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Romans 5:18-19


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Heavenly Father,


Once again, I just ask that Your Spirit would flow over the words of this study today...making alive the scriptures that are discussed, so that we might grow and learn all that You are, and all that we are in our Lord, Jesus.


I love You Father.


In Jesus Name,




18. So then as it was through one offense unto condemnation to all men, so also it was through one righteous act unto justification of life to all men.


19. for just as through the disobedience of one man the many were constituted sinners, so also through the obedience of the One the many will be constituted righteous.


Watchman Nee comments on verse 18, in regard to the word 'righteous' stating, "Christ's righteous act of dying on the cross resulted in justification of life. Verse 21 says that grace reigns through righteousness unto life. These two verses show that life comes as the result of righteousness (see 8:10)."


In regard to the word 'life', he writes, "Life is the goal of God's salvation, thus, justification is "of life". Justification is not an end in itself, it is for life. Through justification we have come up to the standard of God's righteousness and coorespond with it, so that now He can impart His life to us. Justification changes our outward position; life changes our inward disposition. Justification unto life indicates that life is the focus of this chapter and that the organic union of life is an issue of justification."


In the 18th verse in the rvbv, it states: "So, then just as [the principle was] through one trespass unto all men to condemnation; even so also through one righteous [or justifying] act [the principle is] unto all men to justification of life! Through one trespass [it was] unto all men to condemnation - The expression "the many" in verses 18 and 19 indicates the principle of the evil effect of the act of the one going forth to others; the expression "all men," of verse 18, emphasizes the extent of the application of that principle: absolutely all human beings were condemned when Adam sinned.


Now do not question either God's right or His wisdom here, or His love. He had the right to have a judgment day of our whole race in Eden, in our head, Adam; and He did so. He always does right. Furthermore, He knew that creatures would ever fail, - there is no sufficiency in the creature, but only in the Creator. You and I would fail, as did Adam! and God desired that believers should be secure forever, by Christ's work. It was in love He held that judgment day in Eden. In love He judged us, condemned us, in our federal head, Adam, that He might justify us in the work and Person of the other federal Head, Christ!"


Now this really hits me...that God knew that we would always fail...that we were insufficient ourselves, and that only He was sufficient. The thing that really hits me hard is when Newell writes "God desired that believers should be secure forever, by Christ's work." This is just a perspective I've never looked at before and the thought of the Father desiring that we be made secure through the work of His Son, really touches my heart. Perhaps it's because I need some semblance of 'feeling safe' in different areas of my life, but that thought above just moves me.


"The ordinary conception of justification does not go beyond the pardon of sin. This indeed is a first; and we should also have confidence that our sins will never be reckoned against us - whether they be past, present, or future sins. This is seen in Chapter 4:7,8; and in Chapter 5:9, we see ourselves "justified in His blood," "justified from all things," as Paul says in Acts 13:39. But this leaves the believer without a positive standing. We do not come to justification of life until Chapter 5:18. (The expression "justification of life" seems to stand over against that condemnation and death which came by Adam's trespass. It is a characterizing word: What is offered unto all men, through Christ's act of righteousness at the cross is not only a cancellation of guilt, but life in the Risen One. For, since Adam's sin, there was only spiritual death in his race. The words of John 1:4, regarding Christ, "In Him was life," describe the only source of life for man. And justification must be of life: for those justified are most certainly taken out of their place of death in Adam, and given a place of life in Christ.)


Now it is Christ Risen who is made our "standing": so that, as we see elsewhere, we do not need aught else: for we are in Christ. Justification provides therefore not only release from the penalty of sin, but also a place in the Risen Christ Himself. This begins to be indicated in Chapter Four, where righteousness is reckoned to those who "believe on Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." It is, of course, necessarily comprehended in the astonishing phrase IN CHRIST JESUS, - used first in Chapter 6:11! And it is amplified and developed through the rest of Paul's epistles. In 1 Corinthians 1:30 we see that Christ Himself, Risen, was made unto the believer, righteousness. Paul also in Galatians 2:20,21 directly connects his having been "crucified with Christ" with righteousness. That is, the history of Adam of believers was ended at the cross. "Yet always remember that it was as ungodly ones that they believed!)


In Colossians 1:12 we read: "Giving thanks unto the Father, who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." Then hear again that most stupendous utterance of all: "Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (II Cor. 5:21). It is this glorious revelation, which men have been loathe to read, teach, or refer to, which we must apprehend by God's grace, and by that grace believe!


Now, how, in what sense, are we "the righteousness of God" in Christ?


It is at once evident that to set us in His own presence in Christ as He has done, God must 1. reckon to us the infinitely perfect expiation of Christ in putting away our sin by His blood; 2. make us one with Christ in His death; and 3. place us in Christ Risen, even as Christ is received before Him. All this He has done; so that He says we are the righteousness of God in Christ. If we are in Christ, we are before God in Christ, "even as He," - "accepted in Him."


In verse 19, Watchman Nee comments on the word "constituted" and writes, "Whether we are sinners or are righteous depends not on our actions but on our inward constitution. Through his fall Adam received an element that was not created by God. This was the satanic nature, which became the constituting essence and main element of fallen man. It is this constituting essence and element that constituted all men sinners. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. Whether we do good or evil, in Adam we have been constutued sinners. This is due to our inward element, not our outward actions.


In contrast, Christ constitutes us righteous. When He, the living God, comes into our being as grace, we are constituted righteous. He becomes the constituting essence and element in us that can transform us from sinners into sons of God. He alone is able to accomplish such reconstituting work.


Nee also comments on the word "obedience" stating: "Christ's death on the cross was the highest expression of His obedience and was regarded by God a righteous act (v. 18; Phil. 2:8)."


