Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 7
May 30, 2006
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:
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. Paul's On-Going Explanation of the Typology of Adam and Christ.
- A. In 5:14 he claimed Adam was a "type" of Christ.
- B. In 5:15-16 he made it clear that Adam and Christ were very different.
- 1. This was not to contradict his claim of their "typical" connection, but it was to make sure that no one misunderstood that the "type" and the "Antitype" do have a very crucial difference in two major areas: the actions and the end results (i.e., cause/effect).
- 2. This two-verse "set" is clearly focused upon the "Gift".
- a. 5:15-16 has this "structure":
not as the offence
so also the "charisma" "
for" if by the "of one offence" the many died (cause/effect)
"much more" the "charis of God" and the "dorea in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ "unto the many abounded" (cause/effect)
not as through one who sinned [a shift from the "offence" to the "offender"]
the "dorema" [a shift from the "charisma" to the "dorema"]
"for" indeed judgment out of one (offence) unto condemnation [a shift from the overt reality ("dying") to the underlying cause: the divine reaction of both 'judgment' and 'condemnation'] (cause/effect)
"and" the "charisma" out of many offences unto justification [a shift from the "dorea" to the "charisma"] (cause/effect) [and a contrast between both causes and both effects]
- b. Observations: the major "form" is repeated...
but the major terms of divine provision are inverted so that 5:15 has "charisma" first and then "dorea" and 5:16 has "dorema" first and then "charisma"...
and there is a shift from the action to the actor in terms of the human cause...
along with a shift from the historical human reality (death) to its underlying divine cause (judgment unto condemnation)...
and there is a shift from the claim of an abounding gift to the explanation of how greatly it abounded.
SO THAT Paul created a definitive statement of just how different are the two as "type" and "antitype" in terms of the single issue of "cause/result" while maintaining the "typology" of "one acting for the many to bring inevitable results upon them". The bottom line, then, is this: what Adam did to humanity without any personal, individual participation from, or escape for, those who followed from him, Christ massively undid for all those who "believe" in His "much more effective action". Thus, though God imposed all that Adam did upon all of his offspring, He now permits the "personal" and "individual" issue of "faith" to be the "undoing" of that imposition. In a sense this explains the focus upon "repentance" because the issue that created the mess in the first place (unbelief) is allowed to be countermanded by its opposite (faith). "Repentance" returns us to the basic question of "ground zero": will I "believe" instead of continuing to perpetrate Adam's disbelief?
- C. In 5:17 he gives his final "explanation" (For...).
- 1. Death "reigned"...
- a. Its "reign" was established "by the offence of the one".
- b. This is the repeated thesis of 5:12-14.
- 2. But those receiving God's provision in Jesus Christ "shall reign" to a significantly greater degree...
- a. The repeated thesis of "much more" is applied now to the issue of how certain ones shall reign.
- b. The provision of God is "detailed": it is an "abundance of grace and of righteousness".
- 3. The "arena" of the "reign" is given as the opposite of "Death": "...in Life they shall reign".
- 4. Their "reign" in Life will be absolutely rooted in the "one": Jesus Christ.
- a. Though the "transferral issue" (the means by which one is moved from his identity with Adam to his identity with Christ) is "faith" (5:1 -- "being justified by faith"), there is no sense that the "faith" is tied to any kind of "legal" (Justice) issue.
- b. Jesus Christ addressed the "legal" (Justice) issues with super-abounding righteousness. "Faith" does not come along afterwards as a "reinsertion" of some "legality". Faith is completely detached from "Justice"; it has only to do with "relational reality" (there can be no relationship of benefit between two who do not trust each other). Faith is not a "requirement to be met"; it is a response to a beloved who is known to be trustworthy. I can not "believe" someone who is neither "beloved" nor "trustworthy", nor can I "disbelieve" someone who is both "beloved" and "trustworthy". Adam plunged this creation into Death because he permitted a "creature" to become his "beloved" so that God was "displaced" as the "Beloved". That automatically generated "distrust" because the God Who was to be "The Beloved" had stood silently by while the serpent beguiled Eve into sin and death. Because Eve was now "The Beloved", "disbelief" in God was "automatic" because God was now simply Adam's "means to the blessing of Eve" rather than "The Beloved". This means that there can be no "faith" where there is no "love". And this means that "faith" by man in God must arise out of a "love" for God in man. Thus, the ministry of the Holy Spirit to man is the "shedding abroad the love of God in his heart" (5:5) so that man is returned to "loving God" so that he can, once again, "trust God". John says "we love Him because He first loved us". This has to mean that we come to grips with the claim of Calvary (what other than love would produce Calvary?) by the ministry of the Spirit so that His love produces a reciprocity in us that once again makes God "believable". There seems to be the "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" question here. God loves us but does not trust us because we are untrustworthy. We are supposed to trust God but we do not love Him because we see Him as unloving. Thus the relationship is broken. The "Gospel" presents God to us as the Sponsor of Calvary so that we can, once again, see Him as loving so that we can, once again, trust Him. The problem is not on God's side: He loves but does not trust because He knows us, and we will never be trustworthy until we love Him as He loves us. The problem is on our side: we do not trust God because we do not love Him because we do not know Him. If, by the Spirit of God, we can come to know God as Love, He will, once again, become the object of our trust -- and not before. He has an impeccable track record of trustworthiness, but that means nothing to us until we return to love of Him as The Beloved. But, how do we return to love of Him unless we "believe" in Calvary? So, do we "love" because we "believe", or do we "believe" because we "love"? Yes. In other words, the issue of relational harmony is an undivided "beloved/trustworthy" status. Neither can be "absent". Those refuse to "believe" God who see Him as "unloving, thus untrustworthy" and those "believe" God who see Him as both "loving and, thus, trustworthy". What causes the "seeing"? The Holy Spirit. It is only as He creates in us the "need" to be related to our First Love that we give Calvary a serious hearing and discover that He is "loving" and, thus, trustworthy. Thus, because the Holy Spirit puts the "love for God" into our hearts, we find ourselves "believing" Him.
- c. There is this question: is the "shall reign in Life" something that is experienced before physical death or after resurrection?
- 1) The "death" that is from Adam is not an "absolute" experience in time. Physical death is our "control" for understanding the other realms of death and it is incipient and progressive. But, is that the "measure"? Is not the death in the soul absolute? Is not the death in the spirit absolute? Whence the energy to "live" physically? Our "death" is somehow connected to the withdrawal of divine power, but, obviously, we do not lack that power "absolutely" until physical death. Is the "death of the soul and spirit" like that? Is there a "lingering" of God in the soul and spirit as there appears to be in the body?
- 2) So also, the "Life" that is from Jesus is not an "absolute" experience in time. Spiritual Life "happened" before the Holy Spirit became an indwelling reality. And even after the Holy Spirit became a resident, He is called the "earnest" (Ephesians 1:14) and is not presented in the New Testament as "automatically" producing significant levels of "Life" (as the carnality of the New Testament believers -- Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians -- reveals).
- 3) So we conclude that the "shall reign" is mostly post-resurrection (witness Paul's lament in 1 Corinthians 4:8 that the Corinthians, in their arrogance of "superiority", were "already reigning"). Presently we are "fighting the good fight", or "not", and it is a "fight" and not marked by "conflict-free reigning".