God In RedemptionBelieve It As It Stands
The closing verses of Romans 5 have been the standing perplexity of theologians. Yet nowhere has the Holy Spirit written for our learning plainer conclusions, and never has tradition been blinder than in the treatment of this magnificent passage. Believe the passage as it stands, and the divine logic is irresistible. The Two Adams
It contains a comparison between the first and the last Adam. What the first Adam was, and is, to the whole human race, the last Adam is, and will be also, to the whole human race. This is the simple and grand logic of verses 18 and 19. "Therefore as by the offence 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 of life." Then there follows a reiteration of the comparison with its Divine logic, so that the fact might be stated again, not only as a climax in the purpose of redemption, but as a future goal in the history of the working out of the redemption of all men. "For as by one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall the many be made righteous." The insertion of the definite article, which the Authorized Version unwarrantably leaves out before the word "many" in each case, emphasizes the fact for which it was originally placed there, viz.-- that the company of the righteous is identical in person and number with the company of the sinners to which the passage refers. All Men & The Many
So that we have two phrases in these two verses, by which we can establish beyond question the identity of those under discussion. These two phrases are "ALL MEN," and "THE MANY." Of this company it is declared in the first place, that "all men" and "the many" were made sinners and come into condemnation; and in the second place, that "all men" and "the many" will be made righteous, not simply saved but made righteous. If this plain simple language-- and God could not have made it plainer-- does not mean what it says, but infers something quite the opposite, so that the comparison used is not a true one, then we may well pause to ask how ever it came about that on such a subject, and at such a climax in his argument, Paul did not tell us exactly what he meant. All Influenced By Adam's Sin? Some Affected By Christ's Cross?
If he meant that all men would be influenced by Adam's sin hopelessly and completely, but only some of the race would be affected actually by Christ's cross, here was the place to make this difference once and for all clear. Instead, however, he uses universal terms, and logical comparisons, which, if the last suggestion is true, are not only bewildering but positively untrue, without the faintest hint to the contrary. But Not As The Offence
The apostle does more than this. He introduces a vivid contrast. "But NOT AS the offence, SO ALSO is the free gift. For if through the offence of one the many be dead, much more the grace of God and the gift by grace. which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto the many." (Again the definite article should be placed where the Authorized Version has omitted it, before the word "many" in this verse). Let the reader note that the contrast here is in an absolutely opposite direction to the conclusions of ordinary theology. Most of us were taught that there was such a contrast between the effect of Adam's sin and Christ's righteousness that by the fall all were lost, and by the Cross some would be saved. The contrast here in verse 15 is the antipodes (direct opposite) of this conclusion. It is between the effect of the acts of the two Adams, and is such a contrast that the grace of God hath "MUCH MORE . . . ABOUNDED" in the Cross over the act of the first Adam. "If a human act was effectual for ruin, how much more shall a Divine act be effectual for salvation." The Apostle repeats this contrast later in the closing verse of the argument, when he sums up with the words, "where sin abounded grace did MUCH MORE ABOUND."Bursting Forth Into Super Abundance
It is incomprehensible that such reckless language would have been chosen, if the Apostle did not mean just what the words declare; especially in the entire absence of any modifying or cautionary phrases. "The compound word here implies, 'not only abounding,' that is bursting forth round about; round about all ages, round about all nations, round about all sorts: but 'superabounding'-- that surrounding all those rounds, and with surplus and advantage over-flowing all: not only abounding grace, abounding unto all, to the whole world, but grace superabounding: that is, if there were other worlds, grace would bring salvation even unto them." (Dr. Clarke).The Principle
The argument reveals the principle upon which God is working out His purpose with the human race. It declares that the principle upon which God is working to the redemption of all is the same principle by which the universal fall of man came about. Through one man's sin the whole race was involved surely and hopelessly. "Adam's offence did not merely make it possible for men to sin and merit condemnation, it made it IMPOSSIBLE for them to do otherwise."
Through another Man's righteousness therefore, even the Man of Calvary, the human race was saved, as through Adam it was lost. And as all men, born or yet unborn, will not escape the contamination and condemnation of that act of sin in Eden, so to all men there will eventually come the blessed results of that act upon Calvary. The Federal Headships
When we catch the thought of the two federal headships, the logical issue is so clear that the statement of the fact of redemption being co-extensive with the fall in its reach and results, is so evident in the passage that faith leaps to appropriate the truth.
