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Romans 5:12-14 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:56 mins 37 secs

Hebrews Lesson 95    July 26, 2007 


NKJ Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."


We are in Romans 5:12 and we've been working our way into this trying to answer the question related to the transmission of sin and guilt in the human race. This is a very important issue because the very root of this has to do with how believers handle the guilt of sin and personal sin. After salvation of course, that is related to confession and I John 1:9. But this is such a problem for so many Christians.


In fact, recently there was a young man from our extended congregation who attended (I will say) a Christian conference. He spent a couple of weeks there. It was mostly high school, college age people there at the conference. The leader of his group was college-aged kid. He said that they were so caught up with dealing with their own personal sins. Everybody seemed to be so overwhelmed with guilt and so focused on the fact that they committed sin and what could they do about this? And nobody understood the principle of I John 1:9 and nobody including the group leader really had a good handle on how the cross really wipes out the condemnation of sin and how we are free and have liberty in Christ and rather than focusing on the sin and the failure, focus on the grace provision of God. It just comes down to a failure to understand a lot of things that we have in passages like this. It is because these things are not taught very well today in many cases. 


As I was studying this and working through a number of issues, one of the commentaries that I consulted which is a recent commentary by a well-known professor at an evangelical seminary makes the comment that this is the position of the vast majority of scholars. The basic understanding of Romans 5 is that it relates to sin and guilt, but it is not taught today because everybody is so afraid they are going to teach something and somebody won't quite understand it and they won't come back. So they just keep watering everything down. These are the kind of passages you can't water down. It takes a lot of time to work through them because as you initially read a passage like this in the English it seems to us that it is saying one thing when in fact it is saying something else. But we get confused because of the way we use a lot of terms in our everyday Christian American evangelical jargon and we don't use them the same they are used scripturally or biblically number one and number 2 in the Scripture there is a certain ambiguity that is only resolved if you stop and think logically about what is being said. Then it clears itself up. For example as we get into Romans 5:12 Paul starts off with this conclusion.


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 frankly there are a couple of things in here that can be clarified by amplifying the translation based on the original language. But before we get into that let me just remind you of the overview of this section.


Verse 12 begins this comparison and contrast between the entry of sin into the human race through one man and salvation through the one Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. So there is the comparison and contrast between the first Adam and the Second Adam. 


In verses 13 and 14 we have an aside that begins, that deals with the issue of sin and death and qualifies what kind of sin and death he is talking about. Therein lies part of the confusion, because the word sin is used three ways in the New Testament. You have Adam's original sin, the sin nature and personal sin. And then death is used at least 7 different ways in Scripture to describe physical death, spiritual death, positional death, carnal death - all these different kinds of death that you have in the Scripture that we have gone over in the past. You have to stop and think about what we are talking about here. 


Then when we come to the passages such as the end of the verse or phrase where it says "because all sinned" - is that personal sin or is that a corporate sin that was a sin in Adam. The understanding that this is a corporate sin in Adam is what I referred to a minute ago. That is the correct understanding, the proper understanding of the vast majority of Bible expositors down through the centuries. Just a minority have diverged from that trying to make it personal sin. We will talk about that a little bit more as we go through the class tonight. The basic problem if you make it personal sin, then condemnation is related to your personal sin. That is a heavy burden to bear. This passage rejects that whole idea that your condemnation is based on your personal sin. Yet so many Christians or unbelievers are caught up with the fact that God is condemning them for their personal sin. Then when they are saved they have a really hard time understanding how to deal with their post-salvation personal sins because for them they think this is the basis for all the condemnation of God. 

Now when we look at the issue of personal sin we also have to understand some various other aspects in terms of Christ's substitutionary work and we will do that as we go through the lesson tonight.


So verse 12 begins the comparison. Verses 13 and 14 give a qualification related to the kind of sin, kind of death being covered. Verses 15 through 17 then contrast Christ and Adam in terms of the one issue that is the point of the analogy and then verses 18-21 bring out that one point of the connection which emphasizes the fact that Adam's sin affects the whole race and the comparison is that just as one man's action affected the whole race in terms of the first Adam so another man (the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Adam) one Man's actions can affect the entire human race. 


