The New Race of Mankind

(Rom. 5:12-21)
The New Race of Mankind

Todayís lesson falls in the overall outline of Romans in the following way:

Theme: The Faithfulness and Righteousness of God (1:16-17)

I. The Need for God's Righteousness (1:18-3:20)

    General Statement Explaining Why Man Needs Godís Righteous Activity (1:18a)
    The Gentile Need for Godís Righteous Activity (1:18-32)
    The Jewish Need for Godís Righteous Activity (2:1-3:20)
II. Godís Gracious Provision of Righteousness (3:21-8:39)
    The Method of God Making Us Right with Himself (3:21-31)
    Abraham: OT Proof that God Makes Us Right With Him By Faith (4:1-25)
    Results of Being Made Right with God (5:1-6:23)
        (1) A Proper Relationship of Peace with God (5:1-2)
        (2) A Proper Understanding of Suffering (5:3-5)
        (3) Assurance in Judgment (5:6-11)
        (4) A New Race of Mankind (5:12-21)
        A Rejection of Lawlessness (6:1-23)
    Experiencing Godís Righteousness Daily (7:1-8:39)
        (1) The Way Not to Experience Godís Righteousness (7:1-25)
        (2) The Way to Experience Godís Righteousness (8:1-39)

(12) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned, (13) 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 until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of Adam's offense, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Up to this point in Romans we have seen the need for God's righteousness (1:18-3:20), and God's provision for righteousness (3:21-4:25). Starting in chapter 5 and running through chapter 6, we see some of the results of being made right with God. Although God offers this righteousness to all people, people must receive it by faith, or else this righteousness is not positively impacting them. They either receive it or reject it; there is no third option. As a result, there are only 2 kinds of people in the world as far as God is concerned: those right with Him and those who are not right with Him.

We have been so programmed by the politically correct police to group people into the multitudes of racial groups in the world: anglo, hispanic, afro-american, oriental, etc. No longer are you just an American; you're an Afro-American or a Latino. That's just in the U.S. alone. In Iraq the main problem has been between 2 sects of the same religion of Islam: the Sunnis and Shias. This world is so fragmented. God though has divided up the world into just two groups and only 2 groups: those of the race of Adam only and those of the races both of Adam and of Christ. Paul writes: "From now on we recognize no man according to the flesh . . . (2 Cor. 5:16). For Paul (like for God) there are only 2 races of mankind: those of the race of Adam and those of the race of Christ.

Whereas every person is born into the race of Adam, only those who are "born again," that is, those who by faith come into a right relationship with God, enter into the race of Christ. Once that person enters the race of Christ through faith, he is a part of Adam's race in a physical sense but not in a spiritual sense.

"Therefore, just as through one man _______ entered into the world and __________ through sin, and so death spread to all men _____________ all sinned."

Which man is Paul referring to when he writes that through one man sin entered into the world?

Paul here is drawing a comparison between Adam (the head of the first race) and Christ (the head of the new race of mankind). In the first part of the comparison (or contrast) Paul is showing what contributions Adam made for mankind. In other words, this is what his race experiences. Here is the progression: Adam sinned, thereby introducing sin into the world. Along with sin came death. Now everybody is going to die (physically as well as spiritually unless something changes this). According to Paul why is everybody going to die?

The clause at the end of verse 12 is one of the most controversial clauses in the NT. Your Bible translates it as "because all sinned" (NASB) or "inasmuch as all sinned" (NAB). In other words, everybody is going to die because everybody has sinned. (The phrase "eph'ho" literally means "because" or "inasmuch").

According to St. Augustine, though, you would see this phrase translated as "in whom all sinned." In other words, according to this translation a certain person sinned, and since everybody was physically inside that person, everybody else sinned when he sinned. According to verse 12 who would that person be who sinned and thereby caused everybody else to sin because everybody was physically in him?

In other words according to this view when Adam sinned, since everybody was "seminally" present within him, everybody else likewise sinned. As a result St. Augustine taught that the baptism of an infant removed Adam's sin from that baby. The baby who dies without being baptized will not go to hell. The question is whether he will see the face of God or just remain in a state of limbo. That baby will enjoy a wonderful existence; however, he will never see the face of God--the ultimate goal of history. The Church has NOT settled this issue definitely. (See INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION: THE HOPE OF SALVATION FOR INFANTS WHO DIE WITHOUT BEING BAPTISED, an official publication from the Vatican, submitted by Fr. Jason.)

So which view is right? St. Augustine based his interpretation upon a mistranslation. Jerome who translated the Greek Bibles into Latin (the Bible used by Roman Catholics) was not the expert in Greek he needed to be (his translation of the Greek: "in quo omnes peccaverunt" has been corrected by the NAB "inasmuch"). Augustine, the great Roman Catholic theologian, used Jerome's Latin translation of Bible and developed this view of sin. (A better passage for St. Augustine to base his claim upon is 1 Cor. 15:22--"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.")

The issue though is not whether St. Augustine based his thought upon a mistranslation but whether or not his teaching is true. The truth is that there is something radically wrong with the human race. It is just broken. St. Augustine's teaching is the only one which adequately explains the human situation.

