Romans 5:19
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Man's Disobedience and Christ's ObedienceJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 5:19
Man's First SinS. Martin.Romans 5:19
Of Our Fall in AdamT. Boston, D. D.Romans 5:19
One Man's Disobedience and its ConsequenceRomans 5:19
One Man's Obedience and its ConsequencesRomans 5:19
Ruin and RedemptionS.R. Aldridge Romans 5:19
The Condition of Man a Sinner and Man Made Righteous ContD. M'Nicoll.Romans 5:19
The Fall and the AtonementS. Cox, D. D.Romans 5:19
The Lord Our RighteousnessT. G. Horton.Romans 5:19
The Mechanism of HeredityProf. Elmslie, D. D.Romans 5:19
A Historical ParallelJ. Oswald Dykes, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Adam and ChristJ. H. Tarson.Romans 5:12-21
Adam and ChristJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Adam and ChristR. Koegel, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Death by Sin, and Sin by ManU. R. Thomas.Romans 5:12-21
Grace AboundingC.H. Irwin Romans 5:12-21
Human DepravityT. Raffles, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Introduction of Sin into the WorldProf. Godet, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Man's FallHubbard-Puritan.Romans 5:12-21
On the Fallen State of ManT. Fernie, M. A.Romans 5:12-21
Original SinT. Chalmers, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Original SinHon. and Rev. A. T. Lyttelton.Romans 5:12-21
Original SinW. F. Hook, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Original SinA. Toplady, M. A.Romans 5:12-21
Original SinC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 5:12-21
Original Sin, a RootJ. G. Wilson.Romans 5:12-21
Original Sin, a Scientific FactF. W. Robertson.Romans 5:12-21
Original Sin: Why God Did not Arrest its ConsequencesProf. Godet.Romans 5:12-21
Representative ResponsibilityR.M. Edgar Romans 5:12-21
Sin and DeathJ. Parsons.Romans 5:12-21
The Analogy Between the Manner of Man's Condemnation in Adam and Justification in ChristJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
The Entrance of Sin into the WorldT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
The Great ParallelsRomans 5:12-21
The Introduction and Consequences of SinW. Cunningham, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
The Misery of Man's Sinful StateT. Boston, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
The Need of HealingF. Paget, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
The Principle on Which Justification ProceedsW. Tyson.Romans 5:12-21
What is ChanceC. Kingsley, M. A.Romans 5:12-21
The Two AntithesesT.F. Lockyer Romans 5:18, 19

By itself the first clause expresses a fact of deepest gloom. It calls attention to the prevalence of sin and death. The history of the world is traced in darkest colours. We see the race from Adam till now marching to the grave, with the taint of corruption upon all. We are confronted by that profound mystery, the existence of moral evil, with its widespread, deep-seated effects. The possibility of man made upright and free yielding to temptation does not exhaust the explanation of the actual Fall. And when the Scriptures point to the influence of an external agent, the serpent, employed to bring about the downfall of the first pair, the pall of mystery is not removed; its corner is lifted a little that we may see how our difficulties relate to questionings concerning the origin and continuance of evil in beings superior to man. This appears to be God's mode of dealing with us. Enough is said to allow faith a foothold, not enough to place the whole territory at our disposal. Instead of unlocking the house of previous being and inviting us to its darkened halls, to explore for ourselves the tragedy with which our own world-tragedy is connected, the Scriptures point to a Sun that has risen to shine upon our moral firmament, and bid us note its blissful tendencies, kindling fresh life and beauty, arresting decay, reviving hope, attesting the interest of the Almighty in his creatures, and showing that the permission of evil is not to be ascribed to any lack of Divine love. The subject of sin cannot be beneficially studied unless combined with the antidote which the wisdom and affection of the Most High have provided. Faith may waver as it contemplates the inroads made by sin upon the intelligence and happiness of the human family, and faith must be strengthened by meditation on the remedial work of Christ. Do you wonder at the transmission of contagion from generation to generation, at the long-drawn-out penalty of the race? and does the law seem inequitable that lays many of the acts of the guilty as a burden on the shoulders of the innocent? Then notice the operation of the same law in redemption, where the Son of God sheds his blood to save sinners, and observe how from him is perpetuated the blessing of peace and godliness. Separate the two hemispheres, and the mind becomes a prey to chilling doubts and oppressive fears; unite them, and hope asserts its beneficent vivifying power. Whilst we declare in amazement, "How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" we can add, "To whom be glory for ever;" "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."

I. THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE SIN OF ADAM AND THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST. To disobey the particular prohibition was to listen to the tempter, and to substitute human will for the Divine. Therein was contained the germ of the worst vices. To Jesus was assigned the more difficult task of remaining holy amid a world of evil, and the slightest deviation from rectitude had marred his perfect offering. Our sin is disobedience, and we are righteous in proportion as we obey the dictates of God from the heart. Disobedience, as Adam found, does not enlarge, but restricts our liberty. Not knowledge, but obedience, saves the soul.

II. THE CONTRAST FURTHER SHOWN IN THE EFFECTS WROUGHT BY EACH. The apostle assumes the truth of the story in Genesis. He proves the universality of sin by a reference to the fact that all have died, showing that even the ancients prior to Moses must have transgressed some law, and so incurred the penalty for disobedience. The principle of heredity confirms the truth of the doctrine that our progenitors have transmitted a vitiated nature to their descendants. Jesus, the second Adam, is the Head of a new race, to whom he imparts a new birth, with its issue sanctification. By the model of his flawless obedience, and by the grace which flows into us from that spring of obedience, the curse is removed from believers, and righteousness is imputed and imparted.

III. THE COMPARISON OF THE NUMBERS INFLUENCED. This passage should enlarge our estimate of the kingdom of the saved. In each case it is "the many" who are affected. The obedience of Christ is sufficient as a meritorious cause to justify the whole world, though only those who "receive the Word" are consciously gladdened and sanctified thereby. No man is condemned on account of Adam's transgression; it is his own disobedience to the written or innate law which determines his sentence. The millions who have died in infancy are redeemed by Christ; multitudes in the Jewish and heathen world were saved by virtue of his atonement, though not explicitly revealed to them, and the Apostle John saw in heaven a number beyond the arithmetic of earth to calculate. - S.R.A.

For, by the obedience of one many were made sinners, and by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
I. MAN WAS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD, which consisted partly —

1. In his power over all terrestrial creatures (Genesis 1:26; Psalm 8:5, 6). Hence he gave names (Genesis 2:19.20).

2. In the perfection of his nature, endued with —



(3)Knowledge (Colossians 3:9, 10).

(4)True holiness (Ephesians 4:24).


1. How this was done.(1) Through Satan's temptation, which was managed with great cunning.

(a)He enters the serpent, the subtlest creature.

(b)Sets upon the woman, the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7).

(c)Propounds a doubtful question (Genesis 3:1).

(d)Denies the truth of God's threatenings (ver. 4).

(e)Gives a contrary promise and uses the name of God to confirm it (ver. 5).(2) Through the woman's fault.

(a)In entering into a dispute with the devil.

(b)In doubting the truth of God's command.

(c)In eating the fruit.(3) Through the man's fault. In taking the fruit at her hands.

2. What was involved.

(1)He broke the first command, by infidelity, ingratitude, contempt of God, and ambition to be like God (Genesis 3:5).

(2)Hearkened to the devil's word before Gods.

(3)Pleased his wife rather than God.

(4)Murdered his whole posterity (John 8:44).

(5)Minded the lusts of the flesh more than the law of God.

(6)Stole God's fruit.

(7)Coveted God's attributes.


1. By imputation.

(1)In that all sinned in him (vers. 12, 16-18; Hebrews 7:9, 10).

(2)In that all died in him (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:22).

(3)All were then in his loins; so that he was the common father of all mankind; therefore called Adam, i.e., man in general (Genesis 5:1).

2. By inhesion. All, through Adam's sin —

(1)Are born in sin (Psalm 51:5; Job 14:4; Ephesians 2:3; John 3:3). Hence only is it that children die.

