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though sin is not imputed or set down to account (see Philemon 18, Gk.) in the absence of law, yet death reigned; and the reign of death is the conclusive proof of the existence of the sin, apart from which death could not be known. Death reigned “even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression.” During all that no-law period, when there was no divine standard by which to measure men's acts and turn sin into transgression, death was the standing witness of the existence of sin-death not simply as each man's personal desert, but as the penal consequence of Adam's sin.
The mention of Adam serves to bring out the statement that he was a type of the Coming One, that is, of the One whc was to come after him in the same public and representative character that he had sustained to the race; the second man, the last Adam. The first was a type of the last, inasmuch as in each case by the action of the one the many are affected* But though Adam was a type of Him who was to come, there are limitations and contrasts, which accordingly are brought out in verses 15-17.
“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.” (Rom. v.) Some regard the “much more” of this verse as simply argumentative; but it rather seems to express abundance, and to indicate
* For some of the thoughts expressed in this paper I am indebted to others, and the following table, slightly altered, is taken from Dr. Sanday: The Head. One man, Adam.
One man, Christ. The Aetion.
One act of trespass. One act of obedience. Persons affected by it. All Adam's posterity. All who are Christ's. Effect of the Action. Influx of many offences. Justification from
many offences. Final effect of il. Death.
Life; the justified
reigning in life.
that the provision is not simply adequate to the need, but abounds far beyond it. The grace of God does not restore man to Eden and positive innocence, but brings him into a state and position far beyond what Adam ever knew, or, so far as we may learn, could have known apart from the fall.
But if this grace and gift abound, it is “ by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ. Adam is not called “the one man in the opening of this verse; that fact is well known; but the grand truth brought into prominence here is the fact that all the undoing work of Adam is more than reversed by One who is also MAN. As condemnation and death came through a man, so through a man must come justification and life. But where in Adam's race should one be found who could become the source of blessing to men, seeing that all who spring by ordinary generation from Adam are by their very existence subject to death? What created mind could have answered this question ? But the question was never left to the creature, for it was settled by infinite wisdom and infinite love before the necessity arose. And in the answer we have the full display of the grace of the blessed God, and an equal display of the grace of Him who, according to the counsel of eternity, did Himself become man to fulfil the purpose of divine love. It is by the grace of this “ One Man” that God's grace and gift abound to men: “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor. viii. 9.) It was by becoming man that the glorious Son of God took the first mighty step in the wondrous work by which the grace of God and the gift (of righteousness) abound unto
. The point of verse 16 is, that whereas the one offence
brought condemnation, the result of God's free gift is a verdict of acquittal from the many trespasses of which the saved have personally been guilty. That which is inherited by us as children of Adam is like the acorn, which in congenial soil grows and spreads into the mighty oak, or like poison put into the spring or source of a river, which poisons the stream in the whole of its course. But so rich and full is the provision of God in Christ that from all the fruits of that “one offence" there is justification.
Verse 17 confirms the preceding statements, and leads to the blessed consummation, bringing in a twofold contrast. The one offence by which death reigned is contrasted with the “abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness,” and further, the reign of death is contrasted with the reigning in life. The terrible reign of death is for ever ended as concerns those who are Christ's, and they are not simply brought under the power of life, but are to reign in life. What freedom and power are expressed by the word reign, and what a sphere is life! And this is through the One—the matchless One-thus named in triumph at the close, “even Jesus Christ.” Thine, O Lord, is the grace, thine was the work, thine shall ever be the
Verse 18 concisely repeats the unfinished statement of verse 12, and concludes it, though it has been virtually finished in the somewhat parenthetical portion that ends with verse 17 ; "therefore as through one offence [the result was] unto all men to condemnation ; so through one righteous act the result was unto all men to justification of demnation and death of all who spring from him, so the one righteous act of Christ, when in obedience to the will of God He offered Himself in all the glory and fulness of His person, results in the blessing of justification of life to all who are His.
As the one trespass of Adam resulted in the con* This is the rendering given by Mr. Moule, and is substantially the same as the R. V., but the expression “one righteous act definite. Some render els towards, but if it is towards in v. 18, it must be the same all through, and we may ask, Did death spread towards all men only, or actually unto them (v. 12)? The justification is as definitely
The next verse (19) presents the same truth in a slightly different form. Men are treated as sinners on account of the offence of Adam, for they are regarded as such, the word “made” not meaning a change wrought, but rather constituted or appointed. So men are treated as righteous, for they are most truly regarded as such; “ for as through the one man's disobedience the many were constituted sinners, even so through the obedience of the One shall the many be constituted righteous." The “ obedience” here must be the same as “ the one righteous act” of v. 18, and as the accomplishment of the will of God by “the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (See Ps. xl. with Heb. x.) But it
may be asked, what place is left for the law in this representative system? The answer is, that the law was added to, or superinduced upon, a plan already laid, and that for a subordinate though necessary purpose, namely that the sin that existed might be made manifest as transgression; that what was inherent in that first trespass might be unfolded to man, and so form the dark background for the display of grace ; for “where the sin multiplied, there the grace superabounded,” rising above all those numberless transgressions into which the first sin,
unto all as was the condemnation; but the important thing is to see clearly that the word "all” in each case is qualified by the “one.” We have Adam and his posterity on the one hand, and Christ and those who are Christ's on the other. And throughout the whole passage the word "all" is used in relation to the two heads, the first Adam and the Last; while the expression “the many" is in contrast with “ the one," by whose act they are affected.
as a seed unfolding itself, had developed, and justifying all believers from them.
The last verse of the chapter brings us back to the two prominent words of the section, sin and grace, and leads us to another contrast, though one that is very similar to that expressed in verse 17. If " death reigned,” it was sin that reigned in death-death in its threefold stage; separation from God; separation (in due time) of soul and body; and then the fearful consummation, the second death, the final doom of those who never receive grace and righteousness. But in the case of all who do,
shall reignnot apart from, but through righteousness unto eternal life-life in resurrection glory, the blessed consummation of that salvation of which Christ is the author, to whom, with the Father and the ever-blessed Spirit (through whose grace and power alone any are receivers of grace and the gift of righteousness)—the God of our salvation, be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
W. H. B.
THE MANIFESTATION OF GOD'S POWER.
NOTES OF ADDRESSES.
In the epistle to the Ephesians the manifestation of power is threefold: (1) the power put forth for us when God raised Christ from the dead (chap. i.); (2) the power wrought in us by the Holy Ghost (chap. iii.); (3) the power put forth by us in conflict and warfare (chap. vi.). We doubtless feel our lack of the second and third manifestations, but what we really need is, a better apprehension of the first.
In Isaiah li. 9, Israel's prayer is “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake as in ancient days !” God had revealed His arm in bringing them out of Egypt, and in giving them the land; and in the Psalms