Pristine Grace

Rom 5:12-14, (GILL)
12  Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world,.... The design of these words, and of the following, is to show how men came to be in the condition before described, as "ungodly", Ro 5:6, "sinners", Ro 5:8, and "enemies", Ro 5:10; and to express the love of Christ in the redemption of them; and the largeness of God's grace to all sorts of men: the connection of them is with Ro 5:11, by which it appears that the saints have not only an expiation of sin by the blood of Christ, but a perfect righteousness, by which they are justified in the sight of God; and the manner how they came at it, or this becomes theirs, together with the necessity of their having such an one, are here declared: by the "one man" is meant Adam the first man, and parent of mankind, who is mentioned by name in Ro 5:14; sin which came by him designs a single sin, and not many, even the first sin of Adam, which goes by different names, as "sin" here, "transgression", Ro 5:14, the "offence" or "fall", Ro 5:15, "disobedience", Ro 5:19, and whatever was the first step or motive to it, which led to it, whether pride, unbelief, or concupiscence, it was finished by eating the forbidden fruit; and is called sin emphatically, because it contained all sin in it, was attended with aggravating circumstances, and followed with dismal consequences. Hence may be learnt the origin of moral evil among men, which comes not from God, but man; of this it is said, that it "entered into the world"; not the world above, there sin entered by the devil; but the world below, and it first entered into paradise, and then passed through the whole world; it entered into men by the snares of Satan, and by him it enters into all the inhabitants of the world; into all men that descend from him by ordinary generation, and that so powerfully that there is no stopping of it. It has entered by him, not by imitation, for it has entered into such as never sinned after the similitude of his transgression, infants, or otherwise death could not have entered into them, and into such who never heard of it, as the Heathens; besides, sin entered as death did, which was not by imitation but imputation, for all men are reckoned dead in Adam, being accounted sinners in him; add to this, that in the same way Christ's righteousness comes upon us, which is by imputation, Adam's sin enters into us, or becomes ours; upon which death follows,

and death by sin; that is, death has entered into the world of men by sin, by the first sin of the first man; not only corporeal death, but a spiritual or moral one, man, in consequence of this, becoming "dead in sin", deprived of righteousness, and averse, and impotent to all that is good; and also an eternal death, to which he is liable; for "the wages of sin is death", Ro 6:23; even eternal death: all mankind are in a legal sense dead, the sentence of condemnation and death immediately passed on Adam as soon as he had sinned, and upon all his posterity;

and so death passed upon all men; the reason of which was,

for that, or because "in him"

all have sinned: all men were naturally and seminally in him; as he was the common parent of mankind, he had all human nature in him, and was also the covenant head, and representative of all his posterity; so that they were in him both naturally and federally, and so "sinned in him"; and fell with him by his first transgression into condemnation and death. The ancient Jews, and some of the modern ones, have said many things agreeably to the apostle's doctrine of original sin; they own the imputation of the guilt of Adam's sin to his posterity to condemnation and death;

"through the sin of the first man (say they [g]) tm hta, "thou art dead"; for he brought death into the world:''

nothing is more frequently said by them than that Adam and Eve, through the evil counsel of the serpent, amle lklw Nwl atwm wmyrg, "were the cause of death to themselves and to all the world" [h]; and that through the eating of the fruit of the tree, aera yryyd lk atwm wbyyxta, "all the inhabitants of the earth became guilty of death" [i]: and that this was not merely a corporeal death, they gather from the doubling of the word in the threatening, "in dying thou shalt die", Ge 2:17 (margin);

"this doubled death, say they [k], without doubt is the punishment of their body by itself, hmue ynpb vpnlw, and also of the "soul by itself".''

They speak of some righteous persons who died, not for any sin of their own, but purely on the account of Adam's sin; as Benjamin the son of Jacob, Amram the father of Moses, and Jesse the father of David, and Chileab the son of David [l], to these may be added Joshua the son of Nun, and Zelophehad and Levi: the corruption and pollution of human nature through the sin of Adam is clearly expressed by them;

"when Adam sinned, (say they [m],) he "drew upon him a defiled power, amle ynb lklw hyl byaow, "and defiled himself and all the people of the "world".''

