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Romans 5:12 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:57 mins 59 secs

Hebrews Lesson 91  June 28, 2007 


NKJ Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.


Sunday night – this Sunday night - don't forget 6 to7:30 Ike will be teaching on how to study the Bible. I think I heard a few rumors about people. I heard something like – Homework! Homework! What? What do you mean? 


It is so funny. There is a college that I won't mention that offers a free course on how to study the Bible. It is a great idea for recruiting people.  You come to college and we will give you a free course on how to study the Bible.  Everybody wants to study the Bible. They show up. They'll have a class the first night – maybe sixty, seventy people show up. Then they get a homework assignment and they have to go home and open their Bibles and think and study and learn how to eventually use Bible dictionaries or encyclopedias.


About the time they get to the second or third class when their assignments are turned back and they have 1's and 2's on them out of 10, they begin to realize that studying the Bible isn't a matter of closing your eyes in prayer and saying, "Jesus teach me what it says" – and then write down whatever comes to the front of their mind. 


It is amazing how many people think that. It is amazing how many people think that if you have the gift of pastor-teacher that you just automatically know Greek and Hebrew. Somehow people get this idea. I know a guy who was – I mean this guy is very smart and had a successful business career. He went to Dallas Seminary thinking he had the gift – and he may have had the gift of pastor-teacher – but he had such a tough time with first year Greek and he just assumed if you had the gift of pastor-teacher you would automatically be able to learn Greek that he just bailed out after that first semester. Just because you have a spiritual gift of pastor- teacher (remember that's a communication gift, it is not a study gift) - some people don't realize that. They think if you have the gift of pastor-teacher they'll automatically like to study. Well, that's not necessarily true. There are a lot of people who have the gift of pastor-teacher who know that. You have to learn how to study. Anybody can learn how to study because the gift of studying isn't a communication gift. So anyone can learn how to study the Bible and it will improve your own Bible study and help you because the principles for Bible study are basically the principles of learning how to read intelligently and understand more fully and completely that which you read. The principles in Bible study are the same as reading anything – learning how to use dictionaries, encyclopedias, learning how to do research, learning how to think through the vocabulary verbiage of everything that you read. So that's a great thing that Ike is doing on Sunday night and you don't want to miss that. It will be a challenge as technology is a challenge.


I remember (I think Ike told the same kind of story the other night) after years and years of sitting in a congregation being taught the Word of God word-by-word, line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept, isagogically, categorically, exegetically, (the whole bit) and then sitting in an inductive Bible study class my first two weeks at Dallas Seminary. I thought I was going to flunk out. That was the hardest thing I had ever had to do because you had to – as you know because I have shown you once or twice what real exegesis this is like - y'all never really been exposed to what lies behind the Bible study which is that anybody who studies the text has to learn how to just read and study and do inductive work. It is not a matter of top down – just because I know systematic theology that I can automatically understand the Scripture. It is the other way around. It is the Scripture first, then your theology - not theology and then understanding of Scripture. So it's always kind of a rude awakening and many of the people I knew who had a similar background to me had a tough time those first two or three weeks. Gradually we beat our heads against the walls long enough to where it began to make sense. Then we could figure out how to read the Scripture and understand it. It is not just a matter of some sort of mystical heebie-jeebie, liver quiver, wait and the Holy Spirit is going to open up flashing lights on the text and I am automatically going to see everything and understand everything. It takes time; it takes work; it takes thought. But it's fun. As one person entitled their book on Bible study methods – It Is the Joy of Discovery.


Before we get started in our study this evening, let's bow our heads together, open in prayer and have a few moments of silent prayer to give you a shot at using I John 1:9 if you need to and then I will open in prayer.  Let us pray.


Open your Bibles to Hebrews – Hebrews briefly - Hebrews 7:9-10.


We won't be there very long.  It has been – I don't know. What's it been?  3 weeks - 4 weeks since we were last in Hebrews. Last time was right before I went to Israel and was gone a couple of weeks in Israel and last week we had a special on the Temple.  So it has been almost a month since we were in Hebrews. 


As we have come to this last section and as a communicator sometimes I wrestle with this because I am teaching Hebrews. But, within Hebrews, within any book you run into particular verses or topics or allusions to doctrines that are very important to just understanding the flow of the author's thought. You can come to a passage where the writer throws out a word like justification or propitiation or sin or any number of things and you know that it is integral to understanding that verse, that paragraph, or that promise; but that it's not necessarily a concept that people really understand. So you have to stop and pause and almost lose the flow of thought in your study of the book just to focus in on this topic or this doctrine or this one particular thing. 