So we come to the expanded translation emphasizing the articles in the original Greek. It should be understood that:


Just as through one man the sin entered the world


And as I pointed out last time this is a use of the Greek article that is defined as par excellence. Now that doesn't mean that it is indicating something that is qualitatively high. It is simply setting apart a particular thing from everything else within its category. So it is not talking about just any sin, it is talking about a particular sin that is unique and distinct from all other sins.


So Paul writes:


Just as through one man the sin


Not just sin, not just evil, not some sort of nebulous abstract general principle of sin entering into human history, but the sin - the sin of Adam – that sin that we refer to as Adam's original sin. 


entered the world and the death.


Once again the use of the article there is going to distinguish this death from all these other kinds of death. He is not talking about physical death. So many people read physical death into the penalty for sin. It is a consequence of the penalty as we have seen, but it is not the penalty. So it is this death that comes in through the sin. 

And then the last part or the conclusion of that verse as we have seen "thus" is the Greek word houtos which indicates thus, that is "in this manner" death spread to all men because all sinned. It is the "all sinned" that is the issue. Is it that all sinned personally or all sinned corporately? As I pointed out already we have the issue of whether this is talking about all sinned personally or whether all sinned in terms of some sort of participation in Adam's original sin. Now if this is "all sinned personally" that would mean (just think with me logically here) the condemnation or the penalty of sin only comes once somebody commits personal sin. The implication of that is that they are not born condemned; they are born innocent. I don't mean innocent in the sense of naïve. I mean innocent in the sense of not guilty, innocent in the sense of not tainted by Adam's original sin. So if the sinning is understood to be personal sin, then you have infants and everybody being born neutral. That was the Pelagian heresy – thinking people are born in the same state Adam was created in – in a state of absolute neutrality, not condemned, not guilty – and therefore possible that they could live their entire lives without sinning. That view has been rejected by orthodox theologians on the basis of numerous scriptures including the correct exegesis of this passage down through the ages. Paul is rejecting that in the way that he is dealing with sin in this passage. That is why he qualifies things to illustrate them in verses 13 through 14. By the way he qualifies things in verses 13 to 14 plus what he says in verse 17, we understand that the sinning at the end of verse 12 is Adam's original sin, not personal sin. Let me show you. Look at verse 17. 

NKJ Romans 5:17 For if by the one man's offence death reigned through the one,


See right there it tells we are talking about the sin of the one who brings about this death and condemnation that goes to the entire human race. So it is that distributive use of the Greek preposition dia which I mentioned a couple of lessons back. So in light of verse 17, verse 12 can only refer to a corporate sin, a corporate participation in Adam's sin.  


Now the next question we address is what kind of death this is. I have already alluded to that, but this death – all through here - has to be spiritual death. I have had ongoing discussions with some close friends of mine who try to convince me that the penalty for sin is not spiritual death, that when God said to Adam in Genesis 2:17 that the day you eat from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you will surely die that it would be physical death. As I pointed out when I discussed that, you will find in a lot of the creationist literature this blending of these ideas and they see physical death as part of the penalty. I know that I have read that from men in ICR and read that from men from Answers in Genesis. You just need to be aware of that. 


I am in the process by the way of trying to get Ken Ham to come here for the Chafer Conference. Unfortunately he is booked through 2008 and 2009 so I am working on booking him for 2010. Hopefully we will have a conference in March 2010 on evolution and creation. 


But he is one. I have heard him on several of his tapes occasions and we will show some of his DVD's here at times and you will hear things like that. You just need to think intelligently. Just because somebody disagrees on this point or that point, doesn't mean that you wash out everything else they say. You always have to exercise a little discernment. 

By the way this is as good a time as any to prepare you for next January. It looks right now that when I go Kiev we are going to have (aside from Ike speaking on Sunday mornings and he may not speak all the Sunday mornings we don't know what the schedule is going to be but we have) a situation we are trying to resolve. It looks like it is going to be resolved in an extremely efficient manner for Christians. Usually things aren't this simple. Ariel Ministries has been trying to kidnap Bruce back there to videotape Arnold Fruchtenbaum teaching a number of courses so they can get these courses on permanent record on video. At the same time Chafer Seminary has been using Arnold to teach various modules at Chafer Seminary out in southern California. Well that has become a little bit of an issue now since Arnold moved his ministry to San Antonio. Then we have been trying to figure out a way to get Arnold to come and teach some things here on a special conference. But Arnold is like Ken Ham and others. Their schedules are cranked up for three years and it is hard to book your calendar three years in advance. So somebody back there in the back came up with a great idea with this streaming video. We can stream these classes that Arnold needs to teach for Chafer Seminary. Well the classes that Arnold needs to teach for Chafer Seminary are the same classes that Ariel wants recorded permanently on DVD. We wanted him to come and fill in. It turns out that he had a couple of open dates in January, but he really couldn't go anywhere. He replied to me in an email two days ago. He couldn't really come in January because he had to spend most of the month teaching a module at Chafer Seminary in California. So we figured out that all he has to do is come here and teach from the pulpit here and we kill three birds with one stone. So that will be a seminary level type instruction, 28 hours of instruction for 2-hour, 14-week semester. So we have to figure out how we are going to work that in the time I am gone. You can at least look forward to the fact that Arnold will be coming for intensive instruction in January. 

The reason I got off on Arnold is because when I had Arnold come in and teach on the same subject which is the Jewish perspective on the life of Christ in Connecticut one of the first things I heard when I got back (I hardly walked in the door) I got somebody mentioned four things that Arnold taught that I would disagree with. You will spot them. We deal with people like that in graciousness. So there are some differences here. This issue on the penalty being spiritual death instead of physical death is one of them. But it is so important. Ephesians 2:1, as I pointed out, is very clear. 


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


They were physically alive, but they were dead. In a few minutes I am going to go through Romans 7 and we will see the same thing there. It has got to be spiritual death and not physical death. The point that Paul is making in these next two verses (13 and 14) is number 1 there was no law from Adam to Moses. Why is that important? We will see the reason it is important is because Jews in the audience were defining sin in terms of breaking the law. So he is going to go to a period of time when there was no Mosaic Law. Yet there was condemnation and there was sin. 

The second thing he is pointing out is nevertheless though there was no law all or everyone from Adam to Moses was born spiritually dead. They were born under condemnation. So their spiritual death and condemnation wasn't related to breaking any specific commandment or prohibition in the Mosaic Law. That is sort of the overview, the bird's eye view of this. 


Now let me break it down in a little more detail. First of all in terms of Gentiles, many people believe that you are condemned for what you do. That it is your personal sin. If you go out and commit murder then condemnation is based on murder. If you tell a little white lie then your condemnation is based on a little white lie. So therefore condemnation is really rather relative. Some people are going to be condemned a lot more than others. Somebody who is a sweet little old legalistic self-righteous lady sitting at First Metho-Presby-Bapterian church but never trusting Christ and just has little sins of gossip and maligning and things like that doesn't get condemned as much as someone like Adolph Hitler or Stalin or Ayatollah Khomeini or Saddam Hussein or somebody who is a pervert and mass murderer and all these other things. Right? That is how the average person thinks - that there has got to be relativity to this condemnation because your sins aren't as nice as my sins so you're going to get punished more. Too often that is their position. The problem with that is that underlying it is a basic assumption. Let me test you to see if you are listening. 


Underlying that is the basis assumption that you are good or bad? Good. Underlying the whole idea that you are condemned based on you personal sin and there is this relativity there assumes that man is basically good. That is the underlying assumption that you only become a sinner by committing sins. The old thing that used to confuse students in Bible college - are you a sinner because you sin or do you sin because you are a sinner? Well, we sin because we are sinners. But the problem is that people think that we are basically good so we are sinners because we commit sin. But that is not the biblical picture. That would indicate that we are born free from sin, free from guilt, free from condemnation, and not spiritually dead. It would also imply that one person could be better than another person and because one person only committed some small insignificant socially acceptable sin and the other was a sexual pervert and committed all kinds of politically incorrect sins that there would be different levels of condemnation and different levels of depravity. We don't like to think that people are all that bad. We are pretty good. But that's not the picture the Bible has. So that is the problem with Gentiles. That would be the first point that Gentiles tend to think that people are condemned only for what they do for their own personal sins. 


