Pastor David B. Curtis


Salvation's Security - Part 2

Romans 5:15-17

Delivered 03/12/2000

We are continuing our study on "Salvation's Security", this could be one of the most important studies in helping to anchor your soul to the truth of your security in Christ.

Can you imagine the emotional state of a child who does not know from day to day whether or not he is a member of the family? Today, since he was a good boy, he is considered a member. But tomorrow, if he misbehaves, he may no longer be a member. Today he is loved by his father. Tomorrow he may not be. This child would be a neurotic mess! You are a part of your family, regardless of your behavior. So it is in the family of God, too. If you belong to Christ, you are part of the family, and can enjoy the emotional security our Heavenly Father wants us to experience.

When they built the first section of the Golden Gate bridge, there was no safety net to protect the workers. Twenty-three workers fell to their deaths in the perilous waters far below the bridge. The city of San Francisco decided to spend an enormous sum to put a safety net under the next section, but once the safety net was in place, only a handful of workers ever needed it. The work went faster, and the workers could concentrate on their jobs without worrying about the danger of death.

To be a productive Christian, you need to know that your future is secure. That's why understanding our eternal security is so important. It allows our fears to be dealt with, gives us confidence for the task at hand, and offers the emotional stability that we need. If you understand what the Bible has to say about God's security, you would see that the God who saved you, keeps you.

The design of Romans 5:12-21 is to explain justification and its security. Paul is demonstrating that we have the same relationship now to the Lord Jesus Christ as we had before our salvation with Adam.

Outline: verse 12 begins the comparison between Adam and Christ, which is not resumed until verse 18. Verses 13-14 are a sort of parenthetical remark attached to the end of verse 12. Verses 15-17 form another parenthesis attached to the end of verse 14. The main thought, therefore, is found in verses 12 , 18 &19.

Last week we looked at verses 12-14. We saw that Paul traced man's fall to the one sin of Adam, and from Adam's one sin we saw three things resulted:

1. Sin entered the world.

Adam's nature became corrupt and he passed this nature on to all men. That corrupt nature is called "Original Sin." So, all men are born with a sinful nature.

2. Death came by sin.

Through Adam's personal sin, original sin came to all mankind, and all humanity was corrupted. We are all born in a state of spiritual death. If a man dies physically while in a state of spiritual death, he will spend eternity in the lake of fire, which the Bible calls the "second death".

3. Death spread to all men.

Every human being born is born separated from God, dead in sin. All men are born dead in sin because Adam's personal sin is "imputed," that is put to the account of, every individual in Adam's race. So you were born spiritually dead because you were personally and individually charged with Adam's sin. That is imputation! When Adam sinned, he sinned as our Federal or representative head. Adam's sin applies to and affects every individual that he was representing. His act was a representative act, you and I as being represented by our Federal head, participated in Adam's act.

I can give you a rather week illustration of representation from our own legal system. We know that if I hire a man to kill someone, and that hired killer carries out the contract, I can justly be tried for first-degree murder in spite of the fact that I did not actually kill anybody. I am judged to be guilty for a crime someone else committed because the other person acted in my place. Now, I know that we didn't hire Adam to sin for us. The illustration simply illustrates that there are some cases in which it is just to punish one person for the crime of another.

This section in Romans 5, is a comparison of two men, Adam and Christ. The comparison is very simple. There are two men, who each performed a single act, that brought forth a single result, and the result is experienced by every member in their respective races.

When God looks at the 5 billion people who live on planet earth - and the other billions who lived here in the past - he sees two people who stand out from all the rest of humanity. They are representative men. The whole history of the human race revolves around those two men - what they did, and what flowed from what they did.

Each federal head, Adam and Christ, committed an act which has a result that is experienced by every individual in their respective race. Every individual in their respective race participated in that act which their representative head performed. This is fundamental to understanding chapter 6.

Verses 15-17 amplify the end of verse 14.

Romans 5:14 (NKJV) 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.

We see in the end of verse 14 that Adam is a type of Christ. How is he a type? Both are representative heads whose actions are imputed to those they represent.

Verses 15-17 show in what points the type (Adam) falls short of the anti-type (Jesus). These verses give the difference in intensity between the destructive and the recovering power.