(2)Do actually commit sin, which shows all mankind to be polluted with it and inclined to it (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Proverbs 20:9; 1 Kings 8:46; Galatians 3:22; 1 John 1:8-10).

3. The whole man is defiled with sin and continually subject to it.

(1)The understanding (1 Corinthians 1:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 2:14).

(2)The mind and conscience (Titus 1:15). It is stupid (1 Timothy 4:2), or else troubled.

(3)The memory (2 Peter 1:21).

(4)The thoughts and the imagination (Genesis 6:5), which appears in their vanity and disorder.

(5)The will and affections (John 1:13; Colossians 3:2).

(6)The body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). It is not now serviceable to the soul, but a clog to it; yet it tempts it to sin.

4. Hence our original sin is the corrupt fountain from which all our actual sins flow (James 1:14). Some relics of it remain in the best saints (Galatians 5:17).Conclusion:

1. This should make us humble (Job 15:14-16).

2. Hence we should earnestly desire to be made new creatures; and go to Christ, the Second Adam, that we may be made righteous by Him, as we are sinners by the first.

(Bp. Beveridge.)


1. All mankind being contained in, and so fallen with Adam, God raised up another Adam, by whom they might rise (1 Corinthians 15:45). Who being promised, as soon as the first fell (Genesis 3:15) is called the Second Man (1 Corinthians 15:47).

2. This was no less a Person than the Son of God made Man (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:16). For He took the nature of man into His Divine Person (Hebrews 2:16).

3. Hence the whole nature of man was so fully and really contained in Him as in the first Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22).

4. This, the Second Man, had an advantage over the first, that whereas the other was but a man made in the likeness of God, this was God made in the likeness of man (Philippians 2:6, 7).


1. He did no sin, was not guilty in the least (Isaiah 53:9; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; John 8:46).

2. He did whatsoever the law required, and so remained perfectly righteous in all things (Matthew 3:15; Hebrews 7:26-28; John 15:10; John 4:34).

3. He was obedient, even to death itself (Philippians 2:8); so He underwent that death which the first Adam had deserved for all mankind.

III. IN WHAT SENSE ARE MANY MADE RIGHTEOUS BY ONE? In the same sense as they are sinners by one.

1. By having Christ's righteousness as we had Adam's sin imputed to us.(1) No man can be pronounced righteous by God, unless he be really so (Proverbs 17:15; Isaiah 5:23).(2) But no man is really righteous in himself (Ecclesiastes 7:20).(3) Hence it is impossible we should be accepted as righteous before God, unless we have some other righteousness imputed to us (Romans 4:6, 11).(4) Hence Christ was pleased to be obedient even unto death for us; that so by His obedience imputed to us we might be accepted as righteous. For —(a) Our righteousness is plainly asserted to be only in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was made sin for us. Our sins were laid on Him (Isaiah 53:6); so His righteousness on us (Philippians 3:8, 9; Ephesians 1:6).(b) He is expressly called "Our righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:6; Jeremiah 33:16; 1 Corinthians 1:30).(c) He is called our Surety (Hebrews 7:22), who, being bound for us, paid in our stead what the law required of us.(d) Christ's whole obedience was only upon our account, and for our sakes (Galatians 4:4, 5); so that by His obedience the law is perfectly fulfilled in us (Romans 8:3, 4).

2. We are made righteous by Christ as sinners by Adam, inherently. He —(1) Mortifies our sins (1 John 3:8; Acts 3:26; 1 John 1:7-9).(2) Gives repentance (Acts 5:31).(3) Sanctifies our whole nature (1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:25-27).(4) Enables us to do good works (John 15:4, 5; Titus 2:14; Philippians 4:11-13).Conclusion:

1. Thank God for Christ.

2. Put your whole trust in Him only, for grace as well as pardon.

3. Let it be your great care to be in the number of those who are made righteous in Christ, in believing in Him.

4. Live as becometh righteous persons.

(Bp. Beveridge.)

