Romans 5:18, Adam and Christ

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.

//To understand the controversy over this verse, we must back up just a little and explain what Paul is talking about. He is naming Jesus as the second Adam. As Adam was the first man of the first age, so Jesus inaugurates a new age, and the impact of these two men on humanity is profound.

Paul wrote that all men fell into sin because of Adam, and the wages of sin is death. You may have heard of the theology of “original sin.” He then wrote that all men are saved, given new life, through Jesus. Paul uses “justification” language here and elsewhere to refer to our escape from the realm of sin and death into the realm of righteousness and life.

The argument is over this word “all.” Did all mankind fall into sin? Then Jesus saved all men, and everyone gets life eternal. Did Jesus manage to save only a portion of mankind? Then only some men fell into sin.

And round and round we go, trying to decide whether Jesus matches the influence of Adam.

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