Pastor’s Class Notes
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 5:14b “. . .[Adam], who is the figure of Him that
was to come.”
Adam prefigured Christ in that what he did had effects that extended far beyond himself. The lives of both men had far-reaching consequences and influenced the world.
However, this is as far as the similarities go. Though they were alike in this way, they were infinitely different in other ways. Adam’s work brought destruction; Christ brought salvation. Jesus had to undo what Adam began. In the next verses Adam and Christ are “compared by contrast”:
Romans 5:15 “But not as the offense, so also is the free
gift. For if through the offense of one
many be dead, much more the grace of God,
and the gift by grace, which is by one man,
Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”
The cumbersome first sentence of this verse means “there is no comparison between the offense and the free gift of God.” If damage could flow over the whole race from the deed of one man, “much more” certain is it that blessing can flow to the whole race from the deed of God incarnate.
Adam was merely a man made in the image of God, but Jesus was God made in the image of man. Jesus can meet at all points the destructive consequences of Adam’s deed.
It would be impossible for Adam to spew out a poison which Jesus could not negate. Christ’s antidote is more than adequate. The stream of grace always runs deeper and wider than the stream of guilt.
Romans 5:16 “And not as it was by one that sinned, so is
the gift: for the judgment was by one to
condemnation, but the free gift is of many
offenses unto justification.”
The first phrase of this verse means “there is no comparison between the results of that first sin, and the gift of God.” The one deed of Adam caused a weak nature to be passed to all men. As a result, men inevitably choose the way of death and the path to condemnation.
This much is inevitable, just because of Adam’s one deed. But there is even worse news. We compound the problem by adding ever more evil deeds of our own. We are hindered by many sins in addition to the one committed by Adam.
But Christ delivers us from them all. He offers us justification as a free gift from (KJV: of) many offenses. The deed of Christ outweighs all the total weight of evil that has emanated from Adam’s deed, plus whatever else we add to it.
Romans 5:17 “For if by one man’s offense 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.)”
As all the pains of death came upon the race from one man, Adam, even so all the blessings of salvation spring from one other man, Jesus Christ. Just as you received death from another man’s hand, even so you must receive life from Another.
Death has tyrannized the race into subjection. It is a malignant dictator that knows nothing of “consent by the governed.” Death has reigned from Adam to this day. Individuals, families, and nations die. Every funeral and graveyard should remind us that dust will someday be our home.
However, there can be victory, even over death. If we are subject to death because of a deed we did not personally commit, how much more shall we be saved by a a righteousness we voluntarily embrace. There is more life in the medicine of Christ than there is death in the wound of Adam.
No one can complain of being cheated by Adam. God has provided a way whereby men can undo the negative factors passed on by Adam. You have no right to complain. Acquittal has been placed within your reach.
But do notice that this grace is something which must be received. You must consciously accept what Christ has done in your behalf. God has never yet taken from us the power to commit spiritual suicide.
Christ takes no one by force. Unlike death, Jesus enters a life only at the consent of the individual. And once He enters, He lifts us to His throne of glory. He transforms us from slaves into kings. He casts death into a dungeon, and sets the beggar upon a throne.
He makes us kings, and intends for us to rule in the domain of life. Though Christians usually content themselves to live in their own strength, it is possible for them to live like a king, ruling in victory over sin and death. In Jesus we have “abundance.”
When the Japanese invaded the Philippines, the U.S.A. had several thousand troops on the islands, but not nearly enough to stop the hordes thrown against them. However, they fought bravely on Bataan, and made the enemy pay dearly for every gain. The soldiers hoped against hope that reinforcements would soon arrive. But our naval fleet was too crippled. There were no reinforcements. The soldiers had to be abandoned.
About a year later, the U.S. was ready to launch its counteroffensive, beginning in the Solomon Islands. As news of the fierce battle at Guadalcanal reached home, the government tried to calm fears that the tragedy of Bataan would reoccur. The Secretary of the Army assured the mothers of America that this time there would be no failure due to a lack of materials. He said, “There is twice as much food as the soldiers can eat; there is twice as much ammunition as the soldiers can fire; there are twice as many nurses and doctors as would ordinarily be needed in any military engagement; there are twice as many medical supplies as could be needed;
there are twice as many airplanes as are possessed by the enemy! We are prepared for every contingency.”
Rest assured that God deals with us as in the latter example, not the former. God never had a Bataan with regard to His children in spiritual warfare. All of God’s gifts come to us in abundance. He always has more to give than we are willing to receive.
However much you draw from his supply, there is always more. Spanish coins before 1492 displayed the Strait of Gibraltar with the inscription, “No more beyond.” But after the discovery by Columbus, Spain changed the inscription to read “more beyond.” In our dealings with Jesus, there is always “more beyond”: abundantly more!
Romans 5:18 “Therefore as by the offense of one judgment
came upon all men to condemnation; even
so by the righteousness of one the free
gift came upon all men unto justification
We know from the context that both possibilities set forth in this verse come upon men as a voluntary act on their own part. We do not inherit condemnation, nor do we inherit salvation.
Neither the offense of Adam nor the cross of Jesus does in itself settle our everlasting destiny. Eternity hinges solely upon the willful rejection or willful acceptance of Jesus. However, at the same time it must be stated that the choice is forced upon us because of Adam’s offense and Christ’s death. Because of those two events, men must decide.
RM 5:19 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were
made sinners, so by the obedience of
one shall many be made righteous.”
Adam disobeyed; Christ obeyed. Adam’s sin was disobedience, the transgression of a plain and express command. The thing he did had been explicitly forbidden. The result involved disaster for the race.
But God set us right according to the way we went wrong–by one man. The disobedience of Adam ruined us, but the obedience of Jesus provides the means whereby we can be saved.
The root of our trouble can be traced to someone other than ourselves. Hence it is appropriate that the source of our salvation can be traced to someone other than ourselves.
We do not die physically because we are in ourselves bad; neither do we live spiritually because we are in ourselves good. You must look beyond yourself to the pure One who died in your place.
Conclusion: The words of H. G. Spafford express it well:
My sin–oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Oh, my soul!
O please do not reject Jesus. It is inconceivable that you would do so. Nevertheless, it is possible. You can reject Jesus. You have the awesome right to tramp over Calvary and spit at the cross, but if you do, the result will be everlasting condemnation. Do not even contemplate such a thing. Flee to the Savior for His righteousness.