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Romans 5:12-21 (NKJV)

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
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.

In a Nutshell
5:12 This passage must be understood within the context of 3:21-5:11, which sets forth
the gospel of the grace of God revealed through Jesus Christ. This passage continues to
magnify God’s grace by presenting the universal scope of Christ’s redemptive work. V.
18 summarizes Paul’s teaching. One act of one man brought sin and its penalty of death
upon the human race. On the other hand, the obedience of one Man counteracted this
deed and made righteousness and eternal life available for humankind. Adam headed the
old humanity characterized by sin and death. Jesus Christ heads a new humanity
characterized by righteousness and life. We come under the consequences of Adam’s
deed by natural descent. We come under Christ’s obedience by faith (see 1 Cor. 15:22; 2
Cor. 5:14). Spirit filled life study Bible

There is no need to get a glazed look in your eyes after reading this section! In very
simple terms, Paul is explaining to us how Jesus made right what Adam did wrong. If you
want to dig deeper, you can study out the doctrines of the depravity of man, Adam as a
federal representative, Christ as a federal representative and why universalism is not
taught in the bible.

Key points for you to remember:

• Death is a result of the fall of man in the garden.
• All men of human fathers are born with original sin.
• This is why the virgin birth of Jesus is critical.

5:12 The one man is Adam. Through him sin entered the world. Sin
brought death. The result is that death is now a universal experience. The
phrase because all sinned does not mean just that "all have sinned"
sometime in their lives, thus referring to individual sins. Paul takes his
readers back to the beginning of human history, to the one sin that brought
death upon us all. The unity of the human race is demonstrated here. In
Adam, we all sinned (see 1 Cor 15:22). The result is physical and spiritual
death for everyone. From Adam we inherited a sin nature. Furthermore, as a
result of our sin in Adam, we face a common judgment-death. NKJV-SB

Rom. 5:12 Sin came into the world through one man, namely, Adam (v. 14; cf. Gen.
3:17–19; 1 Cor. 15:21–22; also note on Gen. 5:3–5). And death through sin is contrary to
secular thought that regards death as a “natural” part of human life. In the biblical sense,
death is never natural but is “the last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26; cf. 15:54) that will be
conquered finally and forever at the return of Christ (Rev. 21:4). ESV-SB

Rom 5:13-14 Even though the Law had not been given, all those people born between
Adam and Moses still died – proof of original sin.

5:19 Just as by Adam’s disobedience to God’s command many were made sinners,
so also by Christ’s obedience to the Father many who trust Him are declared righteous.
Christ’s obedience led Him to the cross as our Sin bearer.
It is futile for universalists to use these verses to try to prove that all men will
eventually be saved. The passage deals with two federal headships, and it is clear that just
as Adam’s sin affects those who are “in him,” so Christ’s righteous act benefits only those
who are “in Him.”
Believer's Bible Commentary

Beware of this doctrine of universalism – it is gaining much popularity. The bible clearly
teaches that all those who reject Jesus Christ as their personal Savior will spend eternity
in the lake of fire.

The law came not to make a man a sinner, but to show him how great a sinner he is. But
where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Grace did not set aside the law,
but rather completely satisfied it. KJV Bible commentary

It is important to keep in mind that Paul is not “anti-Law” as some have made him out to
be. The Law cannot save us – that’s the key thing. Just because you cannot be saved by
keeping the speed limit doesn’t mean you are allowed to drive over the speed limit.
There will still be consequences for not obeying the law. Be wary of those who are too
quick to dismiss two thirds of the bible so easily.
When Adam sinned in the garden, original sin came upon all men so that all stand guilty
before God. Jesus, by His obedience, made righteousness possible for all who would
receive His gift of grace by faith.