The theological significance of this study cannot be over
stated. It revolves around the issue of "imputed sin," which
is often referred to as "immediate sin," or "original sin."
The idea is that there is an imputation or a legal assignment of Adam's
"original" act of sin to each member of the human race because
Adam stands as a legal representative of all his progeny and because each
one of them have a positional or "legal" relationship to him
that is indicated by the term, "in Adam."
Accordingly, each person is assessed the same guilt that
was assessed to Adam, and is held spiritually accountable for that sin
and comes under the condemnation of God because of that sin.
I suggest that this theory is false; that it is neither
taught in the bible nor is it a theological necessity for understanding
the depravity of the human race. The idea that there is some kind of positional
association "in Adam" is based on only ONE passage (1 Cor. 15:22)
which should not even be translated as "in Adam."
The primary passage used to develop the theory of imputed
sin is Romans 5:12-21, but as we shall see, there is nothing in the passage
that inherently teaches either a federal headship of Adam or the theory
of imputed sin.
(If the reader has not read the article, The
Theory of Imputed Sin, please refer to it for an important introduction
to this Romans 5 passage.)
There is a chain of factors at Romans 5:12-21, which begins
with Adam's ONE act of sin and ends with ultimate condemnation. In between
are several things that trigger from Adam's sin, but are dependent one
upon the other as the chain progresses to its ultimate result of condemnation
for the human race.
1. By the one man,
Verse 12, ie, by the transgression of that one man,
Verse 15, ie, through one man's disobedience, v. 19
2. THE sin (nature) entered into the world, v. 12
3. And that caused spiritual death through THE sin (nature), v. 12
4. Thus, spiritual death spread to all men,
Verse 14, ie, death reigned over all -
Verse 15, ie, the many died -
Verse 17, ie, death reigned through the ONE -
5. Thus there arose a judgment (krima) or indictment concerning
man's spiritual condition.
Verse 16, "the judgment (indictment) was out from
Verse 19, the many were classified as sinners.
6. And that resulted in condemnation (katakrima), v. 16,
"the judgment arose . . resulting in condemnation " (both in
time and in eternity),
Verse 9, the wrath of God
A. wrath abides, (John 3:36) and future wrath (Rom. 2:5-8).
B. perishing (2 Cor. 4:3) and will perish (Rom. 2:12).
Verse 18, The beginning and end of the chain of factors:
Through one transgression (it then leaves out 2, 3, 4, 5) there resulted
1. Therefore: This goes back to the primary focus in verses
Christ died for the ungodly (v. 6); Christ died for us
Therefore, SINCE Christ died - - -
A. Skip the rest of verse 12 and jump to the middle of
B. Verse 18: Through Christ's ONE act of righteousness (dying for the ungodly),
there resulted (eis) justification of (leading to) life for (eis) all men.
C. Therefore, since Christ died for the ungodly, there
results justification leading to life for all men.
D. What Christ did is the issue. However, since what Christ
did is BECAUSE of what Adam did (that is, the negative act of Adam necessitates
a positive act from God), Paul clarifies and contrasts the two acts.
E. The thought that Paul begins at verse 12 is that, just
as ONE man's act of sin resulted in THE sin, death (spiritual) and condemnation
on all (wrath), so also ONE man's act of righteousness results in a gift
of deliverance for all (abound to the many, v. 15).
F. However, the gift of deliverance is not assigned to
the human race in the same way that the judgment is assigned (v. 15-16).
G. Judgment is assigned to all, and the provision for
life is provided for all, but the gift of righteousness is only assigned
to those who receive the gift (v. 17) by faith in Christ.
2. Just as (hōsper): in the way that . . .
so also (houtōs kai, v. 18)
3. Through one man: Adam and specifically his act of disobedience
in eating from the tree and sinning against God. The issue of "through
one man" (dia) is clarified in the context as being "by means
of" his one act of sin, and refers to the reason, cause or source
of the sin nature entering into the realm of Adam's progeny. When Paul
refers to Adam as the source he uses dia; when he refers to the one transgression
as the source, he uses the instrumental case (v. 15, 17).
However, at verse 18 and 19, when he refers to the one
transgression and the act of disobedience, he returns to using dia. This
is because in verses 13-17, he is giving an explanation of his statement
in verse 12. After the explanation, Paul returns to his primary focus in
At 1 Cor. 15:22, "in Adam, all die," should
be rendered from en plus the instrumental as "by" Adam all die;
and likewise, the opposite, "BY" Christ shall all be made alive
(John 5:28-29). There is no other place in Scripture where the "in
Adam" idea is found, and it is not a valid inclusion in Biblical theology.
The use of the instrumental case at 1 Cor. 15:22 explains the use of DIA
at verse 21 - exactly what Paul does at Romans 5:12ff.
Kenneth Wuest (Romans, page 84) writes at this point,
"Here Adam is looked upon as the federal head of
the race, and that
when he sinned, all of humanity sinned in him. It is Adam's initial
sin that constituted him a sinner in which all human beings
participated, and which brings death upon all. In other words, we are
sinners, not because we have committed acts of sin, but because Adam
sinned. Now Paul proceeds to explain and demonstrate this."
As I have stated before, the claims made by Wuest and
others that there is a federal headship of Adam, is an ASSUMED idea. The
statement, "through one man," finds better fulfillment in the
fact that the sin nature has entered into the world of Adam's progeny THROUGH,
that is BECAUSE Adam sinned and became the physical progenitor of the race,
passing onto each of them a sin nature. Concerning the attempt to find proof
of Adam's headship in verses 13ff, one can only do so by operating on the
assumption made in verse 12, for there is nothing in those verses that
either explicitly or implicitly support such a headship. However, if one
recognizes that it is the sin nature which has entered into the world because
of Adam's sin, then the following verses produce substantial proof of this
as the following development will demonstrate.
4. THE sin: Paul usually uses this word,
the definite article (the) as a reference to the sin nature, and especially
in Romans. This could refer to the "principle" of sin coming
into the world, but the overall context favors that it refer to the sin
nature (Rom. 5:21; 6:1-23; 7:1-25).
A. Adam's act of negative volition first and foremost
caused a separation between Adam and God. This separation
is spiritual death.
B. Secondly, the act of negative volition caused a physical
mutation of his mentality; a mutation that took up residence in his mentality
genes and caused a distortion of all mental activity, making the physical
senses the center of all human activity. Thus, his nature changed, and
became resistant to the viewpoint of God and inherently evil. We designate
this mutation as the sin nature.
C. This sin nature which man received is not in the soul
or the spirit. It is in the physical body and has a direct influence on
the soul through an unidentifiable "wiring system" between the
soul and the brain (Romans 6 and 7).
D. It is reasonable to conclude that Eve also received
a sin nature and spiritual death at the time that she sinned. It seems
quite unreasonable to suggest that she did not receive a sin nature or
death until Adam also partook of the fruit. However, even though Eve sinned
first and acquired a sin nature first, the proactive channel for the sin
nature being passed on to their progeny is assigned to Adam (Ps. 51:5,
"in sin my mother conceived me."). This is not to be considered
as some kind of LEGAL accountability or guilt, but simply a statement of
cause and effect. Any legal accountability is found only in each individual
as he possesses his own sin nature and is guilty of his own personal sins.
This passage does not teach that mankind is accountable BECAUSE of some
kind of identification with Adam's sin, but because of what each person
has personally, as a result of Adam bringing THE sin nature into the realm
of the human race.
E. See Topic: The
5. Entered into the world: eiserchomai as an aorist active
indicative, indicates a specific point of time when THE sin (nature) became
manifest in the human realm (the world).
A. It should be recognized that sin entered into Eden
when Eve sinned (1 Tim. 2:14, "the woman fell into transgression.")
B. Also, that at the same time, Eve acquired a sin nature.
It is not reasonable to think that she somehow got a sin nature from Adam.
C. However, Eve is not the proactive channel by which
the sin nature is transmitted to offspring, but Adam is.
D. It appears to me that entrance into the world refers
to entrance into the human race as the offspring of Adam and does not refer
to its "arrival" in the garden.
E. Thus, the issue of "through one man," and
"BY the transgression of one man," is simply a statement of cause
and effect and not any kind of legal accountability. In actuality, both
Adam and Eve are equally responsible for transmitting the sin nature to
their offspring, as there would not be, indeed could not be, any sin nature
in their progeny unless BOTH transmitted the mutated mentality genes to
F. This of course is different from a popular belief that
the sin nature is transmitted entirely through Adam. I suggest that "through
Adam," refers only to a proactive cause by virtue of man's "seed"
being placed into the woman and joining with the woman's egg, with the
result that each child possesses characteristics from the sin natures of
both parents. Thus, the virgin birth is still effective in preventing the
sin nature from being transmitted to the Messiah, because it requires the
combination of both parents' mentality genes.
6. And THE death through THE sin: This is a reference
to spiritual death; separation from God and under the indictment of His
justice (wrath) which condemns all to the lake of fire (perish at John
3:16). The preposition, dia, is used again to indicate the cause of spiritual
A. Romans 6:23, the wages of THE sin is death.
B. This was the real issue at Genesis 2:14, "you shall surely die,"
for in the day that Adam sinned, he did NOT die physically, but did "die"
in regard to his relationship with God. In fact, he lost that relationship,
that communion, that fellowship with God (Gen. 3:8-10).
1. He was now afraid of God and hid from God.
2. This loss of relationship with God is the death that he
3. The "principle" is seen at Isaiah 59:2, "But your iniquities
have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden
His face from you so that He doesn't hear."
C. When Adam sinned, he did not lose any part of his human
1. Body, soul and spirit were still there. Gen. 7:22;
Job 34:14; Is. 42:5; 57:16
2. Everything he received in Gen. 2:7 was still there and functioning.
3. But every aspect of his being became dead to God. Adam as a completely
functional triune being, lost his relationship with God and lost capacity
for fellowship with God.
D. Not only did the sin nature form immediately in Adam,
but it would now be transmitted to all his offspring, and with that transmission,
the spiritual consequences as well.
F. Furthermore, the experiential evidence of the sin nature,
which is trespasses and sins, is said to be the sphere in which mankind
is "dead" to God, even as he lives (Ephesians 2:1), and this
certainly relegates physical death to a secondary factor in regard to the
consequence of Adam's transgression.
G. At Col. 2:13, Paul mentions two areas which seem to
establish the fact of spiritual death, (1) dead in your transgressions
and (2) dead in the un-circumcision of your flesh (which refers to the sin
H. The consequence of physical death was not an issue
until many years later, and is probably not related to the presence of
the sin nature. In fact, it was possible for them to gain physical immortality
even with the sin nature in their bodies, if they were to eat from the
tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24).
7. And so (houtōs): this indicates the all
encompassing effect of Adam's sin nature. It did not just effect him, but
since it was a "physical" condition (the sin nature is a physical
mutation of the human mentality genes), it was physically transmitted to
all of his children through procreation.
8. The death spread to all men: The verb,
indicates the all encompassing effect of the sin nature's presence. Since
the sin nature was in Adam, it was physically transmitted to his children.
Since the result of possessing the sin nature is spiritual death, all of
Adam's children are born spiritually dead.
A. This is focusing on the primary-cause factor of bringing
THE sin into the world, whereas the actual mechanics involves both Adam
and Eve as together they transmit a combination of their mentality genes
to their progeny, producing a "new" person with a sin nature
that has characteristics from both parents. It is the combination of both
parent's genes that transmit the sin nature and not just the man's.
B. The statement of proactive cause is assigned to Adam,
but the actual spread of death does not occur until a person is born. It
appears that Scripture teaches the condemnation of individuals rather than
C. Jesus was a member of the human race, but His humanity
did not have a sin nature because there was no combination of mutated mentality
genes from both parents. The virgin birth prevented the transmission of
the sin nature by excluding the seed of the man in conception. Accordingly,
there was no individual condemnation and no "humanity" condemnation.
D. It is accordingly suggested, that the woman alone,
is unable to contribute to the transmission mechanics because it requires
a combination of both parents' mentality genes for the sin nature to be
9. BECAUSE all sinned: This phrase is the focal
point for the doctrine of imputed sin, and is the object of no little
controversy. There are two factors that need very close attention; (1) the
meaning of the conjunction, because, (2) the meaning of the verb, sinned, and
(3) the presence of the relative pronoun, "which."
A. The word sinned, is an aorist active indicative of
hamartano, which everywhere means to "do" sin.
1. It cannot be translated as, "because all have
2. Nor can it be translated as, "because all are sinners."
3. The translation needs to reflect the aorist tense and the "point
of time" action inherent to the aorist. Accordingly, in the English,
we have two choices; (1) Because all have sinned, or (2) because all sinned.
4. Furthermore, there seems to be two choices as to the
MEANING of all sinned; (1) all sinned IN Adam in a positional sense, or
(2) all sinned by virtue of having committed personal sins.
5. The only other time that Paul used this exact same
construction is at Romans 3:23, which very clearly refers to one or more
of the sins in the list mentioned in verses 10-18. Not only that, but the
phrase at Rom. 3:23 is explanation of the phrase at verse 9, "all
are under sin." This phrase means that all are under the authority
of sin's presence (the sin nature) and under the authority of sin's expressions
(personal sin). Both are developed as Paul continues through chapter eight.
6. Accordingly, the translation, "all have sinned,"
as a reference to the personal sins that emanate from the sin nature is
not in violation of the aorist tense, for that is exactly the way it is
used at Romans 3:23. For that matter the same aorist tense is used at Romans
2:12 to clearly refer to personal sins.
"For all who have sinned (aorist active indicative)
without the law will also perish without the law; and all who have sinned
(Aorist A. I.) under the law will be judged by the law."
7. The POINT-OF-TIME of the aorist tense is looking at
the overall period of one's life as a human being and not at a the specific
moment that Adam sinned.
8. The key is in the proper translation and understanding
of the prepositional phrase, "because of WHICH."
B. The word, because translates epi and hos; a preposition
that means, upon, and a relative pronoun that means, which. Thus, a literal
rendering is, because of which. The issue is whether the relative pronoun
is pertinent to the context, or whether the words have a common meaning
of simply, "because," (as per Robertson, page 963).
There are only five places where this construction occurs and has theological
significance. (There are two places where the preposition has a purely
local or physical significance and they do not contribute to our understanding
in this passage). In the four other passages, the construction seems to
require a meaning of "because of which," rather than a simple
1. 2 Cor. 5:4,
"While we are in this tent, we are groaning, BECAUSE
OF WHICH NOT or NOT BECAUSE OF WHICH (tells the reason for the groaning)
we want to be unclothed, but to be clothed upon."
The "which" points back to the groaning. It
could be rendered as a simple, "because," without changing the
meaning, but the point is, that the relative pronoun has an antecedent.)
The relative pronoun in the masculine gender corresponds with the participle
of groaning which is also a masculine.
2. Philippians 3:12,
"but I press on in order that I may lay hold UPON
WHICH also (for which cause also) I was laid hold of by Christ."
Here the antecedent follows the construction, but it is
still present in the context and a simple "because" does not
suffice. The relative pronoun is again, either masculine or neuter, however, here the antecedent is not represented by a noun,
but by the idea of being resurrected with Christ. Accordingly, the preposition
should probably be viewed as a neuter. But what is of great import, is
the fact that the antecedent of the pronoun in this context is NOT a noun,
but rather an IDEA.
3. Philippians 4:10,
"so that now at last you have revived your concern
for me, UPON WHOM (for whom) also you were (previously) concerned, but
you lacked opportunity."
The construction very clearly has an antecedent (me) and
again, a simple "because" is not adequate. In this case, the
relative pronoun is a masculine.
4. Matthew 26:50,
"friend, do UPON WHICH you have come (do what you
have come for)."
Or "upon which have you come?".
There is controversy about whether this sentence should
be interrogative or imperative. The verb, pareimi, is a present indicative
and not an imperative, but that does not mean it cannot have the force
of an imperative. However, that issue does not alter the use of the relative
pronoun. The antecedent of WHICH is unstated, but implied by the context.
There is SOMETHING that he came to do. Again, "because" does
not work here. The difference between this occurrence and the other ones,
is that here the pronoun is in the accusative case, neuter (instead of
instrumental case), but still points to a specific reason or cause for
the action in view. In this case, it refers to the IDEA of betrayal rather
than having a specific noun as an antecedent.
5. Thus, when we get to Romans 5:12, it seems proper to
give both the preposition and the relative pronoun its characteristic significance
and translate the last phrase, "because of which (UPON WHICH) all
sinned." Accordingly, the relative pronoun should have an antecedent
in the context (either a noun or an idea), which should agree with it in
gender and number. It can refer to (1) the masculine of ONE MAN, which
would come across as, "because of whom (the one man) all have sinned,"
and would indicate that people sin because of what Adam CAUSED to happen
in reference to the possession of a sin nature, and not necessarily because
of any federal headship of Adam.
It can refer to (2) the masculine noun "death,"
but that result is quite unacceptable, for it would mean that BECAUSE OF
DEATH, all have sinned, and that is certainly never the case anywhere in
Scripture. Whether it be physical or spiritual, death is never the cause
of sin, but the result.
It can refer to (3) the IDEA of what happened to the human
race because of Adam's sin, which again is the presence of the sin nature
in all of his progeny, and is represented by the feminine noun, THE SIN.
In this case, the antecedent is not directly the feminine noun, but rather
the idea that is represented in the context. This is acceptable since the
construction is used without a corresponding noun as an antecedent in
Phil. 3:12 and Mat. 26:50. Thus, the idea that is being communicated is,
"because of which (sinful condition) all have committed sin."
It is imperative to recognize that this passage displays
Adam as the originating cause for man's sinful condition, but the SINFUL
CONDITION that is in view is not a positional sinfulness through imputation
of Adam's sin, but a natural sinfulness that exists because of the presence
of the sin nature. And it is because of that sinful condition that death
has spread to all men.
We thus see that death has spread upon all of Adam's progeny
based on the fact that (1) because of "one man" all have sinned,
or (2) because of "THE sin (nature)" all have sinned. Both are
true if we can accept the fact that the sinfulness of the human race is
NOT through a federal headship relationship with the one man, but because
of the sin nature which came through the one man. In other words, whether
it is "the one man" or "the sin nature," either way
it is the sin nature that is in view; that is, the SINFUL CONDITION that
exists from possessing a sin nature. The rest of the bible indicates that
the primary reason people sin is because they have a sin nature. This does
not take away any volitional responsibility on the part of each individual,
but it means that there is a powerful force or influence upon the soul
that makes sin the pathway of least resistance. I suggest then, that the
relative pronoun here, finds its antecedent specifically in the CONDITION
OF SINFULNESS that exists through possessing the sin nature which was passed
onto all physically through procreation, and that there is no statement
of any positional imputation in the phrase.
10. The theological views concerning this passage, make
it imperative that the believer becomes "convinced in his own mind"
of what Paul's meaning is.
A. On one hand, we have the doctrine of imputed sin, which
states that Adam's very act of disobedience is "positionally"
(through a federal headship of Adam) judicially imputed or placed upon
all members of the human race, so that they become guilty and condemned
through that imputation.
B. On another hand, we have personal accountability because
of the presence and consequences of the sin nature, first upon Adam and
then upon all who inherit that sin nature through physical birth. This
would make any "legal" guilt be based on the fact that everyone
physically inherits a sin nature from Adam, and although historically traced
back to Adam, each one would be guilty because of his own sinfulness. Some
take exception with this because it is believed that mankind's accountability
needs to be NON-MERITORIOUS, since the salvation provision from God is
non-meritorious. However, there is no need for this to be true. Nothing
requires a non-meritorious sinfulness, not even the Romans 5 context. Furthermore,
if someone really wants to insist on finding a non-meritorious
then this can easily be seen in the fact that all inherit the sin nature
without any personal choice or action, simply because they are born as
C. At this point, Paul goes into a lengthy explanation
of what he means when he says that all have sinned (verses 13-17). Then
he picks up with his original focus of what God has made available to all
mankind through the substitutionary death of Christ (vs 18-19). It is through
this explanation that we can determine that "all sinned" is to
be taken as an active RESULT of the sin nature's presence in all mankind,
and is referring to that "condition" of sinfulness that is demonstrated
(expressed) by personal sin. It is not referring to a "positional"
identification with Adam's act of sin and the guilt of that sin (because
all sinned "in Adam") which would constitute an imputation of
Adam's sin to all members of his race.
