“Original Sin”?? Inherited Sin?? Is Adam Responsible??


Man: is created in the image of God at the moment of conception in an amoral state. (Gen. 1:26-27; 9:6; Num. 16:22; 2 Kng. 21:16; 24:4; Psa. 139: 13-14; Ecc. 7:29; 12:7; Isa. 42:5; 57:16; Jer. 1:5; Eze.18:4; Joel. 3:19; Zech. 12:1; Ro. 9:11; 1 Co. 11:7; Heb.12:9; Jas. 3:9). Only the physical body is derived from Adam and Eve which is now subject to death and disease. (Gen. 1:21; 3:22; 1 Co. 15:21-22; 15:38-39; Heb. 2:14).

The guilt of the first parents is NOT imputed to their physical offspring.. (Deu. 24:16; 2 Kngs 14:6; 2 Chron. 25:4; Ezk. 18:2-4; 18:19-20; Jer. 31:29-30). Man retains an aspect of light (conscience) upon coming into the world and has natural ability to select vice or virtue APART from Divine coercion because he is endowed with the gift of free will by his Creator. (Gen. 4:6-7; Deut. 30:11; 30:19; Isa. 1:16-20; Ezk. 18:30-32; Jer. 18:11; Matt. 23:37; Lk. 6:46; Jn. 1:9; 16:8; Acts. 5:32; 17:30; Ro. 1:18-21; 2:12-16; 6:17; 2 Co. 7:1; 2 Tim. 2:21; Jas. 4:7-10; 1 Pe. 1:22; Rev. 22:17) Man corrupts himself and becomes ‘dead in sin’ by choice when he personally and consciously commits iniquity. (Gen. 6:12; 8:2; Deut. 32:5; Jdg. 2:19; Isa. 7:15-16; 59:2; Ezk. 18:19-20; Lk. 15:24; 15:32; Ro. 2:7-8; 3:23; 5:12; 6:23; Eph. 2:1-3; Col. 1:21; Jas. 4:17; 1 Pe. 1:18; Jude 10; 1 Jn. 3:4). Sinful man is an enemy, abhorred and detested by God. (Psa. 5:6; 6:8; 7:11; 11:5; Matt. 16:23; Ro. 3:10-18; 5:10; 8:5-8; Col. 1:21; Eph. 2:3; Jas. 4:4; 1 Jn. 2:15-16). Man is destined to the UN-quenchable ‘lake which burns with fire and brimstone’, unless he repents of sin and is reconciled to God through the Blood of Jesus Christ. (Matt. 3:12; 5:22; 5:29-30; 7:19; 7:23; 25:41; Mk. 9:42-48; 10:42-28; Lk. 3:9; 13:3; 16:19-31; 2 Thess. 1:8-9; Rev. 21:8).

If flesh is inherently sinful, why does Ezekiel say we need a heart of flesh (Eze 11:19, 36:26)?

Jesus will change your life when you do as He commands, such as crucify your flesh, go and sin no more, depart from iniquity, work it out, strive, dig deep, prove you love and fear Him by your life and witness.

Gradual sinning less and less if from the devil, gradual sanctification is NO sanctification, and just hay and stubble on judgment day.

Death of the old man MUST occur in bitter repentance first, hence your first and last works, IF you truly die, and are truly born again!

Those born from above, and are of the seed of God, sin no more, they are dead, and dead men do not sin.

They walk in the spirit, guard the heart from satans attacks, and the dead things of the world, stand fast in prayer and in the word, and get grounded in the truth, so they can put it on, and walk as Jesus walked, dead to the word, alive to God, perfect in all purity sincerity and love!

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance. Mt3:8 4:17, Lk3:8,

What are Deeds Worthy of Repentance? Biblical defined they are:

Something that carries weight of value, to merit something worthy of gaining’

Basically it’s what PROVES you have repented of your sins: that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.Acts26:20

Deeds worthy of repentance are forgotten today, ALL works to the church people is thrown out for the repeat after me, greasy grace, saved In sin gospel, where they accept a provision instead of accepting their free will choice to die first in bitter repentance, to prepare their heart and soul, to be useful the master.

No real repentance, no death of the old man, no redemption in Christ!

John 9:30-34 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” 34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out!

Romans 5:13-14 For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

What’s the point? Sin was in the world from Adam to Moses but the Mosaic law was not accounted to them. But, because all sinned Rom 3:23 all die spiritually. They all died physically because they no longer had access to the tree of life. Do you remember the two books where the tree of life is mentioned?

Death is the consequence of sin: Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All Have sinned: Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

We agree that all men have sinned and will do so until the New Heaven & New earth is established. But, it is not because God has made men sinners. But, because every human in the flesh has rebelled against their Creator.

This states that sin is not based on the law but rather on something that happened from Adam. So what could have began in Adam that has caused death to all? We are left with the sin of Adam and Eve. This is why all have sinned even if they did not break the law. This brings only one resolution the doctrine of the sin of Adam and Eve was inherited into all humanity.

Summary: All humans have sinned of their own choice. God did not supernaturally change them when Eve and Adam sinned. In Gen 4 we see God talking to Cain telling him that sin was at his door and he should rule over it. Sin is breaking God’s law. 1 John 3:4 People die spiritually when they sin against God and are separated from Him. Isaiah 59:1-2 states that He won’t even hear sinners prayers. This is confirmed in John 9:31 as well. Because access to the tree of Life is removed from them they will not continue to live and die in their flesh because they sinned. We see the tree of Life show up again in the book of Revelation. We do know that they did not immediately die physically when they sinned so this must be spiritual death not physical death…

Where in scripture does it say Jesus is our righteousness? Or He obeyed for us? It’s about our obedience to HIS calling and ordinances (the moral law which was from the beginning). He who does what is right(go an sin no more) is declared righteous, those who don’t obey Him, and live for the flesh are the unrighteousness ones. ( 1 John 3-7).

Righteousness: ‘dikaiosyne

The Condition of acceptance to God, integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, a state of approval by God.

Faith is revealed in righteousness, Rom1:17, because faith ‘works by love and purifies the heart by Obedience to the truth Gal5:6, 1Pet1:22, so John 3:7 Clarifies: (In KJV)

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

Virtue and Purity CANNOT be Transferred. No one can do what is right for you or in your place. To be pure as He is pure, you DO what He did, OBEY GOD. 1Jn 2:6 “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” 1Jh3:3 That’s the exceeding righteousness Christ said you require to enter His Kingdom. Matt5:20. If Trusting in His virtue and purity is enough for us to be ‘declared Righteous, WHY didn’t He say so? The deceived Pundits keep telling people that no one can be Righteous (Rom3:10) because all have sinned. (Rom3:23) What they are really saying is this:

  • No one can do anything Right

  • All are born morally depraved sinful wretches

  • If they could do anything right (as righteousness) they could save self and wouldn’t need God

It’s a multiple layered deception of immense proportion. Under it ANY Suggestion that man can do something right in the sight of God is considered demonic heresy. Consequently, most people who profess Christ are in a stalemate between knowing they should do what is right, but being told they CAN’T do it and it has no merit anyway toward the outcome of their salvation. BUT yet the Bible constantly says that a person MUST Produce DEEDS WORTHY of their faith or they will NEVER enter the Kingdom.

1Co 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Cor 15:22 is talking about physical death. All die – All mankind are subjected to temporal death; or are mortal. This passage has been often adduced to prove that all mankind became sinful in Adam, or in virtue of a covenant transaction with him; and that they are subjected to spiritual death as a punishment for his sins. But, whatever may be the truth on that subject, it is clear that this passage does not relate to it, and should not he adduced as a proof text. For:

(1) The words “die” and “dieth” obviously and usually refer to temporal death; and they should be so understood, unless there is something in the connection which requires us to understand them in a figurative and metaphorical sense. But there is, evidently, no such necessity here.

(2) the context requires us to understand this as relating to temporal death. There is not here, as there is in Rom. 5, any intimation that men became sinners in consequence of the transgression of Adam, nor does the course of the apostle’s argument require him to make any statement on that subject. His argument has reference to the subject of temporal death, and the resurrection of the dead; and not to the question in what way people became sinners.

(3) the whole of this argument relates to the “resurrection of the dead.” That is the main, the leading, the exclusive point. He is demonstrating that the dead would rise. He is showing how this would be done. It became, therefore, important for him to show in what way people were subjected to temporal death. His argument, therefore requires him to make a statement on that point, and that only; and to show that the resurrection by Christ was adapted to meet and overcome the evils of the death to which people were subjected by the sin of the first man. In Rom. 5 the design of Paul is to prove that the effects of the work of Christ were more than sufficient to meet all the evils introduced by the sin of Adam. This leads him to an examination there of the question in what way people became sinners. Here the design is to show that the work of Christ is adapted to overcome the evils of the sin of Adam in one “specific matter – the matter under discussion, that is,” on the point of the resurrection; and his argument therefore requires him to show only that temporal death, or mortality, was introduced by the first man, and that this has been counteracted by the second; and to this specific point the interpretation of this passage should be confined.

Nothing is more important in interpreting the Bible than to ascertain the specific point in the argument of a writer to be defended or illustrated, and then to confine the interpretation to that. The argument of the apostle here is ample to prove that all people are subjected to temporal death by the sin of Adam; and that this evil is counteracted fully by the resurrection of Christ, and the resurrection through him. And to this point the passage should be limited.

(4) if this passage means, that in Adam, or by him, all people became sinners, then the correspondent declaration “all shall be made alive” must mean that all people shall become righteous, or that all shall be saved. This would be the natural and obvious interpretation; since the words “be made alive” must have reference to the words “all die,” and must affirm the co-relative and opposite fact. If the phrase “all die” there means all become sinners, then the phrase “all be made alive” must mean all shall be made holy, or be recovered from their spiritual death; and thus an obvious argument is furnished for the doctrine of universal salvation, which it is difficult, if not impossible, to meet. It is not a sufficient answer to this to say, that the word “all,” in the latter part of the sentence, means all the elect, or all the righteous; for its most natural and obvious meaning is, that it is co-extensive with the word “all” in the former part of the verse. And although it has been held by many who suppose that the passage refers only to the resurrection of the dead, that it means that all the righteous shall be raised up, or all who are given to Christ, yet that interpretation is not the obvious one, nor is it yet sufficiently clear to make it the basis of an argument, or to meet the strong argument which the advocate of universal salvation will derive from the former interpretation of the passage. It is true literally that all the dead will rise: it is not true literally that all who became mortal, or became sinners by means of Adam, will be saved. And it must be held as a great principle, that this passage is not to be so interpreted as to teach the doctrine of the salvation of all people. At least, this may be adopted as a principle in the argument with those who adduce it to prove that all people became sinners by the transgression of Adam. This passage, therefore, should not be adduced in proof of the doctrine of imputation, or as relating to the question how people became sinners, but should be limited to the subject that was immediately under discussion in the argument of the apostle. “That object was, to show that the doctrine of the resurrection by Christ was such as to meet the obvious doctrine that people became mortal by Adam; or that the one was adapted to counteract the other.”

Albert Barnes Commentary Below

Verses 12-21

Romans 5:12-21 has been usually regarded as the most difficult part of the New Testament. It is not the design of these notes to enter into a minute criticism of contested points like this. They who wish to see a full discussion of the passage, may find it in the professedly critical commentaries; and especially in the commentaries of Tholuck and of Professor Stuart on the Romans. The meaning of the passage in its general bearing is not difficult; and probably the whole passage would have been found far less difficult if it had not been attached to a philosophical theory on the subject of man‘s sin, and if a strenuous and indefatigable effort had not been made to prove that it teaches what it was never designed to teach. The plain and obvious design of the passage is this, to show one of the benefits of the doctrine of justification by faith. The apostle had shown,

(1)That that doctrine produced peace, Romans 5:1.

(2)That it produces joy in the prospect of future glory, Romans 5:2.

