Darby on Romans 5:12-21 – What we are as of Adam (not what we have done) dealt with

Christ, by His obedience, demonstrated God’s grace. Because God is love and rich in mercy, grace reigned through righteousness. If it had been man’s righteousness, it would not have been grace; but because of His obedience, the many are constituted righteous, and grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life. Stated so clearly, that is the ground and way of our salvation.

 

RomeFrom Rom, 5:12, Judaism disappears, and Paul takes a wider view. He looks at the whole state of man in the light of the sin the human race before God. By one offence, Adam brought on the whole race, sin, death and alienation and exclusion from God.   Because of grace and one righteous act man could receive justification of life. Not all were justified, any more than condemned, but the act had a universal bearing on the whole race. It is the same word as ‘unto’ all, in contrast with ‘upon’ all that believe, in Rom 3:22. Adam’s work bore on all, and so did Christ’s work too.

Verse 13-17 are a parenthesis. Sin was in the world from Adam to Moses. As there was no law yet, there could be no charges – there was no law forbidding them. Yet death reigned over those who had not sinned like Adam in breaking God’s actual commandment. as Adam did). Later a formal law was given under Moses. But between the two, where there was no formal law; there was sin and death; there universal ruin. When grace came in, it dealt with a multitude man’s offences in responsibility , so that those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness would reign in life by Jesus Christ, who was in God’s counsels before the world began.

In v. 19 we have the positive efficiency or effect on those who were actually connected with these two heads (Adam and Christ). By the disobedience of Adam, many are constituted sinners; by the obedience of Christ, many are constituted righteous. This is not responsibility and imputation, but a state into which the many were brought – righteous before God. The great point here is that the Lord and Adam, by their act and conduct, bring those connected with them into their appropriate conditions.

What is important to see is that the state of men was the consequence of the conduct of the head, not the conduct of men being met by the head. The law came in that the offence might abound, so that those who contravened the law were disobedient. Sin had reigned unto death. Had righteousness reigned, because of sin, it must have led to condemnation.

Christ, by His obedience, demonstrated God’s grace. Because God is love and rich in mercy, grace reigned through righteousness. If it had been man’s righteousness, it would not have been grace; but because of His obedience, the many are constituted righteous, and grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life.  Stated so clearly, that is the ground and way of our salvation.

 

A simplified summary of part of the introduction to John Nelson Darby’s  Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans

Darby on Romans – Introduction to Romans

We need to understand two aspects of man’s state of sin

Man as living in evil ways, alive to sin and lust. According to Romans, death must come in to free him from the evil – redemption by grace.
Man as dead towards God. Ephesians treats man as dead in sins and gives us new creation.

RomeBackground in Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians

It may facilitate our apprehension of the epistle to the Romans, if we briefly survey Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians.

We need to understand two aspects of man’s state of sin

  1. Man as living in evil ways, alive to sin and lust. According to Romans, death must come in to free him from the evil – redemption by grace.
  2. Man as dead towards God. Ephesians treats man as dead in sins and gives us new creation.

Galatians

Galatians brings out the following points: –

  1. Promise, in contrast with law, which brought a curse and no justification of man
  2. Redemption from that curse, by Christ’s being made a curse for us
  3. The promised Seed, come of the woman (once the source of sin), to redeem those under the law.

The law had been the school-master until Christ came. Now, as sons by faith, having the Spirit, we are consciously heirs – not servants but sons.   The flesh, our evil nature, may lust against the Spirit, but, we are not under law. There can be no law against the fruit of the Spirit – elementary, though most important teaching.

 

Ephesians

Ephesians begins with the counsels of God:

  1. Our place before God, morally like Himself
  2. Christ’s position, as gone to His Father and our Father, His God and our God
  3. God’s purposes as to the Christ Himself, head over all as Man
  4. The inheritance and the earnest of the Spirit given to us
  5. The present exaltation of Christ
  6. The working of the same power in us, so we are raised with Him
  7. The church His body associated with Him
  8. Christ as Head over all things, to the church.

Eph. 2 gives Christ’s work. God’s power comes in and raises us up into His place of glory and blessing. We are sons and heirs.   The church, Christ’s body is united to Him, something hidden from all ages and generations, impossible to exist or be revealed till the middle wall of partition had been broken down.

The gifts of the Spirit from the Man on high builds up the saints, forms the body in union with Christ, and evangelises the world. From Eph. 4:17 onward we have practical conduct.  Having been brought to God in Christ, we are to display God’s own character, Christ being the perfect pattern in man. Having put off the old man and put on the new, we love one another as Christ loves His church. Finally we are God’s warriors in Canaan – that is, in heavenly places – and have need of God’s whole armour against spiritual wickedness, walking in dependence on God.

 

Colossians

In Colossians saints are not sitting in heavenly places, but with a hope laid up for them in heaven. Their are affections are to be set on things above, where Christ sits. They are buried with Him by baptism unto death (as Rom. 6). The believer is looked at as previously alive in his sins, but now quickened with Christ (Col. 2:13). Colossians does not reach on to the full level of Ephesian doctrine, but we do not get these thoughts in Romans at all.

The fullness of the Godhead is in Christ in Colossians; in Ephesians it is the body that is His fullness. The glory of an exalted Christ is before the Christian’s eyes – the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

This should enable us to study the epistle to the Romans more intelligently. Romans does not develop the counsels of God, but lays the ground for their accomplishment. All have sinned, Jew and Gentile, and have the same fleshly nature. There is no difference: God’s righteousness is applicable to both. Sins are put away, and we have deliverance from the old man. Romans treats the responsibility of man, explains God’s righteousness, and unfolds His grace unfolded as the source and principle of God’s dealings with us.

The epistle to the Romans furnishes the eternal principles of God’s relationship with man – the way in which, by means of Christ’s death and resurrection, the believer is established in blessing.   It reconciles of these things with the promises made to the Jews, by Him whose gifts and calling are without repentance.

 

Romans comprises several parts:

 

 A simplified summary of part of the introduction to John Nelson Darby’s  Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans