Eternal Life through Christ Jesus Our Lord

Romans 5:12-21

Death is not natural, nor is it good.

We are trained to think death is natural and necessary.

The theory of evolution assumes that death is natural. We are born and we die. According to the theory of evolution, it is through this process of birth and death that all things improve.

The Bible paints a different picture. Romans 5:12 says:
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— (Romans 5:12 ESV)

In this passage, we see that death entered into our world through sin. Therefore, before sin entered the world, death was not in the world. Death has indeed spread to all humanity, just as Romans 5:12 says. Until Christ returns, every person will experience the death of the body. However, 1 Corinthians 15:26 says:
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:26 ESV)

Here, in this passage, we see death described as an enemy, and we see that Jesus Christ will destroy this enemy.

According to Romans 5:13, death is in the world because of sin, and sin came into the world by one man. It hardly seems fair that we should all suffer death because of one man, especially since he lived and died thousands of years ago. He broke a rule, a rule that you and I have not even had the opportunity to break. God told him, “Don’t eat from the tree in the middle of the garden.” But you and I have not even seen the garden, let alone eaten the forbidden fruit.

Romans 5:12 says, “...death spread to all men because all sinned...”

According to this, we do not die for Adam’s sin. Death spread to all men because all sinned. We are not judged for another’s sin, but we are judged for our sin.

How is it I can be guilty of sin when I do not know the rules?

How is it that men sinned when there were no rules to break?

This question is addressed in Romans 5:13-14.
...for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. (Romans 5:13-14 ESV)

Notice here, this passage says, “...even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam.” While it says, “sin is not counted where there is no law,” it does not say there is no sin where there is no law. This is very important for us to understand, because it has to do with our salvation, and relates to our ability, or inability, to save ourselves.

When the law was given through Moses, the people of Israel thought that they had been given a means to be delivered from death. However, they found that the law, which is good and right, brought only death and condemnation. Romans 7 explains it like this:
The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. (Romans 7:10-13 ESV)

Sin is something. By this, I mean that sin is more than just a concept. Sin is a moral evil that brings death. Here, in this passage, it says, “It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin...” Sin exists in the heart apart from law. Before the law, there was sin. Genesis 6:5 says:
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5 ESV)

In this time before the law was given, the Lord saw the wickedness of man was great. In other words, we see that sin is wickedness or evil in the human heart. When God examined human hearts, He saw that wickedness was great, and every intention was only evil continually.

Do you think that humanity or the human heart has changed?

Ephesians 2 tells us that before Jesus made us alive, we were dead in our trespasses and sins. The exact words are:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— (Ephesians 2:1-2 ESV)

Humanity has not changed.

If sin in the heart meant that “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” before the flood, it means the same today. Thus, Romans 5:21 says, “...sin reigned in death.”

Sin and death came into the world through one man. Romans 5:12 started to give a comparison when it said, “just as.” Romans 5:14 points to the comparison that was being made when it says, “...Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.” Romans 5:15-17 draws this comparison in more detail. However, verse 15 points out a difference rather than a similarity. Romans 5:15 points out the “MUCH MORE” aspect of the work of Jesus Christ. Indeed, sin entered the world by one man and through this, all died. But, much more has the free gift of grace abounded because of the righteousness of the One Man, Jesus Christ. These verses say:
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:15-17 ESV)

It bears repeating, “...the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.”

Sin was there even when there was no law. The law only served to make sin apparent or evident. Sin existed and the law just pointed this out. We were dead in our trespasses and sins; however, the grace of God was much greater than our sins. The free gift of grace abounded much more than sin to bring justification. So now, according to what we just read, we will reign in life through Jesus Christ. Death has been defeated. Now, instead of death reigning through sin, those who receive the free gift of righteousness reign in life.

The idea of justification is central to reigning in life. We live, walk and breathe as children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are the meek who will inherit the earth (emphasis on the word meek). This is possible only because we are justified freely by His grace. Sin is defeated because we are justified. Death is defeated because we are justified. The passage says, “the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.”

Adam, as the father of us all, acted as the source and representative of the human race. By using this representative system, God opened the door for a representative of the human race to take upon Himself all the sins of the human race. Christ is like Adam in that He represents the whole human race, just as Adam represented the whole human race. However, Christ is unlike Adam in that in His righteousness and obedience He brought life to the whole human race, whereas Adam’s disobedience brought death.

Romans 5:18 restates this comparison and leads to the conclusion:
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. (Romans 5:18 ESV)

Jesus said:
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 ESV)

Our justification has resulted in abundant life, what Romans 5 describes as reigning in life. Chapter 5 starts out by saying that because we have been justified, we have peace with God, and having peace, we enjoy an abundance of grace. The vast, limitless abundance of God’s grace is ours.

Romans 5:18 says that this justification and life are for all men.

Does this mean that all men are automatically justified?

The answer is no.

The invitation is definitely to all men. Indeed, in almost the last words of the Bible, Revelation 22:17 says:
The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 22:17 ESV)

While the invitation is there, a warning is included. In another place, John explains:
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:18-19 ESV)

In many other places, the Scriptures warn of judgment for those who do not believe in the only begotten Son of God. Romans 1:18 warned that the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against the unrighteousness and ungodliness of men. To be sure, the redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient to save all men everywhere. However, only those who believe are said to be saved.

The law still serves a purpose. Romans 5:20 says. “Now the law came in to increase the trespass...” The law still serves to show us our need for salvation. But, the good news is what Romans 5:20 finishes with, “...but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more...”

This “abounding grace” leads to eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Are you enjoying this eternal and abundant life?

If not, why not?

Our entry into this life is by believing, believing that Jesus is God’s Son, that He did for our sins and that He rose again from the dead. If we believe He did this for us, we will call upon Him to be saved. Once we are saved, we can trust Him for all that we need.


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