On this, Denny writes (The Expositor's Greek Testament,
"A sin which we commit in Adam (and which never becomes
ours otherwise) is a mere fancy to which one has nothing serious to say."
1. FOR: the word gar, introduces his explanation of the
last statement in verse 12, "because all sinned." The explanation
continues through verse 17, and by way of statement of fact, and contrast
between Christ and Adam, Paul clarifies that man's guilt before God comes
first through the possession of a sin nature and secondly through the many
and varied transgressions that come from the sin nature (Col. 2:13).
2. Until the law: This refers to the organization of moral
truths into a formal code of national behavior for Israel, as was represented
by the ten commandments. From Adam until the giving of the law, there is
a period of 2513 years. The law was given in year 2513 AH (ano hominus).
3. sin was in the world: This time, sin occurs without
the definite article and refers to the expressions the come from the sin
nature; ie, expressions of personal sin. All are born with a sin nature
and are characterized by various personal sins as stated and listed at
4. But sin is not imputed: The word for imputed is,
It is an accounting term which means to put on one's account. The only
other place it occurs is at Philemon 18, where Paul writes, "if he
has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, CHARGE this to me."
Paul is saying that any debt or guilt because of the actions of Onesimus
should not be held against Onesimus, but assigned to Paul instead. At Romans,
Paul's principle is that any act of sin is not held against the sinner
when there is no formal law that indicts him.
5. When there is no law: This refers to the Mosaic law
as a formal declaration of that which constitutes violations of divine
righteousness. At Romans 4:15, Paul writes, "for where there is no
law, neither is there violation (parabasis)." However, it needs to
be observed that even though the formal document of the Mosaic Law was
not yet in existence, there were communicated to God's people moral and
spiritual restrictions that governed both human interaction and worship
activity (Gen. 9:6; 26:5), and there was certainly the reality of violation
of these restrictions, because a point was made concerning Abe's obedience
and of Job's consistency (Job 1:1). So apparently, the issue with the existence
of the law, is that it is a formalized document given to the nation of
Israel, and set forth to all the world, as an official indictment on the
presence of the sin nature (the evil inclination of the heart of Gen. 8:21)
and the personal sins that come from the sin nature. Romans 3:20 says,
"for through the law comes the KNOWLEDGE of sin." Thus, "the
law entered (into the realm of mankind) so that the transgression (paraptoma)
might increase." This "increase" refers to the indictment
toward personal sin that comes through the formal prohibitions found in
the law. However, the indictment toward "transgressions" also
brings about the knowledge of the presence of the sin nature, which is
the primary source of personal sin, and the result is that THE sin nature
becomes (is shown to be) utterly sinful (Rom. 7:13). At Romans 7:7-13 we
find, "I would not have come to know THE sin except through the law."
Here, Paul refers to the presence of the sin nature as that which is the
cause of spiritual death in the human race. At the same time, he would
not have come to understand that COVETOUSNESS was a personal sin unless
the law had clarified it.
The human race is dead, both in transgressions AND the
presence of the sin nature; the un-circumcision of the flesh (Col. 2:13).
Babies and those with severe mental retardation, who have no volitional
capacity, are still held accountable to the indictment of "death spread
to all men," because they all have the sin nature. But of course,
God's gift of grace through Christ is given directly to these people because of
atonement (universal ransom), and because final accountability is based solely on volitional
1. Nevertheless: The Greek is alla, the strongest adversative
and should be rendered as, but.
2. But THE death: This is a reference to spiritual death,
which we have already established as being the significant consequence
of THE sin nature's presence in the world.
3. reigned from Adam until Moses: The word, reigned, simply
communicates the functional authority that spiritual death had over all
mankind as a result of the sin nature's presence. The time period from
Adam to Moses refers to the time prior to any formalized written code of
conduct for God's people, which exposes not only the various "acts"
of sin, but the very character (sin nature) behind those acts of sin. Just
as Paul writes, "I would not have come to know THE sin, except through
the law; for I would not have come to know about coveting (lust) if the
law had not said, you shall not covet," (Romans 7:7).
4. That is (even), over those who had not sinned in the
likeness of the offense of Adam: The judgment of spiritual death was functional
over all people from Adam until Moses, even though no one else had actually
committed Adam's specific act of disobedience. Since they are under judgment
and since they had not committed Adam's sin, then there must be a different
reason for judgment. Is that reason a positional imputation of Adam's sin
upon them or is it because they are all born with a sin nature? I suggest
that the reason for judgment is the presence of the sin nature in all who
are born into Adam's race. The context is talking about a "stated"
sin nature presence, but there is no stated understanding of a positional
identification with Adam's sin anywhere in Romans.
5. Who is a type of the Coming One (The Messiah): The
Coming One is a common designation for the Messiah prior to His first advent.
The typology that is established is one of universal cause and effect.
That is, just as Adam's act of disobedience had a universal effect on all
mankind, causing the sin nature to be transmitted to all through physical
birth, and death through THE sin, and a future condemnation; so also, Christ's
one act of righteousness had a universal effect of providing the gift of
grace to all mankind, and the gift of righteousness to those who believe.
But there is a difference: Adam's act brings sin and death to ALL through
physical birth; Christ's act brings righteousness and life to ALL through
spiritual birth. The difference is carried one step further, when we realize
that physical death and the sinful condition that results from physical
death are realities brought about apart from any volitional expression
on the part of the one born. But the gift of righteousness and the eternal
life that results from that gift, although made available to all of Adam's
race, are only realized through the volitional expression of belief in
Christ. The typology has absolutely nothing to do with any federal headship of
Adam and federal headship of Christ. Adam is NOT the federal head of the human
race. The human race did NOT fall IN ADAM, but BECAUSE OF the sin nature which
Adam transmitted to all his offspring through prcreation.
Verse 15, Contrast between the two acts
1. But the act of grace (free gift): The word is charisma
and refers to an expression or act of grace, that is, something freely
done based on the character of the one doing it rather than on any merit
in the recipient. It refers here, to the act of Christ in taking upon himself
the sins of the world and tasting spiritual death for all men.
A. It is called, "the charis (grace) of the one man,
B. At verse 18, "one act of righteousness."
C. At verse 19, "the obedience of the One."
2. Is not like the transgression: This refers to Adam's
act in contrast to Christ's act. The word is paraptoma and comes from the
verb, parapipto, which means to fall away from the side of something. It
thus comes to mean to violate a specific standard, and as a noun, a violation
or transgression of a specific standard.
3. For: gar, explains the nature of this difference by
using an "a fortiori" principle, stating that a greater cause
produces a greater effect.
A. If: This is a first class condition that recognizes
the spiritual reality of the statement and the "a fortiori" principle
B. By the transgression of the one: This refers to Adam's
specific violation of the prohibition stated at Gen. 2:17 (see commentary
on this passage).
C. The many: This refers to every member of the human
race, who are such through physical decent from Adam.