The rvbv writes, "For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were set down as sinners, even so, through the obedience of the One the many shall be set down as righteous."


Set down as sinners - the word "sinners," here, is not an adjective (sinful), but a substantive, - sinners. (The Greek word (hamartolos) means not merely one possessed of a sinful nature or tendency, but one who is regarded as having committed sin. The same word is used in 3:7 and 5:8...) Verse 19 first sums up the doctrine of our federal guilt by Adam's sin, then sums up our justification by Christ's death.


The whole emphasis of verses 12 to 19 is upon the fact that the effect, whether in the case of Adam or in the case of Christ, was produced by a federal head acting apart from any actions of those affected. There was a judgment held in Eden, by the righteous God, the pronouncement of which is, "unto all men to condemnation." (Human reasoning is futile and dangerous here. Men form themselves into "schools of theology" over this subject, each founding a "system" upon his notion of how Adam's trespass affected all. But that a man may act before he is born in person of his responsible forbear is evident, as we have shown, in the case of Levi in Heb. 7:9.) This, of course, has no reference to eternal damnation, which is a consequence of the rejection of "the Light which has come into the world" - men loving darkness rather than light "because their deeds are evil." But it does assert a judgment of sinnerhood, by the guilt of Adam's action, upon the whole human race.


The whole lesson of this passage is, that just as we have Christ only as our righteousness, we have Adam only as sin and death to us. (God's Word, however, puts Adam's act and its effect first, as a type of Christ's work.) We repeat these things over and over, because of their importance, both for our settled peace, and also for our enjoyment of the normal, joyous Christian life.


Even so through the obedience of the One - This was our Lord's death, as an act of obedience. "He became obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross." He was of course always obedient to His Father, but it cannot be too strongly emphasized that His life before the cross, - His "active obedience," as it is called, is not in any sense counted to us for righteousness. "I delivered to you," says Paul, "first of all, that Christ died for our sins." Before His death He was "holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners." He Himself said: "Except a corn of wheat fall to the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Do you not see that those who claim that our Lord's righteous life under Moses' Law is reckoned to us for our "active" righteousness; while His death in which He put away our sins, is, as they claim, the "passive" side, are really leaving you, and the Lord too, under the authority of the Law?


"Justified in (the value or power of) His blood," and of that alone, gives the direct lie to the claim that man must have "an active righteousness" as well as "a passive righteousness." The specious assertion is, that "inasmuch as we have all broken the Law (although God says that Gentiles were 'without law' - and those in Christ are not under it!) and inasmuch as man cannot by his works himself recover his righteous standing, Christ, forsooth, came and kept The Law in man's place (!); and then went to the cross and suffered the penalty of death for man's guilt so that the result is an 'active righteousness' reckoned to man: - that is, Christ's keeping The Law in man's place; and, second, a 'passive righteousness,' which consists in the putting away of all guilt by the blood of Christ."


This, too, is a perspective that I've never looked at before...that Christ came and kept 'the Law' in my (our place).


"Now, the awful thing here is the unbelief concerning man's irrecoverable state before God. For not only must Christ's blood be shed in expiation of our guiilt; but we had to die with Christ. We were connected with the old Adam; and the old man - all we had and were in Adam, must be crucified - if we were to be "joined to Another, even to Him that was raised from the dead." Theological teaching since the Reformation has never set forht clearly our utter end in death with Christ, at the cross.


The fatal result of this terrible error is to leave The Law as claimant over those in Christ: for, "Law has dominion over a man as long as he liveth" (7:1). Unless you are able to believe in your very heart that you died with Christ, that your old man was crucified with Him, and that you were buried, and that your history before God in Adam the first came to an utter end at Calvary, you will never get free from the claims of Law upon your conscience."



I say again, that the Law was given to neither Adam. The first Adam had life: God did not give him law whereby to get life! Not until Moses did the Law come in, and then only as an incidental thing to reveal to man his condition. The Law was not given to the first Adam, nor to the human race; but to Israel only (Deut. 4:5-8; 33:1-5; Ps. 147:19,20). Again, the Law was not given to the Last Adam! "The Last Man Adam became a life-giving spirit": this is Christ, Risen from the dead, at God's right hand, communicating spiritual life. Is He under law? It is only the desperate legality of man's heart, his self-confidence, that makes him drag in the Law, and cling to the Law, - even though Christ must fulfil it for him! "Vicarious law-keeping" is Galatian heresy!


Our Lord said plainly that His work in this world was to die: "The Son of Man came to give His life a ransom"; and indeed, "through the Eternal Spirit He offered Himself without blemish unto God." True, He must be a spotless Lamb. But for what? For sacrifice! He did not touch our case, had no connection with us, until God laid our sins upon Him and made Him to become sin for us at the cross. Christ was not one of our race, "the sons of men": He was the Seed of the woman, not the man. He was the Son of Man, indeed, for God prepared for Him a body (Ps. 40: Heb. 10), by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). But, though He moved among sinners, He was "separated from sinners," and had no connection with them until God made Him their sin offering at the cross.


Christ Himself, Risen, is our righteousness. His earthly life under the Law is not our righteousness. We have no connection with a Christ on earth and under the Law. We are expressly told in Romans 7:1-6, that even Jewish believers who have been under law were made dead to the Law by the Body of Christ, that they might be joined to Another, even to Him who was raised from the dead. One has beautifully said, "Christianity begins with the resurrection."




Heavenly Father,


This part of Romans, is the part I've been waiting to study, as I've gone through the first 4 chapters. This is the area that I need to nail down, so I'm just asking over the next few weeks as I go through the next few chapters, that You would open my eyes, my heart and my mind, so that I might fully comprehend the truths You have laid in this Book.


Bless this day Father...help me to get some much needed work done with my garden, and bless all who read this study.


In Jesus Name,

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