The Book of Romans
Foundation for Justification
The text contains contrasts between the Adam and Christ. Because of Adam’s sin all mankind are under condemnation and death. But Christ, by His obedience on the cross, brought in righteousness and justification. Christ not only undid all the damage of Adam’s sin, but He accomplished “much more” by providing a way for mankind to be reconciled. II Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
To help us understand how it is possible for God to save sinners by Jesus Christ taking our place on the cross we need to examine three truths that are found in the text. 1) The repetition of the word one points out a contrast in our identification with Adam and Christ. In Adam all humanity became sinners, in Christ all can become justified. 2) The repeated use of the word reign shows the contrast of Adam and Christ reigning over a kingdom. Adam lost his kingdom because of sin; Christ came as a King over a new creation. 3) Finally, the phrase much more means that in Christ the believer has gained much more than we ever lost in Adam.
I. The Reign of Sin and Death, Vs 12-14
- V 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. By one sin by one man all of humanity came under the consequences of sin, death. Genesis 2:17, But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Is it fair for God to condemn all of humanity because of the disobedience of one man? The answer is found in the logic that Adams is the head of the human race. Each of us is racially connected to Adam, therefore; his sin affects all of mankind. By condemning all of humanity through one man (Adam), God is able to save humanity through one Man (Jesus Christ). We need to accept the fact that Adam’s one act of disobedience made all of us sinners.
- Vs 13-14, (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 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. Sin reigned over humanity before God gave the law to Moses. The word “imputed” means to charge to one’s account by an entry made in a ledger. Sin was present from Adam to Moses but God did not keep an account of sins before the giving of the law because there was no law to obey or disobey. Adam’s sin was a personal deliberate act that plunged all humanity into physical and spiritual death. All humanity, including newborn infants and young children who are incapable of judging right and wrong and are not deliberate sinners, but they are under death’s domain. We know this is true because even humanity before Moses died. Adam’s sin had a broad effect because Adam was a prefiguration of Jesus and represented all of humanity just as Jesus would do on the cross. Romans 3:23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
II. Universal Condemnation and Universal Grace, Vs 15-19
- V 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. Universal condemnation or death for humanity is the result of Adam’s sin, but because of Christ’s obedience grace flourishes so that many or all humanity can experience an abundant spiritual life. Jesus gives eternal life abundantly to all who trust Him. John 10:10, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
- V 16, And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. The one sin of Adam resulted in all of humanity being condemned; the one act of obedience of Christ, death on the cross, made it possible for the sinners to be justified.
- V 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.) The kingdom of death reigns upon all humanity because of original sin committed by Adam. Christ destroyed the power and slavery of death on the cross. Hebrews 2:14-15, Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. The believer does not have to live his life in fear of death.
- V 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. Adam sin resulted in condemnation for all humanity, whereas Christ’s substitutionary death made possible life giving justification to all who believe.
- V 19, For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Justification not only declares the believer righteous before God it also result in a more abundant life. It is a union with Christ that results in a new kind of life, a righteous life of obedience to God.
III. Riches of Grace, Vs 20-21
- V 20, Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. The law was given to Moses not to replace God’s grace, but to reveal man’s need for grace. The law was temporary, but grace is eternal. The law magnified sin. What was inherently wrong became formally and explicitly wrong once the Law was revealed. Sin can never exceed the grace provided by God, sin losses its threat when compared to the superabounding grace of God.
- V 21,That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Sin reigned unto death and the cemeteries are still being filled because of sin. But those who have trusted in Christ are established on a solid foundation. The believer is united with Christ and this makes possible the sanctification of the life of the believer.
The contrast between Adam and Christ shows that Adam was tested in the garden, surrounded by beauty and love; Jesus was tempted in the wilderness and He died on a cruel cross surrounded by hatred and ugliness. Adam became a sinner and was cast out of the garden, but Jesus Christ turned to the thief and said, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43 In Adam all humanity is guilty of sin. Every individual is born into sin. But the foundation of justification is that the individual through faith can experience a second birth that will put you “in Christ.” John 3:7, Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Created and Researched by Pastor Dennis Baker
Zion Baptist Church
3485 New Baumgartner Rd. - St. Louis, MO 63129 - Phone: 314-846-1867