Summary of passage: Death reigned since Adam’s sin but so has life through Christ since Jesus’s death! Adam’s sin condemned man but Jesus’s gift of sacrificial life justifies us! Disobedience made us sinners; obedience makes us righteous.
5) Adam and Jesus are the same because in one act they brought universal consequences. Adam brought sin and death when he ate the apple and Jesus brought eternal salvation through his death. Condemnation was brought versus justification. Adam disobeyed which led to sin for all; Jesus obeyed which led to justification for all. God’s gift of eternal life (brought through Jesus) has no comparison to the life of sin brought through Adam. The good trumps the bad a gazillion to one!
6) Part personal Question. My answer: Eternal life, justification, righteousness before God. Paul keeps repeating this using different words and variations so us stupid humans will get it! Like above, how can words describe God’s gift of salvation? Eternal gratitude and desire for Him and to obey and do His will in my life.
7) Part personal Question. My answer: Disobedience and consequently sin unites people to Adam. Obedience and consequently salvation unites people to Christ. Christ because in my heart I know He is Lord and Savior to which I have confessed and believe and trust and obey.
End Notes: If interested in verse 14 commentary, see YESTERDAY’S lesson. It’s so interlinked with verses 12 & 13 that I didn’t want to try to separate the explanation out.
Paul is continuing his contrast of Adam and Jesus. What it boils down to is this: Adam bit apple. Death consequence to all men. Jesus died a sinless death AND rose from the dead. Eternal life consequence to all men WHO believe.
We can say Jesus and Adam are both kings, each instituting a reign. Adam has death reigning. Jesus has life reigning.
Death is a 100% guarantee (unless Jesus comes again of course and you are still alive). Paul is saying Jesus’s reign of life is even more than 100% guarantee. God’s grace is infinitely greater for good than is Adam’s sin for evil.
Verse 18 Paul summarizes. These verses has both Adam and Jesus known as the two men. Between them they represent all of humanity and you are either identified with Adam or Jesus. We are all born under Adam. We are born again when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
This idea of Adam and Jesus as two representatives of the human race is sometimes called Federal Theology, or Adam and Jesus are sometimes referred to as Federal Heads. This is because under the federal system of government, representatives are chosen and the representative speaks for the people who chose him. Adam speaks for those he represents, and Jesus speaks for His people.
One may object: “But I never chose to have Adam represent me.” Yes, you did–with the very first sin you committed. Hence, Jesus stands apart.
So, once you are old enough, you choose: Adam who brings judgment and condemnation or Jesus who brings grace and justification and thus life.
The important thing to note is not all are given free life. The gift of life is presented. However, you must choose to receive it (verse 17). The idea that all men are saved by the work of Jesus whether they know it or not is called universalism. Paul never propounds this belief. He clearly states not all will be saved in all his writings. NIV Bibles take out the word “free” to avoid this confusion.
Verse 19 sums up this entire section: Since we were made sinners by one man, we can be made righteous by one man! Praise God! This is God’s fairness and justice in play. Paul is about to discuss our change in character (sanctification) in chapters 6-8.
To be clear: none of us can stand by ourselves. Remember, we are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) in God’s eyes without Jesus. To choose to do so is death. I choose life!