(3)That it sustained the soul in afflictions;

(a)by the regular tendency of afflictions under the gospel, Romans 5:3-4; and,

(b)by the fact that the Holy Spirit was imparted to the believer.

(4)That this doctrine rendered it certain that we should be saved, because Christ had died for us, Romans 5:6; because this was the highest expression of love, Romans 5:7-8; and because if we had been reconciled when thus alienated, we should be saved now that we are the friends of God, Romans 5:9-10.

(5)That it led us to rejoice in God himself; produced joy in his presence, and in all his attributes.

He now proceeds to show the bearing on that great mass of evil which had been introduced into the world by sin, and to prove that the benefits of the atonement were far greater than the evils which had been introduced by the acknowledged effects of the sin of Adam. “The design is to exalt our views of the work of Christ, and of the plan of justification through him, by comparing them with the evil consequences of the sin of our first father, and by showing that the blessings in question not only extend to the removal of these evils, but far beyond this, so that the grace of the gospel has not only abounded, but superabounded.” (Prof. Stuart.) In doing this, the apostle admits, as an undoubted and well-understood fact:

1. That sin came into the world by one man, and death as the consequence. Romans 5:12.

2. That death had passed on all; even on those who had not the light of revelation, and the express commands of God, Romans 5:13-14.

3. That Adam was the figure, the type of him that was to come; that there was some sort of analogy or resemblance between the results of his act and the results of the work of Christ. That analogy consisted in the fact that the effects of his doings did not terminate on himself, but extended to numberless other persons, and that it was thus with the work of Christ, Romans 5:14. But he shows,

4. That there were very material and important differences in the two cases. There was not a perfect parallelism. The effects of the work of Christ were far more than simply to counteract the evil introduced by the sin of Adam. The differences between the effect of his act and the work of Christ are these.

(1)The sin of Adam led to condemnation. The work of Christ has an opposite tendency, Romans 5:15.

(2)The condemnation which came from the sin of Adam was the result of one offence. The work of Christ was to deliver from many offences, Romans 5:16.

(3)The work of Christ was far more abundant and overflowing in its influence. It extended deeper and further. It was more than a compensation for the evils of the fall, Romans 5:17.

5. As the act of Adam threw its influence over all people to secure their condemnation, so the work of Christ was suited to affect all people, Jews and Gentiles, in bringing them into a state by which they might be delivered from the fall, and restored to the favor of God. It was in itself adapted to produce far more and greater benefits than the crime of Adam had done evil; and was thus a glorious plan, just suited to meet the actual condition of a world of sin; and to repair the evils which apostasy had introduced. It had thus the evidence that it originated in the benevolence of God, and that it was adapted to the human condition, Romans 5:18-21.

(The learned author denies the doctrine of imputed sin, and labors to prove that it is not contained in Romans 5:12, Romans 5:19. The following introductory note is intended to exhibit the orthodox view of the subject, and meet the objections which the reader will find in the Commentary. The very first question that demands our attention is, What character did Adam sustain under the covenant of works, that of a single and independent individual. or that of the representative of the human kind?

This is one of the most important questions in Theology, and according to the answer we may be prepared to give, in the affirmative or negative, will be almost the entire complexion of our religious views. If the question be resolved in the affirmative, then what Adam did must be held as done by us, and the imputation of his guilt would seem to follow as a necessary consequence.

1. That Adam sustained the character of representative of the human race; in other words, that he was the federal as well as natural head of his descendants, is obvious from the circumstances of the history in the book of Genesis. It has been said indeed, that in the record of the threatening no mention is made of the posterity of Adam, and that on this account, all idea of federal headship or representation must be abandoned, as a mere theological figment, having no foundation in Scripture. But if God regarded Adam only in his individual capacity, when be said unto him “in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” then, the other addresses of God to Adam, which form part of the same history, must be construed in the same way. And was it to Adam only, and not to the human kind at large, viewed in him, that God said, “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth?” Was it to Adam in his individual capacity, that God gave the grant of the earth, with all its rich and varied productions? Or was it to mankind at large? Was it to Adam alone that God said, “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground,” etc.? The universal infliction of the penalty shows, that the threatening was addressed to Adam as the federal head of the race. All toil, and sweat, and die. Indeed, the entire history favors the conclusion, that God was dealing with Adam, not in his individual, but representative capacity; nor can its consistency be preserved on any other principle.

2. Moreover, there are certain facts connected with the moral history of mankind, which present insuperable difficulties, if we deny the doctrines of representation and imputed sin. “How shall we on any other principle account for the universality of death, or rather of penal evil?” It can be traced back beyond all personal guilt. Its origin is higher. Antecedent to all actual transgression, man is visited with penal evil. He comes into the world under a necessity of dying. His whole constitution is disordered. His body and his mind bear on them the marks of a blighting curse. It is impossible on any theory to deny this. And why is man thus visited? Can the righteous God punish where there is no guilt? We muss take one side or other of the alternative, that God inflicts punishment without guilt, or that Adam‘s sin is imputed to his posterity. If we take the latter branch of the alternative, we are furnished with the ground of the divine procedure, and freed from many difficulties that press upon the opposite view.

It may be noticed in this place also, that the death of infants is a striking proof of the infliction of penal evil, prior to personal or actual sin. Their tender bodies are assailed in a multitude of instances by acute and violent diseases, that call for our sympathy the more that the sufferers cannot disclose or communicate the source of their agony. They labor with death and struggle hard in his hands, until they resign the gift of life they had retained for so short a while. It is said, indeed, that the case of infants is not introduced in Scripture in connection with this subject, and our author tells us, that they are not at all referred to in any part of this disputed passage, nor included in the clause, “death reigned, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam‘s transgression.” On this, some observations will be found in the proper place. Meanwhile, there is the fact itself, and with it we are concerned now. “Why do infants die?” Perhaps it will be said that though they have committed no actual sin, yet they have a depraved nature; but this cedes the whole question, for that depraved nature is just a part of the penal evil, formerly noticed. Why are innocent infants visited with what entails death on them? One answer only can be given, and no ingenuity can evade the conclusion, “in Adam all die.” The wonder is, that this doctrine should ever have been denied. On the human family at large, on man and woman, on infant child, and hoary sire, on earth and sky, are traced the dismal effects of the first sin.

3. The parallelism between Adam and Christ is another branch of evidence on this subject. That they bear a striking resemblance to each other is allowed on all hands. Hence, Christ is styled, in Romans 5:1-11, the apostle had fully enlarged on these benefits, and there is no evidence that Romans 5:12, Romans 5:19, are a continuation of the same theme. On the contrary, there is obviously a break in the discourse at Romans 5:12, where the apostle, recalling the discussion, introduces a new illustration of his principal point, namely, justification through the righteousness of Christ. On this the apostle had discouraged largely in Romans 5:12. Before, however, carrying out the comparison, the apostle stops to establish his position, that all people are regarded, and treated as sinners on account of Adam. His proof is this. The infliction of a penalty implies the transgression of a law, since sin is not imputed where there is no law, Romans 5:13. All mankind are subject to death or penal evils, therefore all people are regarded as transgressors of a law, Romans 5:13. The Law or covenant which brings death on all people, is not the Law of Moses, because multitudes died before that Law was given, Romans 5:14.

Nor is it the law of nature, since multitudes die who have never violated even that law, Romans 5:14. Therefore, we must conclude, that people are subject to death on account of Adam; that is, it is for the offence of one that many die, Romans 5:13-14. Adam is, therefore, a type of Christ. Yet the cases are not completely parallel. There are certain points of dissimilarity, Romans 5:15, Romans 5:17. Having thus limited and illustrated the analogy, the apostle resumes, and carries the comparison fully out in Romans 5:18-19. “Therefore as on account of one man.” etc. Prof. Hodge.)

Romans 5:12

Wherefore, – διὰ τοῦτο dia toutoOn this account. This is not an inference from what has gone before, but I a continuance of the design of the apostle to show the advantages of the plan of justification by faith; as if he had said, “The advantages of that plan have been seen in our comfort and peace, and in its sustaining power in afflictions. Further, the advantages of the plan are seen in regard to this, that it is applicable to the condition of man in a world where the sin of one man has produced so much wo and death. “On this account” also it is a matter of joy. It meets the ills of a fallen race; and it is therefore a plan adapted to man.” Thus understood, the connection and design of the passage is easily explained. In respect to the state of things into which man is fallen, the benefits of this plan may be seen, as adapted to heal the maladies, and to be commensurate with the evils which the apostasy of one man brought upon the world. This explanation is not what is usually given to this place, but it is what seems to me to be demanded by the strain of the apostle‘s reasoning. The passage is elliptical, and there is a necessity of supplying something to make out the sense.

As – ὥσπερ hōsperThis is the form of a comparison. But the other part of the comparison‘s deferred to Romans 5:18. The connection evidently requires us to understand the other part of the comparison of the work of Christ. In the rapid train of ideas in the mind of the apostle, this was deferred to make room for explanations Romans 5:13-17. “As by one man sin entered into the world, etc., so by the work of Christ a remedy has been provided, commensurate with the evils. As the sin of one man had such an influence, so the work of the Redeemer has an influence to meet and to counteract those evils.” The passage in Romans 5:13-17 is therefore to be regarded as a parenthesis thrown in for the purpose of making explanations, and to show how the cases of Adam and of Christ differed from each other.

By one man … – By means of one man; by the crime of one man. His act was the occasion of the introduction of all sin into all the world. The apostle here refers to the well known historical fact Genesis 3:6-7, without any explanation of the mode or cause, of this. He adduced it as a fact that was well known; and evidently meant to speak of it not for the purpose of explaining the mode, or even of making this the leading or prominent topic in the discussion. His main design is not to speak of the manner of the introduction of sin, but to show that the work of Christ meets and removes well-known and extensive evils. His explanations, therefore, are chiefly confined to the work of Christ. He speaks of the introduction, the spread, and the effects of sin, not as having any theory to defend on that subject, not as designing to enter into a minute description of the case, but as it was manifest on the face of things, as it stood on the historical record, and as it was understood and admitted by mankind.

Great perplexity has been introduced by forgetting the scope of the apostle‘s argument here, and by supposing that he was defending a special theory on the subject of the introduction of sin; whereas, nothing is more foreign to his design. He is showing how the plan of justification “meets well understood and acknowledged universal evils.” Those evils he refers to just as they were seen, and admitted to exist. All people see them, and feel them, and practically understand them. The truth is, that the doctrine of the fall of man, and the prevalence of sin and death, do not belong especially to Christianity any more than the introduction and spread of disease does to the science of the healing art. Christianity did not introduce sin; nor is it responsible for it The existence of sin and we belongs to the race; appertains equally to all systems of religion, and is a part of the melancholy history of man, whether Christianity be true or false.

The existence and extent of sin and death are not affected if the infidel could show that Christianity was an imposition. They would still remain. The Christian religion is just “one mode of proposing a remedy for well-known and desolating evils;” just as the science of medicine proposes a remedy for diseases ‹which it did not introduce, and which could not be stayed in their desolations, or modified, if it could be shown that the whole science of healing was pretension and quackery. Keeping this design of the apostle in view, therefore, and remembering that he is not defending or stating a theory about the introduction of sin, but that he is explaining the way in which the work of Christ delivers from a deep-felt universal evil, we shall find the explanation of this passage disencumbered of many of the difficulties with which it has been thought usually to be invested.

By one man – By Adam; see Romans 5:14. It is true that sin was literally introduced by Eve, who was first in the transgression; Genesis 3:6; 1 Timothy 2:14. But the apostle evidently is not explaining the precise mode in which sin was introduced, or making this his leading point. He therefore speaks of the introduction of sin in a popular sense, as it was generally understood. The following reasons may be suggested why the man is mentioned rather than the woman as the cause of the introduction of sin:

(1) It was the natural and usual way of expressing such an event. We say that man sinned, that man is redeemed, man dies, etc. We do not pause to indicate the sex in such expressions. So in this, he undoubtedly meant to say that it was introduced by the parentage of the human race.

(2) the name Adam in Scripture was given to the created pair, the parents of the human family, a name designating their earthly origin; Genesis 5:1-2, “In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam.” The name Adam, therefore, used in this connection Romans 5:14, would suggest the united parentage of the human family.

(3) in transactions where man and woman are mutually concerned, it is usual to speak of the man first, on account of his being constituted superior in rank and authority.

(4) the comparison on the one side, in the apostle‘s argument, is of the man Christ Jesus; and to secure the fitness, the congruity (Stuart) of the comparison, he speaks of the man only in the previous transaction.

(5) the sin of the woman was not complete in its effects without the concurrence of the man. It was their uniting in it which was the cause of the evil. Hence, the man is especially mentioned as having reordered the offence what it was; as having completed it, and entailed its curses on the race. From these remarks it is clear that the apostle does not refer to the man here from any idea that there was any particular covenant transaction with him, but that he means to speak of it in the usual, popular sense; referring to him as being the fountain of all the woes that sin has introduced into the world.

In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” Genesis 2:17. This is an account of the first great covenant transaction between God and man. It carries us back to the origin of mankind, and discloses the source of evil, about which so much has been written and spoken in vain. That God entered into covenant with Adam in innocence, is a doctrine, with which the Shorter Catechism has made us familiar from our infant years. Nor is it without higher authority. It would be improper, indeed, to apply to this transaction everything that may be supposed essential to a human compact or bargain. Whenever divine things are represented by things analogous among men, care must be taken to exclude every idea that is inconsistent with the dignity of the subject. If the analogy be pressed beyond due bounds, the subject is not illustrated, but degraded. For example, in the present case, we must not suppose that because in human covenants, the consent of parties is essential, and both are at full liberty to receive or reject the proposed terms as they shall see fit; the same thing holds true in the case of Adam. He indeed freely gave his consent to the terms of the covenant, as a holy being could not fail to do, but he was not at liberty to withhold that consent. He was a creature entirely at the divine disposal, whose duty from the moment of his being was implicit obedience. He had no power either to dictate or reject terms, The relation of parties in this covenant, renders the idea of power to withhold consent, inadmissible.

But, because the analogy cannot be pressed beyond certain limits, must we therefore entirely abandon it? Proceeding on this principle, we should speedily find it impossible to retain any term or figure, that had ever been employed about religious subjects. The leading essentials of a covenant are found in this great transaction, and no more is necessary to justify the appellation which orthodox divines have applied to it. “A covenant is a contract, or agreement, between two or more parties, on certain terms.” It is commonly supposed to imply the existence of parties, a promise, and a condition. All these constituent parts of a covenant meet in the case under review. The parties are God and man, God and the first parent of the human race; the promise is life, which though not expressly stated, is yet distinctly implied in the penalty; and the condition is obedience to the supreme will of God. In human covenants no greater penalty is incurred than the forfeiture of the promised blessing, and therefore the idea of penalty is not supposed essential to a covenant. In every case of forfeited promise, however, there is the infliction of penalty, to the exact amount of the value of the blessing lost. We cannot think of Adam losing life without the corresponding idea of suffering death. So that, in fact, the loss of the promise, and the infliction of the penalty, are nearly the same thing.

It is no valid objection to this view, that the word “covenant,” as our author tells us, (p. 137,) “is not applied in the transaction in the Bible,” for there are many terms, the accuracy of which is never disputed, that are no more to be found in the Scriptures than this. Where do we find such terms as “the fall,” and “the Trinity,” and many others that might be mentioned? The mere name, in, deed, is not a matter of very great importance, and if we allow that in the transaction itself, there were parties, and a promise, and a condition, (which cannot easily he denied,) it is of less moment whether we call it a covenant, or with our author and others, “a divine constitution.” It is obvious to remark, however, that this latter title is just as little to be found “applied in the transaction in the Bible,” as the former, and besides is more “liable to be misunderstood;” being vague and indefinite, intimating only, that Adam was under a divine law, or constitution; whereas the word “covenant” distinctly expresses the kind or form of law, and gives definite character to the whole transaction.

But although the doctrine of the covenant of works is independent of the occurrence of the name in the Scriptures, even this narrow ground of objection is not so easily maintained as some imagine. In Hosea 6:7, it is said (according to the marginal reading, which is in strict accordance with the original Hebrew,) they like Adam: כאדם k’-‘Aadamhave transgressed the covenant. And in that celebrated passage in the Epistle to the Galatians, Galatians 4:24, when Paul speaks of “the two covenants,” he alludes, in the opinion of some of the highest authorities, to the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. This opinion is espoused, and defended with great ability by the late Mr. Bell of Glasgow, one of the most distinguished theologians of his times, in a learned dissertation on the subject: Bell on the Covenants p. 85. Scripture authority, then, would seem not to be entirely lacking, even for the name.

This doctrine of the covenant is intimately connected with that of imputed sin, for if there were no covenant, there could be no covenant or representative head; and if there were no covenant head, there could be no imputation of sin. Hence, the dislike to the name.)

Sin entered into the world – He was the first sinner of the race. The word “sin” here evidently means the violation of the Law of God He was the first sinner among people, and in consequence all others became sinners. The apostle does not here refer to Satan, the tempter, though he was the suggester of evil; for his design was to discuss the effect of the plan of salvation in meeting the sins and calamities of our race. This design, therefore, did not require him to introduce the sin of another order of beings. He says, therefore, that Adam was the first sinner of the race, and that death was the consequence.

Into the world – Among mankind; John 1:10; John 3:16-17. The term “world” is often thus used to denote human beings, the race, the human family. The apostle here evidently is not discussing the doctrine of original sin, but he is stating a simple fact, intelligible to all: “The first man violated the Law of God, and, in this way, sin was introduced among human beings.” In this fact – this general, simple declaration – there is no mystery.

And death by sin – Death was the consequence of sin; or was introduced because man sinned. This is a simple statement of an obvious and well-known fact. It is repeating simply what is said in Genesis 3:19, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return into the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” The threatening was Genesis 2:17, “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” If an inquiry be made here, how Adam would understand this; I reply, that we have no reason to think he would understand it as referring to anything more than the loss of life as an expression of the displeasure of God. Moses does not intimate that he was learned in the nature of laws and penalties; and his narrative would lead us to suppose that this was all that would occur to Adam. And indeed, there is the highest evidence that the case admits of, that this was his understanding of it.

For in the account of the infliction of the penalty after the Law was violated; in God‘s own interpretation of it, in Genesis 3:19, there is still no reference to anything further. “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Now it is incredible that Adam should have understood this as referring to what has been called “spiritual death,” and to” eternal death,” when neither in the threatening, nor in the account of the infliction of the sentence, is there the slightest recorded reference to it. People have done great injury in the cause of correct interpretation by carrying their notions of doctrinal subjects to the explanation of words and phrases in the Old Testament. They have usually described Adam as endowed with all the refinement, and possessed of all the knowledge, and adorned with all the metaphysical acumen and subtility of a modern theologian. They have deemed him qualified in the very infancy of the world, to understand and discuss questions, which, under all the light of the Christian revelation, still perplex and embarrass the human mind. After these accounts of the endowments of Adam, which occupy so large a space in books of theology, one is surprised, on opening the Bible, to find how unlike all this, is the simple statement in Genesis. And the wonder cannot be suppressed that people should describe the obvious infancy of the race as superior to its highest advancement; or that the first man, just looking upon a world of wonders, imperfectly acquainted with law, and moral relations, and the effects of transgression, should be represented as endowed with knowledge which four thousand years afterward it required the advent of the Son of God to communicate!

The account in Moses is simple. Created man was told not to violate a simple law, on pain of death. He did it; and God announced to him that the sentence would be inflicted, and that he should return to the dust whence he was taken. What else this might involve, what other consequences sin might introduce, might be the subject of future developments and revelations. It is absurd to suppose that all the consequences of the violation of a law can be foreseen, or must necessarily be foreseen, in order to make the law and the penalty just. It is sufficient that the law be known; that its violation be forbidden; and what the consequences of that violation will be, must be left in great part to future developments. Even we, yet know not half the results of violating the Law of God. The murderer knows not the results fully of taking a man‘s life. He breaks a just law, and exposes himself to the numberless unseen woes which may flow from it.

We may ask, therefore, what light subsequent revelations have east on the character and result of the first sin? and whether the apostle here meant to state that the consequences of sin were in fact as limited as they must have appeared to the mind of Adam? or had subsequent developments and revelations, through four thousand years, greatly extended the right understanding of the penalty of the law? This can be answered only by inquiring in what sense the apostle Paul here uses the word “death.” The passage before us shows in what sense he intended here to use the word. In his argument it stands opposed to “the grace of God, and the gift by grace,” Romans 5:15; to “justification,” by the forgiveness of “many offences,” Romans 5:16; to the reign of the redeemed in eternal life, Romans 5:17; and to” justification of life,” Romans 5:18. To all these, the words “death‘ Romans 5:12, Romans 5:17 and “judgment” Romans 5:16, Romans 5:18 stand opposed.

These are the benefits which result from the work of Christ; and these benefits stand opposed to the evils which sin has introduced; and as it cannot be supposed that these benefits relate to temporal life, or solely to the resurrection of the body, so it cannot be that the evils involved in the words “death,” “judgment,” etc., relate simply to temporal death. The evident meaning is, that the word “death,” as used here by the apostle, refers to the train of evils which have been introduced by sin. It does not mean simply temporal death; but that group and collection of woes, including temporal death, condemnation, and exposure to eternal death, which is the consequence of transgression. The apostle often uses the word “death,” and “to die,” in this wide sense, Romans 1:32; Romans 6:16, Romans 6:23; Romans 7:5, Romans 7:10, Romans 7:13, Romans 7:24; Romans 8:2, Romans 8:6, Romans 8:13; 2 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Hebrews 2:14. In the same sense the word is often used elsewhere, John 8:51; John 11:26; 1 John 5:16-17; Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6, etc. etc.

In contrasting with this the results of the work of Christ, he describes not the resurrection merely, nor deliverance from temporal death, but eternal life in heaven; and it therefore follows that he here intends by death that gloomy and sad train of woes which sin has introduced into the world. The consequences of sin are, besides, elsewhere specified to be far more than temporal death, Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 2:8-9, Romans 2:12. Though therefore Adam might not have foreseen all the evils which were to come upon the race as the consequence of his sin, yet these evils might nevertheless follow. And the apostle, four thousand years after the reign of sin had commenced, and under the guidance of inspiration, had full opportunity to see and describe that train of woes which he comprehends under the name of death. That train included evidently temporal death, condemnation for sin, remorse of conscience, and exposure to eternal death, as the penalty of transgression.

And so – Thus. In this way it is to be accounted for that death has passed upon all people, to wit, because all people have sinned. As death followed sin in the first transgression, so it has in all; for all have sinned. There is a connection between death and sin which existed in the case of Adam, and which subsists in regard to all who sin. And as all have sinned, so death has passed upon all people.

Death passed upon – διῆλθεν diēlthenPassed through; pervaded; spread over the whole race, as pestilence passes through, or pervades a nation. Thus, death, with its train of woes, with its withering and blighting influence, has passed through the world, laying prostrate all before it.

Upon all men – Upon the race; all die.

For that – ἐφ ̓ ᾧ eph’hōThis expression has been greatly controverted; and has been very variously translated. Elsner renders it, “on account of whom.” Doddridge, “unto which all have sinned.” The Latin Vulgate renders it, “in whom (Adam) all have sinned.” The same rendering has been given by Augustine, Beza, etc. But it has never yet been shown that our translators have rendered the expression improperly. The old Syriac and the Arabic agree with the English translation in this interpretation.

(1) if ῳ ōbe a relative pronoun here, it would refer naturally to death, as its antecedent, and not to man. But this would not make sense.

(2) if this had been its meaning, the preposition ἐν enwould have been used; see the note of Erasmus on the place.

(3) it comports with the apostle‘s argument to state a cause why all died, and not to state that people sinned in Adam. He was inquiring into the cause why death was in the world; and it would not account or that to say that all sinned in Adam. It would require an additional statement to see how that could be a cause.

(4) as his posterity had not then an existence, they could not commit actual transgression. Sin is the transgression of the Law by a moral agent; and as the interpretation “because all have sinned” meets the argument of the apostle, and as the Greek favors that certainly as much as it does the other, it is to be preferred.

All have sinned – To sin is to transgress the Law of God; to do wrong. The apostle in this expression does not say that all have sinned in Adam, or that their nature has become corrupt, which is true, but which is not affirmed here; nor that the sin of Adam is imputed to them; but simply affirms that all people have sinned. He speaks evidently of the great universal fact that all people are sinners, He is not settling a metaphysical difficulty; nor does he speak of the condition of man as he comes into the world. He speaks as other men would; he addresses himself to the common sense of the world; and is discoursing of universal, well-known facts. Here is the fact – that all people experience calamity, condemnation, death. How is this to be accounted for? The answer is, “All have sinned.” This is a sufficient answer; it meets the case. And as his design cannot be shown to be to discuss a metaphysical question about the nature of man, or about the character of infants, the passage should be interpreted according to his design, and should not be pressed to bear on that of which he says nothing, and to which the passage evidently has no reference. I understand it, therefore, as referring to the fact that people sin in their own persons, sin themselves – as, indeed, how can they sin in an other way? – and that therefore they die. If people maintain that it refers to any metaphysical properties of the nature of man, or to infants, they should not infer or suppose this, but should show distinctly that it is in the text. Where is there evidence of any such reference?

(The following note on Romans 5:12, is intended to exhibit its just connection and force. It is the first member of a comparison between Adam and Christ, which is completed in Romans 5:18-19. “As by one man,” etc. The first point which demands our attention, is the meaning of the words, “By one man sin entered into the world.” Our author has rendered them, “He was the first sinner;” and in this he follows Prof. Stewart and Dr. Taylor; the former of whom gives this explanation of the clause; that Adam “began transgression,” and the latter interprrets it by the word “commence.” It is, however, no great discovery, that sin commenced with one man, or that Adam was the first sinner. If sin commenced at all, it must have commenced with some one. And If Adam sinned at all, while yet he stood alone in the world, he must have been the first sinner of the race! President Edwards, in his reply to Dr. Taylor of Norwich, has the following animadversions on this view: “That the world was full of sin, and full of death, were too great and notorious, deeply affecting the interests of mankind; and they seemed very wonderful facts, drawing the attention of the more thinking part of mankind everywhere, who often asked this question, ‹whence comes this evil,‘ moral and natural evil? (the latter chiefly visible in death.) It is manifest the apostle here means to tell us how these came into the world, and prevail in it as they do. But all that is meant, according to Dr Tay or‘s interpretation, is ‹he began transgression,‘ as if all the apostle meant, was to tell us who happened to sin first, not how such a malady came upon the world, or how anyone in the world, besides Adam himself, came by such a distemper.” – Orig. Sin, p. 270.

The next thing that calls for remark in this verse, is the force of the connecting words “and so” καὶ οὕτως kai houtōsThey are justly rendered “in this way,.”” in this manner,” “in consequence of which.” And therefore, the meaning of the first three clauses of the first verse is, that by one man sin entered into the world. and death by sin, in consequence of which sin of this one man, death passed upon all people.

It will not do to render “and so” by “in like manner,” as Prof. Stewart does, and then explain with our author, “there is a connection between death and sin. which existed in the case of Adam, and which subsists in regard to all who sin.” This is quite contrary to the acknowledged force of καὶ οὕτως kai houtōsand besides, entirely destroys the connection which the apostle wishes to establish between the sin of the one man, and the penal evil, or death, that is in the world. It, in effect, says there is no connection whatever between those things although the language may seem to imply it and so large a portion of Christian readers in every age have understood it in this way. Adam sinned and he died, other people have sinned and they died! And yet this verse is allowed to be the first member of a comparison between Adam and Christ! Shall we supply then the other branch of the comparison, thus: Christ was righteous and lived, other people are righteous and they live? If we destroy the connection in the one case, how do we maintain it in the other? See the supplementary note.

The last clause “for that all have sinned,” is to be regarded as explanatory of the sentiment, that death passed on all, in consequence of the sin of the one man. Some have translated ἐφ ̓ ᾧ eph’hōin whom; and this, indeed, would assign the only just reason, why all are visited with penal evil on account of Adam‘s sin. All die through him, because in him all have sinned. But the translation is objectionable, on account of the distance of the antecedent. However, the common rendering gives precisely the same sense, “for that,” or “because that” all have sinned, that is, according to an explanation in Bloomfield‘s Greek Testament, “are considered guilty in the sight of God on account of Adam‘s fall. Thus, the expression may be considered equivalent to ἁμαρτωλοὶ κατεστάθησαν hamartōloi katestathēsanat Romans 5:19.” There can be no doubt that ἡμαρτον hēmartondoes bear this sense, Genesis 44:32; Genesis 43:9. Moreover, the other rendering “because all have sinned personally,” is inconsistent with fact. Infants have not sinned in this way, therefore, according to this view, their death is left unaccounted for, and so is all that evil comprehended in the term “death,” that comes upon us antecedent to actual sin. See the supplementary note.

Lastly, this interpretation would render the reasoning of the apostle inconclusive. “If,” observes Witsius, “we must understand this of some personal sin of each, the reasoning would not have been just, or worthy of the apostle. For his argument would be thus: that by the one sin of one, all were become guilty of death, because each in particular had besides this one and first sin, his own personal sin, which is inconsequential.” That people are punished for personal or actual transgression is true. But it is not the particular truth Paul seeks here to establish, any more than he seeks to prove in the previous part of his epistle, that people are justified on account of personal holiness, which is clearly no part of his design.)

Romans 5:13

For until the law … – This verse, with the following verses to the 17th, is usually regarded as a parenthesis. The Law here evidently means the Law given by Moses. “Until the commencement of that administration, or state of things under the law.” To see the reason why he referred to this period between Adam and the Law, we should recall the design of the apostle, which is, to show the exceeding grace of God in the gospel, abounding, and superabounding, as a complete remedy for all the evils introduced by sin. For this purpose he introduces three leading conditions, or states, where people sinned, and where the effects of sin were seen; in regard to each and all of which the grace of the gospel superabounded. The first was that of Adam, with its attendant train of ills Romans 5:12, which ills were all met by the death of Christ, Romans 5:15-18. The second period or condition was that long interval in which men had only the light of nature, that period occurring between Adam and Moses. This was a fair representation of the condition of the world without revelation, and without law, Romans 5:13-14. Sin then reigned – reigned everywhere where there was no law. But the grace of the gospel abounded over the evils of this state of man. The third was under the Law, Romans 5:20. The Law entered, and sin was increased, and its evils abounded. But the gospel of Christ abounded even over this, and grace triumphantly reigned. So that the plan of justification met all the evils of sin, and was adapted to remove them; sin and its consequences as flowing from Adam; sin and its consequences when there was no written revelation; and sin and its consequences under the light and terrors of the Law.

Sin was in the world – People sinned. They did what was evil.

But sin is not imputed – Is not charged against people, or they are not held guilty of it where there is no law. This is a self-evident proposition, for sin is a violation of law; and if there is no law, there can be no wrong. Assuming this as a self-evident proposition, the connection is, that there must have been a law of some kind; a “law written on their hearts,” since sin was in the world, and people could not be charged with sin, or treated as sinners, unless there was some law. The passage here states a great and important principle, that people will not be held to be guilty unless there is a law which binds them of which they are apprized, and which they voluntarily transgress; see the note at Romans 4:15. This verse, therefore, meets an objection that might be started from what had been said in Romans 4:15. The apostle had affirmed that “where no law is there is no transgression.” He here stated that all were sinners. It might be objected, that as during this long period of time they had no law, they could not be stoners. To meet this, he says that people were then in fact sinners, and were treated as such, which showed that there must have been a law.

Verse 14

Nevertheless – Notwithstanding that sin is not imputed where there is no law, yet death reigned.

Death reigned – People died; they were under the dominion of death in its various melancholy influences. The expression “death reigned” is one that is very striking. It is a representation of death as a monarch; having dominion over all that period, and overall those generations. Under his dark and withering reign people sank down to the grave. We have a similar expression when we represent death as “the king of terrors.” It is a striking and affecting personification, for.

(1) His reign is absolute. He strikes down whom he pleases, and when he pleases.

(2) there is no escape. All must bow to his sceptre, and be humbled beneath his hand,

(3) it is universal. Old and young alike are the subjects of his gloomy empire.

(4) It would be an eternal reign if it were not for the gospel.

It would shed unmitigated woes upon the earth; and the silent tread of this terrific king would produce only desolation and tears forever.

From Adam to Moses – From the time when God gave one revealed law to Adam, to the time when another revealed Law was given to Moses. This was a period of 2500 years; no inconsiderable portion of the history of the world. Whether people were regarded and treated as sinners then, was a very material inquiry in the argument of the apostle. The fact that they died is alleged by him as full proof that they were sinners; and that sin had therefore scattered extensive and appalling woes among people.

Even over them – Over all those generations. The point or emphasis of the remark here is, that it reigned over those that had sinned under a different economy from that of Adam. This was what rendered it so remarkable; and which showed that the withering curse of sin had been felt in all dispensations, and in all times.

After the similitude … – In the same way; in like manner. The expression “after the similitude” is an Hebraism, denoting in like manner, or as. The difference between their case and that of Adam was plainly that Adam had a revealed and positive law. They had not. They had only the law of nature, or of tradition. The giving of a law to Adam, and again to the world by Moses, were two great epochs between which no such event had occurred. The race wandered without revelation. The difference contemplated is not that Adam was an actual sinner, and that they had sinned only by imputation. For,

(1)The expression “to sin by imputation” is unintelligible, and conveys no idea.

(2)The apostle makes no such distinction, and conveys no such idea.

(3)His very object is different. It is to show that they were actual sinners; that they transgressed law; and the proof of this is that they died.

(4)It is utterly absurd to suppose that people from the time of Adam to Moses were sinners only by imputation. All history is against it; nor is there the slightest ground of plausibility in such a supposition.

Of Adam‘s transgression – When he broke a plain, positive revealed law. This transgression was the open violation of a positive precept; theirs the violation of the laws communicated in a different way; by tradition, reason, conscience, etc. Many commentators have supposed that infants are particularly referred to here. Augustine first suggested this, and he has been followed by many others. But probably in the whole compass of the expositions of the Bible, there is not to be found a more unnatural and forced construction than this. For,

(1) The apostle makes no mention of infants. He does not in the remotest form allude to them by name, or give any intimation that he had reference to them.

(2) the scope of his argument is against it. Did infants only die? Were they the only persons that lived in this long period? His argument is complete without supposing that he referred to them. The question in regard to this long interval was, whether people were sinners? Yes, says the apostle. They died. Death reigned; and this proves that they were sinners. If it should be said that the death of infants would prove that they were sinners also, I answer,

(a)That this was an inference which the apostle does not draw, and for which he is not responsible. It is not affirmed by him.

(b)If it did refer to infants, what would it prove? Not that the sin of Adam was imputed, but that they were personally guilty, and transgressors. For this is the only point to which the argument tends.

The apostle here says not one word about imputation. He does not even refer to infants by name; nor does he here introduce at all the doctrine of imputation. All this is mere philosophy introduced to explain difficulties; but whether true or false, whether the theory explains or embarrasses the subject, it is not needful here to inquire.

(3) the very expression here is against the supposition that infants are intended. One form of the doctrine of imputation as held by Edwards, Starter, etc. has been that there was a constituted oneness or personal identity between Adam and his posterity; and that his sin was regarded as truly and properly theirs; and they as personally blameworthy or ill-deserving for it, in the same manner as a man at 40 is answerable for his crime committed at 20. If this doctrine be true, then it is certain that they not only had “sinned after the similitude of Adam‘s transgression,” but had committed the very identical sin, and that they were answerable for it as their own. The apostle expressly says that they had not sinned after the similitude of Adam‘s transgression, it cannot be intended here.

