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Galatians 2:16 & Romans 5:12-21 by Robert Dean
Series:Galatians (1998)
Duration:1 hr 6 mins 24 secs

Judicial Imputations and Salvation; Gal. 2:16; Rom. 5:12-21

Romans 5:12 NASB "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—"

How is a person justified?

How does a person come to be vindicated or declared righteous before a perfect God? To answer that question we must deal with some secondary questions that deal with specific issues. One of those is: Why do we need to be justified? That implies a further question: Why are we condemned? Why is the human race condemned? We can sub-divide that question into two further questions. Are we condemned for our own personal sins, or are we condemned for the sin of Adam? That is a very important question. Is our condemnation from God is based on our personal sins, or is our condemnation based on the sin of Adam?

1.  We have two relationships to Adam. Every single human being is related to Adam in one of two ways. The first way is in a representative way which is called a federal relationship. It has to do with representation. He is our federal head. It was Adam who was designated by God to be the representative of the human race. Then we have the physical or biological relationship to Adam, and this is called a seminal relationship. We are in Adam seminally in seed form. The result is that Adam is both our representative and we were physically or biologically present in him at the fall.

2.  Adam's federal headship deals with the imputation of Adam's original sin to us. The result is that physically we are born with a sin nature and therefore born spiritually dead. Secondly, we are born physically alive but spiritually dead because we have a sin nature. And God has imputed to that sin nature Adam's original sin so we are born spiritually dead.

3.  When Adam sinned we sinned. This results in our spiritual death, Ephesians 2:1 NASB "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins."

4.  Adam's original sin plus the sin nature equals spiritual death. Spiritual death has three aspects to it: a) It means that we are totally separated from God from birth; b) You can therefore have no relationship, no fellowship and no rapport with God because we are born with a sin nature and the imputation of Adam's original sin; c) This is the initial act of divine justice in condemning us. Because we have a sin nature transmitted physically from Adam from one generation to the next through the male, and we have the imputation of original sin to the sin nature, that is the basis for condemnation from the justice of God. 

5.  The perfect righteousness of God rejects man, the justice of God therefore condemns man, but the love of God provides a solution, and the solution is in terms of justification.

6.  It was Adam's sin that was at issue, not the woman's. This is clear from 1 Timothy 2:13, 14 NASB "For it was Adam who was first created, {and} then Eve. And {it was} not Adam {who} was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." The Bible makes a distinction between Eve's sin which was related to deception but Adam's sin was one of full knowledge. It is the male, therefore, who transmits the sin nature.

7.  The basis for our condemnation, then, is Adam's original sin and not our personal sins.

8.  Then we have to ask: How was the sin nature perpetuated? We might ask: If Adam sinned, what has that to do with me? Is it fair for God to condemn me on the basis of a decision of somebody else? Well this is the brilliance of the justice of God. We can be condemned for either Adam's original sin or for our own personal sins. If we are condemned for our own personal sins then the issue is that we do not become condemned until we sin. But we have a sin nature, we are born with a sin nature, and we are condemned before we ever commit any personal sins. By not imputing our personal sins to us but imputing them rather to the cross then our personal sins are never an issue. The issue and the basis for condemnation then is Adam's original sin. By removing the personal sins from the basis of condemnation the focus remains on what Adam did and  it fits into the entire framework of divine justice in a very fascinating and significant manner.

9.  The instant Adam sinned he acquired a corrupt nature that penetrated every facet of his being, both physically and spiritually. The instant he sinned he died spiritually and he acquired at that instant what we call a sin nature. The sin nature is described in the Scriptures with the term "old man" in Ephesians 4:22, KJV, "the flesh" in Romans 8:3,4, and "the principle of sin" in Romans 7:8-20. Terms to describe the sin nature are "the body of sin" in Romans 6, flesh, etc. These terms relate it to its material components. So from that in defining the sin nature we can say that it is an integral part of every human being that resides in the cell structure of the human body. This is the command post, the base from which the sin nature operates. It has a material component. It also has an immaterial component but it is primarily material.