The subject of the federal headship of Adam and Christ has been put so clearly by Pastor D. M. Panton that we cannot do better than quote at length from his pen:-- "So the Holy Ghost says: 'Through one man'-- the fountain of human blood; the sample man, because no man can deny that he too would have acted exactly as Adam did-- 'sin entered into the world, and death through sin;' entered, for both sin and death are for ever aliens in the universe of God; 'and so death passed unto all men'-- traveled (Alford) like a submarine torpedo-- 'for that all sinned' (Rom. 5:12) in Eden. When God made Adam He made all men; for the race is no aggregate of isolated and independent units, but an entity of organic and dependent generations: and, since God made of 'one blood' all the nations of men, sin introduced anywhere is sin introduced everywhere. The fall of Adam was the fall of souls at this moment not yet born; and the fact of their sinning, when born, will for ever prove the truth of the doctrine."The Solidarity Of Our Ruin
"Upon this organic fall of all in the one God builds the whole structure of redemption; for He takes this very principle of solidarity, which was our ruin, and makes that solidarity the organ of the world's salvation. 'For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners'-- sinners by a representative act, sinners by a fouled nature inherited, sinners ourselves by active choice-- 'EVEN SO'-- God taking the solidarity which ruined as the solidarity which shall redeem-- 'through the obedience of the One shall the many be made righteous.' The helpless fall of the race into death through the act of a lonely man is countered by a helpless salvation for the entire race wrought by a Man as lonely and unique. That is, God incarnate in human flesh, the Second Man, is so organically one with the race as a race-- so the Son of man, not a son of man-- that His righteousness is imputed to all as actually and as really as is Adam's sin. The first Adam was the federal head of the race; the last Adam is equally the federal head of the race; the first Adam, the Iaw-breaker, is replaced by the last Adam, the law-fulfiller: the first man acted for all mankind, and plunged the world into ruin; the Second Man acted for all mankind, and lifted the World into salvation: Adam was the author of death to all: Christ is the author of life for all."
"The Holy Ghost says: 'So then as through one trespass'-- for however often Adam sinned afterwards, we fell only by one act that introduced sin itself-- 'the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; EVEN SO'-- God turning solidarity, the organ of condemnation, into solidarity, the organ of grace-- 'through one righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life.' As Adam ruined us through sin foreign to us, without our fault; so Christ has saved us with a righteousness foreign to us, without our merit: and the Holy Spirit thus rests our entire redemption on the historical, actual, personal fall of the first man countered by the historical, actual, personal death and resurrection of the Second Man."
Elsewhere the same author, pursuing the same theme, writes "So, as one man condemns all, the Other justifies all; and both these acts are completely finished in Adam and Christ." And again, "As we were lost in Adam six thousand years before we were born, so we were saved by Christ two thousand years before our birth. We are as helpless in our salvation as we were in our fall."
It seems impossible, after such scriptural and logical reasoning, that Mr. Panton can escape the glorious issue to which Paul conducts his readers in this page. He succeeds, however, in doing so to his own satisfaction, but only by giving a turn to the passage which is unwarrantable. He writes, "It is not (as in the Old Version) that the righteousness has come upon all men, for then all men would have been saved; but it has come unto-- within reach of, offered to, within the grasp of-- all men so that no man need be lost." Mr. Panton has been obliged to do three things here to get out of his dilemma. He had not been fair in his use of the prepositions; he has given a meaning of his own to the preposition "unto"; he has stated that which is not a fact. Unto
It is correct to say that the preposition "upon" should be "unto," but that is only half the truth. The fact is that all three prepositions in the 18th verse are the same and should be "unto" in each case. This shows that with the same force with which condemnation comes unto all men, so the free gift will come unto all men. Secondly he has given to the preposition "unto" the meaning of "within reach of, offered to, within the grasp of." It is clear that this is not the meaning when the preposition is used with respect to the condemnation coming to all men. Condemnation has not only come "within reach of, or offered to, or within the grasp" of all men, it has reached them and involved them every one without exception. Also, in the majority of cases in the New Testament the preposition used here has the force of arriving at some fixed destination. Not Within The Grasp Of Man
Thirdly, the free gift has not been "offered to" all men, neither in the past nor the present. It has not come "within the grasp" of all men. Indeed, there are millions even today who know nothing whatever of the Gospel of Christ. The fact is, that in this magnificent passage the Holy Ghost has left no loophole of escape from the Divine conclusion of the ultimate salvation of all men. The terms of comparison and contrast both point to it overwhelmingly. The words used indicate it unequivocally. The very prepositions used make it unmistakable. Still further, to crown the Divine logic, the word translated "life" in verse 18 ("unto all men unto justification of life"), is not the word used constantly in the New Testament for physical, or natural life, but it is the word repeatedly used in connection with Christ and His gift of life to men. It is the word used in such passages as, "In Him was life;" and "I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly."
Add to this, what has been pointed out, the entire absence in this passage, or in the whole of Romans, of the threat of endless damnation, and you have an affirmative witness unweakened by a single negative throughout the whole passage. LINK