D. Died: This is an aorist active indicative of
and refers to a spiritual condition that effected Adam immediately, and
effects all his progeny (the many) at physical birth.
E. Although it is stated as, "because of his transgression,"
that is only the initial cause. The actual cause is the presence of the
sin nature which is present in all of Adam's progeny BECAUSE he passed
it on to them through procreation. But this happens because of his original
transgression, for had he not sinned, then there would be no sin nature
in Adam and no transmission of a sin nature to his progeny.
F. There is another death factor involved with the fall.
It is described at Gen. 3:19b as "you shall return to the dust"
from which you were taken and refers to physical death. This is related
to the curse on the physical creation which was a judgment from God, rather
than a direct consequence of the act of sin. Physical death is the primary
"physical" consequence of Adam's sin and the universal reminder
of the severity of sin. At 1 Cor. 15:21-22, the phrase, "by means
of Adam all die," refers to the fact that physical death is a common
human experience because all are physically descended from Adam and share
in the physical curse on the earth that came about officially, because
of the one man's transgression.
4. Much more: pollo mallon, introduces the "a fortiori"
principle of spiritual benefit that comes through Christ's greater deed.
An "a fortiori" principle is the fact that the effects of one
cause will be surpassed by a greater cause.
5. Did the grace of God: Grace (charis) refers to God's
active part in the redemptive program. It begins with an attitude (love)
and is completed with a sacrificial action (gave His Son).
At John 3:16, it begins with, "For God so loved .
. ," and continues with, "that He gave His only begotten Son."
At Romans 5:8, "God demonstrates his own love for
us . . ."
At Romans 8:32, "He who spared not His own Son."
At Titus 3:4, it is described as "when the kindness
of God our Savior and love for mankind appeared."
It is God's provision of spiritual life to the human race
because of His love for all mankind.
6. And the gift: The word here is dorea, and refers to
the actual gift of deliverance from sin through the redemption that is
in Christ. The gift is made available because of what Christ did, and that
is mentioned in the next phrase.
7. By the grace (charis) of the one man: the word, grace,
refers to the action that was accomplished and corresponds with the word
charisma (gift) at the beginning of the verse. It thus refers to the actual
mechanics of Christ's sacrifice, which is described by Paul at 2 Cor. 8:9:
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though He was rich, yet for your sake, he became poor, so that you
through His poverty might become rich."
It entails every aspect of the incarnation as an expression
of Christ's love for mankind. The interaction of these two words then,
communicate that the gift (dorea) of salvation and/or righteousness is
made available to the human race, through the action (charisma/charis)
of Jesus in fulfilling the role of the sin bearer.
8. Abound to the many: The word abound, is perisseuo as
an aorist active indicative, and refers to an overflowing extension of
grace to all mankind (the many). The offer is made universally, but the
personal application comes only through a volitional decision to trust
in Christ as the savior. The "many" is the same group that is
in view as the recipients of death through Adam's transgression. Thus,
in the same way that ALL are found to be spiritually dead, so also ALL
are seen as the object of Christ's grace sacrifice and benefactors of the
plan of salvation. Paul writes at Titus 2:11 that "the grace of God
has appeared, bringing salvation to all men."
See Topic: UNLIMITED
9. This does not mean that everyone is given life or the
gift of righteousness, but that all are benefactors of the action of Christ
(charisma), and all are benefactors of the redemption gift (dorea), in
that it is offered freely to all of them, but only personally acquired
through volitional acceptance.
Verse 16, Contrast between the two results
1. And the gift: dōrāma refers
to a specific thing that is given. In this case it refers to the gift of
salvation that is provided through the charisma of Christ. At Rom. 5:17,
it is designated as the gift of righteousness and at Rom. 6:23, as the
gift of eternal life.
2. Is not like (what came) through the one who sinned:
The addition (what came) seems to be bona fide, for Paul is talking about
the results of Adam's sin. What came through Adam? It was first THE sin
nature through procreation and then it was the condition of spiritual death
that results from the sin nature's presence. Notice that the language is
very clear through this entire passage, that the sinful situation that
has come upon the human race is THROUGH or BY MEANS OF or OUT FROM and
never the idea of IN.
3. For on the one hand (Greek, men), the judgment: krima
refers to the universal indictment that falls upon all who are born into
4. Came from: This is simply the preposition,
means, "out from." The verbal idea is implied by the motion inherent
in the preposition. Something "came" out from, or "was"
out from, or even, "is" out from.
5. One: this "one" refers to Adam or to Adam's
transgression. Both ideas are correct. The reason the NASB adds, "one
transgression," is because of an apparent contrast with "many
transgressions" at the end of the verse.
6. resulting in: this is the preposition, eis, and indicates
an intended direction. Thus, the idea of purpose or result depending on
7. condemnation: The word, katakrima is more intense than
krima and refers to the judicial consequences that come from the indictment (krima). It thus refers to the ultimate destiny that falls upon those who
are not saved by God's grace.
It is called, "perish" at John 3:16.
The lake of fire at Rev. 20:15.
And "wrath and indignation" at Rom. 2:5-8.
8. But on the other hand (de), the act of grace: This
is charisma again and stands out in the context as different from the actual
gift. It thus, once again, refers to the gracious ACT of Jesus in tasting
death for every one (Heb. 2:9).
9. is out from (ek): In this case, ek, indicates the REASON
FOR the gracious act of Christ (his sacrifice on the cross).
10. Many transgressions: paraptoma in the plural refers
to the many acts of personal sin that characterize the lives of all people.
It is these that the LORD caused to fall upon Jesus (Isaiah 53:6) and that
he took up upon himself (John 1:14) and carried in His own body on the
cross (1 Peter 2:24), thus tasting death for everyone (Heb. 2:9) and becoming
a ransom for all (1 Tim. 2:6). At Romans 4:25, Paul writes that He was
"delivered up for (because of) our transgressions." It is thus
BECAUSE of the presence of sinS (and not imputed sin) in the human race
that the Godhead has initiated the plan of redemption and offers to all
who will accept it, forgiveness of those sins (Acts 13:38-39) and the gift
11. Resulting in (eis): The preposition is used again
to indicate the results of a specific act, and in this case, the beneficent
results of Christ's sacrificial death.
12. Justification: The word dikaioma refers to the condition
of being recognized as righteous in God's sight. This is not a statement
of universal justification, for Paul next explains by making the gift of
justification conditional upon receiving it. So in the same way that the
katakrima (condemnation) is ACTUALLY extended ONLY to those who reject
Christ, so also, the dikaioma (receipt of righteousness) is only to those
who trust in Him.
Verse 17, The "a fortiori" principle of greater
benefit from a greater act.
1. For if: This is a first class condition to indicate
the reality of the spiritual condition that is in view.
2. by the transgression of the one: This refers to Adam's
one act of disobedience in violation of Gen. 2:17.