We landed on two verses in Hebrews 7:9-10 that are at the heart of the discussion on two very important topics or doctrines. One of those had to do with the origin and transmission of the soul. The other one that is always paired with it, always connected to it, has to do with the origin and transmission of the sin nature, Adam's original sin. So, both of these flow out of a certain understanding of these two verses. 


NKJ Hebrews 7:9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak,


I have corrected the translation here based on the Greek because even though most of the translations indicate the fact that you have a manner of speaking or any figure of speech something like that they throw it at the end of verse 9 so it kind of hides itself between verse 9 and verse 10. But, in the Greek this phrase is at the beginning. 


That is one of those things for those who are working on observations on Sunday night. That is what an observation is – is that this word is at the beginning of the sentence so it is in the emphatic position. That is an observation to make. 


So at the very beginning of the sentence the writer says, "In a manner of speaking," or "or in a figure of speech." 


So right away we know he is not talking literally. He is using an analogy. He says,


"Even Levi, who receives tithes."


He can't be talking about the person, the individual of Levi because Levi as a person, one of the 12 sons of Jacob, never received tithes from anybody. He was the progenitor of the Levitical tribe, but it wasn't until several generations later that the priesthood was established at Mt. Sinai, Aaron was established as the high priest, and the Levitical tribe was established as the priestly tribe. So right away he is using Levi as a figure of speech. It is indicated. It is either a synecdoche (I think) or rather a metronome where one noun is placed for another. The progenitor is placed for his descendents. So, even the use of the word Levi is a figure of speech. 


"Even Levi, who receives tithes."


That is the Levitical descendents were the ones who collected the three different tithes in Israel. 


receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham,


Now none of them were there. Abraham was the head of the new Jewish race that God had called out - the new Jewish people. It was Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob and Levi. So Levi is the third generation. Levi was not present. He was born a couple of hundred years after the events described in Genesis 14 when Abraham took his servants, defeated the armies of the four kings of the east and then brought the plunder back to Jerusalem, met with Melchizedek the high priest, and gave 10% (a tithe) of that to Melchizedek. But he is making a point. The point in the flow of the argument here as I have stated numerous times now is simply that if Abraham was subordinate to Melchizedek, then any of Abraham's descendents would also have been subordinate to Melchizedek. 


However since the early Middle Ages and sometimes I wish we were free of all theological influence from the early Middle Ages but not all of it was bad.  There was a lot that was bad based upon the allegorical hermeneutic that was used and various other problems. There was a theological development that occurred from a man that some considered being one of the greatest theologians of all time.  The Protestants call him Augustine (pronounced with a "teen").  The Roman Catholics call him Augustine (pronounced with a "tin"). He was the Bishop of Hippo which was located in North Africa. I would say he was great in the sense that he was probably the most influential – for good and for ill - theologian of the Middle Ages. 


In fact, when Luther who was an Augustinian monk… They later developed an order of monastics called the Augustinian order. Now Augustine did not found that order. I go back and forth because I did my master's work at the University of St. Thomas here in philosophy. So they taught me say Augustine (tin). It was a tough thing to do. Then I went back to Dallas Seminary and majored in church history and it was back to Augustine(teen). So I am schizophrenic in my pronunciation. So one minute it is one and the other it is another. I don't know what I am talking about. So Augustine came along and he follows the allegorical interpretation of origin. He never established a monastic order. But later a monastic order was founded in his name. 


Luther was an Augustinian monk.  Initially what Luther is simply trying to do in the Reformation is to get the Roman Catholic Church to go back to Augustinian theology which he thought was the benchmark of orthodoxy.  But as he studies the Scripture more as you move through 1516 towards 1517 and Luther begins to write a commentary on Romans and he is studying Galatians and he comes to understand the doctrine of justification by faith alone, that it is not based on works at all.  Initially it is this influence of Augustine. 


So much of his theology even though – let's say (start over here) here is biblical truth.  During the period from about 500 up through 1500 the – let's use a vertical display.  Let's say here is biblical truth. There is the departure from biblical truth and apostasy (falling away from the truth) during the Middle Ages where it gets extremely distorted and perverted. By the 14th and 15th centuries you are down here. Luther makes major changes and he gets up to here.  Where he makes his big shift is at the most important area, which is in the soteriological doctrines. But in ecclesiology he is still not very far away from Rome. In his understanding of communion he holds to something called consubstantiation which a lot of people really don't know how to distinguish between transubstantiation which is the Roman Catholic view that the elements, the substance which is an Aristotelian concept of the bread and the wine actually changed (trans) the substance into the body and the blood of Christ. Luther's view was that the body and the blood of Christ are still with the physical element. That is why he uses the term "con" meaning with - consubstantiation. But that is not a memorial view which is what we hold. So he's still really close in his views on total depravity as total inability, his views on some other aspects. He is very, very Augustinian. Augustinian theology deeply affected John Calvin. They are still a-millennial. They are not literally interpreting the later stages - eschatology in terms of pre-millennialism. 


So it's only as the decades go by as you go through the 16th century - 1520, 1530, get down to about 1560. Then other men come along, the second generation of reformers, and they begin to more consistently apply this concept of literal interpretation and sola Scriptura to various theological areas so that by the time you have the shift to the next century in the early 1600's, you begin to have men going back to a literal view of prophecy and becoming pre-millenialists. That is what you study in the history of doctrine. The history of theology is how these movements change and are affected. 


So when Augustine came along and read this as he was trying to deal with the transmission of the sin nature, he developed a view that became known as seminalism – that the entire human race was physically and actually within Adam when Adam sinned so that with Adam's sin the whole human race is also sinning. It is not representational. It is not federal. That is a term that comes along later on. It is based on Hebrews 7:9-10. This also affects the view of the origin and transmission of the soul, the view we studied as traducianism. So this verse becomes a key verse for both of those.  Both of those aspects, both of those understandings of the origin and transmission of the soul and the origin and transmission of the sin nature, are connected to one another. So that is why I am taking the time in a number of different lessons to go through these things and try to explain them a little more clearly. The idea that the totality of man including the soul originates through physical means, it transmitted physically all of man, immaterial, material, is called traducianism. That was originated by an early church father in the 3rd century by the name of Tertullian. What most people don't point out is that Tertullian was a thorough materialist. He believed that there was no immaterial part of man. It was all material.


Then we studied the theology of creationism that came along. That is the idea that the physical body is transmitted mediately through procreation, but that the soul was independently created and imparted by God at birth. That became known as creationism. Creationism is usually associated with a federal view of the transmission of the sin nature. We will get into that a little later. And seminalism and traducianism go together. I pointed out in the last lesson that often in theology you find people polarized. 


You will hear one theologian and he'll say. "This is the way it is."


He will outline various verses to support his position. 


Somebody else comes along and says, "Here is the other position and here are 3 or 4 verses to support it."


Sometimes they are both emphasizing things and there is a way to pull them together. There are different aspects that are true about one; other aspects that are true about the other. So the idea that the sin nature is transmitted physically and that not merely is the sin nature transmitted physically but the corruption and the guilt of Adam's original sin is transmitted physically is known as seminalism. This is the view that in Romans 5:12 we have the statement:


NKJ Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world,


How does sin enter the world? 


and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned –


How does death, the condemnation of Adam's sin, how does that spread to all men? Is this done physically? Was the human race seminally present or was Adam the representative head?


One of the proponents of seminalism was the 19th century Calvinist reformed theologian by the name of William G T Shedd who is quoted quite frequently as are many others in e iHeLewis Sperry Chafer's Systematic Theology. I took the time to go through some of Shedd's today. Shedd explains Romans 5:12 by saying:


In this case Adam and his posterity existed together and sinned together as a unity. The posterity (that would be us) would not vicariously be represented in the first sin because representation implies the absence of the party represented. But they sinned the first sin being seminally existent and present and this first sin is deservedly imputed to them because in this generic matter it was committed by them.


That is his explanation of seminalism.


I have defined seminalism as "that the entire human race, body and soul, was genetically present in Adam". Then I go on to add that "it is usually connected to the Traducianist view of the soul". 


Now Shedd who is a seminalist describes federalism the following way.  He says:


In this case Adam as an individual distinct from Eve and distinct from his posterity whom in respect to the soul, he did not seminally include sinned representatively and vicariously (that is as a substitute) for his non-existent and absent posterity as their vicar and representative. He disobeyed the Eden statute and their room and place precisely as Christ obeyed the moral law in respect to both precept and penalty as the vicar and representative of His people. The sin of Adam consequently is imputed to his posterity in the very same way that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer.


