.
But sin is not imputed when there is no law- the word translated imputed is only found here and Philemon 18, (“put that on mine account”). It means more than simply thinking of someone in a certain way, but goes further and involves putting something down in an account book as needing to be paid for. So whilst God did not overlook the fact that during the period from Adam to Moses men had sin within, He did not reckon it against them as needing to be paid for by instant death.

5:14 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.

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses- despite the foregoing, men still died in the period between Adam’s sin and Moses’ lawgiving. This proves that death is the consequence of having a sinful nature, and not the consequence of sinning. Only in extreme circumstances are men struck down in death by God; it is not the general rule.
Even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression- that is, those who had not gone against God’s will as expressed in a known law. Adam, like Israel, was formally given God’s law-“Thou shalt not eat of it” with a known death penalty for transgression-“Thou shalt surely die”, Genesis 2:7. The prophet said of Israel, “They, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant”, Hosea 6:7 margin. Men in between Adam and Sinai were not in this situation, and therefore the fact that death reigned over them, (was on the throne in their lives), was due to their nature from Adam, not their sinning like Adam.
Who is the figure of Him that was to come- the apostle rounds off this parenthesis by bringing together the two men that are to be compared and contrasted, Christ and Adam. Certain features about Adam in his official position as federal head of the human race provide both a comparison and a contrast with Christ, the head of the new creation.

Summary
That death has passed upon all men because of the act of another is proved by the fact that men died even though they had not transgressed a law they knew about. In His mercy, God promised the seed of the woman immediately sin had entered into the world.

8(c) The effect of sin and God’s attitude

Key phrases: The offence of one…the gift in grace which is of one man.

Note that in verses 13-17 and verse 19, the contrast is between one and many, emphasising the greatness of the problem to be addressed, and the greatness of God’s remedy, whereas in verses 12 and 18, it is between one and all, emphasising the universality of the problem, and the universality of the opportunity of benefiting by the remedy.

Overview of verse 15
Contrast and comparison- offence or gift

By describing Christ as “Him that was to come”, (immediately following Adam’s sin, God announced the coming deliverer), the apostle has prepared the way to revert back to his consideration of Adam’s fall, after the parenthesis of verses 13 and 14. He does this by presenting both a contrast, “not as”, and a comparison, “so also”.

The comparison is seen in the fact that both Adam and Christ, each being head over those linked to them, affect deeply their respective companies. The contrast is between Adam’s offence, and the grace of God. Further, that offence resulted in the “gift” of death to the many who have died one by one throughout the history of men, whereas the grace of God results in many being given a different sort of gift. What that gift is we are not yet told. We are told that what God does through Christ has a “much more” character to it, which is seen in that the gift has abounded. The seemingly insurmountable problem of Adam’s sin has been overcome by God in Christ. He has not solved the problem by introducing a stronger judgement than that meted out to Adam, but by acting in grace. The condemnation of sinners is a righteous necessity with God, but He is under no obligation to bless them, but chooses to do so because of His grace.

Note that in verses 13-17, and also in verse 19, we read of “many”, indicating the greatness of the problem to be addressed, and also the far reaching consequences of the actions of the two men who are in view in the passage. In verses 12 and 18, (which are linked together), we read of “all”, for there the universality of the problem Adam introduced, and the universality of the provision God has made in response is brought out.

5:15 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 not as the offence, so also is the free gift- these words serve the dual purpose of introducing both a comparison and a contrast, as would be suggested by the word figure ( the Greek word gives us the English word “type”) in verse 14. The keys on a typewriter were mostly the opposite way round to the letter written, but some, (o, v, w, x), were the same. So with Adam and Christ. Both are heads of a race of people, both performed an act which affected those people, and both pass on their characteristics to the people. But the contrast is marked, for Adam brought in sin, death, and God’s judgement through his offence, whereas Christ brings in righteousness, life, and justification as a free gift. An offence is a false step; an apparently trivial event has had devastating and universal consequences because of the attitude of heart which lay behind the act. The apostle assumes we accept the record of Genesis 3.
For if through the offence of one many be dead- the death of the multitudes of men that have died physically down the centuries is directly attributable to the trespass of a single man at the beginning.
Much more- despite the seemingly insurmountable problem, God has overcome it, not by revoking the command which brought the death, but by introducing something far higher and grander.
The grace of God- God’s answer is not further condemnation, John 3:17; Luke 9:56, but the display of grace, unmerited favour to a fallen race. The condemnation of sinners is a righteous necessity, but God has no obligation to bless, yet chooses to do so.
And the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ- the act of giving was the result of God’s gracious character, which is expressed by and mediated through one man alone, Jesus Christ. This contrasts with the personal responsibility of Adam for his offence (the offence of one) and its consequences.
Hath abounded unto many- the cup of blessing is brimful and overflows in grace to the same number, “the many”, affected by Adam’s offence.