Is there a human being to be found who, after reflection, and speaking honestly, would affirm of himself, "I have never sinned"? We are aware of the existence of great ignorance concerning the extent of sin, and the evil of sin; and we know men are exceedingly reluctant to confess even those sins of which they are conscious; but we do not think there is a man who, after serious reflection, is entirely unconscious of guilt. Furthermore, is there a man who would say of a fellow human being, however dearly loved and highly prized, "I do not believe that person has ever sinned"? Verily, our consciousness and our observation confirm the Bible doctrine, "There is none that doeth good; no, not one!"


1. The first sin was Adam's failure under trial as the representative of the human race. Say that this test was simple; then how adapted to inexperience, and how fitted to show whether, in filial dependence, man would serve God or not. Do you refuse to judge of the quarter whence the wind blows by the course of the thistle down, or by the path of the smoke; and would you wait for information until you could see the vane of some lofty tower? Do you not measure the heat of a summer's day by the moistened brow, and judge of the cold of winter by the smarting skin, far more frequently than by the scale of the thermometer?

2. Man was specially tempted to the first sin.

3. Temptation was necessary in man's probation. Could probation be conducted apart from this trying process? Is not the coin tested in the balance? Is not silver proved in the fining pot? Is not gold tried in the furnace? Are not the elements of a chemical compound made manifest by analysis? Is not the strength of metal or timber relied upon after proof? As in our law courts, no prisoner is recognised as guilty until his crime has been proved; so, in God's moral government, no procedure is based on character until the character is made manifest by the light of conduct.

4. The first sin of man was (tested by any standard) a great transgression. Actions must be judged by the principle involved in them. In eating the forbidden fruit did not Adam transgress a law? In transgressing this law did not Adam reject the Divine authority and cast off his allegiance to God? In thus sinning did not Adam resist the power of the strongest motives on the side of obedience? — motives arising from his obligations to the kindness of God; motives connected with the full and flowing fountains of pleasure and of advantage by which he was encompassed; and from the fact that he was being proved, and that upon his conduct were suspended tremendous results? Moreover the image of God was within him — revelations of God surrounded him; and under the power of these multiplied motives and influences his attention was fixed on one defined, intelligible, and distinct requirement. It was not an easy thing for Adam to sin against God.(1) Observe that human nature, at its best state, is not to be trusted; and that it universally fails where the failure is of most consequence.(2) See the tremendous responsibility which our influence over each other involves.(3) Learn the utility of experience in the trial of temptation.(4) Look, by the aid of the facts we are considering, into the philosophy of sinning.

II. THE RESULTS OF MAN'S FIRST SIN. Trace them in the transgressors themselves. We know not what interval existed between the evil act and a sense of its iniquity. Delusion may have continued through some time. At length, however, an inward monitor gave notice of the fault; disapprobation and self-condemnation, with their keen smart, succeeded; and Adam tasted the bitterness of sin.

1. Learn hence the enormous evil of any one sin; and profit in this department of knowledge by the experience of others.

2. Know also the certainty of punishment where pardon is not vouchsafed.

3. Mark the limit of Divine interference with human conduct.

(S. Martin.)


1. Its consequences.

2. Perpetration.

3. Extent.


1. Its nature.

2. Operation.

3. Result.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

rasted: —

1. Unbelief and faith.

2. Enmity and love.

3. Banishment from God and acceptance with God.

4. Disobedience and righteousness.

5. Misery and bliss.

6. Curse and blessing.

7. Death and life.

8. Paradise lost and paradise regained.

(D. M'Nicoll.)

Consider —

1. Who that one man was. Adam (ver. 14).

2. What his disobedience was. His first sin, the eating of the forbidden fruit, which opened the door to death (ver. 12).

3. Whom it concerned; "many"; the "all" (ver. 14). The alteration is not without reason, for there is an exception here of Christ. It reached many men, but not all simply; he, and he only, was excepted.

4. How it touched them; they were "made sinners" by it. There are two ways how men might be made sinners by the disobedience of Adam, viz., either by imputation or imitation. The last is not meant.(1) Because some of those many who are made Sinners are not capable of imitation or actual sin, viz., infants.(2) Because we are made righteous, not by the imitation, but imputation of Christ's righteousness; but as we are made righteous by the one, so we are made sinners by the other.