This is where I think he makes his logical flaw. 


  Undeservedly or gratuitously


In other words that the rest of the human race in his view (because he doesn't agree with federalism) he says, "All you are doing is undeservedly imputing Adams sin to the rest of the human race. They didn't make that decision; Adam did." 


Now the solution that I am going to teach and develop is that there are elements of both that are true.  Christ is physically and genetically related to the entire human race and the entire human race is viewed as an integral whole in that sense. That is why the Second Person of the Trinity had to become a human being and an angel couldn't die for us even though an angel would be righteous; but, a human being had to die for us because there is this genetic thing that ties the whole human race together. Whereas you don't have salvation of that type among the angels because among the angels there is no genetic unity.  Each angel is created individually. They don't marry and produce baby angels. You didn't start off with two angels and then they got married and procreated and made other angels so that there is a genetic unity among the angels. They are all different. So you couldn't come up with an angel that was genetically related to all the angels that could die for the other angels. God's plan for man was that there would be this genetic unity so that one human being could die for the rest. So there is clearly a seminal or genetic connection that is important. 


But Jesus dies as our substitute. The term there is vicarious substitute. That is usually where we see the term vicarious and because of the priestly idea in the Roman Catholic Church that sort of bled over into the Anglican Church in England. Remember the Anglican Church (the British reformation) did not start because they had leaders in the Anglican Church who came to biblical truth and then reformed the church from the bottom up. There were numerous pastors and theologians in the Roman Catholic Church in England in the late 1510's and 1520's who were reading Luther and later Calvin who were coming to reformation convictions, but that is not what caused the split in England. What caused the split in England was the desire to produce a male heir. Henry couldn't get a male heir produced so he wanted a divorce from Catherine. 


The pope wouldn't give him a divorce so he said, "Well, I will start my own church." 


Remember Henry VIII is the one who earlier had written a rebuttal. He was brilliant. He wrote a rebuttal of Luther to Luther's position on justification by faith alone for which the pope gave the king, the monarch of England, the title Defender of the Faith. To this day Elizabeth II is known as the Defender of the Faith. Where did she get that title? She got it by inheritance from Henry VIII who got it because before he split from the Roman Catholic Church. He wrote a paper, a theological treatise against Martin Luther. See you didn't know that. That's free of charge - an extra bit of historical insight for the night.


So Henry decides he wants to get a divorce. So because he wanted a divorce, you have a top down reformation in England. 

But when you take western civilization taught by a secular atheist who doesn't know anything about church history and hates Christianity what they will tell you is that it didn't have anything to do - he will completely ignore the dimension of theology and theological shift that was already occurring from the bottom up in England. It was happening everywhere. It just hadn't percolated to the top yet. So in England you have this slightly different shift that takes place with the Anglican Church. 


Now I got off on the Anglican Church and forgot why I ran down that anacoluthon…Oh, I know why – because they called their pastors vicars. They got that from a holdover from the Catholic Church. Why? Because this view of the priest as a substitute.  You will see that in reference to Anglican pastors. They call them the vicars. In the Roman Catholic Church the pope is called the Vicar of Christ. It is the idea of a representative or substitute. So when I read the quote from Shedd twice he used the term "vicarious". I recognize that it is not a term that most people use in their everyday vocabulary. I won't embarrass anybody and say, "How many people have used that word in the last year?" but I bet no hands would go up, except for maybe one or two of you. I got a couple of dirty looks when I said that so I knew somebody had used that word.


So Shedd says that his basic thing is that Adam can't be simply a vicar, a representative of the rest of human race. So he rejects out of hand the whole idea of federal theology. Now there is another kinky little twist that comes into this theologically. And that is that federal headship by some people seems to be linked inextricably to covenant theology. However people in the reformed position are either seminalists or federalists and they are all covenant theologians. So I don't know why I have seen this within the last 50 or 60 years that the federal representative idea seems to be always linked. 


It seems like somebody comes up with an idea and then they teach it and they are a known name. 


The next thing you know everybody else is teaching that and nobody goes back and says, "Wait a minute. What is the basis for that?"


So we have federalism which is the view that Adam stood as the head and the representative of the human race. Adam's decisions were on behalf of all humanity. He is the designated representative. 


