Adam and Christ

Romans 5:19  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Rom. 5:1919For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19) speaks of Adam and Christ as two heads of races subordinated to them, in contrast with law, showing that we must not confine Christ to those under law, since death and sin reigned where there was none—between Adam and Moses—over those who had not transgressed any covenant like Adam. (see Hos. 6:77But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me. (Hosea 6:7).) And Christ’s work could not be limited within bounds short of sin and sinners. It is a contrast between sin and lawbreaking: the passage showing that it was not simply by law-breaking but by a disobedience which applied to those who were not under law, and an obedience which did the same, that evil and good came; and making, not individual law-keeping., but their state in their respective heads, the true ground of ruin or righteousness; and then adds, in direct explicit, contrast with this, “but law entered that the offense might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Rom. 5:1919For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19) is the summary of the argument of the obedient and disobedient, man in contrast with law; and not only so, but declares that the law came in by the bye, as a distinct thing. The verses 12, 13, 14, 20, show that the apostle diligently argues here against obedience, sin, or righteousness being confined to lawbreaking or law-fulfilling. But this is not all. In chapter 6 the apostle raises the question in practice; whether not being under law is a reason for sinning as is alleged “sin,” he argues, “shall not have dominion over us, because we are not under law, but under grace;” and then shows that, though not under law, we yield ourselves up to obedience unto righteousness. He contrasts Christian obedience with law. Taking from under law might seem, as with our modern divines, to take away from obedience. The answer of the apostle is, “in no wise.” we get from under the power of sin, because we are not under law; and we obey as servants to righteousness and to God, being not under law. In a word, the passage quoted to show that obedience is law-fulfilling is an elaborate argument of the apostle's to show, that, while doubtless Christ kept the law, as to him and as to us obedience is insisted on outside, and in contrast with, law.