Grace Reigns
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned-- 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 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. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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.) 18 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. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NKJV)






The Apostle Paul wrote the letter of Romans to the church in Rome. These are God’s words to the Christians there, both Jews and Gentiles.

Paul wrote this letter from Corinth, Greece during a three month visit to the church there in late 56 and early 57 A.D. The letter is heavy with Christian Doctrine, Christian teaching.

In previous passages of this book, we looked at the act of Justification. Justification is the action of declaring someone righteous in the sight of God.

When we become a Christian, God’s righteousness is imputed upon us. We are declared righteous by God. We are justified.

We become “justified freely by His grace” (Romans 3:24a). We receive justification by the Judge, Jesus Christ Himself, who will one day judge the world.

We cannot earn this justification. We are “justified through faith” in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, by his grace (v. 1a).

Jesus’ judgment is to drop all charges against us. We are found innocent, His blood shed on the cross has covered all of our sins. They are cast “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12).

This passage is a bridge passage between the previous topic of justification and the topic for chapters 6-8, sanctification. So, the passage begins with the word “therefore”, a reference to the previous passage (v. 12a).

Paul writes “just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned-- 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” (vv.12b-13).

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, Adam, as the head and representative of mankind, brought sin and physical death into the world. However, this sin was not held against mankind until the coming of the Mosaic law.

The Mosaic law defined sin. Prior to the law sin was not defined by God, therefore there could be no transgression held against mankind.

However, “death reigned” during this period between Adam and the Mosaic law (v. 14a). Even though sin was not held against mankind, they still experienced physical death because of the representation of Adam, who had sinned against God’s declared law not to eat of the forbidden fruit (v. 14b).

Adam was “a type of Him who was to come.” (v. 14c). Adam represented mankind, and in that way, he was a “type” of Jesus. This concept is developed in the verses to follow, by contrast and not similarities. Paul lists seven contrasts between Adam and Jesus.

The first contrast is that Adam represented sin, while Jesus represents grace. “The free gift”, grace, “is not like the offense”, sin (v. 15a).

The second contrast is that sin brings death, while grace brings life. “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.” (v. 15b). The meaning of “death” mentioned references both physical and spiritual death.

The third contrast is that sin brings judgment and condemnation, while grace brings justification, innocence. “For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification” (v. 16).

The fourth contrast between Adam and Jesus is that sin brings a life of fear of death, while grace brings a life of righteousness through Jesus Christ. “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.” (v. 17).

The fifth contrast is that sin came from Adam’s offense to God, while grace came from Jesus’ ”righteous act” for God (v. 18). “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.” (v. 18). Grace is free to all men, but those who reject God’s grace do not receive His justification.

The sixth contrast is that sin came from “disobedience”, while grace came from “obedience” (v. 19). This speaks to the motivation for their actions, the offense and the righteous act.

The seventh contrast is that through sin “many were made sinners”, while through grace “many will be made righteous” (v. 19). “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.” (v. 19). Many people, those who reject Christ, will remain sinners, while many people, those who accept Christ, will be made righteous when they become Christians.

Paul concludes this passage with emphasis on the fourth contrast, perhaps the most important of the contrasts between Adam and Christ. He writes “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more so that as sin reigned in death” (vv. 20-21a).

The Mosaic law defined sin and so as sin became more understood, it, naturally, multiplied in its existence. And so, sin has become much more abundant.

Even so, grace far exceeds sin. It covers all of the sin of the world. Grace completely fulfills all of the demands of the law.

Sin reigns in those who choose death. Grace reigns in those who choose Christ.

Grace is the “righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (v. 21b). Grace Reigns!

Art Toombs Ministries

Online Bible Commentary