I think both are true – that he is physically related to everyone and so there is a physical dimension to the transmission of sin in terms of the sin nature and there is a federal representative concept that his sin is the basis for the imputation of Adam's original sin to the physically transmitted corruption or what we also call the sin nature. So that is how they link together. There are elements of both that are true. 


The issue is on Adam's original sin which is a technical term for the first act of willful disobedience to God committed by the first man (meaning male human, Adam) in the Garden of Eden. It wasn't Eve's disobedience that caused it. The only thing that affected was her. But, Adam's sin affected him and all of his progeny. 


Let's look at this chart. I broke this out. I got this out of a Moody Handbook of Theology. I thought it was a nice helpful little chart -  Moody Handbook of Theology edited by Paul Enns. 


It gives you these views. There are actually four views. I have only talked about the two views of seminalism and federalism, but there are actually four.

  1. The first is the Pelagian view. Some of you are probably going, "What's Pelagian?" Well, Pelagius (that was his name) was a British monk who lived in the 5th century at the same time as Augustine. He came to Rome and he was teaching that everybody was born in the same neutrality as Adam. In fact Adam's sin only affected Adam.  It didn't affect anybody else so everybody has what he called pure free will. Now earlier against the Manicheans… See you are getting a real history lesson tonight. The Manicheans were a Persian group that held to dualism of good and evil and strict fatalism. Earlier when Augustine was debating them, he wrote a tract called On Freewill. He argued for human free will over against fatalism. But then when Pelagius came along, Pelagius is teaching that man is totally free - that sin doesn't affect anything – Adam's sin just affected Adam.  Augustine seems to swing more towards what seems like a fatalistic position. You are aware of the fact there is a historic debate usually referred to as the Calvinist-Arminian debate. Well, that was 1,000 years later. The original debate was between Augustine and Pelagius. If you ever want to study this thing out to its fullest extent (which most of you probably won't), you have got to start with Augustine and Pelagius. So here is Pelagius' view. On Romans 5:12 he said that people incurred death when they sin after Adam's example. See if they don't sin, they don't die. According to Pelagius, it is theoretically possible that someone could be born and not ever chose to sin and they aren't spiritually dead.  They won't ever die physically. They would just go on forever. His view of Adam was that Adam sin affected Adam alone. It did not affect anybody else. It didn't affect his descendents. It didn't affect Cain, Abel, Seth, Noah, Abraham or you. His view of humanity is that no one is affected by Adam's sin at all.  Modern adherents of this view are Unitarians. This is a view that men, human beings are basically good. That expresses itself mostly in a political party, but we won't go there. If you want to understand that go read Thomas Sewel's book Conflict of Visions where he argues historically the basic difference between - I am not going to say republican and a democrat because I am fed up with both of them – but, between a conservative and a liberal is that conservatives believe in the total depravity of man, that man is basically evil. This is an economist talking. This is not a theologian.  He argues historically that the difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals believe that man is basically good and conservatives believe man is basically bad. Everything flows out of that presupposition. Just read his preface to his book, Conflict of Vision. It's fabulous. That's the Pelagian view. 
  2. Now we will go to the Armianian view. Who was Arminius? His name was Jacob Arminius or James Arminius. He was a Dutch Calvinist. He started off as a strong follower of John Calvin.  He taught theology in Holland. As his view developed, he died somewhat early before the great controversy that bears his name. His view of Romans 5:12 was that all people consent to Adam's sin and then sin is imputed. So everybody makes a volitional decision that goes along with Adam's sin and then his sin is imputed to them. Again we start off; they are not really dead; they are sick.  They are not spiritually dead, just spiritually sick. There is a lot of human ability that they can still do. His view of Adam is that Adam sinned and partially affected humanity. They are not all dead in Adam's sin.  His view of humanity is that depravity is not total. Now let me stop a minute and explain that term – very important term. 


Depravity has to do with the fact that man is not holy or righteous, but he is depraved. He has been affected by sin and corrupted. The word total means that depravity extends to every aspect of his being and his person. It doesn't mean that he is as depraved as he could be, but that every aspect of his being is equally depraved. Of course people are not as bad as they could be. People can do good. Jesus told his disciples:


NKJ Matthew 7:11 "If you then, being evil,


Because they are fallen creatures


know how to give good gifts to your children…


Even though you have a fallen nature, you are evil, you are corrupt; you can do relative good. But it is not a good that can merit God's approval.  So the Arminian view is that depravity is not total. They are sick; they are not dead. People received a corrupt nature from Adam, but they don't receive his guilt or culpability. Modern adherents to this view are Methodists, Wesleyans, Pentecostals, Holiness groups, charismatics, Nazarene Church.  Those are all parts of the holiness groups. They have inherently an Armenian view of the imputation of sin. 

