CMF eZine

The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.

Author: Bob Flynn

Bob Flynn was born and raised in Los Angeles County, California.  He is the son of a watchmaker and jeweler.  He spent 23 years in the Navy where he enjoyed flying on the P-3 Orion as a flight engineer and serving as a manager in aircraft maintenance.  He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Nancy, for 49 years and they have two grown sons.  Bob came to the day of salvation as an adult while caring for his mother as she was dying of cancer.  Bob joined the Christian Military Fellowship in 1981 and served as Local Representative and then later as President of the governing Counsel.  Upon retirement from the Navy, Bob was called to serve on the staff of CMF as the Coordinator of Ministries, later Chief Operating Officer, and now President and Chief Executive Officer.  His undergraduate and graduate university studies include business management, human resource management, church ministries, Biblical studies, and information technology management.

Romans 6:05 - Death to Death - Life to Life

Rom 6:5
For if we have been planted together - Συμφυτοι γεγοναμεν.  Dr. Taylor observes, that our translation does not completely express the apostle’s meaning.  Τα συμφυτα are such plants as grow, the one upon and in the other, deriving sap and nourishment from it, as the mistletoe upon the oak, or the scion upon the stock in which it is grafted.  He would therefore translate the words:  For if we have been growers together with Christ in the likeness of his death, (or in that which is like his death), we shall be also growers together with him in the likeness of his resurrection; or in that which is like his resurrection. He reckons it a beautiful metaphor, taken from grafting, or making the scion grow together with a new stock. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
Rom 6:5 (4) For if we have been planted together in the (f) likeness of his death, we shall (g) be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:

(4) The death of sin and the life of righteousness, or our ingrafting into Christ, and growing up into one with him, cannot be separated by any means, neither in death nor life: by which it follows that no man is sanctified who lives still to sin, and therefore is no man made partaker of Christ by faith, who does not repent and turn from his wickedness: for as he said before, the law is not overturned but established by faith.

(f) And by means of the strength which comes from him to us, so we die to sin, as he is dead.

(g) For every day we become more perfect: for we will never be perfectly sanctified, as long as we live here. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, (NASB)
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (KJV)
Since we have been united with Him in His death, we will also be raised to life as He was. (NLT)
For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection. (NET)
For since we have become one with him in dying as he did, in the same way we shall be one with him by being raised to life as he was. (GNB)

We are inexplicably joined with Christ Jesus wherein we receive the fullness of all that is His, including His death for us that frees us from sin AND His resurrection that raised Him from the dead.  This empowerment from Him who hung the stars provides greater still more than we could hope or dream in changing us in to a likeness or reflection of His very person.  There is no greater joy!

Eph 2:5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!) (NLT)
Thus the name (συ?μφυτος sumphutos) would be given to a field of grain that was sown at the same time, and where the grain sprung up and grew simultaneously.  Hence, it means intimately connected, or joined together.  And here it denotes that Christians and the Savior have been united intimately in regard to death; as he died and was laid in the grave, so have they by profession died to sin.  And it is therefore natural to expect, that, like grain sown at the same time, they should grow up in a similar manner, and resemble each other. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

Romans 6:04 - The Gift of a New Life

Rom 6:4 We are buried with him - Alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion.  That as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory - Glorious power.  Of the Father, so we also, by the same power, should rise again; and as he lives a new life in heaven, so we should walk in newness of life.  This, says the apostle, our very baptism represents to us. (John Wesley)
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (NASB)
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (KJV)
For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. (NLT)
Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. (NET)
Speaking of the story of the fall from Genesis 3:
Yet the story also points out that there is no escaping divine accountability.  Those who try to be as God finally stand before God like children who have been found out and are full of evasions.  The author thus brings out the full absurdity of the Prometheus motif.  But he does so with insight into the tragic human situation in which it seems that there is immanent justification—in the desire for culture, the work of thought, and sensual longing—for human hostility to God and the attempt to break free from the divine prohibition.  The true reality of sin can be grasped only when one perceives that the divine likeness itself opens up the possibilities of deviation and the unfathomable distress which every act of deviation causes when it comes under the pitiless divine glance.  (Theological dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans.)