General contrast: our relationship to Adam is a natural one, a physical one, but our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is a spiritual one. In the Old Testament types, truth is conveyed in an external, physical, and material manner to picture a spiritual reality. In the Old Covenant, God's people were physically part of the nation Israel. In the New Covenant, physical decent plays no part at all in being in the covenant. God's New Covenant people are spiritually born into the covenant. Look at how Paul breaks the physicalness of the Old Covenant types by what he says in -

Romans 2:28-29 (NKJV) For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Jew means: "a true son of Abraham who brings praise to God." Paul shows that to be a son of Abraham is no longer physical, it is now spiritual!

In Romans 5:15, Adam's offense is contrasted with Christ's free gift.

Romans 5:15 (NKJV) But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

"But" shows a contrast. "The free gift is not like the offense." The Greek word used here for "offense" is paraptoma, which means: "a falling alongside, a deviation from the right path." We call it "the fall." Adam's sin was the violation of the known will of God, it was a fall. And when Adam fell, we fell. Verse 15 says, "For if by the one man's offense many died." The "IF" is a first class condition in the Greek and should be translated "since." We ALL sinned in Adam. The wages we receive are death.

Romans 6:23 (NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wages are payment for what you have earned, what you deserve. Because we sinned in Adam, we all get what we deserve, and we are all born spiritually dead. Paul says that the offense of one is the reason for the many being subject to death.

Notice the contrast: "the free gift is not like the offense." The words "free gift" are from the Greek word charisma, which means: "a gift of grace, a favor one receives without merit of his own." We are out of the realm of wages here, this is not something we earn or deserve.

Romans 5:15 (NKJV) But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

"Much more" does not express a higher degree of efficacy but evidence of certainty. If the one thing has happened, much more certain may the other thing be relied upon.

Please remember that Paul's theme in this section is the absolute certainty of salvation, he is talking about our security in Christ. Paul is saying in verse 15, "Much more certain is the free gift to those who Christ represents then spiritual death is to those who Adam represents."

Side bar: if the death referred to here is physical, than the "much more" breaks down. There are at least two individuals who escaped physical death that I know of; Enoch and Elijah. So if the death talked about here is physical, and some men escaped it, than how certain is the free gift?

Our text goes on to say, "Much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace." The "grace of God" speaks of God's disposition of gratuitous favor. And "gift by grace" speaks of the righteousness of God that is accounted to all who believe.

Our text says that this grace "abounded to many." The Greek word used here for "abounded" is perisseuo, which means: "to super abound, to be in excess, to excel."

Please get this: The grace of God comes to us and does more than just repair what Adam lost. God doesn't just remove our sins, He gives us His righteousness. This is super abounding grace. This is what Paul calls, "exceeding riches of His grace"(Eph. 2:7), and "unsearchable riches of Christ"(Eph. 3:8).

We are much better off now than we would have been had Adam never sinned. Adam was in a state of innocence, but we have the very righteousness of God. We are "in Christ". Adam was in a condition where he was liable to fall. We are in Christ and have no possibility of falling. We are not merely restored to Adam's pre-fall condition, we are taken beyond that.

So, we see in verse 15 that Adam's offense is contrasted to Jesus Christ's free gift. Let me make some practical comments here. Death came to Adam and to all men, but death's power can be broken. Christ can break the power of sin.

2 Timothy 1:10 (NKJV) but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

The converse of this is not true, Adam and his sin and his death cannot break back into that which Christ has already accomplished. Only Adam's headship can be overruled. Our salvation is secure, eternally secure!

Many & All ???????????

In verses 15 and 19, Paul uses "many" for the sake of his analogy, and in verse 18, he uses "all" for the sake of analogy. Which is it, many or all?

In verse 15, he uses "many" though he means: "all." And when he says "many in Christ," he means: "many" not "all". Later on he'll say "all" in Christ because he said "all" in Adam. "All" in Adam means: "all", but "all" in Christ means: "many" not "all". Got that? Good, let's move on. Just kidding, let's see if we can understand this.

There are people who say that "many and all" mean exactly what they say, and if it means "many" in one place then it means "many" in the other place. This sheer literalism results in universalism, which means: "everybody will be saved."