10.  The sin nature: It has an area of weakness where it produces personal sins. This area is where a person is prone or weak to temptation, where one easily succumbs to temptation and sins. Sin is committed in one of three categories: overt sins, sins of the tongue, and mental attitude sins which are the most devastating sins of all. Temptation always derives from the sin nature but the sin nature itself does not produce the sin. Sin is produced when the volition acquiesces to the temptation. The sin nature offers the temptation, the volition responds, and then we are out of fellowship and the sin nature controls. Any good that is done after that is the production of the sin nature and is no better than the human good produced by the unbeliever. Every believer has certain trends. The two trends are asceticism and legalism, or lasciviousness and immoral degeneracy.

11.  The sin nature is both material and immaterial. The material part resides in the cell structure of the body and the immaterial part is the function of the trend toward asceticism and legalism and/or antinomianism. Those trends are the result of Adam's sin and the focus of the sin nature.

12.  The immaterial part of the sin nature is the specific sin which one is most susceptible to—one's area of weakness.

13.  How does this take place? In biology the fundamental element is the cell. When a cell replicates it is through a process of mitosis. Every cell is comprised of 46 chromosomes. When a cell replicates through mitosis it goes from one cell with 46 to two cells each having 46 chromosomes. However the one category of cells that differs from this are the reproductive cells. Reproductive cells reproduce through the process of meiosis. The male sperm cell has 46 chromosomes. Through meiosis this divides then to two cells with 23 chromosomes each. Each is fully contaminated with the sin nature because all 46 chromosomes are still present. In the female is an egg cell. Once ovulation takes place at the point that cell has 46 chromosomes. Through meiosis it goes through a couple of different stages where it throws off what is called polar bodies. These polar bodies are non-functional elements where the egg cell is purifying itself and it throws of 23 chromosomes in meiosis, this contaminated material call polar body. The result is that there is now an egg cell with 23 chromosomes. At conception the 23 purified chromosomes—which are minus the sin nature because the contamination has been thrown off with polar body—are combined with the sperm which is contaminated by the sin nature which passes down through the male, and now there is a fertilised egg that has 46 chromosomes.

14.  It is Adam's original sin that is the basis for our condemnation.

"And so death passed upon [spread through] all men, for that all have sinned." Since the aorist tense is used in the last clause and thus a single, historical act completed in the past is indicated, the phrase "all have sinned" is better rendered all sinned. The effort of language at this point is to say that each member dies physically because of his own part in Adam's sin. Since one complete, single, historical act is in view, the words all sinned cannot refer to a nature which results from that act, nor can it refer to personal sins of many individuals. It is not that man became sinful. The assertion is that all sinned at one time and under the same circumstances…. Dr. Philip Schaff, gives the following, "A single historical act is meant, namely, the past event of Adam's fall, which was at the same time virtually the fall of the human race as represented by him and germinally contained in him…"  L.S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 2, p. 301.

The point is that when we come to the end of Romans 5:12 the aorist tense in that verb is that when Adam sinned we all sinned.

15.  The justice of God, therefore, condemns us because of Adam's original sin, not our personal sins. Condemnation is prior to the commitment of any personal sins. We are born dead in our trespasses and sins, we are born condemned.

16.  Remember, we sin as a result of spiritual death so we sin personally because we have a sin nature. We are not sinners because we sin personally; we sin because we have a sin nature.

17.  Romans 5:13 NASB "for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law." What kind of sin is this? It could be Adam's original sin; it could be Personal sin. The Greek word is hamartia [a(martia] meaning to miss the mark, to go off course. hamartia can refer to Adam's original sin, to the sin nature, or to personal sins. Context tells. "For until the Law sin was in the world," and the subject here is personal sin: "but [personal] sin is not imputed when there is no law." The Mosaic Law came into existence some 2000 years plus after Adam's fall. The Mosaic Law defines personal freedom, morality and personal sin and it is the first codification of personal sin and development of what is involved in personal sin. Secondly, the Mosaic Law thus reveals man's condemnation but it is 2000 years later. It reveals man's condemnation but is not the basis for his condemnation. Man was completely condemned for 2000+ years before the giving of the Mosaic Law. What was the basis for that condemnation? The basis for that condemnation was not therefore personal sin. Personal sin was in the world but we are told personal sin was not imputed "when there is no Law," when there is no definition of personal sins. So what, then, could have been the basis for personal condemnation? If it wasn't personal sin it must have been Adam's original sin. So personal sins are not imputed to man for condemnation for those 2000 years because there was no precise definition and the issue is therefore Adam's original sin.

