Saturday, July 13, 2019

Romans Bible Study #10 - "The Reign of Grace" Romans 5:12-21 (Video and Lesson Notes)

To go to the beginning of the series on Romans, click here...
To go to the last study (#9), click here..
To watch the entire series on YouTube, click here...

Read 5:12-21

Before we begin studying this text, which to me is one of the most difficult to understand in NT, I want to make a few suggestions about how to study the Bible, particularly when you come to difficult passages like this one…

Understanding Difficult Passages
  1. Read prayerfully - ask God to reveal His heart to you through this passage.
  2. Read carefully - Don’t try to rush through the text...slooow down! Read through the passage several times, stopping to consider what the writer is trying to communicate to you through the Holy Spirit. It’s more important to get the meaning of the passage than to cover a certain amount of material.
  3. Read the text in other translations.
    1. Explain spectrum of translations (slide)
    2. Three types of translations...Formal equivalent (NASB, KJV, NKJV, ESV), dynamic equivalent (NIV, NLT), paraphrase (The Message, The Voice, Living Bible)
    3. Paraphrases -handle with care!
  4. Underline key words - notice repetition of words.
  5. Use scripture to interpret scripture.
    1. Good study Bible is very helpful here (cross-references)
    2. OT quotation in NT - look it up! (also vice versa)
  6. Use Bible study tools
    1. Look up meaning of key words in original language (Hebrew OT, Greek NT)
      1. Bible study apps (Tekarta - Strong’s Concordance w/NASB or w/KJV)
      2. Bible Hub (includes HELPS dictionary)
      3. Vine’s dictionary of NT words
    2. Look up meaning of key words in English.
    3. Use study Bible notes
      1. Cultural background material is especially helpful
    4. Commentaries (Handle with care!)
    5. Online Bible studies (Handle with care!)
  7. Personal application - So what? How does this apply today? How does this affect my life and the lives of those around me? How does this passage challenge me?
  8. Take notes as God reveals His word to you.
    1. Suggest paper Bible
    2. Don’t be afraid to write in your Bible!
    3. Write dates by your notes
  9. After you’ve done some of this...move on. Don’t get hung up on difficult passage so that it keeps you from the rest of the section of the Bible you’re studying.
  10. Go back...Many times I have gone back to a passage in a day or two and saw things that I had completely missed previously.

Does anyone else have any Bible study tips before we move on?

What we want to do now is to apply some of these techniques to our passage in Romans.

(The significance of this passage that we are studying tonight is that here we get our understanding of original sin. How that death came upon all men. Why this world is so broken. But we also get a clearer picture here of how it is that one man could pay for the sins of many. How is it that Jesus could pay for the sins of all of us?)

Vs. 12 What is the first thing that we notice about this passage? First word is therefore-connects us to previous passage. It can connect us to the very last thought of the previous passage or it can connect us to the overall theme of the previous chapter. In this case, I believe that it is a direct connection to vs. 11. (Read the verse) Seems to me that Paul is about to explain to us about what reconciliation is. Reconciliation means change. Bible study note- God changes us from enemies to family.

Who is the one man through whom sin entered into the world? Adam. So right off the bat we see that we have an OT connection. Study Bible references Gen 2:17; 3:6, 19. Story of fall of man...Our text says that it is through this one man Adam that sin entered into the world, how death entered into the world through sin. Additionally it tells us that because of this sin in the garden, death spread to all men. This is because all sinned.

Notice also that there is a dash at the end of verse 12. Why do you think that’s there? (No punctuation in the original, but translators believe that Paul broke off his thought here to be continued later. Some versions have 13-17 in parenthesis). So what we are going to be reading for awhile is a parenthetical thought. Not the main thrust of what Paul is talking about...but very important!

Vs. 13-14 Paul begins this parenthetical section by bringing up the Law of Moses again. He notes that sin was in the world in the period of time between Adam and Moses, even though it is true that sin is not imputed (remember that word?) where there is no law. So...though there were no transgressions of the law in that period, because the law had not yet been given, there was sin. How do we know this? The text explains that we know this because death reigned from Adam to Moses. We know it because everyone from Adam to Moses died! This was true even though men and women of this time period may not have sinned the very same sin as Adam and Eve. In the context, Paul is saying that all sinned in the first man Adam. This is the doctrine of original sin, which he is about to further explain in the next verses.

The argument in Romans 5:12-14 “runs like this: We know that all men die. But death is the result of disobeying the Law. There was no Law from Adam to Moses, but men still died. A general result demands a general cause. What is that cause? It can be only one thing: the disobedience of Adam. When Adam sinned, he ultimately died. All of his descendants died, yet the law had not been given. Conclusion: they died because of Adam’s sin. “For all have sinned” means “all have sinned in Adam’s sin.” Men do not die because of their own acts of sin (I would add "only"); otherwise, babies would not die. Men die because they are united racially to Adam and “in Adam all men die” (1 Cor. 15:22). Warren Wiersbe

At the end of verse 14, Paul identifies Adam as a type of Him who was to come. Who was he talking about? Christ

Yet, in the next three verses, 15-17, Paul presents Christ more as the antitype of Adam than as the type. He is going to show us the contrast between Adam and Christ.

