The many will be made righteous
Romans 5:19 Our choice of choosing Adam or Jesus as our representative has eternal consequences.
“For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”
Romans 5:19 NASB1995
The apostle Paul was obviously divinely inspired when he wrote Romans. It is the longest of Paul’s epistles, and has been studied intensely by Biblical scholars since it was written around 55 AD. In Romans chapter 5, Paul successfully argues that Christ’s work alone saves mankind, just as one man brought sin and death into the world.
Earlier in the chapter, Paul refers to the “two men”: Jesus, whose sacrifice on the cross brings salvation to believers; and Adam, whose sin brought the reign of death to mankind. Adam is referred to as “a type of Him who was to come”, a representation of Jesus. In the beginning, both were completely sinless, and both did things that had consequences affecting all mankind. Jesus and Adam represent all of mankind, and all of humanity is represented in either Adam or Jesus. The two men are also sometimes referred to as “the two Adams”.
Since this idea of representation is found in government (we vote for people to represent our interests at a governmental level), this has been termed Federal Theology. Now, most of us probably wouldn’t want to feel that we’ve chosen Adam to represent us, but the fact is we do choose him the first time we sin! We are born into our identification with Adam, and further choose to be identified with him with every sin we commit.
Our choice of choosing Adam or Jesus as our representative has eternal consequences. Choose Adam as your sole representative, and you’ll receive judgement and condemnation. Select Jesus, and receive the gifts of God’s grace and justification at no cost.
We didn’t make a choice to identity with Adam at birth, but we received the curse of his offense anyway. Is the converse true? Will everyone, regardless of their personal choices in life, receive the benefits of Jesus’ obedience to God?
No! Paul says in Romans 5:15 that:
“But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”
Will all of mankind, regardless of their personal choices in life, receive the benefits of Jesus’ obedience? Nope! He says here that the “free gift is not like the offense”. It’s a gift that is received by faith, something that Paul emphasizes throughout the New Testament — not all are saved. The gift of eternal life is presented to all of mankind, but it’s not necessarily received by all.
Personal rant here, supported by Paul. There are some people and denominations that preach universalism — that all men are saved by the work of Jesus whether or not they know it. Wrong! Paul specifically reminds us in Romans 5:15 that “by the transgression of the one the many died”, and he would be contradicting himself by saying that all are saved regardless of faith.
We’ll sum up this devotional with a bit of commentary from Enduring Word:
We could say that both Adam and Jesus are kings, each instituting a reign. Under Adam, death reigned. Under Jesus, we can reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
i. It is staggering to think how completely death has reigned under Adam. Everyone who is born dies — the mortality rate is 100%. No one survives. When a baby is born, it isn’t a question of whether the baby will live or die — it will most certainly die; the only question is when. We think of this world as the land of the living, but it is really the land of the dying, and the billions of human bodies cast into the earth over the centuries proves this. But Paul says that the reign of life through Jesus is much more certain. The believer’s reign in life through Jesus is more certain than death or taxes!
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Father, each and every day I thank You for Your goodness and grace, made mine through my Savior Jesus Christ. I know I am a sinner because of all mankind’s identity with Adam. Thank You that Your grace gives me an identity with Christ’s righteousness by faith. AMEN.