Question:

I'm having a little trouble with this passage and hope you can shed some light on it for me. Romans 5:12-21 talks about a "free gift".

  1. What is it?
  2. Who brought it?
  3. What does it do for us?

Answer:

"But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many" (Romans 5:15).

The one man's offense is a reference to Adam and the fall of man. Through his sin, sin entered the world and death through sin. The free gift is not the same; thus, the free gift brings life to men instead of death. The free gift is "the grace of God." It is also "the gift by the grace of ... Jesus Christ."

"And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification" (Romans 5:16).

The free gift resulted in the justification of many.

"For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)" (Romans 5:17).

The free gift is also a gift of righteousness.

"Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life" (Romans 5:18).

It is a gift offered to all men and results in justification and life (though not necessarily to all men).

"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous" (Romans 5:19).

Many, but not all, will be made righteous through the free gift, which is here equated by Jesus Christ's obedience.

"Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:20-21).

The free gift results in righteousness that leads to eternal life.

Therefore, the free gift is Jesus' voluntary death on the cross.

"For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28).

"As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father" (John 10:15-18).

And that death was an act of obedience to the command of the Father.

"Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Hence, the free gift was Jesus' death on the cross which purchased salvation for mankind.

A good explanation. The information that you sent helps me understand the passage much better.