I. WHAT SIN OF ADAM'S IT WAS THAT THEY WHO SINNED AND FELL WITH HIM SINNED AND FELL IN. His first sin, the eating of the forbidden fruit. This was the sin that broke the covenant of works. Other sins of Adam are not imputed to them, more than those of any other private persons. So then, Adam quickly betaking himself to the covenant of grace, and placing himself under another head as a private man, ceased to be the head in the covenant of works. Adam had all his children in one ship to carry them to Immanuel's land; by his negligence he dashed the ship on a rock, and broke it all in pieces; and so he and his lay foundering in a sea of guilt. Jesus Christ lets out the second covenant as a rope to draw them to the shore. Adam for himself lays hold on it, while others hold by the broken beards of the ship, till they be by the power of grace enabled to quit them too, as he was.

II. WHO WERE THEY THAT SINNED AND FELL IN ADAM. All mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation. So —

1. Christ is excepted. Adam's sin was not imputed to the man Christ. He was separated from sinners (Hebrews 7:26), and was not infected with the plague whereof He was to be the cleanser. And so Christ comes not in under Adam as head, but, as in the text, is opposed to Adam as another head. Christ was indeed a Son of Adam (Luke 3). And it was necessary He should be so, that He might be our near kinsman, and that the same nature that sinned might suffer. But He came not of him by ordinary generation — He was born of a virgin. And upon this account He came not in under Adam in the covenant of works; for Christ was not born by virtue of that blessing of marriage given before the fall (Genesis 1:28), but by virtue of a covenant-promise made after the fall (Genesis 3:15). So that Adam could represent none in that covenant, but such as were to spring from him by virtue of that blessing.

2. All mankind besides sinned and fell with Adam in that first transgression. His sin of eating the forbidden fruit is imputed to them. Consider —(1) The Scripture plainly testifies that all sinned in him (ver. 12). Hence it is plain that death has not come into the world but in pursuit of sin; all die, for all have sinned.(2) All fell with him into misery by that sin. Now, a just God will not involve the innocent with the guilty in the same punishment.(a) All fell under condemnation (vers. 16, 18).(b) All fell under the loss of God's image, and the corruption of nature with him (Psalm 51:5).(c) All the punishments inflicted on Adam and Eve, for that sin, as specified in Genesis 3, are common to mankind, their posterity; and therefore the sin must be so too.

III. HOW THE FIRST SIN OF ADAM COMES TO BE IMPUTED TO US. The great reason of this is, because we are all included in Adam's covenant. The covenant was made with him, not only for himself, but for all his posterity.

1. Consider here —(1) It was the covenant of works, the condition whereof was perfect obedience.(2) It was made with Adam for himself. That was the way he himself was to attain perfect happiness; his own stock was in that ship.(3) It was made not only for himself, but for all his posterity descending from him by ordinary generation. So that he was not here as a private, but as a public person, the moral head and representative of all mankind. Hence the Scripture holds forth Adam and Christ, as if there had never been any but these two men in the world (1 Corinthians 15:47). And this he does, because they were two public persons, each of them having under them persons represented by them (vers. 14, 18).

2. But some may be ready to say, we made not choice of Adam for that purpose. Answer —(1) God made the choice, who was as meet to make it for us as we for ourselves. And "who art thou that repliest against God?"(2) Adam was our natural head, the common father of us all (Acts 17:26), and who was so meet to be trusted with the concerns of all mankind as he?