For the Jews on the other hand the problem is the law, the Mosaic Law. Under the Pharisees after the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity they were so concerned with protecting themselves from ever being kicked out of the land again that instead of turning completely to God and obedience to God they set up this external rigorous system of obedience around the Mosaic Law with all of these different rabbinical traditions. So for the Jews the problem is the Law and they defined sin as a violation of the Mosaic Law. But Paul is going to do an end run around them by focusing on a period of time in history prior to the Mosaic Law. Okay, if you are going to define sin as violating the Mosaic Law, then what do you do with all these people who lived for those 2500 years between Adam and Moses who died physically as a result of sin and who were born spiritually dead and were under condemnation? So in verses 13 and 14 Paul is going to explain exactly why that is wrong.  He says:


NKJ Romans 5:13 (For until the law personal sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.


Actually I should have capitalized that because he in not talking about law in general. He is talking about the Mosaic Law. 


I put that in there (inserted that personal sin) just for clarification because he is understanding that personal sin – all of these people are committing personal sins; but the only commandment that God has given is related to what He told Adam. Adam had specific revelation and prohibition. Moses has not only specific revelation, he has 613 commandments in the Mosaic Law. It is not just 10 commandments; it's 613 commandments. So Paul is saying that until the law personal sin was in the world but personal sin is not imputed when there is no law. Now that is a confusing statement for a lot of people. We will develop that in a minute. 


NKJ Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.


Let me make a couple of more points about the law. This reference is to the Mosaic Law. It's not to just governmental law. The law had a variety of purposes. It was given as part of an entire document that was designed to regulate the people in terms of criminal law, civil law and ceremonial law - criminal law, civil law and ceremonial law. So it's not just dealing with criminality. It's not just dealing with civil issues or judicial - just with that which refers to ritual or ceremony. It's purpose spiritually though was to expose sin, not to provide a way for salvation. It wasn't that if you obey all these commandments you can be saved. That is how it has been misunderstood, but that wasn't its purpose.  


In Romans 3:20 Paul says:


NKJ Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.


So, one of the purposes for the Mosaic Law was to expose the sinfulness of man.


In Romans 7, you might just turn over. We are going to look at several key verses in Romans 7.


NKJ Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh,


Paul is talking about being an unbeliever from his position as being a believer. 


the sinful passions which were aroused


Let's clarify things. When we were in the flesh is a term for the unbeliever who can't do anything but sin. He doesn't have an alternative operating system. He just has one operating system which is the sin nature. So all he can do comes out of the sin nature. All of his morality comes out of the sin nature; all of his immorality comes out of the sin nature. So Paul says: 

NKJ Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law


Now if you don't think that law can arouse sin just watch some three-year old and tell him not to do something. As soon as you tell them not to do something, they are going to try to do it. You have by establishing a law aroused their sinful passions. That is just the way we are. So Paul says that the Law arouses these sinful passions.


by the law were at work in our members


The term "our members" refers to the physical body. As we will see before we are done the sin nature is located within the physical part of our makeup. 


to bear fruit to death.


Is this death spiritual or physical? It is spiritual. They are still dead and are living in carnality. It is the realization of spiritual death. That is where he is going here. He leaves a lot out, but it is very interesting. As you will see when we get down into verses 7, 9, 12, 13, he keeps talking about the law killed me. The Law didn't kill him; he was already dead spiritually and it didn't kill him physically. So he is talking about how the law exposes the fact that we are spiritually dead. So when he talks about bearing fruit to death, the production of the law is to expose the fact that we can't save ourselves. We are spiritually dead. That's the underlying argument in these verses from 7 to 15. In verse 7 we read:


NKJ Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin?


