Lesson 43 - Chapter 5 verses 13-15

Lesson 43 - Chapter 5 verses 13-15

The “Much More” of Grace

Verse 13

For until the Law sin was in the world means that the principle of sin continued from the fall of Adam to the time of Moses and that every person who ever lived committed personal sins during that time. With or without the Mosaic Law sins have always been committed.  In other words, the Mosaic Law did not restrain sin; it was a declarer or a communicator of sin. It defined sin but it did not restrain anyone from personal sin. 

During the period between Adam and Moses people received salvation and the Law did not provide it.  With or without the Mosaic Law all of us were born spiritually dead.  The imputation of Adam’s sin is the basis of condemnation.  Therefore, by the justice of God imputing the sin of Adam to us resulting in spiritual death, He could also provide salvation for us.  He accomplished this by taking our personal sins, unjudged by the justice of God until the Cross, and imputing them to Jesus Christ so that the justice of God could judge our personal sins once and for all.

Personal sin existed in the world from Adam to Moses but personal sin was not the basis for condemnation from the justice of God.  The basis for condemnation from the justice of God is the imputation of Adam’s sin plus receiving Adam’s trend toward sin (the sin nature).  Our personal sins are the manifestation of spiritual death, but they are not the cause of spiritual death.

But sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Sin in the singular in this verse does not refer to personal sin as individual sins but personal sin as a principle.  The personal sins of the human race are never imputed to the individual but all were imputed to Christ on the Cross.  At the Cross personal sins (past, present, and future) were imputed to Christ and then judged by the justice of God as a grace provision for our salvation.  Before the Mosaic Law, there was no written norm and standard, which showed people they were sinners, but they were still spiritually dead.  Therefore, it was not the imputation of personal sin that caused spiritual death.

Verse 14

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses. Death had to reign from Adam to Moses because the sin of Adam was imputed to every member of the human race at the point of physical birth.  Sin was not imputed where there was no law.  Nevertheless, there is still the penalty of sin. 

From Adam to Moses, and thereafter, spiritual death reigned because of the imputation of Adam’s sin to each person at the point of physical birth.  Spiritual death rules in the human race and it refers to the fact that spiritual death is the penalty of Adam’s sin and we are all under spiritual death at birth.

Since Adam’s sin was imputed to the human race, the human race receives condemnation from the justice of God, namely spiritual death.  In spite of the absence of the divine norm of the Mosaic Law (which defines personal sin), personal sin was not the issue in spiritual death.  Spiritual death (condemnation from the justice of God) comes from the imputation of Adam’s sin, not from personal sins.  Therefore, the Mosaic Law which defined personal sin in the light of the essence of God was not the issue in the condemnation of mankind as was emphasized by the Judaizers and legalistic Jews.

Death rules because every member of the human race received by direct imputation Adam’s sin, and at the same time at physical birth received a sin nature.  Personal sin was never imputed until the Cross, and at that time it was imputed for the purpose of judgment from the justice of God.  Every member of the human race from Adam to Moses was under the penalty of sin which is spiritual death.  Such condemnation from the justice of God was based on imputed and inherent, but not personal, sin.  Personal sin is a fact in every person in the human race, but personal sin was not the basis for condemnation.  Adam’s sin is the basis for condemnation because Adam is the federal head of the human race.

Even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of Adam’s offense answers the statement that a person might make that they sinned in a different way than Adam, so is it fair for me to be condemned?  Adam’s sin was negative volition, direct disobedience to the command of God regarding the prohibition of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  God set up a test for man in man’s perfection.  The test involved man’s volition.  One thing man did not need in the garden was to understand good and evil, the policy of Satan.  While many members of the human race do not commit the exact sin that Adam did, we do have the facsimile and the justice of God recognizes the facsimile under the principle of guilt.  In other words, everyone does not express sin in the same way.  All are just as guilty and under the penalty of sin (spiritual death) because of the imputed sin of Adam and because of the sin nature.  Therefore the entire human race was in Adam when Adam sinned.

Personal sin is the result of spiritual death rather than the means of spiritual death in the human race.  Personal sin is the direct result of being born with the imputation of Adam’s sin plus the inherited sin nature. All personal sin comes directly from the sin nature.  Not only does personal sin, but human good and evil come from the sin nature.   Sin, human good, and evil are not the basis for spiritual death.  They are the result of spiritual death.  Between Adam and Moses personal sins were not imputed for condemnation although personal sins existed in abundance.

