Rom 5:19-21 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
When left to our carnal mind, we are quick to feel like it is unfair that we fell in the first Adam’s transgression. Yet, that is what we find the scriptures teaching. By one man’s disobedience sin entered into the world. However, if we are honest we know that we have committed many sins on our own.
While we are quick to point out the unfairness of being saddled with Adam’s disobedience, we do not hear many bemoaning the unfairness of receiving the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. In truth, if we judge this by man’s notion of fairness, the second Adam’s treatment was horrendous. We are unfairly credited with righteousness that we did nothing to earn.
When God blesses us to be able to consider the truth of the situation, it brings us to a state of great conviction concerning our sinful nature. The fact is that Adam broke God’s law. When he did so, sin entered into the world and death by sin. Death was passed upon us all because we are born sinners and have all transgressed the laws of God.
The law was not given to us to make us sinners. The law entered so that we might clearly see that we are sinners, and that there is nothing unfair about that fact. The Greek word translated as “entered” here means “stealthily.” Certainly, it is almost as if the law sneaked up on us. One minute we were happily living our life out in the world, and the next minute the Spirit of God had convicted us of our deep unworthiness.
Thanks be to God that where sin abounded by the entering in of the law, grace did much more abound. Whereas we were made sinners by the disobedience of Adam, we are made righteousness by the obedience of Jesus. Notice that both the disobedience and the obedience were reckoned of on man. Adam’s transgression made us sinners; Jesus’ obedience makes us righteous.
Nowhere in this narrative do we see that our own righteousness plays any part in the grace that we receive. Sin has reigned unto death, but grace reigns unto eternal life. This grace reigns through the righteousness that is grounded in the obedience of one man; Jesus Christ our Lord. Our eternal life comes from only one source: it is by Jesus Christ our Lord.
May God give us the grace and wisdom to understand that we were fairly condemned in Adam and praise Him for the unfairness of all that Jesus suffered so that we who deserved death might have eternal life!