Born Into Slavery
Did you know that we are all born slaves? The facts are quite staggering to the first-time hearer; all humans were/are slaves and born of slaves. Each of us must face the facts, by looking honestly at the truthful evidence before us, which will help us to appreciate many things about man that have only been a mystery before now. More importantly, it will help each of us to understand that while we may be born into slavery, a provision has paid that will release us from this bondage.
When the first man Adam willfully chose to disobey God’s law, he gave up possession of perfect control of himself, gave into his selfish desire to continue with his wife, and placed her above his Creator, Jehovah God. His giving into this sinful desire made it and the result thereof, sin, his taskmaster, leading him as a slave. (Rom 6:16; James 1:14-15) In essence, he chose to place himself under sin. Sadly, all of humankind was yet to be born; therefore, Adam sold his future descendants under sin. It is for this reason that the Apostle Paul could write: “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.” (Rom 7:14) It is for this alone that humans were without a means of returning to perfection, unable to keep God’s righteous Law given through Moses. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.” (Rom 7:10) What the Mosaic Law had accomplished was to highlight their inability to keep this law perfectly, labeling them as slaves to sin (missing the mark of perfection), and deserving death. Exactly, what is sin though? Sin is “anything not in harmony with, hence contrary to, God’s personality, standards, ways, and will; anything marring one’s relationship with God. It may be in word (Job 2:10; Ps 39:1), in deed (doing wrong acts [Le 20:20; 2Co 12:21] or failing to do what should be done [Nu 9:13; Jas 4:17]), or in mind or heart attitude (Pr 21:4; compare also Ro 3:9-18; 2Pe 2:12-15).”
Romans 5:12-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned, 13 or until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a type of the one who is to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if by the trespass 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. 16 And it is not the same with the free gift as with the way things worked through the one man who sinned. For the judgment after one trespass was condemnation, but the gift after many trespasses was justification. 17 For if by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ.
The lost opportunity for eternal life on a paradise earth, humankind walking with God in peace, took place when the first man, Adam, in an act of disobedience and rebellion, sinned against God. However, all was not lost, because there was one perfect man, who could recover this walking with God in peace, and the hope of eternal life, Christ Jesus, the second Adam, regaining through obedience, what Adam had lost through disobedience.
- Death by One Man (5:12)
- From Adam to Moses (5:13-14)
- Adam’s Sin Contrasted with the Gift of Christ (5:15)
- Adam’s Condemnation Contrasted with the Righteousness of Christ (5:16)
- The Reign of Death Contrasted With the Reign of Life (5:17)
As with the ripple effect of a rock thrown into a pond, it took one man to create the ripple effect of all of humankind being placed into slavery, sold, sinful, ending with death. Fortunately, two of God’s cardinal attributes is wisdom and power, using these; he was able to make the needed arrangements of offering another Adam, Jesus Christ, as a means of repurchasing humankind. It is here in verses 12–18 that we see His third main attribute of justice being used in bringing into balance one man against another man in this repurchasing process, maintaining just all along the way. The Apostle Paul writes:
Romans 5:13-14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 or until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a type of the one who is to come.
In other words, Adam was given a law in the Garden of Eden, that is:
Genesis 2:16-17 Update American Standard Version (UASV)
16 And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, “From every tree of the garden you may freely eat, 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”
This one act of disobedience to his God was a transgression, a sinning by “overstepping,” ‘sidestepping,’ “bypassing,” or ‘passing beyond’ (Heb., ‛avar) God’s covenant or specific orders. (See Num. 14:41; Deut. 17:2, 3; Josh 7:11, 15; 1 Sam 15:24; Isa 24:5; Jer. 34:18) Therefore, Adam was guilty of sin. It is by means of inheritance that the descendants of Adam came into sin. From the time of the birth of Adam’s firstborn son up unto the giving of the Mosaic Law, there was no law code; therefore, man was unable to transgress in the way of Adam.
From Genesis up unto the baptism of Christ Jesus, there was a mystery of who the prophesied seed would be. (Gen 3:15) It was not until the Apostle Paul that Jesus was truly disclosed as this 1,500-year-old mystery. We find that Jesus is the second Adam, who bore some resemblance to the first, in that both were perfect humans. The first Adam committed a trespass when he very well could have chosen not to, which lead to sickness, old age, and death. On the other hand, the second Adam [Jesus] was perfectly obedient under much more serious trials, which would lead to any who trust in him receiving an unearned righteous standing for an imperfect person, and the hope of eternal life, two completely different courses. Thus, the Apostle Paul continues:
Romans 5:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if by the trespass 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.
