ROMANS 5:12-21 (2)
(from a transcript of a sermon preached on 6/2/02 at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly)
Today, like last week, we will start by reading some passages that are not our passage in Romans. Last week, we started with passages that showed Adam's fall into sin and death. This week, we will start with passages that show the sinless perfection, or the righteousness, or Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 11: (1) And a Shoot goes out from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch will bear fruit out of his roots. (2) And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest on Him; [He will have] the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah. (3) And He is made to breathe in the fear of Jehovah. But He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears. (4) But He shall judge the poor in righteousness, and shall decide rightly for the meek of the earth. And He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and He shall cause the wicked to die with the breath of His lip. (5) And righteousness shall be the encircler of His loins, and faithfulness the encircler of His reins.
Isaiah 5: (9) And He appointed [Him] His grave with the wicked, but [He was] with a rich [man] in His death; though He had done no violence, and deceit [was] not in His mouth.
Jeremiah 23: (5) Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and act wisely, and [He] shall do justice and righteousness in the earth.
Zechariah 9: (9) Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King comes to you! He is righteous and being victorious, humble, and riding on an ass, even on a colt, the son of an ass.
Luke 1: (35) And answering, the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and [the] power of [the] Most High will overshadow you, and for this reason that Holy [One] being born of you will be called Son of God.
John 7: (18) The [one] speaking from himself seeks his own glory. But the [one] seeking the glory of the [One] who sent Him, this One is true, and unrighteousness is not in Him.
Acts 3: (14) But you denied the Holy and Just [One], and asked for a man, a murderer, to be granted to you.
Acts 4: (27) For truly both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the nations and [the] peoples of Israel, were assembled against Your holy child Jesus, whom You anointed, (28) to do whatever Your hand and Your counsel before-determined to be done. (29) And now, Lord, look upon their threatenings and give to Your slaves to speak Your Word with all boldness, (30) in the extending of Your hand for healing and [miraculous] signs and wonders to happen through the name of Your holy child Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:21:
2 Corinthians 5:(21) For He made the [One] who knew no sin [to be] sin for us, that we might become [the] righteousness of God in Him.
Hebrews 1: (1) In many ways and in various ways of old, God spoke to the fathers in the prophets; (2) in these last days [He] spoke to us in [the] Son, whom He appointed heir of all; through whom He indeed made the ages; (3) who being the shining splendor of [His] glory, and the express image of His essence, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, having made purification of our sins through Himself, [He] sat down on [the] right of the Majesty on high, (4) having become so much better than the angels, He has inherited a name more excellent than they. (5) For to which of the angels did He ever say, "You are My Son; today I have begotten You"? And again, "I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me." (6) And again, when He brought the First-born into the world, He said, "And let all [the] angels of God worship Him." (7) And as to the angels, He said, "Who makes His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire;" (8) but as to the Son, "Your throne, [O] God, [is] forever and ever, A scepter of uprightness [is] the scepter of Your kingdom; (9) You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; because of this God, Your God, has anointed You [with] the oil of gladness beside Your fellows."(10) And, "You, Lord, at [the] beginning founded the earth, and the heavens are works of Your hands.
Hebrews 4: (15) For we do not have a high priest not being able to sympathize with our weaknesses but [One] having been tried in all respects according to [our] likeness, apart from sin.
Hebrews 7: (26) For such a High Priest was fitting for us: holy, harmless, undefiled, and separated from sinners, and having become higher than the heavens; (27) who has no need, as do the high priests, to offer sacrifices day by day, first for His own sins, then for those of the people. For He did this once for all, offering up Himself. The Law makes men high priests who have infirmity, but the word of the oath-taking after the Law [appoints the] Son to the age, having been perfected.
Hebrews 9: (14) by how much more the blood of Christ (who through [the] eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God), will purify your conscience from dead works, to serve [the] living God!
1 Peter 1:19:
1 Peter 1: (19) but with precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot,
1 Peter 2:22:
1 Peter 2: (22) "who did not sin, nor was guile found in His mouth;"
1 John 3:5:
1 John 3: (5) And you know that that [One] was revealed that He might take away our sins, and sin is not in Him.
Here again we have established by God's Word that Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, was, and is, holy and sinless. As God the Son from eternity past, He was without sin. When he came to this earth as the God-Man, from the time of His conception to the time of His death, he was without sin. And from his resurrection and ascension until eternity future, he was and will always be without sin. But what we are going to focus on today is His sinlessness when He came in the flesh, for there is a particular importance to this sinlessness.
