Romans Chapter 5
First Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
Good morning and welcome to the Ministerial Alliance program here on KLMX radio. Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines as you well know if youíve been listening to this program all week! As you also know, Iím working through Paulís letter to the church at Rome and we are currently getting toward the end of Chapter 5. Chapter 5 is one of my favorite sections of the Bible, along with Chapter 8 and 9, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, 1 and 2 Timothy andÖ well, anyway, itís one of my favorite sections of the Bible and I use quotes from it in many of my messages. Letís get moving on it and let me ask God to bless this message and give you ears to hear and a heart to accept the Word of God, in Jesusí name- Amen.
Todayís passage is this:
Romans 5:12-17 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (13) (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (15) But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. (16) And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. (17) For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Paul starts off with the proclamation that through one man- that would be Adam- sin entered the world, and death entered because of sin, and then death spread to all men, because all have sinned. From this statement we see many things.
First, Adamís sin allowed death to enter the world. Now think about this for a second. If this is so, then it means that there was no death prior to Adamís transgression. If Adam and Eve were the only people existing at the time, then, okay, fair enough. They obviously werenít dead when they ate from the forbidden tree and so this statement is easy enough. But, if we apply evolutionary theory to this issue, we start running into problems. Were Adam and Eve the first beings to be called "humans" or were there other creatures just like them co-existing at the same time? If so, did none of these ancestors die? Anthropologists vary on their dates, but there is some agreement that the first evolutionary man was Homo habilis who appeared about 2-2.5 million years ago. Since this early man supposedly evolved from earlier ape-like ancestors, we have millions of years of prior evolution during which ancestors presumably died. Or maybe they didnít die and there were just a lot of them. Maybe all was going merrily along until Homo habilis came along, was recognized as "man", and then sinned against God. However, did this man also name all the animals? And what about Eve, whom the Bible tells us that God created from Adamís rib? In any case, we have a lot of trouble fitting evolutionary man in with the Garden of Eden and with Paulís statement that "through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, deathÖ"
If evolutionary theory is true, then Paulís statement doesnít seem to make a lot of sense. And without sin as cause for death, then we really donít have much need for Jesus. If death is just a natural thing thatís been happening for billions of years, then pretty much all of the first several chapters of Genesis can be tossed out the window, but so also can the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. What is He atoning for, if death is a natural thing thatís been around forever? If, on the other hand, man was created, woman was created, both were sinless in the Garden and then sinned, then suddenly the entire Bible snaps into place. The atonement makes sense, the death of Christ in our place is required, death comes from sin, and all men have sinned, therefore all now die. Just like Paul says. If Paulís statement is not true, then the center cannot hold. But if Paulís statement is true, then not only does the center hold, but entire rest of the Bible clicks like an extraordinarily well-made clock. Iíll leave you to decide where you stand.
In verses 13-17, Paul takes off on a parenthetical tangent that builds upon his foundation. He says, "For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law." This is a legal term which says pretty much what he just said, but it points to the use of the law. The law is given so that there is a standard by which law-breakers may be judged. Paulís point is that sin was in the world, but the law was not. Why, then, did man still die? Paul says "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam.." What was the likeness of the transgression of Adam?
Reviewing, Adam was given a simple commandment- donít eat of the fruit of that tree or you will die. In the Hebrew this term is literally, "dying, you shall die." Adam broke this commandment and did begin to die. Succeeding generations of men did not receive any specific commandments from God, yet they also died. Why was that? The answer lies in the concept of imputation which I discussed a couple of days ago. Basically, Adam was the federal representative of mankind and his sin nature- not his exact sin, but his nature- was imputed to his offspring. Of course, man had this nature all along since Revelation 15:4 tells us that God alone is holy. Therefore, man must fall short of holiness. God is not created, but has always existed, outside of time. Man is created and has not existed forever and ever- even evolutionary theory believes that. Basically, then, man is a loaded ball of sinful nature just waiting to happen. And this sin nature is punished with death.
Letís see what Paul says next. First letís finish v.14- I only read part of it a minute ago. The whole sentence says "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." Paul calls Adam "a type of Him who was to come." In this context, "a type" means "a representative" or "an example." When I was a biologist, weíd collect animal specimens for the school museum. You could find out where the "type specimen" was stored. For instance, in some museum somewhere is the first 13-lined ground squirrel ever collected- this was the "type" specimen and if you had any doubt as to whether your specimen was a 13-lined or something else, you could consult the type specimen. It was the premiere example of the species. And so, Adam is an example of Him who was to come- thatís Jesus. Now watch what Paul does with this:
Romans 5:15-17 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. (16) And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. (17) For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
"The free gift is not like the offense", Paul says. "If by the one manís offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift of the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ abounded to many." In other words, Adamís transgression resulted in the death of all- Paul says "many" not to indicate a partial inclusion, but to indicate the extent of death- but the gift of Christ is a vast umbrella that covers many, many people. Itís sort of like an oil spill. One manís shipwreck spread oil over a big, big area, creating a huge mess which that one man canít even begin to clean up. But along comes a man who can, single-handedly, clean up the mess. We would call him a hero! And thatís exactly what Jesus Christ has done. Adam created a huge oil spill which brought death to all. Christ cleans up the mess to those who trust that He can clean up the mess. It is this trust that saves. Itís not your works; it is Christís works that save. Your job is to trust that Christís work is sufficient. Isnít that exactly what Paul says here?
Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
Again, thereís no question that Adamís transgression is imputed- Paul says "Öthrough one manís offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnationÖ" The next part of this sentence is the gospel message "Öeven so, through one Manís righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life." Now, if youíre paying attention here, you might have caught that phrase "Öthe free gift came to all menÖ" and you might be saying to yourself "Ha! I knew it! Everyone goes to Heaven! It says right there- Ďthe free gift came to all men.í" Well, maybe. What the Greek word behind that "all men" means is "the scope of men" or "all nations of men." Not each and every individual is saved, but the gift of salvations has come to the breadth of mankind. Paulís going to repeat this statement in the very next verse and weíll see him clarify it:
Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.
Ha! This is fun! The first time Paul says "judgment came to all menÖand the free gift came to all men" and this time he says "many were made sinnersÖmany will be made righteous." Reading these two passages in context, we can say that judgment came to all men, and there were many men, and the free gift came to all the scope of man, and many- a lot of men- will be made righteous. Itís a parallelism not often used today, but there it is and thatís what Paulís getting at.
In any case, the key point is this "by one Manís obedience, many will be made righteous." By the obedience of Christ, our sins are taken away. Where our works fail, His are effective. Thatís the message of Christ. Do you have ears to hear this message? I pray that you do.
Join us again tomorrow at 9:45 here on KLMX radio as we finish up Romans chapter 5 and then summarize what weíve seen. Thanks for listening, hope to have you back tomorrow, and may God shine the truth of Jesus Christ into your heart, to His glory. Amen.
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