3. But to clear further the reasonableness of this imputation, consider —(1) Adam's sin is imputed to us, because it is ours. For God doth not reckon a thing ours, which is not so (Romans 2:2). If a person that has the plague infect others, and they die, they die, by their own plague, and not by that of another.(2) It was free for God either to have annihilated all mankind, or to have given them no promise of eternal life. Was it not, then, an act of grace in God to make such a rich covenant as this? and would not men have consented to this representation gladly in this case?(3) Adam being made after the image of God (Genesis 1:26) was as capable to stand as any afterwards could be for themselves; and this was a trial that would soon have been over, while the other would have been continually a-doing, had men been created independent of him.(4) He had natural affection the strongest to engage him. He was our father, and all we the children that were in his loins, to whom we had as good ground to trust as to any other creature.(5) His own stock was in the ship; his all lay at stake as well as ours. Forgetting our interest, he behoved to disregard his own, for he had no separate interest from ours. No man quarrels, that when a master sets his land in tack to a man and his heirs upon conditions, if the first possessor break the bargain, the heirs be denuded of it.(6) All that quarrel with this dispensation must renounce their part in Christ; for we are made righteous by Him, as sinners are made guilty by Adam. If we fall in with the one, why not with the other? We chose Christ for our head in the second covenant no more than we did Adam in the first covenant.


1. See the dreadful nature of sin; one sin could destroy a world.

2. Let this be a lesson to parents to do nothing that may bring ruin on their children. Many times children are destroyed by their parents through their bad example and government.

3. This doctrine affords a lesson of humility to all. The rich have no cause to boast of their wealth, for they have as sad a heritage as the poor and needy.

4. View and wonder at the redemption purchased for sinners by Christ.

5. Quit your hold of the first Adam and his covenant, and come to and unite with Christ by faith, and lay hold on His covenant (1 Corinthians 15:22).

(T. Boston, D. D.)

These are the two main facts involved in the text. Round these there has gathered a vast cloud of theological formulas which render it difficult to discern them in their simplicity and integrity. I have a few suggestions to make, which are simple and hang well together.

1. We can hardly begin to reflect on the fall without asking, "Why did God permit it? why make man so that he not only could, but almost must, fall away from his original righteousness?" The very moment we begin to reflect on the fall we are confronted by the origin of evil. Why did God permit it to invade and stain His universe?

2. So, again, with that other fact, "How could the obedience, or sacrifice, of the one just Man avail for the salvation of the whole sinful race? How is it so to tell on those who have fallen from righteousness as to recover them to the love and service of righteousness? To tell us that these problems are insoluble is to contradict the inspired apostle. To warn us against intermeddling with them is to pour contempt on the labours of eighteen centuries. And, worse still, it is to bid us suppress an inbred and unconquerable tendency, viz., that when we believe certain facts we cannot but try to frame some reasonable conception of them, in which each shall hold its due place and form part of an intelligible and harmonious whole.


1. We start from a point familiar and approved.(1) If God were to surround Himself, not with mere automata that would mechanically obey the impulses of His will, but with creatures capable of love and obedience, He must give them wills of their own and leave them free. A mechanical or compelled goodness is not a goodness at all. If the angels are incapable of sin they are also incapable of righteousness. If they are not free to choose between good and evil, but are kept by the power and will of God, then their goodness is God's goodness, and not their own. If the stars keep their courses only by an involuntary and unconscious obedience to natural laws, there is nothing noble, because there is nothing free, in their obedience. But if, as some of our poets have dreamed, each "heavenly body" is but the vesture of some great spirit, then the very stars become moral, because voluntary, agents, who render a willing and constant obedience to the laws imposed upon them.

2. Now, what the choice of God would be we may infer from our own preference. Just as we prefer to have even a dog about us to all the mechanical toys ever invented: or just as we love to have children about us whose love we can win, who are capable of a true because voluntary goodness, so we may reasonably believe God would choose to surround Himself with many orders of creatures, each capable of loving Him of its own will, and of rendering Him a free and glad obedience.

3. But this very capacity involves an alternative. Those who can freely lift their wills into accord with the will of God, can also deflect their wills from His. And was it not well-nigh inevitable that, in the infinite possibilities of existence, some of them should strike out a path for themselves, and take that rather than keep the path marked out for them by God? How else were they to prove to themselves that their wills were their own, and free?