3. Death reigned through the one: The first class condition
recognizes the reality of spiritual death reigning over all of Adam's progeny.
A. Paul skips the interim factor that has already been
stated in verse 12 (THE sin entered the world) and goes right to the spiritual
effect of Adam's sin.
B. The reign of death is the condition of spiritual death
upon the many - the entire human race.
C. Through the one, indicates a cause/effect relationship
and does not require a positional imputation of Adam's sin for the condition
to be in effect. The cause has already been stated; it is because of the
presence of THE sin nature in Adam which was passed on to all his progeny
through procreation and caused spiritual death to them all.
4. Much more: pollo mallon, again introduces the "a
fortiori" principle of a greater result because of a greater act.
5. Those who receive: this is a present active participle
of lambano to indicate the principle of volitional
responsibility in order to benefit from Christ's salvation provision. Here
we find a major shift in the discussion. Prior to this, it has focused
on one act that causes a universal result and the
participants in that result have no control over its
jurisdiction over them.
A. Adam's transgression and introduction of the sin nature
into the human race brings universal spiritual death. It can not be avoided.
B. Christ's righteous act of paying a ransom for sin,
brings a universal salvation provision that is available to all. It cannot
C. But now, individual volition enters into the equation,
and in order to gain eternal life, one must "receive" the overflow
of Christ's gracious act (charis), that is, the actual gift (dorea) of
righteousness. The correlation between receiving the gift of righteousness
and believing in Christ as the mechanics of receiving that gift, has already
been clearly established in previous chapters.
1. Rom. 1:16-17, "power of God unto salvation to
those who believe."
2. Rom. 3.22, "the righteousness of God, through faith in Christ."
3. Rom. 3:26, "the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
4. Rom. 4:5, "faith is calculated as righteousness."
5. Rom. 4:24, "righteousness calculated to those who believe."
6. Rom. 5:1, "having been proclaimed righteous by faith."
6. the abundance: the word perisseia refers to the overflow
of Christ's grace action to the human race as stated
in verse 15, "the grace of the one man" which overflows to the
many. It is available to all; Christ died for all. But the ACT (charis)
cannot be separated from the result (dorea), which removes the H.U.S.E.
indictment of verses 6-10 (Helpless; Ungodly; Sinners; Enemies). In fact,
the Greek construction here indicates that the gift of righteousness is
part of the overflow of provision. The word abundance (overflow, perisseia)
is the accusative of the direct object.
Then two genitives follow; one is "grace" and
the other is "gift of righteousness." So
we have the overflow of grace AND (the overflow) of the gift of righteousness.
One emphasizes the ACT of Christ (charis), the other emphasizes
the actual gift (dorea) that Christ provides through His act. Although
both the ACT and the GIFT are extended (overflow) universally to all mankind
as God's salvation provision, that provision is only apprehended by those
who volitionally receive it, that is, who believe in Jesus.
7. and the gift of righteousness: This is the primary
goal and result of Christ's grace act on the cross.
The gift of righteousness is the act of justification, which in the verb
form, simply means to make or declare righteous. It is the imputation of
God's righteousness to the legal standing of the believer because that
believer is in union with Christ. It does not make him righteous in experience
or in character, but looks beyond both experience
and character, and because of the redemption (forgiveness, Eph. 1:7) that
is in Christ (Rom. 3:24) makes the believer totally acceptable to God.
Basically, the imputation of righteousness is the primary
factor in reconciling man to God. It resolves the
problem of personal sin by applying forgiveness, and it resolves the status
problem from the sin nature's presence by position in Christ and a future
resurrection (Rom. 6:4-11). Incidentally, the fact
of positional union IN CHRIST, does not demand a corresponding positional
identification IN ADAM. The contrast in the entire context is between THROUGH
Adam and THROUGH Christ. Any positional comparison in the Bible is between
the unbeliever's status IN DARKNESS and the believer's new position IN
LIGHT and IN CHRIST.
The basic outline of the chain of salvation factors (which
is a logical order rather than a temporal order) is:
(1) forgiven sins, (2) declared righteous, (3) reconciled
to God, and (4) saved from judgment.
All four of these are accomplished immediately upon faith in Christ when
spiritual life is imparted through the new birth.
8. Will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ: This
is the end result of the chain of salvation factors. At the very instant
that a person is born again through trusting in Christ as Savior, he is
given spiritual life. The reason that spiritual life can be imparted is
because of the chain of salvation factors that are accomplished at the
very same instant because of what Christ did on the cross. First is forgiveness
of sins, and then the imputation of God's righteousness, which accomplishes
a reconciliation to God, and as a result, we are saved from the wrath of
God; which all together, constitute the possession of eternal life.
A. The word for reign is basileuo as a future active indicative
to indicate the yet future fulfillment of the chain of salvation factors. Our salvation is not complete until we receive the redemption
of the body through physical resurrection (Rom. 8:23). Although eternal
life is the present possession of every believer (John
3:36; 1 John 5:11-12), it is only the first phase of God's gift of salvation.
The final or "resurrection" phase will take place at the rapture
(1 Cor. 15:51; 1 Thes. 4:14-17; Mat. 24:31).
B. Through the One: this indicates that our resurrection
is based on the work of Jesus (John 14:19) and completes the "a fortiori"
principle by indicating the greater result from the greater deed.
C. This closes the parenthetical section which began at
At verse 18, Paul returns to the focus began in verse 12, but he will apply
many of the factors that he brought up in verses 13-17.
In Romans 3:21 through 4:25, Paul has been discussing
the imputation of divine righteousness upon those who believe, which is
called justification. The next step after justification in the chain of
salvation factors, is removal of any enmity between God and man. This is
called reconciliation and is often described as "peace with God."
Thus, at Rom. 5:1, "Therefore HAVING BEEN justified (made righteous)
by faith, we have PEACE WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ." Man
can have peace with God (be reconciled to Him) because he is made righteous
Then at verses 6-11, Paul amplifies the magnitude of Christ's
GRACE sacrifice that made available human reconciliation to God. Then,
beginning at verse 12, Paul chooses to explain why reconciliation is necessary.
It is necessary because Adam brought a sinful blight upon the human race;
a blight found in the presence and effects of the sin nature.
At verse 12, Paul began a comparison between two universal
effects upon the human race.
In verses 13-17, he developed an amplification of Adam's
responsibility for the presence of the sin nature in the human race, and
contrasted that with Christ's responsibility for providing the solution
to the human race. Here at verse 18, he picks up again with that original
idea, takes into consideration all that he had just written, and then concludes
by exalting the magnitude of Christ's work which provides
justification and reconciliation to God for those
who will trust in Him.
1. So then: these conclusion words (ara oun) pick up from
verse 12 where he began conclusionary remarks about Christ's work of reconciliation
2. AS: This sets up a contrast between one man's act and
another man's act.
3. Through one transgression: This refers to Adam's
which set into motion a chain of factors that results
ultimately in eternal condemnation for all men (all people). In the previous
verses, when Paul refers to Adam as the source he uses dia; when he refers
to the one transgression as the source, he uses the instrumental case (v.