  1. Then we come to the federal view. In the federal view, the sin is imputed to humanity because of Adam's sin. So Adam's sin affects every single human being. Adam alone sinned, but the human race is affected. When it comes to the human race, depravity is total. Sin and guilt are imputed.  Adam's original sin is imputed to every member of the human race. And those who hold this are primarily Presbyterians or any one affected in some form of reformed theology. Historically those would be denominations like Congregationalists but they are all very liberal Arminian now. Many Calvinistic Baptists back in the 18th century in England Baptists were all hyper-Calvinists. They didn't even believe you needed to witness to anybody because if God wants them to get saved, He will save them without any help from you or me. So that was a hyper-Calvinist.  Various groups hold to some form of covenant theology or reformed theology. 
  2. Then there is the Augustinian view that sin is imputed to humanity because of Adam's sin. Their view of Adam is that humanity sinned in Adam.  They are physically seminally present in Adam.  Depravity in terms of the human race is total. Sin and guilt are imputed. Now for you more consistent Calvinist, or full Calvinist, or 5- point Calvinist, they would go a step further. They don't just talk about total depravity; they talk about total inability which means that man cannot do anything. He can't even exercise a non-meritorious positive volition or faith. Faith is an extra special kind of faith that is given by God at salvation. Once again it almost goes full circle and ends up back in Arminianism in sort of a back door introduction of works sort of way. The Augustinian view is also held by many in the reformed camp and also by - since they are in the reformed camp they hold to covenant theology. So those two views are held by numerous different people - Louis Sperry Chafer, many other dispensationalists hold to one or the other of these two views. Dispensationalism has never been an Arminian system.


The key verse, the key passage that has to be exegeted in relationship to this that is always referred to in conjunction with the passage in Hebrews 7 is Romans 5:12-21. So we are going to take a few weeks to work our way through this very, very important passage.


Romans 5:12 begins with the statement


NKJ Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned --


Now let me make a couple of observations for those of you who are trying to learn how to study the Bible under Ike because I know that some of you are trying to figure out what an observation is. An observation is saying – this is a conclusion. It has a therefore at the beginning. Whenever you see a therefore you see what it is there for. Therefore means it is a conclusion of something. 


Then the next word is "just as." That tells you there is a comparison that is being made, or a contrast. Ike will talk about groupings in comparison contrast things like that. 


just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus


What is thus?  Thus indicates another inference or conclusion.


and thus death spread to all men,  


Why? Because. Now you have a causal statement. So you have a number of little terms in there that are very important to spot. 


Dr. Johnson who was the head of the Greek Department at Dallas for many years and a great theologian even though he is a 5-point supralapsarian hyper-Calvinist, he did a good job teaching Greek. He always made the point that you had better pay attention to your little bitty words because the little bitty words are often more important to understand the flow of thought and the meaning than your verbs and nouns. Watch the therefore's, the wherefore's, and so's and as's and all those little connectives that we refer to.


So this passage starts off with a therefore, but it is not your normally expected particle of inference which is oun. It is the phrase dia touto in the Greek which literally means for this reason or through this reason, on this ground. It describes the ground, the motive or the cause of something. So what is the something that this is the ground of?  Is this concluding what he has been saying in Romans 5 or is this concluding what he is saying in the broader section of Romans 1:18 -5:11? 


That is another thing that those of you who are taking the Bible study methods have to deal with when you deal with context. How does this fit in a broader context? This comes (Romans 5:12-21) at the end of a lengthy section – the first major section in the book of Romans which begins in 1:18 - 1:1 – 17 is your introduction.  1:18-5:21 is your first section.  And so the "therefore" in Romans 5:12 isn't concluding what was said in 5:1-11. It is not concluding 4 and 5.  It is drawing a conclusion from the entire first section of Romans which built one major argument and it is going to end Paul's discussion of the doctrines of what we would call salvation, soteriology, justification and reconciliation. Romans 6 is going to begin his discussion of the spiritual life. He has built to this grand climax and now he says:


 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world,


He is excited. He builds this comparison. He is so excited. As he gets into it he realizes, "Wait a minute. I need to expand on this a little bit."