Let's now turn to Romans 5 and read verses 12 through 21:
Romans 5: (12) Because of this, even as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death passed to all men, inasmuch as all sinned. (13) For sin was in [the] world until Law, but sin is not charged [where] there is no law; (14) but death reigned from Adam until Moses, even on those who had not sinned in the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a type of the coming [One]. (15) But the free gift [is] not also like the deviation. For if by the deviation of the one the many died, much more the grace of God, and the gift in grace, which [is] of the one Man, Jesus Christ, did abound to the many. (16) And the gift [is] not as by one having sinned; for indeed the judgment [was] of one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many deviations to justification. (17) For if by the deviation of the one death reigned through the one, much more those who are receiving the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall rule in life by the One, Jesus Christ. (18) So then, as through one deviation [it was] toward all men to condemnation, so also through one righteous act toward all men to justification of life. (19) For as through the one man's disobedience the many were constituted sinners, so also through the obedience of the One the many shall be constituted righteous. (20) But Law came in besides, that the deviation might abound. But where sin abounded, grace much more abounded, (21) that as sin ruled in death, so also grace might rule through righteousness to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We saw last week that the first man, Adam, sinned by disobeying God. And Adam did not sin as a private person; he sinned as a REPRESENTATIVE of a certain people, which is all of his physical posterity who were conceived of a man and a woman. Sin entered the world through Adam in two ways: first, it entered by IMPUTATION. The guilt of Adam's sin is IMPUTED, or CHARGED TO, all whom Adam represented. So whenever there is a physical conception, Adam's sin is IMPUTED to that human being upon conception. Second, all to whom this sin is imputed actually sin. Every human being who is conceived is conceived a sinner, in rebellion against God. We also saw last week that the CONSEQUENCES of sin came into the world through Adam. God promised that when -- not if -- Adam disobeyed Him, he would die physically and spiritually. So sin entered the world through Adam, and death entered the world as a consequence of sin. So, as in Adam, all sinned, so also in Adam, death passed to all whom Adam represented, which is the whole human race. The descendants of Adam die physically, but more importantly, unless there is some intervention, the descendants of Adam also experience the second death, which is eternal torment in hell. The wages of sin is everlasting death. So all who remain in Adam spiritually until their physical deaths will be justly punished in hell for their sins.
At the end of verse 14, Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that Adam is a TYPE of the coming One. What is a TYPE? The Greek word is TOO-poss, which means "a die" or "a stamp" or "an impression" or "a form." A "die" is a tool with a pattern on it that is impressed onto something to give a desired form to that thing. So Adam is someone who is a form, or a figure, of the coming One. Who is the coming One? In context, this is obviously talking about Christ, the one who was to come after Adam. Adam is a type, a figure, of Jesus Christ. Now when we talk about a type of Christ, we need to be clear on HOW a certain person or thing is a type of Christ. I've encountered over-typing and over-spiritualizing enough to know that if the type is not strictly defined according to God's Word, then all kinds of wacky things can come out. Types are SPECIFIC and NARROW. Everything in the Old Testament is not a type of Christ, and even every believer in the Old Testament is not a type of Christ. Trying to find a type in everything may impress some gullible people and make them think you're super-spiritual, but all it is is vain speculation that oversteps the bounds of God's revelation.
So how is Adam a type of Christ? Let's first turn to 1 Corinthians 15 and read verses 45 through 49:
1 Corinthians 15: (45) So also it has been written, "The" first "man", Adam, "became a living soul;" the last Adam a life-giving Spirit. (46) But not the spiritual first, but the natural; afterward the spiritual. (47) The first man [was] out of earth, earthy. The second Man [was] the Lord out of Heaven. (48) Such [as is] the earthy [man], such also [are] the earthy ones. And such [as is] the heavenly [Man], such also [are] the heavenly ones. (49) And as we bore the image of the earthy [man], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [Man].
