Kingly Living! – 4

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Scripture References: Romans 5

The Basis of Our Justification – Continued

Adam’s offense is contrasted with Christ’s free gift (verse 15). Because of Adam’s trespass, many died; because of Christ’s obedience the grace of God abounds to many gaining life. The word “many” means the same as “all men” in previous verses. Note again the “much more”; for the grace of Christ brings not only physical life, but also spiritual life and abundant life. Christ did conquer death and one day will raise the bodies of all who have died “in Christ.” If He stopped there, He would only reverse the effects of Adam’s sin; but He went on to do “much more.” He gives eternal life abundantly to all who trust Him (John 10:10).

The effect of Adam’s sin is contrasted with the effect of Christ’s obedience (verse 16). Adam’s sin brought judgment and condemnation; but Christ’s work on the cross brings justification. When Adam sinned, he was declared unrighteous and he was condemned. When a sinner trusts Christ, he is justified, and declared righteous in Christ.

The two “reigns” are contrasted (verse 17). Because of Adam’s disobedience, death reigned. Read the “book of the genealogy of Adam” in Genesis 5, and note the solemn repetition of the phrase “and he died.” In verse 14, Paul argued that men did not die “from Adam to Moses” for the same reason that Adam died, breaking a revealed law of God, for the Law had not yet been given. “The wages of sin is death.” – Romans 6:23. Because sin was reigning in men’s lives, death was also reigning.

But in Jesus Christ we enter a new kingdom: “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17. “Therefore, having been justified by faith” we are declared righteous, we have peace with God, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Note that it is we who reign! “much more those . . . will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” In Adam we lost our kingship, but in Jesus Christ we reign as kings. Our spiritual reign is far greater than Adam’s earthly reign, for it is “much more,” for we share “abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness.”

The two “one acts” are contrasted (verses 18–19). Adam did not have to commit a series of sins. In one act God tested Adam, and he failed. It is termed an “offense” and an act of “disobedience.” The word offense means “trespass—crossing over the line.” God told Adam how far he could go, and Adam decided to go beyond the appointed limit. “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” – Genesis 2:16–17.

In contrast to “one man’s disobedience” is “one Man’s obedience,” referring to the righteous work of Christ on the cross. In verse 19 Paul calls it “one Man’s obedience” (see also Philippians 2:5–12). Christ’s sacrifice on the cross not only made possible “justification,” but also “justification of life” (emphasis mine). Justification is not merely a legal term that describes our position before God (“just as if I’d never sinned”); but it results in a certain kind of life. “Justification of life” in verse 18 is parallel to “be[ing] made righteous” verse 19. In other words, our justification is the result of a living union with Christ. And this union ought to result in a new kind of life, a righteous life of obedience to God. Our union with Adam made us sinners; our union with Christ enables us to “reign in life.”

To Be Continued

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Adapted and modified excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Volume 1.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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