Let’s look at theses three verses. Do you see any words or phrases that are repeated?
“Not like” is in verses 15 and 16
“If by” is in verses 15 and 17
“Much more” is in verses 15 and 17
“Transgression is in all three verses...5 times!
“Gift” is in all three verses...4 times.
“The One” is in all three verses...6 times!

There is a certain symmetry to these verses.

Verse 15 - contrast between the free gift of Christ and the sin of Adam. Paul says that through the transgression of Adam, many died. The stream of humanity was polluted at the source. Yet, the great contrast between the grace given to us in Christ and the sin of Adam is that grace covers “much more” than just our sin. In other words, it doesn’t just bring us back to zero. There is “much more” than just having our sin covered. We now in Christ have the ability to walk with God in a way far more intimately than Adam and Eve ever had in the garden. Amazing thought! Notice that God’s grace “abounds” to the many.

Verse 16 - in this verse are actually two contrasts between Christ and Adam. The first contrast is that in Adam, God’s judgment, which resulted in condemnation and death, arose from one act of disobedience. In Christ, the need for the gift of grace arose from many transgressions. The second contrast is that the transgression of Adam resulted in condemnation, while the free gift of Christ resulted in justification.

Vs 17 - Here Paul seems to take the thought of verse 15 even further. Notice the word “reign" is repeated. This contrast here is between the “reign of death” ushered in by Adam’s sin and the “reign in life” through Jesus Christ. Paul tells us that those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness are able to reign as king “much more” than death was able to ever reign through Adam.

Formerly death was our king, and we were slaves under its totalitarian tyranny. What Christ has done for us is not just to exchange death’s kingdom for the much more gentle kingdom of life, while leaving us in the position of subjects. Instead, he delivers us from the rule of death so radically as to enable us to change places with it and rule over it, or reign in life. We become kings, sharing the kingship of Christ, with even death under our feet now, and one day to be destroyed. John Stott

In verse 18, Paul begins to compare Adam and Christ. The language changes from “not like” and “much more” to “just as” and “so also”. In this verse also, we seem to be picking up the main thought that Paul left off in verse 12. The similarity between Adam and Christ here is that “the one act of the one man determined the destiny of the many.” The act of Adam had a result on all men...that is all men who are in Adam’s lineage (which happens to be all men). The act of Christ had a result on all men who are in Christ’s lineage (which in other places we know are those who believe). Of course, there is still embedded in this verse quite a contrast, because the result of one was condemnation and the result of the other is justification.

Vs. 19 expands on verse 18. This is again both a comparison and a contrast. It was by one man’s disobedience that “the many” were made sinners. “Even so”, Paul says, it was through the obedience of One that “the many” will be made righteous.

Vs. 20 goes back to talking about the Law of Moses, which the Jews were so hung up on. He makes the statement that the Law was given so that the transgression might increase. This is very similar to what Paul said in 3:20 “because by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Yet, here Paul takes it a step further. Under the Law, transgressions didn’t decrease, they increased. Men were more accountable because now they knew more...consequently they sinned more. Yet, the good news...the great news of Romans 5:20 is that ‘where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
NKJV Study Bible: “The Greek term Paul uses means “superabounded” Not only can sin never exceed the grace provided by God, sin loses its threat when compared to the superabounding grace of God.”

He expands on this thought in verse 21. Here is another contrast in a comparison. “As sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Here again are the reign of death and the reign of grace through the righteousness of Christ.

Nothing could sum up better the blessings of being in Christ than the expression ‘the reign of grace’. For grace forgives sins through the cross, and bestows on the sinner both righteousness and eternal life. Grace satisfies the thirsty soul and fills the hungry with good things. Grace sanctifies sinners, shaping them into the image of Christ. Grace perseveres even with the recalcitrant (stubborn), determining to complete what it has begun. And one day grace will destroy death and consummate the kingdom. John Stott

Verses 18-21 “The Voice” translation (paraphrase

So here is the result: as one man’s sin brought about condemnation and punishment for all people, so one man’s act of faithfulness makes all of us right with God and brings us to new life. 19 Just as through one man’s defiant disobedience every one of us were made sinners, so through the willing obedience of the one man many of us will be made right.

20 When the law came into the picture, sin grew and grew; but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there in fuller, greater measure. No matter how much sin crept in, there was always more grace. 21 In the same way that sin reigned in the sphere of death, now grace reigns through God’s restorative justice, eclipsing death and leading to eternal life through the Anointed One, Jesus our Lord, the Liberating King.

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