by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 6 Lincolnton, NC May 23, 2006
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
1901 ASV Translation:
16 And not as through one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment came of one unto condemnation, but the free gift came of many trespasses unto justification.
17 For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.
I. The On-Going Contrast of Adam and Christ.
A. Paul declared that Adam was a "type of Christ" at the end of 5:14.
1. Both acted with determinative impact upon "the many" (5:15, 16, 17, and 19): "one" affected "the many".
a. The word "one" is used six times in this paragraph (5:12-21).
b. The emphasis is unmistakeable: "one" significantly and determinatively created a major impact upon "the many".
2. Both were "men" (5:12 and 5:15).
B. But, because the issues are so crucial, he immediately set out to "qualify" the "type" by setting forth the "differences" rather than the "similarities" (which are the normal issues of a "type").
1. First, there is the contrast between the "offence" and the "charisma" -- a contrast of the "kind of work" done by the type and the antitype [see the notes for May 16(220)].
2. Then comes the contrast between the "results" of the works.
a. Adam's "work" was "offence" and it resulted in both the "death" of the many as well as "judgment unto condemnation".
b. Christ's "work" was "charisma" (unmerited Divine labor) and it resulted in "an abounding gift to many" that brought about "justification" in spite of a multitude of "offences" (death/condemnation-producing-works).
3. A third key aspect of the "contrast" exists in the fact that Adam's offence was "one" (a single act) but Christ's charisma was "in the face of a great multitude of offences". The issue here seems to be this: Adam's "one" act brought a huge down-line result of an innumerable host of offences, but Christ's "abounding gift" was effective in the reality of that innumerable host. Christ's charisma was effective for the "host" of offences that arose out of the "one".
4. Thus, there is a continuing focus upon the "much more" that was first identified in 5:9, repeated in 5:10, and now resurfaces again in 5:15, 5:17, and 5:20.
II. The Structure of the Paragraph
5:12 -- Dia Sin and Death entered the world by one man and passed on to all.
5:13 -- Gar Sin was in the world but it is not imputed where there is no law.
5:14 -- Alla Yet death reigned during the absence of law (from Adam to Moses) even over those who did not personally act as Adam in any direct violation of "Law" (it did not yet exist in the world).
[These three verses are a "unit" that "argue" that men were "constituted" sinners by Adam's sin. This is the overt claim of 5:19a, which is made on the heels of a repetition of the "death by sin" thesis that is reaffirmed in 5:17a.]
5:15 -- Alla Contrast between "offence" and "charisma" -- "offence" brought death; "charisma" brought an abounding gift.
[This is the first statement of the "offence" vs the "abounding gift" thesis. It is restated in 5:17.]
5:16 -- Kai Contrast between the "sinner" and the "gift giver" -- condemnation from one act of sin is in direct contrast with the justification from the free gift in spite of many offences.
[This is the first statement of the "condemnation" vs. "justification" thesis. It is restated by 5:18.]
5:17 -- Gar Death reigned by the offence of one; much more shall the recipients of the gift reign in life by the One. [Restatement of 5:12 and 5:15]
5:18 -- Ara By the offence of one came condemnation; by the righteousness of One came righteousness. [Restatement of 5:16]
5:19 -- Gar By one man's disobedience many were constituted sinners; by One's obedience many shall be constituted saints. [Restatement of 5:12]
5:20 -- De The Law entered to cause the offence to abound, but grace superabounded. [Restatement of the "Law" thesis of 5:13]
5:21 -- Ina As sin reigned unto death, grace shall reign unto Life. [Restatement of the sin/righteousness issues of 5:16 and the abounding thesis of 5:15]
Sin's entrance and massive impact and the inescapable conclusion: all sinned. (5:12)
Explanation: A rationale has to be given for the fact of universal death in the face of the reality that there was no "universal" practice of "lawlessness". (5:13-14)
The Contrasts: (5:15-16)
Between offence and charisma
Between condemnation and justification
A return to the "death by one man" thesis of 5:12 and 15 and the "abounding grace by one Man" thesis of 5:15 (5:17)
A conclusion: condemnation is from the offence of one and justification is from the righteousness of One. (5:18)
An explanation: "the many" were "constituted" sinners and saints by the actions of the respective "ones" (5:19).
