Main point summary
Sin and death entered through one man. Grace and life may be received as a gift by the one righteous act of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
Therefore, just as * through one man sin entered the world,
and * death through sin,
and thus death spread to all men ,
because all sinned—
(For until the law
sin was in the world,
but * sin is not imputed
when there is no law.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
For as by one man’s disobedience
many were made sinners,
so also by * one Man’s obedience
many will be made righteous.
Moreover * the law entered
that the offense might abound.
But where sin abounded, grace * abounded much more,
so that as sin reigned in death,
even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God's grace is greater than the offense of man
How does the free gift come from many offenses? How does it result in justification. The free gift came from many offenses. In the sense that without the offenses, there would not be a need for the free gift.
The difference between the gift and the offense.
Paul is making a few difficult arguments in verses 15-17, it seems to me. The free gift differs from the offense in the following way: Adam's sin led to the death of many By Jesus Christ grace abounded to many Paul also builds in a contrary comparion in 15b and 15c. The comparison seems to be the immense impact of the offense leading to death, in contrast to the even greater impact of the grace of God leading to life Paul uses a similar structure of argument for verses 16 and 17.
Bird's eye view Paul takes a step back now and gives the big picture of God's master-plan in showing His abundant grace to save fallen humanity. Fallen humanity The first human being, Adam, was made in the image of God. He was a type of Christ (14d). So, he was to image or represent God on earth. But Adam chose to rebel against God by disobeying Him. He ate from the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil which God forbade (for Adams own good and the honor of God through obedience). Interesting to note is the reason for Adams sin in verse 12. It is because all sinned, and not the other way around. There is a wrong teaching that says that we sin because Adam sinned. But it rather means that each one of us had sinned as Adam did. Adam was then only the one through whom sin entered the world. He represents the whole fallen human family. We all turned selfishly against God to our own way. The offense and the gift Now Adam's life is in some ways compared and contrasted to the life of Jesus Christ. Adam's selfish action is described as sin, transgression, offense, and disobedience. The consequences of that action are death to all humanity, judgment, condemnation, reign of death, and many were made sinners. Jesus Christ's righteous act and obedience grands abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness to those who receive it (17b). Those who receive the perfect gift will reign in life, and be made righteous. Here is Paul's bird's eye view noticeable. He starts with creation, moves on to justification in the present (16e, 18d) and when he says "will" (17d, 19d) he speaks of our future final salvation. The mention of the law Paul could have taught this without the mention of the law. But Paul, as a former Pharisee, identifies with Jews and addresses their objections. What he said in verse 20 (that the law entered so that the offense might abound) must have been very offending to some. The jealous law-keeper's confidence and treasure is primarily there to show how wicked he is? Wow! But yes, and then it should lead to deep appreciation of the grace of God. As in the earlier chapters, this can be applied to all performance based acceptance and approval seeking among all people. All ideologies and religious systems show that humans fail. The only ultimate acceptance and approval is received as a gift. This is humbling and therefore rejected by most people. Final word God has a great plan which He is carrying through. What marvel that He included me! Did He include you? It is yours to receive or to reject the gift.