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Condemnation and Justification PDF Print E-mail
Written by W.M. Mitchell   

 The Gospel Messenger--April 1893


 I am informed by Bro. Respess that Eld. E. Phillips, of Georgia, desires that I write on the following text:

 Therefore, as by the offense 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.”—Rom. v. 18.

 The introduction of sin into the world by one man Adam, involving his whole posterity till time shall end, is clearly set forth in this text and its connection. And in consequence of this sin, by this one head and repre­sentative, God, in his righteous law, condemns him and all his posterity in him, so that judgment came upon all men to condemnation. And as Adam stands as the head and representative of all men, because all were created in him and received and transgressed the law in him, the same condemnation and death that came upon him came upon all represented by him; even so and in the same manner the One Man Jesus Christ is the Second Man, the Head and Representative of all his people, including all the election of grace, whether Jew or Gentile, of every nation, kindred and tongue; and as a consequence of his righteousness, fulfilling all the requirements of the violated law for all men whom he represented, the free gift of God’s grace has come upon all men thus represented unto justification of life.

We are aware that some have concluded that the phrase “all men,” as twice mentioned in the text, includes precisely the same number and each and every individual of them, so that if judgment and condemn­ation have come upon all Adam’s race by his one offense, that even so by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the free gift comes upon all men, and every individual of them, who have transgressed in Adam. But a little attention to the theme of the apostle in this connection will show that the phrase “all men” upon whom the free gift comes unto justification of life, in­cludes only those chosen in Christ before the founda­tion of the world, and for whom he suffered and died upon the cross, bearing their sins on his own body, so that by his obedience “many (or all men represented in him and by him) shall be made righteous.”

In a verse or two preceding our text the apostle says, “But not as the offense, so also is the free gift;” thus showing that there is a difference in some sense, and that the free gift which comes upon all men by the righteousness of Jesus Christ unto justification of life, does not embrace all men who are involved in condemnation by the offense of Adam. But it does embrace all men who are represented in the atonement made for them by the One Man Jesus Christ. And again the apostle continues, “And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification of life.” Here it is distinctly stated that the free gift of righteousness by which those who receive it are justified, is not “as it was by one that sinned,” as though it embraced all men who sinned in and by that one man. But the free gift of righteous­ness by Jesus Christ covers, removes and puts away “many offenses” and all offenses, besides that one original offense, and freely justifies all men to whom it is given, through the redemption that is in our Lord Jesus Christ.

And again the apostle continues the argument on the same line by saying, “For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” The words “all men,” when mentioned in connection with Adam’s transgression, are to be taken in their broadest possible sense, as embracing all the human family in every age of the world; and when the same phrase, “all men,” is used in connection with Jesus Christ and his righteousness, it is to be understood as embracing all men of every nation, family, kindred and tongue, who are identified with him and represented by him in. the atonement for sin which he made, when by one offering he offered himself without spot to God to purge the conscience from dead works to serve the living and true God.

It will be seen in the 17th verse of this 5th chapter of Romans, that the apostle is very particular to discrimi­nate between the “all men” upon whom death reigned by the offense of one, and the “all men” who shall reign in life by One Man Jesus Christ. He says, “Much more, they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One Jesus Christ.” Now, we conclude that this phrase, “they which receive,” clearly discriminates between those who receive the gift of righteousness by which they are justified, and those who do not receive it; and it also clearly indicates that all men who sinned in Adam do not receive it, but only those who are in Christ. “There is, therefore now,” says the apostle, “no con­demnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.” And if no condemnation, then justification rests upon all men who have received the gift of righteousness by the One Man Jesus Christ as fully as condemnation and death rest upon all men who have received and transgressed the law in Adam. “By one man sin entered the world and death by sin; so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” The solemn truth announced by this text is, we presume, well understood and believed by all consistent Primitive Baptists. And they very well know also that the two headships of Adam and Christ are more than once spoken of in the Scriptures; and they know equally well that as sin and death have come upon all men by virtue of their identity and one­ness in and with Adam, so righteousness, justification and eternal life come to all men alone by virtue of their identity and oneness in Christ. And that all of Adam’s race has not this identity and oneness in his sufferings, death, resurrection and glorification, the word of the Lord abundantly shows. It is only those whom God predestinates to be conformed to the image of his Son that he calls to an experimental knowledge of that truth, and it is only those thus called of God that he justifies, and it is only those whom he thus justifies that he glorifies. What shall we say to these things? Shall we murmur and complain that God is unjust or shall we lay our hand upon our mouth and be both dumb and still before the Lord, knowing that he is just and righteous in all he doeth?

Everything pertaining to the eternal salvation and final glorification of a sinner in the heaven of eternal glory is the gift of God through Jesus Christ. In fact, he is the whole embodiment of everything necessary to eternal salvation and glorification at the right hand of God. It pleased God the Father that in him should all fullness dwell, and that in all things he shall have the preeminence, and when he gave himself to redeem unto himself a peculiar people from all iniquity, heaven’s treasure was given, and with him God freely giveth all things. Hence, by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men who are connected with and identified in that One Man Jesus Christ, unto jus­tification of life.

Christ is the resurrection and the life, and the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is all a gift of God—nothing can be pur­chased by man.     W. M. MITCHELL.

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