Summary
The offence of one man, Adam, has resulted in the death of the many in the world, but the super-abounding grace of God in Christ is expressed to that same number.

8(d) The ending of death’s reign

Key phrases: Death reigned through (the agency of) one…reign in life through (the agency of) one.

Overview of verse 16
Contrast and comparison- condemnation or justification

This verse continues the idea of contrast, (“not as”), and comparison, (“so is”), but whereas verse 15 concentrated on the one offence of Adam, his act of taking a false step, and the fact that God’s act of giving in grace is through one man, Jesus Christ, here the emphasis is on the many offences which result from Adam’s fall, and the way each man relates to those offences. This is the comparison, for each man has been the means of affecting either adversely (judgement), or for good, (the gift), those involved in each case.

There is also a contrast, for Adam brought in judgement and condemnation, but Christ brings in justification. That judgement took the form of condemnation. God’s verdict, (judgement), went against Adam when he sinned, and he was pronounced guilty, with the implication that there was a sentencing process to follow. We read of that process in Genesis 3:17-19. Christ, however, brings in justification, and this despite the many offences committed during the history of men, and the many offences individual sinners commit during their lifetime.

The condemnation brought in by Adam resulted in men being subject to death, whereas the justification Christ brings in for those who believe not only clears their record, (this is the “Romans 3” side of justification), but also delivers them from obligation to sin in the present, and liability to death in the future. So it is that the apostle can write in 6:7 that “he that is dead is freed from sin”. That is, those who by faith are associated with Christ crucified, are no longer under any obligation to sin. They are not liable to die physically either, for Christ risen has secured their position in resurrection. Those who are alive when Christ comes will be proof of this, for they shall know resurrection without dying.

5:16 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.

And not as it was by one that sinned- the emphasis is now on the one person, rather than the one act of offending.
So is the gift- that spoken of in verse 15, and defined in verse 17 as the gift of righteousness. “And not” emphasizes that the gift is of a different character to the offence whose effects have been passed on to us, Adam’s gift was deadly! Christ’s is life-giving. “So is” emphasizes that there is a comparison between what the two men did.
For the judgement was by one- that is, originating from one. Opinions differ whether one means one man, Adam, or one offence. The comparison with many offences would suggest the latter, although the many offences are committed by many. The point is that there is a great obstacle to be overcome, since one sin has had such ruinous effects, yet there has been a multitude of people since who have committed a multitude of sins, which makes the situation much worse.
Unto condemnation- the word means “a verdict pronounced with punishment following”, a stronger word than is usually used, indicating the gravity of the situation. God’s verdict (“judgement”) went against man, and condemnation in the form of physical death was the result.
But the free gift- the apostle now reverts back to his original word for gift used in verse 15, grace-gift, indicating how the obstacle of so many sins, (whose presence proves that man is under condemnation), is dealt with. Only grace can do this, the law is powerless, 8:3.
Is of many offences- again “of” means “out of”, indicating the source. Just as the one sin of Adam was the reason why condemnation came, so in the wisdom of God, He has seen the many offences of Adam’s descendants as an opportunity for acting in grace, to His own glory. So the free gift is as a result of Adam’s sin, and its need to be remedied. This truth was mis-applied by Paul’s opponents in 6:1.
Unto justification- “unto” means “with a view to”, for not all come into the good of what God is prepared to do. Not only does God justify in the sense of reckoning righteous, but in the context here justification means the lifting of the condemnation of death, giving the authority to reign in life. In this way the end of verse 16 prepares the way for the truth of verse 17.

Overview of verse 17
Death reigning or believers reigning in life

In verse 16 the emphasis is on sins, but in this verse, on death. Going right back to the beginning again, the apostle repeats what he wrote in verse 12, that the offence of one man resulted in death. Now he enlarges on this and declares that death has not only passed upon all men, but has set up its throne in their hearts, and like a wicked tyrant rules their lives. The abundant grace of God, however, ensures that those who receive the gift of righteousness not only are delivered from the tyranny of death, and receive life, but reign in life. It is they who are in control. This is only possible, however, by the agency and strength of Jesus Christ, for even as believers they have no strength of their own.