18.  Documentation: 2 Corinthians 5:19 NASB "namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting [imputing] their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation." So our trespasses, our personal sins, according to this verse, are not the issue; they are not imputed to us. Romans 4:8 NASB "BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT [Impute]." This is a quotation from Psalm 32:2. The word for taking into account is logizomai [logizomai] which means to impute. Why is this man blessed? Because those personal sins are not imputed to him as the basis for condemnation, they are imputed to Jesus Christ at the cross. At the cross Jesus Christ has all of our personal sins imputed to Him as well as Adam's original sin, so that all sin is paid for completely by Christ on the cross.

Romans 5:14 NASB "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses…" That is the conclusion. Death reigned from Adam until Moses even though sin had not been instantiated in the Mosaic Law because the issue was Adam's original sin, not personal sins. "… even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." The word "type" is a transliteration of the Greek word tupos [tupoj] which means an example. There are certain comparisons between Adam who is called the first Adam and Jesus Christ who is called the second Adam. Adam was created perfect; the Lord Jesus Christ was born perfect—physically alive and spiritually alive, minus the sin nature. The first Adam chose to sin; the second Adam chose not to sin—the impeccability of Jesus Christ. The first Adam is the source of corruption for the entire human race; the second Adam as our substitute on the cross is the source of spiritual life and eternal life for the human race, the source of salvation. So Adam and the Lord Jesus Christ are used in Scripture for comparison and as a contrast. Adam is the type; Christ is the antitype.  

Romans 5:15 NASB "But the free gift is not like the transgression…"  The free gift is salvation—eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Free is grace in action. "…For if by the transgression of the one the many died…" That is our point again. It is Adam's original sin that caused the death of the many. The old Puritan line: In Adam's fall we sinned all. "… much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. [16] The gift is not like {that which came} through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment {arose} from one {transgression} resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift {arose} from many transgressions resulting in justification." What are the many transgressions here? Many transgressions = personal sins. So the personal sins of the entire human race are imputed or legally counted as the responsibility of the one man, Jesus Christ, on the cross. At the cross between twelve noon and three in the afternoon when darkness covered the face of the earth God the Father imputed every single sin in the human race to His Son. If the penalty has been paid that means that those sins are no longer the issue. What is the issue? It is whether we accept or reject Jesus Christ—Acts 16:31.   

Romans 5:17 NASB "For if by the transgression of the one, [spiritual] death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace accepting it by faith alone in Christ alone] and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." The first judicial imputation is the imputation of all of our sins to Jesus Christ. When all of our sins are imputed to Christ it results in justification. "The gift of righteousness" brings us to our second judicial imputation which is the imputation of Christ's perfect righteousness to the believer. That is now ours. When God looks at us He sees the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. So what the righteousness of God accepts the justice of God blesses. The justice of God blesses us at that point by imputing to us eternal life.

Romans 5:18 NASB "So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. [19] For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. [20] The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, [21] so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Galatians 2:16 NASB "nevertheless knowing…" "knowing" is a present active participle of ginosko [ginwskw], and it lacks the article which means that it is adverbial and an adverbial participle of cause. It should be translated "Nevertheless because we know" something, a principle. "…  that a man is not justified by the works of the Law…" If man was to be justified by the works of the Law then we have 2000+ years from Adam to Moses then nobody could be justified until approximately 1440 BC. But we know that Abraham was declared righteous in Genesis 15:7, and God imputed righteousness to Abraham—before the Law. "… but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified [declared righteous]."