Here we find a parallel between Adam and Christ. The first thing we should note is that Adam is called the first man, while Christ is called the last Adam. Now Adam as the first man is obvious: he was the first man to be created. But what of Christ's being called the last Adam? It certainly isn't talking about Christ being the last MAN, since there were and are many men after him. Christ is the last ADAM. The only way that this can be interpreted, and we will see that this is the true interpretation when we get back to the Romans 5 passage, the Lord willing, is that Adam was the first REPRESENTATIVE, and Christ is the last REPRESENTATIVE. There have only been two true representatives in history - only two whose actions perfectly represented a particular people and whose actions were imputed to all whom they represented. The first representative was ADAM. His sin, and the guilt of it, is imputed to all whom he represented, which is all of his natural offspring. The second representative was CHRIST. His righteousness, and the merits of it, is imputed to all whom HE represented, which is all of his spiritual offspring. This gets into the parallel in verse 45 between a living soul and a life-giving Spirit. Adam became a living soul, and all whom he represented have a living soul. Christ has a life-giving Spirit, and all whom He represented have a life-giving Spirit. Verse 46 says that the natural is first. All are conceived in Adam first. They have the guilt of Adam's sin imputed to them. Then, all who are born again through the Spirit have the merits of Christ's righteousness imputed to them. The order is never reversed, and there is never the second without the first. There is no such thing as a person being conceived regenerate. All are conceived unregenerate, and then, at some point after conception, all whom Christ represented will be given His imputed righteousness. There is ALWAYS regeneration and conversion in EVERY ONE of God's people. This regeneration and conversion may happen before birth, it may happen when the person is an infant, as an older child, as a young adult, or as an older adult, but it ALWAYS happens. By nature, ALL OF US WITHOUT EXCEPTION were conceived in sin and under the wrath of God. Verses 47 through 49 give us a different kind of parallel. The first man, Adam, was of the earth, and all in his line are of the earth. We are in earthly bodies as long as we are human beings living here on the earth. In this sense, we bear the image of Adam. We have flesh and blood, and we are subject to physical death and decay. The second man, Christ, was of heaven, and all in His line will bear the image of Christ once we leave this earth and go to heaven. Verse 50 says the flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom of God, so obviously, when we go to heaven, we will not be bearing the image of Adam. Now you might have noticed that it says that Christ was the second MAN in verse 47. This is because it was already established in verse 45 that Paul was talking about two men as representatives, so he could say that Christ was the second man as relating to what he just said in verse 45.
Okay, now let's go back to Romans 5. Let's look at verses 15 and 16:
Romans 5: (15) But the free gift [is] not also like the deviation. For if by the deviation of the one the many died, much more the grace of God, and the gift in grace, which [is] of the one Man, Jesus Christ, did abound to the many. (16) And the gift [is] not as by one having sinned; for indeed the judgment [was] of one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many deviations to justification.
Right after Paul says that Adam is a type of Christ, that there are things about Adam that point to Christ, that there are things about Adam that are like Christ, he then says that the free gift is NOT like the trespass. This is a very interesting way to start a section on the parallel between Adam and Christ! And I think this goes to show you how important it is that the type be accurate. If Adam were a PURE type of Christ, then they'd be exactly the same, even in the way Adam's unrighteousness and Christ's righteousness were conveyed. But, in order to squash that notion and to show that types are SPECIFIC and NARROW, Paul took the time to first go into the DISsimilarities between Adam and Christ. And these dissimilarities are extremely important. Let's look at them.
The free gift, which is the imputed righteousness of Christ, is not like the offense, which is the sin of Adam. The sin of Adam is imputed to all of Adam's NATURAL seed, while the righteousness of Christ is imputed to all of Christ's SPIRITUAL seed. Christ's righteousness imputed is a FREE GIFT, a GIFT IN GRACE. It is something that is NOT MERITED, NOT EARNED. Like we saw last week in Romans 6:23, the WAGES of SIN is death. SIN earns DEATH. But the second part of that verse says, but the GIFT OF GOD is everlasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Here is contrasted WAGES with a GIFT. WAGES are what you EARN; a GIFT is what you DID NOT EARN. This free gift is based on Christ's taking the imputed guilt of our sin upon Himself and paying the penalty that our sins deserved, and imputing His perfect righteousness to us, which is received by faith. This is not like Adam's sin. The guilt of Adam's sin, which is imputed to all men to condemnation, is not like the righteousness of Christ, which justifies sinners not only from Adam's particular offense, but from MANY offenses, which is EVERY SINGLE ONE of their actual sins.
