« Prev Romans 5:12-14 Next »

Romans 5:12-14

12. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

12. Quamobrem sicut per unum hominem peccatum in mundum introiit, et per peccatum mors; atque ita in omnes homines mors pervagata est. quandoquidem omnes peccaverunt:

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

13. (Nam usque ad legem peccatum erat in mundo; peccatum autem non imputatur, quum non est lex:

14. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

14. Sed regnavit mors ab Adam usque ad Mosen, etiam in eos qui non peccaverunt ad similitudinem prævericationis Adam, qui est figura futuri.

12 Wherefore as, etc. He now begins to enlarge on the same doctrine, by comparing with it what is of an opposite character. For since Christ came to redeem us from the calamity into which Adam had fallen, and had precipitated all his posterity with him, we cannot see with so much clearness what we have in Christ, as by having what we have lost in Adam set before us, though all things on both sides are not similar: hence Paul subjoins an exception, which we shall notice in its place; and we shall also point out any other difference that may occur. The incompleteness of the sentence sometimes renders it obscure, as when the second clause, which answers to the former, is not expressed. But we shall endeavor to make both plain when we come to those parts. 163163     The beginning of this verse has occasioned a vast number of conjectures, both as to the connection and as to the corresponding clause to the first sentence. Most agree in the main with Calvin on these two points. Hodge announces a similar view as to the connection in these words, — “The idea of men being regarded and treated, not according to their own merits, but the merit of another, is contrary to the common mode of thinking among men. The Apostle illustrates and enforces it by an appeal to the great analogous fact in the history of the world.”
   As to the corresponding clause, that it is found in the 18th verse, there is a common consent, — Pareus, Willet, Grotius, Doddridge, Scott, Stuart, Chalmers, etc.; the intervening verses are viewed as parenthetic.

   The phrase, διὰ τοῦτο, and also διὸ and οὖν, are sometimes used anticipatively as well as retrospectively, as their corresponding particles are often in Hebrew. See note on Romans 2:1. That Paul uses διὰ τοῦτο in this way appears evident from Romans 4:16; Romans 13:6; 1 Corinthians 11:10. It anticipates here, as I think, what is afterwards expressed by ἐφ ᾧ, as in Romans 4:16, by ἵνα, in Romans 13:6, by γὰρ, and in 1 Corinthians 11:10, by διὰ before angels. Then the meaning of the verse would be conveyed by the following rendering, —

   12. For this reason — as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, even so death came on all men, because all have sinned.

   According to this view, the corresponding clause is in the verse itself. The sentiment of the passage is this, — through one man sin entered and death followed; and death followed as to all mankind, because all had sinned. Then, according to his usual manner, the Apostle takes up the last subject, “sin,” issuing in the death of all; and at the end of the Romans 5:14 he goes back to “the one man,” Adam, who he says was a type of another: and this sentence is made the text of what follows till the end of the Romans 5:19. Having before referred to the state of things before the “law,” in the two remaining verses he refers to the bearing of the law on his subject, and shows that there is in Christ an abundant provision for the increase of sin occasioned by the law.

   So abundant is grace that it is fully sufficient to remove original sin, actual sins — its fruits, and the sins discovered by the law, and by its means increased and enhanced. Hence superabundance is ascribed to it. — Ed.

Sin entered into the world, etc. Observe the order which he keeps here; for he says, that sin preceded, and that from sin death followed. There are indeed some who contend, that we are so lost through Adam’s sin, as though we perished through no fault of our own, but only, because he had sinned for us. But Paul distinctly affirms, that sin extends to all who suffer its punishment: and this he afterwards more fully declares, when subsequently he assigns a reason why all the posterity of Adam are subject to the dominion of death; and it is even this — because we have all, he says, sinned. But to sin in this case, is to become corrupt and vicious; for the natural depravity which we bring, from our mother’s womb, though it brings not forth immediately its own fruits, is yet sin before God, and deserves his vengeance: and this is that sin which they call original. For as Adam at his creation had received for us as well as for himself the gifts of God’s favor, so by falling away from the Lord, he in himself corrupted, vitiated, depraved, and ruined our nature; for having been divested of God’s likeness, he could not have generated seed but what was like himself. Hence we have all sinned; for we are all imbued with natural corruption, and so are become sinful and wicked. Frivolous then was the gloss, by which formerly the Pelagians endeavored to elude the words of Paul, and held, that sin descended by imitation from Adam to the whole human race; for Christ would in this case become only the exemplar and not the cause of righteousness. Besides, we may easily conclude, that he speaks not here of actual sin; for if everyone for himself contracted guilt, why did Paul form a comparison between Adam and Christ? It then follows that our innate and hereditary depravity is what is here referred to. 164164     The particles ἐφ ᾦ, at the end of this verse, have been variously rendered, without much change in the meaning. “In quo — in which,” i.e., sin, Augustine;in quo — in whom,” i.e., man, Chrysostom and Beza;per quem — by or through whom,” Grotius;propterea quod,” vel, “quia,” vel, “quoniam — because,” Luther, Pareus, and Raphelius; which is the same with that of Calvin See Matthew 26:50; 2 Corinthians 5:4; Philippians 3:12
   Wolfius quotes a singular passage from a Jewish Rabbi, Moses Tranensis, “In the sin which the first man sinned, the whole world through him (or in him, בו) sinned: for he was every man, or all mankind — כי זה כל אדם.” The idea is exactly the same with that of the Apostle.