So he takes verses 13 and 14 to go down a rabbit trail called an anacoluthon. He kind of sidesteps to explain himself a little more fully. Then he decides he didn't do a good enough job. He is so excited that he comes back in 15, 16, and 17 and he does it again.  So twice he explains himself to get across the first part of this comparison. You never get the second part of the comparison until you get down to verse 18. Then he has to start all over again. In 5:18 he says:


NKJ Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men,


See the "as through"?  That's parallel to what he says here.

even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.


That's the other side of the comparison. He is going to draw this contrast and comparison between the way sin enters the world through Adam and the way sin is paid for by the Second Adam, Jesus Christ. But in between he has to make sure people really understand what he is talking about. 


This is a tough little passage to deal with because he is excited. He jumps around. He stops and starts up somewhere else which is called an aposiopesis.  (Don't you just love these fun words? You never heard them in any literature class you took, but in Bible study methods you get to learn all these great things.) He stops abruptly because he is so pent up with so much to say and then he jumps to something else to fully explain it. There is a loss of transition there that is represented in the translation by that double hyphen that's there. The translators recognize that verses 13 and 14 are really an expansion and development of what he has been trying to say.


So he starts off saying, "Because of everything I have said up to this point..."


So this section is going to amplify or expand on the entire previous section and it gives a conclusion for the first section of the epistle.


Then the next phrase indicates that he is building on a comparison. He says hosper in the Greek – just as. He is going to compare two things. When you see that you expect to have two different parts to this comparison contrast, but you only have one in 5:12. This introduces a comparison and contrast between the first Adam and the Second Adam. So it is important to understand this parallel between what Adam does with his sin – how that is imputed and transmitted to the human race and what Jesus Christ does on the cross - how that is imputed and transmitted to the human race.


It says and he uses the word anthropos rather that Adam here. He later identifies in verse 14. We know it is Adam for sure. But here he uses the generic anthropos which speaks of the human being. 


through one man sin entered the world


Here we have the Greek word hamartia. You have the noun twice. You have the verb hamartano once. But they all have the idea of missing the mark. The mark is the righteous standard of God. That is what sin is.  Sin is not a violation of your parent's rules. It is not a violation of your friend's rules. It is not a violation of school rules or company policy. Sin is a violation of God's character. That's why in Psalm 51 when David confesses his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, the murder of Uriah the Hittite, he certainly hurt a lot of people. His sin had enormous consequences for numerous people. 


But he says to God, "Against thee and thee only have I sinned." 


Why? Because sin by definition is a violation of God's character, not anybody else's. So sin isn't defined by its impact on human relations or human standards, but divine standards. So it is through one man that sin enters the world. Now we will have to come back and talk about that a little bit because in the singular here it's not talking about personal sin which would be a plural as much as it is talking about the principle of sin, i.e. the sin nature – this constitutional corruption and guilt that not only changed Adam but changes all of his progeny so that not only does Adam become spiritually dead; but all of his progeny are born spiritually dead but physically alive. Now this is one of several words that are used in the Bible for sin. 


I just have time to run through two or three of them tonight. I am going to come back with a complete list of Hebrews terms for sin as well as Greek words for sin. These four that I am giving you tonight hamartia being the first give you an idea. All are used in this passage, Romans 5:12-21.


  1. Hamartia is used 3 times in verse 12. That ought to tell you something about its significance. It is used several more times in the remainder of the passage.
  2. The next word is parabasis. It means offense. If is from a verb meaning to transgress or to break the law. That is its root meaning. Transgression means to violate a law, to break a law, to transgress its commandments. Parabasis is used in Romans 2:23, 4:15, 5:14, Galatians 3:19, I Timothy 2:14, Hebrews 2:2, and 9:15.
  3. Now a word that sounds similar but they are not related is our third word for sin used in this passage. That is paraptoma. Paraptoma means to fall by the wayside. It is sometimes translated transgress; but is has the idea of that which is a violation of moral standards - the idea of wrong doing.  It is used 19 times in the New Testament and 5 of those (that's almost 25% of its uses in the New Testament) is in Romans 5. So that tells us it is a very significant word. It is used in synonymous constructions with hamartia and hamatano
  4. The fourth word that is used in this passage is parakoe which refers to an act of disobedience, violating a command, doing that which is wrong.


So these are four words, four synonyms for sin that are all used in Romans 5.


