12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
RO 5:15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
RO 5:18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
And the commentary:
E. The Universal Applicability of Justification (5:12-21)
This most difficult portion of the letter, packed with close reasoning and theological terminology, stands at the very heart of the development of Paul's thought. He has presented all people as sinners and Christ as the one who has died to redeem them. Now he delves into the question: How does it come about that every human being--with no exception but Jesus Christ--is in fact a sinner? In answer, he goes all the way back to the first man Adam to affirm that what he did has affected the whole of humankind, involving everyone in sin and death. But over against this record of disaster and loss he puts the countermeasures taken on behalf of the human race by another man, Jesus Christ, of whom all are potential beneficiaries.12 The one man through whom sin entered the world is not immediately named (see v. 14). The same procedure of talking about a man before he is named is followed with Christ (v. 15). Except for two nontheological references (Lk 3:38; Jude 14), every mention of Adam in the NT comes from the pen of Paul. In 1Ti 2:14 he makes the point that Adam, unlike Eve, was not deceived, but sinned deliberately. In 1Co 15:17, 56, as here in Romans, Paul institutes a comparison between the first and the last Adam, but confines his treatment to the issue of death and resurrection, whereas here both sin and death are named immediately and are woven into the texture of the argument throughout. In that earlier letter Paul made the significant statement, "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive" (1Co 15:22), in line with Ro 5:12. In the only previous mention of death in Romans (1:32) exclusive of the death of Christ (5:10), Paul referred to the inevitable connection between sin and death. Here in v. 12 he pictures sin and death as entering the world through one man, with the result that death permeated the whole of humankind. It was the opening in the dike that led to the inundation, the poison that entered at one point and penetrated every unit of a person's corporate life.
If Paul had stopped with the observation that death came to all human beings because all have sinned, we would be left with the impression that all sinned and deserved death because they followed the example of Adam. But subsequent statements in the passage make it abundantly clear that the connection between Adam's sin and death and what has befallen the human race is far closer than that. Paul can say that the many died because of "the trespass of the one man" (v. 15). Clearly the gist of his teaching is that just as humankind has become involved in sin and death through Adam, it has the remedy of righteousness and life only in another man, in Jesus Christ.
What, then, is the precise relation of Adam in his fall to those who come after him? Paul does not comment on that issue in this verse, though he later states that all sinned in the first man (v. 19). Why does he not say so here? Was it his sudden breaking off to follow another line of thought in vv. 13-14 that prevented the full statement? Or was it his reluctance to gloss over human responsibility, which he had already established in terms of universal sin and guilt (3:23)? Experience demonstrates that despite the inheritance of a sinful nature from Adam, people are convicted of guilt for the sins resulting from it that they commit themselves. Conscience is a factor in human life, and the Holy Spirit does convict of sin (Jn 16:8). Perhaps, then, as some hold, while the emphasis on original sin is primary in the light of the passage as a whole, there is a hint that personal choice and sin are not entirely excluded (cf. "many trespasses" in v. 16).
That we could have sinned in Adam may seem strange and unnatural to the Western mind. Nevertheless, it is congenial to biblical teaching on the solidarity of humankind. When Adam sinned, the human race sinned because it was in him. To put it boldy, Adam was the race. What he did, his descendants, who were still in him, did also. This principle is also utilized in Heb 7:9-10: "One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor."
If one is still troubled by the seeming injustice of being born with a sinful nature because of what the father of the human race did and of being held accountable for sins resulting from that disability, one should weigh carefully the significance of the reconciliation statement of Paul: "that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them" (2Co 5:19). The sins committed, that owe their original impetus to the sin of the first man, are not reckoned against those who have committed them if they put their trust in Christ crucified and risen. God takes their sins and gives them his righteousness. Would we not agree that this is more than a fair exchange?13-14 The dash at the end of v. 12 (NIV) is intended to indicate that the comparison that Paul launched with his "just as" is not carried through. In view of what follows, the complete statement would have run something like this: "Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned, so righteousness entered the world by one man, and life through righteousness" (cf. v. 18, which sums up vv. 15-17. Throughout the passage the thought is so tremendous that it proves intractable from the standpoint of expressing it in orderly sequence. The thought outruns the structural capacity of language.
Judging from the use of "for" at the beginning of v. 13, these next two verses are intended to support and explicate v. 12. From Adam to Moses the law was not yet given, so sin was not present in the sense of transgression. The human race did not have a charge from God similar to that which Adam had and violated. But the very fact that death was regnant during this period is proof that there was sin to account for death, seeing that death is the consequence of sin. The sin in view here was the sin of Adam, which involved all his descendants. Death in this case means physical death, which suggests that the same is true in v. 12. This agrees with Paul's treatment of the subject of death in 1Co 15 (see especially v. 22).