I suspect that we only begin to see the immense work of God in our redemption when we begin to see that from which we were liberated—the "pitiless divine glance!"  Here we begin to see that we were "buried together with" (Greek - sunthapto?) the Savior Himself so that we would be declared dead unto sin and its power.  If there could have been another way wouldn't the Father have chosen it rather than sacrifice His only begotten Son?  Our sin has far reaching and unknown (to us) consequences that can only be solved by the death of the sinner in order to quench the divine justice.  Therefore, our fellowship with Christ in His death becomes the gateway to a new life by being also included in His resurrection.  We are not left low in the grave but empowered by this fellowship to live lives for which heretofore we could only dream.  To walk (not only walk, but to walk at large - Greek: peripateo?) in a new life created especially for us and entered into by faith in Christ Jesus alone.

In newness of life - This is a Hebraism to denote new life. We should rise with Christ to a new life; and having been made dead to sin, as he was dead in the grave, so should we rise to a holy life, as he rose from the grave.  The argument in this verse is, therefore, drawn from the nature of the Christian profession.  By our very baptism, by our very profession, we have become dead to sin, as Christ became dead; and being devoted to him by that baptism, we are bound to rise, as he did, to a new life. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

Romans 6:03 - In Union With His Death

Rom 6:3 (3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into (c) Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

(3) There are three parts of this sanctification: that is, the death of the old man or sin, his burial, and the resurrection of the new man, descending into us from the virtue of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, of which benefit our baptism is a sign and pledge.

(c) To the end that growing up as one with him, we should receive his strength to extinguish sin in us, and to make us new men. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
Thayer's Greek Definitions
Thayer Definition:
1) to be ignorant, not to know
2) not to understand, unknown
3) to err or sin through mistake, to be wrong


Thayer Definition:
1) to perceive with the mind, to understand, to have understanding
2) to think upon, heed, ponder, consider

Thayer Definition:
1) to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel
1a) to become known
2) to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of
2a) to understand
2b) to know
3) Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman
4) to become acquainted with, to know

Thayer Definition:
1) to see
1a) to perceive with the eyes
1b) to perceive by any of the senses
1c) to perceive, notice, discern, discover
1d) to see
1d1) i.e. to turn the eyes, the mind, the attention to anything
1d2) to pay attention, observe
1d3) to see about something
1d3a) i.e. to ascertain what must be done about it
1d4) to inspect, examine
1d5) to look at, behold
1e) to experience any state or condition
1f) to see, i.e. have an interview with, to visit
2) to know
2a) to know of anything
2b) to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive
2b1) of any fact
2b2) the force and meaning of something which has definite meaning
2b3) to know how, to be skilled in
2c) to have regard for one, cherish, pay attention to (1Th 5:12)
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? (NASB)
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (KJV)
Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined Him in His death? (NLT)
Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (NET)
For surely you know that when we were baptized into union with Christ Jesus, we were baptized into union with his death. (GNB)

In this amazing chapter there is three kinds of "knowing," a "reckoning," and a "presenting."  Their importance to the success of our Christian lives cannot be overstated. If the lesson here is NOT learned (as taught by the Holy Spirit Himself upon our hearts) then chapter 7, 9 and 12 become a bridge too far, or worse, pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye.  Or to paraphrase Watchmen Nee, you can reckon yourself dead unto sin until hell freezes over without success until you understand the knowing.  The first in verse 3 is the "not knowing" or ignorance. The second is to know with certainty through intimacy (vs 6). The third is to know experientially through the senses (vs 9).

Yesterday I mentioned that sanctification consisted of two things:  Mortification (dying to sin) and Vivification (living to righteousness).  As we look at today's verse that in relationship to Christ's work there are three parts: death, burial, and resurrection.  Our baptism (the outward sign of what has already happened within) is a work of the Holy Spirit that creates a union with the work of Christ in dying for our sins.

