Romans 5:12–21 (NKJV)

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 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. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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.)
18 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. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:12-21

Through one man (Adam) came disobedience, sin, death, universal guilt, imputation of condemnation, judgment, and offense.

Through one man (Jesus) came a free gift, grace, abundance, justification, righteousness, and eternal life.

This back and forth juxtaposition of Adam and Jesus as the first and the last iterations of men (human beings) who, respectively, brought sin into the world and brought grace into the world. Adam sinned, although given a sinless existence to begin with, and Jesus lived a sinless life, dying for all men’s sins, although not sinning to begin with. Why is this presumed rebuke of Adam needed, and then the exalted praise of Jesus juxtaposed against it? Because this comparison allows the reader to see two important things: the inability of man to live sinlessly and maintain such, and the ability of Christ to provide for man the opportunity of forgiveness and grace in order to stand before God justified. This entire passage helps us to understand our need and Jesus’ ability to supply that need. When you realize you don’t have all the answers, nor the power to find them, turn to Jesus and receive His grace in your time of need. Even though one man showed us how weak we are, One Man also showed us how to be strong through Him.

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