(4) the same explanation of the passage is given by interpreters who nevertheless held to the doctrine of imputation. Thus,

says on this passage, “Although this passage is understood commonly of infants, who, being guilty of no actual sin, perish by original depravity, yet I prefer that it should be interpreted generally of those who have not the Law. For this sentiment is connected with the preceding words, where it is said that sin is not imputed where there is no law. For they had not sinned according to the similitude of Adam‘s transgression, because they had not as he had the will of God revealed. For the Lord forbid Adam to touch the fruit (of the tree) of the knowledge of good and evil; but to them he gave no command but the testimony of conscience.” Turretine remarks that the discussion here pertains to all the adults between Adam and Moses. Indeed, it is perfectly manifest that the apostle here has no particular reference to infants; nor would it have ever been supposed, but for the purpose of giving support to the mere philosophy of a theological system.

(According to our author, the disputed clause in Romans 5:14, “even over them,” etc., is to be understood of those who had not sinned against “a revealed or positive law.” Many eminent critics have explained the phrase in the same way, and yet arrived at a very different conclusion from that stated in the commentary, namely, that people die simply on account of actual or personal sin. – Bloomfield Crit. Dig. vol. v. p. 520. There are, however, very strong objections against this interpretation.

1. It is not consistent with the scope of the passage. The apostle had asserted in Romans 5:12, that all die in consequence of the sin of the one man (see the supplementary note). And in Romans 5:13-14 proceeds to prove his position thus: People universally die; they must, therefore, have transgressed some law; not the Law of Moses, for people died before that was in being. Death absolutely reigned between Adam and Moses, even over them who had not broken a revealed law. therefore, people have died, in consequence of the sin of the one man. But in this chain of reasoning there is a link awanting. The conclusion does not follow; for though the persons in question had not broken a positive law, they had yet broken the law of nature, written on the heart, and might, therefore, have been condemned on account of a breach of it, Romans 2:12. But if we explain the clause under discussion, of infants who have not personally sinned like Adam against any law whatever, we ascend at once to the conclusion, that all die on account of Adam‘s sin.

2. The particle “even,” καί kaiseems to intimate, that a new class different from that before mentioned, or at all events a subdivision of it, is now to be introduced. None of all the multitudes that lived between Adam and Moses, had sinned against a positive or revealed law. To avoid an unmeaningful tautology therefore, some other sense must be attached to the clause. It is vain to affirm that the particle “even” simply lays “emphasis” on the fact, that they die who had not sinned against a positive law, since were we to admit this forced construction, we should still ask, to what purpose is the emphasis? The fact to which it is supposed to draw attention, as has been noticed already, falls short of proving the apostle‘s point.

3. Moreover, since “the similitude,” etc. is quite a general expression containing no particular intimation in itself, as to that, in which the likeness consists, we are just as much at liberty to find the resemblance in personal transgression, as others, in transgression against revealed laws. To sin personally is to sin like Adam. Nay, the resemblance in this case is complete; in the other view it is imperfect, scarcely deserving to be called a resemblance at all. For they who have no revealed law, may yet be said to sin like Adam in some very important respects. They sin wilfully and presumptuously against the law written in their hearts, in spite of the remonstrances of conscience, etc. The only difference in fact, lies in the mode or manner of revelation. But if we suppose the likeness to lie in personal sin, we can find a class who have not sinned like Adam in any way whatever. And why this class should be supposed omitted, in an argument to prove that all people die in consequence of Adam‘s sin, it is difficult to conceive.

What though infants are not “alluded to by name?” No one has ever asserted it. Had this been the case, there could have been no dispute on the point. To say, however, that the apostle “does not give any intimation that he had reference to infants,” is just a begging of the question, a taking for granted what requires to be proved. Perhaps, as Edwards suggests, “such might be the state of language among Jews and Christians at that day, that the apostle might have no phrase more aptly to express this meaning. The manner in which the epithets personal and actual, are used and applied now in this case, is probably of later date, and more modern use,” p. 312, Orig. Sin.

The learned author of this commentary objects further, to the opinion that infants who have not sinned personally are embraced in the clause under discussion; that “to sin by imputation is unintelligible, and conveys no idea.” It is his own language, and he alone is responsible for it. He tells us also, that “it is utterly absurd, to suppose that people, from the time of Adam to Moses, were sinners only by imputation.” No one ever supposed so, nor does the view, to which he objects, at all involve any such consequence. Again he affirms, “that the scope of the apostle‘s argument is against the application of the clause to infants;” and asks, for what purpose we cannot divine: “Did infants only die?” The answer is obvious. No! Death reigned over all who lived from Adam to Moses, even over that class who had not sinned personally. As to the true scope of the passage, and the view that is most consonant to it, enough has been said already.)

Who is the figure – τύπος tupos“Type.” This word occurs sixteen times in the New Testament, John 20:25 (twice); Acts 7:43-44; Acts 23:25; Romans 5:14; Romans 6:17; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 1 Corinthians 10:11; Philemon 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7; Hebrews 8:5; 1 Peter 5:3. It properly means,

(1)Any impression, note, or mark, which is made by percussion, or in any way, John 20:25, “the print (type) of the nails.”

(2)an effigy or image which is made or formed by any rule; a model, pattern. Acts 7:43, “ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of your god Remphan, figures (types) which ye had made.” Acts 7:44, “that he should make it (the tabernacle) according to the fashion (type) which he had seen,” Hebrews 8:5.

(3)abrief argument, or summary, Acts 23:25.

(4)arule of doctrine, or a law or form of doctrine, Romans 6:17.

(5)an example or model to be imitated; an example of what we ought to be, Philemon 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7; 1 Peter 5:3; or an example which is to be avoided, an example to warn us, 1 Corinthians 10:6, 1 Corinthians 10:11.

In this place it is evidently applied to the Messiah. The expression “he who was to come” is often used to denote the Messiah. As applied to him, it means that there was in some respects a similarity between the results of the conduct of Adam and the effects of the work of Christ. It does not mean that Adam was constituted or appointed a type of Christ, which would convey no intelligible idea; but that a resemblance may be traced between the effects of Adam‘s conduct and the work of Christ. It does not mean that the person of Adam was typical of Christ; but that between the results of his conduct and the work of Christ, there may be instituted a comparison, there may be traced some resemblance. What that is, is stated in the following verses. It is mainly by way of contrast that the comparison is instituted, and may be stated as consisting in the following points of resemblance or contrast.

(1) Contrast.

(a)By the crime of one, many are dead; by the work of the other, grace will much more abound, Romans 5:15.

(b)In regard to the acts of the two. In the case of Adam, one offence led on the train of woes; in the case of Christ, his work led to the remission of many offences, Romans 5:16.

(c)In regard to the effects. Death reigned by the one; but life much more over the other.

(2) Resemblance. By the disobedience of one, many were made sinners; by the obedience of the other, many shall be made righteous, Romans 5:18-19. It is clear, therefore, that the comparison which is instituted is rather by way of antithesis or contrast, than by direct resemblance. “The main design is to show that greater benefits have resulted from the work of Christ, than evils from the fall of Adam.” A comparison is also instituted between Adam and Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:22, 1 Corinthians 15:45. The reason is, that Adam was the first of the race; he was the fountain, the head, the father; and the consequences of that first act could be seen everywhere. By a divine constitution the race was so connected with him, that it was made certain that, if he fell, all would come into the world with a nature depraved, and subject to calamity and death, and would be treated as if fallen, and his sin would thus spread crime, and woe, and death everywhere. The evil effects of the apostasy were everywhere seen; and the object of the apostle was to show that the plan of salvation was adapted to meet and more than counterveil the evil effects of the fall. He argued on great and acknowledged facts – that Adam was the first sinner, and that from him, as a fountain, sin and death had flowed through the world. Since the consequences of that sin had been so disastrous and widespread, his design is to show that from the Messiah effects had flowed more beneficent than the former were ruinous.

In him the tribes of Adam boast.

More blessings than their father lost.”


Verse 15

But not as the offence – This is the first point of contrast between the effect of the sin of Adam and of the work of Christ. The word “offence” means properly a fall, where we stumble over anything lying in our way It then means sin in general, or crime Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:35. Here it means the fall, or first sin of Adam. We use the word “fall” as applied to Adam, to denote his first offence, as being that act by which he fell from an elevated state of obedience and happiness into one of sin and condemnation.

So also – The gift is not in its nature and effects like the offence.

The free gift – The favor, benefit, or good bestowed gratuitously on us. It refers to the favors bestowed in the gospel by Christ. These are free, that is, without merit on our part, and bestowed on the undeserving.

For if … – The apostle does not labor to prove that this is so. This is not the point of his argument, He assumes that as what was seen and known everywhere. His main point is to show that greater benefits have resulted from the work of the Messiah than evils from the fall of Adam.

Through the offence of one – By the fall of one. This simply concedes the fact that it is so. The apostle does not attempt an explanation of the mode or manner in which it happened. He neither says that it is by imputation, nor by inherent depravity, nor by imitation. Whichever of these modes may be the proper one of accounting for the fact, it is certain that the apostle states neither. His object was, not to explain the manner in which it was done, but to argue from the acknowledged existence of the fact. All that is certainly established from this passage is, that as a certain fact resulting from the transgression of Adam, “many” were “dead.” This simple fact is all that can be proved from this passage. Whether it is to be explained by the doctrine of imputation, is to be a subject of inquiry independent of this passage. Nor have we a right to assume that this teaches the doctrine of the imputation of the sin of Adam to his posterity. For,

(1)The apostle says nothing of it.

(2)that doctrine is nothing but an effort to explain the manner of an event which the apostle Paul did not think it proper to attempt to explain.

(3)that doctrine is in fact no explanation.

It is introducing all additional difficulty. For to say that I am blameworthy, or ill-deserving for a sin in which I had no agency, is no explanation, but is involving me in an additional difficulty still more perplexing, to ascertain how such a doctrine can possibly be just. The way of wisdom would be, doubtless, to rest satisfied with the simple statement of a fact which the apostle has assumed, without attempting to explain it by a philosophical theory.

Notwithstanding of the efforts that are made to exclude the doctrine of imputation from this chapter, the full and varied manner in which the apostle expresses it, cannot be evaded. “Through the offence of one many be dead” – “the judgment was by one to condemnation” – “By one man‘s offence death reigned by one” – “By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation” – “By one man‘s disobedience, many were made sinners,” etc.

It is vain to tell us, as our author does” under each of these clauses respectively, that the apostle simply states the fact, that the sin of Adam has involved the race in condemnation, without adverting to the manner; for Paul does more than state the fact. He intimates that we are involved in condemnation in a way that bears a certain analogy to the manner in which we become righteous. And on this last, he is, without doubt, sufficiently explicited See a former supplementary note.

In Romans 5:18-19 the apostle seems plainly to affirm the manner of the fact “as by the offence of one,” etc., “Even so,” etc. “As by one man‘s disobedience,” etc., “so,” etc. There is a resemblance in the manner of the two things compared. It we wish to know how guilt and condemnation come by Adam, we have only to inquire, how righteousness and justification come by Christ. “So,” that is, in this way, not in like manner. It is not in a manner that has merely some likeness, but it is in the very same manner, for although there is a contrast in the things, the one being disobedience and the other obedience, yet there is a perfect identity in the manner. – Haldane.

It is somewhat remarkable, that while our author so frequently affirms, that the apostle states the fact only, he himself should throughout assume the manner. He will not allow the apostle to explain the manner, nor any one who has a different view of it from himself. Yet he tells us, it is not by imputation that we become involved in Adam‘s guilt; that people “sin in their own persons, and that therefore they die.” This he affirms to be the apostle‘s meaning. And is this not an explanation of the manner. Are we not left to conclude, that from Adam we simply derive a corrupt nature, in consequence of which we sin personally, and therefore die?)