Gal 3:27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. (NLT)
Gal 6:14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world's interest in me has also died. (NLT)
Col 3:3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. (NLT)
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Galatians 2:20-21 NLT)
Rom 6:3-10
Baptism teaches the necessity of dying to sin, and being as it were buried from all ungodly and unholy pursuits, and of rising to walk with God in newness of life.  Unholy professors may have had the outward sign of a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, but they never passed from the family of Satan to that of God.  The corrupt nature, called the old man, because derived from our first father Adam, is crucified with Christ, in every true believer, by the grace derived from the cross.  It is weakened and in a dying state, though it yet struggles for life, and even for victory. But the whole body of sin, whatever is not according to the holy law of God, must be done away, so that the believer may no more be the slave of sin, but live to God, and find happiness in his service. (Matthew Henry)
Were baptized unto his death - We were baptized with special reference to his death.  Our baptism had a strong resemblance to his death.  By that he became insensible to the things of the world; by baptism we in like manner become dead to sin.  Further, we are baptized with particular reference to the design of his death, the great leading feature and purpose of his work.  That was, to expiate sin; to free people from its power; to make them pure.  We have professed our devotion to the same cause; and have solemnly consecrated ourselves to the same design - to put a period to the dominion of iniquity. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
Baptized into his death? - That, as Jesus Christ in his crucifixion died completely, so that no spark of the natural or animal life remained in his body, so those who profess his religion should be so completely separated and saved from sin, that they have no more connection with it, nor any more influence from it, than a dead man has with or from his departed spirit. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
Baptized into his death? - That, as Jesus Christ in his crucifixion died completely, so that no spark of the natural or animal life remained in his body, so those who profess his religion should be so completely separated and saved from sin, that they have no more connection with it, nor any more influence from it, than a dead man has with or from his departed spirit. (Dr. John Gill)

Romans 6:02 - Dead to Sin

How shall we, that are dead to sin - The phraseology of this verse is common among Hebrews, Greeks, and Latins.  To Die to a thing or person, is to have nothing to do with it or him; to be totally separated from them: and to live to a thing or person is to be wholly given up to them; to have the most intimate connection with them. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
When it is said, therefore, that a Christian is dead to sin, the sense is, that it has lost its influence ever him; he is not subject to it; he is in regard to that, as the man in the grave is to the busy scenes and cares of this life. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (NASB)
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (KJV)
Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? (NLT)
Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (NET)

If we take a step back and look at the whole of chapter 6, we will discover the illustration here used is that of slavery.  We are the slave and Sin is the master.  If it had been left up to me to create a solution to the sin problem, then I would have done away with sin (the master).  However, here we see that Christ's plan was to do away with the sinner!  As the Apostle later elaborates, we are dead.  The problem ensues when I take my pulse and discover that my body is still very much alive.  It is in Christ that we are dead to sin and its power.  The fact that we have been brought to the foot of the Cross should remind us that we have had enough of this slavery to sin and all of its consequences.  But now we must enter into the experiential realm of putting off the old man and putting on the new man (in Christ).  Or put in theological terms: Sanctification (being made holy) consists of: Mortification (dying to sin) and Vivification (living to righteousness).

You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols. (1 Peter 4:3 NLT)
The apostle is very full in pressing the necessity of holiness. He does not explain away the free grace of the gospel, but he shows that connection between justification and holiness are inseparable. Let the thought be abhorred, of continuing in sin that grace may abound. True believers are dead to sin, therefore they ought not to follow it. No man can at the same time be both dead and alive. He is a fool who, desiring to be dead unto sin, thinks he may live in it. (Matthew Henry)
Rom 6:2 God forbid. (2) How shall we, that are (b) dead to sin, live any longer therein?

(2) The benefits of justification and sanctification are always inseparable joined together, and both of them proceed from Christ by the grace of God: now sanctification is the abolishing of sin, that is, of our natural corruption, whose place is taken by the cleanness and pureness of a reformed nature.

(b) They are said by Paul to be dead to sin, who are made partakers of the power of Christ, so that the natural corruption is dead in them, that is, the power of it is removed, and it does not bring forth its bitter fruits: and on the other hand, they are said to live to sin, who are in the flesh, that is, whom the Spirit of God has not delivered from the slavery of the corruption of nature. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)



Romans 6:01 - Should We Sin With Exuberance?

