Daily Reading: Romans 5:1-21
“…much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to many.”Romans 5:15 (NASB)
Life through One
Without question, today’s passage (Romans 5:12-17) has been the topic of great discussion over the years. It is not as though Paul is unclear, rather what makes this passage difficult is trying to reconcile these things with our understanding of mankind and even ourselves. It is common for man to try and find fault in others, or a reason for his own sin. Moreover, if man can blame someone his wrong actions and “offload” personal responsibility, he normally will. What is of the utmost importance as we approach this passage is to keep the context of the chapter on the fingertips of our mind. Remember the focal point of Romans is not man, but rather God and His great mercy and grace. Paul reminds us in this, and previous chapters of the state of mankind as a contrast to the supremacy of Jesus Christ and His free gift of salvation.
In this section, Paul is saying that “through one man sin entered the world” (v.12). Most of us would freely accept this. Prior to Adam sinning (1 Timothy 2:14), sin was not in the world. He also very clearly says that death (separation) came through sin (unrighteousness), and that this death “spread to all men“. Some have postulated that this is not fair. To stop at this point may leave us thinking that Adam’s sin is the cause of our sinfulness, however let’s not miss the rest of his clause. “Death spread to all men, because all sinned.” What we understand then, is that the cause of death is sin. It is sin that causes death, and all are dead (Eph 2:1) “because all sinned.” There is no reason to blame Adam for our sin. While it is true that his sin spread through mankind (v.14), it is also true that he was but a “type of Him who was to come“. For more on this read verses 18-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:45-49. The point here is that all man is sinful, and is responsible for his actions.
Gift of Righteousness
The contrast is found in verses 15-17, and begins as such “the free gift is not like the transgression.” Paul is building back again to the glory of our justification. Notice the second half of verse 16, “…but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification“. The great contrast is that sin reigned through Adam, resulting in condemnation and death. Yet through one great act of righteousness, namely Jesus dying and being raised to life again, there is justification to all men. Now we must not ignore this one phrase, “those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness”. Each person must accept, for themselves, this incredible free gift of salvation that came through Christ. While there was no choice in our reception of condemnation through Adam, there is a choice for us to receive the “gift of righteousness…through the One, Jesus Christ“.
Paul’s discussion on justification and “birth truths”, as some have called it, stops at the end of chapter 5. These truths are essential to understand if we are going to be saved, first of all, and then begin to grow in our walk with God. Each of us must be willing, by faith to accept the free gift of salvation which is in Jesus Christ!