15, 17). However, at verse 18 and 19, when he refers
to the one transgression and the act of disobedience, he returns to using dia. This is because in verses 13-17, he has given an explanation of his
statement in verse 12. Now, having made the correlation between "through
Adam" and "by means of Adam's act," he pulls it all together
by using dia (through) with the actual act that causes sin to fall upon
the human race. It is the same with Christ and His act; the man and the
act cannot significantly be distinguished. But the issue is always a MECHANICS
factor and not a POSITIONAL factor. Positional union enters into it only
after a person trusts in Christ as Savior.
4. There resulted condemnation: The result of Adam's transgression
is described by the preposition, eis (unto), and sees
the end result rather than the immediate effect, which was the acquisition
of a sin nature. Since the preposition is timeless, this can also be rendered in a present mode, "there results." The immediate
effect upon all of Adam's progeny is the genetic inheritance of the sin
nature through conception (Ps. 51:5), but the ultimate result is the eternal
condemnation that is placed upon all because of the presence of the sin nature and the spiritual death that is activated through
that sin nature.
5. to all men: This also uses the preposition,
show the recipients of the condemnation; all members of the human race.
6. Even so: houtōs kai is used again to indicate
the contrast which in verses 15-17 is shown to be an "a fortiori"
principle of Christ's act over Adam's act.
7. Through one act of righteousness: One word translates
"act of righteousness," and it is dikaiōma.
It refers to the act of total compliance to the Father's plan at the cross,
in contrast with Adam's act of violation.
8. There resulted (eis): This can also be rendered as
a "present" since the preposition is timeless. Thus, "there
results," is just as valid as "there resulted."
9. Justification: The word, dikaiōsis, refers
to the act of God that gives divine righteousness to a person. The possession
of God's righteousness offsets the ungodly condition of a person (sinful
by nature) and the acts of personal sin committed throughout his life (justification
is based on redemption - the forgiveness of sins, Romans 3:24).
10. Leading to (unto) life: This refers to eternal life,
which is the present possession of those who trust
in Christ. It embraces deliverance from the status of spiritual death in
time, cancels the perpetuation of that death into eternity via the lake
of fire, and extends a partnership with Christ's resurrection. Earlier,
at verses 9-10, Paul described this as (1) saved from
the wrath and (2) saved by His life. Since the believer is viewed as righteous
in God's sight, he is delivered from the eternal perpetuation of spiritual
11. for all men: This uses the preposition, eis (unto),
to indicate the direction and extent of the salvation
provision. The phrase, "for all men" does not mean that all are
justified, for it has already been clearly established that justification
is through faith in Christ. It thus refers to the universal overflow (verse
15) of Christ's death on the cross.
This verse restates the previous one with emphasis on
the judicial classification that is made based on
each person's spiritual condition.
Because of Adam's act of disobedience, everyone is born
with a sin nature, and because of that spiritual condition, is classified
as a sinner. Because of Christ's act of obedience, everyone within that
same group (the many) will be classified as righteous. But such classification, while being universally available to all,
is clearly taught as an individual potential rather than a future certainty.
1. For: gar is used to further explain the previous verse
and mention the point of comparison that occurs between
Adam's act and condemnation (the end result of the sin nature's presence);
and between Christ's act and eternal life (which is the end result of possessing
2. Just as through the one man's disobedience: parakoā
is used to further explain the nature of the transgression; it was disobedience
to the specific command of Genesis 2:17).
3. The many: this is a term that refers to everyone who
comes under the effect of the act that is in view.
In Adam's case, the many includes everyone who is descended from him through
physical procreation. In Christ's case, the many refers to those who believe
in Christ - everyone who is descended from Christ through spiritual birth.
4. Were made sinners: The word translated, made, is another
one that requires a special focus. The word is kathistāmi
and according to the THEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, when
it is used with a double accusative: "To make someone something,"
"to put him in a certain position or state." Passive voice: "to
be instituted as something," "to become something." Perfect
tense: "to be something."
There is no philological ground for the common suggestion
that the element of judgment predominates rather than the actual fact.
The state itself is always presupposed."
The word occurs 22 times in the New Testament and over
a hundred times in the LXX. Although the word is used
many times to indicate an appointment to a specific office or function,
the issue at Romans 5:19, is whether the "placement" as sinners
is through a judicial ACT of God because God sees the unbeliever IN ADAM,
or through a judicial RECOGNITION of the natural consequence from being
physically related to Adam. In the first case, the placement would be the
result of a judicial imputation of Adam's sin and guilt to all who are
born "in Adam," and refers to a "guilt by association"
rather than by nature or act. In the second case, the "placement"
is the natural result of inheriting a sinful nature and refers to the condition
and action of sinfulness through the presence of that sin nature, which
God recognizes as being sinful, and thus classifies that person as a sinner.
5. Even so: continues the contrast between Adam's act
and Christ's act.
6. Through the obedience of the One: Reference to Christ's
sacrifice on the cross as the fulfillment of the Father's will, "Not
as I will, but as You will," (Mat. 26:39).
7. The many: this refers to the same group that was classified
as sinners because of the presence of the sin nature.
However, the difference is that for "the many" to benefit from
Christ's work, each individual from within that group must make a volitional
decision to trust in Christ. Although, on the surface, this appears to
be a universal statement of justification, the context
makes it perfectly clear that justification, while
available to "the many," is only apprehended by the decision
8. Will be made righteous: This is the future passive
indicative of kathistāmi plus the adjective,
dikaios (righteous). As per our previous observations about this verb,
the idea is that a classification is made of those who trust in Christ.
Thus, those who believe are classified as righteous, or placed in the category
of righteous. This is because justification is the act of making or declaring
someone righteous, which is what Paul stated occurred at Romans 5:1, "having
been declared righteous (justified) by faith."
Adam's act of disobedience resulted in a sinful condition
being physically transmitted to his progeny via the sin nature. Christ's
act of obedience results in a righteous condition being "spiritually"
transmitted to HIS spiritual progeny - those who believe in Him (sons of
light, John 12:36; many sons brought into glory, Heb. 2:10; not ashamed
to call them brethren, Heb. 2:11).
Verse 19 Orientation to the law
In chapters three and four, Paul established that imputation
of God's righteousness was available to the human
race prior to and apart from the formal Mosaic law.
Romans 3:28, "man is justified by faith apart from
the works of the law."
But he also clarified that through the formal Mosaic law
comes the knowledge of sin and the indictment for
sin, for "through the law comes the knowledge of sin," (Rom.
3:20), and "where there is no law, neither is there violation,"
(Rom. 4:15), and "sin is not put on one's account when there is no
law," (Rom. 5:13).