I have had people tell me the Mosaic Law must have been horrible because look what the Pharisees did with it. No, the Pharisees perverted the law. The law as we will see in a minute is inherently righteous. So Paul is asking the same rhetorical question - if the law produces sin or exposes sin is it sin itself? He says:


Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.


In the Greek it is me genoito which is an extremely strong rejection of the idea. 


He says, "Is the law sin? No! The law exposes and reveals to us that we are sinners and spiritually dead." 


For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet."


So the law not only exposes sin; but it also reveals man's inability to live up to God's standards. The law wasn't given to give you a way to live up to God's standard but to expose the fact that you can't. 


NKJ Romans 7:9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.


The law exposed the fact that he could not lived up to it. When he thought he could do the first 9 commandments but when God said, "Don't covet" that revealed mental attitude sins and he couldn't live up to that standard. So it revealed the fact that he was dead. 

When he says, "And I died"; he didn't become dead. He was already spiritually dead, but experientially he came to the realization that he was spiritually dead. 


NKJ Romans 7:13 Has then what is good become death to me?


What is good is referring to the law. That is the Mosaic Law. 


Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin,


Or be revealed or exposed as sin. 


was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.


What kind of death? It is revealing it. It is not making, manufacturing the death at this time. He is an unbeliever. The law is functioning to expose to the unbeliever that he is spiritually dead and unable to have a relationship with God based on what he does. So sin was producing. We could paraphrase it:

Sin was producing a knowledge of my own spiritual death in me through what is good so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 


In other words that I might realize how bad sin really is. So physical death wouldn't work in any of these passages because he was still alive. He was alive many years later when he wrote this epistle to the Romans. So it has to be a reference to spiritual death.


So in terms of the nature of the law we read back in verse 12: 


NKJ Romans 7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.


That characterized the entirety of the Mosaic Law. It wasn't a system that was designed to bind men or to imprison men or to enslave men to some sort of rigorous, awful law code. That doesn't fit what everything says in the Scripture. The law by its very nature was holy, just and good. 


Now let's go back to Romans 5:14.


NKJ Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death


That is spiritual death. 


reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.


So it sins over all these people who lived from Adam to Moses – Cain and Abel and Seth and Enoch and Methuselah and Lamech and all the others who lived in that period. They were all spiritually dead, but they didn't sin according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam. 


What in the world does that mean? That means that their sin was personal sin but unlike Adam's sin. It wasn't in violation of a revealed prohibition of God. The word there for "transgression" for Adam isn't the same word we have seen up to this point which is hamartia (missing the mark). It's parabasis meaning a transgression or a violation of a particular or specific law. The idea is that people were spiritually dead and they committed spiritual sin, but they are not condemned for violating any specific prohibition from God. You have the prohibition that God revealed in Genesis 2:17. You have later specific prohibitions that are revealed in the Mosaic Law. But Paul says that their sin was sin and they were born spiritually dead, but it isn't the same kind of sin as Adam's because Adam is violating a specific revealed prohibition. So he is narrowly defining sin as breaking a stated or revealed mandate or prohibition. So Adam's sin broke a law of God as it were. 


He is saying to the Jews, "See all these people sinned. They are spiritually dead and condemned before the Mosaic Law was even articulated." 


So what is the basis for their condemnation? They did not sin in the same way that Adam sinned who was a type of Him who was to come. So we ask that question – why were they condemned. The cause of death is sin, but it can't be their personal sins in light of Romans 5:17-18.


NKJ Romans 5:17 For if by the one man's offence death reigned through the one,


See it is that one man's offence again. It keeps going back in Romans 5:17-18 to the one man's offence. 


NKJ Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man's offence judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation,


It is Adam's sin and we refer to it as Adam's original sin because first of all it is Adam's sin, not Eve's. Second, it is original in the sense that it is a unique sin – a one-of-a-kind sin. It's not the same sin that Eve commits. It is different. It is qualitatively different because he is the designated head of the race. So only Adam could commit this kind of sin. Eve could not. It is the basis for the condemnation of the entire human race. So we read in verse 18: 


Therefore, as through one man's offence judgment


Katakrima, indicating that condemnation.


came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act


That is where we see the comparison with what happens on the cross.


