« ZurückWeiter »
us:"' is our “advocate with the Father:” “prays for us, that our faith fail not:” that we may be “kept from the evil:” and thus, “is able to save them unto the uttermost that come unto God through him.”
Thus faith in a crucified Saviour, leads to faith in a risen Saviour. He who has given the strongest proof, that he willeth not that any should perish; he who has done so much, that they may not perish; will he now abandon the work, and leave the cause which he has carried so far? Will he desert the soul for which he shed his precious blood? We know that he will not. Those whom he so loved as to die for them on the cross, he will still love, now that he “ is set down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:” he will “love unto the end.” It is the same confidence that we might feel in an earthly benefactor. He forgave me, and showed kindness, when I treated him with coldness and aversion: he remained my friend, and visited and relieved me in the afflictions which my own misconduct had brought on: how much more am I sure of his assistance and regard, when I am striving to deserve it, and to make some due return? So, respecting God, the penitent may argue;—He visited me, when I neglected him: will he abandon me now that I desire to serve him? He stopped me when I was a rebel: will he reject me when I strive after obedience? He thought of me when I deserted him: will he neglect me when I pray to him? when all my joy is in his word and his promise, and in his covenant of grace?
* Rom. viii. 34; Heb. vii. 25. * 1 John ii. 1. * Luke xxii. 31 ; John xvii. 15. * Heb. vii. 25. F
These are the thoughts by which those hearts may be encouraged, which need encouragement: those spirits cheered, which faint under the dangers of the world, and the sense of remaining corruption. And such thoughts enable us to joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. That atonement, which we have received, is the earnest of the rest: the standing proof of God's good will, to disperse all doubts and fears. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
THE RUIN OF MANKIND THROUGH ADAM : THEIR RESTORATION THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.
RoMANs v. 12–17.
12. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
The fact here revealed to us, God alone could reveal. He does not explain it to us: how or why it came to be so, we are not told : he merely declares the fact, that he “made man upright,” and man became corrupt through disobedience: that he surveyed his works, and “lo, they were very good,” and man amongst them : till sin entered into the world, and death by sin. He had issued a command, and required obedience of the creatures he had made; “saying, (Gen. ii. 16.) Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” When this command was disobeyed, sin entered into the world, and death by sin. (Gen. iii. 17.) “Because thou hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”3
5 Rom. viii. 32. 1 Eccles. vii. 29. * Gen. i. 31.
And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. All became sinful, as the descendants of sinful parents, and therefore all became subject to the consequences of sin. Adam's sons were born “in his likeness,” corrupt like himself: and the whole race lies under the evils which were thus entailed upon the world.
All hare sinned, the apostle had said. He might be challenged to prove this. He had before shown it, in the opening of this epistle, from their history. He now takes another course: and argues that all have sinned, because all have suffered the effects of sin.
13. (For until (i.e. before) the law," sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law :
* Gen. iii. 19. • axpt, before, or up to the time of the law of Moses: so Chrysostom. Though no law was then revealed to men, as afterwards to the Jews, there was the natural law of reason and conscience written in their hearts, and this they did not obey: as ch. i. and ii.
14. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”
Thus we have proof of the sinfulness of the whole race, in that all underwent the penalty of sinfulness. Death reigned from Adam to Moses. Those died, who could not have transgressed the command which Adam disobeyed, or the law which Moses issued, and therefore did not suffer for that sin. But there was a law, an unwritten law of reason and of conscience, against which they offended: otherwise sin would not have been imputed to them. For sin is not imputed where there is no law. And punishment is not inflicted, where there is no sin. But sin was imputed to them, and they suffered its penalty: and therefore all have sinned, though not after the similitude of Adam's transgression: not wilfully against a direct command. Plainly, therefore, the whole race had partaken of the corruption which Adam introduced into the world: and so death passed upon all men, for that all hare sinned.
Here then is our condition: a miserable condition of physical infirmity, and spiritual ruin. “In Adam all died.”
Yet in his judgment, God remembers mercy. The goodness of God had been Paul's special theme in the preceding verses of this chapter. The admission of sin and death into the world, might seem to contradict this. Therefore, whilst he asserts the offence and the condemnation; he asserts also the mercy of God, and the gift by grace which is in Jesus Christ. We acknowledge that the sin of the father, Adam, has fallen in its effects upon his whole posterity. Still observe God's goodness. If those sin, and suffer for sin, who sin through a corrupt nature, which nature they received corrupt: so likewise is righteousness imputed, through the mercy of the gospel, to those who have not been previously righteous: nay, have been offenders. And in this respect, Adam, who transgressed, is the figure of him who was to come. For as by him all suffered loss, by the other all received a gain—received it under such circumstances, as show that in God's counsels, “mercy rejoiceth against judgment:” and that although he is a God of holiness, who “will by no means clear the guilty,” yet “the Lord our God is merciful and gracious,” and “keepeth not his anger for ever.”
* The figure, or type; ruroc. There is this parallel between them, that vast consequences resulted to the world from both.
15. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
The loss was grievous, when through the offence of one ruin came upon many, upon all mankind: natural and spiritual ruin. But the favour of God and the benefits by grace have also abounded unto many : unto mankind. And as the injury was by one man, Adam; so likewise the remedy is by one man, Jesus Christ. Further, great is the difference between the gift by which mankind are benefited for the sake of one, and the sentence by which mankind were condemned
* Exod. xxiv. 7. 7 Ps. ciii. 0.