The Two Adams|
by E.H. Jack Sequeira
|v. 11||Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Not only do we Christians rejoice in Gods unconditional love, which has been
poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit [v. 5-10], but we also rejoice in
the fact that we have already been fully reconciled to God (received the
atonement) through our Lord Jesus Christ.|
|v. 12||Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through
sin, and in this way death come to all men, because all sinned
This reconciliation or atonement is ours in Christ in the same way sin,
condemnation, and death became ours in Adam (implied). Hence, Paul uses Adam as a
model, type, or a pattern of Christ [v. 14, last part]. The reason
why Adams sin brought universal death is because all sinned in
Adam, our father and representative, and not like Adam, our personal sins.
Note: In his commentary on Romans, John Murray gives five reasons why Paul meant in Adam and not like Adam:
|v. 13||...for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into
account when there is no law.
To prove his point, that all die because of Adams one sin, Paul describes the
situation of the human race that lived from Adam to Moses. His argument is that God
could not legally or lawfully condemn these people for their personal sins, which they
were committing, since He had not yet posted His law as a legal code until Moses.
|v. 14||Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even
over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of
the one to come.
Nevertheless, they were dying; even though their sins were unlike the willful
violation of a law Adam had committed (see The Biblical Definition
of Sin for the meaning of transgression). Obviously then, they were
dying because they were implicated in Adams transgression, their father and
Note: Paul discusses mankinds situation in Adam in v. 12-14, in
order to use him as a pattern, type, or figure of the truth as it is
in Christ [see last part of v. 14]. What Adam did affected all humanity;
likewise, what Christ did also affected all humanity [v. 15]. It is in this sense
only the two are similar, and, therefore, Adam can be used as a pattern
The reason Adams sin brought condemnation and death to all mankind is not because humanity is guilty of Adams sin, but because Adams sin was a representative sin. We were in Adam by creation [Acts 17:26] and, therefore, were implicated in his sin at the Fall. Likewise, by uniting Christs divinity with our corporate humanity that needed redeeming, in the incarnation, Christ qualified to be the second Adam, our representative and substitute. His obedience can be lawfully credited to all mankind since all obeyed in Christ. We were in Christ by Gods act of incarnation [1 Cor. 1:30] and therefore implicated in His obedience, i.e., in His life, death, and resurrection [2 Cor. 5:14; Eph. 2:5,6].
The whole force of the parallel, in Romans 5:12-21, between Adam and Christ,
depends on the idea of the solidarity of mankind in Adam and in Christ.
In the great majority of the 510 times the word Adam is used in the
Old Testament Hebrew text, it possesses a collective significance. In the same sense,
Christ is referred to as the last Adam in the New Testament. In Him, all
humanity was gathered up and given a new history in which we stand justified.
|v. 15||But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass
of the one man, how much more did Gods grace and the gift that came by the
grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
Hence, there is also a difference between Adam and Christ. The difference is in what
they did and the effect their acts had on humanity. Adam sinned and that sin
brought death to the many, implying all humanity [see v. 18]. In contrast,
Christ obeyed and His obedience also affected the many (i.e.,
all humanity); it gave eternal life to all mankind. This is Gods gift of
grace which did much more than undo the damage Adam did to the
|v. 16||Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one mans sin: The
judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses
and brought justification.
Adams one sin resulted in the judgment of condemnation on all humanity.
But Christs obedience did much more; it not only met the just demands of Adams
one sin that condemns mankind but, more than that, it also covered all their personal sins
plus brought in the verdict of justification on all humanity. (Please note that the
word trespasses (or offences) is in the plural and is, therefore,
referring to Adams sin plus all our personal sins.) This is the significance of
the phrase much more.
|v. 17||For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man,
how much more will those who receive Gods abundant provision of grace and of the
gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Because of Adams sin, death holds sway over all mankind. But Gods
gift of grace in Christ is again much more. Those
who receive this gift (note: the gift has to be received) will not only live (the
opposite of death) but, much more, they will reign with Christ throughout
the ceaseless ages of eternity [Rev. 20:6; 22:5]. We are better off in Christ
than we ever were in Adam, even before the Fall. This is Gods super
|v. 18||Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men,
so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life
for all men.
Consequently, while Adams one sin brought the verdict of condemnation upon the
whole human race; the unconditional good news of the gospel is that the obedience of
Christ brought the verdict of justification to life eternal unto all men.
|v. 19||For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners,
so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
In addition to the above, Adams sin also made the human race into
sinners (i.e., possessing a sinful nature that can do no righteousness). Likewise,
Christs obedience also redeemed mankinds sinful nature so that believers
will be made righteous. (Note the future tense, i.e., at His second coming
and applying only to believers [1 Cor. 15:50-53; Phil. 3:20,21].)
|v. 20||The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased,
grace increased all the more, ...
The reason why God introduced the law, after He gave the promise of salvation as a
free gift, was to convince mankind that Adams one sin had made them all
sinners, imprisoned in death row and in need of the Savior. But where sin
multiplied, in the lives of Adams posterity, Gods grace multiplied all
the more. For not only did God redeem the whole human race from Adams sin plus
all their personal sins, but, much more, He made all humanity righteous, holy, and
blameless in Christs holy history [Eph. 1:3-6].
|v. 21||... so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through
righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hence, just as sin dominates all men from birth, and would do so until death; let
grace now take over in your lives (i.e., those that have received Christ),
dominating you and producing righteousness, until eternity is ushered in (at the
*Texts used are from the New International Version of the Holy Bible.