Why then the law, the question is asked (Gal. 3:19), and
answered, that it is a guide; a critic - that evaluates and exposes the
reality and severity of sin, so that man might recognize his need and be
drawn to faith in the Messiah. For without the knowledge of sin; a DIVINE
indictment, there is no awareness of one's spiritual depravity and need.
Thus, the law entered, and with it, God's formal indictment
of man's sinful condition; an indictment that was taken throughout the
whole world through Israel's evangelistic commission (Deut. 4:6; Jer. 13:11),
and the invitation was extended to them all as, "worship the LORD
with reverence," (Psalm 2:11).
1. And the law came in: the verb here is
which means to come in along side of something (para
= beside; eis = into; erchomai = go), or more simply, without making things
too complicated or dramatic, it means to come on the scene; to show up;
to arrive. As an aorist active indicative, it refers to the institution
of the Mosaic law in the year 2513 AH. At Gal. 3:19,
Paul says of the law, that "it was added," which
is the word prostithemi, and means to place something near or at something
else. Thus, in either case, the law "came on the scene" as an
additional factor for understanding the urgency of adjustment to the justice
of God. That is, the reality and the severity of man's sinfulness.
2. So that the transgression might increase: The transgression
refers to Adam's act of disobedience. Because of Adam's
transgression, THE sin nature would be transmitted to each of his children.
The increase of the transgression refers to the evidence of the sin nature
in Adam's progeny.
The formal law sets the standard for personal sin and
exposes it, and in so doing reveals the presence and rule of the sin nature
in the lives of all people. The Mosaic law does nothing to bring knowledge
of imputed sin, but only of inherent sin and personal sin.
3. But where THE sin increased: The knowledge of the presence
and rule of the sin nature reveals the depravity of
the human race and the need they have for spiritual deliverance. The more
that the law exposes and indicts man for his sinfulness; both the sin nature
and the abundance of personal sins, the more God's provision to deal with
sin is glorified.
4. grace abounded all the more: grace refers to the provision
of salvation as clarified in the previous verses. To the extent that the
sin nature is exposed and indicted by God, there is a spiritual helplessness
that is realized by all people. But in every instance where sin's presence
ruled, the grace provision of God and the grace act of Jesus Christ by
providing justification, exceeded the effects of sin and offered salvation
to all men. The word abounded is huperperisseuo, which means to abound
beyond something or perhaps we could say, it "super" abounded.
The aorist active indicative communicates the fact and extent of God's
salvation provision as clarified in previous verses and in the language
Verse 21 the PURPOSE/RESULT of the super abundance of
1. So that: hina clause to indicate purpose and/or result
2. Just as: hōsper indicates a comparison of effect.
3. THE sin: This refers to the sin nature as has been the case throughout
this whole section.
4. reigned: The verb, basileuo, as an aorist active indicative,
indicates the fact of the sin nature's effect upon all mankind. From the
very moment of birth, all men are under the rule of the sin nature (Rom.
3:9), and under the penalty of sin even though no one ever sinned in the
likeness of Adam's sin.
5. in death: en plus the locative/instrumental case of
thanatos indicates either (1) in the sphere of spiritual death or (2) by
means of spiritual death. I suggest that it is the static effect of the
sin nature that is in view as to its reign, and not its experiential or
functional effect. Thus, its reign is the fact that
its presence causes spiritual death.
Romans 6:23 says that the wages of THE sin (nature) is
Romans 5:12 says that death came upon all THROUGH the sin (nature).
Col. 2:13, "dead in . . . the un-circumcision of the flesh."
Accordingly, "the sin reigned BY MEANS OF death,"
is the better translation and better contrasts with the reign of grace
which is THROUGH righteousness. That is, the reign of grace is characterized
by righteousness in the same way that the reign of sin is characterized
6. Even so: houtōs indicates the counterpart
to the comparison with the reign of sin.
7. The grace: This is the word, charis, and refers to
the act of God and the salvation provision that comes from that act since
by way of application the two cannot be separated.
8. might reign: the verb is basileuo as an aorist active
The translation, might, is added because of the subjunctive
mood which is necessary for the result clause, but does not need to be
included. The reign of grace is certain and should be indicated by, "even
so the grace will reign." The only potential factor in this equation
has to do with which ones of the human race will benefit, for although
the reign of grace is a reality based on the resurrection of Christ, and
the provision of life abounds to all, only those who volitionally receive
it by trusting in Christ, will actually be declared as righteous in God's
9. through righteousness: the construction, dia and
indicates the manner in which grace reigns or benefits the human race.
It is by virtue of righteousness being established by the success of Christ
and then offered to all men on the same basis.
10. Unto everlasting life: The ultimate end of the salvation
process is the possession and experience of life with God for all eternity.
At John 3:16, the contrast is clearly between that "eternal"
life and the condition of eternal death, indicated by the word, "perish."
This REIGN of righteousness has both a temporal reality
as well as an eternal reality, for every believer possesses RIGHT NOW,
the eternal life which is in Chirst (1 John 5:11-12). But there yet remains
the PHYSICAL application of eternal life through resurrection, which will
become a reality at the Day of the Lord return of Jesus, at which time
He "will transform the body of our (physical) humiliation into conformity
with the body of His glory," (Phil. 3:21).
11. Through Jesus Christ our Lord: Again, all that God
offers man is based on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and the fact
of His victory over death through resurrection. This has been referenced
throughout this passage by the words charisma and charis, which refer to
the act of God and of Jesus; whereas the words dorea and dorema refer to
the results of that act.
It has been clearly established by Paul that the cause
of spiritual death is the sin nature which is universally present in all
men. It has also been shown that God has provided a victory over the sin
nature through Jesus Christ, and that in fact, the more that the sin nature
was evidenced, the more God's grace abounded, for its extension is without
limit. The question then arises that perhaps we should continue to let
the sin nature express its utter sinfulness in order that the awesomeness
of God's grace might increase. Both that question and the answer are found
in Romans chapter 7. Basically, the increase of sin is through its exposure
and not through its expression, even though the condemnation of man is
based on both. But both are resolved through the salvation provision of
Christ. Now, although, no matter how much a person sins after salvation,
the magnitude of God's grace in saving us is undiminished, any expressions
of sin place the individual under the experiential rule of the sin nature,
and under the negative effects of personal sins in the life. Thus, the
answer to the question is that if we continue in THE sin so that God's
grace might be continually amplified, we take ourselves out of the experiential
blessings of salvation and reap misery and even divine discipline throughout
As I commented prior to the beginning of this discussion
of Romans 5, the idea of the federal headship of Adam and of imputed sin
through that headship, is a theological invention that is neither NECESSARY
nor Biblically supported. The origins of this invention are not an issue,
but a vast majority of very fine biblical students have embraced it over
the years and have attempted to defend it. I do not place myself in a condition
of superior knowledge or insight, but have simply examined the evidence
objectively and without prejudice (I had, after all, believed and taught
this invention for over 34 years), and deem the results to be accurate
and worthy of honest evaluation and comment by my peers.
Comments and Questions are welcome
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