That is the Lord Jesus Christ. 


the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.


See Adam's original sin automatically goes to everybody; but the benefit of the work on the cross doesn't automatically go to everybody. The point that he is making is that one man's decision affects the whole in both cases. 


NKJ Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.


That's the point of the analogy. One man's decision affects an entire group. So the point that he gets at which we emphasized last week going back to Romans 5:13 is that all people sinned in and with Adam. That's the conclusion of verse 12. It can't be personal sin; it's got to be corporate sin. Therefore he says that death spread to all men because all sinned in Adam – in and with Adam. 


Then he goes on in 5:13 to explain this. It should open with a parenthesis.


NKJ Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.


Now what exactly does that mean? The word for imputed is ellogao. Ellogao is your primary verb used for imputation. It means to reckon, impute or charge something to someone's account. It doesn't mean they actually have done anything. Let's think about salvation. When Christ saves you, you do not have any moral change in you. That is one of the hardest things for people to understand. 


There are basically two different views on how you get righteousness. One is called imputed righteousness and the other is infused righteousness. If you are Roman Catholic you have a view of infused righteousness. If you are lordship you don't know it, but you have really bought into this idea. It is the idea that you somehow between qualitatively less depraved because there is some sort of internal moral change that takes place. But the Greek verb dikaioo means to make or declare righteous. It is a judicial term. It doesn't mean you are righteous; it is just legally you have been declared righteous. You have been declared righteous because you have been given the righteousness of Christ. 


Let me use a somewhat simplistic illustration. You want to buy a house. You want to buy a nice $200,000 home, but you don't have any money. Not only do you not have any money, but your credit rating is in the double digits. You have a credit rating of 10. So there is no way that you can get a loan or qualify for a loan. Nobody is going to loan you a dime. But, your cousin is Bill Gates. So you go to Bill Gates and you see if he will co-sign on a loan. He is going to co-sign on the loan. Now he doesn't put any money in your bank account. You still don't have any credit and you are still a credit risk and you still don't have any money. But what the bank looks at is the money in his account – not the money in your account. Nothing has changed with you. You are not any better than you were before. But on the basis of what somebody else has done, you are going to get the mortgage. You are going to get the blessing. That is what justification is. On the basis of Christ's righteousness, we get saved. There is no transaction at salvation that changes you and makes you righteous. 

You are declared righteousness. Condemnation is not on the basis of your personal sin. If it was, you would probably have been in the Lake of Fire already.


We go to 2 Corinthians 5:19.


NKJ 2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them,


That is the violation of a standard.


and has committed to us the word of reconciliation..


So II Corinthians 5:19 says that God didn't impute to you your condemnation for your personal sins – the same thing Paul said in Romans 4:8.


NKJ Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin."


See, our personal sins aren't imputed to us. They are imputed to Christ. God in His wisdom, in the way He sets up salvation is that He imputes to us Adam's original sin so that you are condemned not because of your little white sins and you are condemned for you black sins so that there is a difference in condemnation. We are all condemned for the same sin. So our condemnation is totally equal. There is a complete equivalency there. Nobody is any better or any worse. There is no sliding scale. There is no relativity. Everybody is equally condemned for the same event, which is the sin of Adam's in Genesis 3. God in history postponed dealing with personal sin until the cross. At the cross He imputes to Christ all of our personal sins so that Adam's original sin and our personal sins are all dealt with on the cross so that personal sins aren't an issue. The issue is focused on the sufficiency of the work of Christ on the cross.


