Will All Mankind
Be Constituted Righteous
Through Jesus Christ?

    “Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for justifying of life. For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted righteous” (Romans 5:18,19 Concordant Literal New Testament).
    Two persons, two acts, and two results affecting the entire human race are brought before us in this passage of Scripture. Adam's disobedience and its race-wide, life-destroying result, presents a dark and distressing situation. The obedience of Jesus Christ and the race-wide, life-giving result is bright and glorious.
    Is it not strange that the distressing part of this passage is usually believed without hesitation, but the bright and glorious part is disbelieved? Conditions and limitations are forced into the part dealing with the life and righteousness that comes to all through Jesus Christ, until its plain statements are flatly contradicted. Lack of faith in what the Scriptures clearly state, rather than lack of intelligence to grasp the meaning, has always been one of the greatest hindrances to the correct understanding of God’s word.
    In order to understand the effectiveness and success of the saving work of Jesus Christ set forth in this passage it is only necessary to believe implicitly what is clearly stated.
    In the following arrangement the contrasting sections are placed in parallel columns as an aid in comparing them. Notice the close correspondence of the clauses.

CONSEQUENTLY, THEN,            
AS THUS ALSO            
               Through one offense
               Into all mankind  
               Into condemnation
         Through one righteous award
         into all mankind
         Into justifying of life
          FOR                    
               EVEN AS                                 THUS  ALSO                   
               Through the disobedience
               Of the one man,
               The many were
               Constituted sinners
Through the obedience          
Of the One,
The many shall be
Constituted righteous.

    Adam's one offense brought the condemnation of death upon all mankind (Rom.5:12). None escape this condemnation–"all are dying" (1Cor.15:22). THUS ALSO, the obedience of Jesus Christ will bring justifying of life into all mankind–"All shall be made alive" (1Cor.15:22).
    The matter of faith or acceptance is not introduced on either side in this passage. The subject is not eonian life; neither is it the salvation of the elect. When these are being discussed, faith, and acceptance have their place.
    Neither is the time of the justifying indicated. All are not brought into this part of salvation at the same time. The point being emphasized is the fact that all mankind shall be constituted righteous through the obedience of Jesus Christ, just as surely as they were constituted sinners through the disobedience of Adam. This fact is stated in verse 18, and the inspired explanation follows in verse 19. Notice how the "for" links the two verses together.
    But someone will ask, Why does it say "the many" in verse 19 instead of
all"? It is because the one disobedient man plus "the many" equals all mankind constituted sinners. The One obedient Man plus "the many" equals all mankind constituted righteous.
    That "the one" plus "the many" constituted sinners, equals all mankind, few, if any, will deny. EVEN SO "the One" plus "the many" constituted righteous is equally all-inclusive and assures justification of life for all mankind.
    A literal translation of Romans 5:12 explains how all mankind were constituted sinners. Notice exactly what is stated: "Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus DEATH passed through into all mankind ON WHICH all sinned."
    The Scriptures make one man responsible for the entrance of sin into the world. Adam's sin brought death, first the dying process, then the death state itself. Adam's offspring inherited death or mortality from him, and because of this, or on account of this, all sinned.
    Four different states or conditions possible to man are indicated in the Scriptures. First, that of Adam before he sinned, a neutral condition, not mortal, not immortal. He is said to be a "living soul" (Gen.2:7). Second, the mortal or dying condition which began the very day Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Third, the state or condition of the dead (Psa.146:4; Isa.38:18,19; Ecc.9:4-6; 1Thes.4:13-18). Fourth, the state of incorruptibility and immortality when death is impossible (1Cor.15:50-57).
    The experience of Adam and Eve was unique, it was unlike that of the rest of mankind. As long as they did not sin, they did not experience death in any form. The very day they disobeyed God they became mortal and the dying process began to work in them.
    The rest of mankind are born mortal or dying. Note the clear statement of Scripture again: "Therefore, even as through one man the sin entered into the world, and through the sin the death, and thus the death passed through into all mankind, ON WHICH all sinned" (Rom.5:12 literal translation). Adam passed death or mortality on to his offspring, "on which all sinned" or "on account of which all sinned." The Greek is definitely eph ho, "on which" all sinned, not "for that" all sinned.
    It is the devitalizing power of the dying process working in all mankind from the moment of birth which constitutes them sinners. Notice what is said concerning death in Romans 5:12-21. Verse 14 declares: "Death reigns from Adam unto Moses on those also who do not sin in the likeness of the transgression of Adam." Verse 17 says: "Death reigns through the one." Then comes the striking statement in verse 21; "Sin reigns IN DEATH." The Greek is definitely en to thanato, Sin reigns "in the death," not eis "unto death."
    All of Adam's descendants are born dying, doomed to die the first death whether they sin or not. A baby born one minute can die the next minute without having committed a single act, good or evil. It is the devitalizing power of death working in all mankind which demoralizes them and causes them to sin whenever they begin to think, speak and do things.
    A literal and accurate translation of God’s warning to Adam bings out the difference between the dying process and the death state. "From every tree of the garden, you are to eat, yea, eat. Yet from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you are not to be eating from it, for in the day you eat from it, TO DIE SHALL YOU BE DYING" (Gen.2:16,17). Young's Literal Translation of the Bible puts it: "dying thou dost die." The Companion Bible calls attention to the fact that the Hebrew is: "dying thou shalt die."
    Man is as helpless to cure himself of his sinfulness as he is to cure himself of the dying process which is working in him. God's provision for man's need is Jesus Christ. He is "the Resurrection and the Life" (John 11:25). He is the One Who died for our sins, was entombed and has been raised and now lives as man's Saviour. He is the One Who "abolishes death, and illuminates life and incorruption through the evangel" (2Tim.1:10).
    Man's ralationship to Adam and the death transmitted to him from Adam constitutes him a sinner. Man's future relationship to Jesus Christ and the gift of life He will impart eventuates in all mankind being constituted righteous.
    Jesus Christ came into the world to SAVE the world. He will not fail in the slightest degree. His death, and resurrection life will prove effective for all in due time. Man’s present failure to comprehend and believe in the success of the Sacrificial and Saving work of Jesus Christ will not take away in the least from His triumph and success. God wills that "all mankind be saved and come into a realization of the truth" (1Tim.2:3-6; 4:9-11). Our risen, living Lord and Saviour is equal to the task. He will not fail.
    Does this deny what the Scriptures actually teach concerning the future judgment and condemnation of the wicked? Absolutely not! There will be judgment and a day of indignation when God will be paying each of the wicked in accord with his deeds (Rom.2:1-16; Rev.20:11-15). But thanks be to God, beyond that there will be justification of life and righteousness for all mankind through Jesus Christ our Lord (See 1Cor.15:20-28).

Joseph E. Kirk


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