Adam is described as "a pattern of the one to come." "Pattern" translates the word typos (GK G5596), often rendered "type." It may seem strange that Adam should be designated as a type of Christ when the two are so dissimilar in themselves and in their effect on humankind. But there is justification for the parallel. The resemblance is that Adam and Christ each communicated to those whom he represented that which belonged to him ("sin" and "righteousness" respectively). In other words, what each did involved others. "The one to come" is to be taken from the perspective of Adam and his time; it has no reference to the second coming of Christ (cf. Mt 11:3).15-17 In this section Christ's effect on the human race is seen as totally different from that of Adam--and vastly superior. Any hint of parallelism suggested by "pattern" is replaced by the element of contrast. True, there is one similarity: the work of Adam and that of Christ relate to "the many." It will readily be seen by comparing v. 15 with v. 12 that "the many" is the same as "all men" (compare "death came to all men" with "the many died"). This use of "the many" (cf. Isa 53:11-12; Mk 10:45) underscores the importance of Adam and Christ respectively. What one did, in each case, affected not one but many.
The contrast between Adam and Christ is particularly noted in the expression "how much more" (vv. 15, 17). The force of this seems to be bound up with the recurring use of "grace" (GK G5921) and "gift" (GK G5922), suggesting that the work of Christ not merely cancelled the effects of Adam's transgression so as to put human beings back into a state of innocence under a probation such as their progenitor faced, but in fact gives them far more than they lost in Adam, more indeed than Adam ever had. The gift, prompted by grace, includes righteousness (v. 17) and life (v. 18), which is later defined as eternal life (v. 21). Paul further observes that in Adam's case, a single sin was involved, one that was sufficient to bring universal condemnation, but in the work of Christ a provision is found for the many acts of sin that have resulted in the lives of his descendants (v. 16).
Whereas up to this point Paul's train of thought has been concerned with developing the concept of sin taken over from v. 12, now it turns to its companion factor, death (v. 17), also mentioned in v. 12. The point of this "much more" appears to be that in Christ not only is the hold of death, established by Adam's sin, effectively broken, but because of Christ's redeeming work the believer is able to look forward to reigning in life through Christ. This, of course, implies participation in the resurrection (cf. ch. 6). Believers will have a share in the Lord's kingdom and glory.18-19 At this point, Paul provides something of a conclusion to v. 12 (see comment on vv. 13-14), but in such a way as to take account of the intervening material. The word "consequently" shows his intent to summarize. Paul carefully balances the clauses. One trespass brought condemnation for all humanity and one act of righteousness brought justification for all. Adam's sin is labeled "trespass" (GK G4183), indicating that it was deliberate breaking of a command (cf. v. 14). The reference is clearly to his violation of the divine restriction laid down in Ge 2:16-17, resulting in condemnation for the entire human race. His act involved others directly; it did not merely set a bad example. Over against Adam's act, Paul put another of an entirely different character--an "act [or better, `work' ] of righteousness [GK G1468]" The same Greek word occurs at the end of v. 16, where it is rendered "justification." The whole scope of the ministry of our Lord is in view. He came "to fulfill all righteousness" (Mt 3:15). The word "justification" is set over against "condemnation" (GK G2890), but something is added, namely, the observation that justification is more than the antithesis of condemnation, more than the setting aside of an adverse verdict due to sin, and more than the imputation of divine righteousness. It is the passport to life, the sharing of the life of God (cf. v. 21).
Another term for Adam's failure occurs in v. 19, "disobedience" (GK G4157). This accents the voluntary character of his sin. Matching it is the "obedience" (GK G5633) of Christ, a concept that was highly meaningful to Paul (see Php 2:5-11). The interpretation of that passage in Philippians should be along the lines of a latent comparison between Adam and Christ. Instead of grasping after equality with God, as Adam had done, the Lord Jesus humbled himself and became obedient even to the point of accepting death on a cross.The result of Christ's obedience is that "the many will be made righteous." Does this refer to righteous character? Possibly so, if the future tense points to the glorious time when imputed righteousness becomes righteousness possessed in unblemished fullness. But "will be made righteous" may simply be the equivalent of "will become righteous" in the forensic sense (cf. 2Co 5:21), in which case the future tense embraces all who in this age are granted justification (most of whom are future to Paul's time).Does the sweeping language used here suggest that all humankind will be brought within the circle of justification, so that no one will be lost? Some have thought so. But if the doctrine of universalism were being taught here, Paul would be contradicting himself, for he has already pictured people as perishing because of sin (2:12; cf. 1Co 1:18). Furthermore, his entire presentation of salvation has emphasized the fact that justification is granted only on the basis of faith. We must conclude, therefore, that only insofar as "the many" are found in Christ can they qualify as belonging to the righteous.
Hmm.. Any comments?
As I said, I stand by my comments on Psalm 51, but now I understand better Romans 5 I have had to change my theology.