5:17 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.)

For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one- the offence of Adam brought death upon men as a tyrant ruling their lives. There is no other cause for death’s reign, so “by one” is repeated to reinforce the point.
Much more- again there is the counteracting of Adam’s fall, but also further and abundant blessing. See verse 20, where we read, “sin abounded, grace did much more abound”.
They which receive abundance of grace- the grace of God mentioned in verse 15, is available. Note the apostle limits it to “they which receive”, not the “many” in general; in other words, believers, not men generally.
The gift of righteousness- the gift consisting of righteousness.
Shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ)- instead of merely overthrowing the tyrant death, God enables the believer to reign, but only by the agency and strength of Jesus Christ. Note the “shall”, the full realisation of reigning in life is reserved for the future, although to be anticipated now, as detailed in chapter 6.

Summary
By the agency of one man, Adam, death reigned over his race, but by the agency of another man, Jesus Christ, God’s grace ensures that those who receive His gift of righteousness reign in life, both now and in the future. And just as the one offence of one man was the starting point of the condemnation, so the many offences of many men has been viewed by God as the starting-point of a process which results in the condemnation being removed.

8(e) The extending of a gift to all

Key phrases: Judgement came upon all…free gift came upon all.

Overview of verse 18
The penalty upon all, and the opportunity for all

The apostle is now able to take his argument forward from verse 12, having built up a body of background information in verses 13-17 which will enable his readers to follow his line of thought. He first of all reiterates the truth of verse 12, and reminds us that the offence of Adam has resulted in the condemnation of death upon all men. He then contrasts the offence of Adam with the righteousness of another man, Jesus Christ. By righteousness here is meant the act of righteousness carried out by Christ in death, when He set out to reverse the consequences of Adam’s sin, and also bring in rich benefits besides. Just as the penalty through Adam’s unrighteous act of sinning brought results towards all men, so the blessing through Christ’s righteous act of dying for sin brings results to all men as well. The word “upon” has the meaning of “towards”, for the penalty came towards all, and so does the gift.

Not only is the one who believes justified in the sense of “reckoned righteous”, but the legal obligation to death is removed, so justification is “justification of life”. The ground of resurrection is taken up, so that the believer is clear of the consequences of Adam’s fall.

5:18 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 as- the counterpart to the “wherefore as” of verse 12. The intervening verses have cleared the way for the truths of verses 18 and 19, and the apostle is now free to take the argument forward.
By the offence of one- the spotlight is again on two federal heads of men.
Judgement came upon all men to condemnation- the word judgement has been supplied by the Authorised Version from verse 16 to give the sense. The sentence of the Judge went against Adam and his race.
Even so- there is a straight comparison now, instead of the “as…much more” of the previous verses.
Through the righteousness of one- the one supreme act of righteousness which Christ accomplished on the cross. Not His personal righteousness, for the meaning is fixed by the word used. The act of Adam in making a false step in relation to the will of God, is directly contrasted with the act of Christ when He fulfilled the will of God at the cross.
The free gift came upon all men- “free gift” is supplied from verse 16. Just as the condemnation came towards all, so does the gift.
Unto justification of life- with a view to a cancellation of the condemnation, negatively, and the introduction into life in Christ, positively. Life in Christ is the theme of chapters 6 and 8, and these verses prepare the way for the teaching of those chapters.

Summary
There is a correspondence between the consequence of Adam’s act, and that of Christ. The one was an offence which brought condemnation, the other was an act of righteousness which brings justification.

8(g) The experience of justification by many

Overview of verse 19
The state of many as sinners, and the state of many as righteous

Not only is the condition of man dealt with by Christ, but the nature as well. By Adam’s disobedience to the plain command of God, man was made or constituted a sinner. It is not, of course, that God made men to sin, but that by their link with Adam they have become sinners by nature. On the other hand, Christ obeyed His Father, even to the extent of death, and those who believe in Him are reckoned righteous by God, for that is how He sees them now.

Key phrases: One man’s disobedience….obedience of one.