Again [n],

"this vitiosity which comes from the sin and infection of our first parents, has invaded both faculties of the rational soul, the understanding by which we apprehend, and the will by which we desire.''

This corruption of nature they call erh ruy, "the evil imagination", which, they say [o], is planted in a man's heart at the time of his birth; and others say [p] that it is in him before he is born: hence Philo the Jew says [q], that sumfuev to amartanon esti, "to sin is connatural", to every man that is born, even though a good man; and talks [r] of suggeghnhnon koukon, "evil that is born with us", and of [s] suggeneiv khrev, "spots that are of necessity born with" every mortal man. And so his countrymen [t] often speak of it as natural and inseparable to men; yea, they represent Adam as the root and head of mankind, in whom the whole world and all human nature sinned: descanting on those words, "as one that lieth upon the top of a mast", Pr 23:34;

"this (say they [u]) is the first man who was Mda ynb lkl var, "an head to all the children of men": for by means of wine death was inflicted on him, and he was the cause of bringing the sorrows of death into the world.''

And in another place, speaking of Adam, they say [w], that

"he was Mlwe lv hayrb rqye, "the root of the creation", or "of the men of the world"; and death was inflicted upon him and on his seed, because he sinned one sin in eating of the tree.''

And it is observed,

"that heydyh ah, the "He" demonstrative is not prefixed in Scripture to proper names, which yet is to the word "Adam"; the reason is, (say they [x],) because in Adam all his posterity are pointed at, and the whole human species designed.''

Again, they observe [y], that

"the end of man is to die, of which this is the reason, because Mdah Nym, "mankind" has sinned; that is, the nature of which he is composed, or in other words, Adam and Eve have sinned.''

Once more [z]

"when he (Adam) sinned, ajx wlk Mlweh lk, "all the whole world sinned", and his sin we bear;''

and [a] that

"the whole congregation of Israel have need of atonement for the sin of the first Adam, for he was hdeh lkk bwvx, reckoned as the whole congregation;''

which exactly tallies with the apostle's assertion in this text.

[g] Debarim Rabba, sect. 9. fol. 244. 2. [h] Zohar in Gen. fol. 27. 1, 2, 3, 4. & 36. 3. 4. & 37. 2. & 46. 4. & 54. 3. & 67. 3. & 86. 1. & 98. 1. in Exod. fol. 106. 1. & 127. 2. in Lev. fol. 46. 2. 3. Bemidbar Rabba, fol. 225. 3. Caphtor, fol. 37. 2. [i] Targum in Ruth iv. 22. & in Eccles. vii. 29. [k] R. Joseph Albo in Sepher lkkarim, l. 4. c. 41. [l] T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 55. 2. Bava Bathra, fol. 17. 1. Zohar in Gen. fol. 36. 4. & Imre Binah in ib. & 44. 4. & lmre Binah in ib. & Numb. fol. 83. 2. [m] Zohar in Gen. fol. 37. 1. [n] Menasseh ben Israel Praefat. ad lib. de Fragilitate Humana. [o] Aben Ezra in Psal. li. 5. Abraham Seba in Tzeror Hammor, fol. 14, 3. 4. [p] T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 91. 2. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 30. 1. [q] De Vita Mosis, p. 675. [r] De Praemiis, p. 920. [s] De Nomin. Mutat. p. 1051. [t] Kimchi in Psal. li. 5. Menah ben Israel de Fragilitate, par. 1. p. 2. [u] Bemidhar Rabba, fol. 198. 3. [w] Caphtor, fol. 102. 1. [x] Menasseh ben Israel de cermino Vitae, c. 3. sect. 8. p. 198. [y] En Jaacob, par. 1. fol. 19. 4. [z] Zohar in Lev fol. 46. 2. R. Menachem Rakanati apud Voisin. Obs. in Pugionem Fidei, p. 590. [a] Zohar in Gen. fol. 76. 3. & 36. 3.

