This verse gives us the antithetical decision of the two Adams. This verse presents these two decisions in a dramatic way. We see the reality of Adam’s negative decision of condemnation, which put man out of the Garden. However, from that condemnation came the function of grace. From the function of grace comes something far greater than the perfect environment of the Garden, enjoyed by perfect persons. What is better than perfect environment? The answer is reaching spiritual maturity and receiving blessing from the justice of God.
For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners. This is a reference to the original sin of Adam in the Garden. The character of the original sin was disobedience to the authority of God. Jesus Christ was the authority as the Creator and the provider of perfect environment. The first function of divine justice was condemnation, for righteousness demands righteousness and justice demands justice. The justice of God executes what righteousness demands.
Adam’s original sin resulted in both immediate spiritual death and the immediate acquisition of the sin nature. The sin nature originated from Adam’s disobedience. Adam’s perfect body became a body of corruption and the flesh was contaminated by Adam’s sin. Adam’s sin nature is perpetuated at physical birth through genetics. The genetically formed sin nature is the home for the imputation of Adam’s original sin to each member of the human race at birth, which results in spiritual death.
Even so by the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous refers to the imputation of divine righteousness at salvation. Justification is the theological term for declaring the believer to be righteous before God. Christ was condemned in our place. God’s righteousness was satisfied (propitiated) on the Cross, as His justice carried out the sentence of spiritual death. Jesus Christ is the personification of God's perfect righteousness and His Gospel reveals this perfect righteousness.
And the Law came in that the transgression might increase means that the Mosaic Law was introduced for the purpose of demonstrating to mankind that they are under the condemnation of spiritual death. The source of personal sin is spiritual death (the sin nature). The human race is spiritually dead by means of the imputation of Adam’s original sin and its home the sin nature, which is demonstrated by the acts of personal sin. Personal sin is not the reason for condemnation, but it is the result.
The Greek word for came in is “pareiserchomai.” It is a dramatic word which means to enter the stage in the role of a minor actor to play a minor part. So the Law is a minor actor playing a minor part in life. This idiom is a device for emphasis and it states what has just been realized from the preceding passage. We saw that spiritual death existed all of the way from the fall of Adam to the giving of the Law at the time of Moses. All of that time personal sins were not imputed and yet everyone was condemned because Adam’s original sin in the Fall was imputed to the old sin nature at the point of physical birth producing spiritual death with physical life. Now, from Moses to Christ, the Law is there, but personal sins are still not the basis for spiritual death. One sin is the basis for spiritual death and all personal sins were collected and became the judicial imputation of sin at the Cross. The Mosaic Law is an augmentation and that is the end of it right there as far as its role in connection with spiritual death.
So what is it that is augmented or increased by the Law of Moses? The Greek word for increased is “pleonazo,” which means to be present in abundance, to have more than is necessary, to be augmented, to enlarge, to increase over what is necessary. The answer to the question is Adam’s original sin. The Law revealed condemnation in terms of the existence of the sin nature (the home of Adam’s original sin), which was demonstrated when a person violated the Mosaic Law. Later in Romans Paul states that he was not even aware of the existence of the sin nature apart from the tenth commandment (thou shalt not covet). One of the trends of the sin nature is personal sin. Augmentation leads to cognisance.
The Mosaic Law enters history as a minor actor to distinguish between Adam’s original sin as the basis for our condemnation and personal sin imputed to Jesus Christ as the basis for our salvation. In other words, spiritual death is the real imputation of Adam’s sin to mankind at birth while salvation is the judicial imputation of our personal sins to Christ on the Cross. The Mosaic Law demonstrated that mankind was spiritually dead at birth through defining personal sins in terms of the result of spiritual death. Not only does the Mosaic Law define the sin nature as a part of spiritual death and resultant condemnation, but at the same time the Mosaic Law defines personal sins as the increase or the augmentation of Adam’s original sin.
But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more means no augmentation of personal sins is ever greater than the grace of God. We have the same Greek word used for increased and now used for abounded, which is “pleonazo” meaning to increase in greater abundance, to superabound or increased in superabundance. While Adam’s original sin has been parlayed into many personal sins they are more than covered by God’s grace. This is because personal sin was never imputed to the human race. Instead, personal sin was imputed to Christ on the Cross. The judicial imputation of personal sins to Christ on the Cross indicates that the increase of sins is more than matched by the super-increase of grace. Man cannot create a problem which God cannot solve or has not already solved.
That as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord is a comparative clause designed to emphasize the triumph of grace as the policy of the justice of God. Maturity adjustment to the justice of God substitutes the rule of the grace of God for the rule of the sin nature. Adam’s sin nature ruled through spiritual death but the grace of God rules through the imputation of God’s righteousness. A potential resulted, which is spiritual maturity based on the believer’s response and interest in Bible doctrine and spiritual growth. All believers have the imputed righteousness of God but few believers reach spiritual maturity.
The believer who reaches spiritual maturity has phenomenal blessing in this life, but he/she has even greater blessing in eternity. Blessing in this life for the mature believer is parlayed into blessing in eternity for that same mature believer. There was no eternal life in the Garden or even the potentiality of eternal life (they didn’t need it). After the Fall of man God imputed His righteousness to Adam and Eve when they believed in Jesus Christ for salvation. The possession of God’s righteousness guaranteed them eternal life, as it does for anyone who follows their pattern of faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
The Lordship of Christ is demonstrated through two judicial imputations: the imputation of all personal sins to Christ on the Cross and the imputation of God’s righteousness at salvation. Since Christ is the object of the first judicial imputation it follows that Christ is the means of receiving the second judicial imputation of divine righteousness. Through the imputation of Adam’s sin to its genetically formed home, the sin nature, man is spiritually dead. It is through the imputation of these sins to Christ on the Cross that believers receive God’s righteousness and eternal life. Imputed righteousness is therefore the recipient of all grace blessings from God.
The Lord Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, is a name with three meanings. Lord is the Greek word “kurios,” and means deity. Lord refers to His deity because Jesus Christ is God. Jesus is the Greek word “iesous” and means savior or deliverer. Jesus is the title for His humanity. Christ is the Greek word “christos” and means anointed one. Christ is the title of His royalty as the Son of David, the Messiah.
The Lord Jesus Christ was referred to by Israel in the words of Deuteronomy 4:6: “shama israel, adonai elohenu, adonai echad,” which is translated “Hear O Israel, the Lord [Jesus Christ] is our God, the Lord [Jesus Christ] is unique.” Jesus Christ is true humanity and undiminished deity in one Person forever. He had to be true humanity in order to be judged for our sins and take our place.
In Revelation 1-2, Jesus Christ is called the Alpha and the Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Alpha refers to His deity; omega refers to his Hypostatic Union with emphasis on His humanity. So in the title of the second Person of the Trinity, “Lord” refers to the deity of Christ. “Jesus” refers to the humanity of Christ. “Christ” refers to His Messiahship as the legitimate and eternal King of Israel.
The use of the term “hypostatic union” refers to the unique Person of Jesus Christ as the God-man, beginning with the virgin birth and continuing throughout the incarnation. There is a dispensation of the Hypostatic Union which begins with the virgin birth and terminates with our Lord’s death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and session.
Notice that this verse refers to Jesus Christ as our Lord. Jesus Christ has always been Lord in the sense of His deity. We cannot make Christ “Lord,” as some falsely teach as a requirement for salvation. He has always been Lord (deity). However, upon faith in Him, Christ truly becomes our Lord. If the believer recognizes this truth and acts upon it by the faithful execution of the Christian Way of Life, the Lordship of Jesus Christ will be demonstrated in his/her life.