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

He passes now to another benefit of Christ, which is called sanctification or regeneration.

In that corruption, for though the guiltiness of sin, is not imputed to us, yet the corruption still remains in us: and this is killed little by little by the sanctification that follows justification.  (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? - This is a mode of presenting an objection. The objection refers to what the apostle had said in Romans 5:20.  What shall we say to such a sentiment as that where sin abounded grace did much more abound?
Shall we continue in sin? ... - If sin has been the occasion of grace and favor, ought we not to continue in it, and commit as much as possible, in order that grace might abound?  This objection the apostle proceeds to answer.  He shows that the consequence does not follow; and proves that the doctrine of justification does not lead to it. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.  But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant.  (Romans 5:20 NLT)
What shall we say then?  Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? (NASB)
What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (KJV)
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace? (NLT)
What shall we say then?  Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? (NET)

This would probably be more aptly said in a post-Christian America, "Why can't I continue on sinning as before so that Grace can really abound?"  The deceiver of this world, taking advantage of the evil propensity of our own heart, has us consider ourselves as the embodiment Christian virtue while continuing in persistent habitual sin. How quickly we do forget that the reward for our sin is our abandonment in it.  If we say we have no sin, then we call Him a liar!  The result is that we come to worship soiled and bearing a foul stench while exhibiting a total lack of shame.  The daily headlines are replete with one group or another seeking public indulgence for their particular sin—no revelation here.  We are creatures of our falleness and cannot extricate ourselves from the piteous estate in which we find ourselves.  So instead we seek to find a way to make our sin acceptable to a perfect and holy God—the modern definition of religion.  Christianity in our day in many ways has become the self-justification of the lost by the lost!  This is why we need a Savior! The flesh is at enmity with the Lord and can never and will never change!  This becomes the premise for the following chapters—the complete training course in how not to be self-deceived—but instead live in Christ's righteousness.  However, to do this we must live in Christ and make no room for he flesh! Or perhaps better said, Christ must live in us!

Rom 6:1  Shall we continue in sin - It is very likely that these were the words of a believing Gentile, who - having as yet received but little instruction, for he is but just brought out of his heathen state to believe in Christ Jesus - might imagine, from the manner in which God had magnified his mercy, in blotting out his sin on his simply believing on Christ, that, supposing he even gave way to the evil propensities of his own heart, his transgressions could do him no hurt now that he was in the favor of God.  And we need not wonder that a Gentile, just emerging from the deepest darkness, might entertain such thoughts as these; when we find that eighteen centuries after this, persons have appeared in the most Christian countries of Europe, not merely asking such a question, but defending the doctrine with all their might; and asserting in the most unqualified manner, “that believers were under no obligation to keep the moral law of God; that Christ had kept it for them; that his keeping it was imputed to them; and that God, who had exacted it from Him, who was their surety and representative, would not exact it from them, forasmuch as it would be injustice to require two payments for one debt.”  These are the Antinomians who once flourished in this land, and whose race is not yet utterly extinct.  (Dr. Adam Clarke)


Romans 5:21 - The Almost Doxology

Rom 5:21  That as sin had reigned - so grace also might reign - Which could not reign before the fall; before man had sinned.  Through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord - Here is pointed out the source of all our blessings, the rich and free grace of God.  The meritorious cause; not any works of righteousness of man, but the alone merits of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The effect or end of all; not only pardon, but life; divine life, leading to glory. (John Wesley)
Thus we find, that the salvation from sin here is as extensive and complete as the guilt and contamination of sin; death is conquered, hell disappointed, the devil confounded, and sin totally destroyed. Here is glorying:  To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father, be glory and dominion, for ever and ever.  Amen.  Hallelujah!  The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!  Amen and Amen.  (Dr. Adam Clarke)
so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NASB)
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)
So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NLT)
so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NET)

Since death had dominion over all the earth and its peoples and "reigned or ruled" without interruption, how much more does the Grace that is through Christ Jesus bring us eternal life, hope and joy that never ceases.  For there is no other way but through Jesus Himself even though the heresies, idolatries, and atheists rage on and ignore the only cure for our terminal disease.