As was already stated, the first Adam committed his one “trespass” in the Garden of Eden, causing the death sentence of all his descendants up unto the first century C.E. It is here that man receives the unearned, the undeserved gift of “that one man Jesus Christ.” By means of this “one man,” God’s righteous requirement of justice is met, giving many an opportunity once again to walk with Him in an approved condition. This undeserved gift was so effective that even Enoch and Noah could be spoken of as though they were walking with God based on their faith in this coming one. Here is the similarity, for both have an impact on the many. Continuing, the Apostle Paul writes:
Romans 5:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 And it is not the same with the free gift as with the way things worked through the one man who sinned. For the judgment after one trespass was condemnation, but the gift after many trespasses was justification.
In other words, the judgment of condemnation by God came from Adam’s one trespass. This one trespass brought Adam and all who were yet to be born under the condemnation of death. In Galatians 3:19, the Apostle Paul informs us that the law “was added because of transgressions until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made.” In other words, the Mosaic Law was added to highlight the sinful nature of man, and the need for a greater sacrifice. When God gave the Law to Moses, there were “many trespasses” on the part of the Israelites, establishing that humankind is sinful and in need of something more than animal sacrifices. The “free gift” allowed God’s justice to be met, offering all who has an active faith [i.e., complete trust] in that gift, to be declared righted, although imperfect. Paul next helps his readers to see the balance of the one man over against the other man:
Romans 5:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
17 For if by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ.
The “trespass of the one man” is a sin of encroaching on his Creator’s righteous standards of right and wrong, to decide for him what is right and wrong, rejecting the sovereignty of the one who created him. The penalty of death was made clear to this “one man.” The trespass of Adam in the Garden of Eden brought on the reign of death to not only himself, but also all who would come out of his loins. On the opposite end of the scale is the unearned underserved gift by God, the free gift of righteousness, pulling any who accepted this free gift out of the quagmire of sin and death! This “free gift of righteousness” enables all who accept it to “reign in life.” This hope that is set before all is a result of the sacrifice of the “one man Jesus Christ.”
The Truth Will Set You Free
Jesus Christ said:
John 8:31-32 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you remain in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
What will the truth set us free from?
John 8:24, 34-36 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you trust that I am he, you will die in your sins.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Here Jesus is discussing the freedom from sin; they are a slave to sin. Therefore, if one becomes a disciple of Christ, there will be a change in his life, and he will be set free from Adamic, inherited sin and death.
The Mental Bent of Imperfect Humankind’s Mind
Initially, Adam and Eve’s mental disposition or inclination was not toward evil or bad, sin. Hence, while imperfect humans are inclined, lean toward wrongdoing, it was just the opposite for our first human parents; their natural inclination was toward doing good. This is just the reverse of their descendants, for we have inherited the disease of sin, missing the mark, or standard of perfection. (Gen. 6:5, AT) “When the Lord saw that the wickedness of man on the earth was great and that the whole bent of his thinking was never anything but evil …” (Gen. 8:21, AT) “ … the bent of man’s mind may be evil from his very youth …” (Jer. 17:9) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?”
 it-2 p. 962 Sin, I
 Lit not as the trespass, so also the free gift
 Lit a declaring of righteous
 Harris, R. Laird; Harris, Robert Laird; Archer, Gleason Leonard; Waltke, Bruce K.: Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. electronic ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1999, c1980, S. 640
 Lit not as the trespass, so also the free gift
 Lit a declaring of righteous
 While it is true, there is nothing we can think, say, do that can earn us salvation, as it is an undeserved gift from God. However, our works are proof of our active faith in God’s promises. – Romans 3:23, 24; James 2:17, 18, 24.
 If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. This reveals the second step in the progress toward true discipleship. Perseverance in obedience to Scripture (cf. Matt. 28:19, 20) is the fruit or evidence of genuine faith (see Eph. 2:10). The word abide means to abide habitually in Jesus’ words. A genuine believer holds fast, obeys, and practices Jesus’ teaching. The one who continues in His teaching has both the Father and the Son (2 John 9; cf. Heb. 3:14; Rev. 2:26). Real disciples are both learners (the basic meaning of the word) and faithful followers. MacArthur, John (2005-05-09). The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Kindle Location 47395). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.