Romans 5:18 (NKJV) Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

Is this teaching universalism? Will everybody be saved? NO! Often in Scripture the term "all" has a limited meaning. For example:

Luke 2:1 (NKJV) And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

Was every single person living in the world to be registered? No.

John 3:26 (NKJV) And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified; behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!"

Was everyone coming to Christ? No.

Acts 19:27 (NKJV) "So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship."

Was everyone in the world worshiping Diana? No, there were many Christians at this time, and they weren't worshiping her.

The "all" of verse 18 is limited in verse 17 to those who "receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness." The "all" refers to all who are under the headship of that representative.

Look with me at:

1 Corinthians 15:22 (NKJV) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Everyone does die in Adam, but are "all" made alive in Christ? Verse 22 "all" is limited in verse 23.

1 Corinthians 15:23 (NKJV) But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.

It is only "those who are Christ's" that are made alive. The "all" is for all whom they represent. Adam does represent all men. But Christ only represents "all" who put their trust in Him.

One of the main hermanutical principles is called the Analogy of Faith. This principle teaches that Scripture is to interpret Scripture. No Scripture can be taken in such a way as to render it in conflict with what is clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture.

Does the Bible teach universalism? No!

John 5:27-29 (NKJV) "and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 "and come forth; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Matthew 25:46 (NKJV) "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

The Bible clearly teaches that not all men will be saved. "Many and all" are used for the sake of analogy.

So, in verse 15, Adam's offense is contrasted to Christ's free gift. Then in verse 16, The extent of Adam's sin is contrasted with the extent of Christ's obedience.

Romans 5:16 (NKJV) And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.

Adam's sin resulted in judgment. The word "judgment" means: "a sentence or decision on the part of a judge." This judgment came as a result of one offense. Here it is asserted that condemnation has come by the one sin of the one man. If then all are condemned by that sin, all must be guilty by it, because the Righteous Judge would not condemn the innocent.

On the one side, the one sin of Adam led to condemnation of the whole world, and on the other side, the many offenses are covered by the act of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Practical note: how many sins did it take for God to condemn the whole human race? One. What does that tell you about God's attitude toward sin? One sin, and the whole race is damned. God hates sin, and He has't changed. Just one sin, and everybody dies. This is serious judgment.

We have adopted a scale of penalties for what we consider to be a scale of aggravation. No court in the world would inflict the death penalty on a man who stole fruit from an orchard, not even if he stole all the fruit.

But God is HOLY. Sin, any sin, all sin, brings judgment. This also tells us something about his grace. God has forgiven us not of one sin, but of every sin we have ever committed.

We need to get God's view of sin. Look at the cross, what do you see? Do you see God's hatred for sin as he butchers his only son? One sin by Adam damned the race, but God gathered up many offenses, and in a gracious act bore them all unto justification.

In verse 17, the two reigns are again contrasted.

Romans 5:17 (NKJV) For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Again the stress falls upon the one man. One man, one sin results in death reigning. Death came in as a conqueror, death triumphed over all. And so the whole of mankind, as the result of this one sin of Adam, has been subject to death.

Look at our world, and you can clearly see the reign of spiritual death. Men are separated from God.

"Much more" - the reign of death is certain. Just as certain as death reigns through Adam, "much more" certain is the fact that we reign in life through Jesus Christ.

"Those who receive" - does not mean "accepted", but those who were made recipients of - "abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness" God's righteousness is given to us as a gift of his grace.

Adam lost his own righteousness, but you and I are not merely given back a human righteousness, we are given the very righteousness of God. I stand before God perfectly righteousness, totally obedient, never having sinned.

"will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ" - what does this mean?

Ephesians 2:4-6 (NKJV) But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

We reign in life, eternal life. We reign in life as kings inheriting all of God's promises.

John 10:10 (NKJV) "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 11:26 (NKJV) "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

Spiritual death cannot touch us, we reign in life!

Our salvation is secure because we are saved and secured, not by our works, but by virtue of the one act of our representative, Jesus Christ. If death is certain in this world, and it is, much more certain is our reign in eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Are you grateful for the eternal life that you have received in Christ? Is that gratitude manifest in your life? How?

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