Christianity proposes a remedy; and it is permitted to the Christian to rejoice that that remedy is ample to meet all the evils; that it is just suited to recover our alienated world; and that it is destined yet to raise the race up to life, and peace, and heaven. In the provisions of that scheme we may and should triumph; and on the same principle as we may rejoice in the triumph of medicine over disease, so may we triumph in the ascendancy of the Christian plan over all the evils of the fall.  And while Christians thus rejoice, the infidel, the deist, the pagan, and the scoffer shall contend with these evils which their systems cannot alleviate or remove, and sink under the chilly reign of sin and death; just as people pant, and struggle, and expire under the visitations of disease, because they will not apply the proper remedies of medicine, but choose rather to leave themselves to its unchecked ravages, or to use all the nostrums of quackery in a vain attempt to arrest evils which are coming upon them. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17 NLT)
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. (Titus 2:11 NLT)
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16 NLT)
In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. (1 Peter 5:10 NLT)
And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God's Son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13 NLT)


Romans 5:20 - Super-abounding Grace

Thayer Definition:
1) to come in secretly or by stealth, or creep or steal in
2) to enter in addition, come in besides
Rom 5:20 The law came in between - The offence and the free gift. That the offence might abound - That is, the consequence (not the design) of the law's coming in was, not the taking away of sin, but the increase of it. Yet where sin abounded, grace did much more abound - Not only in the remission of that sin which Adam brought on us, but of all our own; not only in remission of sins, but infusion of holiness; not only in deliverance from death, but admission to everlasting life, a far more noble and excellent life than that which we lost by Adam's fall. (John Wesley)
The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (NASB)
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (KJV)
God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant. (NLT)
Now the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more, (NET)
Gal 2:4  Even that question came up only because of some so-called Christians there—false ones, really—who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus.  They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. New Living Translation

The law, (Mosaic Law) with all of its rites and ceremonies was considered confined to the Jewish people till the Messiah would appear.  However, it should be considered the moral law, the law of our conscience and of life that has been imprinted upon our hearts so that our true depraved nature might become apparent.  The law was not new but rather "came alongside" something that was already in existence—the law written upon our heats.  So it can be said that wherever the Gospel may go, the law goes as well that we may be led to that place where we find the disparity of our condition—the pool of blood from the fatal wound inflicted by our sinful selves from which we cannot extricate ourselves.  Then may we see the Gospel in its true light—able to super-lift us from death to live, from piteous estate to Glory.  So where the law goes there is sin and where sin is, Grace is available to all who would believe!  That is why Christ's Grace is so Amazing!

By Christ and his righteousness, we have more and greater privileges than we lost by the offence of Adam.  The moral law showed that many thoughts, tempers, words, and actions, were sinful, thus transgressions were multiplied.  Not making sin to abound the more, but discovering the sinfulness of it, even as the letting in a clearer light into a room, discovers the dust and filth which were there before, but were not seen.  The sin of Adam, and the effect of corruption in us, are the abounding of that offence which appeared on the entrance of the law.  And the terrors of the law make gospel comforts the more sweet.  Thus God the Holy Spirit has, by the blessed apostle, delivered to us a most important truth, full of consolation, suited to our need as sinners.  Whatever one may have above another, every man is a sinner against God, stands condemned by the law, and needs pardon.  A righteousness that is to justify cannot be made up of a mixture of sin and holiness.  There can be no title to an eternal reward without a pure and spotless righteousness: let us look for it, even to the righteousness of Christ.  (Matthew Henry)
Gal 3:19 Why, then, was the law given?  It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins.  But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised.  God gave His law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people.  New Living Translation
Rom 7:7 Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful?  Of course not!  In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin.  I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, "You must not covet."  New Living Translation


Romans 5:19 - Innocent NOT

Rom 5:19 As by the disobedience of one man many (that is, all men) were constituted sinners - Being then in the loins of their first parent, the common head and representative of them all.  So by the obedience of one - By his obedience unto death; by his dying for us. Many - All that believe.  Shall be constituted righteous - Justified, pardoned.  (John Wesley)
The foundation of this whole comparison is this, that these two men are set as two heads or roots, so that out of the one comes sin by nature, and from the other righteousness by grace springs forth upon others.  So then, sin enters not into us only by following the steps of our forefathers, but we receive corruption from him by inheritance. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (NASB)
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (KJV)
Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. (NLT)
For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man many will be made righteous. (NET)

