Sunday, 10 January 2010

Romans 5

Something interesting came up when I was studying Romans 5 the other week in preparation for a sermon in our series at Hope (... then click on "Media")

In verses 12-21 a vast chiasmus opened up before my very eyes...

A B C D E D' C' B' A'

Note in particular the two ways [C and D] in which the gift of Christ affects fallen man, and how the content of A is developed through E and A'. Our attention is also drawn, in this difficult passage, to the central claim, which repays long meditation.

[A protasis (interrupted)]
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—

[B what law does and did]
for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

[C transformative]
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

[D forensic]
Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

[E alternate summary of protasis-apodosis]
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

[D' forensic]
Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.

[C' transformative]
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

[B' what law does]
The law was added so that the trespass might increase.

[A' protasis (complete) and apodosis]
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.