on Romans 5 :12
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world - From this verse, to the conclusion of the chapter, the apostle produces a strong argument to prove that, as all mankind stood in need of the grace of God in Christ to redeem them from their sins, so this grace has been afforded equally to all, both Jews and Gentiles.
Dr. Taylor has given the following analysis of the apostle's mode of argumentation. The argument stands thus: - "The consequences of Christ's obedience extend as far as the consequences of Adam's disobedience. The consequences of Adam's disobedience extend to all mankind; and therefore, so do the consequences of Christ's obedience. Now, if the Jews will not allow the Gentiles any interest in Abraham, as not being naturally descended from him, yet they must own that the Gentiles are the descendants of Adam, as well as themselves; and being all equally involved in the consequences of his sin, from which" (as far as the death of the body is concerned) "they shall all equally be released at the resurrection, through the free gift of God, therefore they could not deny the Gentiles a share in all the other blessings included in the same gift."
This argument, besides proving the main point, goes to show:
1. That the grace of God in the Gospel abounds beyond, or very far exceeds, the mere reversing of the sufferings brought upon mankind by Adam's one offense; as it bestows a vast surplusage of blessings which have no relation to that offense, but to the many offenses which mankind have committed, and to the exuberance of the Divine grace.
2. To show how justly the Divine grace is founded on the obedience of Christ, in correspondence to the dispensation Adam was under, and to the consequences of his disobedience: if this disobedience involved all mankind in death, it is proper that the obedience of Christ should be the cause not only of reversing that death to all mankind, but also of other blessings which God should see fit (through him) to bestow on the world.
3. It serves to explain, and set in a clear view, the difference between the law and grace. It was the law which, for Adam's one transgression, subjected him and his posterity, as included in him when he transgressed, to death, without hopes of a revival. It is grace which restores all men to life at the resurrection; and, over and above that, has provided a gracious dispensation for the pardon of their sins; for reducing them to obedience; for guarding them against temptations; supplying them with strength and comfort; and for advancing them to eternal life. This would give the attentive Jew a just notion of the law which himself was under, and under which he was desirous of bringing the Gentiles.
The order in which the apostle handles this argument is this: -
1. He affirms that death passed upon all men by Adam's one transgression, Romans 5:12.
2. He proves this, Romans 5:13, Romans 5:14 :
3. He affirms there is a correspondence between Adam and Christ; or between the παραπτωμα, offense, and the χαρισμα, free gift, Romans 5:14.
4. This correspondence, so far as the two opposite parts answer to each other, is justly expressed, Romans 5:18, Romans 5:19; and there we have the main or fundamental position of the apostle's argument, in relation to the point which he has been arguing from the beginning of the epistle, namely, the extensiveness of the grace of the Gospel, that it actually reaches to All Men, and is not confined to the Jews.
5. But, before he laid down this position, it was necessary that he should show that the correspondence between Adam and Christ, or between the offense and the gift, is not to be confined strictly to the bounds specified in the position, as if the gift reached no farther than the consequences of the offense; when in reality it extends vastly beyond them, Romans 5:15-17.
6. Having settled these points, as previously necessary to clear his fundamental position, and fit to his argument, he then lays down that position in a diversified manner of speech, Romans 5:18, Romans 5:19, just as in 1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:21, and leaves us to conclude, from the premises laid down, Romans 5:15-17, that the gift and the grace in its utmost extent, is as free to all mankind who are willing to accept of it, as this particular instance, the resurrection from the dead. They shall all be raised from the dead hereafter; they may all be quickened by the Spirit here.
7. Having thus shown the extensiveness of the Divine grace, in opposition to the dire effects of the law under which Adam was; that the Jews might not overlook what he intended they should particularly observe, he puts them in mind that the law given to Adam, transgress and die, was introduced into the Jewish constitution by the ministry of Moses; and for this end, that the offense, with the penalty of death annexed to it, might abound, Romans 5:20. But, to illustrate the Divine grace by setting it in contrast to the law, he immediately adds: where sin, subjecting to death, hath abounded, grace hath much more abounded; that is, in blessings bestowed; it has stretched far beyond both Adam's transgression, and the transgressions under the law of Moses, Romans 5:20, Romans 5:21, and see the note on Romans 5:20.
on Romans 5 :12
Romans 5:12-21 has been usually regarded as the most difficult part of the New Testament. It is not the design of these notes to enter into a minute criticism of contested points like this. They who wish to see a full discussion of the passage, may find it in the professedly critical commentaries; and especially in the commentaries of Tholuck and of Professor Stuart on the Romans. The meaning of the passage in its general bearing is not difficult; and probably the whole passage would have been found far less difficult if it had not been attached to a philosophical theory on the subject of man's sin, and if a strenuous and indefatigable effort had not been made to prove that it teaches what it was never designed to teach. The plain and obvious design of the passage is this, to show one of the benefits of the doctrine of justification by faith. The apostle had shown,
(1) That that doctrine produced peace, Romans 5:1.
(2) That it produces joy in the prospect of future glory, Romans 5:2.
(3) That it sustained the soul in afflictions;
(a) by the regular tendency of afflictions under the gospel, Romans 5:3-4; and,
(b) by the fact that the Holy Spirit was imparted to the believer.
(4) That this doctrine rendered it certain that we should be saved, because Christ had died for us, Romans 5:6; because this was the highest expression of love, Romans 5:7-8; and because if we had been reconciled when thus alienated, we should be saved now that we are the friends of God, Romans 5:9-10.
(5) That it led us to rejoice in God himself; produced joy in his presence, and in all his attributes.
He now proceeds to show the bearing on that great mass of evil which had been introduced into the world by sin, and to prove that the benefits of the atonement were far greater than the evils which had been introduced by the acknowledged effects of the sin of Adam. "The design is to exalt our views of the work of Christ, and of the plan of justification through him, by comparing them with the evil consequences of the sin of our first father, and by showing that the blessings in question not only extend to the removal of these evils, but far beyond this, so that the grace of the gospel has not only abounded, but superabounded." (Prof. Stuart.) In doing this, the apostle admits, as an undoubted and well-understood fact:
1. That sin came into the world by one man, and death as the consequence. Romans 5:12.
2. That death had passed on all; even on those who had not the light of revelation, and the express commands of God, Romans 5:13-14.
3. That Adam was the figure, the type of him that was to come; that there was some sort of analogy or resemblance between the results of his act and the results of the work of Christ. That analogy consisted in the fact that the effects of his doings did not terminate on himself, but extended to numberless other persons, and that it was thus with the work of Christ, Romans 5:14. But he shows,
4. That there were very material and important differences in the two cases. There was not a perfect parallelism. The effects of the work of Christ were far more than simply to counteract the evil introduced by the sin of Adam. The differences between the effect of his act and the work of Christ are these.
(1) The sin of Adam led to condemnation. The work of Christ has an opposite tendency, Romans 5:15.
on Romans 5 :12
5:12 Therefore - This refers to all the preceding discourse; from which the apostle infers what follows. He does not therefore properly make a digression, but returns to speak again of sin and of righteousness. As by one man - Adam; who is mentioned, and not Eve, as being the representative of mankind. Sin entered into the world - Actual sin, and its consequence, a sinful nature. And death - With all its attendants. It entered into the world when it entered into being; for till then it did not exist. By sin - Therefore it could not enter before sin. Even so - Namely, by one man. In that - So the word is used also, 2Cor 5:4. All sinned - In Adam. These words assign the reason why death came upon all men; infants themselves not excepted, in that all sinned.