Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. — Romans 5:18
Most of us probably keep a dollar amount in mind when we select gifts. Recently, I searched the internet to find out the most expensive present ever given. Included in a list of the top ten most valuable gifts was one of the oldest and most famous gems in the world: the Kohinoor Diamond. While the diamond has a long and somewhat mysterious history, most sources agree that it was given to Queen Victoria of the British Empire in 1851 by an Indian Maharaja, Duleep Singh.
The monetary value of this one-of-a-kind stone can only be estimated because the diamond is so unique. However, to get an approximate idea of its worth, another famous diamond just one-quarter the size of the Kohinoor was sold in China several decades ago for a price of $46 million. Currently, the Kohinoor is the most prized item of the British Crown Jewels collection, and its value is estimated to be between three and four billion United States dollars.
While a dollar amount of that magnitude is almost impossible to fathom, God gave mankind a far more precious gift — the gift of justification through His Son, Jesus Christ. Forgiveness of sin is without doubt the ultimate gift! Its value, though not measured in dollars, is far beyond anything we can grasp with our finite minds. Not only does it dramatically change our lives here on earth, but it will last throughout eternity.
In our focus verse, Paul referenced this beautiful truth by pointing to the contrast between Adam and Christ and noting that just as Adam’s act of transgression brought death to all mankind, Jesus’ act of righteousness brought the free gift of justification and everlasting life to all mankind. Every individual around the globe is offered the opportunity to obtain a right relationship with God through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary. Unworthy as we know ourselves to be, His shed Blood will avail for our sins if we come to Him in repentance and true faith.
At the time of this writing, our world’s population was estimated to be 7,696,833,300. (It’s more now, as you read this sentence.) Jesus offers “justification of life” to every one of those people. We can never put a price on God’s gift, but pondering its magnitude and value can help us to better appreciate what He has provided for us.
After declaring in previous chapters the awfulness of the human condition, and presenting Abraham as an example of justification by faith, in the first part of chapter 5 Paul set forth the benefits of justification by faith (verses 1-11). In the remainder of the chapter, he used a comparison of Adam and Christ to establish that just as one sin in the Garden of Eden brought condemnation and death to all, one Sacrifice on the Cross made justification and life available for all.
Verses 1-11 relate the effects and blessings of justification by faith. In verses 1-2, Paul pointed out the threefold blessings of being justified: one has peace with God, access by faith into His grace, and a spirit of rejoicing based on hope. The “peace” the Apostle referred to was not merely a feeling of tranquility, but meant reconciliation with God — the state which results when the antagonism and separation between God and man is abolished through faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.
Paul presented three important concepts in verses 1-2: the Christian’s place (he is given “access” into grace); the Christian’s attitude, (one of firm confidence, “wherein we stand”); and the Christian’s means of realizing that ideal (“through our Lord Jesus Christ” and “by faith”). In view of this, the Apostle stated that Christians could rejoice in the hope of sharing the glory of God. In verses 3-5, he identified hope as the result which follows when trials are patiently endured. Since first-century Christians lived in an atmosphere where persecution and suffering was prevalent, they needed to understand the benefit of enduring.
The word commendeth in verse 8 is significant. While one meaning is “to establish or prove; to make certain,” in this usage it includes the sense of “recommending” or setting forth in such a way as to appeal to the heart. God commended His love toward man in His giving of His Son, not because man was good enough, but because God loved him enough.
Up to this point in his epistle, Paul had examined two foundational doctrines: the condemnation of mankind, and the remedy of justification through Jesus Christ. Beginning with verse 12 and to the end of the chapter, Paul drew a comparison between Adam and Christ in their relation to the human family. He made the point that just as sin and death reigned over humanity as a result of one man’s sin, justification and life came to humanity through one Man’s death.
The word “sin” in verses 12 and 20 is the Greek word hamartia. It alludes to a governing principle in which the human will rises up in revolt against the will of God, rather than a single act of transgression, which is a different Greek word (parabasis). The word “figure” in verse 14 (from the Greek typos) means “type”; while Adam was an individual, he represented all of mankind (in fact, his name in Hebrew meant “mankind”). Thus, when he sinned, the entire race of man was corrupted with the governing principle of sin, though individual guilt is ascribed only on the basis of personal transgression.
(Hannah's Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. God’s plan of salvation
B. God’s remedy
1. Justification by faith (remission of past sins)
d. Effects and blessings of justification by faith (5:1-11)
e. Differences between Adam and Christ (5:12-21)
Christ died for us while we were sinners, and by His sacrificial death made the free gift of justification by faith available to all.