February 11 (Romans 5. Commentary, part 2, verses 12-21) Paul began this section of chapter 5 as he did the first, with the word, “therefore,” meaning that what follows flows out of what he had written in verses 1-11. Paul had concluded the first section: “we celebrate in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (v. 11). He expanded his thinking to show the immensity of what Jesus did in His death and resurrection. When Adam disobeyed in the garden, “death spread to all mankind, because all sinned” (v. 12). I cannot explain why we inherited Adam’s sinful nature. Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so we accept his words as coming from God Himself. But we do not look to Adam’s fall to make excuses for ourselves, because Paul is clear: “All sinned.” We are sinners by predisposition, as fallen mankind, but we are also sinners by choice. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). When Adam sinned, death entered the human experience. “On the day that you eat from (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) you will certainly die” (Gen. 2:17). Death reigned (because sin did) from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even though the law had not been given. The law was given to make man accountable to the fact that he was breaking God’s commands.
An interesting phrase concludes verse 14: “…Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” This is a reference to Christ, who is called the “last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45). Adam was created perfect but became a sinner by choice. Christ came to earth and lived as a perfect man by choice. He showed us what Adam did not: how man is supposed to live—in total dependence on God. “Just as the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (Jn. 20:21). As we saw yesterday, we are continually being saved by His life—the life He lives in and through us as we depend on Him. Our inheritance from Adam is sin and death; our inheritance from Christ is eternal life. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). Paul declared the supremacy of grace over sin. If death came from the sin of the first man, Adam, how much more will life come from the grace gift of the second man, Jesus Christ! The consequence of the sin of Adam is “condemnation to all mankind,” and through his disobedience, “the many were made sinners.” The consequence of the righteous act of Christ was “justification of life to all mankind,” and through His obedience, “the many will be made righteous” (vv. 18-19). They will receive “eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (v. 21). May God’s grace reign in our lives!
– Al Gary