   “There are three things,” says Pareus, “which are to be considered in Adam’s sin, — the sinful act, the penalty of the law, and the depravity of nature; or in other words, the transgression of the command, the punishment of death, and natural corruption, which was the loss of God’s image, and in its stead came deformity and disorder. From none of these his posterity are free, but all these have descended to them; there is a participation of the transgression, an imputation of guilt, and the propagation of natural depravity. There is a participation of the sin; for all his posterity were seminally in his loins, so that all sinned in his sin, as Levi paid tithes in the loins of Abraham; and as children are a part of their parents, so children are in a manner partakers of their parents’ sin. There is also an imputation of guilt, for the first man so stood in favor, that when he sinned, not only he, but also all his posterity fell with him, and became with him subject to eternal death. And lastly, there is the propagation or the generation of a dreadful deformity of nature; for such as Adam became after the fall, such were the children he begat, being after his own image, and not after the image of God. Genesis 5:1. All these things, as to the first sin, apply to the parent and also to the children, with only this difference — that Adam sinning first transgressed, first contracted guilt, and first depraved his nature, — and that all these things belong to his posterity by participation, imputation, and propagation.”

   Both Stuart and Barnes stumble here; and though they denounce theorizing, and advocate adherence to the language of Scripture, they do yet theorize and attempt to evade the plain and obvious meaning of this passage. But in trying to avoid one difficulty, they make for themselves another still greater. The penalty, or the imputation of guilt, they admit; which is indeed undeniable, as facts, as well as Scripture, most clearly prove: but the participation they deny, though words could hardly be framed to express it more distinctly than the words of this verse; and thus, according to their view, a punishment is inflicted without a previous implication in an offense; while the Scriptural account of the matter is, according to what Calvin states, that “sin extends to all who suffer its punishment,” though he afterwards explains this in a way that is not altogether consistent. — Ed.

13. For until the law, etc. This parenthesis anticipates an objection: for as there seems to be no transgression without the law, it might have been doubted whether there were before the law any sin: that there was after the law admitted of no doubt. The question only refers to the time preceding the law. To this then he gives this answer, — that though God had not as yet denounced judgment by a written law, yet mankind were under a curse, and that from the womb; and hence that they who led a wicked and vicious life before the promulgation of the law, were by no means exempt from the condemnation of sin; for there had always been some notion of a God, to whom honor was due, and there had ever been some rule of righteousness. This view is so plain and so clear, that of itself it disproves every opposite notion.

But sin is not imputed, etc. Without the law reproving us, we in a manner sleep in our sins; and though we are not ignorant that we do evil, we yet suppress as much as we can the knowledge of evil offered to us, at least we obliterate it by quickly forgetting it. While the law reproves and chides us, it awakens us as it were by its stimulating power, that we may return to the consideration of God’s judgment. The Apostle then intimates that men continue in their perverseness when not roused by the law, and that when the difference between good and evil is laid aside, they securely and joyfully indulge themselves, as if there was no judgment to come. But that before the law iniquities were by God imputed to men is evident from the punishment of Cain, from the deluge by which the whole world was destroyed, from the fate of Sodom, and from the plagues inflicted on Pharaoh and Abimelech on account of Abraham, and also from the plagues brought on the Egyptians. That men also imputed sin to one another, is clear from the many complaints and expostulations by which they charged one another with iniquity, and also from the defenses by which they labored to clear themselves from accusations of doing wrong. There are indeed many examples which prove that every man was of himself conscious of what was evil and of what was good: but that for the most part they connived at their own evil deeds, so that they imputed nothing as a sin to themselves unless they were constrained. When therefore he denies that sin without the law is imputed, he speaks comparatively; for when men are not pricked by the goads of the law, they become sunk in carelessness. 165165     This verse, as bearing on the argument, maybe viewed rather differently. This and the following verse contain an explanation or an illustration of the last, Romans 5:12. He states in this verse two things: a fact and a general principle; the fact is, that sin, the first sin in its evident effects, (for he speaks throughout of no other sin, as to Adam, or as producing death,) was in the world before the law of Moses was given; and the general principle he avows this, that no sin is imputed where there is no law. Having made this last admission, he proceeds in the Romans 5:14 to say, that “nevertheless,” or notwithstanding, death, the effect of sin, prevailed in the world, and prevailed even as to those who did not actually or personally sin as Adam did. He takes no account of personal sins, for his object was to show the effects of the first sin. And then he says, that in is respect Adam was a kind of type, a figure, a representative of Christ who was to come; and in the three verses which follow, Romans 5:15, 16, and 17, he traces the similitude between the two, pointing out at the same time the difference, which in every instance is in favor of the last Adam. That τύπος signifies here likeness and not identity, is quite certain, whatever may be its common meaning because its import is exemplified and illustrated in the verses which follow. — Ed.

But Paul wisely introduced this sentence, in order that the Jews might hence more clearly learn how grievously they offended, inasmuch as the law openly condemned them; for if they were not exempted from punishment whom God had never summoned as guilty before his tribunal, what would become of the Jews to whom the law, like a herald, had proclaimed their guilt, yea, on whom it denounced judgment? There may be also another reason adduced why he expressly says, that sin reigned before the law, but was not imputed, and that is, that we may know that the cause of death proceeds not from the law, but is only made known by it. Hence he declares, that all became miserably lost immediately after the fall of Adam, though their destruction was only made manifest by the law. If you translate this adversative δε, though, the text would run better; for the meaning is, that though men may indulge themselves, they cannot yet escape God’s judgment, even when there is no law to reprove them.

Death reigned from Adam, etc. He explains more clearly that it availed men nothing that from Adam to the time when the law was promulgated, they led a licentious and careless life, while the difference between good and evil was willfully rejected, and thus, without the warning of the law, the remembrance of sin was buried; yea, that this availed them nothing, because sin did yet issue in their condemnation. It hence appears, that death even then reigned; for the blindness and obduracy of men could not stifle the judgment of God.

14. Even over them, etc. Though this passage is commonly understood of infants, who being guilty of no actual sin, die through original sin, I yet prefer to regard it as referring to all those who sinned without the law; for this verse is to be connected with the preceding clause, which says, that those who were without the law did not impute sin to themselves. Hence they sinned not after the similitude of Adam’s transgression; for they had not, like him, the will of God made known to them by a certain oracle: for the Lord had forbidden Adam to touch the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; but to them he had given no command besides the testimony of conscience. The Apostle then intended to imply, that it did not happen through the difference between Adam and his posterity that they were exempt from condemnation. Infants are at the same time included in their number.

Who is a type of him who was to come. This sentence is put instead of a second clause; for we see that one part only of the comparison is expressed, the other is omitted — an instance of what is called anacoluthon 166166     Ανακόλουθον, not consequent: a figure in grammar when a word or a clause, required by a former one, is not put down. — Ed. You are then to take the meaning as though it was said, “as by one man sin entered into the whole world, and death through sin, so by one man righteousness returned, and life through righteousness.” But in saying that Adam bore a resemblance to Christ, there is nothing incongruous; for some likeness often appears in things wholly contrary. As then we are all lost through Adam’s sin, so we are restored through Christ’s righteousness: hence he calls Adam not inaptly the type of Christ. But observe, that Adam is not, said to be the type of sin, nor Christ the type of righteousness, as though they led the way only by their example, but that the one is contrasted with the other. Observe this, lest you should foolishly go astray with Origen, and be involved in a pernicious error; for he reasoned philosophically and profanely on the corruption of mankind, and not only diminished the grace of Christ, but nearly obliterated it altogether. The less excusable is Erasmus, who labors much in palliating a notion so grossly delirious.


« Prev Romans 5:12-14 Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |