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Romans 5:12-21 outlines God's perspective of every human being by using some very interesting and informative comparisons:
- Comparisons between ADAM and JESUS CHRIST
- Comparisons between The EFFECTS of ADAM’S DISOBEDIENCE and the EFFECTS of JESUS CHRIST’S OBEDIENCE
Romans 5:12-21 is rich with "must know" information for those seeking the things of God. Most Bible scholars refer to Romans 5 as "the heart of Romans." Whatever the case may be, I highly recommend reading and re-reading it in as many translations as you can, considering it deeply with God who is both your Father and your teacher.
Romans 5:12-21 "For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life; and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned: for until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression (to disobey a direct command), who is a figure of him that was to come. But not as (comparison) the trespass, so also is the free gift (gift of favor or grace, without merit). For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more (a superlative: greater by far) did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound (over and above) unto the many. And not as (comparison) through one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment came of one (transgression) unto condemnation, but the free gift came of many trespasses unto justification (a judicial decision, a sentence deeming one right or correct, as to have force by law). For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive (are receiving) the abundance (more than enough) of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ. So then as (comparison) through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of (acquittal to) life. For as (comparison) through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous. And the law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly: that, as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
In Adam - (physical head) - all are unified by blood.
In Christ – (spiritual head) - all are unified by the gift of holy spirit.
“ONE” is used 12 times in this section. Repetition of the same word or words in scripture is used for emphasis. To use this word “one” this many times is very significant. According to E. W. Bullinger in Number in Scripture, “One denotes unity, or united.” “One excludes all differences, for there is no second with which it can either harmonize or conflict.” Adam is the “one” from whom the whole human race was affected. Jesus Christ is the “one” from whom the whole human race was affected. The result of each of these governmental heads is outlined in verses 12-21. In Adam we were one in sin, death, the reigning of death, condemnation, and in being sinners. In Jesus Christ we are one in righteousness, grace, justification, reigning in life, acquittal to life, and grace reigning.
“Much more”: (used in verses 15 & 17) far exceeding, vastly exceeding. This is how what came through Jesus Christ is compared to what came through Adam. What we received through Jesus Christ is far exceeding what we received through Adam.
“Right,” “righteous,” “righteousness,” “just,” “justify,” “justified,” “justification”: The Greek root word with its English derivatives quoted here are used over 65 times in the book of Romans alone. We have been “justified,” ”made righteous” by the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. Translators chose to put the emphasis on the act that brought the result by using the words “justify,” “justified,” or “justification.” We are now “righteous” as a result. The emphasis is put on the result of the act by using the word “righteous” or “righteousness.”
In the courtroom of God (so to speak) we were found guilty of sin through Adam’s transgression. This was punishable by death! This one offense resulted in repeated offenses in large numbers by all of Adam’s progeny. But God planned and purposed our complete redemption through the substitutionary work of Jesus as the Christ. Now we’re unified with Jesus Christ by way of his substitutionary work. As we were unified (one) with Adam, so are we now unified (one) with Jesus Christ. Christ means “anointed one”, the one consecrated by God for a specific purpose or work (see John 17:4, Acts 4:24-28). His appointed work was our redemption and salvation bringing us new life. By God’s ordination, Jesus Christ stepped in and took the sentence of punishment and death for us. We were eternally acquitted by the obedience of Jesus Christ from all that we received by Adam’s disobedience. Now God, as the Righteous Judge, holds nothing against us. We are forever righteous in His sight. See Ephesians 1:3-4. God’s perspective is that we are no longer unified with Adam. Instead we are unified with Jesus Christ. God views us as “in Christ.” (1Corinthians 1:30)
On the scale of our lives, we were heavy with sin and sins without a way to pay for them, or to be released from their consequences. But Jesus Christ paid the price of sin for us. His act of obedience completely counterbalanced the act of disobedience of Adam. The scale leveled! Every sin of the whole world was paid for (1John 2:2). Then the result of the resurrection of Jesus Christ FAR EXCEEDED the effects of the sin of Adam. These “far exceeding” results are true of any, and all who believe on Jesus Christ. They are eternal. These results will last forever! This is what God our Father had planned and purposed from before the foundation of the earth. He has called us by His love to live in these new results in Christ with a view to the glorious return of Jesus Christ. We’re a blessed people.
WE WERE IDENTIFIED WITH ADAM
Everybody is born into this world unified with Adam in sin and death and condemnation. Adam had been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27, 5:1). God is spirit (John 4:24), God is holy, God is Love (1John 4:16), God is light (1John 1:5), etc. When Adam disobeyed he died (Genesis 2:16-17). He lost spirit life. This loss of spiritual life, or death, was passed unto all of Mankind since, and because of, Adam (see Ephesians 2:1, Psalms 51:5). Through Adam’s disobedience sin entered into the world, and death through sin (Romans 5:12). Remember that death is simply the absence of life. Adam begat children in his own likeness, body and soul, without God’s spirit (Genesis 5:3). All nations of men are made of one blood (Acts 17:26). We were all unified (one) with Adam in sin, death, and condemnation. In Adam we all were separated from God.
Romans 5:21 says, “as sin reigned in death.” In death (separation from the life of God) sin reigns. Man had to continue to produce the fruit of sin, which is sins, because he was spiritually dead. Sin is the root from which sins are the fruit. Man was separated from God through Adam’s disobedience. This state of separation is called “death” in the Bible. You see, the problem wasn’t that we were sinning. Sinning is the result of the problem. The problem was that we were DEAD. We lost our life with God. We were in need of life! We were dead in sin. Romans 5:21 communicates that “sin reigns in death.” Man could not avoid producing sins because sin reigns in death (see Romans 1:18-3:18, Ephesians 2:1-3, 4:17-19). Through Adam’s disobedience we all died. As a result we were all subservient to sin. We had no choice. We all served sin because we were dead and “sin reigns in death.” This is God’s perspective.