Now let's just have about 5 or 6 points before we finish up just in terms of the introduction of this concept. 


  1. There are different uses for the word "sin" in the Bible. Sometimes it refers to personal sins; sometimes it refers to the sin nature. Now there is some debate among scholars as to what "nature" is and that gets abstruse. Basically it refers to the basic orientation, corruption of our being - of who we are in the image of God. There is a corruption; a death that occurs. So the first point is that there are different uses for the word sin.  We have to distinguish between personal sins and the sin nature. 
  2. A second use beyond personal sins, it that which has to do with capacity of the sin nature. I am going to use the term sin nature; but I try to use synonyms like corruption, guilt, spiritual death - all of which go together. It is not just sin nature. Then we have to discuss where this corruption lies.  That is what it is.  It is not like it is some little thing that is in your soul somewhere and your body somewhere. It is a corruption like the nerves in your body.  It extends through everything and impacts everything.
  3. The third point is sin is sin because it violates His character, violates His righteous standard. It's not a violation of God's law. Somebody will put it that way because law is more of an expression of God's character – what lies behind God's law. What do we mean by God's law? It's easy to confuse a phrase God's law with the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Law. It's God's character.  It is His being.  It's His very core righteousness. That is what is being violated. So sin is sin because it violates God's character, specifically His righteousness. 
  4. Sin first entered the universe through a creature known as – the King James Version translated the name Lucifer but in the Hebrew it is Heylel Ben Shahar. We come to know him later as Satan or the devil. His fall is described and his sin is described Ezekiel 28:11-15 and Isaiah 14:12-14. 


I was going to spend a little more time on that tonight. I am not now. We are out of time. It is sad. We live in an era when theologians have come up with a lot of reasons why (I don't think they hold water at all.) Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 don't refer to the fall of Satan. This has theological implications that are very discomforting, but also exegetical problems and some other things. It is sort of a pop thing to do. 


What probably happened is two or three professors who didn't know each other went off and they studied in Oxford or Cambridge or at Aberdeen or Edinburgh or Basil or some place over in Europe and some liberal theologian said, "Ah. I just can't believe that." 


And they were somewhat impressed with his argument and they came back. So they wrote a commentary on Isaiah and said, "That this doesn't refer to Satan at all.  It refers to some mythological being." 


Somebody picked that up and said, "Oh that sounds so scholarly.  I am so impressed." 


Then they put it into a study Bible. Ryrie Study Bible and Scofield Study Bible are about the only ones I know that are left (the Hayse Study Bible) that still hold to Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28 as referring to the fall of Satan. So if you have got the NIV or you've got the Thomas Nelson Study Bible or you have the NEP Bible or any of these others they will probably have in their study notes that this really doesn't refer to the fall of Satan, although some believe that. It is like we are just a bunch of ante-deluvian Neanderthals who still believe in stuff like that.


A number of years ago I read a fabulous PhD dissertation written by an individual who did a very good job of utilizing all of the Semitic languages and researching every known myth of the ancient Near East – Canaanite myths, Acadian myths, - and he came back and said, "There is no myth that even bears a resemblance to this." 


Not only that, but the eternal exegetical evidence of Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 clearly indicates that this is a supernatural being. No human being could ever fit this. This can't be dismissed as metaphor or hyperbole or any of the other things that people try to come up with simply because the evidence for that isn't there.  So the first sin in the universe is Satan.


  1. The second determinative sin in the universe (I said determinative sin – there were angels that followed Satan and they sinned) but the second determinative sin is that of Adam in Genesis 3. 
  2. That sin impacts us in two primary areas. One is imputed sin. The other is the sin nature or this constitutional defect referred to as death. 


NKJ Genesis 2:17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it


Not 900 years later, but in the day you eat it. 


you shall surely die."


This is not physical death is substantiated in Ephesians 2:1-2 where in Ephesians 2:1  Paul says:


NKJ Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,


So this death is a spiritual death (not a physical death) because he is talking to the Ephesians who at one time were physically alive but were dead.  They had to be made alive. That is why you have to be regenerated. It is because you were previously spiritually dead. That is not just a theological term or nomenclature. It refers to the fact that something was lost when Adam sinned, something that is gained and acquired at regeneration and something that enables us to have eternal life and be justified.


So that is a little more introduction on seminalism and federalism. We have begun our study of Romans 5:12 and following. We will continue that next week.


With our heads bowed and our eyes closed…