A return to the "Law" issue: why it was given. It created both an explosion of "offences" and set the background for the "much more" abounding of grace so that death might be nullified by Jesus Christ our Lord (5:20-21).
Bullinger sets the "structure" like this:
A a 12. By one man, sin; then, death upon all.
b 13. Sin not imputed where no Law exists.
c 14. The reign of death.
B 15. Not as the offence, so the gracious gift.
B 16, 17. Not as by one person, so the gift.
Aa 18,19. By one man's offence, all men under condemnation; by one man's disobedient act the many were constituted sinners; and the counterpart.
b 20. The offence abounded when Law came -- and the counterpart.
c 21. The reign of sin -- and the counterpart.
so that 12 is the same as 18-19, 13 is the same as 20, and 14 is the same as 21.
1. The 5:12-14 unit is an argument that Adam's sin was man's sin on the basis that, since death reigns, we must work "backwards" from that fact to find the cause. We do not find that cause in the "Law" because there was no "Law" from Adam to Moses. We do not find that cause in "divine imputation" because there is no "imputation" of sin where there is no "law". Thus, the only thing that can answer is the fact that Adam's sin was committed by all. Adam not only acted "for" the human race, the human race was there and was acting. This "unity" of the race is as undeniable (all men naturally sin without effort and all men die without exception) as it is inexplicable (how can non-conscious, non-existent, multiple "persons" be somewhere and do anything??). This mystery is very great, but it is at the heart of our understanding of the sources of sin and righteousness.
2. The 5:15-16 unit (made a "unit" by the "But not/And not" introductions to the verses) is a focus upon the "contrasts" between the effectual works of Adam and Christ (verse 15's "offence" and "charisma") and the impact of those works (verse 16's "condemnation" and "justification") in the light of one's sin leading to a vast multitude of sins which find their solution in One's righteousness leading to justification in spite of the "number" of sins involved.
3. The 5:17 text is an "argument" designed to "explain" (introduced by "gar"). It returns to the earlier thesis that "death reigned" by means of the "of one" offence (this is 5:12's thesis) and ties it to a "much more shall reign" thesis for those who receive the abundance of grace and righteousness on the basis of another "one". As an explanation, it serves the "contrasts" of verses 15-16 by emphasizing the contradiction of the "offence" by the "abounding gift".
4. The 5:18-21 unit (made a "unit" by the "Therefore" of 5:18, followed by the "for" of 5:19, followed by the "and" of 5:20, followed by the "in order that" of 5:21) is a "conclusion": Men are condemned by the trespass of "one" and men are justified by the "righteous action" of "One". The "rationale" (explanation -- "for") is 5:19-21: men were constituted sinners through the one man's disobedience and, similarly, men were constituted "righteous" through the One's obedience. The "Law" was added into the mix to heighten man's awareness of the problem by pointing out all the various ways men "sin". But, where this heightened awareness grew, God's abounding grace also became more visible. And this was "for the purpose of" contradicting sin's impact: where sin reigned in death, grace introduced life through righteousness.
5. Conclusion: the text folds its themes back upon themselves because Paul is making an attempt to clarify a vast mystery. The "mystery" is in the "how" of the "unity" that exists between Adam and his progeny and Christ and those who trust Him. The "unity" between Adam and his progeny is the "lesser" mystery -- not in the "how" of it, but in the undeniable reality of it. It is undeniable that men sin without effort as a natural expression of their essential makeup and that they universally die. The greater mystery is the "unity" between Christ and those who trust Him because their participation in righteousness is not as effortless, nor does it alleviate the dying (at least on the physical, visible level). Yet, without a grasp of this "unity with Christ", there is no real practice of righteousness. Without a grasp of "how" the unity produces real righteousness, the actions of men typically unfold as "fleshly" counterfeits of true righteousness.