[size=150]Dear Friends in Faith, I was in a used bookstore in the town near where I live. I always gravitate to the “Religion” section. This time, my eyes caught a book concerning a commentary on
the New Testament entitled “The Abingdon Bible Commentary .” I was curious
what the writer had to say relating to Romans 5:18 & 19. Would the theologian
have some good news to say about this truly incredible good news Paul was
bringing out in the evangel? It always amazes me how these theologians are so well trained to be a type of Debbie Downer. In case some of you don’t know about Debbie Downer, she is
a character on Saturday Night Live. For instance, she might go to dinner with
her friends and as they are discussing their dinner and how wonderful it is, she
always has something negative to say. For instance, someone may remark on how
great a certain food was. She will then remark about how something in that food
causes cancer. She is the proverbial party pooper. Always, after she makes a negative
comment, her friends are disgusted that she just ruined their outing and you
hear a loud “Debbie Downer!” Then the camera pans to her face which looks like
“I was only trying to help.”
Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand, I opened up this theological work
which was put out in order to help all of us understand the Bible. But the result of
many of these works reveal to us that the Bible is not really to be taken at face value,
especially the good news Paul brought to the nations. These theologians want the
reader to think that what they have to say is what Paul was actually intending us to
know. What we often get, however, is the regurgitated slop spewing from their pens
which is what they were taught in their respective seminary or Bible college. It is
not that they rarely have anything good to say pertaining to the evangel. It is just
that they have a penchant for turning what is really good news into really bad news.
Here is the passage:
“Consequently then, as it is through one offense for all mankind for condemnation,
thus also it is through one righteous response for all mankind for life’s justifying.
For even as through the disobedience of the one human the many are constituted
sinners, thus also through the obedience of the One the many shall be constituted
righteous” (Romans 5:18,19).
This is what the theologian remarked on this passage:
“The transgression of Adam is now clearly defined as his disobedience, and the
righteous act of Christ as his obedience; and the results in both cases are that the
rest of men receive a certain status, in the one case the status of sinners, and in
the other case the status of righteous. The image is wholly forensic. If we may not
say that the ideas of personal moral guilt and of personal moral righteousness are
absent, they are at least far in the background. Paul is thinking of the relation of
men to God in terms of a status into which they had been introduced, in the one
case by the transgression of Adam, in the other by Christ’s great act of obedience,
but in both cases the status is something to be voluntarily accepted.”
Notice, the first Debbie Downer remark the theologian used is the term “forensic.”
He is trying to tell us that what mankind get from what Adam and Christ did
is merely forensic or a legal fiction. That is what “forensic” theologically implies.
Mankind was not literally, actually constituted sinners nor condemned to a dying
condition due to what Adam did. No! They think mankind dies because he sins.
Mankind is condemned because of what mankind does, not because of what Adam
did. After all, that would be too unfair for us to be constituted a sinner and condemned
due to what someone else did! Likewise, Mankind will not be constituted
righteous and have their lives justified due to what Christ did. That would be equally
unfair according to the theologian! It just comes down to a legal fiction.
The second “Debbie Downer” remark is this: “but in both cases the status is
something to be voluntarily accepted.” In other words, one has to voluntarily accept
that what Adam did will cause death to enter into you and thus make you a sinner.
Likewise, one must voluntarily accept what Christ did to cause you to be righteous
and have your life justified!
Here is something A. E. Knoch wrote in Unsearchable Riches, volume 82:
A TYPE OF CHRIST
“Adam is a type of Christ (Rom.5:14). Let us meditate for a time upon this type as
it is developed in Romans 5. Even a fleeting glance will show that sin’s reach was universal;
every human being was affected by it. Is the reach of Christ’s work universal
also? As the best of our English versions mar the exquisite poise and balance of this
comparison as it stands in the inspired original, we will call to our aid a concordant
translation, arranging the lines so as to clearly display the corresponding features.”
ADAM’S ACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CHRIST’S ACT (Rom.5:18)
as it was . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . thus also it is
. .through one offense . . . . . . . . . . . .through one righteous response
. . . for all mankind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . for all mankind
. . . . for condemnation, . . . . . . . . . . . . for life’s justifying.
“Sin fixes its fangs firmly on every one of Adam’s sons. There is no escape for
anyone. Sin is not evil theoretical, but actual and practical. It is not presented as
a matter of choice. It is powerful and sovereign. The grand proof of this is death.
Death entered through sin and claims every single son of Adam. These universal
results have come through a single offense. As Adam affected All Mankind thus
also is Christ’s Work for All.” (end of quote from Knoch)
All mankind are neutral recipients of the result of Adam’s one act. By Paul using the
construction “thus also,” he is telling us that all mankind likewise are neutral recipients
of Christ’s one act of obedience. All mankind were made sinners due to Adam’s one act.
All mankind will be made righteous due to Christ’s one act.
In His Grace and Peace,
Saviour of All Fellowship[/size]