Romans 5:12–19 (NRSV)
Verse 12Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned Verse 13sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Verse 14Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come. Verse 15But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man's trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. Verse 16And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. Verse 17If, because of the one man's trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Verse 18Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. Verse 19For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.
As we pick up today’s reading, the apostle Paul has just boldly stated for his Roman hearers what he clearly considers the very heart of the good news of the gospel: that God’s love for us has been shown in that, even while we were yet sinners, Jesus Christ died for us, so that we might be reconciled to God and receive life in his name (Romans 5:6–11). But good things bear repeating. As if to bring the message home and seal it in our hearts, no fewer than five times in the next eight verses Paul lays out a cosmic-reaching comparison and contrast: Just as through one man—Adam—came sin, disobedience, condemnation, and death for all people, so through one man—Jesus Christ—came obedience, justification, and life for all through God’s free gift of grace.
The argument may seem overly complex. But its intent is clear—that we might hear as clearly as
possible the good news of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. Wow!
God of mercy, as we journey once again with Jesus on the way to the cross, may we hear so clearly the good news of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.