We were not just unified with Adam in sin and death, but also in condemnation (judgment against us). Romans 5:18: “as through one trespass unto all men to condemnation.” As outlined in some of my other hub articles, believing on Jesus Christ is the escape from God’s judgment against us. See the rest of Romans 5:18-19, John 3:18, 5:24. Therefore, until an individual believes on Jesus Christ the judgment of God is against him/her. God’s righteous judgment against Man is a result of our unification with Adam in sin, death, and condemnation.
The big problem regarding the “sins” issue:
Isaiah 59:2: “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you that He will not hear.”
Psalms 38:3-4: “my iniquities have gone over my head, as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.”
Leviticus 5:17: “And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist (knew) it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.”
Numbers 32:23: “and be sure your sin will find you out.”
Who could carry this over-bearing load of sin? It is too heavy for anybody! And whether we recognized our sins or not, we were still guilty and must bear their due punishment. Sins separate Man from God. God is the provider of man’s needs. He is Man’s protector. He is Man’s comfort. Without God, Man is void of his purpose. Ephesians 2:12 says that apart from Christ we “had no hope, and were without God in the world.” How could anyone bear this great burden? How could we get out of this problem of sin? How could we be “cleansed from our secret faults” as in Psalms 19:12? As Romans 7:25 puts it: “thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus Christ paid the price for sin for us – DEATH! He became the offering for sin in our behalf, in our place (2Corinthians 5:21. Romans 5:6-8, etc.). He carried our burden of sin. He cleansed us. He delivered us.
“The wages of sin is death,” (Romans6:23). Sin against God, “the righteous judge,” deserves its just punishment (see Leviticus 5:17, Deuteronomy 28:1-2 and 15). Jesus Christ was our substitute for the punishment of sin. He took our place. Isaiah 53:5-6 teaches us that “he was wounded for OUR transgressions, he was bruised for OUR iniquities, the chastisement which procured OUR peace was upon him; and with his stripes WE are healed. All WE like sheep have gone astray; WE have turned every one to HIS OWN way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of US all.” Jesus Christ took the judgment and punishment of our sin upon himself. We were all worthy of death, separation from God and all of His blessings, but Jesus Christ died for us, in our behalf. He took our place in sin and death and condemnation bearing sin’s due punishment.
We were completely one with Adam in sin, death, and condemnation. This is why the just judgement of God was against us. But Jesus Christ redeemed us. What a savior! What a plan God had! See Isaiah 53:10-11. What was satisfied by the travail of the soul of the Christ? The justice of God was satisfied! This was the foundation of God’s purpose of the ages coming into fruition, “which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11). We needed God to get us out of the problem of sin by which we were corrupted. Our identification, our oneness, our complete association was in Adam and the result of his disobedience (guilt, fear, and lack, separation from God, condemnation, no hope, spiritual death, etc.). But Jesus Christ identified with us in sin and death and condemnation so that we would identify with him in righteousness and newness of life. Jesus Christ is Man’s total deliverance from sin and its consequences into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Jesus Christ is Man’s only hope of deliverance from the consequences of Adam’s sin.
JESUS CHRIST IDENTIFIED WITH US SO THAT NOW WE ARE NOW IDENTIFIED WITH HIM
Jesus Christ identified with us: Isaiah 53:1-6. The repeated words of “for our” show his identification with us in sin and its punishment.
John 19:30: “It is finished!” His identification with us in sin was completed.
It’s a double-transfer: as we were, in sin, so he became. As he is, righteous, so we became (Romans 4:25, 2Crinthians 5:21).
TO IDENTIFY: From Latin: idem – the same, and facio – to make. “To make to be the same; to unite or combine in such a manner as to make one interest, purpose or intention; to treat as having the same use; to consider as the same in effect.” American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster 1828
“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me; and the life which I now live in the body I live through faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up to death on my behalf.” Galatians 2:20
Isaiah 55:8-9: Our thoughts and ways are different than God’s thoughts and ways until we adapt to Him. His thoughts and ways are the truths of our identification with Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:3-11, Ephesian 2:4-7, Colossians 2:9-13, 3:1-4:
- When he was crucified we were crucified with him.
- When he died we died with him.
- When he was buried we were buried with him.
- When he was made alive we were made alive with him.
- When he was seated at the right hand of God we were seated with him.
- When he appears again we will appear with him in glory!
To the majority, truth has been commandments rather than reality in Christ.
“In the name of Jesus Christ” has been used just to close a prayer, rather than the authority of the master.
Colossians 3:16: Consider the effects produced. Remember that “Christ” refers to what he would accomplish as the Christ. As this dwells in you richly it will transform you into what it is: you will become Christ-like. You will increasingly know the realities of being dead to sin and living unto God. Your oneness with the Father will develop.
By Jesus Christ’s redemptive work we now share in common with him. We are identified by what his work accomplished. What is true as a result of his redemptive work is now truth, or reality, for us. Our position from which we think, speak, and function is IN CHRIST. Our interests, purpose, and intentions become one with his. We become an extension of him in what we say and do. Our identification with Christ is where we see the potential power of the gospel activated as we think and live accordingly. God designed us for this purpose - to be one with Him in Christ.