The Berean Expositor
Volume 8 - Page 41 of 141
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passage of award according to works, but of the goal of the Saviour's great sacrifice and
redeeming love. The two parties in view in chapter 2: were the contentious Jew and the
well-doing Gentiles; the alternative to aionian life in that passage was "indignation and
wrath, tribulation and anguish".  In  Rom. 5: 12-21  (the context of the second
occurrence) the alternative to aionian life is death. In Rom. 2: the individual deeds of
each person are the subject of scrutiny; in Rom. 5: one man's disobedience constitutes
all his seed sinners. The two parties chiefly concerned in Rom. 5: are Adam and Christ.
If these observations do nothing more than point out the fact that aionian life is not
treated as a simple subject in the Word, we shall have accomplished a great deal. In the
minds of most of us there has been but one idea regarding aionian life, and that, the
concept of John's Gospel. We find, however, upon impartial study of the subject, that it
is associated with widely differing aspects of truth; in one case it is associated with
works, as for example the references in Matthew, in another with faith, as in John's
Gospel: in Romans it is connected in the first instance with "good work", and in the
second with the triumph of redeeming grace. Individual works, and even individual faith,
are not mentioned in the context of the second reference. Adam brings in death by sin;
Christ brings in life by righteousness. "Death reigned", says verse 14, "from Adam to
Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression",
and "sin is not imputed where there is no law" (verse 13). Here we have the monarchy of
death claiming all by virtue of one man's sin; verse 21 reveals another awful occupant of
the throne, "sin reigned unto death". Death's dominion was due to sin, and to remove the
sin would be to deprive death of his crown. And so the mighty simile is written, "that as
sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto
aionian life by Jesus Christ our Lord". In place of Adam, we have Christ, in place of sin
and death, righteousness, grace and aionian life. The glory, honour and immortality lost
by Adam is echoed by the aionian life brought in by Christ; as the one was lost through
sin, the other, by grace, is brought in by righteousness.
Chapter 6: follows this passage with searching arguments concerning the walk of the
believer after having passed from death unto life. The reign of sin, terminated by the
work of Christ, must be terminated in the believer's experience also, "Let not sin
therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof" (6: 12).
Sin cannot exercise dominion in the immortal body, for that will be beyond its sway.
Chapter 6:, however, has to do with the present life and the mortal body. Verse 13
speaks of "yielding" ourselves and our members unto God, a theme which is resumed in
chapter 12:
Looking back to the time past of their lives, the apostle says:--
"What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of
those things is death; but now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye
have your fruit unto holiness, and the end aionian life" (6: 21, 22).
The complete change in every particular that is indicated in these verses may be more
clearly seen if set out as follows:--