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The Epistle to the Romans.
The sin that entered into the world (5: 12).
pp. 1 - 5
The first reading of the Scriptures leaves one with an overwhelming sense of the
complexity of things. Angels and men, heaven and earth, God and Satan, law and grace,
in one place a kingdom upon earth; and in another a sphere of blessing far above all
heavens, these subjects with their individual ramifications are not easy to follow. Patient
and prayerful study, however, with a consistent endeavour rightly to divide the Word of
truth, brings into prominence the underlying purpose. The moment the present six days
creation comes into existence this purpose is seen working itself out. It explains the
necessity that Adam should have been made in the image of God. It illuminates the
temptation in the garden of Eden, it makes the history of the children of Israel a real and
necessary factor, and unites in one common whole all the dispensations, whether they
look for a renewed earth or for a glory at the right hand of God. It links all the ages
together from that phase which dates from before the foundation of the world to that in
which time shall be no more.
It is very possible that the reader, while assenting to all this, may ask, But how does
this concern Rom. 5: 12? To explain this is our present object, but to make our meaning
clear it is necessary that the reader shall remember (in general outline at least) what has
been previously shown concerning the two great sections of Romans.
Rom. 1: - 5: 11 and 9:-16: constitute the outer section of the epistle. In this section
we read of sins, of propitiation, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of Israel, of Jew and
Gentile. Rom. 5: 12 - 8: 39 constitutes the inner section of the epistle. There we read
no more of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but of Adam. There sins are in the background,
the entry and dominion of sin being the theme. There Sinai and its law are scarcely
perceptible, but Eden and its prohibition are prominent. The outer teaching of Romans is
associated with the gospel of God which He had promised afore by His prophets in the
holy scriptures (Rom. 1: 1, 2; 3: 21). The inner teaching of the epistle is associated with
the revelation of a secret kept silent during the age-times, but made known with the
publication of the epistle to the Romans (Rom. 16: 25-27).
Upon examination it will be discovered that all the mysteries mentioned in Scripture
lead back to one place and one period, and may be ranged under one or other of two
heads, viz., The mystery of iniquity and The mystery of godliness. While these two
mysteries differ much as light does from darkness, they are nevertheless comparable, for
both pursue one goal.
The mystery of iniquity may be expressed in the language of II Thess. 2: 1-12, of
which we quote a part:--