Romans 5:12 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:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Yesterday we visited an elderly woman who stated how hopeful she was in the Lord. She stated that she did not know how she would ever manage without the Lord. This is true for any born again Christian. As we look at the apostles’ lives and their testimony, we know that their hope was not in the corrupt Roman government nor in the wicked Judaizers. They invested their time and energy into preaching the truth in the midst of all the corruption of their day.
As they preached the truth, some people were saved. Those who were saved knew that persecution was something they should expect. The apostle Paul spent a fair amount of time in prison and being harassed by the ungodly. He had a reputation. However, he also lived a life of godly integrity and that integrity shone through all that he did. Those who actually listened to him knew he was not a criminal. They knew he loved them. More importantly they learned that God loved them.
As we look at our world, God has shown us that there is nothing in this world that would cause true saints to be attached to this world. Our hope is in heaven. That is what the apostle Paul stated as well in Philippians 3.
In verse 12 of our text we are reminded that one man brought sin into this world. That man was Adam. God does not remind us of this to suggest that the rest of us would do better than Adam did. We have already seen that when we were without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly.
What God shows us here is the detrimental effect of one man’s sin. We are warned here of the long lasting effects that sin has on others. All men were affected by Adam’s sin.
In verse 13 we are reminded that sin was in the world before the law of Moses was given. Adam had all the law he needed. He did not trust in God and thus he failed. Law keeping could not save him. He was created without sin. He did not need to try to work himself into God’s favour. He simply needed to obey God as His created being. Adam failed. He became a sinner due to his disobedience.
Adam could not be charged with breaking laws he did not know about. He was charged according to the law that God gave him.
In verse 14 we see that death reigned from Adam to Moses. As we already mentioned, Adam died by breaking one law. That was all it took for Adam to become a sinner. Adam was the only man who had the opportunity of falling into sin. All of Adam’s descendants have been born in sin. Cain and Lamech and all those who perished in the flood did not sin according to the law given by Moses. We do not need a list of sins and then try to see how good we are. We need to understand that any sin is a transgression of God’s law. Any sin is enough to prove us guilty before God. The sin does not make us guilty. We are already born guilty.
Paul also stated in verse 14 that Adam was the figure of him that was to come. That figure was and is Jesus Christ. Adam was created without sin. Jesus Christ was not created. He is the second person of the Godhead. He is without sin. Adam fell and in that he was no longer the figure of Him that was to come. Jesus Christ is not like Adam. Jesus Christ never sinned. That is why He can save us, where Adam could not even save himself. Jesus Christ became a man, but He was a man Who was without sin.
In verse 15 we are told that the free gift is not as the offence. The offence of Adam caused all people to be born in sin. The gift of Jesus’ salvation is available to all, but only applicable to the many who will receive it.
This gift is the gift of grace. God was not forced to provide this gift. He did not owe man anything. He provided salvation because of His grace. We know that God did not create man to go to hell. God created man to glorify Him. He provided His gift of salvation even though we do not deserve it.
In verse 16 we see further that the gift is not the same as the offence. The sin brought judgment to condemnation. The free gift provides justification for those who are saved.
In verse 17 we see that death reigned by one man’s offence. It only took one sin from one man named Adam to plunge all of humanity into sin. By contrast, those who receive are those who turn to God and trust in His gift as mentioned above. Notice as well that there is an abundance of grace. There is no shortage of God’s grace. All can be saved. Those who refuse God’s gift have made a disastrous choice. No one will accuse God of being unjust or stingy with His grace. The Calvinist is wrong and the wise person rejects that heresy out of hand.
Enjoined with God’s gift of grace is the gift of righteousness. Abraham did not earn God’s righteousness. He received it as a gift. This righteousness shall reign by One, Jesus Christ. Our righteousness is found in Christ, as was Abraham’s. Even though Christ had not come yet, He is eternal. Abraham was dependent upon God’s gift of salvation as much as we are. He looked forward to it. We look back upon it.
In verse 18 we see the word “therefore” again. God is connecting the following thought with that which came before. Adam’s sin was an offence to God. Due to his offence, judgment came upon all men. All people are condemned due to Adam’s sin. Why? We are all descendants of Adam.
Just as all are condemned in Adam, the free gift of grace is available to all men unto justification of life, by the righteousness of One. This One is more than just a man. This One is the eternal Son of God. It is natural to sin. It is unnatural to live righteously. We cannot live righteously unless and until we are born again.
God’s gift of salvation is only applicable to those who receive it. Someone might offer you a gift but if you refuse to take it, you will never enjoy the benefits of that gift. I know of a person who held a grudge against another person and when the begrudged person would receive a gift from the other one, it would just get thrown out. That person not only refused the gift, but also ruined their own life by holding on to bitterness. That person demonstrated their sinfulness in holding on to that which was helping to destroy them.
God has made a wonderful offer to man. He has provided for man that which man needs but cannot earn. God makes sure that all people know of His gift. He tells us of the greatness of this gift as well. The devil is there to try to convince man that God’s gift is worthless. Sadly, most people believe that lie.
The wise person listens to God and receives His gift and learns how to walk within the parameters of that gift. Nothing of value is lacking within the bounds of that gift. Each one that is saved will know this fact. Let us live in such a way as to help the lost to see the value of trusting in the true God.