Who is a type of Him Who was to come refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.  The reason for this typology is the fact that Adam was created perfect from the hand of God, whereas Christ was born perfect by the grace of God.  So we have only two people in all of history who were perfect at their beginning.  The first Adam was created perfect and sinned, bringing condemnation to the human race. The last Adam was perfect and was judged for our sins on the Cross, bringing salvation to the human race.

Notice that neither the first Adam nor the last Adam started with a sin nature.  Both were minus anything related to sin; both had free will. The choice of the first Adam was negative, putting the human race under sin; the choice of the last Adam was positive, putting the human race in the category of potential salvation. The first Adam, then, acquired the sin nature or the trend to sin through his own original sin. The last Adam was impeccable and never had a sin nature, even though He was tempted far beyond anyone else who has ever lived.  

Because of the impeccability of Jesus Christ He was qualified to go to the Cross as the last Adam and be judged for our sins. There was no imputation of personal sins until the Cross.  Therefore we have type and antitype. Adam is the author of spiritual death; Jesus Christ is the author of eternal life. (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45)

Verse 15

But the free gift is not like the transgression sets up the A Fortiori principle with regard to capacity for blessing, hence the A Fortiori for blessing in time. It is emphasizing the difference between the first and the last Adams, between the type and the antitype; in other words, between Adam and Christ.  In other words, a contrast is being set up between the first and the last Adam.  As noted in the previous verse, Christ as the antitype to Adam’s type is impeccable, perfect in His humanity, not a sinner.  Christ did not have a sin nature, did not have the imputation of Adam’s sin and did not have any personal sin, in contrast to the first Adam.

The typology of the two Adam’s, then, can be carried only a certain distance.  It cannot be carried into their persons because as persons they were quite different.  Adam was unique because he was created perfect and fell. Christ was unique because He is the God-Man and remained in His humanity impeccable.  So there has to be some basis for setting up type and antitype. The answer is simple. Each one is a federal head of the human race.  Adam is the federal head of the human race through physical birth, while Christ is the federal head of the human race through spiritual birth. This is why we must be born again to have an eternal relationship with God.  Here the analogy ends and the contrast begins. Because of the first Adam the justice of God condemns man, but because of the last Adam the justice of God is free to provide blessing for man — beginning at salvation through imputed righteousness and justification.  Therefore, while the human race is born in Adam the human race is born again in Christ.

 Therefore, our point of contact is always the justice of God. We are never going to be given anything from God which compromises His character, but we are going to be given wonderful things which glorify His Person. Everything depends upon our potential, and our potential depends upon the doctrinal content of our soul.  The justice of God gives us the righteousness of God at the moment of salvation, the point of faith in Christ.  As a result, the highway for blessing is open.  From justice to righteousness is the highway through which all of these blessings come to us.  Divine justice can bless only divine righteousness.

For if by the transgression of the one the many died forms the basis for the A Fortiori of capacity for blessing.  The definite article is almost always used as a demonstrative pronoun in the Attic Greek, which Paul uses here (the one).  The demonstrative calls attention with special emphasis to a designated object, i.e. the fall of man, the original sin of Adam.

Much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ abound to the many is actually an idiom of greater degree and “much more” is used to introduce A Fortiori logic.  If the greater function of the justice of God has occurred, the less will not be withheld.  God provides more in grace than man had in innocence before the fall. God provides more in the imputation of divine righteousness than He did in the garden where no righteousness had been imputed.

The gift is referring to the incarnation and the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ. The gift is the uniqueness of the Person of Christ — much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace, by the one man, Jesus Christ.  We have the principle of grace and the action of grace combined to put this together.

If God did the most for us when we were spiritually dead in Adam (and He did), He can only do much more than the most for us now that we possess divine righteousness and resultant justification. That is because when the most was done for us we were related to the wrong man —Adam.  But now we are related to the right man — Jesus Christ.  The only qualification is instant adjustment to the justice of God through faith in Jesus Christ. It should be translated “to the many.” The Greek word for abound is “perisseuo” and means to make over rich, to provide in superabundance and to increase beyond imagination. We can translate it, “has provided superabundance for the many” or “has provided over-richness for the many.” The many are the believers. The existing results are three fold: a) the potential which comes at salvation (the imputation of divine righteousness and resultant justification) b) the capacity (the provision of Bible doctrine) c) the reality is maturity adjustment to the justice of God resulting in superabundance of blessing.