But we can still see the type in the midst of seeing how Adam's unrighteousness and Christ's righteousness are different, can't we. We see that both were REPRESENTATIVES. By the deviation of one, the many were condemned, and by the righteousness of one, the many were justified. Let's go further into verse 17:
Romans 5: (17) For if by the deviation of the one death reigned through the one, much more those who are receiving the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall rule in life by the One, Jesus Christ.
Here we get into the CONSEQUENCES of unrighteousness and righteousness. Last week, we saw that the consequence of sin is death. Adam's sin is imputed to all whom he represented, and thus death reigned through Adam. But how much more, if death reigned through Adam, that LIFE reigns through the righteousness of Jesus Christ! As is always the case when talking of types of Christ, Christ and His work FAR EXCEED any types of Him. All of the types fall short, because there is no comparing the magnitude of the person and work of Christ to a mere man or object. Thus, we saw in verse 15 the phrase "MUCH MORE the grace of God" and here in verse 17, "MUCH MORE those who are receiving the abundance of grace." Adam sinned and plunged all men into death, but CHRIST'S work FAR EXCEEDS what Adam did! If through Adam's sin death and condemnation reigned, what should we say of Christ's righteousness? Well, look at verse 20, even though we're not there yet: "but where sin abounded, grace did MUCH MORE abound"!! The reign of sin and the reign of grace are not on equal footing here! The reign of sin PALES in comparison to the reign of grace! The magnificence, the awesomeness, the wonder of grace has no comparison!
Now to verses 18 and 19:
Romans 5: (18) So then, as through one deviation [it was] toward all men to condemnation, so also through one righteous act toward all men to justification of life. (19) For as through the one man's disobedience the many were constituted sinners, so also through the obedience of the One the many shall be constituted righteous.
Here Paul plainly spells out representation and imputation. It can't get any plainer than this. We saw last week that through one man's sin, that sin was TOWARD all whom Adam represented to condemnation, and all those whom Adam represented were CONSTITUTED sinners through Adam's disobedience. Now we see that the RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ is TOWARD all whom Christ represented to justification of life, and all those whom Christ represented will be CONSTITUTED righteous because of Christ's obedience. Christ was PERFECTLY OBEDIENT, obeying every single part of the law, not only outwardly but inwardly, even obeying unto death. This righteousness is TOWARD all to justification. Turn back to Romans 3:22:
Romans 3: (22) even the righteousness of God through faith of Jesus Christ toward all and upon all those believing; for there is no difference,
The righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ is TOWARD all those believing. It is GIVEN to everyone who believes. And it is GIVEN to everyone believing unto justification of life. Justification means being declared NOT GUILTY. It is being made free from the guilt of sin. And thus, being free from the GUILT of sin, all in Christ are free from the CONDEMNATION of sin, which is everlasting death. Thus the phrase, "justification of life." Being declared NOT GUILTY means being declared RIGHTEOUS and thus being given everlasting life. Let's turn to 1 Corinthians 15:22:
1 Corinthians 15: (22) for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
We saw the first part of this verse last week, that all who are in Adam die. The second part of this verse shows that all who are in Christ will be made alive. This is specifically talking about being raised to eternal life.