  1. In summary, these two verses (II Corinthians 5:19 and Romans 4:8) tell us that God is not condemning us for our personal sins. 
  2. The second point that Paul is making here is that the sins from Adam to Moses and on down to Christ are set aside and then imputed to Christ on the cross.  They are paid for by Him so that when you are dealing with any believer or any unbeliever and they are concerned about "I did this or I did that, how can God forgive me?" the issue isn't their personal sin.  That isn't what they are condemned for.  They are condemned for what Adam did. As a result of receiving the imputation of Adam's original sin, they now commit personal sins and Jesus Christ deals with them on the cross.
  3. This is the third point in summary. Adam's first sin, Adam's original sin, was the sin for which we are all condemned. 
  4. Now for Adam it was a personal sin; but it was a unique kind of sin. It was the determinative sin for his own spiritual life and for all of his descendents. 
  5. So in conclusion point 5, we are not condemned for personal sin.   


Now that leads us to two other important points. Number one, because Christ died for our personal sins as a real substitute. That means those sins are paid for even if you reject Christ as your savior. Your sins are still paid for. Remember I have taught many times that there are three things you have to have to get into heaven.


  1. The first thing you have to have is the penalty of sin needs to be paid for. 
  2. The second thing you have to have is perfect righteousness.
  3. The third thing that you have to have is that your spiritual death needs to be exchanged for spiritual life, regeneration. 


So you have to have the imputation of righteousness (number 2) and you have to have regeneration (number 3). Now Christ died for everybody so everybody has number 1 taken care of. Everybody has their personal sins paid for. Everybody has the penalty paid by Christ on the cross so that's not the issue. The issue is to trust in Christ. If you trust in Christ, then you will receive the imputation of Christ's righteousness and you will be regenerated. But if you don't trust in Christ those two things don't happen. So when you show up at the Great White Throne judgment, your sins are paid but you can't get into heaven because you don't have righteousness and you are spiritually dead. The result is that you will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.


In Romans 5:14 Paul says: 


NKJ Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death


That is spiritual death. 


reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam,


Their sin was a different kind of sin. It wasn't like Adam's original sin. 


who is a type of Him who was to come.


He uses the word tupos which is where we get the word type of Christ. (When I was little and I heard a pastor say that, I thought it was one word.) Type of Christ means there is an element, a point (but not everything) of analogy, a foreshadowing used for teaching purposes between some person or some event in the Old Testament and something to do with the person or work of Christ in the New Testament.


Then Paul goes on in verses 15 through 17 to begin to explain and narrow the point of the analogy.


Literal translation:  But not like the transgression is the free gift. 


Now this is my own translation from the Greek because the word order in the Greek is very different from the way it is translated in most English versions. 

Most English versions say, "But the free gift is not like the offense". 


But in the Greek it starts with "but not". That is the emphasis. "But not like the transgression is the free gift" to really draw out the contrast that the free gift isn't anything like the transgression. You can't go to this comparison and contrast between the first Adam and the Second Adam and just willy-nilly pull out anything you want. It's a very narrowly defined comparison and contrast.


Paul says, "For if by the one man's transgression."  


That is by Adam's transgression. He violated a specifically stated commandment. He is consistent in using the word for transgression here.


Literal translation:  Many died spiritually much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man Jesus Christ abounded to many.


And I add for clarification many who believe. It is not automatically given to them. It is based on their belief in Christ. 


Now when we look at this whole concept of the sin nature and how that is transmitted, we have to understand the difference. That is how we got into this study - what is transmitted physically and what is transmitted through federal headship. The point that he has been making so far and in many ways in this analogy between Christ and Adam there has to be this representative aspect. 


Last week I looked at how this ran its course through the Old Testament. You had the case of Achan in Joshua 7 who disobeyed God and horded the plunder from Jericho and buried it under his tent. Then when the Israelites got ready to go attack Ai, God caused them to lose. Why? Because Israel sinned the text says. But, nobody knew it. It was a secret sin. Achan sinned, but nobody else knew it. 


God says, "No.  Israel sinned."


It is the idea of corporate representation and headship. So that is there, but there is also the physical relationship because we are all physically tied into Adam. So the sin nature gets transmitted physically.


There are all these verses. I have only listed a few up here that use very physical terms to talk about the sin nature. Of course there are those who say that this is all metaphor and it is all figurative. But once you start down that road you can't explain other things.


