Jonathan Edwards on Original Sin (Part 26)
I. Romans 5:12 ff. indicates universal sinfulness.
A. The Gentiles had been reared in complete ignorance of their sinfulness; the Jews had been reared in the prideful misconception that they were naturally holy.
B. Paul had been striving in previous chapters to take the Jews' eyes off of their father Abraham (considered as righteous) so that they might contemplate the state of their father Adam (considered as fallen).
II. From the beginning of Romans, Paul demonstrates the greatness of God's grace by:
A. Indicating the "universal corruption and misery of mankind;"
B. Indicating the greatness of the benefits that believers receive and the greatness of the glory for which we hope.
III. From the beginning of Romans, Paul demonstrates the greatness of the redemption and righteousness of Christ
IV. We must view Romans 5:12ff. in context of the passages previous to and following it.
V. In passages previous to Romans 5:12ff., Paul also addresses the error that attributed justification to law-keeping: particularly to keeping the law of circumcision.
VI. Paul's main point in this first part of Romans is that "sin and guilt, and just exposedness to death and ruin, came into the world by Adam’s sin; as righteousness, justification, and a title to eternal life come by Christ."
VII. "[T]he Jews had always been taught, that death (which began in the destruction of the body, and of this present life) was the proper punishment of sin."
VIII. Paul sought to convince the Jews of two facts concering the law:
A. The law was never intended to be the method by which men were justified.
B. The law of Moses "was not the highest and universal rule or law, by which mankind in general, and particularly the heathen world, were condemned."
IX. Paul demonstrates that we are all-- Jews and Gentiles alike-- in a sinful and miserable state by:
A. Demonstrating that "it is our natural relation to Adam, and not to Abraham, which determines our native moral state;"
B. Demonstrating that there is a "higher, more ancient, and universal law" than the law of Moses, under which all mankind stands condemned.
X. Edwards asserts that the ancients understood the phrase, "them who have not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression," referred to infants.
A. The Bible teaches two ways of being "like Adam:"
1. Being begotten or born in his image or likeness (Gen 5:3)
2. Trangressing God's covenant or law like him (Hos 6:7)
B. "Infants have the former similitude, but not the latter."
XI. Edwards' exposition of Romans 5:12-14
A. God established a "law of works" with Adam; Adam broke this law, thereby all became sinners in God's sight: exposed to final destruction.
B. "Before the law of Moses was given, mankind were all looked upon by the great Judge as sinners, by corruption and guilt derived from Adam’s violation of the original law of works."
C. All men are "reckoned as sinners" "through guilt and corruption derived from Adam" "not excepting even infants."
XII. "The doctrine of original sin is not only here [in Rom 5:12ff.] taught, but most plainly, explicitly, and abundantly taught."
XIII. "Sin" is defined in Romans 5:12ff. in terms of offense, transgression, and disobedience, and it is this sin that we all have through Adam.
XIV. "[T]he doctrine of the corruption of nature, as derived from Adam, and also the imputation of his first sin, are both clearly taught in it [Rom 5:12ff.].
Labels: Reformation Theology