4. This free will, if a great is also a most perilous endowment; for there is a certain charm in asserting it. It is not mere depravity which prompts a child to do that which he knows he ought not to do. The temptation, although he may be unconscious of it, is the charm of assuring himself and showing others that he is free, that he is not a mere link in the chain of necessity, not a mere pipe in the fingers of others to sound what stop they please. Who has not felt this fascination, and done that which he knew would yield him neither pleasure nor profit, simply in order that he might feel and assert his freedom? And who that has felt this charm can doubt that when myriads of creatures had been called into being gifted with free will, some of them would be sure to prove their freedom by trying whether or not their wills were their own?

5. Our argument leads us straight into that great mystery — the origin of evil. Evil is in the world, in the universe, by no Divine fiat or decree. It is not of God's making, but of our own. And from this gift of a will free to select its own path and take its own course have sprung all the miseries of evil. What God intended for our good, as our special honour and distinction, we have turned to our own harm. But before any man complains that so perilous a gift has been conferred upon him, and that he is called to rule and control it, let him remember the alternative — incapability of conscious and voluntary choice of righteousness and love. If any man would prefer to sink so low as that, it certainly is hard to see what God made him a man for. But does any such man exist?

II. ITS CONSEQUENCES. When men, in the exercise of their free will, have fallen into sin, they begin to make excuse. They say, "It is human to err. Sin is common to all; how, then, can I hope to escape it?" This is one of the saddest consequences.

2. Men condemn even while they excuse themselves. All the while they feel that sin has alienated them from the life of God; that He is displeased with them; that they are debased; and that God must be propitiated. And thus men are made both reckless and hopeless. On the one hand, sin seems so human, so inevitable, that it can hardly be very wrong; and, on the other hand, it is so alien to God that He can hardly be expected to pardon it.


1. What is the answer of the Divine grace to the feeling of doubt and despair? It is this. While we are yet sinners, God, in the person of His Son, comes down and dwells among us. He virtually says to us, "See, much as I hate the sins which have degraded and enslaved you, fellowship with Me is not impossible. I am in your midst to bless you by turning every one of you away from your sins. So far from being separated from you, I have become one with you, that you may become one with Me, partaking your nature that you may partake Mine."

2. Men say, "It is human to sin; so long as we are men we can hardly hope to avoid it." "Nay," replies Christ; "for, see, I, too, am a man; and which of you convicteth Me of sin? So far from sin being an essential part of manhood, or a necessary adjunct of it, you feel that I am a higher style of man, precisely because I never at any time transgressed My Father's commandments, because I make it My will to do His will." This, then, is a chief way in which the redemption of Christ comes to tell on men, in which they are atoned to the God against whom they have sinned. Our wills are ours, then; but they are ours that we may make them His. And not till we do make them His shall we be recovered from the fall, and know the power of His redemption.

(S. Cox, D. D.)


1. Personally and privately, in regard to His own moral character. He fulfilled all righteousness. He alone, of all the human race, has maintained from first to last a perfectly spotless character before the tribunal of God.

2. Officially, Christ's obedience was equally perfect. He came into the world to fulfil a public mission, as the Lord's servant, and at the close it was not necessary for Him to bewail shortcomings or to avow Himself an unprofitable servant (John 17:4). Nor was His an easy task. He needed more meekness than Moses, more Wisdom than Solomon, more watchfulness than Isaiah, and more courage than Daniel. Yet never in all His public course did He betray an unworthy spirit or act unwisely. No doing or saying of His requires to be covered with the cloak of charity.

3. As a sacrificial victim for sin, we find Christ equally obedient. He received this commandment from the Father, that He should lay down His life for His sheep. This He was to do by surrendering Himself into the hands of wicked men. He might have refused and have consumed His enemies. He might have come down even from the Cross, and declined to shed His heart's best blood for such a thankless race; but no, He submitted to it all without a murmur. His own language was, "The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" (cf. Isaiah 53:4-6, 10; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 2:10).


1. By the eternal purpose of God Himself. He gave His Son to achieve such mighty results for us, and He accepts us in the Beloved, and imputes to us a righteousness, which is purely of grace, and through faith in Christ. "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

2. The ground of this imputation, undoubtedly, is the perfect obedience of Christ, our Head; and the principle of it is, that, because of our union with Christ, what belongs to Him comes to be regarded as belonging to us. He takes our sins, that we may take His righteousness.