Paul says:


NKJ Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was


That is an unregenerate nature.


crucified with Him, that the body of sin


Very physical term.


might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.


That's this corporate body that we have that is condemned and is under the condemnation of sin. It's corrupt. 


NKJ Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.


Again a reference to the physical aspect of our make up.


NKJ Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.


This term flesh orsarxz is used all the through the New Testament as a term for the for the sin nature. It is a very physical term. 


Then we use the term sin nature. The whole aspect of nature I have been told is now theologically incorrect in evangelicalism. You can't talk about nature, what you mean by nature. Everybody is confused about it. Well, the term is used in Scripture and it talks about the fact that we are born "by nature". In Ephesians 2:3 Paul uses the word "by nature."


NKJ Ephesians 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind,


I guess he is theologically incorrect. At the last line he says: 


and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.


That is our makeup. We are constitutionally corrupt and spiritually dead. There is this thing in us that when the law says "don't do it"; we can't wait to do it. That is a propensity to disobedience to God that is our sin nature – this inclination to disobedience, to doing it our own way rather than God's way.


So the sin nature, this corruption is passed on physically and the guilt of Adam's original sin – I don't know if you remember but back 2 or 3 classes ago I put a chart up with the different ways in which theologians tried to solve this. You had Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism. You had Augustinianism and federalism. One of the issues is that with Pelagianism and Arminianism you have either man not fallen at all and no guilt or he is fallen but no guilt. But the point is by nature that sin nature is passed on; but by birth the sin nature, the guilt of Adam's sin, is imputed to that sin nature. So the passing on of the sin nature is that physical seminal aspect and the imputation is based on representation. That has to do with the federal headship. So they both come together in God's plan. So it is not one against the other, but they are both true. 

In conclusion, we got off in a 3 month diversion with the origin of human life and the origin and transmission of the soul, origin and transmission of the sin nature based on Hebrews 7:9-10. In conclusion what I want to point out from Romans 5 is this verse is cited like a proof text (where you make a statement and put it in parenthesis and move on) just as Hebrews 7:9-10 is. If we go back and look at it briefly as we wrap up, we read the New King James (it translates it like most English versions do) with the phrase "so to speak" or "in a manner of speaking" at the end of the verse. But, in the Greek it is at the very beginning. It should be translated


In a manner of speaking (or in figurative speech) even Levi who receives tithes (paid tithes) through Abraham. 


Again and again and again I find that this verse is thrown out there to support this idea that somehow Levi is cognitively almost and responsibly paying tithes to Melchizedek and he is 4 generations down from Abraham. The emphasis here is on that first phrase in the Greek - in a manner of speaking.  It is figurative. All the writer of Hebrews is saying is that if the father Abraham is subordinate to Melchizedek, how much more the descendent of the father and the priesthood that comes from him (the Levites) would be subordinate to the priesthood of Melchizedek. If Abraham wasn't as great as Melchizedek, Levi certainly wasn't as great as Melchizedek and the Levitical priesthood wouldn't be as great as Melchizedek. That is all that he is saying. But what happens is that people have jumped to wrong conclusions in the process of exegesis. 


Then, they go to Romans 5 and Romans 5 gets equally pulled out usually for federalism. There are problems there. What I have pointed out to you is based on inference and using this comparison and contrast with Adam and with Christ. They both can have what they do transmitted to the whole race because there is a physical connection. You understand that from the text; but it is also true that they represent the whole group that they represent. So that is federalism. So both aspects are true. The importance of the bottom line on it is as we have looked at tonight in Romans 5 is that it helps us to understand that we are not condemned for what we do. We all equally condemned for Adam's sin as our representative as the physical head and as the federal head of the human race. We are not condemned for our personal sins. Those personal sins were not imputed to us. They are imputed to Christ on the cross and He pays the penalty. So the issue for us either at salvation or after salvation isn't sin. Now that doesn't mean we are minimizing sin. It doesn't mean that we are promoting licentiousness. It is recognition that Christ paid the penalty and grace provides the solution. 


Let's bow our heads in closing prayer and next time we will get back into Hebrews 7 and start getting ahead there.