13  For until the law, sin was in the world,.... This is a proof of sin's having entered into the world, by one man's transgression of the positive law of God, which forbid him the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; since it was in the world before the law of Moses was given: the sin of Adam and the guilt of that were in the world before, and came upon all men to condemnation; the general corruption of nature appeared before; and actual sins, and transgressions of all sorts were committed before; as by the immediate posterity of Adam, by the men of the old world, by the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, by the patriarchs and their posterity, by the Egyptians, Canaanites, and others. They were all guilty of sin, corrupted by it, and under the dominion of it, except such as were released from it by the grace of God: now when sin is said to be until this time, the meaning is not that it existed and continued until the law of Moses took place, and then ceased; for that law did not, and could not take away sin, it rather increased it, at least it became more known by it; but that it was in being before it, and had influence and power over the sons of men, so as to subject them to death:

but sin is not imputed when there is no law. This looks like an objection, that if there was no law before Moses's time, then there was no sin, nor could any action of man be known or accounted by them as sinful, or be imputed to them to condemnation; or rather it is a concession, allowing that where there is no law, sin is not imputed; but there was a law before that law of Moses, which law was transgressed, and the sin or transgression of it was imputed to men to condemnation and death, as appears from what follows.

14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses,.... Though the law of Moses was not yet given, death exerted itself, and extended its dominion over all the sons and daughters of Adam, during the interval between Adam and Moses; which clearly shows that sin was in the world, and that there must be a law in being, which that was a transgression of: death is represented as a king, as sin and Satan sometimes are; and indeed, death reigns by sin, and Satan both by sin and death; their empires rise, stand, and fall together. So Bildad calls death "the king of terrors", Job 18:14; and a very formidable and powerful king he is; his dominion is very large, his power uncontrollable, and the dread of him very great, especially to Christless sinners. The Jews say [b], that at the resurrection the world will be renewed, and will not be as at the first, when amleb atwm jylvd, "death reigned in the world"; referring to the same period of time the apostle here does. The subjects of his government were not only adult persons, who had been guilty of many actual transgressions, but he reigned

even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. This does not exclude the dominion of death over such who had sinned after the likeness of Adam, but rather confirms its power over them; nor does it intend adult Gentiles, who did not sin in the same manner, nor against the same law, as Adam did; but it designs infants, not yet guilty of actual sin; and therefore since death reigns over them, who only holds and exercises his dominion by virtue of sin, it follows, that they must have original sin in them; the guilt of Adam's transgression must be imputed to them, and the corruption of nature, from him, derived unto them, or it could not reign over them. A child of a year old, the Jewish doctors [c] say, has not tasted the taste of sin, that is, has not committed actual sin; and observe [d], that young children die on account of the sins of their parents: but the true reason of their dying is here suggested by the apostle; which is the transgression of Adam:

who is the figure of him that was to come; meaning, either his posterity that were to come out of his loins, whose figure, type, and representative he was; or rather Christ, who is sometimes called o ercomenov, "he that was to come"; and the Arabic version reads the words thus, "who was a type of Adam that was expected"; that is, of Christ the second Adam, that was expected to come, according to the promise and prophecy: of him the first Adam was a type, in his human nature, in the formation and quality of it; as the first Adam was made by God of the virgin earth, the second Adam was born of a virgin; as the first, so the second Adam was pure, holy, upright, and wise; in his office, as Lord of the world, head of the woman, priest in his house, and prophet to his posterity; in his marriage with Eve, a figure of the church; but in nothing more clearly than in his being a covenant head to all his offspring: and this is what the apostle chiefly designs, since he runs the parallel between them on this account in the following verses; showing, that as the one conveyed sin and death to all his seed, so the other communicates righteousness and life to all that belong to him. So the Jews say [e], that by Adam is intimated the righteous branch, the Messiah; and that xyvm dwo awh Mda dwo, "the secret of Adam is the secret of the Messiah".

[b] Tzeror Hammor, fol. 96. 1. [c] T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 22. 2. [d] Massecheth Calah, fol. 17. 2. [e] R. Abraham Seba, Tzeror Hammor, fol. 2. 3. & 3. 1.

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