Saturday, 4 May 2013
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. Romans 5:14
This verse clarifies a concept which is implicitly stated in the very first chapters of the Bible. That man sinned and death came as a result of sin. The death being spoken of here, and which will become evident by the time 5:21 is reached, is spiritual death. Adam was given a single commandment. He was told that if he broke that law, death would result, “…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:17
Adam did in fact violate the commandment and yet he continued to live physically for a full 930 years. This implies that what God spoke of was spiritual death and this is the premise that Paul writes from. The physical death that man experiences is a result of the spiritual death that occurred. God, in His wisdom, removed access to the Tree of Life. This is recorded in Genesis 3 – “Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…”
An eternally alive, but spiritually dead being would be a cosmic calamity. The wickedness of such a being would continue to grow throughout the ages. If man can wreak as much havoc as Hitler or Stalin did in such a few years, imagine the depths of depravity of an eternal, but fallen being!
Paul’s comment based on the previous verse is “Nevertheless” – Notwithstanding the fact that sin is not imputed where there is no law, “death reigned from Adam to Moses.” Why? Because all people are sons of Adam and have inherited his fallen state. This is true “even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam.” In other words, death reigns in all of Adam’s race even if they didn’t commit the same type of transgression as he did; the fallen state is inherited.
However and despite this sad news, we are given an introduction to Another. Paul says that Adam is “a type of Him who was to come.” The Bible is given to us to show the contrast between the two and the remedy which is found in this “second Adam.”
Life application: When Jesus said, “No one is good but One, that is, God” He was making an absolute claim. Only God is good. In order to be reconciled to Him, we must share in His goodness. The only way that this is possible is to have that state imputed to us by the merits of another perfectly good being. What is implied then is that if we are reconciled to God through Jesus, then Jesus must be God. Stand firm on the truth of the Bible, even if it is difficult to comprehend.
Lord God, despite our error and our turning away, You have restored us to You, just as You promised at the very beginning. You said that You would send One to right the wrong of Adam and He came and pitched His tent among us. What an amazing and glorious work You have wrought for Adam’s fallen sons. Great are Your ways, O God. Amen.