Many – Greek, “The many.” Evidently meaning all; the whole race; Jews and Gentiles. That it means all here is proved in Romans 5:18. If the inquiry be, why the apostle used the word “many” rather than all, we may reply, that the design was to express an antithesis, or contrast to the cause – one offence. One stands opposed to many, rather than to all.

Be dead – See the note on the word “death,” Romans 5:12. The race is under the dark and gloomy reign of death. This is a simple fact which the apostle assumes, and which no man can deny.

Much more – The reason of this “much more” is to be found in the abounding mercy and goodness of God. If a wise, merciful, and good Being has suffered such a train of woes to be introduced by the offence of one, have we not much more reason to expect that his grace will superabound?

The grace of God – The favor or kindness of God We have reason to expect under the administration of God more extensive benefits, than we have ills, flowing from a constitution of things which is the result of his appointment.

And the gift by grace – The gracious gift; the benefits flowing from that grace. This refers to the blessings of salvation.

Which is by one man – Standing in contrast with Adam. His appointment was the result of grace; and as he was constituted to bestow favors, we have reason to expect that they will superabound.

Hath abounded – Has been abundant, or ample; will be more than a counterbalance for the ills which have been introduced by the sin of Adam.

Unto many – Greek, Unto the many. The obvious interpretation of this is, that it is as unlimited as “the many” who are dead. Some have supposed that Adam represented the whole of the human race, and Christ a part, and that “the many” in the two members of the verse refer to the whole of those who were thus represented. But this is to do violence to the passage; and to introduce a theological doctrine to meet a supposed difficulty in the text. The obvious meaning is – one from which we cannot depart without doing violence to the proper laws of interpretation – that “the many” in the two cases are co-extensive; and that as the sin of Adam has involved the race – the many – in death; so the grace of Christ has abounded in reference to the many, to the race. If asked how this can be possible, since all have not been, and will not be savingly benefitted by the work of Christ, we may reply,

(1) That it cannot mean That the benefits of the work of Christ should be literally co-extensive with the results of Adam‘s sin, since it is a fact that people have suffered, and do suffer, from the effects of that fall. In order that the Universalist may draw an argument from this, he must show that it was the design of Christ to destroy all the effects of the sin of Adam. But this has not been in fact. Though the favors of that work have abounded, yet people have suffered and died. And though it may still abound to the many, yet some may suffer here, and suffer on the same principle forever.

(2) though people are indubitably affected by the sin of Adam, as e. g., by being born with a corrupt disposition; with loss of righteousness, with subjection to pain and woe; and with exposure to eternal death; yet there is reason to believe that all those who die in infancy are, through the merits of the Lord Jesus, and by an influence which we cannot explain, changed and prepared for heaven. As nearly half the race die in infancy, therefore there is reason to think that, in regard to this large portion of the human family, the work of Christ has more than repaired the evils of the fall, and introduced them into heaven, and that his grace has thus abounded unto many. In regard to those who live to the period of moral agency, a scheme has been introduced by which the offers of salvation may be made to them, and by which they may be renewed, and pardoned, and saved. The work of Christ, therefore, may have introduced advantages adapted to meet the evils of the fall as man comes into the world; and the original applicability of the one be as extensive as the other. In this way the work of Christ was in its nature suited to abound unto the many.

(3) the intervention of the plan of atonement by the Messiah, prevented the immediate execution of the penalty of the Law, and produced all the benefits to all the race, resulting from the sparing mercy of God. In this respect it was co-extensive with the fall.

(4) he died for all the race, Hebrews 2:9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 1 John 2:2. Thus, his death, in its adaptation to a great and glorious result, was as extensive as the ruins of the fall.

(5) the offer of salvation is made to all, Revelation 22:17; John 7:37; Matthew 11:28-29; Mark 16:15. Thus, his grace has extended unto the many – to all the race. Provision has been made to meet the evils of the fall; a provision as extensive in its applicability as was the ruin.

(6) more will probably be actually saved by the work of Christ, than will be finally ruined by the fall of Adam. The number of those who shall be saved from all the human race, it is to be believed, will yet be many more than those who shall be lost. The gospel is to spread throughout the world. It is to be evangelized. The millennial glory is to rise upon the earth; and the Saviour is to reign with undivided empire. Taking the race as a whole, there is no reason to think that the number of those who shall be lost, compared with the immense multitudes that shall be saved by the work of Christ, will be more than are the prisoners in a community now, compared with the number of peaceful and virtuous citizens. A medicine may be discovered that shall be said to triumph over disease, though it may have been the fact that thousands have died since its discovery, and thousands yet will not avail themselves of it; yet the medicine shall have the properties of universal triumph; it is adapted to the many; it might be applied by the many; where it is applied, it completely answers the end. Vaccination is adapted to meet the evils of the small-pox everywhere; and when applied, saves people from the ravages of this terrible disease, though thousands may die to whom it is not applied. It is a triumphant remedy. So of the plan of salvation. Thus, though all shall not be saved, yet the sin of Adam shall be counteracted; and grace abounds unto the many. All this fulness of grace the apostle says we have reason to expect from the abounding mercy of God.

(The “many” in the latter clause of this verse, cannot be regarded as co-extensive with the “many” that are said to be dead through the offence of Adam. Very much is affirmed of the “many to whom grace abounds,” that cannot, “without doing violence to the whole passage,” be applied to all mankind. They are said to “receive the gift of righteousness,” and to “reign in life.” They are actually “constituted righteous,” Romans 5:19 and these things cannot be said of all people in any sense whatever. The only way of explaining the passage, therefore, is to adopt that view which our author has introduced only to condemn, namely, “that Adam represented the whole of the human race, and Christ a part, and that ‹the many in the two members of the verse, refers to the whole of those who were thus represented.”

The same principle of interpretation must be adopted in the parallel passage, “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” It would be preposterous to affirm, that “the all” in the latter clause is co-extensive with “the all” in the former. The sense plainly is, that all whom Christ represented should be made alive in him. even as all mankind, or all represented by Adam, had died in him.

It is true indeed that all mankind are in some sense benefitted on account of the atonement of Christ: and our author has enlarged on several things of this nature, which yet fall short of “saving benefit.” But will it be maintained, that the apostle in reality affirms no more than that the many to, whom grace abounds, participate in certain benefits, short of salvation? If so, what becomes of the comparison between Adam and Christ? If “the many” in the one branch of the comparison are only benefitted by Christ in a way that falls short of saving benefit, then “the many” in the other branch must be affected by the fall of Adam only in the same limited way, whereas the apostle affirms that in consequence of it they are really “dead.”

The principal thing,” says Mr. Scott, “which renders the expositions generally given of these verses perplexed and unsatisfactory, arises from an evident misconception of the apostle‘s reasoning, in supposing that Adam and Christ represented exactly the same company; whereas Adam was the surety of the whole human species, as his posterity; Christ, only of that chosen remnant, which has been, or shall be one with him by faith, who alone ‹are counted to him for a generation.‘ If we exclusively consider the benefits which believers derive from Christ as compared with the loss sustained in Adam by the human race, we shall then see the passage open most perspicuously and gloriously to our view.” – Commentary, Romans 5:15, Romans 5:19.

But our author does not interpret this passage upon any consistent principle. For “the many” in Romans 5:15, to whom “grace abounded” are obviously the same with those in Romans 5:17, who are said to receive abundance of grace, etc., and yet he interprets the one of all mankind, and the other of believers only. What is asserted in Romans 5:17, he says, “is particularly true of the redeemed, of whom the apostle in this verse is speaking.”)

Verse 16

And not … – This is the second point in which the effects of the work of Christ differ from the sin of Adam The first part Romans 5:15 was, that the evil consequences flowed from the sin of one man, Adam; and that the benefits flowed from the work of one man, Jesus Christ. The point in this verse is, that the evil consequences flowed from one crime, one act of guilt; but that the favors had respect to many acts of guilt. The effects of Adam‘s sin, whatever they were, pertained to the one sin; the effects of the work of Christ, to many sins.

By one that sinned – δι ̓ ἑνὸς ἁμαρτήσαντος di’ henos hēmartēsantosBy means of one (man) sinning; evidently meaning by one offence, or by one act of sin. So the Vulgate, and many manuscripts. And the connection shows that this is the sense.

The gift – The benefits resulting from the work of Christ.

The judgment – The sentence; the declared penalty. The word expresses properly the sentence which is passed by a judge. Here it means the sentence which God passed, as a judge, on Adam for the one offence, involving himself and his posterity in ruin, Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:17-19.

Was by one – By one offence; or one act of sin.

Unto condemnation – Producing condemnation; or involving in condemnation. It is proved by this, that the effect of the sin of Adam was to involve the race in condemnation, or to secure this as a result that all mankind would be under the condemning sentence of the Law, and be transgressors. But in what way it would have this effect, the apostle does not state. He does not intimate that his sin would be imputed to them; or that they would be held to be personally guilty for it. He speaks of a broad, everywhere perceptible fact, that the effect of that sin had been somehow to overwhelm the race in condemnation. In what mode this was done is a fair subject of inquiry; but the apostle does not attempt to explain it.

The free gift – The unmerited favor, by the work of Christ.

Is of many offences – In relation to many sins. It differs thus from the condemnation. That had respect to one offence; this has respect to many crimes. Grace therefore abounds

Unto justification – Note, Romans 3:24. The work of Christ is designed to have reference to many offences, so as to produce pardon or justification in regard to them all. But the apostle here does not intimate how this is done. He simply states the fact, without attempting in this place to explain it; and as we know that that work does not produce its effect to justify without some act on the part of the individual, are we not hence, led to conclude the same respecting the condemnation for the sin of Adam? As the work of Christ does not benefit the race unless it is embraced, so does not the reasoning of the apostle imply, that the deed of Adam does not involve in criminality and ill-desert unless there be some voluntary act on the part of each individual? However this may be, it is certain that the apostle has in neither case here explained the mode in which it is done. He has simply stated the fact, a fact which he did not seem to consider himself called on to explain. Neither has he affirmed that in the two cases the mode is the same. On the contrary, it is strongly implied that it is not the same, for the leading object here is to present, not an entire resemblance, but a strong contrast between the effects of the sin of Adam and the work of Christ.

Verse 17

For if – This verse contains the same idea as before presented, but in a varied form. It is condensing the whole subject, and presenting it in a single view.

By one man‘s offence – Or, by one offence. Margin. The reading of the text is the more correct. “If, under the administration of a just and merciful Being, it has occurred, that by the offence of one, death hath exerted so wide a dominion; we have reason much more to expect under that administration, that they who are brought under his plan of saving mercy shall be brought under a dispensation of life.”

Death reigned – Note, Romans 5:14.

By one – By means of one man.

Much more – We have much more reason to expect it. It evidently accords much more with the administration of a Being of infinite goodness.

They which receive abundance of grace – The abundant favor; the mercy that shall counterbalance and surpass the evils introduced by the sin of Adam. That favor shall be more than sufficient to counterbalance all those evils. This is particularly true of the redeemed, of whom the apostle in this verse is speaking. The evils which they suffer in consequence of the sin of Adam bear no comparison with the mercies of eternal life that shall flow to them from the work of the Saviour.

The gift of righteousness – This stands opposed to the evils introduced by Adam. As the effect of his sin was to produce condemnation, so here the gift of righteousness refers to the opposite, to pardon, to justification, to acceptance with God. To show that people were thus justified by the gospel, was the leading design of the apostle; and the argument here is, that if by one man‘s sin, death reigned over those who were under condemnation in consequence of it, we have much more reason to suppose that they who are delivered from sin by the death of Christ, and accepted of God, shall reign with him in life.

Shall reign – The word “reign” is often applied to the condition of saints in heaven, 2 Timothy 2:12, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him;” Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:5. It means that they shall be exalted to a glorious state of happiness in heaven; that they shall be triumphant over all their enemies; shall gain an ultimate victory; and shall partake with the Captain of their salvation in the splendors of his dominion above, Revelation 3:21; Luke 22:30.

