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Two Men

Romans 5:19


God deals with all the human race in two men, two representative men, two covenant heads — Adam and Christ. We see that fact clearly stated in Romans 5:12-19 and in 1st Corinthians 15:21-22. We read in Romans 5:19, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

This statement sets forth the fact of man’s fall (sin, depravity, and sinfulness) through his union with Adam. Every human being is personally guilty of transgressing God’s law, of course; but he does so because he is born of Adam. By one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners. And by the obedience of One, the Lord Jesus, many are made righteous before God.


Definite Article

Why does Paul say that by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners? Didn’t all fall in Adam? Not really. Angels didn’t fall in Adam. They fell before Adam. They fell individually. And there’s no redemption for the fallen angels in the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:16).

Young’s Literal Translation of Romans 5:19 reads, “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were constituted sinners, so also through the obedience of the One the many shall be constituted righteous.” Notice that Young’s translation gives us the definite article “the” in front of each “one” representative man and in front of both groups called “the many” they represented. Here are two representative men, each representing a distinct specific group of men. Why our King James translators omitted that definite article I do not know. It is a part of the sentence in the Greek text, and should definitely be included in the translation.


Definite People

That definite article “the” serves as an index finger pointing out a definite group of people who became sinners in Adam. Who are they? They are the many in him and represented by him, Adam’s posterity, the whole human race.

So also, by the obedience of the One Man, Jesus Christ, shall the many in him and represented by him be made righteous. Who are they? All of Adam’s race without exception? Obviously, that is not the case. Just as “the many” who were made sinners are those who were under Adam’s headship, so “the many” who are made righteous are those who are under Christ’s headship. Having been redeemed by his blood atonement, they are made righteous, just as he was made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). The many represented by Christ are God’s elect, those who are actually made righteous by his obedience unto death as our Substitute, Surety, and Representative. The Lord Jesus Christ made atonement for a definite people. His atonement is limited to that definite people.

That’s why the angel of the Lord said this in Matthew 1:21 to Joseph about Mary’s being with child — “She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people (not all people — but “his people”) from their sins.”


In John 10:11, the Lord Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” The Bible portrays all of God’s elect as sheep. Hence, the Lord says to the Pharisees in verse 26 — “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.” He didn’t say because you don’t believe, you’re not of my sheep. Rather he says, the reason you don’t believe is that you’re not my sheep. The Good Shepherd did not lay down his life for them. They were not numbered among his sheep, his elect.







Don Fortner








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