Romans 5:12-21 [7-27-11]


[Verses 12-21]




Romans 5: 11) [NIV] Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

(CEV) And in addition to everything else, we are happy because God sent our Lord Jesus Christ to make peace with us.

(GNB) But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God’s friends.

(GW) In addition, our Lord Jesus Christ lets us continue to brag about God. After all, it is through Christ that we now have this restored relationship with God.

Concerning “reconciliation,”

“A change or reconciliation from a state of enmity between persons to one of friendship” [Word Study].

QUESTION: What is Paul pointing out here?

ANSWER: God, by sending His Son to die for our sins, has now reconciled all who put their faith in Him to Himself. We are now right with God!

NOTE: Paul’s reasoning is that:

1.        God loved us when we were hopelessly lost.

2.        Christ died for us when we were sinners.

3.        Through Christ’s death for us God reconciled us to Himself when we were His enemies.

4.        Since that is true, God will now keeps us safe from His wrath.

5.        We now enjoy a right relationship with a Holy God.

QUESTION: In these first 11 verses of this chapter what are we to rejoice in?


  • Standing in grace we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. [vs. 2]
  • We rejoice in our troubles because they are working a process in us that brings us to the above hope. [vs. 3-5]
  • We rejoice in Christ Jesus who has reconciled us to God. [vs. 11]


On To This Week’s Lesson:

Romans 5:12-21) [NIV] Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned. 

QUESTION: Why are we all sinners?

ANSWER: When Adam sinned he died spiritually, and as a result the entire human family that was to come died spiritually as well.

QUESTION: What does “because all sinned” imply?

ANSWER: Note the following comments:

“That is what happened in Adam’s case. As a result of his sin, human death entered the world. Death became the common lot of all Adam’s descendants because they had all sinned in him. It is true that they all committed individual acts of sin as well, but that is not the thought here. Paul’s point is that Adam’s sin was a representative act, and all his posterity are reckoned as having sinned in him” [BBC].

“The personal sins of responsible persons are not now spoken of, but all the race sinned in Adam, its representative, infants, idiots, and all. Hence all die” [PNT].

NOTE: When Adam sinned we all sinned. We were all in his loins at the time. He was the Representative Man of the human race.

QUESTION: What is odd in Paul’s assessments regarding sin being passed onto all men?

ANSWER: The first human sinner was Eve; yet it was Adam’s sin that spiritually killed us all.

NOTE: We don’t know what would have happened if, after Eve had sinned, Adam would have remained faithful. But, it appears from this passage that Eve would have died, but sin would not have passed unto the human race.

13) [NIV] for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.

14) [NIV] Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

QUESTION: What was different about the sins of those who sinned between Adam and Moses, and the sin of Adam?

ANSWER: The sins of those who sinned between Adam and the giving of the Law through Moses were sins that did not include breaking a commandment of God.

Romans 5:13b) [NIV] But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.

1 John 3:4) Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God’s law, because sin is a breaking of the law.

QUESTION: If there was no law to condemn this crowd, then why were they subject to death?

ANSWER: The reason is that they were guilty of Adam’s sin.

15) [NIV] But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

QUESTION: What is Paul’s comparison here?

ANSWER: When Adam sinned, we all sinned; therefore, when Adam died, we all died. Paul says that in even a greater measure than sin and death flowing to all through Adam that grace, and its accompanying gift flows to “the many.”

QUESTION: Who are “the many”?

ANSWER: We will get to that a bit later.

16) [NIV] Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

QUESTION: What is Paul’s comparison here?

ANSWER: He shows how much greater grace is than condemnation. It only took one sin [the sin of Adam in the garden] to condemn us all, but God’s grace follows our lifetime of sin [“many trespasses”] to bring us to justification. In other words, the victory of grace is far greater that the victory of sin!

17) [NIV] For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

QUESTION: What does Paul conclude here?

ANSWER: If Adam’s sin could condemn all who were born in him [the human family], how much more will everyone who is born again in Jesus triumph over that condemnation.

QUESTION: Back to an earlier question: who are “the many” mentioned in verse 15?

ANSWER: They are the church; i.e., those who are born again.

18) [NIV] Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.

19) [NIV] For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

QUESTION: What about the “all men” of verse 18?

ANSWER: Note the following comment:

“The two alls in this verse do not refer to the same people. The first all means all who are in Adam. The second all means all who are in Christ. This is clear from the words in the preceding verse ‘those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness.’” [BBC].

QUESTION: What is verse 19 telling us?

ANSWER: Note my following comments:

1.        I am not a sinner because I sinned; I’m a sinner because Adam sinned.

2.        I am not righteous because I did something righteous; I’m righteous because Jesus did something righteous.

3.        I didn’t become a sinner because I sinned; I sinned because I was a sinner.

4.        I didn’t become righteous because I did something right; I did something right because I’m righteous.

5.        All who are born into Adam [the human race] are born sinners.

6.        All who are born again into Jesus [the believers] are born into righteousness.

20) [NIV] The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

Romans 7: 7-8) [GNB] Shall we say, then, that the Law itself is sinful? Of course not! But it was the Law that made me know what sin is. If the Law had not said, “Do not desire what belongs to someone else,” I would not have known such a desire.

8) [GNB] But by means of that commandment sin found its chance to stir up all kinds of selfish desires in me. Apart from law, sin is a dead thing.

QUESTION: What is the purpose of the Law?

ANSWER: The Law defines sin. We wouldn’t have a clear knowledge of what sin is without the Law. Our conscience would help us, but it took the giving of the Law to clearly define what sin is.

QUESTION: How did sin “increase” as a result of the Law?

ANSWER: In increased in two ways:

1.        It increased in the sense that we are now aware of what sin is; consequently, sin increased in the sense of awareness.

2.        The Law made the forbidden look good, so we sinned more in numbers [Romans 7:8].

QUESTION: In what way did grace increase “all the more”?

ANSWER: It took more grace to overcome more sin. The grace that covers a multitude of sin is greater than the grace the covers a single sin.

NOTE: The point here is that God’s grace “is greater that all my sin.” NO ONE HAS SINNED SO MUCH, OR SO EGREGIOUSLY THAT GRACE WON’T COVER IT IF THEY COME TO JESUS!

21) [NIV] so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 Romans 5:17) [NIV] For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

QUESTION: In what way did sin reign “in death”?

ANSWER: Sin killed us all.

QUESTION: In what way does grace reign “in life”?

ANSWER: Grace restores the dead to life. Through grace I am no longer dead in my sins. I am now spiritually alive.

A CLOSING NOTE: We were born into Adam; i.e., the human race, and as a result, we were born into sin and death. We are now born again into Jesus; i.e., the spiritual descendents of Abraham/the church, and as a result, we are born into righteousness and life. Adam was a type of Christ in the sense that only Adam and Christ were Representative Men. Only Adam and Christ impacted entire races; Adam’s sin brought death to the entire human family, and the obedience of Christ brought righteousness and life to the entire spiritual family of the “whosoever wills.”

Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church