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Romans 5:12-14 - Homilies By T.f. Lockyer

The reign of death.

The summing up of this first division of the Epistle: Christ has undone what sin has done, as regards our objective relation to God. In these three verses—Sin through one works death to all.

I. SIN WORRYING DEATH . "Death" a word with many meanings in Scripture. Dissolution of complex nature; corruption of spiritual nature; and final abandonment by God. Here the first. An objective punishment of an objective transgression; a manifest sentence of condemnation. Hence symbolic of condemnation itself, showing forth God's wrath. May well lead thoughts to death that must reign in the inner man, through the withdrawal of God's favour—a spiritual paralysis. Also might well be premonitory of the total casting-off. Such, then, the triple death—condemnation, helplessness, and the culmination of both in the hereafter. And this the death which "entered into the world" through sin.

II. DEATH REIGNING OVER ALL . But this sin the sin of one. How, then, the universal death? Look around—death, death, death! Yes, might answer, because sin, sin, sin! True; but carry thought back to time anterior to Law. Death still! And no sin then such as Adam's was, such as yours is—so conscious, so deliberate. There was the presence and working of sin, indeed, but the working was the spontaneous working of a corrupt nature. No law, and therefore, strictly, no transgression. Argument might be reinforced by similar consideration of heathen now, and infants: death reigns! So, then, the death even of those who have the Law is not on account of their individual transgressions of the Law, but must be traced to the same cause as operates in the case of those who have "not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression."

III. THE SIN OF ONE THE SIN OF ALL . Therefore, if death be an objective punishment for an objective offence, it can be for none other's than his offence who first transgressed God's manifested will. And therefore, if the condemnation be imputed to all, the sin was imputed to all. Or, in other words, in him "all sinned" ( Romans 5:12 ). The marvellous solidarity of all things—species, genus, world, system, universe. So in respect of mankind, and the spiritual history of mankind: the act of one, the act of all.

So, then, all rest under a shadow—the shadow cast by Adam's sin! All bear a brand—the brand of his punishment! Where is the path from darkness into light? Justification through Christ! Can this be coextensive in its range with the results of sin? Is there a solidarity here also? Yes.'; for Adam was "a figure of him that was to come." We have another Head, a second Adam!—T.F.L.

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