Now let's take some time to think about how the universal atonement advocate sees Romans 5:18. He believes that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception. So he would read verse 18 as follows: "So then, as through one deviation it was toward all men without exception to condemnation, so also through one effected righteousness toward all men without exception to justification of life." So they believe, from this verse, that Christ's righteousness is toward all men without exception to justification of life. Now we've seen what justification of life means. It means being declared not guilty, being declared righteous, being given everlasting life. So if Christ did this for everyone without exception, then everyone without exception would be declared not guilty, be declared righteous, and be given everlasting life, right? NO, say the God-haters. These blasphemers say that, even though Christ did this for everyone without exception, there are many for whom Christ did this who are burning in hell. So, to them, what did Christ's righteousness accomplish in and of itself? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. So what about this verse that says, "through one effected righteousness toward all men to justification of life"? Where's the justification to life of all men without exception, if Christ effected this righteousness? They would say that it is not the work of Christ ALONE that ensures everlasting life; the person has to DO SOMETHING IN ADDITION to the work of Christ to make himself to differ from the one who goes to hell. They would say that the work of Christ made it POSSIBLE for everyone to have everlasting life but did not GUARANTEE everlasting life to everyone for whom He worked out this righteousness. Is this not blasphemy in the highest degree? Is it not clear that these people do not believe the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone? A "gospel" without the accomplished work of Christ is a "gospel" void of good news. It is a "gospel" of "make sure to improve upon the work of Christ so you'll get to heaven." It is a doctrine of demons, and no one who believes it is my brother or sister in Christ. My brothers and sisters in Christ ALL agree with Romans 5:18, that Christ's righteousness is given to ALL whom Christ represented in His life and death. The same goes for verse 19. All my brothers and sisters in Christ believe that through the obedience of the One, Jesus Christ, the MANY whom Christ represented will be constituted righteous. This parallels the part of Romans 3:22 that says "UPON all those believing." The righteousness is not only GIVEN to all believing, but it RESTS UPON all those believing, so they are CONSTITUTED righteous. In the eyes of God's law and justice, God's demands have been satisfied in their representative, Jesus Christ, so they are now seen as PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS. That's the only way God will accept someone. If they are not PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS, then they are guilty, defiled, and condemned. But for those who are CONSTITUTED righteous, God accepts them into His fellowship just as much as He accepts Jesus Christ into His fellowship.
Let's go to verses 20 and 21:
Romans 5: (20) But Law came in besides, that the deviation might abound. But where sin abounded, grace much more abounded, (21) that as sin ruled in death, so also grace might rule through righteousness to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Law came in that the deviation might abound. There are some differing views on what the Law means in verse 20. Some take it to mean the Law that was given to Adam not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, some take it to mean the Law given on Mt. Sinai, and some take it to mean God's commandments in general. I'm really not totally sure about this one, but I'm leaning toward the first one. But the concept remains the same. In order for there to be sin, there must be a law to break, as we saw in verses 12 through 14. And Romans 3:20 says that by law is full knowledge of sin. If there were no sin, then there would not be a need for a Savior. The second part of Romans 5:20 says that even when the deviation abounded, grace abounded even more. And we went over that earlier.
Verse 21 expands on this. Sin ruled in death through the sin of Adam. But, praise God, that's not the end of the story. If it were, then we'd all be condemned to hell. But, as sin ruled in death, so also GRACE RULES! The grace of God, the unmerited saving favor of God, ABOUNDS to us who believe! And how does it abound? It abounds and rules through RIGHTEOUSNESS. If there is no RIGHTEOUSNESS, there is no grace. The legalists would tell us that this is talking about our OWN works of righteousness. They would tell us that the robe of righteousness with which we are clothed and which we will plead before God is at least partly our OWN obedience to the law. But we who have been saved by grace know that it is Christ's righteousness ALONE that is our righteousness. We will plead nothing but His righteousness, because anything less than perfect righteousness God will not accept. As we see in verse 21, this righteousness is to everlasting life. This righteousness that Jesus Christ established makes it SURE and CERTAIN - ENSURES it and GUARANTEES it - that all whom Christ represented will have everlasting life. There never have been and never will be any exceptions. Christ accomplished what He set out to accomplish, which is the COMPLETE SALVATION, from regeneration to final glory, of every single person for whom He lived and died. Lastly, it is all through Jesus Christ our Lord. Our salvation, from start to finish, is all of Christ. Grace rules through the righteousness of Christ. We are given everlasting life through Christ. Jesus Christ is the only way, the only hope, the only Savior, the God-man mediator, representative, and substitute, who came to this earth and established a righteousness that secured the salvation of His people. His work is what makes the only difference between salvation and damnation. It's all Christ and no me. Let's turn to Titus 3:4-7 to close:
Titus 3: (4) But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, (5) not by works in righteousness which we had done, but according to His mercy, He saved us through [the] washing of regeneration and renewal of [the] Holy Spirit, (6) whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ, our Savior; (7) that being justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to [the] hope of eternal life.