The substance of our life becomes apparent in that we sin (through acts of commission) unveiling the true character of what is inscribed upon our chromosomes, our genetic disease.  However, our propensities are not an excuse, nor can we claim innocence and charge our guilt to Adam.  Descendents of a corrupt clay we display our bricks do not withstand the test of righteousness.

This verse is not a mere repetition of the former, but it is an explanation. By the former statements it might perhaps be inferred that people were condemned without any guilt or blame of theirs.  The apostle in this verse guards against this, and affirms that they are in fact sinners.  He affirms that those who are sinners are condemned, and that the sufferings brought in on account of the sin of Adam, are introduced because many were made sinners.  Calvin says,”Lest anyone should arrogate to himself innocence, (the apostle) adds, that each one is condemned because he is a sinner.”  (The same objection which was stated against a previous quotation from Calvin applies here.  The reformer does not mean that each is condemned because he is actually a sinner.  He affirms that the ground of condemnation lies in something with which we are born, which belongs to us antecedent to actual transgression.) (Dr. Albert Barnes)

Romans 5:18 - One on One

Therefore, to be short, as by one man's offence the guiltiness came on all men to make them subject to death, so on the opposite side, the righteousness of Christ, which by God's mercy is imputed to all believers, justifies them, that they may become partakers of everlasting life.  Not only because our sins are forgiven us, but also because the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. (NASB)
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. (KJV)
Yes, Adam's one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. (NLT)
Consequently, just as condemnation for all people came through one transgression, so too through the one righteous act came righteousness leading to life for all people. (NET)
1Co 15:22 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. New Living Translation

How can mere mortal begin to articulate the length, breadth, and depth of such an amazing statement.  I try to picture myself in the court room standing before the jury as the foreman reads the verdict.  Instead of being condemned to an eternal separation as I deserve, I hear the amazing words of life instead!

Rom 5:15-19:  Through one man's offence, all mankind are exposed to eternal condemnation. But the grace and mercy of God, and the free gift of righteousness and salvation, are through Jesus Christ, as man: yet the Lord from heaven has brought the multitude of believers into a more safe and exalted state than that from which they fell in Adam.  This free gift did not place them anew in a state of trial, but fixed them in a state of justification, as Adam would have been placed, had he stood.  Notwithstanding the differences, there is a striking similarity.  As by the offence of one, sin and death prevailed to the condemnation of all men, so by the righteousness of one, grace prevailed to the justification of all related to Christ by faith.  Through the grace of God, the gift by grace has abounded to many through Christ; yet multitudes choose to remain under the dominion of sin and death, rather than to apply for the blessings of the reign of grace. But Christ will in nowise cast out any who are willing to come to him.  (Matthew Henry)

Romans 5:17 - Redeemed from the Empire of Death

The emphatic point of the comparison. The effect of the second Adam cannot fall behind that of the first. If death reigned, there must be a reign of life. (Dr. Marvin R. Vincent, Vincent's Word Studies)
Shall reign in life - Those who receive, retain, and improve the abundant grace offered by Jesus Christ, shall be redeemed from the empire of death, and exalted to the throne of God, to live and reign with him ever, world without end. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
For if by the transgression 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. (NASB)
For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) (KJV)
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one Man, Jesus Christ. (NLT)
For if, by the transgression of the one man, death reigned through the one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ! (NET)

What greater joy is there in this life than to know that we may "live in triumph over sin and death?"  Without ceasing, the enemy of our soul will try to dissuade us from this eternal ttruth.  What greater discouragement than to live a life of deception?  The contrast continues in these passages so that we my discover that our lives are indeed held up by the righteous right hand of Him who loved us and delivered Himself up for us!

Christian Military Fellowship

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Encouraging Men and Women in the United States Armed Forces, and their families, to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

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