Vol.X No.V Pg.7
July 1973

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Will you please comment on ROM.5:12-21. How are all condemned in Adam??


In this text Paul presents a magnificent summation of the theme, spiritual condemnation and redemption, objectively considered. Many of our difficulties in interpretation arise because we try to particularize and make individual application out of generalized statements. But Paul answers the question in v.12: "for that all have sinned". (My sin damns me!)

(12) One man sinned, and one man died -- spiritually. All die, "for that all have sinned". But Adam initiated sin into the world so his sin is representative of all that follow, and his death becomes THE death, considered abstractly, which envelops mankind.

(13-14) Adam sinned by violating a positive precept, and the giving of THE Law, through Moses, gave "occasion" for more of this type of sin, making the need for forgiveness the more apparent (3:19, 5:20, 7:8-13); but where there is Divine authority there is obligation -- and sin, even in the absence of codified law (2:14-f).

(15) A contrast in magnitude -- the offense of one, which extended unto many (v. 12) is "much more" overshadowed by the grace extended through one to the many (who accept Him).

(16) A contrast in results -- condemnation versus justification.

(17) THE death (see Greek) considered abstractly, initiated by one (Adam), is counteracted by THE righteousness (also considered abstractly) which was initiated by one (Jesus Christ). (18) The universality of death having been affirmed ("for that all have sinned") he also affirms the universality of the remedy. (In general context, we should remember that he is saying Gentiles have the same opportunity to life as do the Jews.)

(19) AS one man brought sin into the world, and as many as were influenced thereby (and thereby sinned, v.12) were made sinners; SO, one (Jesus) was obedient (unto death, PHI.2:8-f; HEB.5:8-9) and as many as are influenced thereby may be made righteous (through the forgiveness of their sins, 3:25, 4:5-8).

At the foundation of Paul's complex argument in the Roman letter is a simple theme. Sin is the disease, and all have it, because all sin. The gospel (good news) of Christ is the remedy (He died for us, ISA.53:) and this remedy is for all (Jew or Gentile) who will call on Him.

Someone else's sin is not placed upon me, so that I am counted a sinner because he sinned ("everyone of us shall give account of himself to God" ROM.14:12) nor is someone else's righteousness placed upon me, so that I am counted righteous because he is righteous. (See 1JO.3:7) Adam's sin affects my condemnation only in a secondary sense -- as sin in the world influences my conduct. BUT DON'T SELL THIS SHORT! The consequence of Adam's sin is so great that it relates to Death as Jesus Christ relates to Life.