Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 5
May 16, 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.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
1901 ASV Translation:
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.
17 For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.
- I. The Issue of the "Free Gift".
- A. Paul continues his presentation of the "type by way of contrast" between Adam and Christ.
- B. His focus is in respect to "the offense" and "the grace gift".
- 1. Standing in contrast to "the offense" is "the grace gift".
- a. They do not contrast ...
- 1) ... in the area of being "through one man" (they both come in that way).
- 2) ... in the area of "determinative impact" upon "the many".
- b. But they do contrast in both their essence and the "kind" of "determinative impact" that they make.
- 1) At the essence level, the one is "offense" and the other is a "gift by grace".
- 2) These essences are "determinative" in that there is no escape from the result as long as the unity exists between the "one" and the "many".
- a) Adam "offended" and the "many" died. This was the consequence that had been announced (in the day you eat thereof you shall surely die -- Genesis 2:17) -- though without any observable indication that the "death" was to be "upon" all of his offspring.
- b) Christ was the instrument of the "grace gift" of God which also produced an inescapable result.
- 3) The language seems to take a tack that we do not expect: Paul sets us up to expect a contrast between "results", but he actually describes a contrast in the causes.
- a) He presents Adam as bringing "death", but He does not directly present Christ as bringing "life".
- b) He, by this means, presses us to consider not the result (death/life) as much as the cause.
- i. His words are "the many died" and "the grace unto the many abounded".
- ii. His words press us to think in terms of the "cause". The many died by reason of "the offence of the one", but there was another "cause" in the "Other One": grace.
- 4) Thus, though he is actually driving toward a sense of "determinative impact", he drives toward it by focus upon the "distinctive cause" rather than the "distinctive impact".
- a) The nature of the "causes".
- i. Adam's offence was a stumbling, personal aggression against God.
- ii. God's grace was a wisdom-based, personal blessing to Adam.
- b) The "distinctions".
- i. In respect to "degree", Adam's offence created a significant impact upon the many, but God's grace created a much more significant impact upon the many.
- ii. In respect to "kind", Adam's offence was deliberately divisive while God's grace was deliberately uniting ("Death" as "separation" is contrasted with "Grace" as a "beneficent gift" that automatically pulls one toward cooperative harmony).
- 2. But also standing in contrast is the "impact" (as he moves into the next verse).
- a. The "impact" of Adam was "judgment unto condemnation".
- b. The "impact" of Jesus Christ was justification.
- 1) Again, the language is difficult. Paul does not express a straightforward contrast between the methods of Adam and Christ (disobedience vs. obedience). Instead he expresses a contrast between the "number of sins" involved. Adam brought all that he brought by means of one sin; Christ, in contrast, brought all that He brought in spite of a multitude of sins.
- 2) Therefore, the "contrast" is, again, a "much more" issue.
- 3. But also standing in contrast is the "impact of the impact".
- a. Adam's impact of judgment unto condemnation resulted in the reign of Death.
- b. Christ's impact of justification out of a multitude of sins results in the future reign in Life for those who receive it.