3. Yet, in looking at Christ's obedience as the ground of our righteousness, we must view it as a whole. We cannot say that one part of the blessing we derive from Christ is to be ascribed to His sinless life, and another to His vicarious suffering. We take a whole Christ as a whole Saviour.

4. Yet in this gift of righteousness we find these three blessings.(1) Pardon. This we have in Christ's obedience unto death. That death owes its merits to His preceding spotless life.(2) Holiness. This relates to the present, as pardon to the past, and we owe it to Christ's holy life, setting us an example; to His mediatorial labours, teaching us the law; and to His sacrificial death, constraining our love, and procuring for us the Spirit, by whose indwelling we are quickened, renewed, changed into the Divine likeness, and enabled to wall: as becometh saints.(3) Heaven. This relates to the future. Even if we were pardoned, and made holy, we could by no means earn for ourselves a title to glory. It is God's free gift: bestowed upon us only for the sake of the perfect obedience of Christ, who hath purchased this inheritance, and secured it for us. It is He who both washes us from our sins and makes us kings and priests unto God and His Father forever. Conclusion:

1. Behold, then, the Scripture doctrine of substitution, which ascribes our salvation, not to our own obedience, but to the obedience of Christ. This is —(1) A conceivable arrangement: it is in harmony with equity and justice, provided only that the substituted victim of suffering be a voluntary one, and that he be not a permanent loser by what he endures.(2) An arrangement, analogous to much that we see in nature and providence, and especially to the hereditary law of association, which obtains among all mankind.(3) Necessity. For without it no member of our fallen race could ever have risen to holiness and happiness at all.(4) An accomplished reality, for Christ hath actually suffered for our sins, once for all, and put them away by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:26-28).

2. A few practical inferences.(1) Christian believer, see your dependence on Jesus, and rejoice in it. Cultivate a simple and confiding faith in Him, and believe that if your salvation be the reward of His obedience, there is no limit to what God is able and willing to do for you.(2) Penitent inquirer, behold the way of righteousness, and walk in it. Come, as a sinner, to the throne of grace; and ceasing from your own works, enter by faith into spiritual rest.(3) Ye unconverted, we point you to the Cross. There see what sin has done. Reflect, repent, return unto the Lord, for He will have mercy upon you, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

(T. G. Horton.)

Why should children, born with tainted constitutions and damaged prospects, suffer blamelessly for their father's iniquity? Precisely as, on the contrary, children benefit gratuitously through the goodness of their parent. For the marvellous mechanism of heredity does not merely transmit evil. It is also, and indeed preponderantly, the machinery by which the physical, mental, and spiritual acquisitions of bygone generations — the accumulated and stored wealth of the ages — are conveyed to the future and preserved for posterity. There is an inheritance of strength and intellect, grace and goodness, as well as of disease and vice and evil. Nay, this last is but a misuse and perversion of God's beneficent and stupendous contrivance of heredity. To escape the entail of ill, you must snap the mechanism of transmission, and so forfeit the entail of blessing. It is as if you should propose that each generation's acquisition of property, tools, inventions, arts, and appliances should be destroyed, and the next generation compelled to begin afresh on the bare, barren soil. Progress were impossible, civilisation but the rolling of a Sisyphus' stone, the human race no longer an organic unity, without continuity, without history, without moral solidarity. Take from my life and actions this awful prerogative of the transmission of good and evil, and you rob it of all dignity and depth of perspective; you degrade it to the narrowest dimensions of self-centred insignificance; you divest my actions of all far-reaching influence and unselfish consequence; you isolate my being from all impersonal interests and ennobling sympathies. Cut asunder the fine meshes of heredity, and you dissolve the ties of affection that bind the generations together, and reduce humanity to a chaos of trivial atoms, without roots in the past, without part in futurity, devoid of large possibilities of achievement, and therefore destitute of strong moral motive. Heredity ordained by Heaven for blessing, through sin becomes a vehicle of evil.

(Prof. Elmslie, D. D.)

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