In life – This stands opposed to the death that reigned as the consequence of the sin of Adam. It denotes complete freedom from condemnation; from temporal death; from sickness, pain, and sin. It is the usual expression to denote the complete bliss of the saints in glory; Note, John 3:36.

By one, Jesus Christ – As the consequence of his work. The apostle here does not state the mode or manner in which this was done; nor does he say that it was perfectly parallel in the mode with the effects of the sin of Adam. He is comparing the results or consequences of the sin of the one and of the work of the other. There is a similarity in the consequences. The way in which the work of Christ had contributed to this he had stated in Romans 3:24, Romans 3:28.

Verse 18

Therefore – Wherefore ( Ἄρα οὖν ara oun). This is properly a summing up, a recapitulation of what had been stated in the previous verses. The apostle resumes the statement or proposition made in Romans 5:12, and after the intermediate explanation in the parenthesis Romans 5:13-17, in this verse and the following, sums up the whole subject. The explanation, therefore, of the previous verses is designed to convey the real meaning of Romans 5:18-19.

As by the offence of one – Admitting this as an undisputed and everywhere apparent fact, a fact which no one can call in question.

Judgment came – This is not in the Greek, but it is evidently implied, and is stated in Romans 5:16. The meaning is, that all have been brought under the reign of death by one man.

Upon all men – The whole race. This explains what is meant by “the many” in Romans 5:15.

To condemnation – Romans 5:16.

Even so – In the manner explained in the previous verses. With the same certainty, and to the same extent. The apostle does not explain the mode in which it was done, but simply scares the fact.

By the righteousness of one – This stands opposed to the one offence of Adam, and must mean, therefore, the holiness, obedience, purity of the Redeemer. The sin of one man involved people in ruin; the obedience unto death of the other Philemon 2:8 restored them to the favor of God.

Came upon all men – ( εἰς παντας ἀνθρώπους eis pantas anthrōpousWas with reference to all people; had a bearing upon all people; was originally adapted to the race. As the sin of Adam was of such a nature in the relation in which he stood as to affect all the race, so the work of Christ in the relation in which he stood was adapted also to all the race. As the tendency of the one was to involve the race in condemnation, so the tendency of the other was to restore them to acceptance with God. There was an original applicability in the work of Christ to all people – a richness, a fulness of the atonement suited to meet the sins of the entire world, and restore the race to favor.

Unto justification of life – With reference to that justification which is connected with eternal life. That is, his work is adapted to produce acceptance with God, to the same extent as the crime of Adam has affected the race by involving them in sin and misery The apostle does not affirm that in fact as many will be affected by the one as by the other; but that it is suited to meet all the consequences of the fall; to be as wide-spread in its effects; and go be as salutary as that had been ruinous. This is all that the argument requires. Perhaps there could not be found a more striking declaration any where, that the work of Christ had an original applicability to all people; or that it is in its own nature suited to save all. The course of argument here leads inevitably to this; nor is it possible to avoid it without doing violence to the obvious and fair course of the discussion.

It does not prove that all will in fact be saved, but that the plan is suited to meet all the evils of the fall. A certain kind of medicine may have an original applicability to heal all persons under the same disease; and may be abundant and certain, and yet in fact be applied to few. The sun is suited to give light to all, yet many may be blind, or may voluntarily close their eyes. Water is adapted to the needs of all people, and the supply may be ample for the human family, yet in fact, from various causes, many may be deprived of it. So of the provisions of the plan of redemption. They are adapted to all; they are ample, and yet in fact, from causes which this is not the place to explain, the benefits, like those of medicine, water, science, etc. may never be enjoyed by all the race.

Verse 19

For … – This verse is not a mere repetition of the former, but it is an explanation. By the former statements it might perhaps be inferred that people were condemned without any guilt or blame of theirs. The apostle in this verse guards against this, and affirms that they are in fact sinners. He affirms that those who are sinners are condemned, and that the sufferings brought in on account of the sin of Adam, are introduced because many were made sinners.

By one man‘s disobedience – By means of the sin of Adam. This affirms simply the fact that such a result followed from the sin of Adam. The word by διά diais used in the Scriptures as it is in all books and in all languages. It may denote the efficient cause; the instrumental cause; the principal cause; the meritorious cause; or the chief occasion by which a thing occurred. (See Schleusner.) It does not express one mode, and one only, in which a thing is done; but that one thing is the result of another. When we say that a young man is ruined in his character by another, we do not express the mode, but the fact. When we say that thousands have been made infidels by the writings of Paine and Voltaire, we make no affirmation about the mode, but about the fact. In each of these, and in all other cases, we should deem it most inconclusive reasoning to attempt to determine the mode by the preposition by; and still more absurd if it were argued from the use of that preposition that the sins of the seducer were imputed to the young man; or the opinions of Paine and Voltaire imputed to infidels.

(What is here said of the various significations of διά diais true. Yet it will not be denied, that in a multitude of instances it points to the real cause or ground of a thing. The sense is to be determined by the connection. “We have in this single passage no less than three cases, Romans 5:12, Romans 5:18-19, in which this preposition with the genitive indicates the ground or reason on account of which something is given or performed. All this is surely sufficient to prove that it may, in the case before us, express the ground why the sentence of condemnation has passed upon all men.” To draw an illustration from the injury inflicted by Voltaire and Paine, will not serve the author‘s purpose, until he can prove, that they stand in a relation, to those whom they have injured, similar to what Adam bears to the human family. When we say that thousands have been ruined by Voltaire, it is true we can have no idea of imputation: yet we may fairly entertain such an idea when it is said, “all man. kind have been ruined by Adam.”)

Many – Greek, The many, Romans 5:15. “Were made” ( κατεσταθησαν katestathēsan). The verb used here, occurs in the New Testament in the following places: Matthew 24:45, Matthew 24:47; Matthew 25:21, Matthew 25:23; Luke 12:14, Luke 12:42, Luke 12:44; Acts 6:3; Acts 7:10, Acts 7:27, Acts 7:35; Acts 17:15; Romans 5:19; Titus 1:5; Hebrews 2:7; Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 7:28; Hebrews 8:3; James 3:6; James 4:4; 2 Peter 1:8. It usually means to constitute, set, or appoint. In the New Testament it has two leading significations.

(1) to appoint to an office, to set over others (Matthew 24:45, Matthew 24:47; Luke 12:42, etc.); and,

(2) It means to become, to be in fact, etc.; James 3:6, “so is the tongue among our members,” etc.

That is, it becomes such; James 4:4, “The friendship of the world is enmity with God; it becomes such; it is in fact thus, and is thus to be regarded. The word is, in no instance, used to express the idea of imputing that to one which belongs to another. It here either means that this was by a constitution of divine appointment that they in fact became sinners, or simply declares that they were so in fact. There is not the slightest intimation that it was by imputation. The whole scope of the argument is, moreover, against this; for the object of the apostle is not to show that they were charged with the sin of another, but that they were in fact sinners themselves. If it means that they were condemned for his act, without any concurrence of their own will, then the correspondent part will be true, that all are constituted righteous in the same way; and thus the doctrine of universal salvation will be inevitable. But as none are constituted righteous who do not voluntarily avail themselves of the provisions of mercy, so it follows that those who are condemned, are not condemned for the sin of another without their own concurrence; nor unless they personally deserve it.

Sinners – Transgressors; those who deserve to be punished. It does not mean those who are condemned for the sin of another; but those who are violators of the Law of God. All who are condemned are sinners. They are not innocent persons condemned for the crime of another. People may be involved in the consequences of the sins of others without being to blame. The consequences of the crimes of a murderer, a drunkard, a pirate may pass over from them, and affect thousands, and overwhelm them in ruin. But this does not prove that they are blameworthy. In the divine administration none are regarded as guilty who are not guilty; none are condemned who do not deserve to be condemned. All who sink to hell are sinners.

By the obedience of one – Of Christ. This stands opposed to the disobedience of Adam, and evidently includes the entire work of the Redeemer which has a bearing on the salvation of people; Philemon 2:8, “He … became obedient unto death.”

Shall many – Greek, The many; corresponding to the term in the former part of the verse, and evidently commensurate with it; for there is no reason for limiting it to a part in this member, any more than there is in the former.

Be made – The same Greek word as before be appointed, or become. The apostle has explained the mode in which this is done; Romans 1:17; Romans 3:24-26; Romans 4:1-5. That explanation is to limit the meaning here. No more are considered righteous than become so in that way. And as all do not become righteous thus, the passage cannot be adduced to prove the doctrine of universal salvation.

The following remarks may express the doctrines which are established by this much-contested and difficult passage.

(1) Adam was created holy; capable of obeying law; yet free to fall.

(2) alaw was given him, adapted to his condition – simple, plain, easy to be obeyed, and suited to give human nature a trial in circumstances as favorable as possible.

(3) its violation exposed him to the threatened penalty as he had understood it, and to all the collateral woes which it might carry in its train – involving, as subsequent developments showed, the loss of God‘s favor; his displeasure evinced in man‘s toil, and sweat, and sickness, and death; in hereditary depravity, and the curse, and the pains of hell forever.

(4) Adam was the head of the race; he was the fountain of being; and human nature was so far tried in him, that it may be said he was on trial not for himself alone, but for his posterity, inasmuch as his fall would involve them in ruin. Many have chosen to call this a covenant, and to speak of him as a federal head; and if the above account is the idea involved in these terms, the explanation is not exceptionable. As the word “covenant,” however, is not applied in the transaction in the Bible, and as it is liable to be misunderstood, others prefer to speak of it as a law given to Adam, and as a divine constitution, under which he was placed.

(5) “his posterity are, in consequence of his sin, subjected to the same train of ills as if they had been personally the transgressors.” Not that they are regarded as personally ill-deserving, or criminal for his sin, God reckons things as they are, and not falsely, (see the note at Romans 4:3), and his imputations are all according to truth. He regarded Adam as standing at the head of the race; and regards and treats all his posterity as coming into the world subject to pain, and death, and depravity, as a consequence of his sin; see the note. This is the Scripture idea of imputation; and this is what has been commonly meant when it has been said that “the guilt of his first sin” – not the sin itself – “is imputed to his posterity.”

(6) there is something antecedent to the moral action of his posterity, and growing out of the relation which they sustain to him, which makes it certain that they will sin as soon as they begin to act as moral agents. What this is, we may not be able to say; but we may be certain that it is not physical depravity, or any created essence of the soul, or anything which prevents the first act of sin from being voluntary. This hereditary tendency to sin has been usually called “original sin;” and this the apostle evidently teaches.

(7) as an infant comes into the world with a certainty that he will sin as soon as he becomes a moral agent here, there is the same certainty that, if he were removed to eternity, he would sin there also, unless he were changed. There is, therefore, need of the blood of the atonement and of the agency of the Holy Spirit, that an infant may be saved.

(8) the facts here stated accord with all the analogy in the moral government of God. The drunkard secures as a result commonly, that his family will be reduced to beggary, want, and woe. A pirate, or a traitor, will overwhelm not himself only, but his family in ruin. Such is the great law or constitution on which society is now organized; and we are not to be surprised that the same principle occurred in the primary organization of human affairs.

(9) as this is the fact everywhere, the analogy disarms all objections which have been made against the scriptural statements of the effects of the sin of Adam. If just now, it was just then. If it exists now, it existed then.

(10) the doctrine should be left, therefore, simply as it is in the Scriptures. It is there the simple statement of a fact, without any attempt at explanation. That fact accords with all that we see and feel. It is a great principle in the constitution of things, that the conduct of one man may pass over in its effects on others, and have an influence on their happiness. The simple fact in regard to Adam is, that he sinned; and that such is the organization of the great society of which he was the head and father, that his sin has secured as a certain result that all the race will be sinners also. How this is, the Bible has not explained. It is a part of a great system of things. That it is unjust no man can prove, for none can show that any sinner suffers more than he deserves. That it is wise is apparent, for it is attended with numberless blessings. It is connected with all the advantages that grow out of the social organization.

The race might have been composed of independent individuals, where the conduct of an individual, good or evil, might have affected no one but himself. But then society would have been impossible. All the benefits of organization into families, and communities, and nations would have been unknown. Man would have lived alone; wept alone; rejoiced alone; died alone. There would have been no sympathy; no compassion; no mutual aid. God has therefore grouped the race into separate communities. He has organized society. He has constituted families, tribes, clans, nations; and though on the general principle the conduct of one may overwhelm another in misery, yet the union, the grouping, the constitution, is the source of most of the blessings which man enjoys in this life, and may be of numberless mercies in regard to what is to come. If it was the organization on which the race might be plunged into sin, it is also the organization on which it may be raised to life eternal. If, on the one hand, it may be abused to produce misery, it may, on the other, be improved to the advancement of peace, sympathy, friendship, prosperity, salvation. At all events, such is the organization in common life and in religion, and it becomes man not to complain, but to act on it, and to endeavor, by the tender mercy of God, to turn it to his welfare here and hereafter. As by this organization, through Adam, he has been plunged into sin, so by the same organization, he shall, through “the second Adam,” rise to life, and ascend to the skies.

Verse 20

Moreover – But. What is said in this verse and the following, seems designed to meet the Jew, who might pretend that the Law of Moses was intended to meet the evils of sin introduced by Adam, and therefore that the scheme defended by the apostle was unnecessary. He therefore shows them that the effect of the Law of Moses was to increase rather than to diminish the sins which had been introduced into the world. And if such was the fact, it could not be pled that it was adapted to overcome the acknowledged evils of the apostasy.

The law – The Mosaic laws and institutions. The word seems to be used here to denote all the laws which were given in the Old Testament.

Entered – This word usually means to enter secretly or surreptitiously. But it appears to be used here simply in the sense that the Law came in, or was given. It came in addition to, or it supervened the state before Moses, when people were living without a revelation.

That sin … – The word “that” ἵνα hinain this place does not mean that it was the design of giving the Law that sin might abound or be increased, but that such was in fact the effect. It had this tendency, not to restrain or subdue sin, but to excite and increase it. That the word has this sense may be seen in the lexicons. The way in which the Law produces this effect is stated more fully by the apostle in Romans 7:7-11. The Law expresses the duty of man; it is spiritual and holy; it is opposed to the guilty passions and pleasures of the world; and it thus excites opposition, provokes to anger, and is the occasion by which sin is called into exercise, and shows itself in the heart. All law, where there is a disposition to do wrong, has this tendency. A command given to a child that is disposed to indulge his passions, only tends to excite anger and opposition. If the heart was holy, and there was a disposition to do right, law would have no such tendency. See this subject further illustrated in the notes at Romans 7:7-11.

The offence – The offence which had been introduced by Adam, that is, sin. Compare Romans 5:15.

Might abound – Might increase; that is, would be more apparent, more violent, more extensive. The introduction of the Mosaic Law, instead of diminishing the sins of people, only increases them.

But where sin abounded – Alike in all dispensations – before the Law, and under the Law. In all conditions of the human family before the gospel, it was the characteristic that sin was prevalent.

Grace – Favor; mercy.

Did much more abound – Superabounded. The word is used no where else in the New Testament, except in 2 Corinthians 7:4. It means that the pardoning mercy of the gospel greatly triumphed over sin, even over the sins of the Jews, though those sins were greatly aggravated by the light which they enjoyed under the advantages of divine revelation.

Verse 21

That as sin hath reigned – Note, Romans 5:14.

Unto death – Producing or causing death.

Even so – In like manner, also. The provisions of redemption are in themselves ample to meet all the ruins of the fall.

Might grace reign – Might mercy be triumphant; see John 1:17, “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

Through righteousness – Through, or by means of, God‘s plan of justification; Note, Romans 1:17.

Unto eternal life – This stands opposed to “death” in the former part of the verse, and shows that there the apostle had reference to eternal death. The result of God‘s plan of justification shall be to produce eternal life. The triumphs of the gospel here celebrated cannot refer to the number of the subjects, for it has not actually freed all people from the dominion of sin. But the apostle refers to the fact that the gospel is able to overcome sin of the most malignant form, of the most aggravated character, of the longest duration. Sin in all dispensations and states of things can be thus overcome; and the gospel is more than sufficient to meet all the evils of the apostasy, and to raise up the race to heaven.

This chapter is a most precious portion of divine revelation. It brings into view the amazing evils which have resulted from the apostasy. The apostle does not attempt to deny or palliate those evils; he admits them fully; admits them in their deepest, widest, most melancholy extent; just as the physician admits the extent and ravages of the disease which he hopes to cure. At the same time, Christianity is not responsible for those evils. It did not introduce them. It finds them in existence, as a matter of sober and melancholy fact, pertaining to all the race. Christianity is no more answerable for the introduction and extent of sin, than the science of medicine is responsible for the introduction and extent of disease. Like that science, it finds a state of wide-spread evils in existence; and like that science, it is strictly a remedial system. And whether true or false, still the evils of sin exist, just as the evils of disease exist, whether the science of medicine be wellfounded or not.

Nor does it make any difference in the existence of these evils, whether Christianity be true or false. If the Bible could be proved to be an imposition, it would not prove that people are not sinners. If the whole work of Christ could be shown to be imposture, still it would annihilate no sin, nor would it prove that man has not fallen. The fact would still remain – a fact certainly quite as universal, and quite as melancholy, as it is under the admitted truth of the Christian revelation – and a fact which the infidel is just as much concerned to account for as is the Christian. Christianity proposes a remedy; and it is permitted to the Christian to rejoice that that remedy is ample to meet all the evils; that it is just suited to recover our alienated world; and that it is destined yet to raise the race up to life, and peace, and heaven. In the provisions of that scheme we may and should triumph; and on the same principle as we may rejoice in the triumph of medicine over disease, so may we triumph in the ascendancy of the Christian plan over all the evils of the fall And while Christians thus rejoice, the infidel, the deist, the pagan, and the scoffer shall contend with these evils which their systems cannot alleviate or remove, and sink under the chilly reign of sin and death; just as people pant, and struggle, and expire under the visitations of disease, because they will not apply the proper remedies of medicine, but choose rather to leave themselves to its unchecked ravages, or to use all the nostrums of quackery in a vain attempt to arrest evils which are coming upon them.” (END of Albert Barnes Commentary)

Sin nature is of the devil, and teaches that a person cannot obey God.

Paul in Romans 3 is quoting from Psalm 14 that compares the wicked to the righteous.
The Demonic Doctrine of “I cannot Obey, You made me this way” known as “Sin Nature” is based on several passages of scripture taken out of context and pieced together to form the demonic doctrine upholding rebellion against God. God gave us commandments. Man rebelled and blamed their sin on God.

The truth is that God is ever merciful. He created man good, and man rebelled.
Each day that sinful man is alive is a testimony to the goodness of God.
Morning by morning His mercy is made new. He could destroy everyone, but He does not.
He makes the sun to shine on the evil as well as the good. And God wants all to come to repentance.
He created us with a FREE WILL and the ABILITY to serve Him.
It is not “working” to obey the commandments of Jesus with the free will and ability He created us with.
We are to obey God out of faith and love shown by what we do.

God made man in HIS image. Not the image of the devil. God created man good with a good conscience and because of a lifetime of sinful choices and rebellion, sin became “second nature”.

There are several passages of scripture that are frequently used and taken out of context, to teach
“Sin Nature”:

1) PS 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

David is telling us that his MOTHER was in sin his when he was conceived. Nowhere in the passage does he tell us he was “born a sinner” or that he was created to sin.

He was formed “IN SIN”. NOT “WITH SIN”. A very big difference. But the sinner that loves his sin, will over look the thousands of clear and plain passages commanding him to obey and fear God, and go running to this passage for comfort. A very dangerous place to be. CLICK HERE for a detailed explanation on why David’s mother was in sin when she conceived David.

DEUT 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

2) ECCLES 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
When quoted out of context, it would seem to uphold the doctrine.
We must read passages in context. The entire bible is written to everyone, but we must also consider who the passage was originally written to so we can get a better idea of what the teaching is.
The Book of Eccles is a bibliography by “The Preacher”.
If we read just a few passages before toward the beginning of the thought, we read:
ECCLES 7:15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.

Now we get a clearer picture. The preacher, telling of the time he lives in that the righteous men have died, and the wicked live long.

3) IS 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

If you are walking in sin, and not after the Spirit, you will be lead by a spirit of error that will deceive you to blaming God for your immorality.

What this passage is telling us is the same thing the entire bible is telling us.
God has made us righteous, man rebelled. God warns the creation that to those who obey, He will send peace, to those who rebel, God will send evil or calamity.

This passage is a warning to the wicked: In just 2 verses down we read the warning. WOE be unto those who ARGUE, OR STRIVE OR CONTEND with their maker Who commands them to obey. To them He will makes evil, to those who obey, He makes peace.

IS 45:9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

God is warning the “CLAY” that He made to stop arguing with Him. Stop striving with God, and obey. Submit your will to your creator.

God created man uprightly:
ECCLES 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

And raised man in righteousness:
Isaiah 45:13 I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.

Man rebelled and “argued” against him. Strived against God and rebelled.

Ezekiel 18:30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.”

Isaiah 45:7 is a very warning that we the clay are not to argue with our creator.
For those who rebel, God will send or create evil or “calamity”, for those who obey, God will send peace.

This Holy and stern warning from God has been perverted into an excuse for sin.

There are two types of death;

(1) Physical death were you are separated from your body… And because of sin, we no longer have access to the tree of life and everybody dies!

(2) Spiritual death were you are separated from your Creator… This is the death spoken of when the Bible says “The wages of sin are death.” and “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God.”

Anyone telling you that your sinning will not separate you from your Creator is simply echoing the lie told to Eve in the garden “You shall surely not die!” Jesus came to save His people FROM their sins (Matt 1:21) not IN their sins!

Jesus commands you to REPENT of all the known sin in your life and to FORSAKE those sins and to put your faith in the atonement of Christ for the pardon of those past sins!

Sinning with impunity or believing you have “Free Sins” is theological fantasy and will separate you from God… and unless repented of, that separation will last for time without end!

For example…Homosexuals Are Not Born Homosexuals

Homosexuals often cover and excuse their evil acts of perversion by saying they were born homosexuals. And if the teaching is true that men are born with a sinful nature, homosexuals are right to say they were born homosexuals. For they were born homosexuals if they were born sinners. Also they are right to excuse their evil acts of perversion. For if they were born sinners, they were born homosexuals; and if they were born homosexuals they can no more be blamed for their evil acts of perversion than the brute beasts can be blamed for being born brute beasts. Likewise the alcoholic cannot be blamed for his drinking if it is true he was born with the “disease of alcoholism.” In fact the murderer, the rapist, and all other sinners have a perfect and legitimate excuse for all their sins if they were born with a sinful nature. But God never excuses the murderer or the drunkard or the rapist or the homosexual or any other sinner for his sins. For God created all men with a good nature, and for men to sin they must go against their nature: they must sin against nature. All sin is a corruption of man’s nature, it is a perversion of man’s nature. It is rebellion against our nature–it is rebellion against the “law of God written in our hearts” and against the God who has written his law in our hearts. No man is born a sinner. No man is born with the “disease of alcoholism.” No man is born a homosexual:

“Even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” Romans 1:26

“Also the men leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lusts one toward another.” Romans 1:27

“Neither shalt thou lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.” Leviticus 19:22-23

“God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” Ecclesiastes 7:29

“Original Sin” is a lie. Sin is a choice not a physical thing.

“Lo, this only have I found, that God hath MADE MAN UPRIGHT; but they have sought out many inventions.” Ecclesiastes 7:29

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” Deuteronomy 24:16