“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
This passage is a comparison of the damage done by the first Adam, [Of Garden of Eden fame], and the grace made available to the world by the life and work of the Second Adam. [Jesus Christ].
Paul argues that the problem of sin became the problem of every person of every subsequent generation when Adam sinned in The Garden. The first Adam did something that took us all down.
He offers no proof or explanation for his belief that Adam made us all sinners. I think that he simply looked at the destructive nature of the world around him and felt that all people and all human institutions, were all fatally flawed and carried with them the seeds of their own destruction.
I see how he felt. I can feel a deep despair if I look at my world without the hope that God’s grace daily gives me. World news is almost always bad news.
Then Paul looks at the life and work of Christ and concludes that the negative force begun by the sin of the first Adam has been greatly exceeded by the grace that has come into the world by the life and work of Christ. As he says, a few verses after the verse we are considering, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:”
In other words First Adam brought sin to us all but Second Adam brought salvation to us all. Look at the second half of our text. “…Even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
A standard translation says,”…Leads to justification and life for all men.” [English Standard Version] Here again, notice the word “ALL”.
The “Justification of life” came to all people of all times because of the work of Jesus. There is no standard of behavior or belief system or faith in Jesus required. Salvation is a totally free gift given by God to absolutely everyone.
Whether or not I actualize the gift in this life, in this body, in this place at this time is another matter to be discussed later. But the issue of eternal salvation is a completely settled matter; settled by the faith lived out by Christ.
I wrote this to a friend back East who had lost her brother:
“He starved to death at a banquet table full of food and died of thirst by a stream. For years, all his family wanted to do was to be able to show him love. If it had been up to you people, he would have died surrounded by his loving family”
So it is with so many of us. We live out our earthly life unaware that we have been completely accepted, redeemed, justified and every other good thing by God. That is God’s gift to us all. May we each enjoy and be empowered by this gift every day from now on.