Paul is contrasting two men: Adam and Christ. He does not repeat their names here, but refers to each in turn as Ďone maní.
The Ďone maní who did not obey God was Adam, the first man. All people belong to his family and, like him, we all do wrong and evil things (3:23). Therefore, the judgement that he suffered (Genesis 3:19) is against us all: all people die (Hebrews 9:27).
The Ďone maní who obeyed God perfectly was Christ (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:21-22). In particular, he obeyed God in his death (Mark 14:36; Luke 23:46). At his death, he suffered the punishment that we all deserve (Isaiah 53:4-6; Romans 5:6-8). Therefore, all people who receive him into their lives become members of his family (John 1:12-13). God forgives them and they receive a right relationship with him. Their bodies may die, but they will always live with him in heaven and the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-4).
In verse 19, Paul says that the lives of Christ and of Adam affect Ďmanyí people; but he says Ďallí people in verse 18. Paul clearly did not believe that all people will go to heaven (2:6-12). The word Ďallí in the Bible does not actually mean absolutely everyone (Luke 6:26; Acts 22:15). All people die - but Enoch (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11-18) did not die.
In fact, it seems clear that Paul is describing two different groups of people here. One group belongs to Adamís family, and they all suffer death like him. The other group has joined the family of Christ; like him, they all will live always (John 11:25-26). We all belong to Adamís family unless we join the people of God (1 Peter 2:10). God does not want us to suffer even the punishment that we deserve for our evil deeds (Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:32). He urges all people everywhere to turn to him (Acts 17:30). So we must confess our evil deeds to him; we must give him the place that he deserves in our lives.
Next part: The greatness of grace (Romans 5:20-21)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.