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

For as- a more precise comparison even than the “as…even so” of verse 18, representing a refinement of the reasoning, which finds its climax in this verse with its doctrine of the nature of men in Adam and men in Christ. How does verse 19 advance the argument, since it is so similar to verse 18? The answer is two-fold. First, the apostle now speaks of man by their constitution, made sinners and made righteous. Second, he implies how the state of being righteous is attained, for the disobedience of Adam may be contrasted not only with the obedience of Christ, but by inference with the obedience of faith.
By one man’s disobedience- the word is made up of two words, “aside”, and “hear”, giving the idea of refusal to hear. Adam had heard the command of God, but chose to “turn a deaf ear”.
Many were made sinners- the idea is that man was constituted a sinner, the word being most often used of appointment to a position. The position appointed to men in Adam is that of being a sinner.
So by the obedience of one- Christ’s obedience to God even to the extent and extremity of the cross is in view, Philippians 2:8. Adam simply had to refrain from eating of the tree of knowledge, Christ had a heavy and sorrowful task before Him, but did not waver in His obedience.
Shall many be made righteous- here the righteousness is based on the obedience of Christ, to preserve the contrast with Adam. Previously the apostle has shown that it is by the obedience represented by our faith that righteousness is imputed to us.

Summary
Adam’s disobedience resulted in man being constituted a sinner, whereas the obedience of Christ has brought a state of righteousness to those who are linked to Him by the obedience of faith.

8(h) The enhancement of sin by the law

Having prepared the ground for a consideration of the believer’s life in Christ as detailed in chapters 6 and 8, the apostle now prepares for chapter 7, with its consideration of the believer in relation to the law of Moses.

Overview of verse 20
The law cannot deal with the sin-principle

The apostle now deals with a possible objection from Jewish readers. Can the law not remedy this situation? The answer is that it cannot, for when the law came in, it resulted in the situation becoming worse, not better, for it showed up sins as never before, and offered no remedy for the nature that produced those sins. It dealt with the symptoms but not the disease.

The only answer to man’s nature as a sinner is the grace of God in the gospel, which alone has the power to overcome the obstacles represented by sin, death, and the law, and set up its rule in the hearts of men on a righteous basis. That righteous basis being the death of Christ at Calvary, not the supposed good works of men.

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

Moreover the law entered- the law of Moses came onto the scene as a side-issue, by the side door, so to speak.
That the offence might abound- not in the sense that the number of sins might be increased, but that they might be shown in their true light, so that by a formal giving of the law what was wrong might be highlighted. By this means the initial offence of Adam, verse 15, was exposed in the offences of his race, verse 16.
But where sin abounded- as the law showed up its evil. The apostle reverts to the more general term sin, in preparation for the next chapters.
Grace did much more abound- the free favour of God is great enough to deal with all the offences, and to bring in an abundance of positive things as well. Compare the “much more” of the reasoning of verses 15 and 17.

8(i) The ending of sin’s reign

Overview of verse 21
Final doctrinal summary

So it is that the sad truth of verse 12, expressed here as “sin hath reigned unto death”, can be exchanged for “even so might grace reign”. Grace so dominates the scene that it sweeps sin off its throne in the heart, and robs death of its power over those who believe. And all this happens on a righteous basis, even the death of Christ, and leaves the way clear for the possession and enjoyment of eternal life in all its fulness. The apostle is careful at the close of the passage to attribute all this to Jesus Christ, who has shown Himself to be worthy of the title Lord. He has overcome every dominating principle, and shows Himself superior to them by His death and resurrection.

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

That- here the word means “in order that”, for the superabounding of grace has a purpose.
As sin hath reigned unto death- the power behind the throne during the reign of sin, is said to be death. Death made sin’s reign a tyranny.
Even so might grace reign- grace so abounds that it dominates the scene, sweeps sin off its throne, and robs death of its power over the believer.
Through righteousness- sin reigned in death, whereas grace reigns through righteousness. There is not, then, an exact parallel in the two ideas. God does not simply restore man to innocence, but to a position consistent with righteousness. So grace reigns on a righteous basis, in contrast to the reign of sin which was on the basis of the unrighteous act of Adam.
Unto eternal life- grace superabounds so that not only is death defeated, but eternal life, the life of God, is imparted, not the life of Adam regained.
By Jesus Christ our Lord- He is the direct means by which grace reigns and eternal life is imparted. This full title is fitting now that He has triumphed through the work of the cross, and overthrown the reign of sin. How believers enter into that triumph is the theme of the next three chapters.