“Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Reply: In a preceding verse of this chapter, Paul has said that Adam is the figure of him that was to come, and in all the subsequent verses of this chapter, shows wherein Adam is the figure. If we have rightly understood the Parkerite doctrine of Two Seeds, it represents that all who were created and embodied in the earthly Adam, were the elect of God, and that the non-elect were added to the human family by the multiplying of the sorrow and conception of our mother Eve. Taking Adam as the figure of Christ, and Eve as the figure of the Church of God, or of that Jerusalem which is free and is the mother of us all, the Parkerite position would contradict the import of Paul’s allegory, (Gal. iv. 22-28,) and make Jerusalem the mother of all the ungodly. But it should not be forgotten that Eve is Adam. “This is the Book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” - Gen. v. 1,2. “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” - Gen. ii. 23. Consequently it is impossible that Eve could be the mother of any but the children of Adam. If they were her children, and she is Adam developed, then are they unavoidably the children of Adam. But this wild speculation is annihilated by the sweeping declarations of Paul at Athens, that God “Hath made of one blood all the nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” - Acts xvii. 26. Also that the saints at Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus, were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Eph. ii. 3.) Again: If Adam in his creation had embodied the church of God, as the holy seed, and that seed exclusively, then instead of being the figure of him that was to come, he would have been him that was to come. For that seed is Christ. (Gal. iii. 16.) But we will give our sister what we understand to be the true sense of the Scripture submitted. Adam, as the figure of him that was to come, was set up in his creation as the embodiment and seminal head of all the human race, and in him their name is Adam. By the decree to multiply and replenish the earth, Adam is multiplied or developed in peopling all the nations of the earth, and no less Adam in their multiplication, than when embodied in him they ate the forbidden fruit. Consequently by the offence of Adam as a unit, the guilt of that offence attaches to Adam as multiplied, expanded or developed, and hence the judgment, which is perfectly just, came upon all men. As all sinned in Adam, before any of the race were born, so judgment came upon all which were to be born unto condemnation. Death passed upon all, because all have sinned. Thus as a union and identity of life in the earthly Adam involved all the posterity of man in guilt, condemnation and death, so a vital union and identity of all the spiritual family of God, with Christ as their seminal Head and Mediatorial representative, secures to all the spiritual seed an interest in that free gift, which includes justification of life. As the earthly Adam embodied all the earthly posterity, so the second Adam, which is the Lord from heaven, embodies all the children of God. All mankind, elect and non-elect, sinned in the earthly Adam; judgment came on them to condemnation; death passed on them all, and in him they all die. And after the same figure or similitude, all the children of God, by virtue of that eternal life which was given them in Christ Jesus, before the foundation of the world, are partakers of his righteousness, his life and immortality in due time.
As children of the earthly Adam, we are brought into manifestation in our individuality by ordinary generation, in which our life, which was given us in Adam, is communicated to us personally by being born of the flesh; so all the family of God, chosen and set apart, and set up in Christ, are brought into manifestation as a spiritual seed, by extraordinary generation, or what the Scriptures denominate regeneration in which they are born again, not (as in their earthly birth) of a corruptible seed; but of incorruptible seed, by the word of the Lord which liveth and abideth forever. As all the progeny of the earthly Adam are begotten and born of the flesh in the image of the earthly progenitor, so all the children of God are born again, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God; and in the new and spiritual birth they receive that life, experimentally communicated to them personally, which was given them in Christ Jesus before the world began; and by which they bear the image of their heavenly progenitor. As members of the earthly Adam we are depraved, guilty, condemned, and under death, which has passed on us in common with all men; but as members of Christ, we are made partakers of the divine nature, (2 Peter i. 4,) and freely justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” By what law, either human or divine, could many be made sinners by the disobedience of one, except it be upon the ground of federal identity? The mere imputation of the consequences of sin to those who have not actually sinned, would make them sufferers, but not sinners. It is not then on the principle that the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge; for the text says expressly that many were made sinners. And sin is the transgression of law. We must therefore conclude that all the human family, as they stood in Adam, at the time of the transgression, constituted that one man, and as a unit committed the disobedience, and their multiplication by generation could not release them from the guilt. They were made sinners simultaneously by one act. And those who are not yet born were made sinners by the same act, and at the same time, and death passed upon them all, because they were and are all sinners.
Even so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Those who, as the children of God, sustain the same spiritual and immortal union to Christ, in their spiritual life, as all mankind do to the first Adam in their natural life, were in Christ, when he, as their Mediatorial Head and embodiment, rendered perfect obedience to every jot and tittle of the demands of the law and divine justice. The vital relationship and identity of Christ and his church was such that all who were embodied in him when he fulfilled the law, were made legally righteous in him, the same as all who were embodied in the earthly Adam were made sinners in him in his transgression. Thus the apostle seems to present the subject of atonement, when he says in the tenth verse of this chapter, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Christ died on Calvary some eighteen hundred years before the present generation were born, but at that time, though unborn, we were enemies to God, for we were enemies from the time we sinned in Adam, but when Christ died we were reconciled to God by his death. And not only so, but we joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. The atonement or reconciliation though actually made by the obedience of one, we had not received experimentally until now, that is, until born again, and made to joy in God through Jesus Christ our Lord. And this obedience of the one, shall assuredly be applied in due time to all who were represented in him in his death and resurrection. For he was delivered for our offences, and was raised for our justification. “Moreover, the law entered that the offence might abound.” Although the die was cast, we had sinned, and judgment had come upon us to condemnation, and death had passed on us all, from the time of our transgression in Adam, yet the law entered to show our alienation from holiness, and the deep depravity of our nature, that sin might appear, as it truly is, exceeding sinful. Thus the law was added, because of transgression, not as a minister of life, but as the administrator of death. That every mouth might be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God. Not that the law is the cause of our guilt, but the detecter of it. It weighs us in the balance and pronounces us guilty. As an illustration of the idea, let the christian look to his own experience, and, with Paul, he will say, I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, or the law entered, sin revived, showed itself, and abounded in us, and we were slain. We found that by its deeds we could not be justified in the sight of God. If a law had been given that could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law; but instead of life we found that as many as were of the works of the law were under the curse. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. We could never so fully appreciate the abounding grace of God in our salvation if we were unconscious of any other guilt attaching to us than that of originally eating of the forbidden fruit. But the Law entered, saying, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” &c., “and thy neighbor as thyself; and we found we were guilty of the whole law. We had not loved God with any part of our heart, nor had we loved our neighbor as ourselves. The entrance of the law brings sin to light. “I had not known sin, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” But now that sin is discovered in all its damning power, how greatly is the grace of God exalted which swells above our folly and our guilt.
“That as sin hath reigned unto death,” by the disobedience of one, or by our disobedience in Adam, death having passed on us in that disobedience, “Even so might grace reign, through righteousness,” or through the obedience of one, “unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” As by our union and identity with the earthly Adam we are sinners, condemned and slain; even so, by virture of a vital union with that second Adam, which is the Lord from heaven, we are made righteous, and the free gift comes on us to justification of life.
Middletown, N. Y.
April 15, 1860.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 4
Pages 330 - 335