Another view (developed by Calvin of the Presbyterian church) claimed that since Adam was the head of the race, his race suffered the consequences of his sin without having committed sin. This is called "federalism." Just like your family either suffers consequences because of bad decisions you make (even though they did not make those decisions) or enjoys blessings because of good decisions you make (even though they did not make those decisions), so those of Adam's race suffer because of Adam's sin and those of Christ's race are blessed because of Christ's obedience.

Some Protestants claim that whereas we did not sin whenever Adam sinned in Eden, we nevertheless inherited his "bent" nature. According to this view we are not born sinners; however, we receive Adam's weak nature which has a proclivity to sin. As a result, it is just a matter of time before we do sin. When we do sin, our human natures devolve into sin nature. This view though seems to be nothing more than a modification of St. Augustine's teaching. It actually confirms St. Augustine.

Now Christ too was born with a human nature. Although some conservative Christians deny this, the truth is that in order for Christ to have victory over sin and to give us that victory, He had to be made in all ways like us. (According to the third ecumenical church council of Ephesus, "Christ's humanity has no other subject than the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it and made it his own, from his conception.") As a result He really suffered horribly during the 40 days of temptation in the wilderness and during His ordeal in the Garden of Gethsemane. The reason though He was able to overcome sin is that He was born of a virgin, His Father being God. As a result He was born with born a divine nature and a human nature. For 33 years He consistently yielded to the divine nature, not once sinning.

At this point you would think that Paul would finish the comparison between Adam and Christ. He does not; however, you fill in the blanks to see how he would have finished the comparison:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned, so through one Man (Jesus) _______________ entered into the world and __________________ through __________________.

Paul, however, breaks off in his comparison. Instead he chases a rabbit. He wants to discuss what happened in the time between Adam and Moses when sin was running rampant and yet the Law had not been given.

According to Paul was sin in the world before or after the Law came (5:13)?

What did not happen though before the Law came into the world (5:13)?

In other words before the Law came into the world, people were sinners but they were not Law-breakers. Even though you can sin without laws existing, you do have to have a lto break before you can be labeled a "law-breaker."

For example, suppose there were no speed limits in the residential areas in the city of Corsicana. You could drive 80 mph in the residential areas legally if there were no speed limits. But would it be morally right to drive like that in a residential area where children play? Of course not. It would be morally wrong even though it might not be legally wrong. That is the scenario Paul is addressing.

According to Paul in verse 14, in the period between Adam and Moses why did people continue to die even if there was no Law in existence at that time?

Some thought that death entered into the world because of people breaking the Law. That's not true. What brings about death is sin, not necessarily law-breaking. To understand this, go back to the German autobahn. Can a person ever break the law by going too fast on the autobahn? No, because there are no speed limit laws to break on the autobahn. Does that mean though that nobody dies on the autobahn? No; people do die on the autobahn. Why? Because they are law-breakers? No. They die because they were sinning by driving too fast. On their tombstones they will not write: "He's a Lawbreaker"; instead they'll inscribe the epitaph: "He was an idiot."

(15) But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression 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 to the many. (16) And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand, the free gift arose from many transgression resulting in justification. (17) For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (18) So then as through one transgression, there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. (19) For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous."

Paul now is going to go back to comparing (or even better contrasting) Jesus with Adam which he started in v. 12 but got sidetracked. According to verse 15 what happened to the many because of Adam's one transgression? On the other hand, what abounded to the many because of Jesus Christ and His obedience? (There are 2 things Paul lists here).

In verse 16 how many transgressions did Adam commit before he brought sin into the world? How many sins though did Jesus have to overcome before He brought righteousness (justification) to people?

(Note that this is not a true parallel between Jesus and Adam: Adam disobeys God once and Christ obeys God once. The words Paul uses to contrast Jesus with Adam shows that Jesus' work totally surpasses Adam's work: much more, abound! It's not like Jesus had to work desperately in order to provide just enough grace to overcome Adam's sin. Rather, as numerous as our sins are, when compared to Jesus' grace our sins are like a stone dropped into the ocean of His grace. His grace superabounds!)

According to verse 17 what reigned because Adam sinned? Now you would think that in the comparison/contrast the thing that would reign because of Christ's obedience would be "life." What though does Paul say reigns in life because Christ obeyed the Father?

In verse 18 Paul writes that Adam's one transgression resulted in what for all men, while Christ's act of obedience (His entire life is viewed as one act of obedience) resulted in what?

According to Paul, Adam's sin made everybody what (5:19)? What did Christ's act of obedience make everybody?

Some claim that Paul believed in universal salvation. This view teaches that because everybody suffers Adam's sin, so everybody will enjoy the benefits of Christ's death and resurrection. Whereas Jesus offers these benefits to all mankind, mankind must receive them or appropriate them by faith. They do not come automatically. Otherwise, why does Paul continually stress that we need to come to Christ in faith?

Before leaving this section, I want us to look elsewhere to see what else Paul says when he compares Adam the head of the old race with Christ the head of the new race. Read the following passages and compare Adam and his race with Christ and His race: a contrast between the bodies of the 2 men: 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 42-49; a contrast between the inner lives of the 2 men: Colossians 3:5-10.

(20) And the Law came in that the transgression might increase but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more (21) in order that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Although Paul is going to deal with the Law at length in Rom. 7, since he has already touched upon it in verses 13-14, he adds another element in his discussion of the Law. According to verse 20 what was one of the results of the Law being given?

As sin increased though, what did grace do (v. 20)?

The result of all this is the triumph of grace.