Romans Bible Study #19
Phrase: Original Sin
12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned--
13for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
16The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.
17For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
19For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
20The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
21so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. NASB
12-14You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we're in— first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn't sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.
15-17Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man's sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God's gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do There's no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man's wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?
18-19Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.
. 20-21All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers But sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end. The Message
We don’t do 10 verses very often, but this section is one continual thought, so here we go.
Verses 12, 13 “Therefore” We were just told in the previous verses that we have a “new life” through our Lord Jesus Christ. This “therefore” seems to be a ‘lead in’ to the comparison of the “death-giver” and the “life-giver.” The previous verses did a “much more” comparison to show how much God wants to enable us with sanctification, since He did so much for us with the removal of our sin while we were His enemies. The beauty of this passage is that it once again confronts us with the amazing love, power and grace of God.
Sometimes you can tell a lot more about an object when you compare another object to it, “side-by-side.” So the point of putting Adam next to Jesus is to show the amazing, “much more” of Jesus. In the “critical moment” of conversion there are two windows opened up to our minds by God. One looks back and truly sees the sin of the old man, the nature that is under the wrath of God. One looks forward and sees the new creature in Christ, redeemed, reconciled, NEW ‘In Adam’ ceases to be and ‘In Christ’ comes into existence. There is no ‘side by side existence, one dies, one lives. Judgment comes bringing death to the old and life to the new. Ponder this, Christ is not merely the ‘second-Adam’ but He is the ‘last Adam.’ This victory of His in our life is the death of death, there is no going back. The flesh of course, remains with us and wars with the Spirit, but this is actually proof that we are a new creation, because formerly there was no war, but our sin nature cooperated with our flesh and sin reigned uncontested.
Verse 14 Death is the proof of God’s sovereign judgment. It is universal, for all mankind. As the penalty for sin, it is unswerving. As penalty it points to an ultimate Lawgiver, who as such, is above His law. The fact that we are hemmed in on all sides by this insurmountable mountain, also has hope because there is a “place” above the mountain. The fact that we inherit a “death nature” from Adam is a “type” of the fact that by faith we can inherit a “life nature” from Jesus.
Original sin, has to be seen not so much as a historical event that now affects us all, but as a timeless disposition of man in relation to God. Sin only has meaning as the negation of righteousness. Christ is spoken of as having been “slain from the creation of the world” Rev 13:8 Most take this to mean that God foreknew the fall of man, so what played out in Adam, was to be the lot of all men. Sin will take a concrete form in what we do, but its power is real before it ever shows its face. The visible sovereignty of death points back to the invisible sovereignty of sin. Sin isn’t about us and what we do, it is about who we are. Our nature is sinful. There is so much proof of this it is overwhelming. One time while talking with a non-Christian they mentioned about people living together in a community in peace. I said, “Has that EVER happened, ever in the history of man.” “Well, no.” It has never happened because, our nature is to sin. Jails, prisons, policeman all shout out, we are fallen creatures, with a fallen nature.
Verses 15-17 “much more” is the theme of these verses showing the much more of Christ as compared to Adam. Death follows sin, is the penalty for sin. Nothing amazing or surprising about that, but that inspite of many transgressions an abundance of grace comes to us in the form of Jesus Christ that is amazing. That Righteousness could be given as a gift to those who deserve condemnation, that is a ‘much more’ truth.
Driven from Paradise and robbed of life the trespass results in judgment. But God is not done. He does not accept the robbery of what is His. Jesus Christ is His visible response. The final Adam.
Verse 18-19 Take note of “will be.” What we were in Adam is what we “were.” What we shall be “in Christ” is what is yet to come. So we are in the tension of what we were and what we shall be. We are on a journey, but it is mercy and His righteousness that is carrying us there.
We are in ‘Adam’ because we are under the sentence of death. We are in Christ, as we allow, Him to live His life through us. We are at a ‘threshold’ appointed for life in Christ. It is a sure hope.
Verse 20-21 The law has no power, to make me right with God. It in fact shows forth the concrete proof of my sinful nature. “Religion” at its best displays what man can not hope to accomplish; connection with the divine. Quote from Martin Luther, “God’s law does nothing for me, but to awaken my bad conscience.”
Barth has a good section here.
“When the last human endeavor is found to be useless and ineffective; when every short cut has failed; when no human movement or re-volution or e-volution is adequate to provide a positive, or even a negative, method of proceeding from Adam to Christ/ when the abandoned Servant of God abandons–Himself. Then it is that the claim of religion is justified. The law brings human inadequacy out into the clear light of day” “Life is not life, if it be not life from death.”
Sins ‘victory’ in death is now overruled by grace, which brings righteousness and leads to eternal life, all in and through Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul is leading into 3 chapters on the on-going process of sanctification, but first he rises to the height of this amazing truth. He acknowledges that death reigns, but it is superseded by a greater power. Our hearts have to rise up to meet this amazing truth with praise and thankfulness. This is not some “dry fact”, it is a living, merciful word to us, God has a plan to put your jailer in jail, to come to your rescue, break you out turn the tables and keep on giving you love for all eternity... Amazing Grace