Our last reading for this week is Romans 5:12-21
v12: One man: Referring to Adam.
- Death through sin: Throughout the Bible we are taught that there is a relationship between sin and death. G-d never wanted man to experience death, nor the consequences that were brought into this world because of sin. Sin, and a sinful man, was not part of G-d’s will. But G-d, knowing all things, knew that if man was given free will he would misappropriate it and choose to walk in the wrong ways. Before man even sinned, G-d had a solution for sin – what we call ‘the gospel’. Adam’s sin brought about death – all men die today, no one is exempt.
v13: Law: Referring to a specific law that was given – the law of Moses.
- Until the law: In the time preceding the law – for those people who lived and died before the law of Moses was given.
- Sin was in the world: Before the law was officially given, sin was in the world. This means that it was not the law that brought sin into the world – the law is not the cause of sin. What the law does, though, is that it simply reveals sin, and it clarifies for us what sin is.
- Sin is not imputed: Charged or reckoned. This means that it was not acknowledged by human beings as sin. They did what was right in their own eyes. Even though they had a conscience, that conscience was overruled by the desires of the flesh.
v14: Adam: The first man, and the one through whom sin (and therefore, death) entered into this world.
- Had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression (sin) of Adam: Although people did not sin in the same way that Adam had sinned (they did not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil), they were still affected by sin – they sinned in other ways, and they also were all affected by death – they all died.
- A type: A pattern. An example. Just as one man (Adam) was the problem, so too is One Man the solution –Messiah Yeshua. One man brought about death, destruction and the wrath of G-d, but there’s another Man (in the likeness of Adam – G-d in human flesh) who brings about life, order and a turning away of G-d’s wrath.
v15: One man’s offense: Referring to the sin of Adam.
- Many: The implication is “all”.
- Much more: The transgression is not like the gift. The gift of G-d (His grace) is more powerful than transgression. It can compensate for, and defeat, transgression…much more.
- Abounded to many: G-d’s grace is superior. It has the power to overcome all the negative effects or unrighteous consequences of sin.
Verse 16: Literally: “And not as through the sin of one the gift. For the judgment by one for condemnation, but the gift, by many transgressions, for righteousness.”
Note: There are a lot of italicised words in this verse. These words have been added into the text in an attempt to make the choppy Greek less choppy and more fluid to read.
- Gift: Paul is emphasising that in the same way grace is superior to the transgression so too is the gift of G-d unique and superior. This gift of G-d brings about reconciliation between man and G-d, and it is able to restore what sin destroyed.
- The judgment by one: Referring to Adam. Judgment, and therefore condemnation, came into this world through Adam.
- Condemnation: Sin brings judgment, which would have condemned us eternally if G-d had taken no action.
- Righteousness: Sin brought about judgment, condemnation. But the gift of G-d brought about righteousness.
v17: Note: One man (Adam) brought about disaster (disease, war, sadness etc) in this world through his sin, but the righteous act of one Man, Yeshua, can bring about a change. This does not mean that there is an end to sin and death in this world right now, but there is going to be a restoration and the perfect effects of Yeshua’s gift, through the grace of G-d, will be seen in due time, and forever.
- Reigned: Ruled
v18: Offense: That act of sin or transgression.
- Condemnation: Because of Adam’s sin, we were heading for eternal condemnation.
- One Man’s righteous act: Referring to Yeshua going to the cross to die for humanity.
- Justification: Righteousness. Our status or condition is changed through accepting what Yeshua did for us on the cross. Once we were condemned, now we are justified.
- Life: This implies two things: we are going to live righteously in this life on earth, and we are going to experience eternal life (we experience eternity in the Kingdom of G-d – our Kingdom future).
v19: Many were made sinners: This is talking about all of humanity.
- Were made: Were set down (a legal term). A colloquium for a verdict. The verdict that they were sinners was established.
- Obedience: Referring to the obedience Yeshua displayed when He went to the cross.
- Many will be made righteous: The verdict is that all those who believe will be made righteous.
Note: What we see here, over and over again in this Scripture, is that the faithfulness of the work of Messiah, rooted in the grace of G-d, produces righteousness in our lives. The moment we believe in Messiah – His death, burial and resurrection (Roms 10:9-10) – we are declared righteous forever. Nothing can change this. We enter into a covenant that G-d has the responsibility of keeping – not us (John 10:28-29). As a recipient of this covenant, the Holy Spirit enters into our lives and He, the Spirit of truth, is going to lead us into all righteousness (John 16:13). He is going to help us to embrace the truth of G-d and live righteously. This is how we grow and mature. We are not saved by righteousness. We are saved by G-d’s free gift – His grace. However, that gift works in our lives and moves us into the will of G-d and into obedience to the purposes of G-d. This outworking of grace in our lives manifests itself as righteousness.
v20: The law entered that the offense might abound: The law was given so that we could understand how sinful we are. The law did not come as an instrument of salvation, but it defines for us what is right and what is wrong. The law shows us G-d’s standards or expectations for His people – not for salvation, but for righteous living. It is not our obedience that saves us, but His obedience (obedience even unto death on the cross).
- Grace abounded much more: Overflowed exceedingly. Grace triumphs greatly. It is able to compensate and overcome any of the disobedience of the first man – the consequences of sin and condemnation.
v21: Note: The gospel is not a mystery and nor is it difficult to understand: one man brought about death, and one Man (Messiah Yeshua) solved the problem. When we accept what Yeshua has done for us, by faith, we can experience eternal forgiveness instead of eternal condemnation.