Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 4
May 2, 2006
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
1901 ASV Translation:
15 But not as the trespass, so also is the free gift. For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many.
16 And not as through one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment came of one unto condemnation, but the free gift came of many trespasses unto justification.
- I. In 5:15-17 There is a Fixed Contrast Established Between Adam and Christ.
- A. At the end of 5:14 Paul had inserted the claim that Adam was a "figure" of One Who was to come.
- 1. This signals a deliberate presentation by Paul of the two -- Adam, the "figure", and Christ the "One to come" -- as "type" and "antitype".
- a. The issue of "type" means that there are certain particulars which will be the same between an early entity and a later one. This does not mean that all, or even many, of the entities' characteristics will be the same. It simply means that there is a sameness of characteristic(s) that is shared between the early and the late manifestations of the "type/antitype".
- b. In Paul's presentation in this context, it is clear that there are far more differences between the "type" and the "antitype" than there are samenesses.
- 2. This is the basis for the "contrast" of 5:15-17.
- B. Paul apparently believed that a "contrast" would be more effective than a "comparison" even though he was addressing how Adam was the "figure/type" of Christ.
- 1. Paul began 5:15 with "But not...".
- a. This means that, though Adam was a type of Christ, it was absolutely not in the area of "offense/trespass".
- b. The "as...so", which typically compares two, is here used to identify the two issues that were introduced by the two individuals which are in stark contrast.
- 1) Adam's "issue" was "the trespass".
- a) The word used here does not technically refer to a "trespass".
- b) The word is used to refer to "failings".
- i. "Failings" are identifiable because they depart from the standard of what is "right" as it is revealed by "law".
- ii. But "failings" puts the focus upon the "fact" of a "stumbling to the ground" rather than upon the issue of "deliberate determination". In other words, the issue is why transgression happened. Before Adam "transgressed", he had already "stumbled".
- iii. The issue of "failings" is milder than that of "transgression" (the term used in 5:14). To "fail" is to "fall alongside" whereas to "transgress" is to "deliberately walk across". This "milder" term makes it possible to see the "act" in a less intense way than one sees a "deliberate" act. That raises this question: what difference does it make whether we see it as "transgression" (as in 5:14) or as "failing" (in this text)? Romans 4:15 makes it crystal clear that for a "transgression" to exist, there must be a "Law" which defines the boundaries. Romans 5:14 capitalizes upon this reality by making a clear distinction between "Adam" and his "violation of a known proscription" and Adam's offspring who had no "laws" to "violate". Galatians 3:19, in exact accord with Romans 3:20 and 5:20, says that the Law was brought in alongside in order to turn "sin" into "transgression" so that the issues could be "clear". So, why does Paul retreat from "transgression" in favor of "failing"? Seven times out of the twenty uses of the term "offense/failing" the context is deliberately "forgiveness". Five of the twenty uses are found in Romans 5 where "grace" (not forgiveness) is the context's focus. The translators of the Authorized Version in Romans 11:11-12 clearly dropped the ball in that they use "fall" for two different words and confuse the fact that those who "stumbled" did not "fall". The point seems to be this: it is important for us to understand that "failing" leads to "transgression". Thus, there may well be a focus in "failing" upon the inner thoughts and reasonings that lead to "transgressions". The actual crossing of the revealed boundary is not the initial issue; the reasonings which open the door to the possibility of transgression are the initial issue. Adam "failed" here before he "failed" at the transgression level. So, Paul's focus may well be that man's "problem" is a deeper one than "transgressing" -- and Christ's provision takes that into account. If this is his point, it is a word of "salvation" in that we are "saved" not just from the end result of faulty thinking, but from the faulty thinking itself. This makes us "free" from being able to be "re-ensnared by the evil one" because Christ's provision went far deeper than merely the overt level (transgression).
- 2) Christ's "issue" was "the free gift".
- a) The word used here signals a "grace-based imparted good".
- b) This term is different from the word "failings" in more than just definition.
- i. The word "failings" focuses upon the deeper level of Adam's transgression: his susceptibility to the Tempter's reasonings.
- ii. The word "grace-based imparted good" focuses upon the deeper level of Christ's "gift": God's characteristic of "grace".
- c) However, the two do come together around this issue: that both have a direct impact upon those "down-line". Adam's "failing" produced one thing for his offspring; Christ's "gift" produced an opposite thing for His offspring (the word "offspring" is not a good one in respect to Christ -- the issue of the text is two distinct humanities who have their "heads" in two different "men", but the one man, Adam, produced his "offspring" by "generation/procreation" and the other man, Christ, produces His humanity by divine regeneration through faith: what is "physical and sexual" for Adam is "spiritual and sexless" for Christ -- in Christ there is neither male nor female).
- 2. The "contrast" is in the "results", not in the "mechanics". Adam's "mechanics" (being one who acted as all) resulted in Death. In contrast, Christ's "mechanics" (being the same as Adam's -- one acting as all) resulted in the "abounding of grace" to "the many".
- a. The "mechanics" of the issue is the area of the "type/antitype".
- 1) The characteristics of the "type/antitype" focus upon two primary issues: the "humanity" of the "actors"; and the "one-for-all" action of the actors.
- a) Both "humans" were the "sons of God" by direct creation.
- b) Both "humans" were the "heads" of their respective progeny.
- 2) There are a host of "differences" between the two, but it is not those differences which create the "type/antitype" reality.
- b. The "many" are the "progeny" who follow.
- c. The "many" are not the same "group". Adam's "many" were his offspring; Christ's "many" were His offspring through the new birth. There is "overlap" in the groups (Christ's "many" come from Adam's "many"), but they are not the same "many".
- 3. The "contrast" is also in the area of "actions". Adam did "one" sin and brought condemnation upon all, but Christ "handled" many sins and brought justification to all. [There is another option here: Adam's "sin of one" brought condemnation, but Christ's solution to the "sins of many" brought justification.]
- 4. The "contrast" is not in the area of the "one acting for all".